Saturday, September 6, 2014

Objective, Data-Based Predictions for the Season

It's been a long time since the last Skins Analysis post, but it's important to go on record with my 2014 predictions before the season begins.  Why should you care?  First, I base my predictions on objective and careful consideration of available data, and second, I was pretty accurate last year.

Prediction #1.  RGIII will be markedly better this year than last.
This may sound obvious, but it's not.  Many news outlets -- including the Washington, ESPN, and CBS Sports -- have reported that RGIII looks like the second best QB on the Skins.  But don't be fooled by pre-season observations.  As described below, the best available data suggest that RGIII will look more like his 2012 self.

Last year I correctly predicted a marked drop-off in RGIII's performance.  That prediction was based on the track records of Tom Brady and RGIII (while in college) the year following ACL surgery.  However, the other part of that analysis noted that both QBs were back to top form the second year post-surgery.  And here we are, year 2 post-surgery.

So look for RGIII to once again put up big numbers.  Last year RGIII was ranked 28th among QBs in Win Probability Added/Game (WPA/G).  This year he will be ranked in the top 10.

Prediction #2.  The Skins defense will rank in the bottom half of the league.
There's lots of optimism about the Skins defense.  Many news outlets and blogs assume that the defense is noticeably improved.  But it all starts at the top.  And if there is one thing Defensive Coordinator Jim Haslett has proven time and again throughout his career as a defensive coach, it is that he produces below average defenses.  This year will be no exception.

Prediction #3.  The Skins will finish the season 8-8.  This is the most tentative prediction, because I really have no data to go on, except the two previous seasons.  They finished 10-6 two years ago, and 3-13 last year.  I suspect their 'real' record is somewhere in the middle.  And assuming RGIII looks more like his 2012 than 2013 self (see Prediction 1), the Skins' record should be closer to their 2012 record.  So there you go.

1 comment:

  1. Whelp...

    Looks like another RG3-13 season.

    We can always hope to wreck the Cowgirls postseason hopes on the last game of the season.