Monday, September 1, 2014

Playoff Implications - Week 1

Too soon? Or not soon enough? The purpose of this feature is to highlight games that have a significant impact on the playoff picture (see this post for background). It may seem premature to start talking playoffs already, but with a sixteen game schedule, even week one results can create meaningful shifts in the postseason outlook.

The playoff implications below are derived from the same simulation I run to calculate playoff seed probabilities for my daily NFL rankings. I can group the simulation runs by the outcome of each game and then see how a team's playoff chances vary between the two groups.

For example, the Bengals' chances of making the playoffs can swing by 24%, depending on the outcome of their season opener against the Ravens. If the Bengals win, their expected playoff probability is 63%. They lose and it's significantly lower at 38%. The interactive table at the bottom of the post will allow you to see corresponding results for any game or team.

Ranking Week 1 Games by Leverage

The table below ranks the week 1 games by total leverage. Leverage in this context is a measure of both how uncertain a game's outcome is (games between evenly matched teams have higher leverage) and how much the playoff picture swings as a result of that outcome.

GameLeverage
NE @ MIA 23.7%
CIN @ BAL 23.6%
NO @ ATL 23.0%
GB @ SEA 21.4%
BUF @ CHI 20.5%
SF @ DAL 20.1%
WAS @ HOU 19.9%
CLE @ PIT 19.2%
NYG @ DET 17.7%
TEN @ KC 17.1%
SD @ ARZ 15.9%
CAR @ TB 15.0%
IND @ DEN 13.2%
JAC @ PHI 12.2%
MIN @ STL 8.8%
OAK @ NYJ 7.2%

Not too surprisingly, the top 3 games in week 1 are divisional matchups featuring teams with, at minimum, a respectable shot at making the playoffs. The bottom two games feature four teams whose playoff chances could be charitably described as "mathematically possible".

Beyond Week 1

We can also use the simulation dataset to look ahead to the remainder of the season and see which games (based on what we know now) will have significant playoff implications. The table below shows the top 10 week 2-17 games by total leverage.

WeekGameLeverage
17 DET @ GB 29.4%
2 PHI @ IND 28.1%
7 HOU @ PIT 27.8%
13 PHI @ DAL 27.2%
4 NO @ DAL 26.8%
2 DET @ CAR 26.3%
2 PIT @ BAL 26.2%
9 BAL @ PIT 25.9%
7 NO @ DET 25.8%
17 CIN @ PIT 25.7%

Of the top 10 high leverage games, three will take place next week.

Week 1 Cheat Sheet

And here is your cheat sheet for week 1. You can filter by game or team below. I have already filtered out any games that aren't statistically significant to a team's playoff chances.

Select Game: OR Select Team:

