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Posted at 6:08 AM ET, 12/ 2/2010

Statistical analysis: A sliver of playoff hope

By Brian Burke
Statistical analysis

With the loss to Minnesota, the Redskins' playoff chances hang by the proverbial thread. They need to win all their remaining games to be assured of a spot, but going 4-1 down the stretch would keep their hopes alive. In total I estimate they have a 2 percent chance of earning a playoff berth. They have a much better chance of falling into fourth place in the division behind Dallas--17 percent.

What's the point? Down by 10 in the second half, Coach Mike Shanahan opted for two field-goal attempts, whittling the ultimate deficit down to 4 points. Why bother? With just less than 14 minutes left in the game, the Redskins brought out the field-goal unit on 4th and 3 from the Minnesota 21. Sure, the Redskins needed a field goal and a touchdown to tie the game, but that only ties it. Plus, it assumes the Vikings would not score for the entire fourth quarter. This kind of thinking is charmingly optimistic. It relies on making the field goal, shutting out the opponent, scoring a touchdown, and then either winning the coin toss in overtime or forcing a punt or turnover, plus scoring on their own to win. Statistically, the better play is to go for it on 4th and 3. The team is in a bind either way, but going for the conversion on fourth down would have given the Redskins the best chance of winning by a margin of 24 percent to 20 percent. Teams trailing by two scores in the fourth quarter need to start using all four downs.

Brandon Banks has been a bright spot for the Redskins this season. Although his punt returns have been unremarkable, his kickoff returns have been electric. In total so far, his returns have generated 16 Expected Points Added (EPA) -- that is, 16 points worth of net score advantage. Essentially, every marginal yard of field position is worth 0.06 points, either in terms of increasing your offense's chances of scoring or in terms of making it harder on the opposition to score on a subsequent drive. On gadget plays and other plays from scrimmage, Banks has lost 2.7 EPA. But one of his best plays of the year was blocking an Adam Vinatieri field goal, worth 0.9 EPA and 0.13 Win Probability Added (WPA).

It was obvious that the Redskins missed LaRon Landry on Sunday. Despite playing two fewer games than most other safeties, Landry still leads the league in defensive +WPA, and is near the top in +EPA.

Things aren't getting easier. This Sunday the Redskins travel to New York to play the Giants, a team who needs the win to keep pace in the NFC playoff hunt. The Giants are near the top of league in several important statistical categories, including passing efficiency on both offense and defense. Plus they are extremely consistent on both sides of the ball, with the league's best overall Success Rate -- the percentage of plays that are "victories" on either side of the ball. The Giants' net offensive pass efficiency is 7.1 Yards Per Attempt (YPA) compared to 6.2 for the Redskins. (6.3 YPA is league average.) On defense the Giants allow only 5.7 YPA, while the Redskins allow 6.6 YPA. The Giants are going to look to run the ball to keep their turnover problems in check and exploit a big advantage against the Redskins. They're fifth best in the league, averaging 4.7 Yards Per Carry (YPC), and the Redskins are tied for last in the league, allowing 4.9 YPC. (4.2 YPC is average).


Brian Burke is the creator of Advanced NFL Stats, a Web site about football, statistics and game theory.

By Brian Burke  | December 2, 2010; 6:08 AM ET
Categories:  Statistical analysis  
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Next: Donovan McNabb hopes to keep Giants rushers on their heels

Comments

first, crick crick....

Posted by: outsourced_in_va | December 2, 2010 6:48 AM | Report abuse


ahhh, a thread that doesn't play a video everytime you hit f5. how refreshing

Posted by: hessone | December 2, 2010 6:55 AM | Report abuse

Diesel44

we should have signed Westbrook contingency. We offered him a contract and he chose SF

This is the best observation anyone has made in about a month.

