Purely from a personal fan perspective, a better week than others. Both of the teams I follow won this weekend. Atlanta squeaked by Tampa Bay, and Dallas demolished Jacksonville. Why Jacksonville single covered Cole Beasley is anyone’s guess.

Kansas City fell from the ranks of the unbeaten and Baltimore, with a terrific defensive performance, kept its high ranking at the top of the SRS charts.

Just as a reminder, SRS as calculated by this code corresponds exactly to the old version used by Pro Football Reference. You can test this by using the Wayback Machine to say, 2012 and comparing results.

Looking at ESPN’s QBR stat, do you get the impression it is heavily influenced by a couple huge games? Ryan Fitzpatrick is still the fifth ranked quarterback in the whole league.

Global Statistics:
Games  Home Wins HwPct Winning_Score Losing_Score Margin
93         59     63.4      28.73        18.46     10.27

Calculated Pythagorean Exponent:  2.69


Rank  Team    Median  GP   W   L   T  Pct   Pred   SRS    MOV   SOS
------------------------------------------------------------------------
1     LA       9.5     6   6   0   0 100.0  79.7  11.27  13.00 -1.73
2     KC       7.5     6   5   1   0  83.3  64.6   8.12   7.17  0.95
3     NO       6.0     5   4   1   0  80.0  66.3   5.09   8.00 -2.91
4     BAL     12.5     6   4   2   0  66.7  86.4  11.87  12.67 -0.79
5     LAC      6.5     6   4   2   0  66.7  62.8   4.43   5.17 -0.73
6     CIN      5.5     6   4   2   0  66.7  56.5   4.41   2.67  1.74
7     NE       5.0     6   4   2   0  66.7  61.4   3.73   4.67 -0.94
8     MIA      5.0     6   4   2   0  66.7  42.7  -1.67  -2.50  0.83
9     WAS      6.0     5   3   2   0  60.0  51.3  -1.17   0.40 -1.57
10    CHI      2.0     5   3   2   0  60.0  73.0   6.65   8.60 -1.95
11    CAR      2.0     5   3   2   0  60.0  54.0   0.44   1.40 -0.96
12    PIT      1.5     6   3   2   1  58.3  57.0   5.91   2.83  3.08
13    MIN      1.0     6   3   2   1  58.3  46.3  -3.79  -1.33 -2.46
14    GB       0.5     6   3   2   1  58.3  51.8  -2.05   0.67 -2.72
15    NYJ      2.0     6   3   3   0  50.0  61.3   2.54   4.33 -1.79
16    PHI      1.0     6   3   3   0  50.0  60.5  -0.87   3.33 -4.20
17    JAX      1.0     6   3   3   0  50.0  40.4  -2.14  -2.83  0.69
18    TEN      1.0     6   3   3   0  50.0  36.4  -4.41  -3.33 -1.08
19    SEA      0.5     6   3   3   0  50.0  63.2   4.93   4.33  0.59
20    HOU      0.0     6   3   3   0  50.0  49.0  -3.71  -0.33 -3.38
21    DAL     -0.5     6   3   3   0  50.0  61.7   1.62   3.33 -1.71
22    CLE     -1.5     6   2   3   1  41.7  39.1  -0.18  -3.83  3.65
23    DET     -2.0     5   2   3   0  40.0  43.9  -2.37  -2.40  0.03
24    TB      -3.0     5   2   3   0  40.0  36.6  -3.49  -6.40  2.91
25    ATL     -3.5     6   2   4   0  33.3  40.7  -2.25  -4.17  1.91
26    DEN     -3.5     6   2   4   0  33.3  33.8  -0.54  -5.67  5.13
27    BUF     -9.0     6   2   4   0  33.3  16.7  -9.94 -10.33  0.39
28    SF      -5.5     6   1   5   0  16.7  37.5  -5.69  -5.17 -0.52
29    IND     -6.0     6   1   5   0  16.7  38.8  -3.85  -4.67  0.82
30    NYG     -6.0     6   1   5   0  16.7  29.4  -7.43  -7.50  0.07
31    ARI     -6.5     6   1   5   0  16.7  19.5  -7.47  -9.50  2.03
32    OAK    -12.0     6   1   5   0  16.7  22.0  -7.96 -11.00  3.04
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In the chase for teams that might approach the 1950 Los Angeles Rams as the highest scoring team in history, the Saints are now scoring at a pace of 36.0 points a game. The LA Rams and Kansas City Chiefs are just a few points behind. That said, it’s an odd season. The Falcons are 1-4, the whole NFC East is in a bad way, and it’s reasonable to ask if John Gruden trading Khalil Mack didn’t flip everything for the Chicago Bears.

