No matter what happens on this play, the Bears 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 Bears’ scenario.
|Option||Chance of converting||
Chance of winningBefore play
|Go for it4th and 6, own 28||42%||<1%||<1%||-|
|Field goal tryA really, really long kick||<1%||<1%||<1%||-|
|Punt||96% of the time|
|Go for it||4% of the time|
|Field goal try||-|
Patrick O'Donnell punts for 43 yards to Dal29. Patrick O'Donnell punts for 43 yards to Dal29.
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!