Each week coaches are faced with real-time critical calls. By evaluating how teams manage their win probability, we can learn how to optimize future decisions and give your team the best chance to win the game.
Let’s a take a look at one of the best and worst decisions in the NFL this week.
Best Decision – BUF vs WAS
With 6:33 remaining in the second quarter, 1 timeout, and leading 10-3, the Bills faced a 1st and goal. After failing to convert on their first 3 attempts, the Bills faced an interesting 4th and goal decision. Based on the results of the first three attempts, most coaches would attempt a FG, and chalk it up to “you gotta come away with something.” Coach McDermott, on the other hand, made the correct call by deciding to go-for-it, again. His decision increased the Bills (pre-snap) win probability by 2%. Our Edj Power Indexes (EPI’s) had the Bills rush offense ranked well above league average, and the WAS rush defense ranked at league average. Based on these rankings and the game state, teams that go-for-it, go on to win the game 91% of the time and teams that attempt a FG, go on to win the game 89%. The Bills went on to win the game and decisions like these are part of the reason why they are 6-2.
Worst Decision – DET vs OAK
With 9:21 remaining in the 4th quarter, 3 timeouts, and trailing 17-24, the Lions faced a 4th and 3 from their own 42-yard line. By deciding to punt, Coach Patricia made an error that cost the Lions -7% in (pre-snap) win probability. Our EPI’s had the Lions pass offense ranked among the top-4 best in the league and the Raiders pass defense ranked among the bottom-4 worst in the league. Based on these rankings and the game state, teams that go-for-it, go on to win the game 20% of the time and teams that punt only go on to win the game 13% of the time. If the Lions had leveraged advanced analytics, their play calling strategy on 1st, 2nd, and 3rd downs may have also changed/improved because they would have understood that the optimal decision was to go-for-it, even if they ended up facing a 4th and 10. The Lions went on to lose the game and decisions like these will keep them looking up at the division leaders.
Contact us for more information on how EdjVarsity can help you with your in-game decision making. Sign up for a FREE Trial.
Images via USA Today Sports.