January 31, 2010

Some thoughts on the Super Bowl

Filed under: Uncategorized — wwinston @ 10:37 pm

Before the  announcement that Freeney may not play, the Colts were favored by 5 points. If we throw out the last 2 regular season games for the Colts and Saints (because they did not give a full effort), we find thet a least squares fit to the game scores tells us that the Colt offesne was 6.2 points better than average and the Colts defense was  4.4 points better than average. The Saints offense was 13.5 points better than average and the Saints defense was .1 points worse than average. The average NFL team scored 21.6 points per game so this analysis would predict

Saints score 21.6 + 13.5 – 4.4 = 30.7 points


Colts score 21.6+ 6.2 + .1 = 27.9 points.

So we start with a base prediction of 31-28 Saints based on overall team abilities. How do other factors influence our view about whether the teams will play better or worse than their “full season estimates?” Here is my gut feel.

  • Freeney’s injury will really hurt. I know of no  mathematical way to quantify the effect of his injury, but my gut says this injury makes the Saints offense 3 points better.
  • The Saints feast on turnovers. A turnover costs a team arounf 4 points. Counting the playoffs, the Saints have around a 1 turnover edge per game. I believe (and I guess the betting public does also) that Mannings great ability will neutralize the Siants usual turnover edge. Maybe this costs the Saints 4 points. (say 2 on offense and defense).

With these adjustments I predict Saints 32 Colts 30.


  1. I’m glad I heard you on the Memphis radio station today (Chris Vernon show). You came across well.

    Question: I know you’re math-based, but doesn’t what you come up with assume both teams play up to their ability….so, I’m wondering if the fact Indy played in a Super Bowl recently and New Orleans obviously has not mean something (call it the nervous factor)?

    Comment by Dave (Memphis MOJO) — February 2, 2010 @ 8:24 pm

  2. I did not consider this. I could look back in the past and analyze it. Good idea.

    Comment by wwinston — February 2, 2010 @ 9:19 pm

  3. are you also factoring in the fact that the colts, in many wins of the season (including the Jets) basically stopped scoring when the game was out of hand? They could have scored 40 vs the Jets.

    Colts 41, Saints 31

    Comment by Rajat Kapur — February 5, 2010 @ 8:22 am

  4. Well the nervous factor happened — Colston dropped a wide open pass, for example — the Saints fell behind 10-0, but they regrouped.

    Comment by Dave (Memphis MOJO) — February 8, 2010 @ 3:18 pm

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