Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Week 13 Game Picks

GameAPRSRSLine
Cardinals @
Falcons
Cardinals
ρ=1.3053
Cardinals*
δ=9.8
Cardinals
-2½
Dolphins @
Jets
Dolphins
ρ=1.2929
Dolphins*
δ=16.4
Dolphins
-5½
Washington @
Colts
Colts
ρ=1.2197
Colts
δ=13.8
Colts
-9½
Titans @
Texans
Texans
ρ=1.2076
Texans
δ=9.2
Texans
-6
Bengals @
Buccaneers
Bengals
ρ=1.1728
Bengals*
δ=12.5
Bengals
-4
Patriots @
Packers
Patriots
ρ=1.1189
Patriots*
δ=4.8
Packers
-3
Giants @
Jaguars
Giants
ρ=1.1185
Giants*
δ=7.7
Giants
-2½
Raiders @
Rams
Rams
ρ=1.1114
Rams
δ=0.7
Rams
-7
Bears @
Lions
Lions
ρ=1.1007
Lions
δ=7.0
Lions
-7
Browns @
Bills
Bills
ρ=1.0817
Bills
δ=6.0
Bills
-2½
Panthers @
Vikings
Vikings
ρ=1.0598
Vikings
δ=3.8
Vikings
-3
Saints @
Steelers
Steelers
ρ=1.0504
Steelers
δ=0.2
Steelers
-3½
Seahawks @
49ers
Seahawks
ρ=1.0368
Seahawks*
δ=5.8
49ers
-1
Eagles @
Cowboys
Eagles
ρ=1.0146
Eagles*
δ=2.0
Cowboys
-3
Broncos @
Chiefs
Broncos*
ρ=1.0110
Broncos*
δ=1.8
Broncos
-2
Chargers @
Ravens
Ravens
ρ=1.0071
Ravens
δ=2.2
Ravens
-5½

Comments:

  • Every NFC South team lost last week, and all are unanimously picked to lose this week. If that happens, every NFC South team will have at least 8 losses.

  • There have already been complaints about a bad NFC South division winner making the playoffs, while two of the Eagles (8-3), Cowboys (8-3), Packers (8-3), Lions (7-4), Cardinals (9-2), Seahawks (7-4) and 49ers (7-4) will be out of the playoffs.

    But the truth is, the most direct route to the playoffs is, and always has been, win your division. When league switched to four division winners and two wildcards in 2002, that became even more important. You wanna make the playoffs? All you gotta do is be better than three other teams.

    The battle cry of the playoffs has always been "you wanna be the best, you gotta beat the best". Does anybody really think it's a good idea to change it to "we're kinda good too"? Anyway, rant over.

  • The Packers have been very good at home this season, but I was a lot more confident they could win this week before the Patriots beat the Broncos, Colts, and Lions all by 22 points or more. I'm not sure the Packers defense will be able to stop Gronkowski or the Pats running game, so this could be a game like Packers @ Saints, where the Packers get buried as soon as the offense falters.

  • Seahawks @ 49ers is a critical game for both teams. The the loser will be 3 games out of first place in the NFC West (assuming the Cardinals take care of business with the Falcons) and at 7-5, will be on the outside looking in for a wildcard spot too.

  • Eagles @ Cowboys is the first half of the home-and-away series that will likely decide the NFC East winner. Looking at the tie breaker situation, the Cowboys probably have to sweep this series in order to win the division.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

NFL Week 12 Pick Results

Winning team in bold.

Unanimous Picks (10-2)

Right:

Packers @ Vikings
Cowboys @ Giants
Lions @ Patriots
Titans @ Eagles
Jaguars @ Colts
Buccaneers @ Bears
Rams @ Chargers
Washington @ 49ers
Dolphins @ Broncos
Jets "@" Bills

Wrong:

Chiefs @ Raiders
The Chiefs had a lot of problems in this game, but there's a couple things that really stand out to me. First, on their final scoring drive, they got inside the Raiders' 10 yard line, but couldn't punch it in for a touchdown, instead settling for a field goal and a slim 3 point lead.
The second thing was, after that, the Chiefs' defense desperately needed to get a stop. Instead the Raiders drove 80 yards, and used over 9 minutes of game time to score the go-ahead touchdown, and left the Chiefs 95 seconds to respond. The Chiefs are really not a quick-strike defense, especially with no timeouts left, and they ran out of time before they could respond.
Bengals @ Texans
The Bengals certainly didn't have an amazing day on offense in this game. They had three drives longer than 37 yards, resulting in a touchdown, a field goal, and a turnover on downs.
So the door was certainly open for the Texans to take this one. But Ryan Mallett was not productive passing (throwing for just 189 yards on 45 attempts) and the Texans' running game was unable to make up the difference. The result was two field goals, a punt, and a turnover on downs for the Texans' four best drives.

