Originally posted on Waiting For Next Year  |  Last updated 4/20/12

The poll is still open, but I figured with over 500 responses it was enough of a sample to do some math, calculate some results and run some trials. I know that the stats don’t work 100% and that when you try to apply math to an equation as large as an NFL season encompassing coaches, players, weather, stadiums, fans, referees, front offices and much more. At the same time, I figured it might be interesting to see if you apply a little bit of expectations (even really pessimistic ones) to an NFL schedule how the percentages would come out. So here goes. Based on your votes this is the percentage chance the Browns have in each game this year.

Week Base Case 1 Sun., Sept. 9 PHILADELPHIA EAGLES – FOX 1:00 p.m. 38% 2 Sun., Sept. 16 at Cincinnati Bengals – CBS 1:00 p.m. 50% 3 Sun., Sept. 23 BUFFALO BILLS – CBS 1:00 p.m. 60% 4 Thur., Sept. 27 at Baltimore Ravens – NFLN 8:20 p.m. 26% 5 Sun., Oct. 7 at New York Giants – CBS 1:00 p.m. 30% 6 Sun., Oct. 14 CINCINNATI BENGALS – CBS 1:00 p.m. 59% 7 Sun., Oct. 21 at Indianapolis Colts – CBS 1:00 p.m. 71% 8 Sun., Oct. 28 SAN DIEGO CHARGERS – CBS 1:00 p.m. 48% 9 Sun., Nov. 4 BALTIMORE RAVENS – CBS 1:00 p.m. 35% 10 Sun., Nov. 18 at Dallas Cowboys – CBS 1:00 p.m. (After Bye) 44% 11 Sun., Nov. 25 PITTSBURGH STEELERS – CBS 1:00 p.m. 39% 12 Sun., Dec. 2 at Oakland Raiders – CBS 4:15 p.m. 55% 13 Sun., Dec. 9 KANSAS CITY CHIEFS – CBS 1:00 p.m. 60% 14 Sun., Dec. 16 WASHINGTON REDSKINS – FOX 1:00 p.m. 64% 15 Sun., Dec. 23 at Denver Broncos – CBS 4:05 p.m. 37% 16 Sun., Dec. 30 at Pittsburgh Steelers – CBS 1:00 p.m. 28%

Now, I would say that Browns fans were a bit optimistic in spots and equally pessimistic in others.  For example, Browns fans were a little juiced about the prospects of playing the Bills at home in week three giving the Browns a 60% chance of winning. Even more excitedly, you guys gave the Browns a resounding advantage against the Indianapolis Colts with 71%. You also like the Browns’ chances against the Redskins and Bengals.

What I did next was I created 100 trials of running this season at these chances. Out of 100 trials the average number of wins was 4.3, meaning that even with some pretty confident numbers in a few games, you guys, on average think the Browns will win four games this year. That doesn’t seem totally crazy considering what we know today and the inherent risks in the draft.  Here’s the distribution of trials. The Browns win eight games just five times in the 100 trials and win nine games three times at random. In no circumstances do the Browns win ten or more games in my trials given current Browns’ confidence intervals.

0 Wins 1 1% 1 Wins 3 3% 2 Wins 16 16% 3 Wins 14 14% 4 Wins 26 26% 5 Wins 13 13% 6 Wins 15 15% 7 Wins 4 4% 8 Wins 5 5% 9 Wins 3 3% 10 Wins 0 0% 100

 

So, what if you take it down to an even worse case? What if you take it down to the worst possible case? In order to play with those numbers I assumed that the Cleveland Browns were an NFL team with a mere 10% chance to win easy games this year and 5% in what we think will be more difficult games. I made some of my own assumptions just for fun.

Week Worst Worst 1 Sun., Sept. 9 PHILADELPHIA EAGLES – FOX 1:00 p.m. 5% 2 Sun., Sept. 16 at Cincinnati Bengals – CBS 1:00 p.m. 10% 3 Sun., Sept. 23 BUFFALO BILLS – CBS 1:00 p.m. 10% 4 Thur., Sept. 27 at Baltimore Ravens – NFLN 8:20 p.m. 5% 5 Sun., Oct. 7 at New York Giants – CBS 1:00 p.m. 5% 6 Sun., Oct. 14 CINCINNATI BENGALS – CBS 1:00 p.m. 10% 7 Sun., Oct. 21 at Indianapolis Colts – CBS 1:00 p.m. 10% 8 Sun., Oct. 28 SAN DIEGO CHARGERS – CBS 1:00 p.m. 5% 9 Sun., Nov. 4 BALTIMORE RAVENS – CBS 1:00 p.m. 5% 10 Sun., Nov. 18 at Dallas Cowboys – CBS 1:00 p.m. (After Bye) 5% 11 Sun., Nov. 25 PITTSBURGH STEELERS – CBS 1:00 p.m. 5% 12 Sun., Dec. 2 at Oakland Raiders – CBS 4:15 p.m. 10% 13 Sun., Dec. 9 KANSAS CITY CHIEFS – CBS 1:00 p.m. 10% 14 Sun., Dec. 16 WASHINGTON REDSKINS – FOX 1:00 p.m. 10% 15 Sun., Dec. 23 at Denver Broncos – CBS 4:05 p.m. 5% 16 Sun., Dec. 30 at Pittsburgh Steelers – CBS 1:00 p.m. 5%

