Simulating the Game: Eagles vs Chiefs

Mike Ehrmann

Bleeding Green Nation simulated the highly anticipated matchup between Andy Reid’s Chiefs and Chip Kelly’s Eagles. It wasn’t very close.

Everyone knows that NFL simulations are far from an exact science.  They attempt to mathematically project the future based on history and past performance, but they can’t account for everything.  A stiff breeze, a tipped ball, a freak injury, a rolling fog bank, an ol’ coach’s return, or simply a change in player attitude can alter results in a large way.  Instead, simulations give us a blurry view of a series of possibilities among an infinite number of potential realities.  But they’re fun. If you believe in parallel or multiple universes, then one of these simulated results could possibly occur tonight.  If it does, then it’s a good thing this model favors the Philadelphia Eagles.

This model is based on my home field advantage (HFA) researchappropriate because Chip Kelly will attempt to put an end to the Eagles’ seven home-game losing streak (six of which can be attributed to the head coach on the other sideline). In the past four years, there have been small but distinct and different offensive behaviors between home teams and away teams in the NFL.  And not surprisingly, turnovers play a large role in equalizing the playing field.  The Philadelphia Eagle’s and Kansas City Chief’s performances over the past two weeks were thrown into a logistic regression formula born from the HFA research, converted into win win probabilities that were randomized according to standard error values and turnover differential, then converted into scores (10,000 times).

The results are pretty cool. Overall, the Eagles win 71% of the simulated games by an average of 6 points.  If the turnover differential is 0, the Eagles win about 99% of the time by an average of 9 points, and even if they lose the turnover battle by one fumble or interception, they win 70% of the time by an average of 3 points.  But inherent issues with simulations aside, take these results with a grain of salt.  They are, after all, based on only two weeks’ worth of data for each team; not a significant base of data.  Nonetheless, it will be interesting to see how this compares to what actually happens tonight, and how future simulations evolve as the season progresses and there’s more data to work with.

Get ready for a great night!

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