In the scatter plot above you will see 32 columns of 4 different colored dots. Each color represents a different metric and each column represents an NFL team. The metrics have been normalized into ranks to make the chart more easily digestible. An example of how to read this chart is as follows: The four dots furthest to the left hand side of the graph, vertically aligned, represent the Arizona Cardinals rank in the following categories: Record, Avg. Pts Per Play, TO Margin and Opp. YPG. As you can see Arizona is ranked 1st in record, 2nd in TO Margin, 5th in Opp. YPG and 9th in Pts Per Play.
The purpose of this graphic is to visually represent the correlation between each teams record and the three other critical statistics in context, which have been used in the past to predict outcomes. In theory, if you understand the data it should be able to give you insight that could enhance your predictions of upcoming games. From what we can see it is obvious that of the three critical statistics, Pts Per Play is more tightly correlated to a winning outcome than the others.
The table below shows the breadth of the data I collected to create these correlations in a normalized state.
On the right hand side the columns titled Hot Team Rank, Best Team Rank, Best Home Rank and Best Away Rank are sums of the preceding columns. For example, Hot Team Rank is =SUM(OPP. YPG Season Rank, Pts Per Play Season Rank, TO Margin Season Rank), meaning the hottest team (New England) is the team with the best average rank across the three critical statistics.
Using this data, and the correlations that I have calculated, I analyzed the game between the Washington Football Team and the Seattle Seahawks that will be played tonight. I begun by looking at the highest correlated metric, Pts Per Play. Based on the data I collected I found that there is a correlation of .706 between Pts Per Play and Wins. Washington is currently ranked 21st in Pts Per Play among all NFL teams. However, in the last three games they are ranked 19th. Seattle is ranked 19th for the season, but in the past three games are ranked 28th. This suggests that neither team has an impressive offensive efficiency, but Seattle has has recently seen a significant drop and unless they turn things around will have a hard time beating even mediocre teams.
Additionally, Washington is the 13th hottest team in football, and it has shown in their previous three games as they are 2-1 against formidable opponents. In their past three games, Washington has ranked 4th in allowed yards per game, a departure from their season average rank of 23rd. On the other side of the spectrum, Seattle, who usually has one of the best TO Margins in the league, has been sub-standard when it comes to holding onto the ball in their recent matchups.
All-in-all, according to my data, Seattle could be considered one of the coldest teams in the league, while Washington continues to see mid-season improvement. I believe these trends will continue and Washington will beat the Seahawks by a slight margin this evening at FedEx Field.