Well, that was quite a bye week in the Great Northwest. Because of results around the league, Seattle's weighted DVOA actually increased 3.2 percentage points, and it's now a virtual lock to make the playoffs. What's more, our simulations currently peg the Seahawks as 491-to-1 favorites over Arizona to win the NFC West, 61-to-1 favorites over San Francisco to win the West and 7-1 favorites over New Orleans for the NFC's top seed. They're one of three teams -- along with New England and Denver -- that figure to be favorites in each of their final five games. And yet, with Brandon Browner's potential one-year ban, all bets are off. Seattle's next two games are against the aforementioned Saints and 49ers, both of which have above-average pass offenses, according to DVOA. Then, in Week 15, the Seahawks travel to New York to play the Giants, who figure to have Hakeem Nicks back by then and might very well be playing for their postseason lives.
No. 2 - New Orleans Saints
Current record: 9-2 | Weighted DVOA: 23.3 percent
Projected wins: 11.5
Total playoff odds: 98.2 percent | Weekly change: +1.7 percent
Like Seattle, New Orleans is a sure-fire playoff team that has its seeding and division-title hopes on the line over the next two weeks. Unlike the Seahawks, however, the Saints have a much more tenuous hold on the NFC South (60.8 percent division title probability) and have two games remaining against their nearest competitor. Aside from the obvious, though, if you really want to know which upcoming matchup has the potential to derail the Saints' aspirations, it's the quintessential "trap game" at St. Louis in Week 15. It's the meat in a Panthers sandwich, and the Rams surprisingly rank 12th in weighted DVOA despite their 5-6 record. Put it all together and our simulations currently view that game as a coin-flip.
No. 3 - Philadelphia Eagles
Current record: 6-5 | Weighted DVOA: 12.7 percent
Projected wins: 9.2
Total playoff odds: 58.2 percent | Weekly change: -2.8 percent
We hate to be a broken record, but only death and taxes are more inevitable than the NFC East coming down to Week 17 this season. With Dallas officially catching up to Philadelphia in the standings, the two teams are now both 50 percent favorites to win the division. That said, the Eagles do have one slight advantage over the Cowboys in terms of overall playoff positioning: While a long shot (8.5 percent chance), they're three times as likely to earn a wild-card spot should they miss out on a division title.
No. 4 - Chicago Bears
Current record: 6-5 | Weighted DVOA: 11.9 percent
Projected wins: 9.0
Total playoff odds: 43.0 percent | Weekly change: -7.8 percent
We know what getting blown out by the Rams looks like, but all is not lost, Bears fans. St. Louis is a better team than most give them credit for (6.5 percent weighted DVOA, ranked 12th), and last week's simulations viewed Chicago as only a 54 percent favorite to win that game. To put that in perspective, this week's simulations view them as at least a 65-35 favorite versus Dallas in Week 14, at Cleveland in Week 15 and versus Green Bay in Week 17. Detroit and Green Bay each have only two games remaining for which they can say that.
No. 5 - Carolina Panthers