·We’ve developed a relationship through the season with Paul Bessire who runs Predictionmachine.com, charting plays and tendencies of every player and coach on every NFL team, then runs simulations of every game to find the probability of wins. Bessire runs his head-to-head simulations 50,000 times. He correctly forecast a Redskins win in Chicago (yay) and loss in Detroit (boo) when nobody else expected those outcomes.
With the New York Giants·suddenly hot, the Dallas Cowboys in turmoil and no one knowing what to expect from the Washington Redskins, we asked Paul for his NFC East outlook for the rest of the season. His response provides no comfort for Redskins fans, though nothing he says comes as a surprise.
“The NFC East right now looks like a two team race, with both the Giants and Eagles getting to double-digit wins. Our current final season projections (from 50,000 simulations of the rest of the season) are that New York leads the NFL with 11.9 average wins, Philadelphia gets to 10.3 wins, Washington finishes with 7.3 wins and Dallas ultimately wins just 3.5 games. As we see it, with the Giants, Packers, Falcons and a sub-.500 NFC West team very likely to win their respective divisions, the NFC Wild Card race is really down to about three teams with the Eagles, Saints and Buccaneers competing for two spots (and the Eagles and Saints far more likely to take those spots than Tampa Bay).
“The rest of the way, the Redskins are favored at home against the Buccaneers and on the road against the Cowboys and Jaguars. Their home game with the Vikings in Week 12 could be critical the chance of either team to get to .500. We currently have the Vikings winning, but only 52.9% of the time and by a score of 24-23. Unfortunately for Washington, the team still has to play New York twice. Against the Giants (twice), Eagles and Titans, the Redskins lose by an average of 10.7 points a game.”
Statistical analysis is all the rage for sports blogs these days. It’s a happy development for citizen sports writers who wish to deliver more than rants and homerism. Football Outsiders is a godsend. Their annual Almanac (was Pro Football Prospectus) is the bible of preseason research. Redskins Hog Heaven’s Greg Trippiedi charts every play of every Redskins game and assesses player performance to reveal strengths and weaknesses. You only think you know who’s delivering the goods for the team if you are not a student of Greg’s work.
These sites require subscriptions to get to their best content. Most are created to serve the wagering public. We’ve been impressed by the Prediction Machine for their spot-on calls about the Redskins and for Bessire’s willingness to share his insights about Hog Heaven’s favorite team. Bessire, like the people behind Football Outsiders and other stat sites project three more wins for the Redskins. We’ll hope for better, especially against Tampa Bay, Minnesota and our beastly brothers.