Wednesday, December 17, 2014

NFL Week 16 Game Picks

GameAPRSRSLine
Patriots @
Jets
Patriots
ρ=1.4314
Patriots*
δ=20.6
Patriots
-10
Packers @
Buccaneers
Packers
ρ=1.3085
Packers*
δ=18.4
Packers
-10
Eagles @
Washington
Eagles
ρ=1.2619
Eagles*
δ=13.4
Eagles
-7½
Broncos @
Bengals
Broncos
ρ=1.2250
Broncos*
δ=10.2
Broncos
-3
Lions @
Bears
Lions
ρ=1.2168
Lions*
δ=9.8
Lions
-7
Giants @
Rams
Rams
ρ=1.1874
Rams
δ=2.9
Rams
-5
Bills @
Raiders
Bills
ρ=1.1841
Bills*
δ=14.0
Bills
-6
Vikings @
Dolphins
Dolphins
ρ=1.1360
Dolphins
δ=6.4
Dolphins
-6½
Chiefs @
Steelers
Chiefs*
ρ=1.0845
Chiefs*
δ=5.6
Steelers
-3
Ravens @
Texans
Ravens
ρ=1.0791
Ravens*
δ=4.6
Ravens
-5
Titans @
Jaguars
Jaguars
ρ=1.0683
Jaguars
δ=0.5
Jaguars
-3
Chargers @
49ers
Chargers
ρ=1.0585
Chargers*
δ=4.5
49ers
-2
Colts @
Cowboys
Colts
ρ=1.0452
Colts*
δ=4.9
Cowboys
-2½
Seahawks @
Cardinals
Seahawks*
ρ=1.0372
Seahawks*
δ=3.7
Seahawks
-8
Browns @
Panthers
Browns
ρ=1.0356
Browns*
δ=2.0
Panthers
-2½
Falcons @
Saints
Saints*
ρ=1.0251
Saints
δ=1.0
Saints
-5½

Comments:

  • No line for Browns @ Panthers. Maybe waiting to see if Cam Newton will play? I'll update later on in the week. Update: done.

  • A lot of the games this week have playoff implications. Then there's Titans @ Jaguars which... has draft implications.

  • Seahawks @ Cardinals is for the NFC West, and probably the top seed in the NFC. The Cardinals are reduced to starting erstwhile 3rd string backup Ryan Lindley. If the Cardinals' defense can hold their opponent to 6 points again, they'll have a chance. But I think if the Seahawks get 14 points on the board, that could be game over for the Cards.

  • With the Texans reduced to starting either fourth year backup Thad Lewis or off-the-street pickup Case Keenum, I'm a little surprised the Ravens are only getting 5 points in this game. The Ravens have quietly put together one of the highest scoring offenses in the league this season, and this has the feel of a game where the Ravens may only need a couple touchdowns to secure a 5 point margin of victory.

  • I'm not really sure why the Line is taking the 49ers here. They're out of the playoffs, they're riddled with injuries, and coming off a string of bitter losses. Meanwhile, the Chargers are still alive for one of the AFC wildcard spots, and desperately need a win to stay in the race. I think unless the Chargers fall flat on their faces, this is a game they should win.

  • I'm tempted to say the Colts have a real chance for an upset at the Cowboys, except for that whole Colts usually lose big on the road against good opponents thing that seemed to start when Andrew Luck came to town. But DeMarco Murray will either be out or playing hurt, so the Cowboys won't be at their full strength, either.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

NFL Week 15 Pick Results

Winning team in bold.

Unanimous Picks (12-2)

Right:

Steelers @ Falcons
Bengals @ Browns
Broncos @ Chargers
Jets @ Titans
Jaguars @ Ravens
Raiders @ Chiefs
Dolphins @ Patriots
Texans @ Colts
Washington @ Giants
Buccaneers @ Panthers
Vikings @ Lions
49ers @ Seahawks

Wrong:

Cowboys @ Eagles
Some of the biggest flaws of the Eagles were on display in this game: they turn the ball over a lot. Their defense isn't very good against the pass. And when their offense isn't scoring, their fast paced style is more of a liability than an asset.
And while the Cowboys didn't play the most amazing game either, they only turned the ball over once, and were able to take advantage when the Eagles gave them short fields.
Packers @ Bills
What an ugly game for the Packers' offense. The Bills' defense deserves some credit, but this is the first time Rodgers has been held under a 44% completion rate since he took over from Favre.
The Packers' defense played well, and the running game was effective. But turnovers, too many incomplete passes, botched punt coverage, and a final fumble that resulted in a safety added up more than they were able to overcome. Perhaps the most surprising thing about this game is the Packers had a chance to win late, in spite of all the mistakes they made.

