After a long summer, we’ve finally made it through the first slate of NFL games. That means we’re less than a week away from eliminating teams from eliminating at least three teams from playoff contention.
Each week, Setting the Edge is going to give you standings called the “Rizzi Standings” that treat games that are decided by a single score as ties. The difference between games won or lost by multiple scores and games won or lost by a single score is astronomic and should already be tracked as key numbers to measure NFL success by. For whatever reason, they aren’t.
The Rizzi Standings treat single score games as ties for a couple of reasons:
- Of the 15 teams from 2006 to 2015 that lost more than two games under .500 in games decided by a single score, all 15 (100 percent) had a better actual record the next year than the year before. That’s a significant number.
- Of the ten non-Colts teams from 2006 to 2015 that won more than two games over .500 in games decided by a single score, all 10 (100 percent) had a worse actual record the next year than the year before. That’s a significant number.
- Of the 310 non-Colts seasons from 2006 to 2015, 285 of them (92 percent) were within two games of .500 in games decided by a single score. That’s a significant number.
- Of the 310 non-Colts seasons from 2006 to 2015, 186 of them (60 percent) were within two games of .500 in games decided by multiple scores.
In English, that means:
- Teams that lose a lot of close games in a single season end up with a deflated record that bounces back the next season.
- Teams that win a lot of close games in a single season end up with an inflated record that comes back down to Earth the next season.
- Games decided by multiple scores, not close, single-score games, are actually what influence a team’s season and their future the most. Teams are five times more likely to have a record above or below .500 by more than two games because of their performance in games decided by multiple scores than by a single score.
- Winning close games is not a trait that can be tangibly measured for any team other than the Colts, who have very fishy numbers.
Above is a graphic measuring every team’s real close wins vs their projected close wins (# of close games/2) since 2006. The Colts are the highest point on the “Real Close Wins” scale. As you can see, they stick out like a sore thumb compared to the rest of the NFL.
So why do this?
- We can live track which NFL teams have the most inflated or deflated record in the sport, as we try to project them forward.
- If the lucky and unlucky teams do not correct themselves in-season, they should be flagged as teams to look out for in 2018 as record regression candidates.
Since 2006, these would have been the teams that the Rizzi Standings would have flagged as records that would likely improve:
- 2006 Detroit Lions (1-8 in close games, 3-13 record to 7-9 record in 2007)
- 2006 Jacksonville Jaguars (2-7 in close games, 8-8 record to 10-6 in 2007)
- 2007 Miami Dolphins (1-6 in close games, 1-15 record to 11-5 record in 2008)
- 2008 Green Bay Packers (1-7 in close games, 6-10 record to 11-5 record in 2009)
- 2008 San Diego Chargers (2-7 in close games, 8-8 record to 13-3 record in 2009)
- 2009 Washington Redskins (2-7 in close games, 4-12 record to 6-10 record in 2010)
- 2010 Dallas Cowboys (3-8 in close games, 6-10 record to 8-8 record in 2011)
- 2010 Cincinnati Bengals (2-7 in close games, 4-12 record to 9-7 record in 2011)
- 2011 Minnesota Vikings (2-9 in close games, 3-13 record to 10-6 record in 2012)
- 2012 Carolina Panthers (1-7 in close games, 7-9 record to 12-4 record in 2013)
- 2012 Detroit Lions (3-8 in close games, 4-12 record to 7-9 record in 2013)
- 2013 Houston Texans (2-9 in close games, 2-14 record to 10-6 record in 2014)
- 2014 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-8 in close games, 2-14 record to 6-10 record in 2015)
- 2015 New York Giants (3-8 in close games, 6-10 record to 11-5 record in 2016)
- 2015 San Diego Chargers (3-8 in close games, 4-12 record to 5-11 record in 2016)
- 2016 Los Angeles Chargers (1-8 in close games, 5-11 record to 3-5 record in 2017)
- 2016 Jacksonville Jaguars (2-8 in close games, 3-13 record to 5-3 record in 2017)
- 2016 Philadelphia Eagles (1-6 in close games, 7-9 record to 8-1 record in 2017)
- 2016 Chicago Bears (1-6 in close games, 3-13 record to 3-5 record in 2017)
Since 2006, these would have been the teams that the Rizzi Standings would have flagged as non-Colts teams to highlight as records that would likely decline:
- 2008 Miami Dolphins (7-2 in close games, 11-5 record to 7-9 in 2009)
- 2009 San Diego Chargers (6-1 in close games, 13-3 record to 9-7 in 2010)
- 2010 Atlanta Falcons (7-2 in close games, 13-3 record to 10-6 in 2011)
- 2011 Oakland Raiders (7-2 in close games, 8-8 record to 4-12 in 2012)
- 2012 Atlanta Falcons (7-2 in close games, 13-3 record to 4-12 in 2013)
- 2012 Houston Texans (5-0 in close games, 12-4 record to 2-14 in 2013)
- 2014 Detroit Lions (6-1 in close games, 11-5 record to 7-9 in 2015)
- 2014 Green Bay Packers (5-0 in close games, 12-4 record to 10-6 in 2015)
- 2015 Carolina Panthers (6-1 in close games, 15-1 record to 8-8 in 2016)
- 2015 Denver Broncos (9-3 in close games, 12-4 record to 9-7 in 2016)
- 2016 New York Giants (8-3 in close games, 11-5 record to 1-7 in 2017)
- 2016 Dallas Cowboys (7-2 in close games, 13-3 record to 5-3 in 2017)
- 2016 Oakland Raiders (8-1 in close games, 13-3 record to 4-5 in 2017)
- 2016 Houston Texans (8-2 in close games, 9-7 record to 3-5 in 2017)
- 2016 Miami Dolphins (8-2 in close games, 10-6 record to 4-4 in 2017)
- Big Wins: Wins of 8 points or more
- Close Games: Games with a final score within 7 points
- Big Losses: Losses of 8 points or more
- Expected Win %: ((1 * Big Wins) + (.5 * Close Games))/games played
- Expected Wins: (1 * Big Wins) + (.5 * Close Games)
- Actual Wins: Current record in the NFL
- Luck: Expected Wins – Actual Wins
- Expected Record: Actual Wins + (Expected Win % * number of remaining games)
- 2016: Expected Wins in 2016
- Growth: (Expected Win % * 16) – 2016
|Team||Big Wins||Close Games||Big Losses||Expected Win %||Expected Wins||Actual Wins||Luck||Expected Record||2016||Growth
|Los Angeles Rams||4||4||0||0.75||6||6||0||12||4.5||7.5
|New Orleans Saints||6||0||2||0.75||6||6||0||12||8||4
|Kansas City Chiefs||5||3||1||0.72||6.5||6||-0.5||11.06||10.5||1.06
|New England Patriots||3||4||1||0.63||5||6||1||11||12.5||-2.5
|New York Jets||2||5||2||0.5||4.5||4||-0.5||7.5||5.5||2.5
|Los Angeles Chargers||1||5||2||0.44||3.5||3||-0.5||6.5||8.5||-1.5
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||1||4||3||0.38||3||2||-1||5||8||-2
|Green Bay Packers||2||2||4||0.38||3||4||1||7||9||-3
|New York Giants||1||3||4||0.31||2.5||1||-1.5||3.5||8.5||-3.5
|San Francisco 49ers||0||5||4||0.28||2.5||0||-2.5||1.94||4||0.44
The Rizzi Standings are named after NFL coach Darren Rizzi, who stated “Do I think it’s sustainable? I do,” about his Miami Dolphins’ 8-2 close game record in 2016.
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