Week 16, Redskins at Eagles
4th-and-5, 1:37 remaining in 4th quarter, Down by 14
The Eagles went for it on a 4th-and-5 on the Redskins’ 26. The NYT 4th Down Bot signs off on that.

In this situation, the numbers are pretty clear: For the Eagles 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 5, opp. 26 43% 1% 3% +2%
Field goal try43 yard kick (est.) 75% 1% <1% –1%
Punt 1% <1% –1%
Behind my field goal number
What coaches usually do

Based on about 889 fourth downs in similar situations since 2001.

What happened

Sam Bradford incomplete pass to the middle. Sam Bradford incomplete pass to the middle.

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!