P-ing on the NFL: predicting 2012 wins and losses

By
Updated: July 18, 2013

WCSN SportsNerd columnist Andy Froehle reveals that the winners of over 70 percent of 2012 NFL regular-season games could be picked successfully based on the year-to-date statistical ratings of the teams.

You missed it, didn’t you? Yeah, you did.

Fear not, my little chickadees: SportsNerd is back and in full effect, so dry up those tears of joy and brace yourself to get smacked upside the head with a slide rule. We’re coming at you this time with the new, shiny, magical results of the most exciting multivariate statistical tool known to humankind: discriminant function analysis.

Predicting single-game outcomes

About nine months ago, your SportsNerds presented you with a series of articles detailing the revolutionary results of our principal components analysis (PCA), which identified key vectors (sets of variables) that determine winning percentage over the course of a season. In this current installment, we introduce the newest study to come out of our lab, which used the PCA equations and single-game data from 2012 to calculate the year-to-date (YTD) quality of play for each team going into each week of the season. Those YTD data were then fed into a discriminant function analysis in order to predict winners and losers in head-to-head matchups. Whatever your grasp of multivariate statistical analysis is, you should find these results rather exciting.

Here’s a teaser: this analysis was able to correctly pick the winner and loser in over 72% of 2012 regular-season games. With some post hoc adjustment involving home-field advantage, it was it was further able to explain another 17% of wins and losses. That means the outcomes of an incredible 89.7% percent of the 255 games were explained in this analysis. (We left out the tie between the St. Louis Rams and San Francisco 49ers for statistical reasons — and because, really, who ties anymore?)

About the author(s)

SportsNerd columnist Co-winner of the prestigious Water Cooler Sports Award for Best Statistical Study, Andy Froehle is proud to call the Green Bay Packers his team (literally: he has a worthless piece of paper that says so!). Andy uses statistical analysis extensively in his work and is interested in applying the same kinds of techniques to analyzing football data, with the chief goal of making your math-hole bleed a little bit. Feel free to contact him with any questions, comments, rants, raves, suggestions for future analyses at [email protected] . He also accepts donations in cash or in kind.

1297 comments
bp.
bp.

Ggg Is OuT Cunnies.

falconsriseup19
falconsriseup19

@Allsaintsrow - we need a saints fan for our ESPN FF leauge. its for those who were from the ESPN blog, care to join?

rocketman6969
rocketman6969

Hurray database rebuilds and data recovery. When end of day hits, I'm gonna look like this. 

Childerz...
Childerz...

Likewise i'm out to do some work. PEACE 

Childerz...
Childerz...

Hmmm I don't like MN having a week 5 bye week.. I don't think Bye weeks should start till after week 8. but we have a pretty favorable schedule to start the season.. all 4 should be winnable games.. @Det @Chic, then Browns at home and Steelers in London... out of the Bye could be tough. 

AllSaintsRow
AllSaintsRow

no thanks, I cant really get into playing FF. Thanks for the offer though :)

Niners_Never_Die
Niners_Never_Die

 It's Friday! I try to have all my work done by today so I can sit online and bullshit. 8 hours to do 2 server patches. LOL

AllSaintsRow
AllSaintsRow

Thats a guy in a gorilla suit. You can see the zipper

DanOnWis23
DanOnWis23

 If you do some today, they are going to start expecting some every day.

G & G
G & G moderator

 HAve a good weekend!

DanOnWis23
DanOnWis23

 What is this "work" you speak of?

DanOnWis23
DanOnWis23

If they pushed all the bye weeks into the weeks 8-11 slot, it would kill fantasy football as we know it.


Also, if you think of the season as 22 weeks long (pre-season and training camp) then week 5 is just before the middle.

falconsriseup19
falconsriseup19

 bye weeks start when MLB playoffs do. its for the $

thebaskett
thebaskett

if we can go 3-1 it will be an awesome start. Ill take 2-2.. but anything less than that will be hard to come back from with this schedule

Kuato Face
Kuato Face moderator

  I am pretty sure that is a real Silverback. They can walk like that if they want to. I see no zippers. 