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

Cardinals (APR, SRS) @ Seahawks (Line)
The Cardinals' defense really did their job in this game, holding the Seahawks to just 4 field goals until late in the third quarter. If the offense had been even moderately productive, they could've won this game. But the Cardinals' offense only crossed midfield three times, producing a field goal, a missed field goal, and a punt. That's just not gonna win any games. (Unless, I suppose, the field is a muddy mess.)
Browns (APR, SRS) @ Falcons (Line)
The Browns really tried to give this game to the Falcons, but they just wouldn't take it. Brian Hoyer threw a couple late interceptions, but the Falcons were only able to get one field goal out of them. Meanwhile the Falcons couldn't much run the ball, and left the door open for the Browns to drive for a winning field goal at the end of the game.
Ravens (APR, SRS) @ Saints (Line)
After having goal to go early, the Saints couldn't punch the ball in for a touchdown, they couldn't stop the Ravens' running game, and Drew Brees threw his third pick six of the season. All in all you gotta wonder what ever happened to the Saints team people thought were gonna contend for the Super Bowl this year.

Totals

A nice week of picks all around, and thanks to a couple road dog wins, the algorithms pick up a game on the Line.

This
Week
This
Season
%
APR 12- 3 104-52-166.6%
SRS 12- 3 101-55-164.6%
Line 11- 4 108-48-169.1%

Monday, November 24, 2014

NFL Week 12 Power Rankings

RankTeamPower
Index
W-LThis Week
1 (-)Patriots1.1055
(LW × 1.0317)
9-2Won by 25
vs Lions
2 (↑1)Broncos1.0362
(LW × 1.0026)
8-3Won by 3
vs Dolphins
3 (↓1)Chiefs1.0249
(LW × 0.9809)
7-4Lost by 4
@ Raiders
4 (-)Cardinals0.9977
(LW × 0.9665)
9-2Lost by 16
@ Seahawks
5 (↑1)Dolphins0.9930
(LW × 1.0171)
6-5Lost by 3
@ Broncos
6 (↓1)Packers0.9881
(LW × 1.0049)
8-3Won by 3
@ Vikings
7 (↑5)Seahawks0.9590
(LW × 1.0407)
7-4Won by 16
vs Cardinals
8 (↓1)Eagles0.9486
(LW × 0.9927)
8-3Won by 19
vs Titans
9 (↑2)Colts0.9427
(LW × 1.0077)
7-4Won by 20
vs Jaguars
10 (↓1)Cowboys0.9349
(LW × 0.9969)
8-3Won by 3
@ Giants
11 (↑4)Ravens0.9262
(LW × 1.0295)
7-4Won by 7
@ Saints
12 (↓4)49ers0.9250
(LW × 0.9806)
7-4Won by 4
vs Washington
13 (↓3)Lions0.9246
(LW × 0.9862)
7-4Lost by 25
@ Patriots
14 (↓1)Chargers0.9196
(LW × 1.0065)
7-4Won by 3
vs Rams
15 (↓1)Bills0.9162
(LW × 1.0093)
6-5Won by 35
vs Jets
16 (↑1)Rams0.8849
(LW × 1.0064)
4-7Lost by 3
@ Chargers
17 (↑1)Steelers0.8838
(LW × 1.0058)
7-4Bye
18 (↑2)Bengals0.8825
(LW × 1.0347)
7-3-1Won by 9
@ Texans
19 (↓3)Texans0.8675
(LW × 0.9728)
5-6Lost by 9
vs Bengals
20 (↑2)Browns0.8470
(LW × 1.0173)
7-4Won by 2
@ Falcons
21 (↓2)Saints0.8414
(LW × 0.9851)
4-7Lost by 7
vs Ravens
22 (↓1)Bears0.8401
(LW × 1.0080)
5-6Won by 8
vs Buccaneers
23 (-)Giants0.8009
(LW × 0.9917)
3-8Lost by 3
vs Cowboys
24 (-)Vikings0.8006
(LW × 1.0051)
4-7Lost by 3
vs Packers
25 (↑3)Raiders0.7962
(LW × 1.0526)
1-10Won by 4
vs Chiefs
26 (↑1)Washington0.7729
(LW × 1.0140)
3-8Lost by 4
@ 49ers
27 (↓2)Jets0.7680
(LW × 0.9915)
2-9Lost by 35
@ Bills
28 (↓2)Falcons0.7644
(LW × 0.9980)
4-7Lost by 2
vs Browns
29 (-)Panthers0.7555
(LW × 1.0086)
3-7-1Bye
30 (-)Buccaneers0.7525
(LW × 1.0059)
2-9Lost by 8
@ Bears
31 (-)Titans0.7184
(LW × 0.9987)
2-9Lost by 19
@ Eagles
32 (-)Jaguars0.7160
(LW × 1.0158)
1-10Lost by 20
@ Colts

