NFL.com’s Atlanta Falcons win projection is ridiculous
Everybody loves to look at their team’s win projections and argue about it and certainly Atlanta Falcons fans will be doing just that with NFL.com’s new win projections.
These lists are just for fun but they can still be maddening and that is exactly the situation with the Falcons’ personal win projection on the NFL’s website.
NFL.com projects the Atlanta Falcons to be the worst NFC team and second-worst team in the league
The Atlanta Falcons are not going to be among the premiere teams in the NFC, but to say they will certainly be the worst is such a lazy statement and it is also something that “simulations” have concluded.
NFL.com explains how they go through one million simulations based on past factors and how they compare to each team this year. Here is the full description from the article:
"Analytics expert Cynthia Frelund took data from the past 10 NFL campaigns to create historical references for personnel, scheme and matchups, identifying factors that are proven to lead to wins (or losses). She vetted the correlations with a bunch of real football people (e.g., coaches) and had her math checked out by real math people (e.g., PhDs) to make sure the model reflected reality as much as possible. Then she compared this season’s personnel, schemes and matchups — with the vetted mathematical weightings — and simulated the season to produce a ceiling, floor and projected win total for all 32 teams.i"
Okay, that is great and all but this game is not based on math and there are so many more things that go into a team than personnel, scheme, and matchups. What about the development of players from one year to the next? What about replacement players who fit the scheme better than their counterpart? Those two things are big factors when it comes to the Falcons’ season.
Marcus Mariota is a better quarterback, on paper, for Arthur Smith than Matt Ryan was. Matt Ryan without a doubt is the better pure quarterback but Mariota is a better scheme fit.
Anyways, they project that the Falcons’ will win 5.2 games with a ceiling of 6.7 wins, and a floor of 4.2 wins. How you can put a “floor” and “ceiling” on a team is beyond me.
However, when you look at their projections from last year, you actually have to give them credit because they were basically right on with 6.9 wins, but look at what they said under the win prediction:
"Calvin Ridley’s touchdown forecast? Ten or more in 59.1 percent of simulations."
Or how about two. The point of this article isn’t to say that the win predictions will be totally off but rather they will not be the worst team in the NFC or the second worst team in the entire NFL, there are just too many teams who are worse.