Thursday, October 23, 2014

NFL Week 8 Game Picks

GameAPRSRSLine
Lions @
Falcons
Lions
ρ=1.2661
Lions*
δ=10.0
Lions
-3½
Rams @
Chiefs
Chiefs*
ρ=1.2550
Chiefs
δ=16.7
Chiefs
-6½
Washington @
Cowboys
Cowboys
ρ=1.2503
Cowboys
δ=9.5
Cowboys
-9½
Colts @
Steelers
Colts
ρ=1.2467
Colts*
δ=20.1
Colts
-2½
Packers @
Saints
Packers
ρ=1.1952
Packers*
δ=12.7
Saints
-1
Chargers @
Broncos
Broncos
ρ=1.1845
Broncos
δ=7.4
Broncos
-7½
Dolphins @
Jaguars
Dolphins
ρ=1.1786
Dolphins*
δ=13.4
Dolphins
-5½
Raiders @
Browns
Browns
ρ=1.1661
Browns
δ=3.7
Browns
-7
Seahawks @
Panthers
Seahawks
ρ=1.1634
Seahawks*
δ=14.4
Seahawks
-4½
Bills @
Jets
Bills
ρ=1.1506
Bills*
δ=5.5
Jets
-3
Bears @
Patriots
Patriots*
ρ=1.1195
Patriots
δ=6.4
Patriots
-6½
Texans @
Titans
Texans
ρ=1.1038
Texans*
δ=6.9
Texans
-1
Vikings @
Buccaneers
Vikings
ρ=1.0814
Vikings*
δ=11.2
Buccaneers
-2½
Ravens @
Bengals
Ravens
ρ=1.0561
Ravens*
δ=8.6
Bengals
-1
Eagles @
Cardinals
Cardinals*
ρ=1.0230
Eagles*
δ=1.1
Cardinals
-2½

Bye: 49ers, Giants

Comments:

  • Since their blow-out win over the Buccaneers, the Falcons have averaged 17 points a game, and (with the exception of the Ravens) facing some pretty bad defenses. Given how good the Lions' defense has been, the Falcons might actually be looking at their first shut out since 2004.

  • Should the Saints be favored to win this week? They don't lose very often at home, and with a prime time game and on the brink of falling to 2-5, they're going to be as jacked up for this game as any this season.

    On the other hand, their two home wins so far this season were not exactly dominating afairs, in spite of a couple pretty weak opponents. I think if the Packers come ready for a battle, this is one they can win.

  • Can the Browns get back on track against the Raiders? After watching the Cardinals @ Raiders game last week, I think the Raiders are not as bad as their 0-6 record, and if the Browns are not careful, they could wind up giving a win to the final remaining winless team.

  • Remember when the Bengals were one of the last undefeated teams in the league? That's gotta seem like a long time ago to them and their fans. Especially if AJ Green can't play, this seems like it should be a pretty easy win for the Ravens.

  • Eagles @ Cardinals is actually one of the marquee matchups this week. But with the way the Eagles turn over the ball, and have needed a lot of help from their special teams to put points on the board, I think they're going to have a tough time getting ahead of the Cardinals.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

NFL Week 7 Pick Results

Winning team in bold.

Unanimous Picks (8-3)

Right:

Cardinals @ Raiders
Jets @ Patriots
Vikings @ Bills
Saints @ Lions
Panthers @ Packers
Bengals @ Colts
Giants @ Cowboys
49ers @ Broncos

Wrong:

Chiefs @ Chargers
The Chargers win when they score 22+ points (which they've done 5 times this season) and the Chiefs lose when they give up 22+ points (which they've done 3 times this season), so easy pick, right?
But in this game, the Chiefs defense held the Chargers to just two touchdown drives and two field goals (thanks in part to the offense holding onto the ball for 39 minutes). That gave the Chiefs an opportunity to stay in the game, and in classic football cliche style, win the game in the fourth quarter.
Seahawks @ Rams
Of course, the Rams got a big boost from their special teams, But for the second week in a row, the Seahawks offense struggled to move the ball, posting 5 drives 41 yards or shorter. They had three sustained drives late, but ran out of time before they could complete a comeback.
Browns @ Jaguars
The Browns offense couldn't get anything going in this game, punting 7 times and turning the ball over on downs three times. Still, they were only down 6-7 late in the fourth quarter when a couple turnovers gave the Jags short fields that they turned into easy touchdowns.