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

Cardinals (APR, SRS) @ Rams (Line)
Rumors of the demise of the Cardinals' defense are apparently greatly exaggerated. They absolutely shut down the Rams' offense (which, okay, is maybe not the biggest test in the world). But they only allowed the Rams' into the red zone twice, holding them to field goals each time.
And while the Cardinals' offense didn't light up the scoreboard either, they did manage to put the game out of reach of the Rams' struggling offense.
Saints (SRS, Line) @ Bears (APR)
Wow, the Bears seem like a broken team at this point. A defense that struggles to stop anybody and a desultory offense is a really bad combination. I wonder if they'll win another game this year?

Totals

Another very nice week of picks, and an unusual case of SRS gaining a spot on APR.

This
Week
This
Season
%
APR 13- 3 140-67-167.6%
SRS 14- 2 138-69-166.6%
Line 14- 2 146-61-170.4%

NFL Week 15 Power Rankings

RankTeamPower
Index
W-LThis Week
1 (-)Patriots1.1459
(LW × 1.0187)
11-3Won by 28
vs Dolphins
2 (-)Broncos1.0694
(LW × 1.0108)
11-3Won by 12
@ Chargers
3 (-)Seahawks1.0287
(LW × 1.0118)
10-4Won by 10
vs 49ers
4 (↑1)Chiefs1.0042
(LW × 1.0057)
8-6Won by 18
vs Raiders
5 (↑1)Cardinals0.9918
(LW × 1.0128)
11-3Won by 6
@ Rams
6 (↓2)Packers0.9750
(LW × 0.9746)
10-4Lost by 8
@ Bills
7 (↑4)Bills0.9622
(LW × 1.0280)
8-6Won by 8
vs Packers
8 (↑4)Colts0.9485
(LW × 1.0136)
10-4Won by 7
vs Texans
9 (↓2)Dolphins0.9439
(LW × 0.9874)
7-7Lost by 28
@ Patriots
10 (↓1)Lions0.9432
(LW × 0.9924)
10-4Won by 2
vs Vikings
11 (↑2)Rams0.9366
(LW × 1.0027)
6-8Lost by 6
vs Cardinals
12 (↓2)Ravens0.9333
(LW × 0.9955)
9-5Won by 8
vs Jaguars
13 (↑2)Steelers0.9260
(LW × 1.0350)
9-5Won by 7
@ Falcons
14 (↓6)Eagles0.9198
(LW × 0.9675)
9-5Lost by 11
vs Cowboys
15 (↑1)Cowboys0.9075
(LW × 1.0206)
10-4Won by 11
@ Eagles
16 (↓2)Chargers0.9066
(LW × 0.9833)
8-6Lost by 12
vs Broncos
17 (↑2)Bengals0.8730
(LW × 1.0421)
9-4-1Won by 30
@ Browns
18 (↓1)Texans0.8649
(LW × 0.9993)
7-7Lost by 7
@ Colts
19 (↓1)49ers0.8565
(LW × 0.9950)
7-7Lost by 10
@ Seahawks
20 (↑5)Saints0.8356
(LW × 1.0329)
6-8Won by 16
@ Bears
21 (↓1)Vikings0.8309
(LW × 1.0077)
6-8Lost by 2
@ Lions
22 (-)Falcons0.8151
(LW × 0.9893)
5-9Lost by 7
vs Steelers
23 (-)Raiders0.8126
(LW × 0.9974)
2-12Lost by 18
@ Chiefs
24 (↑2)Jets0.8006
(LW × 1.0156)
3-11Won by 5
@ Titans
25 (↓4)Browns0.7988
(LW × 0.9691)
7-7Lost by 30
vs Bengals
26 (↑1)Giants0.7888
(LW × 1.0077)
5-9Won by 11
vs Washington
27 (↓3)Bears0.7752
(LW × 0.9554)
5-9Lost by 16
vs Saints
28 (-)Panthers0.7713
(LW × 1.0024)
5-8-1Won by 2
vs Buccaneers
29 (-)Buccaneers0.7451
(LW × 0.9951)
2-12Lost by 2
@ Panthers
30 (-)Washington0.7289
(LW × 0.9911)
3-11Lost by 11
@ Giants
31 (-)Jaguars0.7187
(LW × 1.0217)
2-12Lost by 8
@ Ravens
32 (-)Titans0.6728
(LW × 0.9976)
2-12Lost by 5
vs Jets

