In the standings, a tie counts as a half-win and a half-loss. In Football Outsiders' playoff odds simulation, Green Bay's tie on Sunday was a half-win and a half-loss for its postseason prospects. On the plus side, losses by Detroit and Chicago meant that Green Bay's chances of winning its division increased from 12.5 percent to 18.1 percent. On the minus side, a full win against Minnesota would have made the Packers the favorite in the NFC North. Someone should have told that to Mike McCarthy when he took the field goal route in overtime.
That missed opportunity looks even worse for Green Bay when you consider that, among the three teams vying for the NFC North, the Packers have by far the toughest remaining schedule. The average opponent for Green Bay has an above-average weighted DVOA (1.2 percent), whereas Detroit's (minus-3.0 percent) and Chicago's (minus-3.4 percent) are below average. And when you add in these teams' own weighted DVOAs, as well as home-field advantage over the final five weeks, our simulations project the Packers to win -- wait for it -- 0.5 games fewer than the Bears.
Of course, with Aaron Rodgers sidelined and Green Bay having to travel to both Detroit and Chicago over the final five weeks, the Packers' tie probably will be a nonfactor in the end. Last week, they failed to make the playoffs in 86 percent of our simulations, and this week they fail 81 percent of the time.
You can find the full playoff odds report, including the odds of each team winning each of the six seeds, on FootballOutsiders.com.
No. 1 - Denver BroncosCurrent record: 9-2 | Weighted DVOA: 29.9 percent
Upon losing a heartbreaker to the Patriots on Sunday, the Broncos' likelihood of earning the AFC's top seed dropped from 68.3 percent to 61.7 percent. But since Kansas City lost as well, Denver's chance to win the AFC West increased from 74.4 percent to 79.7 percent, as did the Broncos' chances of a first-round bye (73.4 percent to 77.1 percent). On average, the Broncos are a projected 78.8 percent favorite in each of their final four games, so this week's return bout with the Chiefs is likely their last difficult matchup of the regular season. Our model might not know that post-surgery Peyton Manning might be slightly less effective in cold weather, but it's almost a moot point because Denver's only such games remaining are at home. (It travels to the warmer climes of Houston and San Diego to finish the year.)
No. 2 - New England Patriots
Current record: 8-3 | Weighted DVOA: 21.8 percent
Projected wins: 11.4
Total playoff odds: 99.5 percent | Weekly change: +2.0 percent