Just as the blooming of the cherry blossoms on the DC Mall heralds the arrival of spring, there are a few sure signs that a new NFL season is quickly approaching. The national sports media are once again talking up the Cowboys’ prospects of actually winning a playoff game, and Hogs Haven has published its writers’ annual season predictions.
This year the writers were pretty upbeat about the chances of the Commanders improving on their win total from 2021, with six of the 12 writers predicting that the team would win more games than it lost, a feat that the franchise has only achieved twice in the last decade. The average predicted win total across all writers was eight, which would represent a one-win improvement over 2021.
However, before you start celebrating the Commanders taking the next step toward achieving their first winning season under Head Coach Ron Rivera, there is something you need to know. Overall, the Hogs Haven writers have a bit of an optimistic bias. A few weeks ago, in preparation for this momentous occasion, I published an analysis of the writers’ predictions over the past 10 years. The 16 writers who had made three or more predictions in that time tended to overestimate the team’s win total by an average of 1.59 games per season.
This year, as a service to the Hogs Haven Community, I will use the bias scores that I calculated for individual writers, myself included, as correction factors, to provide you with a more accurate record prediction. If the writers stay true to form, and it’s not an anomalous season like 2013 or 2020, the result should closely approximate the Commanders’ actual win total.
Bias-Correcting the Writers’ Predictions
In the previous article, I calculated a Bias-Score for each writer, which was the average amount by which they had tended to overestimate or underestimate Washington’s win total across all their past predictions. To derive the bias-corrected win predictions, I simply subtracted each writer’s Bias-Score from their 2022 season prediction giving the following results:
All but two of the writers have tended to overestimate the Commanders’ win total by one or more games per season in their past predictions, after rounding to whole numbers. When these positive biases are corrected for, we achieve a more sobering outlook for the coming season. The average corrected prediction is 6.6 wins, which rounds to 7. Wouldn’t you know, that’s exactly what I predicted.
Bias-Corrected Season Record Prediction: 7 Wins*, 10 Losses
Despite the significant upgrades to the roster on offense and softer schedule, it seems that the defense and coaching staff don’t have what it takes to elevate the win total above last season’s poor showing. If this prediction comes true, expect to start hearing chatter about Ron Rivera being on the hot seat.
Hopefully this will be another season like 2020, when most of the writers underestimated how much Ron Rivera could improve the team’s fortunes in his first season as Head Coach and team leader.
*This wouldn’t be a MattInBrisVegas article without a Methodological Details Section: 1. Andrew York was not included in the previous article because he had only made two previous predictions. In the interests of inclusiveness, and because I included my own predictions despite also having also only made two, I included him here as well. 2. The two or three statistics nerds on here might take issue with me treating all the writers’ predictions equally, despite their Bias Scores being derived from widely differing numbers of past predictions. Statistically minded readers can rest assured that I also calculated a weighted average, weighting each writer’s prediction in proportion to the number of past predictions to reflect the differing levels of confidence in the Bias Scores. The weighted average came to 6.78, which also rounds to 7. I decided to just present the simpler result, since the weighting didn’t change anything.
Which writer got it right?
This poll is closed
Mark Tyler: Revamped offense + easy schedule = 11 wins and a playoff run
Bill-in-Bangkok: Offseason improvements and softer schedule have to be worth 9 wins and a Wild Card appearance
MattInBrisVegas: Better offense, defense taking a step backward, same coaching staff = no improvement on 2021
Scott Jennings (HH’s most accurate predictor): 1 win worse than last season
Tom Garrett: Wheels starting to fall off