Comments:

  • The top teams seem to be pretty reasonable right now. Chiefs are maybe a little high, but I don't think I'd drop them very far, either.

  • Looking at the bottom 10, the Browns are the only team without at least 8½ losses, but the way they've been playing lately (1-4 in their last 5) they don't really seem that out of place.

  • The Eagles are 1-3 this season when they turn the ball over 4 times. Which is remarkable since 1) they actually won one of those games, and 2) they've had four 4-turnover games this season. The Raiders have three 4-turnover games, and they're the only other team in the league with more than two.

    The Eagles still have a chance to win the NFC East (and a better chance with Cowboys' RB DeMarco Murray hurt). But with the kind of turnovers they've been having on offense, they're certainly not set up to make a deep run if they do make it in.

  • Congratulations to the Cardinals, who have clinched a playoff spot, and thus avoid becoming the first team (at least since the 1970 merger) to go 9-1 and miss the playoffs (depends on how you measure who came closest, a number of teams made it to 7-1 and missed the playoffs, and the '93 Dolphins made it to 9-2 before losing out and missing the playoffs).

  • Presumably the Texans will rally around Ryan Fitzpatrick Ryan Mallet Ryan Fitzpatrick Tom Savage er... Case Keenum? They're really giving the Cardinals a run for the money as franchise with the most pathetic quarterback situation.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

NFL Week 15 Game Picks

GameAPRSRSLine
Jaguars @
Ravens
Ravens
ρ=1.3327
Ravens
δ=18.1
Ravens
-14
Raiders @
Chiefs
Chiefs
ρ=1.2255
Chiefs
δ=14.3
Chiefs
-10½
49ers @
Seahawks
Seahawks
ρ=1.1812
Seahawks
δ=9.1
Seahawks
-10
Dolphins @
Patriots
Patriots
ρ=1.1766
Patriots
δ=6.0
Patriots
-8
Jets @
Titans
Jets
ρ=1.1688
Jets*
δ=4.9
Jets
-1
Vikings @
Lions
Lions
ρ=1.1527
Lions
δ=4.7
Lions
-8
Broncos @
Chargers
Broncos
ρ=1.1475
Broncos*
δ=6.9
Broncos
-4
Steelers @
Falcons
Steelers
ρ=1.0858
Steelers*
δ=3.4
Steelers
-3
Texans @
Colts
Colts*
ρ=1.0811
Colts
δ=5.5
Colts
-6½
Cowboys @
Eagles
Eagles*
ρ=1.0691
Eagles
δ=4.3
Eagles
-3
Packers @
Bills
Packers*
ρ=1.0688
Packers*
δ=4.2
Packers
-5
Washington @
Giants
Giants*
ρ=1.0644
Giants
δ=5.8
Giants
-6½
Cardinals @
Rams
Cardinals*
ρ=1.0484
Cardinals*
δ=3.4
Rams
-4½
Buccaneers @
Panthers
Panthers*
ρ=1.0276
Panthers
δ=5.1
Panthers
-5½
Bengals @
Browns
Bengals
ρ=1.0163
Bengals*
δ=0.1
Bengals
-1
Saints @
Bears
Bears*
ρ=1.0030
Saints*
δ=3.3
Saints
-3

Comments:

  • Given the situation with Cam Newton, I'm surprised at this point that there's a line for the Bucs-Panthers game. I guess bettors figure the Bucs are just that bad.

  • Cowboys @ Eagles will probably decide the NFC East, which theoretically makes for a good game. But if goes anything like the first half of this matchup, the game is gonna be over by halftime.

