Jacksonville beats Indianapolis75–0.00144523 Minnesota beats Cincinnati77–0.00000000 Kansas City beats Denver66–0.00000000 12New England beats Miami90%–90.00000000% Cleveland beats Cincinnati16–0.72442626 Cincinnati beats Baltimore32–0.00000000 For a brief moment there on Sunday, the Cleveland Browns’ 2017 season appeared to be lost. The team was defeated by the Jacksonville Jaguars, moving its record to 0-10. Considering that no team has ever made the NFL playoffs with 10 losses, the result seemed to dash any remaining hope in Cleveland that the Browns would make a run.Or did it?It turns out, thanks to the assiduous investigations of a Redditor who goes by MrMolonLabe, the Browns are still in this thing: Provided that 46 different games go their way — including two ties — a hypothetical 6-10 Cleveland Browns can be the second AFC wild card team.It’s all rather simple. First, Cleveland wins out — that’s the easy part.1Minor note: The chance that the easy part actually happens is roughly 1 in 650 based on our projections for the rest of the Browns season. Then the Browns need the following: Week 12 wins from Kansas City, Tennessee, New England, Houston, Dallas and Carolina; Week 13 wins from New England, Denver, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Tennessee, Pittsburgh, Detroit and the Giants; Week 14 wins from Indianapolis, the Jets, Kansas City, New England, Chicago, Washington and San Francisco; Week 15 wins from Denver, Kansas City, Miami, Jacksonville, New Orleans, Minnesota and Dallas; Week 16 wins for Baltimore, Kansas City, San Diego, New England, Pittsburgh and Washington; and Week 17 wins for Kansas City, Indianapolis, New England and Cincinnati. Also, the Broncos and Raiders need to tie in Week 12, and the Bills and Dolphins need to tie in Week 17.If all this happens, there would be four AFC teams with a record of 5-10-1 and five more at 5-11. The Patriots, Steelers, Chiefs and Titans would win their respective divisions, and the Jaguars would get the first wild card at 12-4. That leaves the Ravens and Browns tied for the last spot at 6-10. The Browns would win the tiebreaker because their Week 15 win over Baltimore would split the season series, and Cleveland would have a better record in the division.Luckily, we happen to have forecasts for each of those games and can assign a probability for each of those discrete events based on each team’s current Elo rating.2The big assumption here is that the events are independent. Here’s how it shakes out: Pittsburgh beats Cincinnati66–0.00095385 Wash. beats L.A. Chargers39–0.00000036 Kansas City beats Oakland77–0.00000218 15New Orleans beats N.Y. Jets82–0.00000000 Kansas City beats N.Y. Jets64–0.00061047 Pittsburgh beats Houston67–0.00000000 Denver-Oakland tie*0.35–0.00253549 N.Y. Giants beats Oakland32–0.00002492 Some are trickier than others: Elo can’t tell us the probability that a given NFL game will end in a tie because most NFL games do not end in ties. For that, we’ll need a better estimate: There have been 5 ties since 2012 over 1,440 games played,3They changed the playoff rules again this year, which should make ties easier, but we haven’t had one since the change so we don’t have a good number for that. Regardless, this estimate is higher than the overall historical probability of ties. giving us a back-of-the-napkin probability of a specific game going to a tie as 0.35 percent, a rate of about 1 tie every 288 games.Let’s set aside Cleveland’s two needed ties for a moment. Multiplying the Elo probability that each game breaks the Browns’ way, we anticipate there is a 1 in 238,559,677,617,755 chance that they will get that sixth wild card slot. The probability of having two specific selected games tie is a 1 in 82,369 chance. Combining those two chances, we anticipate that the Cleveland Browns have a 1 in 19,649,922,085,696,900,000 — that is 19.6 quintillion — chance of making the playoffs.More to the point, the Browns have a probability of 32 percent to go 0-16 this year. But hey, anything is possible.Check out our latest NFL predictions. Indianapolis beats Houston52–0.00000000 Detroit beats Baltimore45–0.00007788 Kansas City beats Miami83–0.00000000 Cleveland beats L.A. Chargers14–0.00000349 14New England beats Miami81–0.00000283 13New England beats Buffalo76–0.00192697 16New England beats Buffalo87–0.00000000 Tennessee beats Houston63–0.00038459 K.C. beats L.A. Chargers76–0.00000000 Houston beats Baltimore32–4.52766413 San Francisco beats Houston21–0.00000000 Jacksonville