2017 NFL Oracle – Week 12

There were plenty of good football games to choose between during Week 11 of the 2017 NFL season. Oracle ended up going 9-5 this past week, as some of those games had wild results. Take the (9) Los Angeles Rams: this was the team we’ve been telling you for weeks now is the favorite to not only win their division, but also represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. Last week, they were favored at 58% over the (5) Minnesota Vikings. Now, you can quickly see this was a powerhouse match-up between two top-10 teams trending in the right direction. But even that wouldn’t have suggested a 24-7 victory for the Vikings, emphasis being placed on the margin of victory as opposed to the winning team. Turn your attention to the (8) Kansas City Chiefs against the (30) New York Giants, one of the league’s best against one of the league’s worst. Piece of cake, to the point Oracle gave Kansas City 75% odds! The end result? No touchdowns were scored throughout the entirety of this game, a game that was forced into overtime until the Giants kicked nailed a game-winning field goal. Of the many cliché sayings out there, at this time we will use the following: “it’s not the best team that wins, but the team that plays the best who wins on any given day.” So congratulations, Giants.

After a week of these tightly-played football games, check out how the playoff picture has changed from a week ago:

NFL Oracle PostSeason Chances – Week 12

Rk Team Rk Change Exp. Wins Playoffs Chance Division 1st Round Bye Super Bowl
1 PHI 1 12.9 99.7% 98.4% 81.6% 25.7%
2 NO 1 11.6 96.2% 75.2% 34.0% 10.9%
3 NE 1 11.9 99.1% 95.6% 72.6% 11.8%
4 PIT 2 11.6 99.4% 94.4% 62.9% 7.2%
5 MIN 11.9 97.1% 87.2% 60.5% 6.8%
6 CAR 3 10.3 74.9% 20.2% 7.7% 2.0%
7 JAC 2 10.9 98.0% 74.3% 44.4% 14.5%
8 KC 1 9.9 90.5% 87.1% 14.2% 2.9%
9 LAR 1 10.6 85.6% 78.2% 12.4% 10.8%
10 ATL 2 8.7 31.3% 4.6% 1.4% 0.5%
11 TEN 1 9.3 72.5% 24.7% 3.5% 1.4%
12 DET 3 9.3 48.1% 11.9% 1.6% 0.9%
13 SEA 2 8.7 30.1% 21.4% 0.5% 0.7%
14 BUF 8.0 33.1% 4.1% 0.9% 0.6%
15 GB 2 7.7 8.9% 0.9% 0.1% 0.2%
16 BAL 5 8.6 59.7% 5.5% 1.5% 1.9%
17 DAL 1 8.6 22.8% 1.6% 0.1% 0.4%
18 OAK 1 6.7 7.6% 4.4% 0.0% 0.1%
19 MIA 1 6.1 4.7% 0.2% 0.0% 0.1%
20 WAS 1 7.3 3.5% 0.0% 0.0% 0.1%
21 NYJ 1 6.4 4.6% 0.1% 0.0% 0.1%
22 LAC 3 7.3 15.7% 7.8% 0.0% 0.2%
23 TB 4 6.1 1.1% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
24 CHI 2 6.0 0.1% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
25 HOU 1 6.7 8.0% 1.0% 0.1% 0.2%
26 CIN 2 6.4 4.4% 0.1% 0.0% 0.1%
27 ARI 4 6.1 0.5% 0.4% 0.0% 0.0%
28 DEN 4 5.7 1.7% 0.8% 0.0% 0.0%
29 IND 5.1 0.9% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
30 NYG 4.4 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
31 SF 3.1 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
32 CLE 2.1 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%

Whereas Week 11 witness little-to-no movement within the top-10, Week 12 was the exact opposite; only one team within the top-10 did not move one way or another in the rankings (the Vikings). (1) Philadelphia Eagles continue to fight for that top ranking, with the relatively newer competitor in the (2) New Orleans Saints, compared to the Chiefs in weeks past. (3) New England Patriots and (4) Pittsburgh Steelers continue their push toward the top, while Wild Card teams like the (6) Carolina Panthers need to right ship, and fast.

Using Oracle’s projection data, the presently-anticipated division winners are as follows:

Patriots (AFC East), Chiefs (AFC West), Steelers (AFC North), (7) Jacksonville Jaguars (AFC South), Eagles (NFC East), Rams (NFC West), Vikings (NFC North), and Saints (NFC South). All familiar faces. Of those teams, the Jaguars have the closest divisional competitor in the (11) Tennessee Titans, as there is only a 49.6% spread between the two teams. We say “only” and yet that’s a large number, but the reasoning follows this line of logic: there can only be one division winner per division, so the greater one team’s chances are of winning that particular division, the smaller the other teams’ chances are within that division. Another way to look at this is as follows: the Jaguars have roughly 74% odds to win the AFC South, while the Titans have about 25%. Add the two figures up, and you get 99%, which means that there is a 1% chance the AFC South Champion will not be one of those two teams. With that in mind, no other division leader faces as close a threat as Jacksonville, keeping in mind “close” is relative.

Looking at the Wild Cards, a week ago it was the Panthers and (13) Seattle Seahawks in the NFC, and the Titans and (14) Buffalo Bills in the AFC. As of this morning, the second wild card in each conference has a new place-holder: the (12) Detroit Lions in the NFC and the (16) Baltimore Ravens in the AFC. We told you in Week 11 about the dance the Ravens were playing with the Bills; with Buffalo’s 54-24 implosion last week against the (22) Los Angeles Chargers, Baltimore was able to take over that wild card, now boasting nearly 60% odds to make the playoffs. The Bills are still the nearest threat, but they fell from grace to 33% odds of making the playoffs. The Seahawks and the Lions each played extremely close games in their respective match-ups, both coming down to the wire and ending a three-point spread. Unfortunately for Seattle, they were on the lesser-of-two ends against the (10) Atlanta Falcons, dropping their odds of making the playoffs to 30%. To balance the scale, Detroit’s narrow win over the (24) Chicago Bears upped their odds to 48%, by no means secure, but certainly better than the Falcons and Seahawks who are having to look up at the NFC Wild Card currently.

