TRF’s Playoff Possibility Pontificator: Week 12

8-2!!!  What a game….Stealin’ one just like a Pirate should!

Right now we are going to  geek out and talk playoffs.  For the first time in over 13 years, we finally look to be on a sustainable path that will get this Raider Ship into the playoffs.  No more ‘Ten and Then’ or even ‘Five and We Are Alive’ nonsense.  What we will be discussing here, good friends, is the myriad of possibilities associated with the 2016 playoff run we are deeply immersed in right now.

No, we cannot get complacent, nor can we allow any cockiness to seep into our collective mindset.  That said, lets also get real here.  At 8-2 we are looking good….REAL good.  So much so that I for one believe that our everlasting gobstopper of a curse will finally be coming to a close.  Sorry (not sorry), Mr. Brady!

To that end, I give you TRF’s (TuckRuleFool’s) first-ever Blarticale© that attempts to quantify and simplify the heretofore mystifying world of NFL playoff possibilities.  You will not find any conjecture or other non-quantifiable tomfoolery gracing these pages.  No sir, not now, not ever. Here, you will only get the facts, Jack…(Del Rio).  

I am hopeful that this will become a regular piece. The weekly objective of this series will be to keep your geek side satiated and well-informed.  I will do my best to simultaneously overload and entertain you with percentages and possibilities galore.

Each end every week we will target the following:

  1. Establish an accurate representation of baseline odds that delve into the likelihood that our illustrious Raiders will finally reach the playoff promised land in 2016.    
  2. As a direct follow on to #1 above, I will also provide the specific percentages associated with each of the 6 NFL Seeds (in addition to the combined likelihood of a bye coming our way).
  3. Finally, after going deep into the slate of weekly games in front of us, I will provide ‘best and worse case scenario outlooks’ that will help on the rooting front while simultaneously providing a bracket of sorts to let us know just how nervous we should or should be as it relates to any given week or any individual game.  I will use a unique system to rank the importance of each weekly contest.

As a bonus, I will also provide a weekly TuckRuleFoolishFact© which will highlight some unlikely (but still possible) statistical oddity for you to chew on as we anxiously await the next week’s contest.

With no further ado… TRF’s Week 11 Playoff Possibility Pontificator

  1. As of today (Late Monday, November, 21st ) the likelihood that our Oakland Raiders make the playoffs is 90%.  This value is obtained based on 10’s of thousands of individual game simulations for the remaining contests that have yet to be played.  And once the outcomes are tallied, the Raiders qualify for the post season dance 90% of the time.  As we sit at 8-2 this is not overly surprising.
  1. Next, lets get a bit more granularity and see what are the odds for us as it relates to the Six(6) Seed System the NFL uses for each Conference.  Using the same simulation process, the following likelihoods are achieved.


  • Seed 6 (Wild Card road team): 19%
  • Seed 5 (Wild Card road team): 26%
  • Seed 4 (4th best  Div winner – home game): <1%
  • Seed 3 (3th best  Div winner – home game):  1%
  • Seed 2 (2nd best Div winner – BYE, home game): 16%
  • Seed 1 (best Div winner – BYE, home game throughout): 29%
  • Bye likelihood (Seed 1 plus Seed 2): 37%
  • Wild Card Likelihood (Seed 5 plus Seed 6): 45%


Notes of interest:  As noted above, we are more likely to get the number 1 Seed than the number 2 Seed.  This is because we currently hold the edge over New England via NFL Tiebreaker 4 (Strength of Victory).   Furthermore, if we end up tying Brady and friends© after the regular season we also are likely to win tiebreaker 3 (common games) with them.  As many of you likely know, now we currently hold the number 1 Seed. Interestingly, the same tiebreaker edge over NE does not hold true for KC even if they were 8-2 (which they are not ).   NE has a better conference record compared to KC (Tiebreaker 2).

