Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Detroit Lions?

Am I really trying to tell you that the Detroit Lions are the 8th best team in football, even though they're 2-6? I am, and I'll tell you why.
First, they have a positive point differential from barely losing most games, but winning large in their two wins. They've scored 15 points more than their opponents, only two less than the 5-3 Eagles.
Second, they've played one of the hardest schedules in the entire NFL, with only 1 of their 8 opponents having a record below .500 (the Minnesota Vikings). In fact, with an average opponent strength of 1.32 (about the New Orleans Saints) they have played the hardest schedule in the NFL.
Still, with their rating and schedule the Lions should have 4.4 wins. They're easy to see too: one bad call against the Bears, Ndamukong Suh making an extra point against the Jets, and maybe punching in one of the final red zone trips against Green Bay. With 8 game left though, expect the Lions to "suddenly improve" because they'll get better luck eventually.


  1. I think you committed the gambler's fallacy in this post when you assumed that they will start having better luck. Games are identically and independently distributed, meaning that their past luck has no impact on their future luck. It is just equally likely that their luck will stay bad.

  2. They have had extraordinarily bad luck. You would expect however, that over any given interval they should have mediocre luck. By going from bad to mediocre, their luck is expected to improve. So while it's true that past luck has no impact on the future, you can still expect their luck to get closer to average.