Global Statistics:
Games  Home Wins HwPct Winning_Score Losing_Score Margin
78         50     64.1      28.31        18.35      9.96

Calculated Pythagorean Exponent:  2.96


Rank  Team    Median  GP   W   L   T  Pct   Pred   SRS    MOV   SOS
------------------------------------------------------------------------
1     LA      12.0     5   5   0   0 100.0  84.4  11.84  15.00 -3.16
2     KC      10.0     5   5   0   0 100.0  71.2   9.91   9.20  0.71
3     CIN     10.0     5   4   1   0  80.0  61.8   5.13   4.60  0.53
4     NO       6.0     5   4   1   0  80.0  67.8   6.51   8.00 -1.49
5     CAR      5.0     4   3   1   0  75.0  59.8   1.76   3.25 -1.49
6     CHI      4.5     4   3   1   0  75.0  83.0   9.02  11.50 -2.48
7     BAL     12.0     5   3   2   0  60.0  83.2  11.62  11.00  0.62
8     NE       7.0     5   3   2   0  60.0  65.0   2.77   5.00 -2.23
9     MIA      7.0     5   3   2   0  60.0  37.9  -3.11  -3.60  0.49
10    JAX      5.0     5   3   2   0  60.0  62.4   5.05   3.20  1.85
11    TEN      3.0     5   3   2   0  60.0  50.9  -3.31   0.20 -3.51
12    LAC      2.0     5   3   2   0  60.0  53.9   1.03   1.40 -0.37
13    TB       1.5     4   2   2   0  50.0  34.5  -2.34  -6.75  4.41
14    WAS      1.0     4   2   2   0  50.0  46.5  -2.94  -1.00 -1.94
15    PIT      0.0     5   2   2   1  50.0  55.4   6.18   2.00  4.18
16    GB       0.0     5   2   2   1  50.0  50.6  -2.77   0.20 -2.97
17    CLE      0.0     5   2   2   1  50.0  50.7   4.63   0.20  4.43
18    MIN      0.0     5   2   2   1  50.0  39.2  -6.14  -3.60 -2.54
19    DET     -2.0     5   2   3   0  40.0  43.2  -3.86  -2.40 -1.46
20    SEA     -2.0     5   2   3   0  40.0  51.3   1.97   0.40  1.57
21    PHI     -2.0     5   2   3   0  40.0  49.3  -4.08  -0.20 -3.88
22    HOU     -3.0     5   2   3   0  40.0  44.4  -4.49  -1.80 -2.69
23    DAL     -3.0     5   2   3   0  40.0  39.4  -4.31  -2.60 -1.71
24    NYJ     -4.0     5   2   3   0  40.0  61.5   3.75   3.60  0.15
25    DEN     -4.0     5   2   3   0  40.0  31.0  -1.93  -6.20  4.27
26    BUF    -11.0     5   2   3   0  40.0  13.5 -10.91 -11.00  0.09
27    ARI     -3.0     5   1   4   0  20.0  16.6  -6.78  -9.40  2.62
28    IND     -4.0     5   1   4   0  20.0  38.6  -4.72  -4.00 -0.72
29    NYG     -5.0     5   1   4   0  20.0  35.1  -3.90  -4.80  0.90
30    ATL     -6.0     5   1   4   0  20.0  35.4  -2.90  -6.00  3.10
31    SF      -8.0     5   1   4   0  20.0  34.7  -6.77  -5.60 -1.17
32    OAK     -8.0     5   1   4   0  20.0  27.3  -5.91  -8.40  2.49

Somewhere around the third or fourth game the Simple Ranking System begius to resolve, and it did resolve on the third week, but the results were weird. What to think of New England as the 29th team in the NFL? Not as much. Even the fourth week will have its oddities, as it considers the Baltimore Ravens as the best team in the league, probably off the massive win in week 1. The other early story line is whether or not this is a historic season for scoring. Last I checked, the 1950 Las Angelas Rams held the scoring lead for a season at 38.8 points a game, and the 2018 Rams are clipping along at a mere 35 points a game. Not quite there yet.

