Monday, July 21, 2014

Pythagorean projection 2013->2014

Well, the Hall of Fame preseason game is now less than two weeks away, so I suppose it's time to get the new season going on fspi. Here we go!

As usual, this isn't a prediction of how many games teams are gonna win. It's more an indication of what they might be expected to do, and to create some commentary fodder for the teams that miss the mark.

TeamProjected WinsNote
Jaguars 3.1 New QB
Texans 4.2 New HC, QB
Redskins 4.8 New HC
Raiders 4.9 New QB
Buccaneers 5.3 New HC
Jets 5.4
Browns 5.5 New HC, QB
Giants 5.6
Falcons 5.9
Vikings 6.1 New HC, QB
Bills 6.7
Ravens 7.1
Bears 7.3
Dolphins 7.5 New OC
Titans 7.5 New HC
Rams 7.6 New DC
Packers 7.8
Cowboys 8.2
Steelers 8.2
Lions 8.5 New HC
Chargers 9.2
Eagles 9.4
Colts 9.4
Cardinals 9.5
Patriots 10.5
Saints 10.8
Chiefs 11.1
Bengals 11.1
49ers 11.5
Panthers 11.6
Broncos 11.7
Seahawks 12.8


  • If you've been following fspi for very long, you'll know it's been a while since the last time a defending Super Bowl champion won a playoff game the following year. The Seahawks seem like they could be in good shape to end that streak.

  • I kinda feel like the Panthers played a little over their heads in 2013, and maybe could be looking at a fall back this year. They'll certainly need more from their offense to be a threat in the playoffs.

  • I also wonder if the Chiefs can maintain their winning pace. They're not gonna be flying under anybody's radar this year, and as long as Peyton Manning stays healthy, they're gonna have a hard time winning their division.

  • The Cardinals are another team that could have trouble matching last season's success, especially without Daryl Washington. Carson Palmer needs to have a better season than he had last year.

  • The Lions have a new head coach, and the Vikings have a new head coach and quarterback. Unless the Bears can get a major turn around on their defense (and assuming Aaron Rodgers can stay healthy), it's tempting to pencil in the Packers as the NFC North champs for 2014.

  • Certainly, if Rodgers stays healthy, the Packers should easily surpass 7.8 wins.

2014 Navigation and Index

This post is an index of posts I plan to make during the 2014 season, including the various weekly picks, pick results, and power rankings. It's primarily for my own benefit (so I can easily find stuff when I want to refer/link to it). But you're welcome to use it as and when you see fit.

As usual, new entries will be added and existing entries will be linkified as new posts are made.

Offseason, Preseason, and Historical Data Posts

NFL 2012 Season

Week 1 Picks Power Rankings Pick Results
Week 2 Picks Power Rankings Pick Results
Week 3 Picks Power Rankings Pick Results
Week 4 Picks Power Rankings Pick Results APR vs. ESPN
Week 5 Picks Power Rankings Pick Results APR vs. ESPN
Week 6 Picks Power Rankings Pick Results APR vs. ESPN
Week 7 Picks Power Rankings Pick Results APR vs. ESPN
Week 8 Picks Power Rankings Pick Results APR vs. ESPN
Week 9 Picks Power Rankings Pick Results APR vs. ESPN
Week 10 Picks Power Rankings Pick Results APR vs. ESPN
Week 11 Picks Power Rankings Pick Results APR vs. ESPN
Week 12 Picks Power Rankings Pick Results APR vs. ESPN
Week 13 Picks Power Rankings Pick Results APR vs. ESPN
Week 14 Picks Power Rankings Pick Results APR vs. ESPN
Week 15 Picks Power Rankings Pick Results APR vs. ESPN
Week 16 Picks Power Rankings Pick Results APR vs. ESPN
Week 17 Picks Power Rankings Pick Results APR vs. ESPN
Wildcard Picks Power Rankings Pick Results
Divisional Picks Power Rankings Pick Results
Championship Picks Power Rankings Pick Results
Super Bowl Picks Power Rankings Pick Results


  • TBD

Friday, April 25, 2014

NFL Wrapup: Pythagorean projection vs. reality

One final season wrapup post, and I got it in before spring summer! (Oh, well. Given how trivial some of the stuff is that passes for news right now, maybe it makes sense to wait a while to post it. Anyway...)

As usual, the "Projected Wins" value is used as a baseline, so a positive difference means the team exceeded their projected win value, a negative difference means they fell short.

Teams are sorted by the magnatude (absolute value) of the difference; teams that came close to their projected wins are near the top, teams farthest away from their projection are at the bottom.

This is a follow-up to a post from last summer. See this post for background details.

