We're just over halfway through the NFL season: Is your favorite team going to make the playoffs?
As fans stare at their team's schedule and wonder whether winning five of their last eight would be enough, or what would happen if their divisional rival was upset, the Football Power Index (FPI) is here to help.
FPI simulates the season 20,000 times to determine the likelihood of each team reaching the postseason, winning its division or hoisting the Lombardi trophy. But we can also lock in results and ask the model how the season would unfold given a set of predetermined outcomes. That's what we're looking at below, with a few what-if scenarios for the rest of the 2019 season. We're also including a look at the most likely playoff seeding combinations based on FPI's model:
Could the 6-2 Buffalo Bills make a run for the AFC East title?
FPI says: No way!
Let's say we level the playing field, and lock in a win for the Bills at the 2-6 Browns this weekend and have Buffalo beat the Patriots in Foxborough in Week 16, so both teams are 8-2 in known results with a split season series.
Even with those wins, this is nowhere close to a 50/50 race. FPI would favor the Patriots as 87% favorites to win the division in this scenario.
Part of this is that FPI remains unshaken by the Patriots' loss to the Ravens and still considers New England the best team in football, though that's hardly a controversial take. The other factor? Its lack of belief in the Bills; it rates them as the 26th-best team in the league.