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How many interceptions will a team throw in a game?  That’s dependent on a number of things, of course, but I want to focus on three things: how interception prone the team is, how interception prone the opposing defense is, and the Game Script.

Suppose you knew what the Game Script of a game would wind up being; given that you have a general sense of the offense’s and defense’s interception rates, what weight would you put on each variable to predict a team’s interception rate?

The same is true for other statistics.  For example, what about rushing yards?  How many yards would you project Team A to run for against Team B, if you knew the rushing stats for  Team A’s offense, Team B’s defense, and the Game Script?

Or passing yards.  Or completion percentage.  The interplay between offense and defense is always interesting — some research suggests about 60% of the result is due to the offense, with 40% based on the defense — but throwing in Game Scripts adds an interesting element.

Oh, and one final thought: how would you go about trying to answer these questions.  What studies would you run?  What would you like me to do?

  • Richie

    Not sure. But I want to get an e-mail if anybody else has thoughts about this, so I am replying.

  • Ty

    Would love this project to happen. Might take an offseason, I’d imagine,
    with your other obligations. I would try to factor in average starting
    position as well.

  • Glycoproteins

    I would be interested in the relationship between any of the following:

    Game Scripts and turnover rate
    Game Scripts and interception rate
    Game Scripts and sack rate
    Game Scripts and number of pass rushers (do teams blitz more when down?)

    Game Scripts and rushing YPC
    Game Scripts and yards per attempt and/or yards per completion
    Game Scripts and average depth of target (perhaps a collaboration with PFF?)
    Game Scripts and 4th down decision-making

  • Would be cool to see projection of a “game script range” based on Vegas spread, OU, SRS spread, etc.

    i.e. With BUF as a 7-pt dog on the road this week, what’s a reasonable game-script range to expect? Perhaps within 1-sigma of historical normal curve? Based on that script range, what might BUF do with their play-call split and how will their players divide up that split?

    • Thanks. FWIW, I think a reasonable Game Script to expect would be 14. If the Patriots are up by 0 at the start of the game and 7 at the end, and score in a linear fashion, the Game Script would be 14. I think I looked into this at one point and scoring was “linear enough” to make this a reasonable projection.

      • Tom

        Chase – does it make any sense to use the average game scripts (adjusted or not, etc.) to predict the Game Script? I don’t have Week 10’s data (I don’t see that you have it up yet), but at the end of Week 9, Buffalo had an average (adjusted) GS of 0.0, the Jets had a GS of 1.7. Adding in home field advantage of 2.5 would give us a ending GS for that game of Jets +4.1. In other words, can a team’s average Game Script be used to predict the final Game Script for a game? And how would HFA work with that?

        • My gut reaction is that SRS is a better predictor of Game Script than Game Script. Now SRS isn’t necessarily as good as Vegas, but I think Game Script is still better from an explanatory perspective than a predictive one. On the other hand, nothing wrong with trial and error, and playing around with the data could yield some interesting results.

          • Tom

            (I think you meant “SRS is a better predictor of game score” not Game Script correct?)

            I totally agree that GS is an incredible explanatory stat, especially when viewed side-by-side with the final score. I’ll keep messing around with the data, maybe look at the previous two seasons you put together as well.