## Game Probabilities - Week 11

Game probabilities for week 11 are available at the New York Times. This week I do a back of the envelope analysis of how likely it would be for a team like the Chiefs to finish the regular season undefeated..

...But we know N.F.L. games are not coin flips, so how good would a team have to be to have a 50/50 shot at going undefeated through 16 games? If a team were so good that it had a 90 percent chance of winning any one game, it would only have a 19 percent chance of going 16-0. In fact, a team would need a 96 percent chance of winning any one game before it had better than even odds of going undefeated. So it’s a rare thing for a reason...

### 4 Responses to “Game Probabilities - Week 11”

1. Anonymous says:

I would guess that the Chiefs' chances of going undefeated are higher than the less than 1 percent you listed for the simple fact that each game isn't independent. For example, if the Chiefs win in Denver (and assuming it doesn't happen because of 3 Broncos fumbles returned for touchdowns), their efficiency ratings will likely go up, meaning they would likely be a better team than we estimate now and their chances in their future games likely go up as well. I'm not really nitpicking given that I have no idea how I would incorporate Bayes theory into a model like this, but I thought I would just point this out.

2. Anonymous says:

aren't all possible combinations of wins and losses equally rare?

for instance WLWLWLWLWLWLWLWL

one could look at it as there is only one way to go 16-0, but many ways to go 8-8.

3. Anonymous says:

and just for fun,

If we simply assumed N.F.L. games were 50/50 independent coin flips, KC chances of of being 9-0 is a somewhat insanely improbable 0.195 percent. But they did it.

Their chances of actually going to 16-0 now would be 0.78%

4. Andy says:

Dont forget there are 32 teams, and we only get excited about the best ones and worst ones. So yeah, its unlikely that KC should have gone 9-0, but each year we have 32 shots to see how extreme somebody's record could be.

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