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Best and worst coaching decisions - Week 13

Here is the Best and Worst from NFL Week 13, with a focus on the value of time.

BestDecisionwk13

NFL BEST Decisions - DEN vs KC

There’s one especially noteworthy drive in this game.

With just over 12 minutes remaining in the 2nd quarter the Broncos (after a KC punt) took possession at the DEN 3-yard line, trailing by 7 points. During a 20-play drive that ran 11 minutes off the clock, the Broncos faced three 4th down decisions and Coach Fangio got them all correct. Altogether, his decisions increased the Broncos (pre-snap) win probability by +10%. In his halftime comments Coach explained his aggressive attitude by saying “you’re not going to beat the Chiefs kicking field goals.”

  • With 6:28 on the clock, the Broncos faced a 4th and 1 from the KC 46-yard line. The decision to GO increased the Broncos (pre-snap) win probability by +4%. Based on our Edj Power Index (EPIs) and the game state, in this situation a GO comes with an expectation for the Broncos to go on to win the game 20% of the time and a punt comes with an expectation for them to win the game only 16% of the time.
  • With 4:27 on the clock, the Broncos faced a 4th and 7 from the KC 42-yard line. This decision to GO increased the Broncos (pre-snap) win probability by +2%. The GO came with an expectation to win the game 18% of the time and a FG attempt came with an expectation to win the game 16% of the time.
  • With 1:12 on the clock, the Broncos faced a 4th and 2 from the KC 8-yard line. This decision to GO increased the Broncos (pre-snap) win probability by +4%. The GO came with and expectation to win the game 24% of the time and a FG attempt came with an expectation to win the game 20% of the time.

This extended drive also did another very important thing, it kept the KC offense on the sidelines. DEN began this series with a win probability of 17% and after failing to successfully convert on their third 4th down attempt, they had a win probability of 15%. In other words, this drive cost DEN -2% in win probability.

Leverage analytics to understand time in the context of win probability and use it to your advantage – if you’re at a disadvantage know the value of extending drives to minimize your opponent’s possessions (i.e., scoring opportunities).

Coach Fangio made the decisions that gave his team the best chance to win the game.

WorstDecisionwk13

NFL WORST Decisions – WFT vs LV

In this game, Coach Rivera made an error that cost his team -6% in (pre-snap) win probability.

With 42 seconds remaining in the 4th quarter and trailing by 1 point, WFT faced a 4th and 1 at the LV 31-yard line. In this situation, the best decision was to GO. Based on our EPIs and the game state, for WFT this 48-yard FG attempt came with an expectation to win the game 51% of the time and a GO came with an expectation to win the game 57% of the time.

Although it’s a bit counterintuitive, a big part of why this situation is a GO has to do with the amount of time remaining in the game and the number of LV timeouts. Long story short, even with a successful FG conversion there’s time for the Raiders (with 1 timeout) to try to get within FG range themselves and win the game.

The crossover point was at 31 seconds – in other words, if all other variables remained the same except for time, with 31 seconds remaining on the clock the GO and FG attempt options had the same associated win probability. With more than 31 seconds remaining a GO was the best option and with less than 31 seconds remaining a FG attempt was the best decision. Without getting too far into the weeds, please reach out here for a more detailed analysis. 

The point here is that these decisions are hard to figure out. Leverage analytics to understand the impact of time and timeouts and make decisions that give your team the best chance to go on to win the game.

Bottom Line

Good decisions don’t always result in wins and errors don’t always result in loses. The important this is to make decisions that give your team the best chance to win the game.

For more information about how coaches in the NFL, NCAA and High School levels are using our analytics tocoach with confidence, visit www.edjvarsity.com.

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