Only teams with a playoff swing of at least 2 percentage points based on the game outcome shown Only teams with a playoff swing of at least 2 percentage points based on the game outcome shown Only teams with a playoff swing of at least 2 percentage points based on the game outcome shown With three weeks left in the NFL season, 11 playoff spots are open. That means that most of the remaining 48 games — save some stinkers like 49ers-Rams — will make some impact on the postseason. What are this week’s biggest games?For the last month, we’ve been using the model behind our 2016 NFL predictions to calculate how much each team’s playoff chances “swing” depending on the outcome of each game. For example, we currently give the Green Bay Packers a 31 percent chance of making the playoffs. If they beat Chicago this week, we project those chances will increase to 40 percent (independent of other games). If they lose, their chances drop to 11 percent.1Our NFL predictions are based on 100,000 simulations of the rest of the season and are updated after every game ends. In the simulations in which Green Bay beats Chicago, they make the playoffs 40 percent of the time. In simulations where they lose, they make the playoffs 11 percent of the time. But it’s unlikely that Green Bay’s playoff probabilities will be exactly 40 percent or exactly 11 percent at the end of Week 15, because the team’s chances depend on the outcome of several games, not just their own. The Packers’ current chances are much closer to 40 percent than to 11 percent because they are much more likely to beat the Bears (69 percent) than lose to them (31 percent). That’s a 29 percentage point swing! By doing this same math for every matchup and factoring in how each team’s resulting record will affect others’ playoff odds, we can find out which games are the most impactful.But “most impactful” only tells part of the story. Let’s say you’re a Green Bay fan, or a fan of any other team on the playoff bubble. Which set of outcomes would help the most this week? To help answer this question, we’ve updated our predictions page to allow you to pick the outcomes of every game for Weeks 15 through 17, so you can see how each matchup affects every team’s probabilities. In the “best case” scenario I could find for the Packers, they’d beat the Bears, but also Dallas would beat Tampa Bay, San Francisco would beat Atlanta, the New York Giants would beat Detroit, Indianapolis would beat Minnesota, and Carolina would beat Washington.With these six outcomes, Green Bay’s playoff chances rise to 58 percent. Go create your own scenarios! The five biggest games of Week 15 are below. Detroit84987127– Tennessee2425232– AFFECTED TEAMCURRENTIF NE WINSIF DEN WINSSWING Washington4649445– Minnesota1922174– Minnesota1923176– Buffalo24—4– Baltimore27322110– Atlanta9193894– Atlanta9189912– 1. Detroit (9-4) vs. N.Y. Giants (9-4) — 93 total ‘swing’ points Indianapolis3142– Denver54%33%78%44– We’re down to one wild card slot in the AFC. While neither Oakland nor Kansas City has officially clinched the postseason, we currently give both teams a greater than 99 percent chance, and only one of them (probably the Chiefs) will make it in as the AFC West champion. Denver is still clinging to that second wild card spot, but their loss to the Titans in Week 14 set their chances back. They’ll now face a brutal end-of-season schedule, facing New England, Kansas City and Oakland. 4. Carolina (5-8) vs. Washington (7-5-1) — 88 total ‘swing’ points 2. New England (11-2) vs. Denver (8-5) — 90 total ‘swing’ points CHANCE OF MAKING PLAYOFFS CHANCE OF MAKING PLAYOFFS Green Bay3127347– Tampa Bay54%85%42%43– N.Y. Giants7570778– 5. Tennessee (7-6) vs. Kansas City (10-3) — 72 total ‘swing’ points Atlanta9192893– Green Bay3135287– CHANCE OF MAKING PLAYOFFS Detroit8482853– AFFECTED TEAMCURRENTIF TB WINSIF DAL WINSSWING Miami27361521– Only teams with a playoff swing of at least 2 percentage points based on the game outcome shown 3. Tampa Bay (8-5) vs. Dallas (11-2) — 88 total ‘swing’ points Tampa Bay5457516– The Buccaneers have won five straight and control their own playoff destiny. Dallas is guaranteed a postseason slot, but if you choose an outcome to this game on our new NFL predictions page you’ll see that a win improves their chance of a first-round bye to 99 percent, and a loss drops them to 80 percent. This makes a huge impact on their Super Bowl probabilities, so the Cowboys — who are at risk of dipping into a quarterback controversy — have quite a bit to play for here. Only teams with a playoff swing of at least 2 percentage points based on the game outcome shown N.Y. Giants75%54%93%39– CHANCE OF MAKING PLAYOFFS AFFECTED TEAMCURRENTIF TEN WINSIF KC WINSSWING Houston75537926– Washington46375013– CHANCE OF MAKING PLAYOFFS The Lions had their eighth fourth-quarter/overtime comeback of the season on Sunday, and now somehow find themselves in contention for a first-round bye. But Detroit’s remarkable season has come against a pretty weak schedule, and they’ll have to wrap up the year against the Giants, Cowboys and Packers. The winner of this game would be nearly assured of a playoff spot, but the loser will be in decent shape. Green Bay, which is in the hunt for the NFC North, is rooting for the Giants. Tampa Bay, Washington, Atlanta and (somewhat surprisingly) Minnesota would prefer a Detroit win to improve their wild card standing. AFFECTED TEAMCURRENTIF DET WINSIF NYG WINSSWING Detroit8486824– Tennessee24%53%19%34– The Panthers’ playoff chances are more or less nil, but they have the opportunity to play spoiler three games in a row against Washington, Atlanta and Tampa Bay.2You may have noticed that Tampa Bay-Dallas and Carolina-Washington both have a “swing” total of 88 points. That number is rounded, but we use a little more precision when we determine the rankings, and Tampa Bay-Dallas is the (very slightly) more impactful game. Washington would miss the playoffs if the season ended today and would fall to having just a 1-in-5 chance of making them with a loss here. Washington46%22%64%43– Denver5452542– Pittsburgh8991874– N.Y. Giants75827012– Tampa Bay5458508– Green Bay31243310– Minnesota1914217– AFFECTED TEAMCURRENTIF CAR WINSIF WAS WINSSWING The Titans also control their own destiny! Wins against the Chiefs, Jaguars and Texans in the final three weeks will leave the Titans with a 10-6 record and an AFC South title. And yet, we give them just a 24 percent chance of making the playoffs. One reason for this is that this week’s matchup in Kansas City, where the Titans will be major underdogs by any measure. But it’s also possible that our ratings are understating the Titans’ overall strength. Elo carries over from season to season, and while most teams have shaken whatever effect 2015 had on their rating, Tennessee started in such a huge hole — their 2015 end-of-season rating was 1272 — that we’re still rating them as a significantly below-average team. A win in Kansas City would send their Elo, and their playoff chances, skyrocketing.CORRECTION (Dec. 15, 2:13 p.m.): A previous version of this article misstated the best-case scenario for the Packers in Week 15. In that scenario, the best outcome for Green Bay would be the Giants beating the Lions, not the other way around.Check out our latest NFL predictions.
Petco has since responded regarding the steer’s visit. “We mean it when we say ALL leashed pets are welcome in our stores,” the company said on Facebook Tuesday. Good to know Petco doesn’t have a beef with leashed farm animals stopping by. Badass animal GoPro photos More animal news 31 Photos Sci-Tech Tags African Watusi steers don’t look like the typical cow. They weigh an impressive 1,000 to 1,600 pounds (454 to 726 kilograms).Their unusually large horns have the largest circumference found in any cattle breed. The largest horns have been measured as 37.5 inches (95.25 centimeters) by the Guinness World Records in 2003.”We decided to take a chance and call Petco’s bluff on the ‘All leashed pets are welcome’ policy; the awesome crew at Petco – Atascocita did not disappoint!” Browning posted on his Facebook page. “They welcomed Oliver the African Watusi with open arms,” Browning continued. “The staff members here are always super friendly and courteous to us.” This docile African Watusi steer named Oliver receives a very warm welcome at a Texas Petco store. Shelly Lumpkin/Facebook Adoring pet owners who love taking their cats and dogs wherever they go know they can bring their furry friends inside retail pet food store Petco. But two Texas ranchers decided to test Petco’s policy that “all leashed pets are welcome in the store” by bringing in their beloved bovine. Ranchers Vincent Browning and Shelly Lumpkin put a leash on their African Watusi steer and took him into their local Petco in Atascocita this week, according to news reports. Browning’s steer, named Oliver, is famous in his own right, having a Facebook page of his own with 34,817 followers. 2 Comments Curious koala in Australia sneaks inside a parked car to cool off Watch a kangaroo attack a landing paraglider in Australia Romeo, the ‘world’s loneliest frog,’ finally gets a crack at love Share your voice
Courtesy of TenarisSteel pipe manufactured in Bay City, TX for use in the oil and gas industry 00:00 /00:46 To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: X Share As the Trump Administration slogs through more than 20,000 requests for waivers from tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, the tariffs are already impacting the energy sector.Case in point: Bill New’s South Louisiana company New Industries, a specialty steel fabricator that builds things like huge pressured tanks for oil and gas companies.At a hearing last week, New told top U.S. trade officials how his 90-person company, which he calls “tiny” compared to oilfield service giants Halliburton and Schlumberger, has struggled with a 25 percent increase in raw steel costs.In an interview, New also said steel supplies have dropped, he presumes mostly because of “panic buying” when the tariffs were first announced.And how do the companies he sells to feel about all this?“Well, they’re not happy about having to pay more,” New laughs. “You know, because I’m certainly passing those increases on to my customers.”The industry group American Petroleum Institute also spoke to officials about the administration’s trade moves last week, telling them the existing tariffs are hitting about 100 products used in oil and gas production, and that future tariffs under consideration would cause more pain.Meanwhile, API adviser Aaron Padilla told officials the industry is worried about how further retaliation from China and the two countries’ strained relationship could hinder oil exports, which are a big part of the administration’s own goal of “energy dominance.”“China receives about 20 percent of total U.S. crude exports but can easily turn to other countries,” Padilla said, according to a transcript of the hearing. Listen