beats Houston69–0.00000000 WEEKOUTCOMEPROBABILITYCUM. PROBABILITY Miami beats Buffalo34–0.00000000 N.Y. Jets beats Denver42–0.00000091 Buffalo-Miami tie0.35–0.00000000 Dallas beats Oakland52–0.00000000 Denver beats Indianapolis45–0.00000000 17New England beats N.Y. Jets88–0.00000000 Denver beats Miami45–0.00017307 Tennessee beats Indianapolis52–14.14895040 Kansas City beats Buffalo78–70.20000000 Indianapolis beats Buffalo34–0.00000012 Cleveland beats Green Bay25–0.00000001 Wash. beats Denver64–0.00000000 Baltimore beats Indianapolis74–0.00000000 Cleveland beats Chicago22–0.00000000 Chicago beats Cincinnati31–0.00000004 Cleveland beats Baltimore21–0.00000000 L.A. Chargers beats N.Y. Jets46–0.00000000 Dallas beats L.A. Chargers68–47.73600000 Cleveland beats Pittsburgh6–0.00000000 * Since 2012, 0.35 percent of games ended in a tie Total1 in 19,649,922,085,696,900,000 Carolina beats N.Y. Jets57–27.20952000 So you’re saying there’s a chance…What the Browns need to happen to make the playoffs this year
Ohio State has gift wrapped Terrelle Pryor’s going-away present in the form of a punishment. In the last couple of days Pryor’s journey to the NFL has hit a couple of speed bumps, with his eligibility to a supplemental draft coming into question. The letter of the rule states that a player may only enter a supplemental draft if their situation changes and they are not able to participate in the next season. Technically, between the deadline to declare for the draft in January and when Pryor left the university on June 8, his situation had not changed. Technically. When the draft deadline came, Pryor was suspended for the first five games of the 2011 season. At that time the “tat-5” scandal seemed to be under control. Everything was (relatively) normal. The Buckeyes had won the Sugar Bowl The Sugar Bowl was sucked into the black hole of the sporting world. And compliance problems with head coach Jim Tressel were non-existent. Pryor had a contract with the coach to remain on the Buckeye squad for the 2011 season in exchange to play in the Sugar Bowl for nothing. While inevitably Pryor still had his doubts about the season, he still had Tressel to fall back on. One thing that is clearly evident from the transcript of Tressel’s interview from the NCAA, it’s that Pryor and Tressel were very close. Pryor depended on the coach for more than just football related issues. When all hell broke loose on March 8, Tressel received a two-game suspension from the university. A suspension that a short time later was increased to a five-game suspension. After more and more of the scandal developed, it became clear that the season was not going to be what everyone had thought it was going to be. Then on May 30, Tressel resigned (read: retired) from the university. I think it’s safe to say Pryor’s situation had changed. Seemingly following Tressel step for step, Pryor was gone a week later to pursue an NFL career. He had planned to enter a supplemental draft. The rules for a supplemental draft changed after Cleveland Browns quarterback Bernie Kosar used the supplemental draft to avoid being drafted by the Minnesota Vikings. He was drafted by Cleveland in the supplemental, and since then, the rules for supplemental draft eligibility have tightened. The rule lists three reasons to let someone enter a supplemental draft: flunking out of school, graduating and deciding to leave and being kicked off the team. As of earlier today, Pryor did not meet any of these requirements, technically. Cleverly disguised as a punishment, the university did the best thing for Pryor to help him pursue his NFL dream. They sent him a letter on Tuesday banning him from all athletic facilities for five years, and declared him ineligible from intercollegiate play. The letter states that this decision was made due to his decision not to talk to NCAA investigators. “The University must declare you ineligible for intercollegiate competition,” the letter continued. “Due to your failure to cooperate, the University must also disassociate you from its athletic program for a period of five (5) years.” Sure, he won’t be able to come back to Columbus to workout at OSU’s gym in the off-season. But let’s be honest, why would Pryor ever come back to Columbus? Whether they will admit it or not, the university might as well have put a bow on that letter to Pryor, as that should be the last step for Pryor to get into the NFL. Thanks to OSU, expect Pryor to be eligible for a supplemental draft (whenever that may be).