Split Picks: (APR 0-3, SRS 2-1, Line 2-1)

Wow, maybe the ugliest week ever for APR on split picks.

Dolphins (SRS) @ Bears (APR, Line)
I think the Dolphins have an underrated defense, and when they face a struggling offense like the Bears, it can swing a game their way. The Bears had 3 turnovers, and other than their two touchdowns, their longest drive went 35 yards. The Dolphins offense isn't gonna set any records this season, but it didn't take a lot for them to finish ahead of the Bears in this game.
Titans (APR) @ Washington (SRS, Line)
A close game against a couple mediocre teams. Washington actually had 115 more yards of offense, so this is a game they should win as long as they don't make any big mistakes. Colt McCoy only threw for 128 yards in the second half, but he only threw incomplete once, and didn't throw any interceptions. That was enough to give them a 2 point victory over the Titans.
Texans (APR, SRS) @ Steelers (Line)
Well, the Texans established an early 13-0 lead, and could've won this game. But two turnovers deep in their own end gave the Steelers a couple easy touchdowns, and it was more than the Texans could overcome.

Totals

This
Week
This
Season
%
APR 8- 6-1 53-32-162.2%
SRS 10- 4-1 52-33-161.0%
Line 10- 4-1 58-27-168.0%

Monday, October 20, 2014

NFL Week 7 Power Rankings

RankTeamPower
Index
W-LThis Week
1 (-)Broncos1.1687
(LW × 1.0323)
5-1Won by 25
vs 49ers
2 (↑1)Colts1.0533
(LW × 1.0419)
5-2Won by 27
vs Bengals
3 (↓1)Cardinals1.0154
(LW × 0.9911)
5-1Won by 11
@ Raiders
4 (-)Cowboys1.0126
(LW × 1.0100)
6-1Won by 10
vs Giants
5 (↑7)Chiefs0.9942
(LW × 1.0530)
3-3Won by 3
@ Chargers
6 (↑4)Eagles0.9925
(LW × 1.0343)
5-1Bye
7 (↓2)Chargers0.9867
(LW × 0.9851)
5-2Lost by 3
vs Chiefs
8 (-)49ers0.9727
(LW × 0.9983)
4-3Lost by 25
@ Broncos
9 (↓3)Seahawks0.9668
(LW × 0.9659)
3-3Lost by 2
@ Rams
10 (↓3)Ravens0.9646
(LW × 0.9826)
5-2Won by 22
vs Falcons
11 (↑3)Packers0.9623
(LW × 1.0307)
5-2Won by 21
vs Panthers
12 (↓1)Patriots0.9448
(LW × 0.9911)
5-2Won by 2
vs Jets
13 (-)Lions0.9260
(LW × 0.9911)
5-2Won by 1
vs Saints
14 (↓5)Bengals0.9134
(LW × 0.9510)
3-2-1Lost by 27
@ Colts
15 (-)Texans0.8896
(LW × 0.9757)
3-4Lost by 7
@ Steelers
16 (↑6)Dolphins0.8811
(LW × 1.0620)
3-3Won by 13
@ Bears
17 (-)Bills0.8793
(LW × 0.9804)
4-3Won by 1
vs Vikings
18 (↑1)Giants0.8727
(LW × 1.0007)
3-4Lost by 10
@ Cowboys
19 (↑2)Steelers0.8449
(LW × 1.0156)
4-3Won by 7
vs Texans
20 (↓2)Bears0.8439
(LW × 0.9569)
3-4Lost by 13
vs Dolphins
21 (↓5)Browns0.8378
(LW × 0.9273)
3-3Lost by 18
@ Jaguars
22 (↓2)Panthers0.8311
(LW × 0.9584)
3-3-1Lost by 21
@ Packers
23 (↑2)Washington0.8099
(LW × 1.0174)
2-5Won by 2
vs Titans
24 (↓1)Titans0.8059
(LW × 0.9970)
2-5Lost by 2
@ Washington
25 (↓1)Saints0.8051
(LW × 1.0106)
2-4Lost by 1
@ Lions
26 (↑3)Rams0.7922
(LW × 1.0733)
2-4Won by 2
vs Seahawks
27 (↓1)Vikings0.7681
(LW × 1.0271)
2-5Lost by 1
@ Bills
28 (-)Jets0.7642
(LW × 1.0335)
1-6Lost by 2
@ Patriots
29 (↑3)Jaguars0.7476
(LW × 1.0851)
1-6Won by 18
vs Browns
30 (↓3)Falcons0.7314
(LW × 0.9866)
2-5Lost by 22
@ Ravens
31 (-)Raiders0.7185
(LW × 1.0249)
0-6Lost by 11
vs Cardinals
32 (↓2)Buccaneers0.7103
(LW × 1.0038)
1-5Bye

