Biggest NFL Playoff Odds Movers: Week 10
At this point in the season, playoff odds can vary drastically from week to week. Following a tumultuous Week 8, the Buffalo Bills were one of our biggest droppers in playoff odds. After dispatching a poor Washington Redskins team, though, the Bills are on the other end of the spectrum, seeing one of the biggest increases in their postseason chances.
Now in the second half of the NFL season, teams need to make their playoff push if they want a shot at the Lombardi Trophy. Let’s see which ones are soaring above expectations, and which ones need to step their game up. Here are the biggest playoff odds movers following Week 9, according to our models.
Buffalo Bills (6-2)
Playoff Odds Movement: +17.1%
Week 9 Playoff Odds: 60.4%
Week 10 Playoff Odds: 77.5%
The Bills seem to be a "Jekyll and Hyde" team under their quarterback, Josh Allen. In games where he's completed over 60 percent of his pass attempts, they're 6-0. In their two losses, he's hit under 50 percent.
While he only threw for 160 passing yards, we saw the good version of Allen against a bad Washington team. That win puts Buffalo at a 77.5 percent chance at making the playoffs, per our metrics.
QB Josh Allen: “I feel good about being 6-2, but we have a lot we can improve. This team is hungry and we want to keep improving every chance that we can.” #GoBills pic.twitter.com/mdp6u93znx
— Buffalo Bills (@BuffaloBills) November 3, 2019
They have been gifted an easy schedule thus far, as the six opponents they have defeated have eight combined wins. But the second half of their schedule becomes slightly more difficult, as they match up again with the New England Patriots and also face the Dallas Cowboys and Baltimore Ravens. They still get to face the Cleveland Browns, Miami Dolphins, Denver Broncos, and New York Jets, so it certainly isn't too challenging, though.
If the Bills continue to get the good version of Allen and pick up the easy wins against poor teams, they'll likely lock up an AFC wild card slot soon.
Houston Texans (6-3)
Playoff Odds Movement: +16.7%
Week 9 Playoff Odds: 63.4%
Week 10 Playoff Odds: 80.1%
Without J.J. Watt and half of their starting secondary, the Houston Texans traveled nearly 5,000 miles to London and held the Jacksonville Jaguars to three points. Deshaun Watson was brilliant yet again, averaging 0.40 Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per drop back, the seventh-highest among quarterbacks in Week 9.
The real story is how well the Houston defense played. They held Gardner Minshew to -0.21 Passing NEP per drop back and a 34 percent Passing Success Rate. Only Mitchell Trubisky had a lower Passing Success Rate this past weekend.
They'll look to keep that defensive success going, as they face Lamar Jackson, Jacoby Brissett, and Tom Brady over their next three games. But with Watson playing like an MVP candidate, they may be just fine.
Baltimore Ravens (6-2)
Playoff Odds Movement: +15.2%
Week 9 Playoff Odds: 77.6%
Week 10 Playoff Odds: 92.8%
Lamar Jackson had one of his signature moments against the Patriots. As he dropped back to pass, ripped up the play script, and juked Kyle Van Noy, he set his team up for a first down with his legs at New England's five-yard line in the third quarter. Those heroics helped put him at +320 to win the NFL Regular Season MVP, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
Watching Lamar Jackson run is absolutely mesmerizing #Ravens pic.twitter.com/Y2HEhEuCzQ
— Take Your Base Sports (@takeyourbasepod) November 4, 2019
Jackson now ranks 10th in Passing NEP per drop back and 6th in Rushing NEP per carry among starting quarterbacks, while Baltimore ranks 1st in Adjusted NEP per play on offense. Their defense is still lagging, ranking 22nd in Adjusted Defensive NEP per play and 29th against the run, but Marcus Peters has seemingly brought consistency to the secondary.
The Ravens have some tough matchups with the Texans, Los Angeles Rams, and San Francisco 49ers in the coming weeks. Taking down those three opponents would likely lock up their postseason chances as well as Jackson's MVP trophy.
Indianapolis Colts (5-3)
Playoff Odds Movement: -17.3%
Week 9 Playoff Odds: 72.1%
Week 10 Playoff Odds: 54.8%
First Andrew Luck, then Jacoby Brissett, and now Brian Hoyer will look to lead the Colts as they continue to battle adversity at quarterback. Brissett still has a chance to suit up this week after getting stepped on and then rolled up on by his own linemen on the same play. An MRI revealed an MCL sprain, which could require multiple weeks of recovery.
Fortunately for them, Indianapolis draws the Dolphins this week. With Hoyer likely under center, Marlon Mack would likely be in for a hefty workload. He currently ranks 10th in Rushing NEP per carry and fourth in Rushing Success Rate among running backs with at least 50 carries, so the team can definitely lean on him if needed.
I think I am going to declare this the most beautiful 7-yard run in NFL history. Lol. Marlon Mack makes a total of four cuts. Watch closely. pic.twitter.com/g4h4XuRqqJ
— Stephen Holder (@HolderStephen) November 5, 2019
If the team can lean on Mack until Brissett and T.Y. Hilton return to the lineup, they'll be in a good spot to compete for the AFC South title.
Jacksonville Jaguars (4-5)
Playoff Odds Movement: -16.7%
Week 9 Playoff Odds: 26.4%
Week 10 Playoff Odds: 9.7%
Gardner Minshew likely could have locked up the starting quarterback spot with a win against a depleted Texans defense on Sunday. Instead, he imploded, turning the ball over four times and handing Nick Foles the job back when the team returns from its Week 10 bye.
Gardner Minshew’s last four plays:
— B/R Gridiron (@brgridiron) November 3, 2019
The good news for the Jags is that the AFC South is wide open. Every team from the division is featured in this article and all are within two games of the lead. Their playoff odds will swing drastically from week to week, so if Foles can spark the offense, Jacksonville could be in the "winners" section following Week 11.
Tennessee Titans (4-5)
Playoff Odds Movement: -11.3%
Week 9 Playoff Odds: 16.6%
Week 10 Playoff Odds: 5.3%
Rounding out the AFC South is the Ryan Tannehill-led Tennessee Titans. Tannehill predictably struggled against a strong Carolina Panthers pass defense, registering his lowest Passing NEP per drop back in a game as a starter this season.
Despite Tannehill's 27th-ranked offense in terms of Adjusted NEP per play, the Titans have hope with their elite defense that ranks sixth in Adjusted Defensive NEP per play. If they continue their dominance on that side of the ball, coupled with a strong run game featuring Derrick Henry, they still have a shot at the postseason.
Unfortunately, the schedule makers did them no favors in the second half of the season, as they have matchups against the Kansas City Chiefs, New Orleans Saints, and two against the Texans. This will likely cause their already slim playoff chances to dwindle to zero in the near future.