In Week 1 of 2015, a 49ers team that went onto finish 5-11 and fire their head coach (RIP Tomsula) mopped the floor with a Vikings team that would finish 11-5 and make the playoffs. The Jeff Fischer-led Rams somehow beat the mighty Seahawks multiple times. Things don’t always go according to plan in the NFL. Situational factors such as weather, bye weeks, divisional opponents, travel distance, and time of the game are often cited as an explanation for why those things don’t go according to plan. In the article below, I explore whether any of these factors have been statistically associated with wins, points, and offensive efficiency. These factors by themselves should not be the sole driver of decision making for picking fantasy football lineups, making bets, or predicting wins, but they do serve as a piece to the puzzle and should not be ignored. They can certainly highlight situations that should be avoided (such as starting QBs playing in 20+ MPH winds), as well as situations that should be targeted (such as the under on Thursday Night Football). Many of the factors covered below are included in our NFL models and serve as contributing factors to our win, spread, total predictions, and ELO ratings, which we will be publishing every week of the upcoming NFL season.
Continue reading The Impact of Situational Factors on NFL Games