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Bills make playoffs 28.5 percent of time in Prediction Machine sims

By Tim Graham

Would you be encouraged or disappointing to learn the Buffalo Bills have a 28.5 percent chance to make the playoffs this year?

That's how often the Bills reached the postseason when the Prediction Machine ran 50,000 simulations of the upcoming season.

Paul Bessire, with a master's degree in quantitative analysis, built the Prediction Machine to help determine sports outcomes. Bessire used to work for Fox Sports as its product manager of quantitative analysis.

I've not looked under the Prediction Machine's hood or looked up whether it runs on 5W-20 or some sort of synthetic, but I'm passing along the analysis for your considerations nonetheless.

The Prediction Machine projected the most realistic Bills record is 5-11, last place in the AFC East.

Also in the division: The New England Patriots came in at 13-3, made the playoffs 78.6 percent of the time and won the Super Bowl 8.9 percent of the time; the Miami Dolphins projected at 9-7 and made the playoffs 45.2 percent of the time; the New York Jets projected at 7-9 but made the playoffs less often than the Bills at 24.5 percent.

The San Francisco 49ers won the Super Bowl a league-high 20.1 percent of the time in the simulations. The Denver Broncos were next at 14.6 percent.

The Prediction Machine's most common AFC playoff field: 1. Patriots; 2. Pittsburgh Steelers; 3. Broncos; 4. Houston Texans; 5. Cincinnati Bengals; 6. Dolphins.

The most common NFL playoff field: 1. 49ers; 2. Green Bay Packers; 3. Carolina Panthers; 4. New York Giants; 5. St. Louis Rams; 6. New Orleans Saints.

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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham | [email protected]


Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan | [email protected]


Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski | [email protected]

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