  1. As noted above, this section will look at what weekly games will lead to the greatest improvement (and degradation) with respect to Oakland’s overall existing chances of making the playoffs, which, as already noted, currently sit at 90%.   For this inaugural PPP, I will look into what games impact our overall playoff chances and the likelihood of us securing a bye.  Delving into factors that maximize/degrade each of the 6 Seeds would triple the size of the article and for the time being I’d prefer to stay on Kenny’s good side.    That said, future posts will go into optimizations that target specific outcomes (e.g. Seed 1, division crown, etc.). Also, as you will see, some games simply have no effect.  The outcomes listed below are rated on excitement and sleep scales.  The more explanation points given the bigger the effect the game has while contests with little to no effect get zzz’s.


    1. BEST CASE: How Week 12 NFL games could enhance Oakland’s chances for a playoff birth (currently sitting at 90%)
      1. ! Oak over Panthers +4%
      2. ! 49ers, (over Phins) Jags (over Bills) KC (over Den) +3%
      1. zzz all other games +-0% Note: For playoff berth ~0 impact.  

Notes of interest: The Best Case Scenario above gets us to 97%. Our game is obviously the biggest mover.  A win adds 4%.  Wins by the 49ers, Jags and KC  (over the Phins, Bills and Den, respectively) adds another +3%.  The rest of the games mean very little as it relates to getting us in the playoffs.  Even at today’s 90% we are looking good.  

Take home message? So long as we don’t completely face-plant down the stretch we should make the playoffs.  Next week I’ll look at the path to our Division versus simply making the dance.  We should get to the post season at this point and if we don’t it’s an epic collapse, plain and simple.

    1. WORST CASE: How Week 12 NFL games could hinder Oakland’s chances for a playoff birth (currently sitting at 90%)
      1. !! Panthers over Oak -7%
      2. ! Bills (over Jags), Dolphin (over 49ers), DEN (over KC) -3%
      3. zzz all other games +-0%   

Notes of interest:  Worst Case brings us to a 80% chance of making the dance come next morning.  Still high but 97% sounds a lot better. Here, we see that a loss for the Raiders hurts more than a win helps.  Like before, the other games don’t matter much.  

    1. BEST CASE: How Week 12 NFL games could enhance Oakland’s chances for a week 1 bye (currently sitting at 45%)
      1. !! Oak over Car +8%  
      2. ! Den over KC +3%
      3. zzz all others games +0%

Notes of interest:  Best Case for the bye after this week would be a 56% likelihood.  With KC’s lost last week, the Den/KC game is important but not critical.  A bigger factor from here on out is us taking care of business. Fun fact: If we follow this up with a win at KC 2 weeks later?  All other factors equal, our bye chances would jump from 56% to 82%!

    1. WORST CASE: How Week 12 NFL games could hinder Oakland’s chances for a week 1 bye (currently sitting at 45%)
      1. !!! Car over Oak -12%   Note: Ouch.
      2. ! KC over Den -3% Note: A KC win is not devastating
      3. zzz all others games +-0%

Notes of interest: Our Worst Case for the bye after this week would be 30% . Oak loss is the big impact factor here.  KC/Den game doesn’t move the needle much.  Had KC beaten TB this past Sunday?  Different story! Bottom line?  We should win this game and if we don’t it will hit our chances for a bye in a noticeable way. A not so fun fact?  If this scenario plays out and we lose to KC on 12/8, our chances for a 1st round bye drop from 30% to 12%.  Not good.

And finally…

I offer this week’s TuckRuleFoolishFact© for your amusement

–  The Bye and the Division are essentially one in the same at this point. After today’s game, it’s quite obvious that the number 1 or 2 Seeds are not coming from the lame ass AFC South or North. The top 2 Seeds will be NE and Oak, KC, or DEN.

The Raiders need KC and Den to split games with one another and we need to take care of business in KC.  If the Broncos and Chiefs split, and we beat KC, Oakland has an 81% chance of winning he Division (and a 1st round bye).  The Den/Oak match-up on New Year’s Day could essentially turn out to be a rest-up game for the Raiders.  This is looking like a pretty straightforward (not to mention highly enjoyable) playoff pathway for us to root for going forward.

Written by: TuckRuleFool

Edited by: Kenny Stapler