Each week coaches around the country are faced with real-time critical calls. By evaluating how teams manage their win probability, you can learn how to optimize future decisions and give your team the best chance to win.
Let’s a take a look at one of the best and worst decisions from Week 5 in the NFL.
Best Decision – KC vs IND
With 3:06 remaining in the 2nd quarter, 3 timeouts, and the score tied, the Chiefs faced a 4th and 1 at their own 47-yard line. By deciding to go for it, Coach Reid made the correct call and increased the Chiefs (pre-snap) win probability by +7%.
Our Edj Power Indexes (EPIs) had KC with a strong advantage in this match up, with the Chiefs rush offense ranked above league average (#11) and the Colts rush defense ranked among the league’s worst (#28). Based on our EPIs and the game state, teams that go for it, go on to win the game 75% of the time and teams that punt, go on to win the game 68% of the time.
Decisions like these are part what make the Chiefs such a formidable team.
Worst Decision – LAC vs DEN
With 4:30 remaining in the 3rd quarter, 3 timeouts, and trailing by 17, the Chargers faced a 4th and 3 at the DEN 49-yard line. By deciding to punt, Coach Lynn made an error that cost the Chargers -4% in (pre-snap) win probability.
Our Edj Power Indexes (EPIs) had the Chargers offense with strong advantages in both the run and pass games versus the Broncos defense (#9 vs #26 and #2 vs #26, respectively). Based on our EPIs and the game state, teams that punt, go on to win the game 7% of the time and teams that go for it, go on to win the game 11% of the time.
Without context, the -4% cost in win probability may not seem like all that much. However, in terms of their overall win probability available, the decision between the options associated with 7% and 11% represents a huge difference. Going for it would have given the Chargers a 57% better chance of going on to win the game. Decisions like these are part of the reason the Chargers are 2-3, after the first 5 weeks of play.
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Images via USA Today Sports.