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How We Use the PossessionPoints Stat

Now that you have seen the basics on the Understanding page, we will take you into more details on the stat, the numbers, the colors and the many ways we use and manipulate the stat.  Hope you are ready because we are jumping right in:

More On The Basics:

The PossessionPoints stat was initially designed to be an in-game statistic which would be an early indicator that winning the game was going to be more difficult than the score might be showing. The goal was to have a statistical indicator that could be used to guide a decision such as to go for it on 4th down vs. punting, or other such "play it safe" or "take a chance" decisions.

The exact formulation of the PossessionPoints stat isn't important; the net result is what is important. The easiest corollary to a popular stat is the QB rating. The QB rating is a numerical rating that is derived from multiple QB statistics. The result is a number that ranges from about 30 to 160. The higher the number the better, but other than that there is little or no significance. PossessionPoints has significance.

The PossessionPoints stat is a number derived from other in-game statistics that occur during scoring drives. The value of a scoring drive ranges from zero. There is no upper limit, but in all practicality, it is rare that any one drive exceeds 100. However, we have seen a few 100+ PossPts drives.

Offensive number:

The offensive PossessionPoints total is simply the addition of all the teams PossessionPoints earned on each drive. If a team has two offensive scoring drives and the first on was worth 60 PossPts and the second one was worth 40 PossPts, they would have 100 PossPts for the game. This is a key number and we will be back to that. A point to note is that this offensive number can only go up during the game, so as it reaches key points you can gauge where your team stands.

Defensive number:

The defensive number is even easier. It is simply the opponent's offensive number. The team playing against the team in the above offensive scenario would have allowed 100 defensive PossPts.

Net number:

The net (or overall) number is simply a team's offensive number minus the defensive number. This number has a very good correlation to winning (91% as you saw on the Understanding page) and is the basis for our "Performance Rankings" and other measures that we will discuss further later.


Let's use the same numbers we used above for one team, and we will call them Team A. As we said above, they had two scoring drives that totaled 100 PossPts, and let's assume they were touchdown drives. If you would look at one of our single game stat lines, you would know the following information:

Team Points Offense Net Defense
Team A 14 100 ? ?
Team B ? ? ? 100

Note - Team B's defensive number is the same as Team A's offensive number. The green and red colors have significance also. We will get to that in a bit.

Next, lets say Team B has two field goal scoring drives, one worth 20 PossPts and one worth 40 PossPts. We now know Team B's offensive number is 60, and we have enough information to complete the game table:

Team Points Offense Net Defense
Team A 14 100 40 60
Team B 6 60 -40 100

The Colors:

In the example, above you notice the green and red colors, but there is one other color we use, yellow. When a team exceeds 100 offensive PossPts, we color the offensive block green for that team. At 60 or below, we color it red. The in between color is yellow. The defensive colors are just the opposite: green for 60 and below, yellow in the middle and red at 100 or above.

The net colors are a little different, they turn green at +40 and red at -40, in between they are yellow. So in the example above, all of the colors were right on the edge of yellow and the color they attained.

Again, how these numbers correlate to winning was shown on the opening  Understanding page.

Any questions? You may want to check our FAQ page, or feel free to send us a question from our "Contact" page.

Still want more info? Ok, it is going to get a little deeper now.

Working with PossessionPoints beyond the basics - Performance Rankings

One of the interesting things we have found is that PossessionPoints can be extended to multiple games because at their foundation they are composed of stats added together from individual drives. We can work with per game averages and compare all teams.

If a team has two, 100-PossPts Offensive performances, we can add them together and have 200. So that we can look at team's performance in the same "color" groupings that we use in individual games we divide by games played and compare teams on a per game average. This per game average approach also helps during "bye" weeks when not all teams have played the same number of games. So the two-game average would be 100 PossPts.

While this is good for offense and defense what really gets interesting is the "overall" or net number. Since these numbers can be both positive and negative, they produce a very interesting spread between the teams. When we total the per game net numbers, we call those our Relative Performance Measure(RPM). Below is the chart of our RPM numbers after the 2008 Regular season.


It is interesting to note that 3 of the top 4 teams ended up in the conference championship game. The Eagles, who wound up in the NFC championship, had to sneak into the playoffs by virtue of their tie with the Bengals earlier in the season. But once they made the playoffs they played pretty much they way PossessionPoints would have projected.

The Eagles were the victim of the only real upset of the 2008 post season when they lost to the Cardinals in the NFC championship. Prior to that the Eagles eliminated the Giants and Vikings who were also top 5 RPM teams.

On the chart at the right, the teams highlighted in brown made the playoffs but lost their first game. The Chargers won their first game and lost their second. The Cardinals were really the only team that bucked the stat a bit making it to the Super Bowl with an RPM of 9.5. Of course, form returned in the Super Bowl when the Steelers beat the Cardinals.
Rank Team W L T Relative Performance measure
1 Eagles 9 6 1 41.58
2 Giants 12 4 0 40.49
3 Ravens 11 5 0 39.22
4 Steelers 12 4 0 36.51
5 Vikings 10 6 0 36.46
6 Patriots 11 5 0 32.43
7 Chargers 8 8 0 29.71
8 Packers 6 10 0 26.05
9 Jets 9 7 0 19.24
10 Titans 13 3 0 17.58
11 Texans 8 8 0 15.72
12 Dolphins 11 5 0 15.66
13 Falcons 11 5 0 12.66
14 Saints 8 8 0 12.63
15 Cowboys 9 7 0 11.85
16 Cardinals 9 7 0 9.57
17 Bucs 9 7 0 5.42
18 Panthers 12 4 0 -4.72
19 Jaguars 5 11 0 -5.77
20 Colts 12 4 0 -6.32
21 Redskins 8 8 0 -9.19
22 49ers 7 9 0 -14.59
23 Broncos 8 8 0 -17.70
24 Bills 7 9 0 -17.76
25 Browns 4 12 0 -23.48
26 Bears 9 7 0 -24.12
27 Chiefs 2 14 0 -39.24
28 Bengals 4 11 1 -41.61
29 Raiders 5 11 0 -42.77
30 Rams 2 14 0 -46.06
31 Seahawks 4 12 0 -48.49
32 Lions 0 16 0 -60.94
Playoff Team One And Done
In Conference Championship Game
Matchup Page

One of the more popular features from PossessionPoints.com is our "Matchup" page. On this page we use how teams scheduled to play each other this week have performed relative to each other. We use our RPM measure and make some adjustments for home field and project each game both straight up and "Against the Spread" ATS.