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A Chiefs’ 2018 regular-season record prediction

The annual prediction of our numbers guru, Gary McKenzie.

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Atlanta Falcons Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Here we are again — the start of a new NFL season!

Over the past four years, I have made predictions for the Kansas City Chiefs’ regular season-record and I’ve been quite successful (or lucky... yeah, lucky is probably the better word).

In three of the past four predictions, I have gotten the record exactly right, and the other year I was a game off. Here are the predictions from the years prior if you’re curious to see them:

Now that you know I’m not a liar, let’s see if I can get lucky again in 2018.

How we do this

I’m going to use the same prediction metric as I have in the years past. I understand I was spoiled with Alex Smith’s consistency, and making a prediction for Mahomes will have much more variance. This means it’s going to be much more difficult to nail a Mahomes prediction, but that’s not going to stop me from trying.

Anyway, the method we’ve used in the past is the following: Observe Reid’s record vs. playoff and non-playoff teams, use common sense to predict the current schedule’s playoff teams, and then use the records from prior years to build a prediction.

I have chosen to change things a little this season with how I make the prediction. Last season, we used Smith and Reid’s record to build our prediction. This year we’re still using Smith and Reid’s body of work, but we will also include Reid’s first years with Donovan McNabb and Michael Vick as starters to help guide our predictions.

Here are Reid’s records for the above years against playoff teams:

Reid vs Playoff Teams

Year W L WIN%
Year W L WIN%
2000 1 3 0.250
2010 2 2 0.500
2013 1 5 0.167
2014 2 4 0.333
2015 3 4 0.429
2016 3 2 0.600
2017 2 2 0.500
- 14 22 0.389

The important value we’re looking at is the 0.389 win percentage vs. playoff teams. We’ll use this number later.

Now let’s see how Reid has done against non-playoff teams during the same seasons.

Reid vs Non-Playoff Teams

Year W L WIN%
Year W L WIN%
2000 10 2 0.833
2010 8 4 0.667
2013 10 0 1.000
2014 7 3 0.700
2015 8 1 0.889
2016 9 2 0.818
2017 8 4 0.667
- 60 16 0.789

Andy Reid has been phenomenal against non-playoff teams. A lot of fans like to complain about Reid blowing games vs. poor competition, but the opposite is true. Reid has been great vs teams who don’t make the playoffs.

Now the last piece — a prediction for playoff teams on the Chiefs’ schedule in 2018. I break the teams down into three groups: Yes, Maybe, and No.

Yes = The team will probably make the playoffs
Maybe = The team could make the playoffs
No = I don’t see this team making the playoffs

Chiefs 2018 Schedule

Opponent Playoffs?
Opponent Playoffs?
Chargers Maybe
Steelers Yes
49ers Maybe
Broncos Maybe
Jaguars Maybe
Patriots Yes
Bengals Maybe
Broncos Maybe
Browns No
Cardinals Maybe
Rams Maybe
Raiders No
Ravens No
Chargers Maybe
Seahawks Maybe
Raiders No

Now, let’s fix some issues with these predictions real quickly...

To start we have 10 maybes, two yes teams and four no teams. However, the AFC West and NFC West can’t possibly have four teams make the playoffs. At best, there should be one yes team, one maybe team, and two no teams for each of those divisions.

This updates the numbers to be three yes teams, five maybe teams, and eight no teams.

In years prior, we’ve taken the maybes and split them evenly into yes and no playoff teams. That leaves us a final mixture of seven yes and nine no.

The prediction

Using the likely playoff and non-playoff teams as well as the regular-season records from above, we can finally make a prediction for the Chiefs’ regular season:

( 7 * 0.389 ) + ( 9 * 0.789 ) = 2.723 + 7.101 = 9.824 wins

So my prediction for the 2018 Chiefs is 10-6.

I have never liked predictions at 10-6. I feel like it’s a generic prediction, but if Mahomes goes 10-6 in his first season I would be quite pleased.

What are your thoughts on the 10-6 prediction? What’s your record prediction? Drop it in the comments section and we can check up on it next year when we do the whole thing over again.


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