DanOnWis23
DanOnWis23

  yeah, but it's probably a midget, so it's still awesome.

Childerz...
Childerz...

 they will go no worse in that stretch than 2-2

Childerz...
Childerz...

 Agreed only thing I like out of the bye is we get Car @ home 

Childerz...
Childerz...

  Detroit and Chicago should be beatable teams this year... they didn't change much from last year. 

thebaskett
thebaskett

  as a fan i love early byes,, get them out of the way early, so i can watch them every sunday from there on out. I do hate them for the team though

Childerz...
Childerz...

 Early Bye's are the dumbest. and yet they blab about player safety. 

Kuato Face
Kuato Face moderator

  Well you never know with some people. Some people seem to think everything on the web is fake.

AllSaintsRow
AllSaintsRow

I was joking, GAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

DanOnWis23
DanOnWis23

And sometimes something stronger than the "like" button is needed.

G & G
G & G moderator

   They prefer to be called "Jim Schwartz"

thebaskett
thebaskett

    but its such a fine site to see

Maized and Confused
Maized and Confused

    

Whatever you do, do NOT stand on a corner in Winslow, Arizona

thebaskett
thebaskett

   Ive got worlds of trouble on my mind

AllSaintsRow
AllSaintsRow

  You are a cornucopia of memes and songs.

DanOnWis23
DanOnWis23

  They are willing to wait until Monday for some lumber?

DanOnWis23
DanOnWis23

  Straitening up people with your lumber?

Johnathan Wood
Johnathan Wood moderator

  Trent Richardson was typically one of the top 20 players drafted last year.  I guarantee you somebody drafted him, and he probably started most of the year.  The dude had over 300 touches.

DanOnWis23
DanOnWis23

  That's possible, but we are also a small league with small rosters (10 teams, 12 players per team, as as PPR some teams take a 5th WR rather than a 4th RB).

Johnathan Wood
Johnathan Wood moderator

 really?  I find it hard to believe nobody drafted Trent Richardson last year

DanOnWis23
DanOnWis23

I was about to say that about the Browns, but then I realized no one watches them even with Fantasy.  I think it's been 3 years running that not a single Brown was drafted in my league

Big Cheese
Big Cheese

  

But then no one will watch the Eagles.

robertj72
robertj72

  nah wash should be one of the easier matches...5 wins..bank on it.

robertj72
robertj72

  you can go back to my SB article and verify...not your faulty memory of last summer, All Saint.

Childerz...
Childerz...

 I'll bank on Minnesota's history as a winning franchise over anyone predicitons also last year at the dome they'll match last years record 7-1 @ home. none of the teams we play at home this year really scare me outside of GB and MAAAAAAAAAAAAAAybe Washington.. but we should've beat Washington @ wash last year. 

AllSaintsRow
AllSaintsRow

here we go about you being right about your wrong predictions. 

robertj72
robertj72

  All my predictions last year...granted it was only two. I wrote an article...just as I will before this year with W-L predictions.

Childerz...
Childerz...

 So far? The season hasn't even started. 

robertj72
robertj72

  we will see so far my predictions have been right...can LKP say that?

Childerz...
Childerz...

 you're like the LKP of the south. 

robertj72
robertj72

  wrong...Minn wins 5 games all year and loses all but Cleve in that stretch

Childerz...
Childerz...

 its definitely a proving year for Ponder rubber hit sthe road.. no excuses this year we went out and got WR's to help Ponder 

thebaskett
thebaskett

  exactly.. tough schedule with so much on the line for Ponder and Frazier

Childerz...
Childerz...

 and put Turf spikes in the ground. 

thebaskett
thebaskett

  its because they flood the field to stop AP

Childerz...
Childerz...

 Chicago worries me more than Detroit does though. we always suck in Chicago. 

Childerz...
Childerz...

 I think Chicago is going to be a real wild card this year. 

Childerz...
Childerz...

 As a fan its great more football... lol