Comments:

  • The Patriots struggle to beat another lesser opponent in their home stadium. If the Jets had won, one of the things I would've pointed to was their third down coversion rate (9 of 16) as a major factor in keeping them in the game.

  • Well, the Bengals were +2 on turnovers against the Colts, but the Bengals offense just collapsed against what has been an unremarkable defense (although the Colts defense is currently best in the league on third down conversions, thanks in part to a 1/13 performance by the Bengals).

  • One of the big differences for the Seahawks between last year and this is turnovers. Last year they finished the regular season with a +20 cumulative turnover margin. This year, nearly halfway into the season, they're currently at +1.

  • The Eagles, Colts, and Cowboys are all in the top 5 of turnovers on offense right now. They might all make it to the postseason, but as I've observed before, turnovers can be a real deal breaker when it comes playoff time.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

NFL Week 7 Game Picks

GameAPRSRSLine
Cardinals @
Raiders
Cardinals
ρ=1.4615
Cardinals*
δ=15.7
Cardinals
-3½
Seahawks @
Rams
Seahawks
ρ=1.3561
Seahawks*
δ=22.2
Seahawks
-6½
Falcons @
Ravens
Ravens
ρ=1.3243
Ravens
δ=14.5
Ravens
-7
Browns @
Jaguars
Browns
ρ=1.3114
Browns*
δ=15.5
Browns
-5½
Jets @
Patriots
Patriots
ρ=1.2892
Patriots
δ=11.1
Patriots
-10
Vikings @
Bills
Bills
ρ=1.1993
Bills
δ=10.9
Bills
-4
Saints @
Lions
Lions
ρ=1.1728
Lions
δ=11.3
Lions
-2½
49ers @
Broncos
Broncos
ρ=1.1619
Broncos
δ=9.2
Broncos
-6½
Giants @
Cowboys
Cowboys
ρ=1.1497
Cowboys
δ=4.4
Cowboys
-5½
Texans @
Steelers
Texans
ρ=1.0960
Texans*
δ=10.9
Steelers
-3½
Panthers @
Packers
Packers
ρ=1.0767
Packers
δ=9.8
Packers
-7
Dolphins @
Bears
Bears*
ρ=1.0629
Dolphins*
δ=2.4
Bears
-3½
Chiefs @
Chargers
Chargers*
ρ=1.0608
Chargers
δ=3.0
Chargers
-4
Bengals @
Colts
Colts
ρ=1.0525
Colts
δ=7.0
Colts
-3
Titans @
Washington
Titans
ρ=1.0154
Washington
δ=2.7
Washington
-4½

Bye: Buccaneers, Eagles

Comments:

  • Peyton Manning is only 2 touchdowns away from tying Brett Favre's carrer total (and league record) of 508. Manning has passed for at least 2 touchdowns every game this year, including against the Seahawks.

