Behind the Prediction--TB at DET

Detroit is a 2 point favorite at home against Tampa Bay, but the efficiency model estimates that the Buccaneers have a 0.82 probability of upsetting the Lions. In this post I'll break down why the efficiency model favors the Bucs.

Detroit (3-2) is known these days for having a potent passing offense, while Tampa (4-2) is best known for its traditionally tough defense. But their efficiency stats tell a slightly different story.

Below is a table that lists each team's generic win probability (GWP) and their opponents' average GWP, each adjusted for to-date opponent strength. Also listed is each team's offensive and defensive GWP.


Tampa has been playing at a much higher level in terms of opponent-adjusted efficiency. The two teams have faced roughly equal opponents through week 6, with Tampa having faced average squads and Detroit facing stiffer defenses but weaker offenses.

The next table breaks down each team's (unadjusted) efficiency stats.

TeamO PassO RunO Int RateO Fum
D PassD RunD Int RatePen Rate

The Buccaneers are better in every efficiency stat except defensive interception rate. The biggest advantage the Lions have on Sunday will be their home field. We also see that Tampa Bay is no longer a team reliant on its defense, but is a well-balanced team. Garcia has been very efficient and has thrown only one interception in six games. Tampa actually has the 4th most efficient passing game in the NFL. The Bucs appear to be a well disciplined team too, with one of the lowest penalty rates in the league.

A lot has been made of Martz's aggressive passing attack and the Lions' talent at wide receiver, but their offensive pass efficiency is slightly below average. Tampa Bay actually has a much better passing game so far in 2007.

Tampa has recently lost its starter at running back, but the rushing game has not been the strength of this team. Even if we dialed down their expected rushing efficiency, the Buccaneers would still be clear favorites.

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4 Responses to “Behind the Prediction--TB at DET”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Looks like the model was wrong.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Got just about everybody.

  3. Brian Burke says:

    Fair enough, but I wouldn't say the model was wrong. It just said that Tampa Bay was the favorite. After looking at the game stats, I'd still make Tampa the favorite if they played again.

    If it's any consolation to the efficiency model, it was 4-2 this week in games in which it disagreed with the consensus favorite (Vegas favorite). And it continues to be well ahead for the year.

  4. Brian Burke says:

    Here's why I say TB would still be the favorites (from

    The Bucs defense held one of the top-ranked pass attacks to 147 yards, while the offense held the ball for nearly 12 more minutes and out-gained the Lions 422 to 278. But Tampa Bay also had a punt blocked, lost two fumbles (which the Lions turned into 14 points) and were penalized seven times for 60 yards -- including a delay of game penalty coming out of a timeout in the third quarter.

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