Sitting at 3-6 with a 1-4 record in games decided by seven or fewer points, Green Bay Packers fans probably feel like this season isn’t breaking their way. According to at least one metric, though, the Packers are actually one of the luckiest teams in the NFL through 10 weeks of the season.
Tom Bliss, a Football Ops Data Scientist with the NFL, tweeted out a league-wide ranking of win probability added by way of “lucky” plays on Tuesday. This methodology includes dropped interceptions (opponent), dropped passes (opponent), field goal and extra point results (opponent) and fumble recoveries (either team). In plays that fit into those four buckets, the Packers gained the second-highest win probability in the league with +86.2 percent — almost a full win over what is expected compared to an average NFL squad.
Net Win Probability Added table through week 10.— Tom Bliss (@DataWithBliss) November 14, 2023
CIN WR Tyler Boyd dropped TD pass at with 1:42 left in 4th quarter was luckiest play of week 10 (+33.5% WP for HOU) pic.twitter.com/vWRi0tTNNz
Almost all of that win probability comes by way of missed field goals and extra points by the Packers’ opponents this season. Only one team, the Cleveland Browns — who have been “unlucky” in other phases — have gained a higher win probability due to their opponents missing more kicks.
How much of that really comes down to luck, though? On the season, the Packers’ opponents have hit 15 of 16 PAT tries and 20 of 25 field goal attempts. Out of the five missed field goal attempts versus Green Bay this year, two were blocked — which seems like something they actually controlled, rather than simply “luck.”
Another interesting factor here is that the only team that ranks higher than the Packers in overall “luck” on the season is Green Bay’s next opponent: the Los Angeles Chargers. Unlike the Packers, though, the Chargers are actually unlucky in the field goal and PAT category. Instead, their “luck” is coming in the form of drops and fumble recoveries. With a 4-5 record, despite entering the season with Super Bowl aspirations, I’m not sure Chargers fans would self-identify as lucky, either.