home team:
gamegame probteamplayoff probloseswinsswingleverage
CIN @ BAL 55.7% CIN 51.0% 64.0% 40.7% -23.3% 11.6%
NO @ ATL 46.9% NO 61.8% 72.2% 50.0% -22.2% 11.1%
CIN @ BAL 55.7% BAL 45.9% 33.7% 55.5% 21.8% 10.8%
NE @ MIA 41.0% MIA 29.5% 20.7% 42.0% 21.3% 10.5%
CAR @ TB 45.9% CAR 42.6% 52.0% 31.4% -20.6% 10.2%
CLE @ PIT 70.5% PIT 53.4% 37.8% 60.0% 22.1% 10.1%
NO @ ATL 46.9% ATL 28.2% 19.1% 38.5% 19.4% 9.7%
NYG @ DET 63.9% DET 36.6% 25.2% 43.1% 17.8% 8.6%
TEN @ KC 70.6% KC 39.3% 26.0% 44.8% 18.7% 8.5%
SF @ DAL 42.5% SF 72.5% 79.7% 62.7% -16.9% 8.4%
NE @ MIA 41.0% NE 82.0% 88.9% 72.1% -16.8% 8.3%
NYG @ DET 63.9% NYG 27.8% 38.7% 21.7% -17.1% 8.2%
SF @ DAL 42.5% DAL 35.4% 28.4% 44.9% 16.5% 8.2%
SD @ ARZ 59.9% SD 30.4% 39.4% 24.3% -15.2% 7.4%
GB @ SEA 65.5% SEA 79.2% 69.0% 84.6% 15.6% 7.4%
GB @ SEA 65.5% GB 68.7% 78.8% 63.4% -15.4% 7.3%
IND @ DEN 73.7% IND 64.7% 76.6% 60.5% -16.2% 7.1%
CLE @ PIT 70.5% CLE 17.0% 27.9% 12.4% -15.4% 7.0%
WAS @ HOU 59.1% HOU 42.5% 34.5% 48.0% 13.5% 6.6%
TEN @ KC 70.6% TEN 20.8% 30.8% 16.6% -14.2% 6.5%
BUF @ CHI 71.6% CHI 36.0% 26.3% 39.9% 13.5% 6.1%
JAC @ PHI 83.3% PHI 46.8% 33.4% 49.4% 16.0% 6.0%
CAR @ TB 45.9% TB 11.6% 6.5% 17.7% 11.3% 5.6%
WAS @ HOU 59.1% WAS 19.2% 25.6% 14.8% -10.9% 5.3%
BUF @ CHI 71.6% BUF 15.8% 23.9% 12.7% -11.2% 5.1%
SD @ ARZ 59.9% ARZ 18.3% 12.3% 22.3% 10.0% 4.9%
OAK @ NYJ 70.8% NYJ 15.0% 8.7% 17.7% 9.0% 4.1%
IND @ DEN 73.7% DEN 89.1% 82.5% 91.4% 8.9% 3.9%
MIN @ STL 64.0% STL 9.0% 4.6% 11.4% 6.8% 3.3%
MIN @ STL 64.0% MIN 6.2% 9.7% 4.2% -5.5% 2.7%
IND @ DEN 73.7% HOU 42.5% 38.7% 43.9% 5.1% 2.3%
NYG @ DET 63.9% PHI 46.8% 43.8% 48.4% 4.6% 2.2%
BUF @ CHI 71.6% SD 30.4% 27.5% 31.5% 4.0% 1.8%
JAC @ PHI 83.3% WAS 19.2% 23.2% 18.4% -4.7% 1.8%
NYG @ DET 63.9% HOU 42.5% 44.6% 41.3% -3.3% 1.6%
CIN @ BAL 55.7% HOU 42.5% 40.8% 43.9% 3.1% 1.6%
WAS @ HOU 59.1% DAL 35.4% 33.6% 36.7% 3.1% 1.5%
BUF @ CHI 71.6% DET 36.6% 38.8% 35.8% -3.1% 1.4%
OAK @ NYJ 70.8% CHI 36.0% 38.1% 35.2% -3.0% 1.4%
CAR @ TB 45.9% NE 82.0% 83.3% 80.6% -2.7% 1.3%
BUF @ CHI 71.6% MIA 29.5% 27.4% 30.3% 2.9% 1.3%
SF @ DAL 42.5% NYG 27.8% 28.9% 26.3% -2.6% 1.3%
WAS @ HOU 59.1% IND 64.7% 66.2% 63.7% -2.6% 1.3%
CAR @ TB 45.9% DAL 35.4% 34.3% 36.8% 2.5% 1.2%
CLE @ PIT 70.5% SEA 79.2% 81.1% 78.4% -2.6% 1.2%
WAS @ HOU 59.1% PHI 46.8% 45.3% 47.8% 2.5% 1.2%
WAS @ HOU 59.1% TEN 20.8% 22.2% 19.8% -2.4% 1.2%
WAS @ HOU 59.1% CIN 51.0% 52.5% 50.0% -2.4% 1.2%
NE @ MIA 41.0% CLE 17.0% 18.0% 15.6% -2.4% 1.2%
