Every week of the 2023 NFL season, we’ll recap how Action Network’s NFL Luck Rankings fared and take a look at some of the unluckiest results in our NFL Bad Beat Rankings.
We can also use Expected Scores, which power the Luck Rankings, to look at bad beats. We’re discussing bad beats not in terms of a win or loss, but in terms of win probability swing. so be sure to check out the math behind the NFL Bad Beat Rankings.
For a quick synopsis, we’re looking at Expected Scores and comparing them to Actual Scores. We’re not saying the team that suffered the bad beat should have won, just that the scoreline was unflattering compared to their expected performance given the game situations encountered.
Here’s a look at which teams were unluckiest in Week 11 before heading into the Monday Night Football game between the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs.
NFL Bad Beats: Week 11
Win probability swings indicate the difference in win percentage between how teams actually performed vs. how the final score indicates they performed.
1. Washington Commanders (-9)
- Actual Result: Giants 31, Commanders 19
- Expected Score: Commanders 27, Giants 19
- Swing: 20 points, 48.4% win probability
Commanders bettors, look away. In a game the Commanders were favored by nine points at home, they lost outright to a Giants team on their third-string quarterback.
In the first quarter, Washington was able to drive the ball down to the Giants’ 5-yard line and had first-and-goal. After a rush for no gain and two incomplete passes, head coach Ron Rivera elected to kick a field goal.
The game also started with an interception by Sam Howell and it obviously didn’t get much better as the Commanders turned the ball over five more times. Three fumbles lost and three interceptions later (including a pick-6), the deficit was too much for a team that now nearly has to win out to have a chance at the playoffs.
The Commanders had a better offensive success rate by 10-plus percentage points (45.5% to 35.2%) but lost 12 expected points to the turnovers.
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2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+13.5)
- Actual Result: 49ers 27, Buccaneers 13
- Expected Score: 49ers 27, Buccaneers 26
- Swing: 13 points, 31.1% win probability
While the Bucs covered, this game should have been much closer than the final score indicates.
It started with a Fred Warner/Nick Bosa sack and fumble from Baker Mayfield at the 49ers’ 33-yard line. The Bucs had a first-and-5 and squandered away 3.8 expected points.
They did a good job to keep the deficit to six points at halftime, but on the 49ers’ first possession after the break, the Bucs defense allowed a 75-yard touchdown to Brandon Aiyuk.
Trailing by 13 midway through the fourth quarter, the Bucs once again worked the ball inside the red zone and had a first-and-10 from the 49ers’ 18-yard line. The drive ended on downs with three straight incompletions. With a second-and-4 from the 12, the Bucs had a maximum expected points of 4.9.
After a quick 49ers three-and-out, the Bucs got the ball back with a chance to make it a one-score game. On third-and-6 from S.F.’s 9-yard line, Mayfield through an interception, thwarting all hopes of a comeback.
Without Aiyuk’s touchdown, the 49ers win the yardage battle 344-287 and both teams have 22 first downs.
3. Cleveland Browns (-1.5)
- Actual Result: Browns 13, Steelers 10
- Expected Score: Browns 19, Steelers 5
- Swing: 11 points, 30.3% win probability
As per usual, the Steelers got lucky.
Myles Garrett was a couple of feet away from giving the Browns an early 2-0 lead on a near safety of Kenny Pickett, which would have gone a long way in this low-scoring affair. His sack was downed at the 1-yard line and the Steelers were able to punt the ball away.
The Browns had a first-and-goal from the Steelers’ 6-yard line in the second quarter. After picking up the first down, Dorian Thompson-Robinson spiked the ball, followed by two incompletions and a field goal — 4.1 expected points, but the Browns only picked up three.
Then, of course, one of two touchdowns in the entire game, a 74-yard rush for Jaylen Warren on the first drive of the second half. Just .2 points expected from that drive after a one-yard rush by Najee Harris and the Steelers got seven.
Outside of the Warren rush, the Steelers averaged just 3.1 yards per play.
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