Tuesday, February 11, 2014

How Many Games The Vikings Will Win Next Season (Based On Starting QB)

With the Super Bowl wrapped up, teams are heavily preparing for the 2014 NFL season. I have already covered our two major off-season decisions, signing a head coach and drafting a quarterback. Now, I am going to use my time-tested Win Total Estimator (WTE) to predict the Vikings wins next season. The WTE predicted 6.28 wins for us last season, and we finished with a 5-10-1 record.

My model uses multiple categories with different correlations to wins. I look primarily at the differences from the prior season, including strength of schedule, pythagorean wins, and QBR. From these differences, I pull together a change in wins stat from last year's win total. Most likely, in 2014 we will have a rookie at QB, so there is certainly some variable. But, I will do my best to plug in a rating for each QB we have a shot at getting based on scouting, and also our chances with Ponder or Cassel.

The other areas of the model will remain constant regardless of who is playing quarterback for us. Our pythagorean win percentage will account for about 1.54 added wins in 2014. Our change in average opponents win percentage (SOS) will account for about .16 added wins in 2014. We combine these for 1.7 added wins before accounting for our new QB.

For Ponder and Cassel, we will use a 3 year Moving Average (or maximum possible years MA) of their QBR, only counted seasons where they started at least 8 games.

The formula we will use for rookie QBs Projected QBR is based on historical data (I calculated this myself):

 QBR=  –6.8892X+58.9205 (X= Rank of QB in draft #)

(#1 QB) Johnny Manziel (Projected QBR= 52.03)

If we are able to draft the first quarterback in the NFL Draft, regardless of who that is, the statistics say we will win 7.21 games next year.
How was this calculated? We took the 5 wins the Vikings had last year and saw a change of 2.21 wins for 2014. 1.7 wins came from the previously described stats, leaving an increase of .51 wins the #1 QB (currently Manziel) would be responsible for.

Projected wins: 7.21

Matt Cassel (Projected QBR= 46.66)

Projected wins: 6.60

Christian Ponder (Projected QBR= 46.22)

Projected wins: 6.55

(#2 QB) Teddy Bridgewater (Projected QBR= 45.14)

Projected wins: 6.43

(#3 QB) Blake Bortles (Projected QBR= 38.25)

Projected wins: 5.64

(#4 QB) Derek Carr (Projected QBR= 31.36)

Projected wins: 4.86

(#5 QB) Tajh Boyd (Projected QBR= 24.45)

Projected wins: 4.07

The data shows how important it is we select a top quarterback in the draft for future success. History has proven that there is a strong correlation between draft number by position and QBR in their rookie season. Although the order probably will change over the next few months, especially during the combine, the Vikings best option appears to be trading up to select whomever the top quarterback is at draft time.

As of right now, the Vikings will probably get the 3rd best QB in the draft. This puts us at 5.64 wins, not much of an improvement from last year.

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