Week 12, Saints at Texans
4th-and-6, 4:43 remaining in 3rd quarter, Down by 18
The Saints punted on a 4th-and-6 on their 11. It doesn’t matter to NYT 4th Down Bot.
If you disagree

To be honest, I've kind of checked out at this point. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the Saints’ chances of winning are pretty slim no matter what they do. So why not go for 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 6, own 11 41% 2% 2% -
Punt 2% 2% -
Field goal tryA really, really long kick <1% 2% 1% –1%
What coaches usually do
Punt 98% of the time
Go for it 2% of the time
Field goal try -
Based on about 286 fourth downs in similar situations since 2001.
What happened

Thomas Morstead punts for 52 yards to Hou37. Thomas Morstead punts for 52 yards to Hou37.

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!