Titans 16-0? Lions 0-16?

Battling back from 11 points down at halftime Sunday, the Titans went on to win and improve their record to 10-0. With six games remaining, how likely is it Tennessee can finish 16-0?

On the other side of the coin is Detroit, who at one point led the heavily favored Panthers 10-0 on Sunday only to go on to lose 31-22. How likely is it they will go on to lose their next six games and become the first winless team in a generation and the only 0-16 team ever?

The Titans’ remaining opponents and estimated probability of winning each game are listed below. In fairness, my prediction system may be underrating the Titans a little, mostly because they haven’t faced very many good teams so far. My personal instinct is that this estimate is on the low end. In other words, their chances of going 16-0 are at least this good.

WeekGameWin Prob.
13at DET0.84
15at HOU0.64
17at IND0.48

Mathematically, we can calculate the Titans’ probability of going undefeated by simple multiplication (0.74 * 0.86 * … etc.). In total, their chance of finishing 16-0 is 9%. Despite already having 10 wins, it’s quite unlikely they’ll do it.

Even if they were as dominant as a team can be, with a 90% chance of beating every opponent, their chances of winning all six remaining games would only be 53% (0.906). I bet that surprises most people. In general, our brains are very poor at intuitively estimating compound probabilities.

The Lions task of winning at least one game is much easier. We can calculate it the same way we did for the Titans, but from the perspective of their opponents. Detroit’s remaining opponents and estimated probability of winning each game are listed below.

WeekGameWin Prob.
15at IND0.10
17at GB0.13

In total, their chance of going winless is 33% ((1-0.20) * (1-0.16) * … etc.). Even with an average probability of winning each individual game of 0.17, the Lions still have a 2 in 3 chance of winning at least one game. And like the Titans, even if Detroit were so horrible they only had a 10% chance of winning any one individual game, they’d still have a 47% (1 - 0.106) chance of pulling at least one upset.

Hat tip--Wages Of Wins.

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8 Responses to “Titans 16-0? Lions 0-16?”

  1. Anonymous says:

    what were the odds for the patriots at this point last year?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Would it be too complicated to assess the chance that Fisher would (be able to) rest his studs in Weeks 16 or 17? (Or that the Colts would be out of WC contention or the Steelers have their division wrapped up)

    Or (for DET) whether the Packers or Saints would have anything (NFCN champs for GB, WC for NO) to play for?

  3. Brian Burke says:

    Here is a similar post from 2007's match-up between the 8-0 Colts and the 9-0 Patriots.

    Anon-It wouldn't be too complicated, but it would be impossible to really put a number on exactly how those factors affect each game's probabilities. For example, say the Colts are eliminated--how much do I adjust their chances of winning?

    My numbers just assume all the teams are playing their best. We can intuitively adjust them up or down from there.

  4. Borat says:


    Could you do the calculations of the problemality for the Borat of a team having the QB of its teme that does not kno the rule of overtime and an offensive coordinator and coach of the QB who once won an overtime coin toss and elected to kick? Is this a mathomatical possibility?

  5. Borat says:


    For to please Borat, can Biarn do the culcalcolations of odds of a NFL teme to have a QB who does not know rules of overtime and also a QB coch and offending coordinator who once after winning overtime coin toss electing to kick? Is this even mathomatically possble?

  6. Anonymous says:

    100% Borat. Donovan McNabb and Marty Mornhinweg of the Philadelphia Eagles.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Well the Titan's hopes were crushed today, but I still like the Lions' chances. I wonder what exactly it is about the Lions that causes them to jump out to large early leads and still lose by such a large deficit? My first instinct says that you would find a pattern where the coach's risk aversion skyrockets after attaining a lead of 7 or more points and doesn't come back down to a healthy level until the team is behind by 7 or more points.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Support the Lions' perfect season - wear a shirt to game 15 in Detroit. http://www.lions016.com . Get $2 off use code 016JRA

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