Data


It was a moderately surprising week. Two of the best NFC teams played on Thursday night and Philadelphia came out the victor. That said, you can no longer say that the Eagles are unambiguously the best 1 loss team as Kansas City has lost once, and has already beaten the Eagles. New Orleans looks good. Atlanta fans are puzzled over the loss to Miami. Green Bay suffered a huge loss with Aaron Rogers breaking a collarbone. The Giants are no longer winless, having beaten Denver.

Global Statistics:
Games  Home Wins HwPct Winning_Score Losing_Score Margin
91         45     49.5      27.68        16.76     10.92

Calculated Pythagorean Exponent:  2.68


Rank  Team    Median  GP   W   L   T  Pct   Pred   SRS    MOV   SOS
------------------------------------------------------------------------
1     KC       8.5     6   5   1   0  83.3  69.6  12.52   7.83  4.69
2     PHI      4.0     6   5   1   0  83.3  69.2   8.52   7.17  1.35
3     MIN      6.5     6   4   2   0  66.7  61.1   4.45   3.17  1.28
4     PIT      4.5     6   4   2   0  66.7  59.6   2.96   2.67  0.29
5     NE       4.0     6   4   2   0  66.7  55.2   6.61   2.17  4.44
6     LA       3.5     6   4   2   0  66.7  66.7   3.91   6.83 -2.92
7     GB       3.5     6   4   2   0  66.7  55.7   1.34   2.00 -0.66
8     CAR      3.0     6   4   2   0  66.7  53.2   4.79   1.00  3.79
9     NO      14.0     5   3   2   0  60.0  64.5   8.78   5.80  2.98
10    BUF      6.0     5   3   2   0  60.0  62.1   3.75   3.00  0.75
11    ATL      4.0     5   3   2   0  60.0  56.9   1.96   2.40 -0.44
12    SEA      3.0     5   3   2   0  60.0  65.2  -0.51   4.60 -5.11
13    DEN      3.0     5   3   2   0  60.0  57.1   1.47   2.20 -0.73
14    WAS      2.0     5   3   2   0  60.0  52.3   3.88   0.80  3.08
15    MIA      2.0     5   3   2   0  60.0  29.8  -4.14  -4.60  0.46
16    JAX      9.0     6   3   3   0  50.0  71.8   7.92   7.67  0.25
17    BAL      5.0     6   3   3   0  50.0  44.4  -3.51  -1.67 -1.84
18    DET      2.0     6   3   3   0  50.0  55.2   3.18   2.00  1.18
19    HOU      0.5     6   3   3   0  50.0  62.2   6.38   5.00  1.38
20    TEN      0.0     6   3   3   0  50.0  42.3  -4.64  -3.00 -1.64
21    NYJ     -2.0     6   3   3   0  50.0  38.4  -3.60  -3.50 -0.10
22    ARI     -4.0     6   3   3   0  50.0  31.9  -9.72  -6.50 -3.22
23    CIN     -3.0     5   2   3   0  40.0  50.8  -0.86   0.20 -1.06
24    DAL     -4.0     5   2   3   0  40.0  46.4  -2.63  -1.40 -1.23
25    TB      -5.0     5   2   3   0  40.0  48.3  -2.23  -0.60 -1.63
26    LAC     -2.0     6   2   4   0  33.3  41.9  -0.20  -2.50  2.30
27    OAK     -3.5     6   2   4   0  33.3  48.9  -1.43  -0.33 -1.10
28    CHI     -4.5     6   2   4   0  33.3  28.5  -6.34  -7.17  0.83
29    IND     -8.5     6   2   4   0  33.3  21.0 -18.06 -12.67 -5.39
30    NYG     -4.0     6   1   5   0  16.7  35.1  -3.15  -4.50  1.35
31    SF      -3.0     6   0   6   0   0.0  33.5  -8.12  -5.50 -2.62
32    CLE     -8.5     6   0   6   0   0.0  20.2 -13.28 -10.50 -2.78
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There is so much going on this week that my best suggestion is to prowl Youtube for the poison of your choice. I caught the end of the Vikings – Bears game, just enough to see the interception that Trubisky threw. Y A Tittle passed away. Brandon Marshall is out for the year. Odell Beckham is injured. The best team with just one loss is probably the Philadelphia Eagles.

I’m not sure how much that means, as the best team with two losses, Jacksonville, is via scoring stats, superior. But we’ve seen different Jacksonville teams show up. It’s as if the Jaguars identity hasn’t been established yet. A few more games will tell.

I know it’s still early in the season, but over the short term, home field advantage has just about vanished.