Global Statistics:
Games  Home Wins HwPct Winning_Score Losing_Score Margin
63         38     60.3      28.21        18.30      9.90

Calculated Pythagorean Exponent:  3.16


Rank  Team    Median  GP   W   L   T  Pct   Pred   SRS    MOV   SOS
------------------------------------------------------------------------
1     LA      16.0     4   4   0   0 100.0  91.2  12.78  18.25 -5.47
2     KC       7.5     4   4   0   0 100.0  67.6   4.77   7.50 -2.73
3     BAL     12.5     4   3   1   0  75.0  88.3  13.59  14.50 -0.91
4     JAX      8.0     4   3   1   0  75.0  80.7   6.43   8.00 -1.57
5     MIA      7.5     4   3   1   0  75.0  42.7  -3.32  -2.00 -1.32
6     CIN      6.0     4   3   1   0  75.0  58.5   9.26   3.25  6.01
7     NO       4.5     4   3   1   0  75.0  59.7   1.97   4.00 -2.03
8     CHI      4.5     4   3   1   0  75.0  84.5   8.87  11.50 -2.63
9     TEN      3.0     4   3   1   0  75.0  52.1   0.41   0.50 -0.09
10    WAS     14.0     3   2   1   0  66.7  76.6   4.77   6.67 -1.89
11    CAR      8.0     3   2   1   0  66.7  63.0   6.32   3.67  2.65
12    GB       0.5     4   2   1   1  62.5  58.1   0.74   2.25 -1.51
13    TB       1.5     4   2   2   0  50.0  33.5  -4.03  -6.75  2.72
14    PHI      0.5     4   2   2   0  50.0  51.0   0.37   0.25  0.12
15    SEA      0.0     4   2   2   0  50.0  53.8   0.34   1.00 -0.66
16    DEN     -1.5     4   2   2   0  50.0  38.8   0.31  -3.25  3.56
17    NE      -2.0     4   2   2   0  50.0  59.6   0.48   2.75 -2.27
18    DAL     -3.0     4   2   2   0  50.0  39.2  -4.28  -2.50 -1.78
19    LAC     -4.0     4   2   2   0  50.0  43.9  -3.04  -2.25 -0.79
20    CLE     -1.5     4   1   2   1  37.5  48.5  -1.63  -0.50 -1.13
21    PIT     -2.5     4   1   2   1  37.5  40.0  -0.32  -3.50  3.18
22    MIN     -3.5     4   1   2   1  37.5  34.6  -6.80  -5.00 -1.80
23    DET     -2.5     4   1   3   0  25.0  35.2  -8.34  -5.00 -3.34
24    ATL     -3.5     4   1   3   0  25.0  46.0   2.98  -1.50  4.48
25    IND     -3.5     4   1   3   0  25.0  45.1   1.14  -1.50  2.64
26    HOU     -4.0     4   1   3   0  25.0  40.8  -3.85  -3.00 -0.85
27    OAK     -4.5     4   1   3   0  25.0  32.0  -4.47  -6.50  2.03
28    SF      -5.0     4   1   3   0  25.0  37.2  -7.85  -4.50 -3.35
29    NYJ     -6.0     4   1   3   0  25.0  50.0  -1.72   0.00 -1.72
30    NYG     -6.0     4   1   3   0  25.0  30.3  -5.43  -5.50  0.07
31    BUF    -16.5     4   1   3   0  25.0   8.5 -12.88 -14.00  1.12
32    ARI    -10.5     4   0   4   0   0.0   5.0  -7.56 -14.25  6.69

I’ll continue posting my odds, though this has not been the best season for them. Jacksonville continued to be best modeled by their median point spread, as opposed to their playoff formula. Philadelphia outperformed any reasonable prediction of their play once Wentz went down.