And there are a number of corollary issues associated with it:

--we didn't want to pay Pashos or Clifton or Jones to play tackle, but chose to spend a draft pick on an injured Jammal Brown

--we revamped the defense, but didn't want to pay Larry Foote or Joey Porter to play opposite Brian Orakpo (remember--the 3-4 needs two excellent outside linebackers)

--I'm still trying to think of something positive to say about Adam Carriker or Maake Kemoteau

--we won't even get into the issue of depending on AH to play nose guard when he adamantly refused to

But:

--Anthony Armstrong has proven to be a nice find as has Brandon Banks

--if he can stay healthy, Ryan Torain might be a solid runningback option

--allowing LaRon Landry to play SS has brought out his value as a top pick

--McNabb has provided some stability to the quarterback position

--and the team jettisoned much of the dregs players from the days of Spurrier, Marty, Gibbs, and Zorn

Our team glass is half full or half empty.

And we'll spend the rest of the season swallowing the bitter dregs of rebuilding.

Posted by: MistaMoe | December 2, 2010 7:23 AM | Report abuse

StatGeek:

"Brandon Banks has been a bright spot for the Redskins this season. Although his punt returns have been unremarkable..."


Hey, StatGeek, check your numbers again. Banks's punt returns have averaged 11.3 yards. There are only six guys in the league who have returned more than 20 punts and have a better average than that. (For kickoffs, he's fifth in the league.)

I think they're remarkable. Here's my remark: Banks is bringing it on punt returns. Big WPA's for a little guy. You doubt it? Then show me your stats that prove me wrong.

Posted by: beep-beep | December 2, 2010 7:36 AM | Report abuse

Hey, StatGeek

Posted by: beep-beep | December 2, 2010 7:36 AM

Well it certainly doesn't have the same impact as NERD...but I like it!

BB blocked a kick in the Colts game? I musta been taking a leak.

Posted by: PlayAction | December 2, 2010 8:18 AM | Report abuse

moe, thats the thing with torian, he's just not gonna stay healthy...he could be a tremendous talent, however his body betray's him...

Agreed on Armstrong, however his inconsistencies in catching the ball are maddening, although given the propensity that Moss/Cooley are dropping them, he fits right in...

Posted by: BeantownGreg1 | December 2, 2010 8:18 AM | Report abuse

This doesn't figure in the role of momentum in the game outcome. If you miss the 4th and three, the Defense heads back on the field deflated.

Posted by: Redskinrex | December 2, 2010 8:25 AM | Report abuse

Our chances of making the playoffs with this OL and DL..

0.0

Posted by: Diesel44 | December 2, 2010 8:29 AM | Report abuse


Agreed on Armstrong, however his inconsistencies in catching the ball are maddening, although given the propensity that Moss/Cooley are dropping them, he fits right in...

Posted by: BeantownGreg1 | December 2, 2010 8:18 AM |
--------------

does art monk have a son that's old enough to play for the redskins ?

armstrong needs to hold onto the ball to stick in the nfl, but moss and cooley are veteran receivers that have no excuses for their performance and should be shown the door. I'll add that their untimely fumbles hurt more than their drops

Posted by: hessone | December 2, 2010 8:31 AM | Report abuse

This doesn't figure in the role of momentum in the game outcome. If you miss the 4th and three, the Defense heads back on the field deflated.

Posted by: Redskinrex | December 2, 2010 8:25 AM

If the proabablities are based on past results with this scenario...then it does take that into account I would think.

Posted by: PlayAction | December 2, 2010 8:33 AM | Report abuse

"I'd say more like 1 in a million"

"So you're saying there's a chance?"........

"ALLRIGHT!!!"

Posted by: REDneckSKINhead | December 2, 2010 8:34 AM | Report abuse

"Banks has lost 2.7 EPA. But one of his best plays of the year was blocking an Adam Vinatieri field goal, worth 0.9 EPA"

Huh? When did this happen?

Posted by: mack1 | December 2, 2010 8:38 AM | Report abuse

NNNNNEEEEEERRRRRRDDDDDD!

He's how I envision what beep-beep looks like, except a little fatter and a lot NERDIER!!! Is that a word?

Posted by: monk811 | December 2, 2010 8:40 AM | Report abuse

hess, no football player is perfect, you cannot simply GUT the team, cutting moss/cooley is foolish at best....you'd have no one to throw too...