Global Statistics:
Games  Home Wins HwPct Winning_Score Losing_Score Margin
77         39     50.6      27.61        16.16     11.45

Calculated Pythagorean Exponent:  2.92


Rank  Team    Median  GP   W   L   T  Pct   Pred   SRS    MOV   SOS
------------------------------------------------------------------------
1     KC       9.0     5   5   0   0 100.0  75.8  17.52  10.60  6.92
2     GB       4.0     5   4   1   0  80.0  64.3   3.46   5.00 -1.54
3     PHI      3.0     5   4   1   0  80.0  72.1   8.65   7.60  1.05
4     CAR      3.0     5   4   1   0  80.0  58.0   4.18   2.20  1.98
5     ATL      5.0     4   3   1   0  75.0  61.2   4.99   3.75  1.24
6     DEN      4.5     4   3   1   0  75.0  69.4   6.93   6.00  0.93
7     JAX     21.0     5   3   2   0  60.0  81.9  11.16  11.20 -0.04
8     BAL     13.0     5   3   2   0  60.0  44.5  -1.91  -1.40 -0.51
9     DET      7.0     5   3   2   0  60.0  66.7   3.26   5.20 -1.94
10    BUF      6.0     5   3   2   0  60.0  63.2   5.62   3.00  2.62
11    NE       3.0     5   3   2   0  60.0  53.0   8.47   1.20  7.27
12    SEA      3.0     5   3   2   0  60.0  66.5  -2.44   4.60 -7.04
13    PIT      3.0     5   3   2   0  60.0  57.7  -0.30   2.00 -2.30
14    MIN      3.0     5   3   2   0  60.0  54.6   1.33   1.20  0.13
15    NYJ      3.0     5   3   2   0  60.0  39.8  -3.60  -2.80 -0.80
16    LA       2.0     5   3   2   0  60.0  66.1  -0.41   6.20 -6.61
17    NO       5.0     4   2   2   0  50.0  62.6   5.54   3.75  1.79
18    WAS     -1.0     4   2   2   0  50.0  51.6   7.12   0.50  6.62
19    TB      -1.5     4   2   2   0  50.0  51.7  -0.46   0.50 -0.96
20    MIA     -6.0     4   2   2   0  50.0  19.2  -6.80  -6.50 -0.30
21    HOU     -3.0     5   2   3   0  40.0  57.4   9.56   2.80  6.76
22    IND     -3.0     5   2   3   0  40.0  19.1 -21.30 -12.40 -8.90
23    CIN     -3.0     5   2   3   0  40.0  50.9   0.61   0.20  0.41
24    DAL     -4.0     5   2   3   0  40.0  46.0  -3.44  -1.40 -2.04
25    TEN     -6.0     5   2   3   0  40.0  32.2  -3.96  -6.40  2.44
26    OAK     -6.0     5   2   3   0  40.0  49.3   0.71  -0.20  0.91
27    ARI    -11.0     5   2   3   0  40.0  22.0 -13.96  -8.80 -5.16
28    LAC     -2.0     5   1   4   0  20.0  39.2   0.81  -3.20  4.01
29    CHI     -6.0     5   1   4   0  20.0  20.5  -7.40  -9.20  1.80
30    SF      -3.0     5   0   5   0   0.0  29.4 -12.99  -6.20 -6.79
31    CLE     -3.0     5   0   5   0   0.0  19.9 -14.70  -9.40 -5.30
32    NYG     -5.0     5   0   5   0   0.0  23.8  -6.24  -8.00  1.76

It’s been an interesting week, if nothing else. I feel sorry for the way the game ended in Kansas City, as Washington deserved better than to give up 7 more points on the last play of the game. Buffalo surprised. The Rams look a lot more like the Rams of 1999 than they do the Rams of last year. Carolina pulled off a surprising upset. Or did they?

I’m not going to post complete OSRS and DSRS stats this time. Even SRS is a little unbelievable at this point. That said, certain comparisons are in order. The Patriots had the highest DSRS of any team last year, at around 7. This year they are -8, for a 15 point turnaround. The common issue I hear is no pass rush.

Atlanta’s SRS last year was 8.5, and this year it is around 5. Their OSRS was 11.2 or so, the best in the league and their defense was a below average -2.7. This year, Atlanta’s SRS is around 5, their OSRS a 4 and their DSRS a 1. So their DSRS has improved by almost 4 points, and their OSRS has declined by over 7 points. Matt Ryan is merely good, rather than top of the heap elite.

