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Eagles vs. Jets 2015: Let's Get Simulated

Well, this is fun.

Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

To accommodate the Pope’s arrival, Chip Kelly and the 0-2 Philadelphia Eagles escape the City of Brotherly Love and seek refuge in the City That Never Sleeps.   It’s unknown how this will impact Eagles’ player sleep schedules.  What is known: it’s about time they wake up.

Kelly looks to match wits with Todd Bowles and the 2-0 New York Jets.  Bowles is a defensive guru whose current defensive unit has been nearly indomitable, forcing the most turnovers in the NFL.  However, the Jets’ offense, commanded by Harvard throwback Ryan Fitzpatrick, is suspect.

Last Week Recap

Unfortunately, last week’s simulation was pretty accurate.  Despite being five point underdogs, the Dallas Cowboys still had a 58% chance of winning the game.  And with a +1 turnover margin, that probability increased to 81%.  Sounds about right.  For reference, here are the weekly simulations:

Week 1 – 61% Win Probability    L 24-26

Week 2 – 42% Win Probability    L 10-20

This Week’s Simulation

Interact with the viz to see how changes in simulation runs, turnovers, and point spread impact win probabilities.

Philadelphia Offense versus New York Defense

Through two games this season, the Eagles offense has not been very efficient (65%).  Under Sam Bradford’s command (better: facilitation?), the offense has rushed just 33 times, committed five turnovers and had 10 penalties accepted.

The New York Jets defense, on the other hand, has been frightening (71% efficient).  The unit has forced a league-high 10 turnovers and opposing quarterbacks have completed just 54% of their passes.  To provide some more context to these efficiency rates, the Jets defense ranks second in defense DVOA (Football Outsiders), while the Eagles offense ranks 26th.

Advantage: New York Jets (though perhaps not if Darrelle Revis doesn't play and the Eagles' offensive line/DeMarco Murray does).

New York Offense versus Philadelphia Defense

In contrast to perception, the Jets’ offense has operated relatively efficiently the first two weeks of the season (77%, rank 10th in offensive DVOA).  The Jets limit potential Fitzpatrick mistakes by rushing more often than passing, resulting in few turnovers (2) and relatively disciplined play (5 penalties).  With Eric Decker out with injury, look for this to continue.

The Philadelphia Eagles defense has performed solidly (rank 12th in defensive DVOA), but has allowed more completions, forced less turnovers and been penalized more than the Jets’ defensive unit, resulting in a 64% rate of efficiency.

Advantage: New York Jets.

Point Spread and Bayes Odds

The Eagles enter the game as two point underdogs, the first time they have been an underdog this season.  Since 1994, two-point underdogs have a 43.5% chance of victory.

What It All Means

Based on offense versus defense efficiency stats, the Eagles win just about 31% of the simulated games.  When these results are combined with historical point spread win percentages, the probability that the Eagles win on Sunday decreases to about 26%.

However, there are conditions under which the Eagles can improve their chances.  Those conditions primarily involve turnovers.  If the Eagles have a +2 TO differential, their Bayes odds improve to 60% (+3, 76%).  As Brent reminded me, this is entirely possible.

While the outlook is bleak, these are the Jets after all.  And we’ll find out Sunday if the Pope came to Philadelphia to bless this Eagles’ team, or perform last rites.

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