TeamActual Proj. Diff Note
Bills 6 5.8 0.2
Raiders 4 4.3 -0.3
Patriots 12 12.4 -0.4
Rams 7 6.6 0.4
Lions 7 6.5 0.5
Jaguars 4 3.4 0.6
Seahawks 13 12.4 0.6
Cowboys 8 7.4 0.6
Steelers 8 8.6 -0.6
49ers 12 11.3 0.7
Broncos 13 12.3 0.7
Dolphins 8 7.1 0.9
Chargers 9 8.0 1.0
Bengals 11 9.9 1.1
Ravens 8 9.4 -1.4
Browns 4 6.2 -2.2 Injuries, QB issues
Packers 8 10.3 -2.3 Aaron Rodgers hurt
Titans 7 4.5 2.5
Jets 8 5.4 2.6 Defense shows signs of life
Bears 8 10.8 -2.8 Injuries, big drop off on defense
Saints 11 8.1 2.9 Sean Payton back
Giants 7 10.0 -3.0 Injuries
Colts 10 6.8 3.2 Andrew Luck got better
Vikings 5 8.8 -3.3 Adrian Peterson regresses back to just very good
Buccaneers 4 7.9 -3.9 HC, QB controversy
Panthers 12 7.8 4.2 Defense much better
Cardinals 10 4.8 5.2 Bruce Arians, Carson Palmer
Eagles 10 4.0 6.0 Chip Kelly, Nick Foles
Redskins 3 9.1 -6.1 RG3 not fully recovered
Falcons 4 11.0 -7.0 Injuries
Texans 2 10.1 -8.1 Injuries
Chiefs 11 2.6 8.4 Andy Reid, defense much better

Using my original category metrics, that's 16 teams reasonably close, 9 teams moderately close, 5 teams wrong, and 2 teams in the "yikes" category.


  • Sean Payton really made a remarkable difference for the Saints. At this point, he's got to have a lot of good will available in New Orleans.

  • Which kinda makes me wonder just how bad the situation with Jim Harbaugh really is. The 49ers were pretty much a doormat team from 2003 to 2010. Then Harbaugh is hired, and they are immediately one of the best teams in the league, advancing to the conference championship for 3 years in a row. Based on those kinds of results, he's really gotta be some kind of a pain if they still want to get rid of him.

  • I was a little surprised to see that the Titans and Jets beat their respective projectsions by decent margins, in spite of their struggles. Clearly they both have issues to resolve, but maybe aren't that far away from at least being in contention for a playoff spot.

  • Carson Palmer didn't have the most amazing season in the world (he threw a career high 22 interceptions), but he was so much of an upgrade over what the Cardinals had last year, he's gotta have some credit for their improved record.

  • Last summer, I predicted that Chip Kelly might struggle getting his offensive schemes to work in the NFL. I'm still not totally sold it's going to work long term, but I have to admit he did better in his first season that I was expecting.

Friday, February 28, 2014

NFL Wrapup: APR's biggest upsets

Finally got around to finishing this. Better late then never, though, right? Right?

Dishonorable Mention: games that just missed the top 10

  • Week 7: Andrew Luck and the Colts shred the Broncos suspect defense.

  • Week 2: The Titans can't quite get past the Texans, and instead give them their last win of the season.

  • Week 15: The Saints go into St. Louis, and look like dopes against the Rams. Again. (To be fair, the 2013 Rams are a lot better than they were in 2011.)

  • Week 5: The Colts somehow score 34 points on the Seahawks, and give them their first loss of the season.

  • Week 9: The Browns have one of a few really good games this season, and gave the Ravens one of the losses that kept them out of the playoffs this year.

APR's Top 10 Upsets of the 2012 Season

  1. Week 15: Chargers 27, Broncos 20 (ρ=1.1438)
    The Broncos had a pretty ordinary defense this season, but for the most part, their record setting offense was more than able to make up the difference. In this game, the Chargers' defense was able to slow down the Broncos enough (holding them to a season low 20 points), and the Chargers' offense was able to control the clock and make sure Peyton Manning and the Broncos' offense spent a lot of time on the sidelines.

  1. Week 10: Jaguars 29, Titans 27 (ρ=1.1511)
    For the first half of their season, the Jaguars looked like they were going to have a chance to go 0-16 this season. Then they put together a solid game on both offense and defense, shocking the Titans by getting their first win.

  1. Week 7: Bears 41, Redskins 45 (ρ=1.1580)
    This is another case of a middle-of-the-road team losing to a really bad one. Even if you take into account one touchdown came on a pick 6, this was a lot of points for the Bears' defense to give up, especially considering the Redskins scored 27 points or less in all but two games this season.

