Surprisingly, the Patriots' playoff situation was impacted more by other results around the AFC than the one that occurred in Foxborough. By virtue of beating Denver, New England more than tripled its chances of earning the No. 1 seed; however, that's still only 18.0 percent. With Miami, Indianapolis and the New York Jets all losing, though, the Patriots are now a 98.8 percent favorite to win the AFC East -- up from 93.9 percent last week -- and increased their chances of a first-round bye from 35.8 percent to 60.0 percent. It seems that New England's only competition is Cincinnati, but the Pats have the advantage of an easier schedule over the final five weeks. Their average opponent has a minus-13.1 percent weighted DVOA, whereas the Bengals' average opponent sits at minus-4.3 percent. It amounts to only 0.3 projected wins more than the Bengals during that span, but it's good enough when all they have to do is avoid losing one more game than Cincinnati.
No. 3 - Cincinnati Bengals
Current record: 7-4 | Weighted DVOA: 14.9 percent
Projected wins: 10.4
Total playoff odds: 94.2 percent | Weekly change: -2.2 percent
The bye week barely moved the dial at all in terms of Cincinnati's weighted DVOA and projected wins (15.0 percent and 10.4, respectively, after Week 11). And yet there were a couple of large shifts in Cincinnati's chances of various seeds in the AFC, which served to clear up the Bengals' situation considerably. As mentioned, New England's win means Cincinnati is a long shot for a first-round bye at this point. The good news, though, is that it's still an 86.5 percent favorite to win the AFC North, despite Pittsburgh's victory over Cleveland and the Steelers still getting to host the Bengals in Week 15. That probability might have dropped below 90 percent for the first time in ages, but the Colts' implosion in recent weeks means the AFC North champion has an inside track to the all-important No. 3 seed. The home game against Indianapolis that we've been highlighting for weeks still looms large, but not as large as it did when we first started writing about it.
No. 4 - Indianapolis Colts
Current record: 7-4 | Weighted DVOA: -3.2 percent
Projected wins: 9.7
Total playoff odds: 97.5 percent | Weekly change: -1.9 percent
Before the season, we projected Indianapolis to be a slightly below-average team that sneaks into the playoffs, and that's exactly what it seems destined to be three months later. Such is life in the dreadful AFC South. Currently, the Colts are a 35-to-1 favorite over the Titans to win the division, largely because they have almost identical schedules in December and Indianapolis hosts Tennessee this week. Given how unlikely it is that they choke away a two-game lead with five games remaining -- and while we're patting ourselves on the back -- it's worth pointing out that our playoff odds model had been warning Colts fans about the Cardinals for two weeks running.
No. 5 - Kansas City Chiefs
Current record: 9-2 | Weighted DVOA: 7.1 percent
Projected wins: 11.8
Total playoff odds: 99.7 percent | Weekly change: -0.2 percent