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Assessment of the Pats' regular seasons?

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by GameDay, Dec 31, 2007.

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  1. GameDay

    GameDay Rookie

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    The Pats' 16 games had two distinct halves: games 1-8 (before the Colts game), and 9-16 from the Colts game and on.

    The team victory, performance numbers... can be proven beyond any statistical doubt that there is a difference between the two episodes (I won't bore you with details how this statistical analysis works, but basically it involves a test to see if the two sets of games belong to the same population or not).

    A simple description is that the dominance of victory in the 2nd half of the season is less than that of the 1st half.
    The question is what might cause the difference.
    This has been discussed throughout, and can be summarized with three hypotheses. What percentage of weight would you put on these:

    A- (Tactical reason) In games 9-16, other teams have discovered the Pats' strength/weakness and prepared well for them, thus making the games more competitive.

    B- (Psychological reason) The opponents got psyched up to give the Pats their best shots (being underdogs and slighted)

    C- (Pats' strategic reasons) Notwithstanding with Brady's desire to "kill teams and blow them out", the Pats began to have agenda and design in these games, in anticipation of the playoff.

    D- Other hypotheses?

    With this, we just hope to project how the Pats may fare. Right now, the variation is too big (we have 50-80% that the Pats will win all, depending on match-up scenarios).

    ===========
    A footnote: why the Colts' game is the marking point: This was a game in which I was quite off in projecting the Pats winning 10-14 points. Other people argued against all hard-number statistical analyses and pointed to the psychological factor (Hypothesis B): the Colts were undefeated defending champs at home. There could not have been a more dissed home dog. (They won, taking the home dog and the points).

    From that game and Buffalo game, other teams could learn what the Colts did (right) and Buffalo did (wrong) and tactically improved their game against the Pats. This is hypothesis A.
  2. Denzera

    Denzera Rookie

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    I would assume hypotheses could include:

    (D) Players get injured over the course of the season and our loss of Colvin, Morris, etc narrowed the gap between the Pats and the rest of the league.

    (E) Misleading final scores. A common Belichick strategy is that with a large lead at the end of the game, he is willing to give up points in exchange for time. The best example is the Philly super bowl - they could've prevented that last touchdown and probably won 24-14, but instead Belichick made them get it via spending too much time off the clock, and they never got the ball back. Many of our games had late scores by opponents where the final score didn't reflect our dominance - both Miami games, this Giants game, the SD game, etc.

    My two cents.
  3. GameDay

    GameDay Rookie

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    The injury factor is certainly one of it.

    Misleading score was actually taken into account. The competitiveness of a game is NOT measured by the final score, but scores throughout a game. By this measure, the Pats have played far more competitive games, including falling behind in games 9-16 than in games 1-8.
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2007
  4. DarrylS

    DarrylS PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    (d) the patriots are not a machine, they are a group of human beings, who have their highs and lows.. the reality, and I do not know why, is they play better against the best teams and tend to play to the level of competition of the rest.. there are a lot of factors attributing to this.. sub teams play up,

    With that being said, not sure that there were two seasons, as far as I know they are 16-0 and anyway you slice it is interesting, but in reality holds little credibility..
  5. xmarkd400x

    xmarkd400x Rookie

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    I think there is something to the B (Psychological Reason). I believe that opposing teams play and coach better leading up to a game against the Patriots.

    My reasoning for this belief has it's foundation in the analysis of the battle of the bulge (WWII). The men trapped in German territory learned the layout of a city in a very short amount of time. They needed to do this in order to live. In repeat experiments, army men have been offered time off, money, and all sorts of things to accomplish what the soldiers in the battle of the bulge accomplished. They have not been able to.

    I think that there is a greater sense of urgency against the Patriots, and I believe it heightens their opponents' abilities.
  6. GameDay

    GameDay Rookie

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    This is the psych factor. The pressure was heavier as the season went on. Even Pats players admitted that, and they collectively breathed a sigh of relief (or shout) last Saturday.

    One way to slice it is to check the fingernails, heart rates, and blood pressure of the Patriot nation in games like Colts, Eagles, Ravens, Jets, Giants,... compared with games 1-8. How was your heart in Ravens or Giants games? (Did you peek at the TV through your fingers on your face? That's a measure of the game competitiveness)
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2007
  7. robertweathers

    robertweathers Rookie

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    Good post. Agree 100% that the Pats had a bit tougher of a go with it from games 9-16.