    The 49ers haven't been giving up many passing touchdowns, but they really haven't faced a lot of big passing threats either. It seems like a lock Manning will at least tie the record Sunday night

  • I feel like the Steelers are a bad pick for the Line this week. The Steelers have been deeply unimpressive so far this season, giving the Buccaneers their first (and so far only) win of the season, and struggling to beat the now 0-6 Jaguars.

    The Texans haven't looked like world-beaters either, but at least they've been competitive against some tougher teams. I think APR and SRS are right here.

  • Everybody likes the Colts to win at home this week. But their offense has one of the highest turnover totals in the league so far this season. If the Bengals can get some turnovers, they'll have a chance to jump start their season with an upset win this week.

  • The Lions' defense has looked a lot better this season than it has in a long time. But with Drew Brees and the Saints coming to town, they'll be facing one of their toughest tests of the season, especially if Calvin Johnson has to sit out again.

  • The Packers are favored to win again against what feels like an under-rated opponent. Cam Newton had a field day running against the Bengals last week, and he might have another one against the Packers.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

NFL Week 6 Pick Results

Winning team in bold.

Unanimous Picks (10-1-1)

Right:

Colts @ Texans
Chargers @ Raiders
Broncos @ Jets
Ravens @ Buccaneers
Lions @ Vikings
Packers @ Dolphins
49ers @ Rams
Washington @ Cardinals
Jaguars @ Titans
Steelers @ Browns

Wrong:

Cowboys @ Seahawks
This has to be the ugliest game the Seahawks have played in a long time. The defense couldn't get off the field (the Cowboys had 4 drives of 71+ yards and held the ball for over 37 minutes of game time) and the offense couldn't get anything started, posting just one drive longer than 24 yards. If the Seahawks hadn't had a touchdown on a blocked punt, this game would've been even uglier for the Seahawks than it was.

Push:

Panthers @ Bengals
Mike Nugent is the easy scapegoat here, but mostly what I'm thinking in looking at this game is, didn't the Bengals used to have a defense? Giving up 43 points to the Patriots on the road is one thing, but here they gave up 37 points at home to a Panthers team that's been struggling offensively, and hasn't scored that many points on the road since 2012. Just an ugly effort on the part of their defense.

Split Picks: (APR 1-2, SRS 1-2, Line 2-1)

Patriots (Line) @ Bills (APR, SRS)
No prizes for guessing that the Bills' 2-0 start was a big mirage, or that Kyle Orton wasn't going to carry this team to glory. The Bills were actually in this for much of the game, but too many turnovers on offense, and an inability of the defense to get stops in the second half doomed the Bills to their fate.
Bears (APR, SRS) @ Falcons (Line)
And didn't the Falcons used to have an offense? They only had one drive go more than 33 yards in this game, and join the Jets as the only teams not to score at least 20 points on the Bears this fall. It's starting to look like another long, ugly season for the Falcons.
Giants (APR, SRS) @ Eagles (Line)
That was an amazingly bad performance by the Giants in this game. They didn't have a drive go longer than 18 yards until deep into garbage time.
Meanwhile, it seems kind of weird to say after a 27-0 curb stomping of a divisional opponent, but the Eagles offense didn't really seem that amazing in this game. They really only had 3 sustained drives, and Nick Foles threw a couple more interceptions. In spite of this dominating victory, I'm going to wait a while before pronouncing the Eagles offensive troubles cured.

Totals

Another nice week for everybody, thanks to another solid round of unanimous picks. If only Mike Nugent had made that field goal...

