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Mathletics by Wayne L. Winston

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WHAT MAKES NFL TEAMS WIN?

NFL teams want to win games. Is it more important to have a good rushing attack or a good passing attack? Is rushing defense more important than passing defense? Is it true that turnovers kill you? During the early 1960s statistician Bud Goode studied what makes a team win. He found that passing yards per attempt (PY/A) on both offense and defense were the most important factors in predicting an NFL team's success. This is intuitively satisfying because PY/A is more of a measure of efficiency than total yards passing. Since we divide by pass attempts, PY/A recognizes that passing plays use up a scarce resource (a down).

Using team statistics from the 2003–6 season we will run a regression to try to predict each ...

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