The playoffs are upon us, which means it’s time for everyone to start making predictions about who will get where in the playoffs. Nate Silver, a statistician known for analyzing sports and politics, and his website FiveThirtyEight (or 538) use numbers to base their opinions. Those numbers don’t look good for the Dallas Cowboys.
For some background, in 2013 ESPN acquired 538 and hired Silver to cover a broad spectrum of topics using stats and analytics. Today, 538 released its predictions on the likelihood of all teams in the Super Wild Card Weekend to make the Divisional Round, make the Conference Championship, make it to the Super Bowl, and win the Super Bowl.
The Green Bay Packers currently lead every category. They will obviously make the divisional round with a bye. The website says the Pack has a 77% chance to make the Conference Championships, a 50% chance to make the Super Bowl, and a 27% chance to win it.
FiveThirtyEight gave the Cowboys a meager 7% chance of winning the Super Bowl.
Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight website gives Dallas Cowboys the lowest percentage to win Wild Card game among all NFL division winners
It seems like Silver doesn’t think the NFC East is all that special. Out of all eight divisional winners, the Cowboys have the lowest chance to make it past this Sunday. Here are the percentages of winning the Wild Card round for the division champions:
- Green Bay Packers: 100% (Wild Card bye)
- Tennessee Titans: 100% (Wild Card bye)
- Kansas City Chiefs: 86%
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 80%
- Cincinnati Bengals: 74%
- Buffalo Bills: 70%
- Los Angeles Rams: 70%
- Dallas Cowboys: 69%
Not ideal for Dallas.
Silver and his team create these predictions by crunching 50,000 different simulations of the season and using “Elo ratings.” Elo ratings are a measure of strength-based head-to-head results and quality of opponent.
We know Nate Silver is a wizard in the stats and analytics world, but let’s hope his numbers are wrong this time around.