 

This is what that schedule looks like. Even with those numbers plugged in where the Browns have this low a percentage chance, the average number of wins over that time period is 0.82 or rounded up to 1 win per season. The distribution of trials looks like this.

0 Wins 43 43% 1 Wins 38 38% 2 Wins 14 14% 3 Wins 4 4% 4 Wins 1 1% 5 Wins 0 0% 6 Wins 0 0% 7 Wins 0 0% 8 Wins 0 0% 9 Wins 0 0% 10 Wins 0 0% 100

 

The Browns go winless in this scenario 43% of the time and only have a 1% chance of getting four wins. What this should say to you though is that with such measly chances to win, the Browns still have a 57% chance of winning one or more games in a season.

So finally, just because I am an optimist, I figured I go ahead and take everyone’s predictions and just add 10% to every one to see how well this season could go for the Browns if everyone’s expectations for the games was right, but if the Browns were better and more prepared in each one of them than we might expect right now.

Game Best Case 1 Sun., Sept. 9 PHILADELPHIA EAGLES – FOX 1:00 p.m. 48% 2 Sun., Sept. 16 at Cincinnati Bengals – CBS 1:00 p.m. 60% 3 Sun., Sept. 23 BUFFALO BILLS – CBS 1:00 p.m. 70% 4 Thur., Sept. 27 at Baltimore Ravens – NFLN 8:20 p.m. 36% 5 Sun., Oct. 7 at New York Giants – CBS 1:00 p.m. 40% 6 Sun., Oct. 14 CINCINNATI BENGALS – CBS 1:00 p.m. 69% 7 Sun., Oct. 21 at Indianapolis Colts – CBS 1:00 p.m. 81% 8 Sun., Oct. 28 SAN DIEGO CHARGERS – CBS 1:00 p.m. 58% 9 Sun., Nov. 4 BALTIMORE RAVENS – CBS 1:00 p.m. 45% 10 Sun., Nov. 18 at Dallas Cowboys – CBS 1:00 p.m. 54% 11 Sun., Nov. 25 PITTSBURGH STEELERS – CBS 1:00 p.m. 49% 12 Sun., Dec. 2 at Oakland Raiders – CBS 4:15 p.m. 65% 13 Sun., Dec. 9 KANSAS CITY CHIEFS – CBS 1:00 p.m. 70% 14 Sun., Dec. 16 WASHINGTON REDSKINS – FOX 1:00 p.m. 74% 15 Sun., Dec. 23 at Denver Broncos – CBS 4:05 p.m. 47% 16 Sun., Dec. 30 at Pittsburgh Steelers – CBS 1:00 p.m. 38%

 

Given those percentages, here’s how the season shakes out. The average number of wins is still just 5.6 putting the Browns just about smack dab in the middle of five and six wins on the year. Here’s how the distribution of trials worked out.

0 Wins 0 0% 1 Wins 0 0% 2 Wins 1 1% 3 Wins 9 9% 4 Wins 17 17% 5 Wins 26 26% 6 Wins 13 13% 7 Wins 21 21% 8 Wins 7 7% 9 Wins 5 5% 10 Wins 1 1% 100

 

So there you have it. A somewhat scientific (yet decidedly flawed) proof of how difficult it is to go winless in a season from a probability standpoint. More importantly it goes to show how difficult it truly is to attempt to make sense of an NFL season before the draft and multiple months before the games will actually be played. Stocks rise and fall consistently and considerably throughout every single year.

Still, it was a fun exercise just to see how everyone rated this schedule today. I’ll be looking forward to looking back on it later. Maybe we can do these going into every week of the season or at least do it after the pre-season? Maybe at the bye week?

Even in its flaws, I think this was more valuable than just blindly talking about “hunting for the W” in the schedule like NFL.com did.

Just let me know in the comments. Was this fun?

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