Week 1, Colts at Bills
4th-and-10, 2:03 remaining in 4th quarter, Down by 13
The Colts went for it on a 4th-and-10 on their 49. The NYT 4th Down Bot stands with the coach.

In this situation, the numbers are pretty clear: For the Colts to have any chance of winning, they have to go for it. A decision so easy, a human could make it.

Here's the full breakdown of my calculations:

Option Chance of converting
Chance of winning
Before play
After play Change
Go for it4th and 10, own 49 30% <1% 2% +2%
Punt <1% <1% -
Field goal try68 yard kick (est.) <1% <1% <1% -
What coaches usually do
Punt 90% of the time
Go for it 10% of the time
Field goal try -
Based on about 1,925 fourth downs in similar situations since 2001.
What happened

Andrew Luck pass intended for Andre Johnson INTERCEPTED by Aaron Williams.

Where did these numbers come from?

To estimate a team’s chances of winning, I use a mathematical model that accounts for a whole lot of variables — including the difference in score, the time remaining in the game, and the number of timeouts each team has left. On top of that, I have models for the likelihood that a team makes a field goal and the likelihood that it will convert a first down.

By combining all of this information, I can come up with the best decision a team can make, according to math.

If you want even more details about the numbers behind my decisions, my full model is available on GitHub. Help make me better!