Bills’ Playoff Forecast

So it’s time that I let you all in on the disappointing secret that I am a Buffalo Bills fan. In case you were wondering, from childhood, I selected sports franchises that were doom to let me down – the Bills, Buffalo Sabres, and Chicago Cubs – and even my college team, NC State. Now that I have divulged that embarrassing piece of information, I’ll let you in on a little pastime of mine that comes around the second week of December. I begin the long-drawn process of figuring out the exact scenarios necessary for my dreams of the Bills making the playoffs to come true.

Here we are again – Buffalo teetering on mediocrity at 6-6 with 4 games to go: Miami, Cleveland, New York Giants, and Philly. I consider the first two, Miami and Cleveland, to be “must-win” for all intents and purposes. Miami, because it is a conference game, and an important game for the Bills to gain some momentum, and Cleveland because they are currently one game ahead of the Bills in the AFC Wild-Card race. A victory there would not only tie them up in the race, but also give them the head-t0-head tiebreaker in a two-way tie for the last wildcard spot. At 8-6, the Bills would almost control their own destiny. I’ll wait one week to start my exact scenarios but I wanted to mention the chances that the nfl-forecast.com blog, powered by Brian Burke‘s prediction model give the Bills. After Week 12 the Bills had just a 3% chance of obtaining one of the two AFC wild cards. Granted this number probably went up after the Bills’ victory and a loss by the Browns, I still think it will be a little low.

I have a lot of respect for Brian’s prediction methodology and think it’s the best model that I’ve come across, it can’t take things like the return of Marshawn Lynch, or Trent Edwards taking over the starting job. For now, I’ll just hold onto the glimmer of hope my teams always give me, before I’m brutally crushed.

UPDATE!!

NFL-forecast.com has released its post-Week 13 playoff predictions and the Bills bring home a whopping 17.88% chance of making the playoffs. Now my heart will only be broken a little more than 4 out of 5 times!

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5 Responses to “Bills’ Playoff Forecast”


  1. 2 Joel Marcey December 5, 2007 at 9:55 am

    From one Bills sufferer to another….

    The crazy scenario comes if Buffalo runs the table, and they, Cleveland and Tennessee are all tied with the same record. Because then the head-to-head win by Buffalo over Cleveland wouldn’t matter, I don’t think. I think, based on the tiebreaker procedures, you would actually have to go down to either strength of victory or strength of schedule. Maybe even farther down. Let’s just hope the Bills run the table, and Cleveland and Tennesee lose two games 🙂

    http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news?slug=tiebreakers&prov=st&type=lgns

  2. 3 Chris December 5, 2007 at 6:16 pm

    Joel – in that 3-way tie scenario that you outlined, Tennessee wins that tiebreaker in all cases. I’m not sure which tiebreaker comes into effect, but Tennessee has the advantage in that case.

    Here are the conditional playoff odds for the Bills:

    Win all 4 games = 95%

    Go 3-1 losing to Philadelphia or the Giants = 65%. Here Buffalo is in very good shape with other 9-win teams. So if Cleveland drops one additional game and Tennessee drops two, Buffalo is in. This ignores scenarios where Jacksonville enters the mix.

    Go 3-1 losing to Miami = 52%. Here, if both Buffalo and Tennessee end up with 9 wins, Tennessee has the advantage. But Buffalo would have the advantage over Tennessee

    Go 3-1 losing to Cleveland = 5%.

    There are some long-shot odds with 8 wins that really aren’t worth talking about.

    You can easily do these types of scenario analysis yourself using the software at my site.

  3. 4 drmarcey December 5, 2007 at 10:46 pm

    Wow! That’s a great break-down, Chris. I played around with NFL-forecast’s java tool for scenario analysis for a solid 30 minutes. It’s some really cool software and I recommend that you check it out to see the types of things it does. Thanks!

  4. 5 Chris December 5, 2007 at 11:56 pm

    Thanks for the compliment, drmarcy. I’ve been doing the generic playoff predictions and specific scenario analysis for the Chiefs for about 10 years. I figured fans of other teams would like to analyze the scenarios for their teams, so I that is the reason that I wrote the software, which has been up on my website for 3 seasons now.


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