Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

11 Sep 2012

ESPN: Giants Most Hurt by Week 1 Loss

Vince Verhei points out just how much the Giants' Week 1 loss hurt them when it comes to winning a tight division. Based on a simulation run yesterday, the Giants' playoff odds dropped from 45.7 percent to 19.8 percent in one day. (This may be different from the odds posted later today due to Monday Night Football results.)

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 11 Sep 2012

19 comments, Last at 12 Sep 2012, 12:13pm by Eddo


by wyote (not verified) :: Tue, 09/11/2012 - 1:19pm

Couldn't have happened to nicer guys.

by CeeBee (not verified) :: Tue, 09/11/2012 - 1:57pm

Meaningless stat is meaningless

by RickD :: Tue, 09/11/2012 - 2:00pm

It's not meaningless that the Giants lost a home game to a division rival.

by TheSharkisaWR (not verified) :: Tue, 09/11/2012 - 2:25pm

The Giants lost to Vince Young and Rex Grossman (not to mention a Tavaris Jackson/Charlie Whitehurst combo) at home last season.

They'll survive.

by Jerome Manson (not verified) :: Tue, 09/11/2012 - 3:05pm

I think they will make the playoffs also. Once the secondary gets healthy, I think the Giants will turn it around

by DraftMan (not verified) :: Tue, 09/11/2012 - 3:18pm

What effect could MNF have possibly had on the Giants' playoff odds? Both games were all-AFC.

by Aaron Schatz :: Tue, 09/11/2012 - 3:23pm

Those games affect the strength of schedule for other teams in the NFC, thus affecting the playoff odds for all NFC teams.

by DraftMan (not verified) :: Wed, 09/12/2012 - 12:47am

Since they weren't just AFC, but divisional games, and any NFC team that plays a team from one of those games will also play their opponent, the strength of schedule can't help but go up by 1 win and 1 loss from such a game (or 2 ties, which I believe are calculated as the same thing). Right?

by Kurt :: Wed, 09/12/2012 - 10:16am

FO doesn't see each game as zero-sum. If San Diego and Oakland had both played like crap, for example, that would make SoS easier for the NFC teams that play them both.

by CeeBee (not verified) :: Tue, 09/11/2012 - 3:30pm

I love this site, but these are the kind of stats that really put off a lot of people that Football Outsiders are trying to convert.

This is only meaningful if Week 1 playoff odds are compared to actual year-end results for prior seasons.

by Noah Arkadia :: Wed, 09/12/2012 - 11:45am

Ye of little faith! The unbelievers will convert or burn in the fires of ESPN. Now begone! And spread the word.

FO posters are a peacock. You got to let us fly!

by jds :: Tue, 09/11/2012 - 4:18pm

Not to say that your machine is broken, but are you saying that the loss of that one game drops the playoff odds of the Giants by more than 25%?, and that the Redskins now have better odds of making the playoffs than the Giants? I know its jump to conclusions week, but I thought the machine was supposed to be immune to that kind of a swing (over the course of a few weeks, maybe, but not due to one game).

by Joseph :: Tue, 09/11/2012 - 4:39pm

IMO, here's why:
Generally, a team should win it's home games, and lose its away games. Giants lost one they should have won, WAS won a game they should have lost. WAS' game was also a conference game, giving them a tiebreaker advantage over a team that will prob. be involved in the playoff hunt. NYG lost a DIVISION game, which would hinder them in any tiebreaker scenario. So the odds machine sees that WAS is a game ahead, plus a tiebreaker ahead=2 games, and says that WAS has a better chance of making it.
At this point, the swings WILL be large (as well as at the end of the season), because the playoff odds machine has so LITTLE info on every team. WAS looks much better than they were expected to be, and the Giants looked worse than they were expected to be, and prob. will be. If NYG wins in convincing fashion, and WAS loses next week (I don't know who their opponents are, nor where), then I bet the odds swing back the other way.

by Eddo :: Tue, 09/11/2012 - 4:50pm

Yep. Think of it this way: the simplest way to make the playoffs is to win more games than the three other teams in your division.

One week ago, the Giants were on even ground with those three teams. FO's numbers also figured they'd be a good, if not particularly great, team.

Now, they are a full game behind all three of the other teams in their division. They also played a sub-standard game, so FO's projection of them moving forward has been impacted negatively.

by BJR :: Tue, 09/11/2012 - 5:14pm

Worse than that; the potentially decisive divisional tie-breakers are now against them. Dallas are effectively 1.5 games ahead of the Giants already. If Dallas were to beat the Giants again in the return (home) fixture, that means NYG would have to win 3 more games than Dallas on the rest of the schedule to get ahead. Putting it that way, it is obvious that their playoff chances have been dealt a big blow already.

by Aaron Schatz :: Tue, 09/11/2012 - 6:27pm

The readers commenting above have the right idea. Notice how much more the Giants' loss cuts their playoff odds compared to Green Bay. The Giants were in a tight packed division with three other teams that won. The Packers, on the other hand, are assumed to be way ahead of two of the other three teams in their division, and they lost a conference game but not a division game. So the Packers' odds drop about 10% less than the Giants' odds.

by jds :: Wed, 09/12/2012 - 12:06pm

Thanks guys. Those are all relevant factors, and should have dropped the Giants' expectaions, but I guess what surprised me was the magnitude of the swing. To that, how can I have any faith in the playoff odds in week #1, if this result causes that much of a swing (Giants drop by 20%, Cowboys rise by 19%). Aren't you really just running an "ESPN Power Ranking" chart, where only last week's performance governs?

by tuluse :: Wed, 09/12/2012 - 12:12pm

Last week's performance is the entirety of the season right now.

by Eddo :: Wed, 09/12/2012 - 12:13pm

Here's the thing: last week's performance is the *only* performance to base these on!