Dallas’s problems, if you listen to talking heads, is everything from Dak to the offensive coordinator, to the offensive line, to special teams, to the defensive coordinator, to the linebackers, with a surprising amount of fan venom directed at de-facto rookie Jaylon Smith. Getting past fan stupidity, I’ll note that OSRS and DSRS are both down, compared to last year. OSRS has shrunk less, about 2 points, while DSRS has shrunk on the order of 7 points. The issues are clearly more defensive than offensive. The new rookies (and Jaylon) have plenty of talent, but it will take time for these people to adapt to the speed of the NFL game. Dallas has replaced almost the whole of its secondary and injuries have depleted the linebackers and the backfield. People are playing that no one expected to play in the back 7.

Goff’s turnaround in performance has led to a series of questions about who is better, Dak, or Wentz or Goff. I went to high school in the same small town as Dak, so I’m hardly unbiased in this debate. The best comments I’ve seen recently are those of Mike Tanier, which I highly recommend. His Bleacher Report article, in my opinion, is a must read. Benjamin Morris reappears, in an article about two point conversions. Brian Burke recommends an article about Alex Smith, which suggests his NFL passer rating is misleading.

Global Statistics:
Games  Home Wins HwPct Winning_Score Losing_Score Margin
63         35     55.6      28.05        15.81     12.24

Calculated Pythagorean Exponent:  2.99


Rank  Team    Median  GP   W   L   T  Pct   Pred   SRS    MOV   SOS
------------------------------------------------------------------------
1     KC      11.5     4   4   0   0 100.0  79.8  19.45  11.25  8.20
2     PIT     10.0     4   3   1   0  75.0  78.0  -2.84   7.75 -10.59
3     DET      9.5     4   3   1   0  75.0  73.8   4.36   7.25 -2.89
4     BUF      7.5     4   3   1   0  75.0  71.1  10.48   4.75  5.73
5     GB       5.5     4   3   1   0  75.0  66.6   0.97   5.25 -4.28
6     ATL      5.0     4   3   1   0  75.0  61.4   5.04   3.75  1.29
7     DEN      4.5     4   3   1   0  75.0  69.8  10.78   6.00  4.78
8     CAR      4.5     4   3   1   0  75.0  58.0   6.70   2.00  4.70
9     LA       3.5     4   3   1   0  75.0  71.2   2.77   9.25 -6.48
10    PHI      2.5     4   3   1   0  75.0  58.4   9.26   2.75  6.51
11    TB       2.0     3   2   1   0  66.7  57.7  -2.67   2.33 -5.00
12    JAX      9.5     4   2   2   0  50.0  76.1   7.52   8.75 -1.23
13    NO       5.0     4   2   2   0  50.0  62.9   6.72   3.75  2.97
14    DAL      3.0     4   2   2   0  50.0  47.7  -2.05  -0.75 -1.30
15    OAK      2.0     4   2   2   0  50.0  60.4   7.92   3.00  4.92
16    MIN      1.5     4   2   2   0  50.0  52.9   2.14   0.75  1.39
17    HOU      0.5     4   2   2   0  50.0  66.1   7.77   5.50  2.27
18    NE       0.0     4   2   2   0  50.0  50.6  10.41   0.25 10.16
19    WAS     -1.0     4   2   2   0  50.0  51.7  10.35   0.50  9.85
20    SEA     -1.5     4   2   2   0  50.0  64.5  -4.52   4.25 -8.77
21    BAL     -1.5     4   2   2   0  50.0  29.7 -11.25  -5.00 -6.25
22    TEN     -2.0     4   2   2   0  50.0  33.4  -1.83  -6.50  4.67
23    NYJ     -3.0     4   2   2   0  50.0  35.2   0.39  -4.25  4.64
24    ARI     -4.0     4   2   2   0  50.0  35.0 -12.23  -4.25 -7.98
25    MIA    -14.0     3   1   2   0  33.3   7.8  -7.37 -10.67  3.30
26    CIN     -3.5     4   1   3   0  25.0  46.6  -7.04  -0.75 -6.29
27    CHI    -13.5     4   1   3   0  25.0  16.9 -10.62 -10.75  0.13
28    IND    -15.5     4   1   3   0  25.0  12.5 -25.40 -16.25 -9.15
29    LAC     -2.5     4   0   4   0   0.0  31.7   2.78  -5.25  8.03
30    SF      -3.0     4   0   4   0   0.0  25.8  -8.82  -7.00 -1.82
31    CLE     -8.5     4   0   4   0   0.0  17.0 -22.63 -11.00 -11.63
32    NYG     -8.5     4   0   4   0   0.0  20.2  -6.52  -8.75  2.23

Just as the pundits decided that the NFL was boring, some truly epic games were played. The Thursday night game was good, Rams-49ers 41-38, the Atlanta – Detroit game was the kind people will remember for many years to come. On the back of a ferocious defensive rush Dallas got out of its Denver malaise and began playing football again. Even at 37, Larry Fitzgerald is a monster player.

