Harvard Student Predicts Green Bay Packers 2015 Season


The highly remarked “A-Way-Too-Early Prediction of the NFL Season” study broke a couple days ago with Harvard student Kurt Bullard using statistical analogies in predicting where each team in the NFL would finish for the 2015 regular season.

Just for fun, Lombardi Ave wanted to dissect Bullard’s formulas and predictions with where he had our beloved Green Bay Packers finishing in the 2015 season. Bullard’s study has drawn many interest from fans across the country.

Bullard used a numerous amount of astute statistics to try and get as close as he can to predicting the 2015 regular season. He notes on how he came to some of those statistics below.

"“The biggest challenge obviously is to come up with a sound way to estimate team strength, an endeavor that’s demanding considering the amount of personnel turnover each offseason and the lack of advanced statistics to evaluate player interactions. The method that I came up with uses Pro Football Reference’s Approximate Value statistic, the site’s best measure of trying to tease out individual talent. Then, using ESPN’s NFL depth charts, I aggregated each team’s per game approximate value of what I considered to be the “core” makeup of an NFL team: QB, RB, 2 WR, TE, Top 2 OL, the Top-4 “Front Seven” defensive players, and the Top-2 players from the secondary.”"

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Although Bullard has no way of predicting variables such as players getting hurt (or in today’s NFL suspended) as well as how rookies will preform, it should be noted the extensiveness he did take in order to predict the 2015 season. Along with looking at each team’s unique situation in terms of player prestige and roles, Bullard even gave some insight on the idea of players aging.

"This model does not account for aging, but I make the assumption that in aggregating these AV (approximate value) totals, the positive and negative effects of aging on an individual will, for a team, net out to around zero. So this model favors aging teams and may hinder up-and-coming teams."

Bullard included all of this information and included the strength of schedule variable for each team with regarding that the teams who finished with better records last season will have a tougher schedule in the crossover match ups this season, in compiling multiple formula’s he then ran each teams chances of making the playoffs for the 2015 season in a “Monte Carlo” type format

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Before we dive into where Green Bay stands in the conference, lets looks at how they stack up in the NFC North. With Green Bay receiving a 93% chance of making the playoffs, they stand 40% ahead of the closest team in the division the Detroit Lions at 53%. The Chicago Bears ended up third in the division with 25%, while the Minnesota Vikings rounded out the divsion with 12%. This NFC North came down to the final game of the regular season last year at Lambeau Field between Green Bay and Detroit and still both teams ended up making the playoffs. Even with the much lower percentage, Detroit still has the third highest probability in the NFC of making the playoffs, so the Detroit and Green Bay match ups (Week 10 and 13) this season will again carry a heavy significance.

Now while the study has Green Bay winning the NFC North, it rates them as the number two team in the NFC behind the Seattle Seahawks (95%). While the NFC Championship loss in January is still entrenched in the memory of every “Cheesehead” across the country, it also should be noted that the Packers are currently carrying a three game losing streak against Seattle.

What may be forgotten though, is that all three of those losses were played in Seattle and that’s counting the famous “failmary” loss in 2012. Seattle has not beaten Green Bay at home since 1999.

That being said, Green Bay will again battle Seattle for a fourth time in three years in Week 2 of the regular season, this time at Lambeau field. You can infer from the study that Bullard has Seattle probably winning that game.

Although all for fun, what do you think about Bullard’s predictions?

You can read Harvard student Keith Bullards article below:

A Way-Too-Early Prediction of the NFL Season

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