2020 NFL Playoff Picture: Here are the projected postseason chances for all 32 teams heading into Week 10


It’s never too early to start talking about the NFL playoff race, so that’s exactly what we’re going to do right now. The race to the postseason should be extra exciting this year and that’s because for the first time since 1990, the playoffs have been expanded. 

For the 2020 season, there will be a total of 14 teams getting in, which is up from the 12 that made it from 1990 to 2019. 

The beauty of the NFL playoff race right now is that all 32 teams are currently still alive, which is news that might actually come as a slight shock to some Jets fans. Although they currently have zero wins, they’re still mathematically alive, so in the immortal words of Lloyd Christmas, I’m telling you there’s a chance that your team could still end up in playoffs, Jets fans.

One reason every team is still alive is because of the playoff expansion. With 14 teams getting in, that means seven teams will be getting in the postseason from each conference (There’s also a chance we could see 16 teams get in, but we’ll touch on that later). 

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To help you figure out who’s going to make the playoffs this year, we’re going to be publishing a projection every week for the rest of the season. These projections will be based on data from number-cruncher Stephen Oh of SportsLine.com. Each week, Oh will plug some numbers into his SportsLine computer and simulate the rest of the NFL season, and using those numbers, we’ll project the 14 teams we expect to make the playoffs. 

With that in mind, let’s get to the projections. 

AFC Playoff Projection

First team out: Raiders (43.3% chance of getting into the playoffs)

Note: The first team out could end up making the playoffs. The NFL has approved a proposal that will expand the playoffs to 16 teams, but that will only happen if COVID-19 causes the cancellation of multiple regular season games that have a bearing on who might make the playoffs. 

Here’s a list of the playoff chances for all the other AFC teams (their percentage chances of getting into the playoffs is listed next to them in parentheses): Browns (38.3%), Patriots (9.6%), Chargers (2.3%), Broncos (1.9%), Texans (1.2%), Bengals (0.9%), Jaguars (0.0%), Jets (0.0%).

Note II: The Jets and Jaguars haven’t been eliminated from playoff contention, but they have a zero percent chance of making it because the computer hates them. Actually, the computer doesn’t love or hate, it has no feelings, it just doesn’t think there’s a mathematical chance for either team to make it. 

NFC Playoff Projection

First team out: Bears (53.9% chance of getting into the playoffs)

Note: The first team out could end up making the playoffs. The NFL has approved a proposal that will expand the playoffs to 16 teams, but that will only happen if COVID-19 causes the cancellation of multiple regular season games over the final eight weeks of the season. 

Here’s a list of the playoff chances for all the other NFC teams (their percentage chances of getting into the playoffs is listed next to them in parentheses): Vikings (16.9%), 49ers (12.5%), Giants (8.9%), Washington (8%), Lions (6.9%), Cowboys (5.3%), Panthers (2%), Falcons (0.8%)

Note: The Giants, Cowboys and Washington have a higher percentage than several other teams because they computer believes they have a better shot of winning the NFC East than the Lions, Panthers or Falcons have of earning a wild-card berth. 

Wild-card round projection

AFC

(7) Dolphins at (2) Chiefs
(6) Colts at (3) Bills
(5) Ravens at (4) Titans

Bye: Steelers (Pittsburgh would host Las Vegas in wild-card round of a 16-team playoff)

NFC 

(7) Cardinals at (2) Seahawks
(6) Rams at (3) Packers
(5) Buccaneers at (4) Eagles

Bye: Saints (New Orleans would host Chicago in in wild-card round of a 16-team playoff)





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