Can Andy Win?

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A FanPost by Mitko:

While past data isn’t always a 100% indicator of future trends, it does give a relatively accurate statistical prediction of the possible outcomes. When it comes to looking at the likelihood of playoff success, the biggest common factors are both coach and quarterback, due to that fact that rest of a team’s 53 man roster vary significantly from year to year. In the case of the 2019 Kansas City Chiefs’ playoff victory chances the only data representative of success or failure falls on Andy Reid’s previous playoff history due to Mahomes having none himself.

To predict the chances of a KC victory with each of the three possible opponents, we will take as much important information from Andy Reid’s previous 13 opening playoff games. Included are both his tenures at Philadelphia and in Kansas City. This includes the results, the round of the playoffs the game took place, whether the game was home or away, the opponents record, the score difference, whether the opposition was a wildcard team or a division champion, and the results of both teams’ regular season matchups, if any.

Why only the first game of each playoff, instead of all of Reid’s post-season results? Well, for two main reasons really. The first is that accumulating the data and factoring in the percentile of victory for each possible opposition in each possible round is, truthfully a bit too time consuming at this stage. Let’s not put the horse ahead of the carriage anyway. The second reason is that many Chiefs fans have been pretty vocal about being satisfied at just participating in the AFC Championship game. While I personally disagree with this assessment, this exercise will be a good indicator of the likelihood of reaching that goal, and possibly allow some people to reassess their expectations.

In order relive those past painful memories as little as possible, Reid’s playoff history results have been put into chart form, with the final scores removed. The red lines are losses, while the green lines are wins.

There are a few interesting points to take away from this.  First of all Andy Reid is 8-5 in his opening games of the playoffs. That’s about a 61.5% win rate. He also currently has a +86 point differential in playoff games. That number is huge. In opening games, Reid has only been blown out once, while also losing by no more than five points in his other four losses. On the other side. Reid has won by more than a touchdown six times, while only winning a game by less than a TD twice.  What does this tell us? Well, two things: Reid almost never gets blown out in the first game, and he struggles to win when it’s a tight game.

This opening playoff game record also shows us that his reputation for choking and not being a good post-season coach is vastly exaggerated. Why is this? Well I believe it is due to the nature of playoff records themselves. Unless a team wins the Superbowl, they are guaranteed a loss. Let’s say the goal of a coach is to be .500 in the post season at the end of their career. All they have to do is win half their games right? Well technically, but not really. Say that a coach wins their first game. That’s great, now if they lose the game after they will be .500, but let’s pretend they lose their first game. That is still ok right? Next year they just have to win one to even it up. Nope. The next year they will have to win at least two because, again unless they win the Superbowl they are inevitably going to end up with an additional loss. Two wins doesn’t seem like much, until you realize that means either a divisional championship or Superbowl appearance.

Anyway, let’s look at the main numbers that pop out in relationship to this year’s playoff chances. (Remember these are from the first game Reid’s teams play only. Nothing additional.) In home games Reid is 6-3, while he is 2-2 away.  In wildcard games he is 5-4, but when the first game is a divisional round match out he is 3-1 (The lone loss being to Pittsburgh two years ago. Sigh.) When the opponent is a wildcard team his record is 5-2, but when faced against a divisional winner he is only 3-3.  When Andy plays a team he beat one or more times in the regular season he is 4-0, but when he loses to a team at least once in the regular season, he is 0-4 in his opening game. He has only ever split regular season games once to a first playoff opponent, the New York Giants, who he then defeated in the playoffs.  Against teams he did not play in the regular season, Reid is 3-1. His lone loss being last year to the Titans. (I’m beginning to see why some Chiefs fans think they are cursed.) Something that is not listed on the chart, but is important, is the fact that Reid is also 3-0 when owning the one seed, which the Chiefs do this year. *Frantically knocks on wood*

For the three possible divisional round opponents next week we can fill in most of the same information as the chart above, save for the results of the playoff game of course.

Now we can fill in Reid’s previous win percentage for each of the above categories along with his overall opening round playoff game win percentage of 61.5% and record as the 1 seed at a perfect 100%. (Note: While Reid is 3-1 against 10-6 clubs, he has never played a 12-4 club or better in his opening game. So instead we’ll use 11-5, in which he is, unfortunately, 0-3.) Then we can average out the numbers to estimate the Chiefs’ win percentage against each opponent.

So according to Reid’s previous history in his first playoff games, the Chiefs have the best chance to beat the Ravens, followed closely by the Colts, and then the Chargers. What do you think? Who would you prefer to face? Do these numbers make you feel better or worse about their next game?