For arguably the most interesting part, let’s look at the Super Bowl odds. Earlier we mentioned how we had been singing the praises of the Rams, particularly as they were the NFC-favorite for the Super Bowl. Until now. The Rams odds sank to about 11%, now tied with the Saints. However, the two teams aren’t neck-and-neck for first in this race. That position belongs to the undeterred Eagles, who now have better than 25% odds of making the Super Bowl! Anything can happen once playoffs begin, but for the time being, Philadelphia is giving no reason to doubt them. In the AFC, Jacksonville remains the favorite with New England hot on their tail, both teams treading water from last week with regards to their Super Bowl odds.

Now that we’ve had our fun, back to reality for the Week 12 predictions, with the addition of our Impact game of the Week and Swing game of the Week.

NFL Oracle Predictions – Week 12

Thu Nov 23 2017(5) MIN @ (12) DET(5) MIN60.37%
Thu Nov 23 2017(22) LAC @ (17) DAL(17) DAL55.50%
Thu Nov 23 2017(30) NYG @ (20) WAS(20) WAS59.66%
Sun Nov 26 2017(24) CHI @ (1) PHI(1) PHI70.87%
Sun Nov 26 2017(32) CLE @ (26) CIN(26) CIN71.40%
Sun Nov 26 2017(23) TB @ (10) ATL(10) ATL58.74%
Sun Nov 26 2017(14) BUF @ (8) KC(8) KC58.16%
Sun Nov 26 2017(19) MIA @ (3) NE(3) NE72.56%
Sun Nov 26 2017(6) CAR @ (21) NYJ(6) CAR62.61%
Sun Nov 26 2017(11) TEN @ (29) IND(11) TEN70.60%
Sun Nov 26 2017(13) SEA @ (31) SF(13) SEA74.47%
Sun Nov 26 2017(2) NO @ (9) LAR(9) LAR50.42%
Sun Nov 26 2017(7) JAC @ (27) ARI(7) JAC77.74%
Sun Nov 26 2017(28) DEN @ (18) OAK(18) OAK53.03%
Sun Nov 26 2017(15) GB @ (4) PIT(4) PIT62.74%
Mon Nov 27 2017(25) HOU @ (16) BAL(16) BAL57.56%

Impact game of the Week: MIN @ DET
Among all games in the week, the results of this game will have a significant impact on the Playoff Odds acorss the largest number of teams.

If MIN wins If DET wins
DAL 19.67% DAL 14.83%
DET 30.19% DET 64.18%
MIN 99.36% MIN 93.14%
ATL 31.38% ATL 25.80%
CAR 74.92% CAR 70.34%
SEA 37.35% SEA 32.66%

We’ve already done an introduction to both of the teams participating in this NFC North match-up. For what it’s worth, the Vikings have a two-game lead over the Lions in the division, so no matter how this game plays out, their positioning will not change. As things currently stand, Minnesota is essentially a go for making the playoffs, as a loss to the Lions here would still only drop their playoff chances to 93%. As such, a win for Detroit is far more important than it would be for Minnesota; the Lions could have a 34% swing in their playoff chances depending on the outcome of this game. A win would likely keep Detroit in one of the two wild card spots, while a loss could drop them into the mix with Atlanta and Seattle, assuming those two teams remain where they are currently. Which is why you see the odds for the Falcons, Seahawks, and Panthers in this table. The former duo would love to see a Vikings win because they’re looking up at the Lions, while the latter would love to see a Vikings win because they’re looking down (not too far) at the Lions.

Swing game of the Week:
This is the game where the results will have the largest swing on the Playoff Odds at least one of teams involved:

Houston Texans @ Baltimore Ravens

If HOU wins Curr. Odds If BAL wins
HOU 21.47% HOU 7.81% HOU 2.54%
BAL 53.96% BAL 59.38% BAL 87.74%

For back-to-back weeks, we’re giving you the Monday Night Football game. The (25) Houston Texans belong to the AFC South, the division we discussed earlier where any team besides the Jaguars and Titans – the Texans and (29) Indianapolis Colts – have a 1% chance of making the playoffs. Best-case scenario for Houston is they pull out this game and at least give the appearance of making the AFC South more competitive. But the focus here is really on Baltimore. As you can see, a loss for the Ravens certainly wouldn’t help, but it wouldn’t be as significant a drop as one might expect, and they would remain above 50% with their chances of making the playoffs. No team is ever hoping to just squeak by though, so the Ravens will be coming out fighting tooth and nail for a win, as doing so would elevate their odds to near-lock status, hovering a couple points below 90%. Who knows if that puts them in the hunt for the division title with the Steelers (a long-shot given the lead Pittsburgh has accumulated), but at the very least it would secure their wild card spot, potentially stealing the Titans position as the top-seeded wild card team.

Saving the most important for last, today is Thanksgiving. Regardless of whether you celebrate this particular holiday or not, it is the manifestation of taking the time to reflect upon what it is we are thankful for, something that transcends any one day during the calendar year. With that in mind, thank you for your ongoing participation and interest in Oracle.

Thanks for checking in. We’ll see you again in one week’s time. Hopefully there will be just as much to write about, with fewer injuries and incorrect predictions.

Written and published by Tyler Caldwell

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