News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Seattle Seahawks defeat San Francisco 49ers (?)

Football fans, you need to watch the November 11 Monday Night Football game, the visiting Seattle Seahawks (6-2) playing the undefeated San Francisco 49ers (7-0). National Football League (NFL) Playoff implications? Proof of a fledging legacy? Most likely!

Here’s my predicted outcome. (See below for details.)

Seattle Seahawks ... 27 points

San Francisco 49ers ... 24 points

Many fans like picking winners before each game! Perhaps they use statistics (stats) in their “pick process.” Legendary Packers Coach Vince Lombardi famously and frequently said: “Statistics are for losers.”

In 2010, New England Patriots Coach Bill Belichick — a future Hall of Famer — massaged Coach Lombardi’s saying:

“Stats are for losers. The final score is for winners. I think they all have meaning; it’s just the priority of the stats. Wins are number one. Points are number two because that correlates to winning.”

As we know, many “uncontrollable events” can happen before this big Seahawks/49ers match. Such as key players being injured — especially the critical starting quarterback.

Once the game starts, quirky things can affect the game’s outcome, too — for instance, multiple players tipping a passed football. Then, the ball falling into the hands of an opponent — being run back for the game-winning touchdown!

Things like this impact each game’s outcome; that is, a win, loss, or tie. Therefore, stats might seem to become irrelevant!

And per the old NFL saying, “On any given day, any team in the NFL can beat any other team.”

With this above in mind, what is the importance and influence of all this “statistical stuff” on this big game?

Television’s data-driven, fact-fanatic detective, Adrian Monk, habitually said: “Here’s what happened.” He said this before explaining how he solved his case.

“Here’s what happened” with my Seahawks and 49ers statistical analysis.

People often get concerned with many other statistical factors. In my research, many are “noise,” such as: if the opponent has a winning record, a conference game, artificial turf/natural, national primetime airing, etc.

Using the Seahawks’ 2013-2018 seasons’ data, a “score bracket/win probability” model was created. In total, 96 games were studied.

Statistically speaking, this is a strong, predictive model! Here’s the CliffsNotes form.

Points Scored: ... Winning Probability:

0 to 10 ... 0%

11 to 32 ... 65%

33 and more ... 100%

So, what’s the big deal?

If you are the aggressive, gum-chopping Seahawks coach, Pete Carroll, you want to get to the 33+-point score level. If done, the Seahawks are “guaranteed” of a win! Scoring 10 or fewer points, this “guarantees” a loss.

About 70 percent of Seattle games have scores in the 11 to 32-points bracket. When doing so, the Seahawks win 65 percent of the time.

Below, the trend line (red dotted line) is plotted using the 96 data points — with “winning probabilities” between 0 and 33 points


This same analysis was performed for the San Francisco 49ers, again analyzing their 2013-2018 seasons. Interestingly, their score/win probabilities were very similar to the Seahawks.

Importantly, however, their key 11 to 31-points bracket “winning percentages” were different than the Seahawks. Each score was lower than the Seahawks!

Therefore, we can conclude that the historical Seahawks’ probability of winning percentages is higher than the 49ers! (Arguably, this year’s 49ers team could be much better than past teams. They still need to prove themselves in the bigger games).

Two other positive, major aspects are in favor of the Seahawks. Pete Carroll’s experience and longevity in “big” games. Additionally, quarterback Russell Wilson’s proven leadership as well as performing in pressure games. At this point, the 49ers do not have this vital type of experience.

In Seattle’s 2019-2020 season, in all eight games, they have scored between 16 to 32 points. Therefore, all points are in the determined 65 percent “win probability” range. Neither “guaranteed” wins (32 points or more) nor losses (10 points or fewer) have happened.

In only one Seahawks game, 16 or fewer points were scored. Six of eight were 27-points or more. Excluding their 16-point loss, the 7-game average points scored is 27.4 points.

The 49ers are a formidable opponent! Although they are undefeated, one potential issue is their inconsistent point production. This could be their Achilles Heel on

November 11.

We know Coach Belichick is using statistics to generate wins. The Patriots will be playing in the post-season. The 49ers and Seahawks will be joining them, too!

Knowing how many points are needed to win is a fun factor.

Will any of these predictions come true? Time will tell!

Enjoy the upcoming Monday Night game. And we will see if the losers are talking stats on Tuesday!

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