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Half of Seventeen is Nine:  A Look at the Seattle Seahawks Playoff Odds

Saturday, November 14, 2015

 

Russel Wilson

After nine weeks of the NFL season, all 32 teams have played eight games and a handful of teams, who haven’t yet had their bye week, have played nine.  So, it seems fair to say that the 2015 season is at least half over. In the NFC West, the Seattle Seahawks find themselves at .500 with a 4-4 record, two games behind the Arizona Cardinals, and their fans wondering about their chances of returning to the playoffs.  Of course, a win over the Cardinals on Sunday could trim the division deficit to one game, but it’s still worth taking a look at the bigger playoff picture in the NFC at the half way point.

DVOA Projections

The advanced analytics website Football Outsiders has added playoff projections this year. The playoff odds are calculated by simulating the season 25,000 times using Defensive-adjusted Value Over Average (DVOA). As DVOA changes over the course of the season, the simulation is run again weekly to project the remainder of the schedule while taking into account each team’s actual record.

So for instance, the Seahawks playoff odds actually improved 10.2% while they were on a bye, largely from week eight losses by the New Orleans Saints and the Atlanta Falcons. Currently, the DVOA fueled projections have the Seahawks with a mean number of wins of 8.8 and a 44.0% chance of making the playoffs, most likely as a wildcard.

The NFC Playoff Picture

In the NFC as a whole, the team with a 72.3% chance of nailing down the one seed is the Carolina Panthers. They also have a 99.8% chance overall of making the playoffs. The current favorite for the two seed is the Cardinals at 36.9% and 94.4% to make the playoffs in any capacity. With a 95.5% chance of making the playoffs, the Green Bay Packers are the most likely three seed at 38.6%. Which leaves the four seed to whoever wins the NFC East. The current “favorite” is the Philadelphia Eagles over the New York Giants, 55.6% to 32.8%.

This leaves the wild cards. Currently, the Falcons and the Minnesota Vikings lead there with a 56.4% chance and 46.2A% chance of making the playoffs, respectively. The Seahawks are not far behind with a 44.0% of making the playoffs. One complication, however, is that if the Vikings were to overtake the Packers – both teams are 6-2 – the Packers would then be an odds on favorite to take one of the wildcard spots. If the Seahawks can’t rally to take the division, the final wild card is their best shot of getting in.

Teams to Keep an Eye On

So as Seahawks fans get ready for the division rival Cardinals on Sunday and a chance to close the gap in the NFC West, they should also be keeping tabs on the Vikings who play the Oakland Raiders on Sunday and the Falcons (on a bye) going forward.

GoLocalPDX partner Oregon Sports News: Since 2011, Oregon Sports News has provided entertaining, hard-hitting local sports news & commentary every weekday. To read more from this author, check out Oregon Sports News by clicking here.

 

Related Slideshow: 12 of the Greatest Sports Movies of All Time

Hank Stern ranks his top twelve favorite sports films. 

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#12 Rollerball

Some of the non-athletic scenes in this dystopian classic show their age, but Rollerball is a strangely prescient film that anticipated both the corporatization of sport and fans’ limitless taste for violence. Bonus points for the ominous intro music.

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#11 A League of Their Own

A comedy that looks back to the antithesis of corporate sport – a women’s baseball league during World War II with many memorable lines to choose from (e.g.,”There’s no crying in baseball.”)

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#10 Remember The Titans

Yes, filmmakers took liberties with some of the facts dealing with the integration of a high school football team in Virginia. But there’s a reason football teams often screen this film on the eve of big games. It’s a damn inspirational tale.

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#9 The Natural

This film has grown on me over time. Originally, it seemed slow and schmaltzy. Now, it seems well-paced and charming. Then and now, the re-created scenes of pre-World War II ballparks arrive like perfectly preserved postcards from the past.  

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#8 The Longest Yard

Not the remake with Adam Sandler and Chris Rock. But the hilarious original with Burt Reynolds and Eddie Albert as a wonderfully villainous warden who pits the guards against the inmates in a grudge football game that includes former Green Bay linebacker Ray Nitschke and other ex-football players like Sonny Sixkiller and Joe Kapp, both stalwart Pac-8 quarterbacks long, long ago.  

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#7 Slap Shot

The Hanson brothers. Enough said.

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#6 Rocky

Often imitated, but never replicated. The definitive underdog boxing story featuring Sylvester Stallone before he became a self-caricature in multiple sequels. Impossible to hear the theme song without being motivated to get off the couch.

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#5 Seabiscuit

A fantastic book as well as a great movie. Like “The Natural,” Seabiscuit captures its Depression-era setting for modern-day viewers taken back to an era when horse racing actually meant something in America. 

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#4 Requiem for a Heavywei

A too often-forgotten film these days but a wonderful boxing drama that shows the sport’s underside with memorable  performances by Mickey Rooney, Jackie Gleason and Anthony Quinn.

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#3 Hoosiers

Want to know something about small-town America in the 1950s and about Indiana basketball? This hoops movie does all of that with a healthy dose of redemption throughout. 

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#2 Bull Durham

There’s a pretty good case to be made this movie played a huge part in the rebirth and re-marketing of minor league baseball. As written by former minor leaguer Ron Shelton, there are many great scenes to choose from but this one is a favorite. 

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#1 Raging Bull

A rags-to-riches-to-rags story of boxer Jake LaMotta meets the actor born to play him, Robert De Niro. Not a false moment in this black-and-white powerhouse.

 
 

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