Our latest predicted playoff positioning has New England still in 1st place with Denver 2nd as our models still have Denver beating Cincinnati in Week 16. Green Bay, holding a one game lead, could lose games in both Weeks 15 and 16 but beat Minnesota in Week 17 to clinch their division, due to what would result in a head-to-head season sweep for the first tiebreaker. More details on the playoff scenarios follow our Week 15 predictions and Week 14 summary.
Each week Bing Predicts picks the winners of every professional football game. By every Tuesday, for the rest of the season, we’ll update our prior week’s results, share our upcoming week’s predictions on Bing and provide insights into how we make our picks.
Multiple injuries incurred in Week 14 will play a role in outcomes of Week 15 and beyond. The two marquee games for this week are Houston visiting Indianapolis with their division on the line, and 11-3 Denver visiting 8-5 Pittsburgh. Our models expect Indianapolis to complete the season sweep of Houston to start a new in-division win streak, which was snapped by Jacksonville last weekend. The models also prefer Pittsburgh at home against a Denver team that struggled to find the end zone in Week 14. The Thursday night game starts with Tampa Bay keeping their slim playoff hopes alive with a win. New York remains tied at 9-5 with the other wild card hopefuls with a Saturday night win over Dallas. The week ends on Monday night with New Orleans doing likewise with a win over Detroit.
Here are the predictions for the rest of Week 15 games:
- Arizona wins the Sunday night game against Philadelphia to close in on a first round bye.
- Buffalo gets back to 7-7 after traveling south to the nation’s capital and beating Washington.
- Carolina goes to 14-0 with a win over New York.
- Cincinnati, while depleted offensively, is still able to beat San Francisco.
- Green Bay wins at Oakland, where they’ve played only once (12/22/2003) since 1976.
- Jacksonville extends Atlanta’s losing streak to seven games while they keep their hopes of winning the division alive.
- Kansas City extends their win streak to 8 and closes in on the wild card spot with a win over Baltimore.
- Minnesota gets a season sweep of Chicago to stay on track for a wild card spot, as well as maintain hopes for a division title.
- New England closes in on the top seed with a win over Tennessee.
- San Diego avenges last year’s 37-0 defeat with a win over Miami, who is traveling and playing on shorter rest.
- Seattle wins their 5th in a row and closes in on a wild card spot.
Week 14 Results:
Bing Predicts was 9-7 in Week 14, correctly picking Cleveland who the consensus of experts predicted to lose. On the other hand, we missed Pittsburgh’s victory over Cincinnati which was approximately a split pick nationally. Upsets by Oakland, Washington, and New Orleans resulted in other incorrect projections. This brings Bing Predicts to 131-77 for the year.
With 3 weeks remaining, only 3 of the 12 playoff spots have been clinched although some separation has been established for the wild card positions. Carolina guaranteed itself a top 2 seed and first round bye with their 38-0 win while Arizona clinched a playoff spot with their Thursday night win and is near a divisional title. Even if Arizona loses the final 3 games and Seattle wins out, these two teams would go to at least the 5th tiebreaker which is strength of victory, where Arizona currently holds a 3-game lead. Effectively, it boils down to “total wins by Cincinnati (10) and New Orleans (5)” for Arizona versus “total wins by Pittsburgh (8) and Dallas (4)” for Seattle – if Cincinnati had beaten Pittsburgh on Sunday, the gap would have been 5 games and nearly insurmountable (as it stands now, the win count is currently 15 to 12). Finally, New England’s Sunday night victory guaranteed them a playoff spot which became a division title when Miami lost on Monday night.
Seattle and Minnesota, both at 8-5, currently hold 2 game leads over the rest of the wild card contenders, so if either wins 2 of the final 3, they clinch playoff spots outright. In the other conference, three 8-5 teams are vying for two wild card slots. Other contenders are also two games back at 6-7 and would require two of these 8-5 teams to falter to have a chance to make the post-season. If all three of these teams win out, Kansas City finishes 5th and Pittsburgh 6th with New York being the team which does not control its playoff fate, but while Kansas City has a somewhat easy schedule, Pittsburgh hosts Denver in Week 15 while New York hosts New England in Week 16, so winning out for all three teams is definitely not going to be easy.
– Walter Sun, Bing Predicts Team Lead