Who to Root For: A Statistical Analysis of Green Bay’s Playoff Chances

The latest installment of “Who to Root For” is the simplest yet.  Green Bay must win out, while the two other contenders in the NFC North must lose out.  So our chances are slim and none, to say the least.  But have you ever wondered exactly what the Packers playoff chances are, in more precise terms than “slim and none?”  Well, you’re welcome.  I will analyze the Packers playoff chances using three different models.

1.)  The “Any Given Sunday” Model–Here, I give each team a 50/50 chance of winning each game:

Probability of Packers making playoffs:  .78%

2.)  The “Vikings Always Choke” Model–In this model, I take into account the Vikings propensity for choking by using each team’s winning percentage in the final 3 weeks over the past 5 years and using that as the probability of a win (in the Bears/Packers game, I obviously can’t use both winning percentages because the two percentages don’t total 100%, so I’ll be using the Packers win % since it is higher, and because the Packers have already manhandled the Bears.)  This model is more favorable to the Packers because Green Bay has traditionally finished the season strong, while the Vikings and Bears haven’t.

Probability of Packers making playoffs:  7.43%

3.)  The “Very Subjective, But Potentially Most Accurate” Model:  Try as I might, I could not find any sports betting website that had given odds for Week 16 or 17 (nor did I expect to find any–that’s not how sports betting works.)  Therefore, I will be subjectively judging each team’s probability of winning in each game.  (GB/JAX=55/45%, GB/CHI=50/50%, GB/DET=85/15%; MIN/ARI=43/57%, MIN/ATL=55/45%, MIN/NYG=38/62%; CHI/HOU=60/40%.)

Probability of Packers making playoffs:  1.49%

There you go.  The most generous model gives Green Bay less than an 8% chance of getting into the playoffs.  The least generous puts the probability under 1%.  So to say that our playoff chances are a long shot is an understatement.

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