Posted by: BeantownGreg1 | December 2, 2010 8:42 AM | Report abuse

"Banks has lost 2.7 EPA. But one of his best plays of the year was blocking an Adam Vinatieri field goal, worth 0.9 EPA"

Huh? When did this happen?

Posted by: mack1 | December 2, 2010 8:38 AM | Report abuse

Since this NERD looks like he's one of the characters off of Star Trek: The Next Generation, my guess is it happened in the future! Beam me up Scottie......

Posted by: monk811 | December 2, 2010 8:43 AM | Report abuse

Huh? When did this happen?

Posted by: mack1 | December 2, 2010 8:38 AM |

Had to look it up...was right before the half...not sure where I was haha

Posted by: PlayAction | December 2, 2010 8:43 AM | Report abuse

hess, no football player is perfect

Posted by: BeantownGreg1 | December 2, 2010 8:42 AM

Tom Brady is perfect

Posted by: PlayAction | December 2, 2010 8:50 AM | Report abuse

On gadget plays and other plays from scrimmage, Banks has lost 2.7 EPA. But one of his best plays of the year was blocking an Adam Vinatieri field goal.

Did Phillip Daniels toss him up in the air or something?

Posted by: MColeman51 | December 2, 2010 8:52 AM | Report abuse

We don't want playoffs.... we want someone who will trade up for our #10 pick to get Mallet/Locker....giving us an extra pick in the 2nd or 3rd round...

Get a C, RG, RB with top 3 picks and sign Vincent Jackson and James Jones.

Jackson, Jones, Moss, Kelly, Armstrong, Austin, Banks at WR. Solid.

Drafted RB, Torain, Williams, Portis (situational) at RB. Good enough.

Williams and a couple of high draft picks on line. Good enough.

Posted by: Rypien11 | December 2, 2010 8:53 AM | Report abuse

In total I estimate they have a 2 percent chance of earning a playoff berth.
Brian Burke


In total, I give him a less than 2 percent chance of getting laid!!!

Posted by: monk811 | December 2, 2010 9:00 AM | Report abuse

sounds good ryp...i concur 100 percent...

Posted by: BeantownGreg1 | December 2, 2010 9:00 AM | Report abuse

Our chances of making the playoffs with this OL and DL..

0.0

Posted by: Diesel44 | December 2, 2010 8:29 AM | Report abuse
Diesel, you get an A+ in stats for this exam.

Posted by: frediefritz | December 2, 2010 9:01 AM | Report abuse

This dude couldn't get laid in a woman's prison with a fist-full of pardons.

Posted by: Personal_Fowl | December 2, 2010 9:01 AM | Report abuse

Our team glass is half full or half empty.


Posted by: MistaMoe | December 2, 2010 7:23 AM | Report abuse

I'd say it's half full. You're right Moe, we got rid of all that dead weight early in the year (ie. El, Grif, RThomas, etc.), we've got a LT of the future, a KR/PR of the future, and a starting QB that just needs a couple guards and a starting WR to succeed. All these Chicken Littles in here need to chill out. It's the FIRST YEAR under new coaching and systems, plus we've still won more games than last year and the year isn't over yet. Lastly, and this is the sad thing, is that our sucky OLine is STILL better than last year's!!! How did we ever make it through that nightmare.......

Posted by: monk811 | December 2, 2010 9:08 AM | Report abuse

StatGeek:

"Brandon Banks has been a bright spot for the Redskins this season. Although his punt returns have been unremarkable..."


Hey, StatGeek, check your numbers again. Banks's punt returns have averaged 11.3 yards. There are only six guys in the league who have returned more than 20 punts and have a better average than that. (For kickoffs, he's fifth in the league.)

I think they're remarkable. Here's my remark: Banks is bringing it on punt returns. Big WPA's for a little guy. You doubt it? Then show me your stats that prove me wrong.

Posted by: beep-beep | December 2, 2010 7:36 AM | Report abuse

Brandon Banks's punt return stats would be even more spectacular if not for all of the block in the back penalties that have negated long returns and even a few touchdowns.