  • Random stat I just noticed: the AFC North leading Bengals are the only team in that division with a negative point differential (points scored - points allowed). In spite of the fact that all the teams (still) have winning records, the AFC North seems like one of the weakest divisions in the league.

    The Ravens seem like the best team in that division, and it seems like they've got an easy enough remaining schedule to win out. But then, I thought them beating the Chargers was an all but sure thing, too.

  • APR likes the Cardinals over the Rams, which seems like a mistake to me. Credit HC Jeff Fisher, the Rams have been playing really tough this season, and given the Cardinals anemic offense, the Rams could have a shot at their third shut out in a row.

  • APR likes the Bears over the Saints, which seems like a mistake too. I think the Bears defense is bad enough at this point that Drew Brees and the Saints offense will score enough points that it will be one of those games where the Bears are doomed the first time they have a drive that doesn't end in a touchdown.

    On the other hand, I thought the Saints were gonna make short work of the Panthers last week, so maybe I should just stop trying to guess what's gonna happen in the NFC South.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

NFL Week 14 Pick Results

Winning team in bold.

Unanimous Picks (10-4)

Right:

Cowboys @ Bears
Rams @ Washington
Texans @ Jaguars
Giants @ Titans
Colts @ Browns
Patriots @ Chargers
Buccaneers @ Lions
Jets @ Vikings
Bills @ Broncos
Facons @ Packers

Wrong:

Panthers @ Saints
This was the bad Saints playing in this game. On offense, their longest drive was just 34 yards until well into garbage time. On defense, they were mostly unable to stop a Panthers' offense that hadn't scored more than 21 points in a game since facing the Bengals two months ago. The Saints have some talented players, but when they have an off game, they can really stink up the joint.
Ravens @ Dolphins
The Ravens stopped the Dolphins from running. And the Dolphins' passing game isn't enough to sustain many drives all by itself, and so the Dolphins were only able to score 13 points in this game. And while the Dolphins' defense has played well this season, they need more help than 13 points from their offense to get a win against a team that can move the ball like the Ravens.
Steelers @ Bengals
As bad as this looks for the Bengals, most of the damage came on just two plays. The Bengals lost a fumble that the Steelers turned into a touchdown. The Steelers subsequent drive consisted of one 94 yard touchdown pass to rookie WR Martavis Bryant. And what had been a close game through three quarters turned into a blow-out almost in the blink of an eye.
49ers @ Raiders
The 49ers defense had some issues in this game, giving up three long drives for touchdowns. But to my eye, the real problem in this game was the 49ers offense. A couple turnovers, three field goal tries (one missed) and a touchdown aren't gonna win many games. And that's demonostrated in the 49ers record this season. They're 2-6 when they don't score at least 22 points (it's also worth noting those two wins came in close games against bad NFC East opponents).

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

Seahawks (APR, SRS) @ Eagles (Line)
The Eagles' offense just wasn't able to move the ball down the field. Apart from their second touchdown, their longest drive went just 25 yards.
Chiefs (APR, SRS) @ Cardinals (Line)
I thought the Cardinals were in deep trouble after Jamaal Charles scored his second touchdown of the day to give the Chiefs an 8 point lead. But the Cardinals' defense played a lot better in this game, shutting the Chiefs out in the second half (thanks in part to a controversial fumble ruling) while putting together a couple scoring drives that put them in the lead.

Totals

This
Week
This
Season
%
APR 11- 5 127-64-166.4%
SRS 11- 5 124-67-164.8%
Line 11- 5 132-59-169.0%