This
Week
This
Season
%
APR 11- 3-1 46-26-164.6%
SRS 11- 3-1 43-29-160.4%
Line 12- 2-1 49-23-168.8%

NFL Week 6 Power Rankings

RankTeamPower
Index
W-LThis Week
1 (-)Broncos1.1321
(LW × 0.9561)
4-1Won by 14
@ Jets
2 (↑1)Cardinals1.0245
(LW × 0.9402)
4-1Won by 10
vs Washington
3 (↑2)Colts1.0109
(LW × 1.0202)
4-2Won by 5
@ Texans
4 (↑5)Cowboys1.0026
(LW × 1.0500)
5-1Won by 7
@ Seahawks
5 (↓1)Chargers1.0016
(LW × 0.9234)
5-1Won by 3
@ Raiders
6 (↓4)Seahawks1.0009
(LW × 0.9030)
3-2Lost by 7
vs Cowboys
7 (↑1)Ravens0.9817
(LW × 1.0208)
4-2Won by 31
@ Buccaneers
8 (↑2)49ers0.9743
(LW × 1.0357)
4-2Won by 14
@ Rams
9 (↓3)Bengals0.9605
(LW × 0.9770)
3-1-1Tied
vs Panthers
10 (↑6)Eagles0.9596
(LW × 1.0456)
5-1Won by 27
vs Giants
11 (↑6)Patriots0.9533
(LW × 1.0721)
4-2Won by 15
@ Bills
12 (↑1)Chiefs0.9442
(LW × 1.0119)
2-3Bye
13 (↑1)Lions0.9343
(LW × 1.0039)
4-2Won by 14
@ Vikings
14 (↓3)Packers0.9337
(LW × 0.9926)
4-2Won by 3
@ Dolphins
15 (-)Texans0.9117
(LW × 0.9846)
3-3Lost by 5
vs Colts
16 (↑2)Browns0.9035
(LW × 1.0407)
3-2Won by 21
vs Steelers
17 (↓10)Bills0.8969
(LW × 0.9239)
3-3Lost by 15
vs Patriots
18 (↑2)Bears0.8819
(LW × 1.0352)
3-3Won by 14
@ Falcons
19 (↓7)Giants0.8721
(LW × 0.9312)
3-3Lost by 27
@ Eagles
20 (↑1)Panthers0.8672
(LW × 1.0228)
3-2-1Tied
@ Bengals
21 (↓2)Steelers0.8319
(LW × 0.9707)
3-3Lost by 21
@ Browns
22 (-)Dolphins0.8297
(LW × 1.0097)
2-3Lost by 3
vs Packers
23 (↑2)Titans0.8083
(LW × 1.0038)
2-4Won by 2
vs Jaguars
24 (↓1)Saints0.7967
(LW × 0.9838)
2-3Bye
25 (↑1)Washington0.7961
(LW × 0.9957)
1-5Lost by 10
@ Cardinals
26 (↑1)Vikings0.7478
(LW × 0.9482)
2-4Lost by 14
vs Lions
27 (↓3)Falcons0.7413
(LW × 0.9171)
2-4Lost by 14
vs Bears
28 (↑2)Jets0.7394
(LW × 1.0102)
1-5Lost by 14
vs Broncos
29 (↓1)Rams0.7381
(LW × 0.9738)
1-4Lost by 14
vs 49ers
30 (↓1)Buccaneers0.7075
(LW × 0.9545)
1-5Lost by 31
vs Ravens
31 (↑1)Raiders0.7010
(LW × 1.0697)
0-5Lost by 3
vs Chargers
32 (↓1)Jaguars0.6890
(LW × 1.0165)
0-6Lost by 2
@ Titans

Comments:

  • We've now had a tie game for three seasons in a row (first time since 87-89) and a tie game prior to week 10 for the first time since week 5 of the 89 season. Clearly one of the consequences of the new overtime rules is we're going to see a lot more tie games.

  • I had the Seahawks pencilled in as the #1 seed in the NFC. I think it's time to get my eraser out.

  • The Dolphins really should've beat the Packers this week. They had plenty of chances to stop that final drive, including an opportunity to tackle Davante Adams inbounds on that fake spike play. Sometimes the difference in a game is just that one team knows how to win, and the other one doesn't.

