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Win probability notes: Buffalo Bills vs. Dallas Cowboys

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The Buffalo Bills came into Week 13 with a chip on their shoulders. The narrative going into the Bills’ Thanksgiving Day game against the Dallas Cowboys was that they hadn’t beaten anybody good and the back end of the last five games of the year would test them.

The Bills came into Dallas with only a 32.70% chance of winning the game. As we know now, that number wouldn't stay that way for long. While most of the nation’s eyes were glued to their TVs, the Bills had possibly one of the franchise’s biggest wins of the past 20 years and the numbers suggest that it wasn't even close. Let’s take a look at how they did it.


After Dallas opened the game on an 11-play, 75-yard touchdown drive, Buffalo would tie the game at seven midway through the second quarter. Josh Allen hit Cole Beasley on a 25-yard touchdown pass that would swing in the Bills’ favor +6.85%. Despite having tied the game, the Bills were still only at a 36% win probability.

Then came the play that would have fans and analysts jumping out of their seats and scratching their heads. On a 4th and 1, Sean McDermott opted to go for it. After botching the snap, Josh Allen somehow managed to find the ball among a slew of bodies and take it across the first-down marker on a remarkable play. This play would net the Bills +5.29% and put them in position to take over the game at a 48.74% win probability.

Josh Allen’s second touchdown of the day would all but seal the game for Buffalo. The 15-yard touchdown run would improve the Bills’ chances a further +5.42% and put them at a 90.17% win probability. With a string of games that includes the Baltimore Ravens and New England Patriots, this win was huge for Buffalo and puts them at a 97% chance to make the playoffs.