I should warn people that simple rankings are not much to be believed at this point. It takes a few games to have enough results to be tame. You can add in games from the previous year, but then people might not recognize just how pathetic the New York Giants have been.

The nature of the recent sports scene has made me realize how much I miss Bill Simmon’s Grantland and Brian Burke’s Advanced NFL Stats. Both of these were edgy and ambitious, understanding of the new analytics and doing their best to apply it to games. Quite the opposite of the Sports Illustrated football preview, which was parochial and stodgy and the entire opposite of fearless. No, they were a dull recitation of how orthodox and Northeastern US focused they have become, statistically/sabermetrically illiterate in ways that all-22 will not fix. It read like a Frank Caliendo parody of Sports Illustrated, a bit senile and stuck in their ways.  So I cancelled my SI subscription.

I suspect I bought into Sports Illustrated because of how much I hated the form factor of ESPN the Magazine, which was foisted onto me without my wanting it for being a ESPN Insider. The classic ESPN cover was always an angry black man with his arms crossed who looked like he wanted to mug readers in a dark alley. They never seemed to get that Magic Johnson had hit on an incredible formula for being popular, which was to smile. I much prefer the look of people who seem as if I could share a meal with them.

But I guess people want numbers at this point. I can ponder the desert of cutting edge sports analysis later.

Global Statistics:
Games  Home Wins HwPct Winning_Score Losing_Score Margin
47         27     57.4      27.87        15.70     12.17

Calculated Pythagorean Exponent:  3.41


Rank  Team    Median  GP   W   L   T  Pct   Pred   SRS    MOV   SOS
------------------------------------------------------------------------
1     KC      14.0     3   3   0   0 100.0  84.1  17.10  12.00  5.10
2     ATL      6.0     3   3   0   0 100.0  71.9   3.66   7.00 -3.34
3     JAX     22.0     3   2   1   0  66.7  87.0  13.38  12.67  0.72
4     BAL     14.0     3   2   1   0  66.7  45.1  -6.79  -1.00 -5.79
5     DET     12.0     3   2   1   0  66.7  73.5   0.36   7.33 -6.97
6     DAL     11.0     3   2   1   0  66.7  52.7  -5.56   0.67 -6.22
7     OAK     10.0     3   2   1   0  66.7  70.2  14.77   6.00  8.77
8     MIN     10.0     3   2   1   0  66.7  62.5   4.42   3.33  1.09
9     BUF      9.0     3   2   1   0  66.7  73.6   6.50   4.33  2.17
10    WAS      7.0     3   2   1   0  66.7  64.0  14.20   3.67 10.53
11    TEN      6.0     3   2   1   0  66.7  67.9  14.25   5.67  8.58
12    CAR      6.0     3   2   1   0  66.7  59.9   2.74   1.67  1.08
13    NE       3.0     3   2   1   0  66.7  53.5   6.19   1.33  4.86
14    DEN      3.0     3   2   1   0  66.7  70.0   5.91   6.00 -0.09
15    PHI      3.0     3   2   1   0  66.7  60.4  10.34   3.00  7.34
16    GB       3.0     3   2   1   0  66.7  50.0  -4.42   0.00 -4.42
17    PIT      3.0     3   2   1   0  66.7  69.9  -1.26   4.67 -5.93
18    LA       2.0     3   2   1   0  66.7  77.1   6.48  10.67 -4.18
19    TB       2.5     2   1   1   0  50.0  59.7   1.73   2.50 -0.77
20    MIA     -6.0     2   1   1   0  50.0  20.8  -7.68  -6.00 -1.68
21    HOU     -3.0     3   1   2   0  33.3  24.3  -5.31  -7.00  1.69
22    IND     -3.0     3   1   2   0  33.3  14.1 -20.69 -12.33 -8.35
23    SEA     -6.0     3   1   2   0  33.3  33.1  -2.41  -3.67  1.26
24    CHI     -6.0     3   1   2   0  33.3  21.3  -5.95  -7.33  1.38
25    NYJ     -9.0     3   1   2   0  33.3  24.8  -2.14  -6.67  4.53
26    NO     -10.0     3   1   2   0  33.3  44.4   2.78  -1.67  4.45
27    ARI    -11.0     3   1   2   0  33.3  26.1 -15.29  -6.67 -8.63
28    CLE     -3.0     3   0   3   0   0.0  26.1 -16.24  -6.67 -9.58
29    SF      -3.0     3   0   3   0   0.0  20.4  -6.06  -8.33  2.27
30    LAC     -3.0     3   0   3   0   0.0  24.3  -1.22  -6.33  5.11
31    CIN     -4.0     3   0   3   0   0.0  11.5 -14.51  -9.00 -5.51
32    NYG    -14.0     3   0   3   0   0.0  10.2  -9.29 -11.00  1.71

