Kitna's 10+ Wins

Before the 2007 NFL season Detroit quarterback Jon Kitna predicted the Lions would win more than 10 games. Surprising many fans this year, DET has managed to put together a 6-2 record and the Lion's prospect of winning 10 or more games is realistic.

Based on their offensive and defensive efficiency stats to-date, they are ranked 15th in the NFL with a 0.47 generic win probability (GWP). Although they are 6-2, they have faced the 3rd easiest schedule so far, with their opponents averaging a 0.41 GWP.

And although Martz's offensive scheme and the Lions' receiving corps receives most of the attention, their offense has been below average (0.40 GWP) while their defense has been the stronger squad (0.54 GWP). Although DET's running and passing efficiencies are roughly average across the board, the offense has suffered from an above average fumble rate and the defense has benefited from an above average interception rate.


Detroit's upcoming opponents and the probabilities of winning each game are listed in the table below. Their prospective strength of schedule is exactly average, with a GWP of 0.50.


After crunching the numbers, the likelihood of finishing the season at each possible record is illustrated in the table below by the bar graph (the probability of winning exactly that many games). The cumulative probability is the curved line with its scale on the right (the probability of winning at least x games.) [Note: the GB game could be much easier assuming GB has clinched a playoff birth.]

It looks just as likely that DET would finish with 9 or fewer wins as 10 or more. It's very close. If they continue to play at their current level, there is even an outside chance they can win 12 games, but 7 wins is equally as likely as 12. The table below summarizes the probabilities of finishing with each possible number of wins and the cumulative probability of winning at least that many wins.

WinsProbAt least

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3 Responses to “Kitna's 10+ Wins”

  1. Anonymous says:

    I find it interesting that virtually all of their games are almost even. Only the Dallas game is a team favored to win more than 0.70 of the time. In five of the eight games, the favorite is expected to win less than 0.60 of the time. Luck is going to be a big deciding factor, and I could see the Lions going either way.

    Also, does your prediction system account for the fact that some teams have played more/less road games than home. Arizona is an example this week. They have played 3 home games (2-1) to 5 road games (1-4). The Cardinals are probably *slightly* better than your efficiency stats suggest, because those stats were accumulated in 5 road games and only 3 home games. Last week, the opposite would have been true. Denver went to Detroit, and prior to that trip, had played 5 of 7 at home, so their stats probably overrated them for the same reason.

  2. Brian Burke says:

    That's a really good point. And it's especially important in the beginning of the season until the home/away games tend to balance as the season progresses.

    Although past stats are only adjusted for opponent strength, and not home/away, future game probabilities are.

    Just as a back of the envelope calculation: If a team has 1 more home game than away game out of 7 games, and the HFA in a single game is +0.07, it would add about 0.07/7 to their 'GWP.' For simplicity let's say we add 0.01 to their win probability for each future game (in truth it would sometimes be very slightly more or less depending on the lopsidedness of the game odds). That will tip the scale in favor of more wins, but only slightly.

    I think the Lions are a pretty average team at heart, so I'm not surprised by the number of "toss-ups" ahead. They could be like the Skins a couple years ago, who won-out their last 5 games to make the playoffs.

  3. Brian Burke says:

    Going into week 11, it looks like DET is not going to reach 10 games. Their performance has declined in the last couple weeks against mediocre teams. (Plus, it looks like the teams they have played so far look weaker than they did a couple weeks ago. Lastly, their remaining schedule is very tough.

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