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So Are The Steelers Going To The Playoffs?

With Tennessee losing this past weekend, the answer is almost certainly a yes. Sure we have bigger goals and have legitimate concerns with some of the team's personnel infrastructure, but if you don't give yourself a shot at making a run in the Playoffs....point is, it's an accomplishment to get there and the first major hurdle cleared on the way to the ultimate destination: the Super Bowl.

So how good are our chances? According Ken Roberts, a software engineer who seemingly spends at least part of his spare time devoted to the calculation of a team's odds of making the playoffs, they're really darn good.

A few of the other big movers, for better or worse, this past weekend:

Titans:Odds down from 48% to 15.5 %.
Browns: Up from 45.3% to 61.1%
Lions: Down from 20.9% to 8.3%
Vikings:Up from 21.9% to 43%.

Now, back to the Steelers:  

Snapshot Image from Sports Club Stats

Real quick, a rundown of his methodology:

How do I know?

Every night I run a computer simulation that randomly plays the season's remaining games millions of times and tallies up how many times each team finishes at each seed...

3 Big Caveats
  1. My assumption that each team has the same probabilities of winning a game, with no regard for record, injuries, matchups, or streaks.
  2. "Out" does not necessarily mean mathematically eliminated. It just means in the millions of times I played out the season that team never made the playoffs. Likewise for "In".
  3. My tiebreaking logic could still have bugs. I've found and fixed a bunch already ( when the 06 NFL regular season ended I showed Green Bay making the playoffs, and when the 07 MLB regular season ended I showed the Rockies not making the playoffs) but I bet some still remain.
These linear regression analyses can always be picked apart by even the most casual stasticians, so unless you have some insight as to how to improve upon the model, refrain from merely repeating the model's caveats that are explicitly acknowledged by its creator. Nevertheless, it's a fun exercise, and it never hurts to give some exposure to a sports fan that spends some of his precious free time to making the sports fan experience in the age of the incredible processor and internet even more diversified and enjoyable.

So rest assured Steelers fans. Even if we don't clinch a playoff berth this week, which we would with a win over Jacksonville, in all likelihood we'll be back in the playoffs after not garnering an invite to last year's party. If nothing else, means we'll at least cut the number of weekends without Steelers games from 36 to at least 35. That, Steelers Nation, is never a bad thing.