    Without getting into all the stats and such, I chalk up 4 main reasons that can be perceived as "slowing the Pats down"

    1. Team did start to do some different things defensively (blitzing, getting physical with Moss, etc.) that might have caught them off guard.

    2. Weather- Since the passing game is a big part of their offense, rain and wind plays a role in playing with Brady's throwing accuracy and timing with his receivers.

    3. Intensity of their opponent- Teams wanted to be the ones to knock them off and that kind of play showed up on the field.

    4. Intensity of the Pats- As Brady said in an interview that I read, it's hard to maintain the same level of intentsity every game and every practice.

    With that said, over the final 7 games, their ave score was 33-18.
  8. GameDay

    GameDay Rookie

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    How many % would you put on each? I'm putting 50% on A (tactical), 40% on B (psychological) , and 10% on C (Pats' strategy).

    PS weather factor was already included.
  9. DarrylS

    DarrylS PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    In case you can't tell do not think you can do some type of statistical analysis of what happens when in the NFL.. the variable is a bunch of human beings who are effected differently on different days with a whole bunch of other factors mixed in. The giants played up big time sat nite, the pats did not play as best as they are able to.. is this psychological, I do not know, but not sure how you apply any psychological principals to 53 unique individuals who perform as one unit. Been away from that business for a while now, maybe I missed some development.

    I am a consummate die hard, said at half time of the giants game the pats were going to win.. do not recall how I felt in the ravens game, but pretty sure felt the same way.. hate to say it, but can usually tell the outcome dependent on how #12 is playing.. this year has been his most consistent..
  10. GameDay

    GameDay Rookie

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    Agree with all your factors. One thing though: the ave score is NOT a good measure of the competitiveness. We use score differential after each drive (blow for blow) as the measure. Also, the 33-18 is a bad average. Throw out the Buffalo game and it is 29-20.

    (It's like comparing average wealth of two group of people. One group includes you, me and Warren Buffet. The other includes 100 people, each worth $1 B. You would conclude that the 1st group is much wealthier than the 2nd).
  11. PatsFanSince74

    PatsFanSince74 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    First of all, to help with your survey and assuming that your model takes into account injuries and weather, i'd give 65, 30, 5 to A, B and C. I only give 30 to B because I think the "psych up" factor has an impact at the beginning of the game, but diminishes as the game progresses. I think C gives too much credit to even BB to control the outcome of a game.

    Second, a question, how much of the difference between the first and second parts of the season does your existing model explain?
  12. GameDay

    GameDay Rookie

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    We don't know how to do quantitative psych either. That's just a fudge factor we put in a model to project the outcome of a game. But there is no doubt it's real. My colleagues are sharp on observing team (especially underdogs) and usually call it right when a team is fired up...

    I just asking for people's perception and take the mean (average) to put in our model.

    This is NOT going to be as big a difference in playoff since BOTH teams will be fired up. The mental toughness and maturity is also a dimension of the psych factor, and here, the Pats have the advantage. For example, my colleagues insisted that the Chargers lost last year because of immaturity (as well as coaching).

    I think you meant consistently high performance? His average is definitely better, but the variance is similar to other years.
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2007
  13. GameDay

    GameDay Rookie

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    Thanks for your percentage. The second question is not clear to me.

    Our model (with 0-psychological factor) as a predictive tool did not do well in games 9-16. It did better in games 3-8. That's why we have to adjust to be retroactively more correct to predict the playoff.

    That said, we called the point spread correctly on Colts, Eagles, Ravens, Steelers, Jets, and Giants. (I can't take credit, but my colleagues were 5-0 against me. We tied on Steelers, I picked Pats, they picked against Steelers).
  14. GameDay

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    I am not into psych factor personally, but I can't deny the fact that some people seem to be right about this.
    Specifically:
    - Colts, Ravens, Giants are disrespected home dogs. My colleagues argued with me before the game that no way the Pats would blow out the Colts and Ravens.
    - The Jets: combo of the weather factor and the divisional rivalry and pride. (in the end, it was also an off-day for the Pats)

    Teams can get worn out once falling behind. But they can maintain intensity if they sniff victory. The Ravens lost composure after Ryan's mistake. It wasn't because of a lack of intensity.
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2007
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