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The Redskins will be the #2 seed in the NFC - it’s science

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Who knew you could get smart reading Blogging the Boys?

Denver Broncos v Washington Redskins Photo by Larry French/Getty Images

I got all this information from an article on Blogging the Boys.

Week 3 in the NFL is an interesting week, because it is the first week after which the first teams are basically eliminated from playoff contention. Only three times since 1990 (‘92 Chargers, ‘95 Lions, ‘98 Bills) has a team made the playoffs after starting 0-3. Since realignment in 2002, not one of the 78 teams that started the season 0-3 made the playoffs, which means the 0-3 teams (Raiders, Texans, Cardinals) can start doing mock drafts.

The table below shows what the playoff odds have looked like over the last 16 seasons by W/L after the third game of the season.

To understand where the Redskins currently stand and what their chances look like going forward, we turn to the trusted Pythagorean Formula, on the hypothesis that a team’s true strength can be measured more accurately by looking at points scored and points allowed, rather than by looking at wins and losses. This is the NFL version of the formula:

The 2-1 Redskins have scored 64 points and allowed 44. Plugging that into the formula results in a 11.2-win projection for the Redskins, which should, as can be seen from the chart at the top of the article, set the Redskins up as NFC East division champs and the #2 seed in the NFC behind the Rams, who project to a 15-1 season.

The article from BTB goes on to say this:

After four weeks of play, there is quite a strong correlation between the early win projection and the subsequent regular season win totals. Of course, with every additional week of data, the formula gets better, but after about Week 4 the improvements are gradual, and not as steep as in the first few weeks.

That means that the game against New Orleans is pretty critical in terms of firming up the math, based on historical evidence. If the Redskins can win with a substantial margin of victory, then the projections above would become more certain; on the other hand, a loss to the Saints would lower the win projected win totals, and the change could be significant.

As the Redskins move beyond Game 4, each game has less and less power to move the needle on the projection. In other words, by the time the Redskins hear the final whistle on Monday night of Week 5 in New Orleans, their playoff destiny will be written in quickly drying cement.

If the early 3-week trend holds up, this mathematical model says that the Redskins will have a bye for the wildcard round of the playoffs, and would be at home for a divisional contest against the highest seeded team to survive the first round of the playoffs.

There you go. Science says that the Redskins are destined to finish 11-5 and division champs, but they probably still have to get a good victory in New Orleans to make that prediction realistic.


Which team will win the NFC East?

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  • 0%
    (9 votes)
  • 0%
    (4 votes)
  • 35%
    (723 votes)
  • 63%
    (1295 votes)
2031 votes total Vote Now


How many regular season wins will the Redskins have in 2018?

This poll is closed

  • 1%
    less than 7
    (31 votes)
  • 2%
    (53 votes)
  • 7%
    (139 votes)
  • 20%
    (400 votes)
  • 41%
    (791 votes)
  • 19%
    (365 votes)
  • 6%
    more than 11
    (127 votes)
1906 votes total Vote Now