Posted by: RedskinJim1 | December 2, 2010 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Rypien11

we want someone who will trade up for our #10 pick to get Mallet/Locker....giving us an extra pick in the 2nd or 3rd round...

I say 'yes' and 'no' to this.

If R Mallet is there when we have to pick, we'd be fools not to take him.

We could and should move AH for mid round type picks to get added value in linemen.

Donovan McNabb is 35.

And we should get his replacement out of one of the very good young quarterbacks coming out this year, IMO.

Posted by: MistaMoe | December 2, 2010 9:15 AM | Report abuse


hess, no football player is perfect, you cannot simply GUT the team, cutting moss/cooley is foolish at best....you'd have no one to throw too...

Posted by: BeantownGreg1 | December 2, 2010 8:42 AM |

greg, you've been calling for youth. as it stands, we have no one to throw to, so what's the difference ? cut ties with these guys that can't produce and move on or stay old, slow, and non-competitive

Posted by: hessone | December 2, 2010 9:21 AM | Report abuse

hess, no football player is perfect, you cannot simply GUT the team, cutting moss/cooley is foolish at best....you'd have no one to throw too...

Posted by: BeantownGreg1 | December 2, 2010 8:42 AM |

greg, you've been calling for youth. as it stands, we have no one to throw to, so what's the difference ? cut ties with these guys that can't produce and move on or stay old, slow, and non-competitive

Posted by: hessone | December 2, 2010 9:21 AM |

I agree. Cut shessone's dive ass. Dead weight and non-productive.

Posted by: Personal_Fowl | December 2, 2010 9:26 AM | Report abuse


Personal_Fowl = racist n_p_i

Posted by: hessone | December 2, 2010 9:31 AM | Report abuse

I have a feeling this is going to be a very fun day on RI.

Posted by: PlayAction | December 2, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse

I have a feeling this is going to be a very fun day on RI.

Posted by: PlayAction | December 2, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse

What makes you think that? Is it the NERD posts or the potential blog fight between PF and hess?

Posted by: monk811 | December 2, 2010 9:38 AM | Report abuse

I have a feeling this is going to be a very fun day on RI.

Posted by: PlayAction | December 2, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse

What makes you think that? Is it the NERD posts or the potential blog fight between PF and hess?

Posted by: monk811 | December 2, 2010 9:38 AM

Its kind of quiet this morning...with a few warning shots sprinkled in...the smell of napalm growing stronger and stronger...its going to be a fun day.

Posted by: PlayAction | December 2, 2010 9:46 AM | Report abuse

I'm ok with Moss leaving in Free Agency in the offseason but Cooley is still under contract and he's only 28.

Tight End is position that relies on craftyness and smarts more than speed so Cooley can continue to be a productive player into his 30's.

Posted by: Original_etrod | December 2, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Thanks Greg... Moe I don't think we get value in an AH trade unless we get at least a high 3rd for him... he can still be a beast situationally and our D-line is pathetic.

Mallet is a good prospect, but I don't know if its time to go after our QB of the future yet unless Shanny is truly in love with one.... gotta build the moat before you put the princess in the tower...

Posted by: Rypien11 | December 2, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Its kind of quiet this morning...with a few warning shots sprinkled in...the smell of napalm growing stronger and stronger...its going to be a fun day.

Posted by: PlayAction | December 2, 2010 9:46 AM | Report abuse

If the word 'racist' is napalm, them the N word is the Atom Bomb, I'm not getting in the middle of that battle field!

That's right, I have to start calling you TweedleDee don't I?

Posted by: monk811 | December 2, 2010 9:55 AM | Report abuse

O-Etrod

I'm ok with Moss leaving in Free Agency in the offseason


I dunno.

I'd resign Moss to a 2 year deal with some nice upfront money, and then go after VJax with big money.

Next year, I feature:

Jackson-Moss-Cooley-Armstrong

If you are signalling your committment to D McNabb with an extension, then get him a nice array of targets.

Those four guys plus some drafted interior linemen are a nice start.

Posted by: MistaMoe | December 2, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

TWO dive ass posts. Pick one and move on you NERDS!

