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.

WeekGameLine
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.

Totals

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

This
Week
This
Season
%
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

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

Comments:

  • 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

GameAPRSRSLine
Seahawks @
Broncos
Seahawks
ρ=1.0645
Seahawks*
δ=1.3
Broncos
-2

Comments:

  • 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.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

NFL Championship Week Pick Results

Winning teams in bold.

Patriots @ Broncos (APR, SRS, Line)
The Patriots seemed to have a lot of plays available to them on offense (that overthrown pass to Edelman being the best example), but they couldn't take advantage, at least not as much as they needed to. I wonder how much that's Brady not being on the same page with his receivers, and how much it's Brady getting old.
The Broncos defense seemed like they gave up a lot of plays, but with the way their offense was scoring points (they scored every time they had the ball, except for their first and last drives), the Broncos' defense really didn't need to get a lot of stops, and they got as many as they needed.
49ers @ Seahawks (APR, SRS, Line)
The good news for the 49ers is, they played their best game in Seattle of the Wilson/Kaepernick era, including establishing an early 10 point lead. But they were only able to add one more touchdown to that total, and meanwhile the Seahawks kept chipping aay at their lead, and finally managed to pull ahead in the 4th quarter.
I wonder how much of this is Colin Kaepernick having trouble playing in high pressure situations. After their final touchdown, the 49ers offense produced a punt, a lost fumble, and two interceptions. That last interception seemed to me to be particularly bad. If Kaepernick had just thrown the ball away, the 49ers still would've had 2nd and 10 at the 18, with 0:22 left, and probably 3 more chances at a go ahead touchdown. Instead, he threw at probably the Seahawks' best DB, with disasterous results, and the game was over.

Totals

This
Week
This
Season
%
APR 2-0 9-190%
SRS 2-0 8-280%
Line 2-0 8-280%

Sunday, January 19, 2014

NFL Championship Week Power Rankings

RankTeamPower
Index
W-LThis Week
1 (-)Seahawks1.1377
(LW × 1.0099)
15-3Won by 6
vs 49ers
2 (-)49ers1.1224
(LW × 1.0049)
14-5Lost by 6
@ Seahawks
3 (↑1)Broncos1.0688
(LW × 1.0159)
15-3Won by 10
vs Patriots
4 (↓1)Cardinals1.0587
(LW × 1.0029)
10-6Bye
5 (↑1)Saints1.0225
(LW × 1.0021)
12-6Bye
6 (↑1)Panthers1.0169
(LW × 0.9997)
12-5Bye
7 (↓2)Patriots1.0108
(LW × 0.9886)
13-5Lost by 10
@ Broncos
8 (-)Chargers1.0102
(LW × 1.0049)
10-8Bye
9 (-)Bengals0.9797
(LW × 0.9994)
11-6Bye
10 (-)Rams0.9612
(LW × 1.0028)
7-9Bye
11 (-)Eagles0.9399
(LW × 1.0008)
10-7Bye
12 (-)Steelers0.9298
(LW × 0.9976)
8-8Bye
13 (-)Colts0.9154
(LW × 1.0009)
11-6Bye
14 (↑1)Chiefs0.8995
(LW × 1.0042)
11-6Bye
15 (↓1)Dolphins0.8978
(LW × 0.9973)
8-8Bye
16 (-)Giants0.8849
(LW × 1.0021)
7-9Bye
17 (-)Buccaneers0.8713
(LW × 1.0007)
4-12Bye
18 (-)Ravens0.8675
(LW × 0.9975)
8-8Bye
19 (-)Titans0.8559
(LW × 1.0036)
7-8Bye
20 (-)Vikings0.8513
(LW × 1.0005)
5-10-1Bye
21 (-)Bills0.8470
(LW × 0.9982)
6-10Bye
22 (-)Falcons0.8399
(LW × 1.0011)
4-12Bye
23 (-)Cowboys0.8362
(LW × 1.0010)
8-8Bye
24 (-)Bears0.8301
(LW × 0.9997)
8-8Bye
25 (↑1)Lions0.8272
(LW × 0.9995)
7-9Bye
26 (↓1)Jets0.8263
(LW × 0.9981)
8-8Bye
27 (-)Packers0.8150
(LW × 1.0002)
8-8-1Bye
28 (-)Jaguars0.7935
(LW × 1.0016)
4-12Bye
29 (↑1)Raiders0.7497
(LW × 1.0032)
4-12Bye
30 (↓1)Browns0.7472
(LW × 0.9977)
4-12Bye
31 (-)Texans0.7467
(LW × 1.0019)
2-14Bye
32 (-)Redskins0.7399
(LW × 1.0023)
3-13Bye

Comments:

  • If the 49ers had won, they would have been the first Super Bowl losers to return since the Bills did it in 93.

  • This week marks three championship game appearances in a row for both the Patriots and 49ers. Both have gone 1-2. Both the Broncos and Seahawks fell a win short of advancing to the championship round last year.

  • Between their last Super Bowl appearance and their win over the Chargers a week ago, the Broncos were 2-6 in the playoffs. The Seahawks have gone 3-3 in the playoffs since their last Super Bowl appearance.

  • I was a little surprised the 49ers made such a game of it today, and had a chance to win at the end of the game. Maybe another sign (along with the their loss to the Cardinals last month) that the Seahawks' defense isn't quite as dominating as it used to be.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

NFL Championship Week Game Picks

GameAPRSRSLine
Patriots @
Broncos
Broncos
ρ=1.0289
Broncos
δ=4.7
Broncos
-4½
49ers @
Seahawks
Seahawks*
ρ=1.0085
Seahawks
δ=3.0
Seahawks
-3½

Comments:

  • Can the Patriots get by the Broncos to give Tom Brady a chance at a fourth Super Bowl ring? The Broncos defense hasn't been amazing this year, including giving up 17 points late in last Sunday's game against the Chargers. It seems likely the Patriots will look for every opportunity to exploit that.

    On the other hand, the Patriots really don't have an impressive road record this season, with losses to the Bengals, Dolphins, and Jets. They also needed 4th quarter comebacks to beat the Texans and the Bills. It's always dangerous to underestimate Belichick and Brady, but unless the Broncos just pull a face plant, I think this is where the Patriots season finally ends.

  • Two times the Russell Wilson-era Seahawks have faced the Colin Kaepernick-era 49ers in Seattle, and two times the Seahawks have come away with convincing wins. Is there any reason to think that's going to be different the third time?

    I think the 49ers defense is good enough to hold the Seahawks to a reasonably low number of points on offense. But looking back at their week 2 matchup, probably the most striking thing is the 49ers almost complete inability to move the ball on offense. They only had two drives longer than 28 yards. The 49ers are gonna need a lot more than that from their offense to come away with an upset this week.