Comments:

  • The Patriots are kinda starting to look scary good. This is the same season they struggled to beat the Raiders and Jets, and got clobbered by the Chiefs. But since then, they've had convincing wins against a string of playoff contending teams. If they can go into Lambeau and get another win next week, this really could be the year Brady gets a fourth ring.

  • Let's play "coach the Minnesota Vikings". Here's the scenario: you just scored a touchdown and a 2-point conversion to pull within 3 points. You've got 3:28 and one time out left (plus the two minute warning), so if the Packers have the ball, they probably only need a first down or two to salt away the win.

    Unless you've got one of the best defenses in the league (and maybe even if you do), you have to onside kick here, right? Add in a 15 yard roughing the passer penalty on the 2 point conversion so that you're kicking from the 50 yard line, and an OSK is pretty much a no-brainer.

    Instead, the Vikings kicked deep, the Packers got a couple first downs, and it was kneel-down time. (Also, for the record, the Vikings have a middle-of-the-league defense, and are a little worse against the run than the pass).

  • Somebody needs to tell the Chiefs that no touchdowns to a wide receiver is really not a good thing.

  • The Cardinals are 3-64 (4.5%) since 2000 when scoring less than 14 points. Surprisingly, that's not the worst record for that era. The Chargers (1-36, 2.7%), Saints (1-35, 2.8%), and Vikings (2-46, 4.2%) are all worse.

    The Patriots (8-20, 28.6%) and Steelers (11-33, 25.0%) have the best record in such games during that era.

  • So the answer is yes, the Saints really are gonna lose three in a row at home. something they haven't done since Drew Brees came to town.

  • Wow, that was an ugly game in Detroit. It looked like the Jets were the ones that lost practice time, and had to play a nominal home game hundreds of miles away from their home stadium on short notice.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

NFL Week 11 Game Picks

GameAPRSRSLine
Chiefs @
Raiders
Chiefs
ρ=1.3814
Chiefs*
δ=16.4
Chiefs
-7
Titans @
Eagles
Eagles
ρ=1.3284
Eagles
δ=11.4
Eagles
-11
Jaguars @
Colts
Colts
ρ=1.3271
Colts
δ=18.0
Colts
-13½
Washington @
49ers
49ers*
ρ=1.2376
49ers
δ=8.3
49ers
-9
Packers @
Vikings
Packers
ρ=1.2344
Packers*
δ=14.4
Packers
-9
Jets @
Bills
Bills
ρ=1.1719
Bills
δ=8.1
Bills
-4½
Cowboys @
Giants
Cowboys
ρ=1.1614
Cowboys*
δ=6.7
Cowboys
-3
Lions @
Patriots
Patriots
ρ=1.1430
Patriots
δ=8.8
Patriots
-7½
Cardinals @
Seahawks
Cardinals
ρ=1.1203
Cardinals*
δ=1.2
Seahawks
-6½
Buccaneers @
Bears
Bears*
ρ=1.1141
Bears
δ=6.3
Bears
-5½
Browns @
Falcons
Browns
ρ=1.0870
Browns*
δ=4.3
Falcons
-3
Dolphins @
Broncos
Broncos
ρ=1.0586
Broncos
δ=0.7
Broncos
-7
Ravens @
Saints
Ravens
ρ=1.0532
Ravens*
δ=5.7
Saints
-3
Bengals @
Texans
Texans*
ρ=1.0455
Texans
δ=1.5
Texans
-1
Rams @
Chargers
Chargers
ρ=1.0392
Chargers
δ=8.8
Chargers
-4