Posted by: monk811 | December 2, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse

That's right, I have to start calling you TweedleDee don't I?

Posted by: monk811 | December 2, 2010 9:55 AM

Well according to the Almighty and Powerful Oz of the board you do.

Posted by: PlayAction | December 2, 2010 10:28 AM | Report abuse

omg... i see people are still harping on moss (and cooley) for those drops last week. they're both probably still among the leaders not dropping the ball, and they're our BEST RECEIVERS. the idea that we're bettor off w/o them is insane.

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | December 2, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

I dunno.

I'd resign Moss to a 2 year deal with some nice upfront money, and then go after VJax with big money.

Next year, I feature:

Jackson-Moss-Cooley-Armstrong

If you are signaling your commitment to D McNabb with an extension, then get him a nice array of targets.

Those four guys plus some drafted interior linemen are a nice start.

Posted by: MistaMoe | December 2, 2010 10:18 AM

Co-sign that.

Moving Moss to the slot = moving Landry up to SS near the line.

Posted by: edvar | December 2, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

omg... i see people are still harping on moss (and cooley) for those drops last week. they're both probably still among the leaders not dropping the ball, and they're our BEST RECEIVERS. the idea that we're bettor off w/o them is insane.

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | December 2, 2010 10:31 AM |

I hear you. That and the propensity to covet other teams' players and hastily project them into the lineup.

What an insane exercise. VJax now has two bum calves and could probably be caught from behind by Haynesworth while he's eating a bearclaw.

I wonder how many other teams' fans are wishing they had someone from the Redskins.

ColtsFan1: Man, Jacob Tamme is really taking a beating after filling in for Dallas Clark.

ColtsFan2: Yeah, I wish we could go after either Chris Cooley or Fred Davis. The Skins would surly be willing to part with one of those very talented TE's.

ColtsFan1: Yeah, nice call. I'd offer a conditional 3rd.

ColtsFan2: Dude, the Skins have less draft picks than they do wins. Offer 'em a 5th and say take it or leave it.

Book it.

Posted by: Personal_Fowl | December 2, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

omg... i see people are still harping on moss (and cooley) for those drops last week. they're both probably still among the leaders not dropping the ball, and they're our BEST RECEIVERS. the idea that we're bettor off w/o them is insane.

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | December 2, 2010 10:31 AM |

I hear you. That and the propensity to covet other teams' players and hastily project them into the lineup.

What an insane exercise. VJax now has two bum calves and could probably be caught from behind by Haynesworth while he's eating a bearclaw.

I wonder how many other teams' fans are wishing they had someone from the Redskins.

ColtsFan1: Man, Jacob Tamme is really taking a beating after filling in for Dallas Clark.

ColtsFan2: Yeah, I wish we could go after either Chris Cooley or Fred Davis. The Skins would surly be willing to part with one of those very talented TE's.

ColtsFan1: Yeah, nice call. I'd offer a conditional 3rd.

ColtsFan2: Dude, the Skins have less draft picks than they do wins. Offer 'em a 5th and say take it or leave it.

Book it.

Posted by: Personal_Fowl | December 2, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

from hogshaven.com

Fred Davis I greatly respect the Football Outsiders, so I was a bit surprised to see that Fred Davis is the 14th ranked TE in DYAR* and the 3rd best TE in DVOA**. Cooley is ranked 26th and 31st in these 2 categories. With as porous as the Redskins offense has been this year, it makes zero sense Cooley and Davis are not on the field every play. We've already seen these guys line up in the slot or off the Tackle, so why not do this more? The 2009 Redskins were not creative at all with their play calling, yet Davis had 6 Tds and 48 receptions (10.6 yards per catch). Why has this guy been riding the pine all year????

Posted by: jimmy_the_crickett | December 2, 2010 11:10 AM | Report abuse


Free Samples are offered for a limited time so when they are posted please take advantage of the offer before it is gone. Look online for "123 Get Samples" where I was able to get healthy product samples.

Posted by: kathrynmerry | December 3, 2010 5:02 AM | Report abuse

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