Down 14-0 at the start of the second half to the New York Giants,
the Houston Texans faced a 4th-and-1 on their own 46-yard line. At this point, with just a 9.0% chance to win, Bill O'Brien made the correct call to go for it. A successful conversion means a 12.9% win probability, while a punt means about an 8.6% chance to win. The break-even point going for it is far below an estimated 65% conversion rate on 4th-and-1. Alfred Blue ran off right tackle and was stuffed, turning the ball over on downs. The Giants would kick a field goal to go up 17-0.
The return of the team efficiency rankings comes with some important changes for 2014. As most of you know, Brian revamped the win probability model for this year to provide more precise estimates in a greater variety of contexts.
This obviously holds big implications for the rankings, which are based on the generic win probability (GWP) of a particular team against an average team. But more importantly, both are predictive models which emphasize factors that best suggest how likely a team is to fare in the future. When one improves, the other should theoretically improve alongside it.…
If you were a coach, would you voluntarily give up a down at some point in the game, just to be sporting? Ehh, let's just make it 3rd and 5 instead of 2nd and 5. Of course not. For a random play in the 2nd quarter, that would cost you about 0.02 WP (2% chance of winning) for no reason.
So why do NFL coaches voluntarily leave WP out on the field?
Take yesterday's DEN-SEA game as an example. SEA was ahead 17-12 in the 4th quarter, and had the ball deep in their own territory with about 9 minutes to play. With the game clock running, they snapped the ball with: 8, 5, 5, 8, and 10 seconds left…
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Brian Burke is back for the final AFA podcast of the 2014-15 NFL season. Brian and Dave discuss the Patriots deflated ball controversy with a quick recap of high school physics before analyzing the key analytical storylines of Super Bowl XLIX.