Bye: Steelers, Panthers

Comments:

  • Mostly unanimous picks this week.The Saints can't lose at home three times in a row, can they?

  • The Cardinals enter probably the hardest stretch of their schedule, including road games at all three NFC West opponents. Drew Stanton will need to pass a pretty tough test if the Cardinals are going to hang onto the best record in the NFC.

  • The Patriots have a tough stretch ahead of them too. After the Lions, they have road games against the Packers and Chargers, before finishing up with a trio of divisional games.

  • The Lions play the second of their back-to-back road games at conference leading teams. The good news for them is after this week, they've got what should be a pretty easy schedule before finishing up going into Lambeau, for what could be the contest that decides which team takes the NFC North this year.

  • I'm not really sure why the Line has taken the Falcons over the Browns this week. The Falcons are 0-6 in games against teams outside the very bad NFC South. And while I think the Browns have been playing a little over their heads, they really should be able to take care of the Falcons (although they really should've been able to take care of the Jaguars back in week 7, too).

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

NFL Week 11 Pick Results

Winning team in bold.

Unanimous Picks (6-3)

Right:

49ers @ Giants
Steelers @ Titans
Bills @ Dolphins
Seahawks @ Chiefs
Raiders @ Chargers
Lions @ Cardinals

Wrong:

Bengals @ Saints
On defense, the Saints just couldn't stop the run, giving up 186 yards on the ground (2nd most all season, and most in a home game). Andy Dalton only threw 22 times, but when he did, he was very effective, posting 220 yards and 3 touchdowns. Pretty much a complete turnaround from his week 10 performance.
On the other side of the ball, the Bengals' defense was somehow able to contain the Saints offense, holding Drew Brees to under 6 yards per passing attempt, and Mark Ingram to under 3 yards a carry. Somehow the Saints were able to sustain 4 relatively long drives, but they chewed up 24 minutes of game time, and only produced 10 points on the scoreboard. It wasn't nearly enough to keep up with the Bengals.
Buccaneers @ Washington
Apparently somebody didn't tell Washington's defense that they should cover Mike Evans, who had 209 yards of the Bucs' 288 yards passing. Couple that with 3 turnovers and 6 sacks, and Washington really never had a chance.
Broncos @ Rams
The Broncos were absolutely stymied by the Rams' defense. CJ Anderson only ran for 29 yards, and while Peyton Manning had 389 yards passing, they were mostly spread out among too many drives to put points on the board.
The Rams didn't have an amazing day on offense either, but they did get into the end zone early, and that along with 5 field goals eventually put the game out of reach.

Split Picks: (APR 4-1, SRS 3-2, Line 2-3)

Thanks to win by three road dogs, a surprisingly bad week of split picks for the Line.

Falcons (SRS) @ Panthers (APR, Line)
A close game between a couple bad teams. The Panthers had one more turnover and two missed field goals, which as much as anything else was the difference in the game.
Texans (APR, SRS) @ Browns (Line)
Like their earlier game against the Jaguars, the Browns' offense just seemed to dry up in this game. For whatever reason, they started Isaiah Crowell at RB, which appears to be a mistake, as he only had 61 yards on 14 carries (and most of that came on one play). Brian Hoyer couldn't pick up the slack. While he had 330 passing yards, he also threw incomplete 30 times, the most single-game incompletions of any team this season.
Patriots (APR, SRS) @ Colts (Line)
The Colts have a bad defense. They are now 0-4 when they give up more than 28 points. The Colts are the only team to give up more than 28 points in at least 4 games and have a winning record (although the 5-5 Texans are close).
Vikings (SRS) @ Bears (APR, Line)
The Bears managed to get their running game back on track, rushing for 138 total yards. Their defense mostly managed to shut down the Vikings (holding them to just 4 drives longer than 16 yards) and so Jay Cutler's 3 touchdown passes were enough to give the Bears their first home win of the season.
Eagles (APR, SRS) @ Packers (Line)
The Eagles have shown a lot of problems this season, and after this game, you can add their pass defense to the list. The Packers put together four long first-half drives, mostly passing the ball, scoring three touchdowns and a field goal. Add in a rare (for the Packers anyway) punt return touchdown, and this game was pretty well over at halftime.