  • I was thinking that the Chargers might actually be a good team with a solid defense. But giving up 7 touchdowns to Raiders' rookie QB Derek Carr doesn't do much to support that position.

  • The Cardinals' win over Washington was not very impressive, especially considering a +4 advantage in the turnover margin. Maybe it was partly because Carson Palmer still isn't back to full strength, but they sure seem an unlikely candidate to have one of the best records in the league.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

NFL Week 6 Game Picks

GameAPRSRSLine
Chargers @
Raiders
Chargers
ρ=1.6551
Chargers*
δ=29.6
Chargers
-7
Broncos @
Jets
Broncos
ρ=1.6176
Broncos*
δ=26.1
Broncos
-9
Washington @
Cardinals
Cardinals
ρ=1.3628
Cardinals
δ=14.2
Cardinals
-3½
Ravens @
Buccaneers
Ravens
ρ=1.2974
Ravens*
δ=25.2
Ravens
-3
49ers @
Rams
49ers
ρ=1.2412
49ers*
δ=19.2
49ers
-3
Jaguars @
Titans
Titans*
ρ=1.1881
Titans
δ=10.9
Titans
-6
Lions @
Vikings
Lions
ρ=1.1801
Lions*
δ=13.5
Lions
-2½
Cowboys @
Seahawks
Seahawks
ρ=1.1609
Seahawks
δ=13.7
Seahawks
-8½
Panthers @
Bengals
Bengals
ρ=1.1595
Bengals
δ=11.4
Bengals
-7
Packers @
Dolphins
Packers
ρ=1.1447
Packers*
δ=6.4
Packers
-3
Patriots @
Bills
Bills
ρ=1.0917
Bills
δ=4.4
Patriots
-3
Colts @
Texans
Colts
ρ=1.0700
Colts*
δ=7.4
Colts
-2½
Bears @
Falcons
Bears
ρ=1.0539
Bears*
δ=0.2
Falcons
-3
Giants @
Eagles
Giants
ρ=1.0205
Giants*
δ=6.2
Eagles
-2½
Steelers @
Browns
Browns*
ρ=1.0131
Browns
δ=2.6
Browns
-1

Bye: Chiefs, Saints

Comments:

  • Remember when the Cardinals had a decent starting quarterback and a solid backup? Yeah, good times. Now Carson Palmer is dealing with nerve issues in his arm, and Drew Stanton is recovering from a concussion. Which means the Cards might be starting 4th round rookie Logan Thomas, with some guy off the street (Dennis Dixon, maybe) backing him up.

  • Patriots @ Bills is a rare case of APR and SRS taking the home time and the Line taking the road team. I don't buy that one dominating win means it's gonna be all rainbows and unicorns for the Pats now, but the Bills (now featuring Kyle Orton) have been so bad for so long, I'm not sure they're the ones to give the Pats their third loss.

  • I might start to think Tony Romo has solved his interception throwing problems if he can get past the Seahawks defense without getting picked on some ill-adviced pass. But right now my gut tells me the Cowboys aren't as good as their 4-1 record, and they're gonna get clobbered Sunday.

  • The Browns are unanimously picked to beat the Steelers! A sign of the fact that the Browns do look better than they have in a long time, but also a sign that the Steelers look perhaps even worse than last season's 8-8 squad.

  • After a bumbling 0-2 start, the Giants have rattled off a trio of convincing wins (albeit against some lesser opponents). This week starts a very tough stretch for the Giants, where they'll face the Eagles, Cowboys, Colts, Seahawks, and 49ers. The Giants are going to have to play some solid football for this not to derail their playoff chances.

  • Bears @ Falcons is an interesting matchup. Both have been foundering, both have at least the potential to do better. The winner will be at 3-3 and have a chance to climb back into the playoff race, while the loser will be at 2-4, and already at the brink of elimination.