Thursday, September 18, 2014

Playoff Implications - Week 3

After a one week hiatus, playoff implications are back for week 3. The purpose of this feature is to highlight games that have a significant impact on the playoff picture (see this post for background).

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. The interactive table at the bottom of the post will allow you to see corresponding results for any game or team.

Ranking Week 3 Games by Leverage

The table below ranks the week 3 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
GB @ DET 24.3%
SF @ ARZ 22.1%
PIT @ CAR 21.3%
SD @ BUF 20.9%
WAS @ PHI 18.5%
BAL @ CLE 17.9%
MIN @ NO 15.6%
TEN @ CIN 15.5%
CHI @ NYJ 15.1%
IND @ JAC 13.9%
TB @ ATL 12.5%
KC @ MIA 12.3%
HOU @ NYG 12.2%
DAL @ STL 11.0%
DEN @ SEA 8.8%
OAK @ NE 5.6%

The high leverage game of the week features two AFC North teams, a division in which all four teams find themselves at 1-1, and even the Vikings have a fighting chance at making the playoffs (recent legal troubles not withstanding).

Beyond Week 3

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 4-17 games by total leverage.

WeekGameLeverage
7 NO @ DET 28.1%
4 CAR @ BAL 27.2%
9 BAL @ PIT 26.4%
4 PHI @ SF 25.5%
17 DET @ GB 25.5%
13 PHI @ DAL 25.3%
9 NO @ CAR 25.3%
7 ATL @ BAL 25.2%
6 GB @ MIA 25.1%
17 CAR @ ATL 24.8%

Week 3 Cheat Sheet

And here is your cheat sheet for week 3. 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
GB @ DET 55.2% DET 46.2% 32.1% 57.7% 25.6% 12.7%
SF @ ARZ 37.6% SF 67.5% 76.6% 52.4% -24.2% 11.7%
GB @ DET 55.2% GB 66.0% 78.9% 55.6% -23.3% 11.6%
BAL @ CLE 44.3% BAL 45.6% 55.7% 33.0% -22.7% 11.3%
SD @ BUF 56.6% SD 31.4% 43.4% 22.3% -21.1% 10.4%
SF @ ARZ 37.6% ARZ 28.4% 20.4% 41.8% 21.5% 10.4%
SD @ BUF 56.6% BUF 32.0% 20.8% 40.5% 19.7% 9.8%
WAS @ PHI 72.3% PHI 73.0% 58.2% 78.7% 20.5% 9.2%
PIT @ CAR 62.6% PIT 38.6% 50.2% 31.6% -18.6% 9.0%
TB @ ATL 71.6% ATL 30.7% 17.3% 36.1% 18.8% 8.5%
IND @ JAC 28.2% IND 39.5% 44.6% 26.5% -18.1% 8.1%
KC @ MIA 65.1% MIA 35.1% 24.1% 41.0% 16.9% 8.0%
WAS @ PHI 72.3% WAS 16.8% 29.8% 11.8% -18.0% 8.0%
TEN @ CIN 71.5% TEN 25.9% 38.4% 21.0% -17.4% 7.9%
PIT @ CAR 62.6% CAR 60.2% 50.1% 66.3% 16.1% 7.8%
MIN @ NO 79.8% NO 51.4% 36.2% 55.2% 19.1% 7.7%
TEN @ CIN 71.5% CIN 73.5% 61.5% 78.3% 16.9% 7.6%
DAL @ STL 46.9% DAL 28.2% 34.6% 20.9% -13.7% 6.8%
HOU @ NYG 41.3% HOU 70.2% 75.8% 62.1% -13.7% 6.7%
BAL @ CLE 44.3% CLE 13.0% 7.2% 20.4% 13.3% 6.6%
CHI @ NYJ 59.1% CHI 21.5% 28.6% 16.6% -11.9% 5.9%
CHI @ NYJ 59.1% NYJ 14.9% 8.9% 19.1% 10.3% 5.0%
MIN @ NO 79.8% MIN 12.3% 22.1% 9.9% -12.2% 4.9%
DEN @ SEA 66.6% SEA 87.4% 80.8% 90.7% 9.9% 4.7%
OAK @ NE 88.4% NE 80.6% 69.1% 82.1% 13.1% 4.2%
KC @ MIA 65.1% KC 4.2% 7.8% 2.3% -5.5% 2.6%
PIT @ CAR 62.6% CIN 73.5% 70.2% 75.5% 5.3% 2.6%
TB @ ATL 71.6% CAR 60.2% 64.0% 58.7% -5.2% 2.4%
DAL @ STL 46.9% PHI 73.0% 70.9% 75.5% 4.6% 2.3%
HOU @ NYG 41.3% IND 39.5% 37.6% 42.1% 4.5% 2.2%
IND @ JAC 28.2% HOU 70.2% 68.8% 73.6% 4.9% 2.2%
HOU @ NYG 41.3% NYG 4.7% 3.0% 7.0% 4.0% 2.0%
PIT @ CAR 62.6% NO 51.4% 53.9% 49.9% -4.1% 2.0%
DAL @ STL 46.9% STL 3.3% 1.6% 5.3% 3.7% 1.8%
IND @ JAC 28.2% TEN 25.9% 24.8% 28.8% 3.9% 1.8%
MIN @ NO 79.8% CAR 60.2% 63.7% 59.3% -4.4% 1.8%
TB @ ATL 71.6% TB 2.1% 4.8% 1.1% -3.7% 1.7%
KC @ MIA 65.1% BUF 32.0% 34.2% 30.8% -3.5% 1.7%
DEN @ SEA 66.6% DEN 94.7% 96.9% 93.6% -3.3% 1.6%
CHI @ NYJ 59.1% GB 66.0% 64.2% 67.3% 3.1% 1.5%
OAK @ NE 88.4% DAL 28.2% 24.3% 28.7% 4.4% 1.4%
DEN @ SEA 66.6% SD 31.4% 29.5% 32.4% 2.9% 1.4%
IND @ JAC 28.2% MIA 35.1% 34.2% 37.2% 3.0% 1.3%
CHI @ NYJ 59.1% SD 31.4% 33.0% 30.3% -2.7% 1.3%
HOU @ NYG 41.3% MIA 35.1% 34.0% 36.6% 2.7% 1.3%
WAS @ PHI 72.3% DAL 28.2% 30.3% 27.4% -2.9% 1.3%
CHI @ NYJ 59.1% ARZ 28.4% 26.9% 29.5% 2.6% 1.3%
MIN @ NO 79.8% ARZ 28.4% 31.0% 27.8% -3.1% 1.3%
DEN @ SEA 66.6% ARZ 28.4% 30.1% 27.6% -2.5% 1.2%
SD @ BUF 56.6% DEN 94.7% 94.0% 95.3% 1.3% 0.6%
IND @ JAC 28.2% JAC 0.4% 0.2% 1.1% 1.0% 0.4%

2 comments:

  1. I like these rankings, but any chance you could generate them using the odds of eventually winning the Super Bowl, instead of just the odds of making the playoffs? I've noticed that you often have games between likely playoff teams (like DEN@SEA this week) rated as relatively low leverage, when in fact the potential swing in playoff seeding means they are much more important. A late-season game between two teams on the bubble for 6 seeds is much less likely to affect the eventual champion than a game between clinched playoff teams that determines who is likely to get a bye or home field.

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    Replies
    1. That's a good idea. I have the code to run through the playoff probabilities (given the seeds), but I haven't had a chance to merge it with my playoff seed code. But it's on the to-do list.

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