Totals

This
Week
This
Season
%
APR 10- 4 92-49-165.1%
SRS 9- 5 89-52-163.0%
Line 8- 6 97-44-168.7%

Monday, November 17, 2014

NFL Week 11 Power Rankings

RankTeamPower
Index
W-LThis Week
1 (↑3)Patriots1.0716
(LW × 1.0389)
8-2Won by 22
@ Colts
2 (↑1)Chiefs1.0449
(LW × 1.0129)
7-3Won by 4
vs Seahawks
3 (↓2)Broncos1.0334
(LW × 0.9415)
7-3Lost by 15
@ Rams
4 (↓2)Cardinals1.0324
(LW × 0.9959)
9-1Won by 8
vs Lions
5 (↑4)Packers0.9832
(LW × 1.0415)
7-3Won by 33
vs Eagles
6 (↑1)Dolphins0.9763
(LW × 1.0259)
6-4Won by 13
vs Bills
7 (↓2)Eagles0.9556
(LW × 0.9591)
7-3Lost by 33
@ Packers
8 (↑3)49ers0.9433
(LW × 1.0039)
6-4Won by 6
@ Giants
9 (↓1)Cowboys0.9378
(LW × 0.9886)
7-3Bye
10 (-)Lions0.9375
(LW × 0.9973)
7-3Lost by 8
@ Cardinals
11 (↓5)Colts0.9355
(LW × 0.9578)
6-4Lost by 22
vs Patriots
12 (↑1)Seahawks0.9215
(LW × 0.9937)
6-4Lost by 4
@ Chiefs
13 (↓1)Chargers0.9137
(LW × 0.9828)
6-4Won by 7
vs Raiders
14 (-)Bills0.9078
(LW × 0.9939)
5-5Lost by 13
@ Dolphins
15 (-)Ravens0.8996
(LW × 0.9982)
6-4Bye
16 (↑2)Texans0.8918
(LW × 1.0125)
5-5Won by 16
@ Browns
17 (↑4)Rams0.8793
(LW × 1.0675)
4-6Won by 15
vs Broncos
18 (↓1)Steelers0.8787
(LW × 0.9925)
7-4Won by 3
@ Titans
19 (↓3)Saints0.8541
(LW × 0.9593)
4-6Lost by 17
vs Bengals
20 (-)Bengals0.8529
(LW × 1.0245)
6-3-1Won by 17
@ Saints
21 (↑3)Bears0.8334
(LW × 1.0283)
4-6Won by 8
vs Vikings
22 (↓3)Browns0.8326
(LW × 0.9579)
6-4Lost by 16
vs Texans
23 (↓1)Giants0.8075
(LW × 0.9809)
3-7Lost by 6
vs 49ers
24 (↑1)Vikings0.7965
(LW × 0.9882)
4-6Lost by 8
@ Bears
25 (↑1)Jets0.7746
(LW × 1.0009)
2-8Bye
26 (↑3)Falcons0.7659
(LW × 1.0263)
4-6Won by 2
@ Panthers
27 (↓4)Washington0.7622
(LW × 0.9328)
3-7Lost by 20
vs Buccaneers
28 (-)Raiders0.7563
(LW × 1.0003)
0-10Lost by 7
@ Chargers
29 (↓2)Panthers0.7490
(LW × 0.9764)
3-7-1Lost by 2
vs Falcons
30 (↑2)Buccaneers0.7480
(LW × 1.0512)
2-8Won by 20
@ Washington
31 (↓1)Titans0.7193
(LW × 0.9781)
2-8Lost by 3
vs Steelers
32 (↓1)Jaguars0.7049
(LW × 0.9842)
1-9Bye

Comments:

  • Another ugly loss for the Broncos, and this one finally knocks them off the top of the rankings. I'm not sold on the Patriots as the best team in the league, but 8 wins and a very solid road victory over the Colts make for a pretty nice resume right now.

