Only a 6.25 percent chance the Giants make playoffs
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All things being equal, the Giants have a 6.25 percent chance of making the playoffs.
That's according to Christopher Bishop, a professor and associate chairman in the mathematics department at Stony Brook University.
But numbers can be interpreted in many ways, and as is the case in the "Hunger Games" and horse racing, the long shot sometimes prevails.
Bishop reached the 6.25 figure by assuming that each of the four games that have to go the Giants' way has a 50-50 chance of playing out in their favor.
"However, in reality, the matchups are not perfectly even," Bishop conceded. "In most games, one team has a better chance of winning than the other."
When that is taken into account, the odds shift. And not always in the Giants' favor.
For example, TheSpread.com gives the Giants a 54 percent chance of beating the Eagles. Lump that number with the odds of other games falling in place for the Giants (the Lions have a 27 percent chance of beating the Bears, the lowest of all the outcomes the Giants need) and their chances of making the playoffs are reduced to 5.47 percent.
Play around with the odds of each independent game, and the odds of the Giants advancing to the playoffs change.
Sheldon H. Jacobson is a professor at the University of Illinois who works in the field of operations research, a discipline that embodies the application of analytical tools to analyze and understand complex and complicated systems (as well as the occasional men's basketball NCAA Tournament bracket). He ran the numbers through three different sets of published odds for each game, assuming independence of each game's outcome. The results: The Giants have between the 5.47 percent chance based on the odds from TheSpread.com to a 13.5 percent chance based on odds from advancednflstats.com.
"All still long shots," Jacobson said, "but still feasible."
The numbers wouldn't lie.