My system gives an edge to New England. Philadelphia played a tougher schedule but lacks playoff experience by my system. There is no home field in the Superbowl.

Super Bowl Playoff Odds
Home Team Visiting Team Score Diff Win Prob Est. Point Spread
New England Patriots Philadelphia Eagles 0.586 0.642 4.3

Outside of the New England game, all the games were good and exciting, from the final goal line stand by the Eagles, to the win with ten seconds left by the Vikings. The Jacksonville Jaguars are just not well managed by this system. It was easy to see that through the year that they were a boom or bust team. They could win big or lose big, and in the game with the Steelers, they were enough in “win big” mode that the Steelers could not keep up.

Philadelphia won because of their stout defense, a Nick Foles that gave them a AYA of 8.2 for the game, much akin to Carson Wentz’s average.

To remind people, the 2017 worksheet is here, and the methodology is here. The odds for the next round are below.

Conference (NFC/AFC) Playoff Odds
Home Team Visiting Team Score Diff Win Prob Est. Point Spread
Philadelphia Eagles Minnesota Vikings -0.604 0.353 -4.5
New England Patriots Jacksonville Jaguars 1.872 0.867 13.9

The first round is over and in terms of predicting winners, not my best (by my count, 1-2-1, as we had Jax and Bills in a de facto tie). I was pleased that the model got Rams and Atlanta correct, and the Sunday games all came down to the wire. One or two plays and my formal results would have been impressive. Still, back to the predictions for this week.

To add some spice, we will predict results for New Orleans normally, and also as if Drew Brees is elite. Values in parentheses are the elite numbers. With elite status or no, Minnesota is still favored in this data set.

The only home team not favored is Philadelphia. We discussed this in part in this article.

Second Round Playoff Odds
Home Team Visiting Team Score Diff Win Prob Est. Point Spread
Philadelphia Eagles Atlanta Falcons -0.878 0.294 -6.5
Minnesota Vikings New Orleans Saints 1.231 (0.484) 0.774 (0.619) 9.1 (3.6)
New England Patriots Tennessee Titans 1.674 0.842 12.4
Pittsburgh Steelers Jacksonville Jaguars 1.915 0.872 14

As I’m really away from home and short of time, I’ll mention my methodology is described in depth here.

The first table is the worksheet. Values will not change throughout the playoffs.

2017 NFL Playoff Teams, C&F Worksheet.
NFC
Rank Name Home Field Adv Playoff Experience SOS Total Score
1 Philadelphia Eagles 0.660 0 -0.216 0.444
2 Minnesota Vikings 0.660 0.747 0.301 1.708
3 Los Angeles Rams 0.660 0.0 -0.046 0.614
4 New Orleans Saints 0.660 0 0.471 1.131
5 Carolina Panthers 0.0 0.747 0.629 1.376
6 Atlanta Falcons 0.0 0.747 0.575 1.322
AFC
1 New England Patriots 0.660 0.747 -0.377 1.030
2 Pittsburgh Steelers 0.660 0.747 -0.334 1.073
3 Jacksonville Jaguars 0.660 0 -0.842 -0.182
4 Kansas City Chiefs 0.660 0.747 -0.404 1.003
5 Tennessee Titans 0.0 0.0 -0.644 -0.644
6 Buffalo Bills 0.0 0.0 -0.146 -0.146

 

LA is not favored by this model and neither are AFC teams. The NFC South’s toughness shows through in the SOS marks for this data set. Minnesota and/or NFC South Teams largely have advantages over almost any matchup the AFC can offer. Finally, an open Q is, is Drew Brees elite enough that his team should be granted the PPX bonus? For now I’d consider this a question to be answered later.

This second table shows odds for the first round, calculated for you. The only home team it favors is Kansas City.

First Round Playoff Odds
Home Team Visiting Team Score Diff Win Prob Est. Point Spread
Los Angeles Rams Atlanta Falcons -0.708 0.330 -5.2
New Orleans Saints Carolina Panthers -0.245 0.439 -1.8
Jacksonville Jaguars Buffalo Bills -0.036 0.491 -0.3
Kansas City Chiefs Tennessee Titans 1.647 0.838 12.1