Breaking Down the NFL Playoff Odds of all 32 Teams
NFL Playoff Odds
Let me start by saying, I do not bet on sports. I have often written that if I had to feed my family by picking winners and losers they would have all starved to death a long time ago.
But using the odds and spreads is something that has always fascinated me. The people who dedicate the time and effort into creating these odds are remarkable in how correct they are. It’s a process that is analytical and complex and helps make Las Vegas lots of money.
I did a little digging and found the current playoff odds for each NFL team according to the odds makers. It was fascinating to look at the odds and see where the experts put these teams in terms of their shot at making the playoffs.
Most football fans understand as the regular season rolls into the back half that their team is either well on it’s way to the playoffs, on the bubble, or in dire need of help. But according to the odds makers there are no teams that are mathematically eliminated. I would assume as teams are taken out completely the playoff mix they will go off the board altogether.
As I reviewed these, I had to say I was more than a little shocked at the odds for some of these teams but when it comes to thing like this I will always defer to the wiseguys and I just do the analysis.
So, without further ado, here are the playoff odds for each team in the NFL.
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Kansas City Chiefs-1000/1
The Chiefs are awful. It’s unfortunate because there is talent there, but they’ve lost their way, and those in power making decisions have just bungled too many opportunities to be competitive. It’s so bad the fans have rallied around a cause, the @saveourchiefs movement that is a coalition of passionate fans who want the front office and staff gutted out and a fresh start.
As bad as the Chiefs are, the Jaguars are that bad as well. Another tale of squandered draft picks and poor coaching that have led to a team that can’t win and a fanbase that doesn’t even care. They have to tarp over seats to avoid blackouts and if there was ever a team ripe for re-location it’s the Jaguars.
The Cam Newton sophomore slump is in full effect. This was a team with so much promise, but after Newton’s big rookie year he is struggling mightily. You pair that up with injuries and a team that looked like a real playoff contender is in the tank in a hurry.
As much as the Browns are bad right now, there looks to be some hope on the horizon. New ownership seems to be energetic and enthusiastic and wanting to win, and there are some pieces in place on both sides of the football. I suspect there will be some changes to the coaching staff as well as among the higher ups, but Browns fans have to feel good about their chances going forward.
St. Louis Rams-250/1
The Rams are long odds here, but even being in last place they aren’t out of the playoff hunt at all. At 3-5-1 they are well behind the San Fransisco 49ers, but in the NFL anything can happen. I’m not sure I’d put my savings into them making the playoffs, but among the teams that are near the bottom, with the talent this roster has I give them the best shot at a miracle.
The Titans are a team that should be better than this. But when you are staring up at the best team in the AFC leading your division at 8-1, it’s tough to get excited. This team will need to make some serious overhauls in the offseason if they want to become competitive in the AFC South.
As I scan these bottom teams I see the same thing over and over. Lots of young talent, but shoddy quarterback play and injuries just crush these bubble teams. I’m not sure if the Bills are planning to change quarterbacks or not, but I’m just not sure how far Ryan Fitzpatrick can carry them.
The Raiders have been a running joke in the league for some time. But the fact of the matter is until ownership can get a good head coach and hold onto him, all the talent this team may or may not have on the roster is wasted. In that division they should be competitive every season, but instead they just continue to struggle with no consistency among the players and staff.
Redskins Quarterback Robert Griffin III is going to be a really good NFL quarterback. But right now he’s just ok and the rest of his team is either hurt or under performing. Again it’s an injury issue in large part for them, and if you are a fan you just have to hope that they can fight their way through an NFL East that no team seems to want to win.
I understand that part of the reason the Cardinals aren’t closer to the bottom because of their 4-5 record, but does anyone think they can be competitive any more this season? This is another team that is going to be in dire need of an upgrade at the skill positions on offense especially at quarterback and running back to be competitive.
New York Jets-125/1
Look up dumpster fire in the dictionary and you will probably see the Jets team photo. This is a bad football team. They don’t have adequate talent at most positions and they are so caught up in the New York drama that the players forget that once a week they have to play football. This team needs to be blown up and a fresh start needs to happen.
There’s something about the Eagles that just keep drawing people in, just to have them be disappointed yet again. There are some really nice pieces in place on this squad, but the offensive line is dreadful and the defense is underachieving in a big way. Still, the playoffs are not at all out of the question in their division.
I expected the Dolphins odds to be better than this. They are a young team on the come up, but consider me a skeptic on quarterback Ryan Tannehill. I think he’s a nice player, but he’s not a franchise quarterback. But there’s no doubt they are a legit playoff contender in a wide open AFC East.
