ESPN.com: Arizona Cardinals [Print without images]

Thursday, December 12, 2013
Sites uses percentages to predict playoffs

By Josh Weinfuss

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Cardinals coach Bruce Arians isn't one to open his laptop, dust off a calculator and crunch numbers until dawn to determine Arizona's playoff chances.

Arians doesn't even scoreboard watch.

"Somebody asked me once if I'm scoreboard watching," Arians said. "I said, ‘Yeah, first down, second down third down and how much time is left on the clock.' I'm calling plays. I'm not looking at who's winning and who's losing."

He leaves that to the so-called experts, the math wizards who have their own algorithms and formulas to figure out playoff percentages. Every site does it differently and eventually produces different odds. If anything, it stirs up a good conversation.

A look at three sites and their playoff percentages:

ESPN.com

Since the Cardinals aren't yet in the wild card, ESPN.com hasn't dedicated an entire capsule to them, fairly so. But Arizona is still in the hunt for one of the two coveted wild-card spots and ESPN.com has the Cardinals' chances of overtaking either Carolina or San Francisco at 11.3 percent.

SportsClubStats.com

This analytical site breaks down the percentages in a large variety of ways, which makes for a fascinating look at how the Cardinals could finish and where they could end up in the postseason -- if they even do. One thing SportsClubStats.com does is that it breaks down the odds of Arizona finishing in specific seeds depending on its record over the next three games. Overall, SportsClubStats.com has the Cardinals' chances of making the playoffs at 6.9 percent.

If Arizona finishes ...   their odds of making the playoffs are ... .

3-0: 49.6 percent

2-0-1: 40.5 percent

2-1-0: 10.9 percent

1-0-2: 13.9 percent

1-1-1: 2 percent

0-0-3: Out

1-2-0: 0.2 percent

0-1-2: 0.2 percent

0-2-1: Out

0-3-0: Out

MakeNFLPlayoffs.com

MakeNFLPlayoffs.com provides a probability of who the Cardinals would play if they make the playoffs. Under their own methodology, the site also breaks down Arizona's probability of making the playoffs based on their record in the final three games. Overall, MakeNFLPlayoffs.com predicts the Cards 28.7 percent chance of going to the postseason.

By record in final three games:

3-0: 91.7 percent

2-1: 41.5 percent

1-2: 4.4 percent

0-3: Out

If the Cardinals make the playoffs, their seeding would be:

5th: 11.1 percent

6th: 17.5 percent

If the Cardinals make the playoffs, their wild-card opponent would be:

Detroit: 5.9 percent

Chicago: 4.67 percent

Dallas: 4.66 percent

Green Bay: 2.8 percent

San Francisco: 0.2 percent

Carolina: 0.1 percent

Seattle: 0.08 percent