Projecting NFL Win Totals

With the better part of the NFL offseason behind us, I figured I’d take a look at NFL season win totals and see where there may be value. I’ve created a model that runs through every NFL game and predicts the win probabilities of each team. Here are the factors the model takes into account when assigning these probabilities:

  • Last season success
  • Free agent acquisitions/departures
  • Acquisitions/departures via trade
  • Total team draft capital (post draft day trades)

Using a modified version of each team’s final 2018-2019 SRS metric, I added or subtracted from each team’s final number based on value added over the offseason. For free agency and trades, I used the 2018-2019 AV of each player as a baseline. For the draft, I used the total draft capital of each team after all draft day trades were completed. After adding or subtracting based on these parameters, I arrived at a new modified SRS score for each team.

Using the new SRS scores, I simulated every regular season game to get a projected win total for each team. Here are the results:

Team

Model Total O/U Difference
New England Patriots 11.002 11

+0.002

Los Angeles Rams 13.105 10.5 +2.605
New Orleans Saints 12.740 10.5 +2.240
Kansas City Chiefs 12.402 10.5 +1.902
Philadelphia Eagles 11.749 9.5 +2.249
Chicago Bears 11.690 9.5 +2.190
Los Angeles Chargers 11.267 9.5 +1.767
Cleveland Browns 10.580 9.5 +1.080
Indianapolis Colts 10.192 9.5 +0.692
Pittsburgh Steelers 10.232 9 +1.232
Dallas Cowboys 9.397 9 +0.397
Green Bay Packers 6.157 9 -2.843
Baltimore Ravens 10.131 8.5 +1.631
Houston Texans 9.939 8.5 +1.439
Seattle Seahawks 9.470 8.5 +0.970
Minnesota Vikings 6.764 8.5 -1.736
Atlanta Falcons 6.344 8.5 -2.156
Tennessee Titans 7.632 8 -0.368
Jacksonville Jaguars 3.191 8 -4.809
San Francisco 49ers 6.684 7.5 -0.816
New York Jets 4.663 7.5 -2.837
Carolina Panthers 8.647 7 +1.647
Buffalo Bills 7.822 6.5 +1.322
Denver Broncos 5.133 6.5 -1.367
Washington Redskins 4.346 6.5 -2.154
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 4.186 6.5 -2.314
Detroit Lions 7.529 6 +1.529
Oakland Raiders 6.059 6 +0.059
New York Giants 8.658 5.5 +3.158
Arizona Cardinals 1.816 5 -3.184
Miami Dolphins 0.006 4.5 -4.494
Cincinnati Bengals 6.463 4 +2.463

Given these projections, there are a few totals that seem to have value. Here are the picks that have a model-total difference of more than one standard deviation:

LAR o10.5
NO o10.5
PHI o9.5
GB u9
JAX u8
NYJ u7.5
TB u6.5
NYG o5.5
ARI u5
MIA u4.5
CIN o4

While I tried to include as many factors as I could, there are a lot of non-quantifiable factors that will have a big impact on how the seasons unfold. Things like coaching changes, player progression/regression, and draft class impact are all things that cannot have a number put on them, so it will be interesting to see how the picks turn out.

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