NFL Oracle Rankings – Week 09
It was another strong week for Oracle, compiling a 10-3 record during Week 8 of the 2017 NFL season, giving Oracle a 75% success rate over the past two weeks combined. As always, the numbers provide incredible insight, but we also use them as a stepping stone to look beyond the data. In that spirit, the three games Oracle picked incorrectly had confidence levels of 50%, 52%, and 54% respectively (rounding to the nearest whole). Of those three, two were tightly-played contests as the (10) Seattle Seahawks won by three and the (12) Atlanta Falcons won by five, the lone exception being the (8) Buffalo Bills stampeding to a 20-point margin of victory. With that said, take a look at a new aspect of NFL Oracle, now that we’ve passed the midpoint in the 2017 season. In the following chart, you will still see how each team is trending, just as you were able to before. However, Oracle has now expanded to include Postseason Chances, compiling advanced data to make educated guesses on the number of expected wins per team by season’s end, the chances of each team making the playoffs, the chances of each team winning their respective division, the odds of securing the 1st round bye in the AFC or NFC, and, perhaps the source of most intrigue, the odds of each teach making the Super Bowl.
NFL Oracle Postseason Chances – Week 9
|Rk||Team||Rk Change||Exp. Wins||Playoffs Chance||Division||1st Round Bye||Super Bowl|
The game of leapfrog continues between (1) Kansas City Chiefs and (2) Philadelphia Eagles. Although both teams defended their home field last week, if one were to pick the more likely upset, it would have hands-down been (18) Denver Broncos over the Chiefs, as opposed to (32) San Francisco 49ers over the Eagles. Following that line of reasoning, the Chiefs were able to muscle the (1) rank from the Eagles…for now.
As noted above, this is where things take on a whole new level of fun in the NFL season and predictive methods. Looking at the chart above, Oracle anticipates the division winners to be as follows: (4) New England Patriots – AFC East, (1) Kansas City Chiefs – AFC West, (3) Pittsburgh Steelers – AFC North, (14) Jacksonville Jaguars – AFC South, (2) Philadelphia Eagles – NFC East, (9) Los Angeles Rams – NFC West, (5) Minnesota Vikings – NFC North, and (6) New Orleans Saints – NFC South. Of those projected Division Champions, the Rams face the strongest competition in-division, as they have a 22.5% cushion over the (10) Seattle Seahawks, certainly a substantial lead, but by no means should the Rams feel comfortable enough to grow complacent. The next tier of teams currently in position to claim the two wild card berths per conference are the (8) Buffalo Bills at 70.7% and (15) Baltimore Ravens at 57.2% from the AFC, with the Seahawks at 68.8% and (7) Carolina Panthers at 55.8% representing the NFC side of the equation. As you can see, there is another drop-off beyond these four teams, as the next best team in terms of Playoffs Chance is the (19) Dallas Cowboys at 36.2%. Using the Cowboys as an example, with Ezekiel Elliott’s on-again off-again suspension now leaning heavily towards “on,” Dallas is still in the hunt and remains a viable threat in the NFC for one of those wild card spots, but the odds are not in their favor to do much more than that.
From there, the Eagles and Steelers are the favorites for the NFC and AFC first round byes, respectively, but don’t take that to mean they have a cakewalk to the Super Bowl. On the contrary, and somewhat surprisingly at first glance, neither team has the strongest projection within their conference to even make the Super Bowl. That glory belongs to the Rams and Jaguars as things currently stand. On paper, the Eagles and Steelers have been better than both the Rams and Jaguars, and both of the prior two teams are projected to get at least one, if not two, more wins during the regular season than either of the latter two teams, but Oracle takes more than just wins and losses into account; it is when considering strength of schedule through the remainder of the season, as well as relative home field advantage and momentum, that both the Rams and Jaguars earn those extra percentage points in this preliminary projection of the playoff picture.
