Week 9 of the NFL season is underway with the Pittsburgh Steelers knocking off the Tennessee Titans in a game that wasn’t impressive for either team. The Steelers were in the 6th seed of the AFC playoff picture going into this week with the tiebreaker over AFC North rival Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals.
Losses in Week 8 didn’t drop the Browns or Steelers out of the playoff race but did allow teams like the Bengals to draw closer.
In Week 9, Cleveland must now find a way to win, no matter the form that it takes, much like Pittsburgh. The two AFC North rivals went into this week with similar playoff odds (in the 40% range after dropping to 4-3) behind both Cincinnati and the division-leading Baltimore Ravens:
Playoff Probability Changes based on Week 8 results - Before MNF pic.twitter.com/g2y0s2tpAY— SumerSports (@SumerSports) October 30, 2023
Interestingly, while the Bengals have a wide range in playoff probability depending on the results this week, the Browns and Steelers would only see their odds shift drastically if they lost:
NFL Week 9 - Playoff Probability Leverage pic.twitter.com/S3n1cepKpO— SumerSports (@SumerSports) November 2, 2023
Some of that limited uptick in probability has to do with opponents (both will face teams with losing records) and, for Cleveland, that they are facing an NFC team.
Cincinnati facing off with a good Buffalo Bills team within the AFC creates much of their huge probability spread.
Do you agree with the above probability that a Browns win won’t mean much but a loss would mean a lot more?