Week 14, Patriots at Texans
4th-and-3, 9:24 remaining in 4th quarter, Down by 21
The Texans went for it on a 4th-and-3 on the Patriots’ 34. It doesn’t matter to NYT 4th Down Bot.

No matter what happens on this play, the Texans 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 Texans’ scenario.

Option Chance of converting
Chance of winning
Before play
After play Change
Go for it4th and 3, opp. 34 52% <1% <1% -
Field goal try51 yard kick (est.) 59% <1% <1% -
Punt <1% <1% -
Behind my field goal number
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

Brian Hoyer sacked at NE39 for a loss of 5 yards. Brian Hoyer sacked at NE39 for a loss of 5 yards.

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!