Thursday, December 18, 2014

Eagles' odds of reaching NFL playoffs mean you shouldn't give up hope

Remember when Chip Kelly had about a five-second grace period of not being under too much pressure in his first year as the Eagles’ coach?

Eagles’ odds of reaching NFL playoffs mean you shouldn’t give up hope

Eagles head coach Chip Kelly. (David Maialetti/Staff file photo)
Eagles head coach Chip Kelly. (David Maialetti/Staff file photo)

Remember when Chip Kelly had about a five-second grace period of not being under too much pressure in his first year as the Eagles’ coach?

Yeah, I do too.

This is Philadelphia, though, and you don’t get grace periods. You win or you don’t. That Kelly got the leeway he did from fans was a feat in and of itself.

(Of course, the high-flying win over Washington to open the season helped. Maybe Kelly got six seconds instead of five because of it.)

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But here’s the thing about the Eagles right now: for as bad as they’ve been, they might still have a decent shot of making the playoffs.

That’s the conclusion I draw from looking at makenflplayoffs.com. The site applies a bunch of statistical formulas to the standings and offers percentage chances that every team will make the postseason.

Right now, the Eagles have (to be precise) a 33.983 percent chance of making the playoffs, and a 24.247 percent chance of winning the division. Not surprisingly, since the Birds are in second place in the NFC East, those are the second-highest figures in the division.

Across the NFC, the Eagles’ chances of making the playoffs are the fifth-highest among teams not in first place in their divisions. Same goes for their chances of winning a division title.

The four teams that have better stats than Philadelphia are San Francisco, Detroit, Chicago and Carolina.

As far as the NFC East goes, Dallas has a 59.349 percent chance of winning the division and a 65.739 percent chance of making the playoffs. Washington has a 13.183 percent chance of winning the division and a 17.757 percent chance of making the playoffs, thanks mainly to an 0-2 record in the division. I doubt those numbers will get any better this weekend as Robert Griffin III goes up against Peyton Manning and the Broncos.

New York’s numbers are laughable: a 3.220 percent chance of winning the division and a 4.231 percent chance of making the playoffs.

Or at least they would be laughable if they weren’t playing the Eagles this weekend coming off their first win of the season. Prior to that, their percentages were 2.247 for the division and 2.831 for the playoffs.

(And even though the Giants were 0-6 at that point, those figures weren’t the worst in the league. Jacksonville took that honor. Now at 0-7, the Jaguars have a 0.734 percent chance of winning their division and a 0.811 percent chance of making the playoffs).

In the end, if I told you the Eagles have around a one-in-three chance of making the playoffs, would you take that considering how badly they played last weekend?

I just might.

So yes, I’m telling you there’s a chance. I think you know what you do with that.

Jonathan Tannenwald Sports Producer
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Pattison Ave. offers an eclectic mix of news and nuggets about Philadelphia sports and beyond. Live chats, analysis, random thoughts, viral videos, odds and ends -- you'll find it all here.

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