Let’s take a look at one of the best and worst decisions in the NFL this week – both come from the Raiders game and a coach who regularly criticizes the use of analytics.
Let’s a take a look at one of the best and worst decisions from Week 10 in the NFL.
Best Decision – OAK vs LAC
With 2:00 remaining in the 2nd quarter, 2 timeouts, and trailing by 6, the Raiders faced a 4th and 1 from the Chargers 40-yard line. By deciding to go-for-it, Coach Gruden made the correct call and increased the Raiders (pre-snap) win probability by +9%. Our Edj Power Indexes (EPI’s) had the Raiders rush offense ranked above league average and the Chargers rush defense ranked below league average. Based on these rankings and the game state, teams that go-for-it, go on to win the game 59% of the time and teams that attempt a FG, only go on to win the game 50% of the time.
Worst Decision – OAK vs LAC
With 8:01 remaining in the 3rd quarter, 3 timeouts, and leading by 6, the Raiders faced a 4th and 1 from the Chargers 34-yard line. By deciding to attempt a FG, Coach Gruden made an error that cost the Raiders -6% in win probability. Based on our EPI’s and the game state, teams that go-for-it, go on to win the game 84% of the time and teams that attempt a FG, go on to win the game 78% of the time.
Despite the win versus the Chargers, in Week 10 Coach Gruden’s largest (4) 4th down play-calling errors cost the Raiders more than 13% in (pre-snap) win probability – which more than offsets the +9% gain from his “good call”. In fact, through the first 10 weeks of this season (9 games), his consistent aversion to using analytics has resulted in a total error cost of -67% in (pre-snap) win probability, which equates to two-thirds of a game. Coach Gruden’s errors on 4th down play calling decisions are on pace to cost the Raiders more than one entire game in what will surely be a tightly contested race for the playoffs.
The Raiders currently sit at 5-4 and in second place in the AFC West. There are nine teams in the AFC with 4, 5, or 6 wins (i.e. within 1 game of the Raiders). The difference between finishing 9-7 and 8-8 could be the difference between making the playoffs and an early end to the season. Whatever their final record, rest assured 4th down play calling decisions will play a major role.
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