  • The Cardinals knock off the Lions to take a 2 game lead over the other division leaders in the NFC. But they way both these teams played, I'm not sure either can win a playoff game on the road. And while the Cards have the inside track on the #1 seed for the moment, they've got a tough remaining schedule, including all three divisional road games. They haven't clinched anything yet.

  • After looking like dopes in their home stadium against the Browns, the Bengals go into the Superdome, and get a 3-score victory in one of the toughest places to get a road win in the league.

  • The 49ers continue to claw their way back from the brink of elimination. But it can't be good that with a +3 turnover margin, they only beat the Giants by 6 points.

  • And with the Seahawks losing, whatever chances they and the 49ers have to get to the playoffs may hinge on their home-and-away series (either that or hoping the Cardinals collapse playing out their own home stretch).

  • The playoff picture in the AFC is just a mess. The Patriots probably have the AFC East locked up once again. But all the other divisions are still in contention, with just one win separating first and last place in the AFC North, and five teams at 6-4 (and the Bengals at 6-3-1) vying for that #6 wildcard seed.

  • The Raiders have been officially eliminated from the playoffs, and the situations for the Jets, Titans and Jaguars are probably hopeless. Every other AFC team has at least a shot at getting in.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

NFL Week 11 Game Picks

GameAPRSRSLine
Broncos @
Rams
Broncos
ρ=1.3326
Broncos*
δ=21.2
Broncos
-9
Raiders @
Chargers
Chargers
ρ=1.2296
Chargers
δ=11.5
Chargers
-10½
Steelers @
Titans
Steelers
ρ=1.2039
Steelers*
δ=7.9
Steelers
-5½
Buccaneers @
Washington
Washington*
ρ=1.1483
Washington
δ=10.8
Washington
-7
49ers @
Giants
49ers
ρ=1.1414
49ers*
δ=3.9
49ers
-4½
Seahawks @
Chiefs
Chiefs
ρ=1.1124
Chiefs
δ=4.2
Chiefs
-1½
Lions @
Cardinals
Cardinals
ρ=1.1026
Cardinals
δ=3.3
Cardinals
-2
Bengals @
Saints
Saints
ρ=1.0695
Saints
δ=2.5
Saints
-7
Patriots @
Colts
Patriots
ρ=1.0560
Patriots*
δ=0.6
Colts
-2½
Eagles @
Packers
Eagles
ρ=1.0554
Eagles*
δ=1.2
Packers
-5
Bills @
Dolphins
Dolphins*
ρ=1.0420
Dolphins
δ=4.5
Dolphins
-5
Falcons @
Panthers
Panthers
ρ=1.0279
Falcons*
δ=1.7
Panthers
-1½
Texans @
Browns
Texans*
ρ=1.0134
Texans*
δ=0.9
Browns
-3
Vikings @
Bears
Bears*
ρ=1.0054
Vikings*
δ=3.2
Bears
-3½

Bye: Ravens, Cowboys, Jaguars, Jets

Comments:

  • The 1963 Broncos and the 1966 Giants are the only (modern era) teams to give up 50 points in three games in a season, so the Bears have at least one bit of ignominy left to try to avoid the rest of their season.

  • Maybe I'm wrong, but it feels to me like 10½ is a lot of points for the Chargers to cover. Yeah, it's the Raiders, but the first game in this series was decided by 3 points, and that was the Raiders closest loss all season.

  • So far the Packers are 0-3 against playoff contending teams this season. If they're gonna make the playoffs, and do something in the playoffs, that's got to change, starting with this weeks contest against the Eagles.

    The Eagles have one of the most turnover-prone offenses in the league (second only to the Jaguars), and the Packers offense is one of the best at forcing turnovers. If the Packers can avoid giving away the store on special teams, this is a game they should be able to win.

  • Patriots at Colts is an interesting matchup. I feel like the Colts are benefitting from a weak division and a relatively easy schedule. While the Patriots are more than 5 years into a stretch of mostly losing to good teams on the road.