Week 17 was an interesting one, even by NFL standards. The first round of the playoffs, based on matchups alone, will likely be interesting as well.
Several of the winning teams were already in the playoffs and didn’t need a win, while a handful of clubs had nothing to play for except pride. Among them were the Cincinnati Bengals. They were eliminated from the playoffs weeks ago, but their 31-27 comeback win over the favored Baltimore Ravens knocked the Ravens out of playoff contention and opened the door for the Buffalo Bills’ first postseason appearance in 18 years.
The playoff-bound New Orleans Saints had an 81% chance to beat Tampa Bay, but the Bucs upset them 31-24. Does this spell bad news for the Saints in this weekend’s Wild Card round? Perhaps they will take the field feeling they have something to prove. They are favored over the Carolina Panthers, their divisional rivals. Both teams finished the season with an 11-5 record.
All four Wild Card teams playing on home turf are the favorites. If 2016 is any indication, the home teams have quite the edge on Wild Card Weekend. In last year’s Wild Card round, the four home teams won by an average of 19 points.
Bing’s NFL predictions use team and player statistics and web activity to build a statistical model that takes into account historical data and real-time information (like injuries, suspensions, and lineup changes). Finally, social sentiment adds a unique wisdom-of-the-crowd factor to the model. Learn more about Bing Predicts.