  1. Week 5: Chargers 17, Raiders 27 (ρ=1.1823)
    The Raiders mostly didn't have a very good defense this season; this was one of the few exceptions. They actually held the Chargers to 3 points until the 4th quarter. The Chargers mounted an attempt at a late come back, but the Oakland defense intercepted Philip Rivers on the Chargers last two drives, sealing the deal.

  1. Week 1: Texans 31, Chargers 28 (ρ=1.1972)
    The Chargers managed to establish a 21-point lead with a touchdown on their first drive of the 3rd quarter. But after that, the Texans came roaring back, scoring an unanswered 24 points (including a critical pick 6). Another ugly loss for the Chargers.

  1. Week 7: Patriots 27, Jets 30 (ρ=1.1994)
    This was a very ugly game for Tom Brady. Under 50% completion rate, under 5 yards an attempt passing, no touchdowns and an interception. Somehow the Patriots did manage to score 27 points, and force overtime. But in their final possession, the offense could only manage one first down, and their defense couldn't keep the Jets out of field goal range.

  1. Week 2: Panthers 23, Bills 24 (ρ=1.2023)
    Part of this was a defensive breakdown by the Panthers' defense, only the Saints scored more points on them this season. Another issue in this game was the Panthers' offense twice settling for field goals after having goal-to-go situations.

  1. Week 9: Chargers 24, Redskins 30 (ρ=1.2196)
    The Chargers could only score 24 points on the the Redskins very bad defense that mostly gave up a lot more points this season. Meanwhile, the Redskins scored 30 points on the Chargers

  1. Week 9: Saints 20, Jets 26 (ρ=1.2332)
    This is maybe not totally fair to the Jets, who did manage to claw their way to an 8-8 record, thanks in part to the Dolphins pissing away their chance to get into the playoffs. But along with those 8 wins, the Jets also had 7 losses by double digits, including 4 by 20+ points. And the Saints, who with one more win, would have the NFC's #2 seed, could not beat them.

  1. Week 4: Bengals 6, Browns 17 (ρ=1.2435)
    The Browns actually started out looking pretty good this season, with a decent defense, and (when Brian Hoyer started at quarterback) an offense to match. One of the results was this defeat of their division rival. But continued injuries at quarterback, along with a team that gave up on their season, meant the Browns finished their sixth season in a row with double digit losses.

None of these would qualify for a spot on APR's top 25 regular season upsets.

I always reserve the right to remove a game from the list when it's a case of a playoff bound team resting late in the season. That didn't happen this year.

Biggest Upsets According to the Line

Winning teams in bold. Teams favored by 10 or more points were 28-6-0 this year.

1Titans 16, Steelers 9 Steelers -7
6Rams 38, Texans 13 Texans -7
7Broncos 33, Colts 39 Broncos -7
13Jaguars 32, Browns 28 Browns -7
15Packers 37, Cowboys 36 Cowboys -7
16Colts 23, Chiefs 7 Chiefs -7
2Chargers 33, Eagles 30 Eagles -7½
7Bills 23, Dolphins 21 Dolphins -8
16Giants 23, Lions 20 Lions -8½
5Jets 30, Falcons 28 Falcons -9½
10Rams 38, Colts 8 Colts -9½
12Buccaneers 24, Lions 21Lions -9½
3Colts 27, 49ers 7 49ers -10
12Jaguars 13, Texans 6 Texans -10
15Chargers 27, Broncos 20Broncos -10
9Bears 27, Packers 20 Packers -10½
16Cardinals 17, Seahawks 10Seahawks -10½
10Jaguars 29, Titans 27 Titans -11

Thursday, February 6, 2014

NFL Super Bowl Pick Results

Winning team in bold.

Seahawks (APR, SRS) vs. Broncos (Line)
Like I said in the game pick, it was essential for Peyton Manning and the Broncos' offense to get a handle on the Seahawks' defense before this game got out of hand. As you know if you saw the game, that just didn't happen.
I think, even in the best case scenario for the Broncos, their defense was never gonna hold the Seahawks under 14, or probably even 21 points. I think that defense mostly did a reasonable job, holding the Seahawks to 13 points in the first half (the safety, and Manning's pick 6 cannot be laid to their charge).
After the mess of their first two drives (safety and interception), the Broncos did manage to get some drives going, they mostly ended up stalling, ending in a intercpetion, fumbles, or a turnover on downs.
Manning was only sacked once, but the Seahawks' defense kept him under constant pressure, which meant he had to throw a lot of short check down passes, largely eliminating a lot of the big play explosiveness that got the Broncos to the Super Bowl. Without that big play ability, they just couldn't sustain drives for the scores they needed.


Barely any upsets in the playoffs this year. Chargers @ Bengals was the only game APR (along with SRS and the Line) picked wrong.