OAK @ NYJ 70.8% CAR 42.6% 44.4% 41.8% -2.6% 1.2%
JAC @ PHI 83.3% DAL 35.4% 38.0% 34.9% -3.1% 1.2%
SD @ ARZ 59.9% DEN 89.1% 87.7% 90.0% 2.3% 1.1%
CAR @ TB 45.9% ATL 28.2% 27.1% 29.4% 2.2% 1.1%
BUF @ CHI 71.6% NYJ 15.0% 13.3% 15.7% 2.4% 1.1%
MIN @ STL 64.0% CIN 51.0% 52.5% 50.2% -2.3% 1.1%
WAS @ HOU 59.1% KC 39.3% 40.6% 38.4% -2.2% 1.1%
CAR @ TB 45.9% CIN 51.0% 50.1% 52.2% 2.1% 1.0%
SF @ DAL 42.5% SEA 79.2% 78.3% 80.4% 2.1% 1.0%
SD @ ARZ 59.9% NE 82.0% 80.8% 82.9% 2.1% 1.0%
NO @ ATL 46.9% KC 39.3% 38.3% 40.4% 2.1% 1.0%
WAS @ HOU 59.1% CLE 17.0% 18.2% 16.2% -2.0% 1.0%
IND @ DEN 73.7% TEN 20.8% 19.1% 21.4% 2.3% 1.0%
OAK @ NYJ 70.8% KC 39.3% 40.8% 38.6% -2.2% 1.0%
NE @ MIA 41.0% BAL 45.9% 46.7% 44.7% -2.0% 1.0%
JAC @ PHI 83.3% HOU 42.5% 40.3% 42.9% 2.6% 1.0%
NYG @ DET 63.9% GB 68.7% 70.0% 68.0% -2.0% 1.0%
BUF @ CHI 71.6% GB 68.7% 70.3% 68.1% -2.1% 1.0%
SD @ ARZ 59.9% TEN 20.8% 19.7% 21.6% 1.9% 0.9%
OAK @ NYJ 70.8% GB 68.7% 67.3% 69.3% 2.0% 0.9%
CLE @ PIT 70.5% BUF 15.8% 17.3% 15.3% -2.0% 0.9%
IND @ DEN 73.7% MIA 29.5% 31.0% 28.9% -2.1% 0.9%
CIN @ BAL 55.7% NYJ 15.0% 16.0% 14.2% -1.8% 0.9%
OAK @ NYJ 70.8% OAK 1.3% 2.6% 0.8% -1.8% 0.8%
BUF @ CHI 71.6% SEA 79.2% 80.5% 78.7% -1.8% 0.8%
GB @ SEA 65.5% NYJ 15.0% 16.1% 14.5% -1.7% 0.8%
NYG @ DET 63.9% STL 9.0% 10.0% 8.4% -1.6% 0.8%
MIN @ STL 64.0% TB 11.6% 10.6% 12.2% 1.6% 0.8%
WAS @ HOU 59.1% NYJ 15.0% 15.9% 14.4% -1.5% 0.7%
JAC @ PHI 83.3% JAC 2.2% 3.7% 1.9% -1.8% 0.7%
WAS @ HOU 59.1% MIN 6.2% 5.5% 6.7% 1.2% 0.6%
GB @ SEA 65.5% JAC 2.2% 1.8% 2.4% 0.6% 0.3%

4 comments:

  1. Is it me or is HOU missing from the 'Select Team' dropdown? Btw great site, love the leverage concept. Is is not too early!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not just you. It should be fixed now (I changed some team codes this year to match the official NFL versions).

      Delete
  2. Why does the NYG @ DET outcome affect the HOU playoff probability? Also, the TEN @ KC game doesn't seem to affect their probabilities, whereas I'd think it had some effect.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My guess is statistical fluctuations in the simulation sample. I'm exploring other ways of filtering out that noise.

      TEN-KC may be due to the Texans vying for a division title against TEN and a wild card berth against KC. The outcome would affect how they get into the playoffs, but maybe the overall impact is a wash.

      Delete