Take a minute to think how crazy a Rams-Jaguars Super Bowl would be…there’s absolutely a long way for both teams to go before that could even happen, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have fun imagining that match-up. In 2016, the Jaguars finished 3-13, the Rams only one game better. In 2017, both teams have a chance to finish with 10 wins, win their divisions outright, and make the Super Bowl. Both teams drafted high in recent years for a franchise quarterback, but neither has necessarily taken off. Both teams have run-first offenses behind workhorses Todd Gurley for Los Angeles and rookie Leonard Fournette for Jacksonville. Both teams have stellar defenses that can keep any opponent within reach or make any lead feel relatively safe. To emphasize yet again, there’s still a lot of football left to be played, and hopefully injuries are not a factor in how any of those games turn out, just don’t sleep on either of these two teams.
Now that we’ve had our fun, back to reality for the Week 9 predictions.
NFL Oracle Predictions – Week 09
|Thu Nov 02 2017||(8) BUF @ (22) NYJ||(8) BUF||60.52%|
|Sun Nov 05 2017||(26) CIN @ (14) JAC||(14) JAC||72.48%|
|Sun Nov 05 2017||(29) IND @ (25) HOU||(25) HOU||77.61%|
|Sun Nov 05 2017||(15) BAL @ (16) TEN||(15) BAL||56.91%|
|Sun Nov 05 2017||(20) DEN @ (2) PHI||(2) PHI||63.31%|
|Sun Nov 05 2017||(12) ATL @ (7) CAR||(7) CAR||57.25%|
|Sun Nov 05 2017||(28) TB @ (6) NO||(6) NO||70.02%|
|Sun Nov 05 2017||(9) LAR @ (30) NYG||(9) LAR||76.68%|
|Sun Nov 05 2017||(23) WAS @ (10) SEA||(10) SEA||60.39%|
|Sun Nov 05 2017||(27) ARI @ (32) SF||(27) ARI||63.13%|
|Sun Nov 05 2017||(1) KC @ (19) DAL||(1) KC||56.80%|
|Sun Nov 05 2017||(18) OAK @ (13) MIA||(18) OAK||57.83%|
|Mon Nov 06 2017||(21) DET @ (11) GB||(11) GB||55.53%|
Sure-fire picks (give or take)
We hate to pick on one team in particular, but until given a reason not to, the chances are high that the (31) Cleveland Browns will be on the receiving end of our sure-fire picks (give or take). Last week, the (5) Minnesota Vikings and Browns met up across the Atlantic in London, with a closely-played game through the first half. That would prove to be as long as the Browns could keep things tight, as the Vikings pulled away late for a 33-16 victory, backing up Oracle’s 85% confidence level in that outcome.
This week, there isn’t necessarily an anticipated blowout, but the (25) Houston Texans and their revolutionized offense nearly has a 78% confidence level from Oracle in beating the (29) Indianapolis Colts. That being said, there has been a very recent development that budding star Deshaun Watson, who seized the helm of the Texans offense at the start of the season, tore his ACL during practice this week, eliminating any shot of him playing in the Colts match-up, let alone the rest of the season. Oracle’s projection was made prior to this devastating injury, so it will be interesting to see how the Texans offense responds in the wake of this news.
Flip a coin
The flip a coin match-up for Week 8 came down to the unconvincing (12) Atlanta Falcons against the slightly-surprising (22) New York Jets, Oracle favoring the Jets with a compelling 50.18% confidence level. Unfortunately, Oracle was 0.19% in the wrong direction, as the Falcons managed to scrape out a 25-20 win despite poor conditions. The game remained close into the fourth quarter, until Matt Ryan connected with wide receiver Mohamed Sanu early in the fourth to take a lead the Falcons would not relinquish, with both teams exchanging cancelling field goals late in the game.
For Week 9, the closest we can come to a nail biter confidence-wise is the (21) Detroit Lions against the (11) Green Bay Packers, the Pack holding a 5.53% advantage. Even though Green Bay is without star quarterback Aaron Rodgers, they still have the benefit of playing at home and coming off a bye, whereas the Lions recently suffered a tough loss to the Steelers.
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