Week 2, Patriots at Bills
4th-and-1, 12:16 remaining in 4th quarter, Down by 24
The Bills went for it on a 4th-and-1 on the Patriots’ 34. It doesn’t matter to NYT 4th Down Bot.

No matter what happens on this play, the Bills will almost certainly lose the game. In situations like these, what happens on this down is basically inconsequential, so there's no real recommendation here. (In fact, I’m taking a break from the game for a spot of Earl Grey.) Here’s the breakdown for the Bills’ scenario.

Option Chance of converting
Chance of winning
Before play
After play Change
Field goal try51 yard kick (est.) 69% <1% <1% -
Go for it4th and 1, opp. 34 66% <1% <1% -
Punt <1% <1% –1%
What coaches usually do
Go for it 65% of the time
Field goal try 29% of the time
Punt 6% of the time
Based on about 851 fourth downs in similar situations since 2001.
What happened

Karlos Williams rush up the middle for 2 yards to the NE32. Tackled by Jamie Collins.

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!