The teams in the 2016 Championship are Atlanta and New England, and my system this year slightly favors Atlanta, given the same assumptions that we used initially. Atlanta is selected as the “home team”, though no home team is used in any of the final calculations.

Odds are presented from the home team’s point of view:

NFL Championship Round Playoff Odds
Home Team Visiting Team Score Diff Win Prob Est. Point Spread
Atlanta Falcons New England Patriots 0.092 0.523 0.6

 
We present a series of alternate calculations below. They are based on — what if Atlanta should be treated as a team with playoff experience, then median point spread, then Pythagoreans, and then the Simple Ranking system.

ATL – NE Alternate Calculations
Odds Method Score Diff Win Prob Est. Point Spread
ATL has playoff experience 0.839 0.698 6.2
Median Point Spread -0.68 0.34 -5.0
Pythagoreans -0.92 0.29 -6.8
Simple Ranking -0.11 0.47 -0.8

 
There is nothing consistent in any of the ratings methods. Median point spreads, when pumped into a logistic regression, have less correlation than Pythagorean, though in both cases, the confidence intervals are on the order of 0.15, as opposed to less than 0.05. Medians and Pythagoreans suggest New England has a large advantage, Simple Rankings say the game will be close, too close to bet. So two claim close games, toss ups more or less, one suggests an easy Atlanta victory, and the others suggest a substantial Patriots margin.
 

Last week was not the best for the “system”. That said, a system that wins all the time probably isn’t a system at all, but merely wishful thinking.

For the third week of the 2016 playoffs, odds are presented from the home team’s point of view:

Conference Round Playoff Odds
Home Team Visiting Team Score Diff Win Prob Est. Point Spread
Atlenta Falcons Green Bay Packers -0.079 0.480 -0.6
New England Patriots Pittsburgh Steelers -0.219 0.445 -1.6

 
The odds in Atlanta -GB are too close to call. My system would not suggest betting that game. My system favors Pittsburgh. As stated previously, New England played a weak schedule and that’s a major factor in our rankings. Both games are seen as close.

My system scored 4-0 in terms of predicting wins, but at this point the teams are better and the games are closer. Detroit, I believe, would have been a closer game had Matthew Stafford not been injured. His receiver dropped balls and Seattle was the beneficiary of some incredible pass receptions. That said, we’re into the second round and so will present the second round odds, as determined by the 2 year PPX formula. Odds are presented from the home team’s point of view:

Second Round Playoff Odds
Home Team Visiting Team Score Diff Win Prob Est. Point Spread
Dallas Cowboys Green Bay Packers 0.569 0.639 4.2
Atlanta Falcons Seattle Seahawks 0.475 0.617 3.5
New England Patriots Houston Texans -0.247 0.439 -1.8
Kansas City Chiefs Pittsburgh Steelers 0.806 0.691 6.0

 
I will note that this system does not favor the New England Patriots, because their -2.65 point Strength of Schedule weighs against them. Both Kansas City or Pittsburgh would be favored in the next round, should New England win. But it’s not a large difference, and Tom Brady is having a magical season. We’ll see.

It is certainly reasonable to argue that Dallas only has playoff experience to 2014 and Green Bay has 2015 experience, and thus the 1 Year PPX formula should be used. We did calculate those odds, as well as odds generated by a median point spread and also Pythagorean expectations and the Simple Ranking System. In all three cases we used the stock 3 point home field advantage.

Dallas Green Bay Alternate Calculations
Odds Method Score Diff Win Prob Est. Point Spread
New 1 Year PPX Formula -0.113 0.47 -0.8
Median Point Spread 0.47 0.62 3.5
Pythagoreans 1.1 0.75 8.1
Simple Ranking 0.96 0.72 7.1

 
Using a 1 year formula, Dallas-GB would be too close to call. All other formulas favor Dallas. Medians would have given essentially the same odds as the two year PPX, had we chosen to honor a 3.8 point HFA, as is calculated for playoff teams. Both Pythagoreans and SRS give Dallas about a touchdown advantage.

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