According to the fanciest of fancy stats web sites, FiveThirtyEight, here’s how the NFC East playoff chances look entering Week 11:
How are the 4-5 Redskins closer to the 2-7 Cowboys than the 4-5 Eagles or 5-5 Giants? The Giants and Eagles do have more net points (20 and 28, respectively) than the Redskins (-4), but that’s hardly enough to make such a big difference. Plus, the Skins have a pretty favorable schedule.
I think what’s happening here is that the Elo model, which FiveThirtyEight’s projections are based on, takes last season into account. As we know, the Skins were not very good! They won four games. New York won six, Philly 10 and Dallas 12.
Other playoff predictors don’t seem to take that into account. For example, PlayoffStatus.com:
Now that’s what I’m talking about. That said, I’ve never heard of PlayoffStatus.com, so let’s turn to an old reliable, Football Outsiders, and their playoff odds, which are based on their well-regarded DVOA metrics:
Not great, but certainly better than FiveThirtyEight, and you can bet your ass I would’ve taken a 24% chance back when the season started. Hell, I would’ve taken it a week ago. And I’ll take it now, even if I still don’t understand how Philly is so damn high.