If the Bengals played anywhere but the AFC North, they’d probably be a shoe-in for the playoffs. They have a great young quarterback and one of the top wide outs in the NFL. They need to get a few pieces in place to be a contender on a year in and year out basis, but there’s no doubt this is team will remain a tough out for any team.
Has their been a more disappointing team in the league than the Lions? Coming into the season people were talking Super Bowl and now this. I realize that the playoffs aren’t out of the question for them, but the way this team is playing I’m not sure it’s realistic at this point.
It’s hard for me not to root for the Vikings. They are led by the superhuman running back Adrian Peterson and will likely go as far as his surgically repaired knee will take them. Short of a deep playoff run, this team will likely have to assess several positions including wide receiver and quarterback in the off season, in order to continue to improve.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers-33/1
The Buccaneers are a hard team to read. Nice young quarterback, very good rookie running back and a physical offensive line. But they find ways to lose. But regardless at these odds, it’s not a bad bed if they can keep feeding running back Doug Martin they won’t sneak in as a wildcard.
San Diego Chargers-30/1
I’m not sure this team is as good as these odds, but again in a season that is choked off by so many mediocre teams, they have a legit shot at a wildcard spot with a little help. But is this a playoff caliber team? I’d say no right now, but when you have a top quarterback all he has to do is get hot and it can change everything.
What the Colts have done with a new defense, new rookie quarterback and a head coach who has dealt with cancer is truly remarkable. It’s hard not to root for the Colts and all the story lines surrounding their franchise. I’m not sure if they are playoff ready, but I’m rooting for them.
The Seahawks are an interesting team when you consider they are starting a rookie quarterback and don’t have a lot of talent at the wide receiver position. But they are physical, run the ball and play great defense. This is a formula that could not only get them into the playoffs but also push them to an NFC West title.
New Orleans Saints-18/1
I’m not sure a team that plays such poor defense needs to be up this high. But I suppose when you have a quarterback like Drew Brees you always have a chance. Personally, I’d put the Saints odds much longer than this when you consider they are staring up at 2 teams in their own division and well behind 3 others for the wildcard.
The fact the Cowboys are only 16/1 really illustrates just how wide open the NFC East is. A sub .500 team still in the mix this late proves something, but I’m just not sure what that is. If this team had some consistency at quarterback and some health in the backfield they would be so much better.
After a rough start the Steelers are on a roll. Obviously this could change in a hurry if quarterback Ben Roethlisberger misses several games with this current injury. The rest of the team has really been over achieving as of late, but if they can’t at least split with the Ravens their playoff hopes will take a dive.
The Ravens are in the driver’s seat for the AFC North and have to be drooling at 2 games in 3 weeks against a Steelers team that might be minus their best player. This team has become much more balanced this season and the offense is making the losses on defense much easier to deal with.
New York Giants-13/2
Considering how quarterback Eli Manning has been playing, this seems generous. I suppose history is on their side that they rally at the end of the season, so it shouldn’t be a shock they are this high up in terms of a shot at a playoff spot.
Another team that has earned this spot, but with an injury to their starting quarterback, things could change in a hurry. If quarterback Jay Cutler can return quickly this is easily one of the best all around teams in the NFC, and possibly the entire NFL.
The Falcons are the Rodney Dangerfield of the NFL; they get no respect. After a loss last week, their first of the year, everyone is jumping off the bandwagon, but other than a few weak spots this team has a lot of talent, especially on offense. They will need to play more defense down the stretch.
Green Bay Packers-13/4
Any team with quarterback Aaron Rodgers under center has to be taken seriously because he can throw a team on his back for long stretches. They are a quiet 6-3 and hoping they can gain some ground on the Bears in the next couple of weeks.
San Fransisco 49ers-13/4
I sound like a broken record, but another team that has an injured starting quarterback and have to be hoping he doesn’t miss extended time. Seattle is right on their heels so they can’t afford to take a week off, or their division lead will be gone.
How impressive is quarterback Peyton Manning? This is the same offensive line that got so much criticism last year, and this year they look like a top 5 group. This is the same group of wide receivers that everyone said last year were no good. The defense was always great, but Manning has made a good offense great again.
New England Patriots-11/4
I honestly don’t get this. I suppose the Patriots odds are so good because they play in such a bad division, but if I were raking them, I’d put the Patriots as the 6th or 7th best team in the AFC. They are fortunate the rest of the AFC East is so down this year, because this is not the Patriots team we’ve grown accustomed to.
The Texans are the most balanced team on both sides of the football and to me appear to be the clear frontrunner in the AFC to make it to the Super Bowl. They can run it, they can throw it, and they can play defense. Are they the Super Bowl favorites? Probably so, but with the NFL anything can happen.