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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Percentage play: Vikings are a virtual lock to make the playoffs

By Derek Wetmore

There’s been a lot of talk lately in Minnesota about the Vikings “controlling their own destiny” with regards to making the playoffs. They can win the NFC North, after all, if they just win the next two games.

Stepping aside from the absurdity of a concept like controlling destiny, let’s examine their chances.

For this exercise, we’re going to be using a handy tool from ‘The Upshot,’ a blog published on the New York Times’ website.

This simulator has run the numbers, and it says there are about 4 billion* ways the season could end. Even though there are only two weeks left. Crazy, right?

So let’s focus on the Vikings here.

Based on 96,000 simulations of the rest of the season, The Upshot gives the Vikings less than a 1 percent chance to miss the playoffs. It could happen, but it’s incredibly unlikely. The most likely result would be as the No. 6 seed, although there’s still a chance (roughly 25 percent) that the Vikings would bump up to No. 3 in the NFC playoff picture.

Now, let’s assume they win their final two games, at home against the Giants and on the road against the Packers. They’d be virtually assured of the No. 3 seed.

Even if they lose to the Giants but beat the Packers in Lambeau, the most likely outcome would have the Vikings as the No. 3 seed, hosting the wild card round of the playoffs. All of which is to say that you don’t need nearly 100,000 simulations to know that the most important game left this season for the Vikings is the road game in Green Bay.

If they lose both of those games? There’s almost no way they could be anything other than the No. 6 seed, and right now that would probably mean playing … the Packers at Lambeau.

For more fun with the simulator, you can check out this interactive tool over at The Upshot.

*Please skip this aside if you’re not into pedantry. It’s a little annoying, even for the author. With 16 games each of the next two weeks, we can safely say there are 32 regular season games remaining this NFL season. If we assume there are two outcomes – one team wins or the other does – then we’d take the 2 possible outcomes and raise it to the 32nd power to calculate the number of possible outcomes. That leaves us with almost 4.3 billion ways the season could end, which seems like a ridiculously high number. But don’t forget that each game technically could end in a tie, too, meaning that if we want the actual number of possible permutations we’d have to raise 3^32, which is more like 1.85 quadrillion.

The post Percentage play: Vikings are a virtual lock to make the playoffs appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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