APR 1-0 10-190.9%
SRS 1-0 9-281.8%
Line 0-1 8-372.7%

That's not quite all for this season. I'm planning to do at least the season's biggest upsets post, and maybe a couple others as well. So you might wanna check in later this month. Thanks again for reading, and see you next August.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

NFL Super Bowl Power Rankings

W-LThis Week
1 (-)Seahawks1.1807
(LW × 1.0378)
16-3Won by 35
@ Broncos
2 (-)49ers1.1352
(LW × 1.0114)
3 (↑1)Cardinals1.0648
(LW × 1.0057)
4 (↑1)Saints1.0341
(LW × 1.0114)
5 (↑1)Panthers1.0215
(LW × 1.0046)
6 (↓3)Broncos1.0183
(LW × 0.9528)
15-4Lost by 35
vs Seahawks
7 (-)Patriots0.9973
(LW × 0.9866)
8 (-)Chargers0.9904
(LW × 0.9804)
9 (-)Bengals0.9724
(LW × 0.9926)
10 (-)Rams0.9697
(LW × 1.0088)
11 (-)Eagles0.9407
(LW × 1.0008)
12 (-)Steelers0.9254
(LW × 0.9953)
13 (-)Colts0.9066
(LW × 0.9904)
14 (↑1)Dolphins0.8932
(LW × 0.9949)
15 (↑1)Giants0.8850
(LW × 1.0001)
16 (↓2)Chiefs0.8835
(LW × 0.9821)
17 (-)Buccaneers0.8771
(LW × 1.0067)
18 (-)Ravens0.8638
(LW × 0.9958)
19 (↑1)Vikings0.8532
(LW × 1.0023)
20 (↓1)Titans0.8497
(LW × 0.9928)
21 (↑1)Falcons0.8454
(LW × 1.0067)
22 (↓1)Bills0.8441
(LW × 0.9965)
23 (-)Cowboys0.8352
(LW × 0.9988)
24 (-)Bears0.8305
(LW × 1.0004)
25 (-)Lions0.8271
(LW × 0.9998)
26 (-)Jets0.8233
(LW × 0.9964)
27 (-)Packers0.8163
(LW × 1.0016)
28 (-)Jaguars0.7883
(LW × 0.9934)
29 (↑1)Browns0.7429
(LW × 0.9943)
30 (↓1)Raiders0.7400
(LW × 0.9870)
31 (-)Texans0.7381
(LW × 0.9885)
32 (-)Redskins0.7373
(LW × 0.9965)


  • First Super Bowl Since Buccaneers-Raiders (XXXVII after the 2002 season) that wasn't within one score going into the 4th quarter.

  • I really wasn't impressed with any of the AFC teams this year, but I thought that the Broncos were the best of the lot. Along with the fact that the Seahawks didn't seem to dominate the Saints or 49ers in those playoff games, I thought that gave the Broncos a real chance.

  • Instead, the Seahawks played their best road game in a long while, and it looked like the Broncos were the ones that struggled away from their home stadium.

  • I suppose the Broncos' loss will also trigger more talk abut Peyton Manning's lack of legacy or something. It's preposterous. Manning has been one of the most dominating quarterbacks over the last 15 years. If he's lacking in legacy because of playoff losses, what do you say about guys like Brett Favre (1-1 in the Super Bowl) and Dan Marino (0-1 in the Super Bowl)?

    In spite of the playoff losses, I don't see any basis to put into question Manning's legacy as one of the best quarterbacks ever.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

NFL Super Bowl Game Pick

Seahawks @


  • The Broncos really haven't faced any strong defenses this year (possibly excepting the Chiefs, but the way they finished their season, I'm not sure how strong they really were). In any case, the Seahawks will easily be the best defense they've faced all season.

  • The Broncos' defense has at least a couple ugly breakdowns this year. In week 5, the Broncos managed a win thanks to the fact that the Cowboys had a really bad defense. In Week 12, they saw a 24-point lead slowly slip away at the Patriots.

  • But the line has some good reasons to favor the Broncos in this game. First of all, the Seahawks are just not the same team when they're playing away from their home stadium, and the Meadowlands is a long, long ways away from Seattle.

  • And since their early December win over the Saints, the Seahawks haven't really looked that dominating. They suffered a couple losses (including their first home loss in two years), and both their playoff games came down to the last play of the game.

  • However this game goes, I think it's going to be decided when the Broncos' offense and the Seahawks' defense are on the field. If the Broncos' offensive line can protect Manning, and he can figure out how to move the ball against that defense while the game is still close, it'll probably go the Broncos' way. If the Broncos' offense struggles for very long, I think the Seahawks' offense can score enough points pretty quickly to put this game away.