Monday, December 8, 2014

NFL Week 14 Power Rankings

RankTeamPower
Index
W-LThis Week
1 (-)Patriots1.1249
(LW × 1.0097)
10-3Won by 9
@ Chargers
2 (-)Broncos1.0580
(LW × 1.0025)
10-3Won by 7
vs Bills
3 (↑3)Seahawks1.0168
(LW × 1.0445)
9-4Won by 10
@ Eagles
4 (↓1)Packers1.0004
(LW × 0.9739)
10-3Won by 6
vs Falcons
5 (-)Chiefs0.9985
(LW × 0.9951)
7-6Lost by 3
@ Cardinals
6 (↑2)Cardinals0.9793
(LW × 1.0242)
10-3Won by 3
vs Chiefs
7 (↓3)Dolphins0.9560
(LW × 0.9498)
7-6Lost by 15
vs Ravens
8 (↓1)Eagles0.9507
(LW × 0.9806)
9-4Lost by 10
vs Seahawks
9 (-)Lions0.9505
(LW × 0.9953)
9-4Won by 17
vs Buccaneers
10 (↑3)Ravens0.9375
(LW × 1.0340)
8-5Won by 15
@ Dolphins
11 (↓1)Bills0.9360
(LW × 0.9916)
7-6Lost by 7
@ Broncos
12 (↓1)Colts0.9358
(LW × 0.9963)
9-4Won by 1
@ Browns
13 (↑1)Rams0.9341
(LW × 1.0351)
6-7Won by 24
@ Washington
14 (↓2)Chargers0.9220
(LW × 0.9924)
8-5Lost by 9
vs Patriots
15 (↑3)Steelers0.8947
(LW × 1.0343)
8-5Won by 21
@ Bengals
16 (-)Cowboys0.8892
(LW × 1.0085)
9-4Won by 13
@ Bears
17 (↑2)Texans0.8655
(LW × 1.0053)
7-6Won by 14
@ Jaguars
18 (↓3)49ers0.8608
(LW × 0.9703)
7-6Lost by 11
@ Raiders
19 (↓2)Bengals0.8377
(LW × 0.9544)
8-4-1Lost by 21
vs Steelers
20 (↑2)Vikings0.8246
(LW × 0.9944)
6-7Won by 6
vs Jets
21 (↑2)Browns0.8243
(LW × 0.9945)
7-6Lost by 1
vs Colts
22 (↑2)Falcons0.8240
(LW × 1.0335)
5-8Lost by 6
@ Packers
23 (↑3)Raiders0.8148
(LW × 1.0416)
2-11Won by 11
vs 49ers
24 (↓3)Bears0.8114
(LW × 0.9693)
5-8Lost by 13
vs Cowboys
25 (↓5)Saints0.8090
(LW × 0.9436)
5-8Lost by 31
vs Panthers
26 (↓1)Jets0.7883
(LW × 1.0017)
2-11Lost by 6
@ Vikings
27 (-)Giants0.7828
(LW × 1.0139)
4-9Won by 29
@ Titans
28 (↑2)Panthers0.7694
(LW × 1.0360)
4-8-1Won by 31
@ Saints
29 (↓1)Buccaneers0.7488
(LW × 0.9890)
2-11Lost by 17
@ Lions
30 (↓1)Washington0.7354
(LW × 0.9744)
3-10Lost by 24
vs Rams
31 (-)Jaguars0.7034
(LW × 0.9721)
2-11Lost by 14
vs Texans
32 (-)Titans0.6744
(LW × 0.9634)
2-11Lost by 29
vs Giants

Comments:

  • Wow, that was a pretty ugly game by the Packers tonight. They haven't given up 37 points and won since 2011 (which does not bring up happy memories for Packer fans).

    That was the most passing yards the Packers' defense has given up all season, and the only game they've given up 4 touchdown passes. Maybe it was a fluke game, but it feels to me like the Packers' chances to get to the Super Bowl this year just took a major blow.

  • The Cardinals get a crucial home win, and with the 49ers playing the way they have, another win week 17 seems like a real possibility.

  • The Seahawks get a crucial win of their own, which means the Seahawks @ Cardinals game week 16 will probably decide the NFC West. And with head-to-head tiebreakers over the Packers and now the Eagles, the Seahawks have a real shot at the top seed too.

  • The Patriots are down to three division games, with week 16 at the Jets the only one on the road. Barring a major face plant, the Pats should be able to win out with relative ease, which will get them the #1 seed in the AFC.

  • Looking at APR's top 10 teams, the Chiefs and Dolphins are the only ones that seem out of place.

  • And #16 may kinda low for the 9-win Cowboys, but looking at their record, that week 6 win over the Seahawks is maybe the only win over a quality team they have this season. They lost to the 49ers, Cardinals, and Eagles, so I'm not sure how much wins over the likes of the Giants, Jaguars and Titans should really matter.

  • As an update on the monitor situation, the old one seems to be hanging in there, and the new one is scheduled to arrive Wednesday, so it looks like FSPI will go on as scheduled this week.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Administrative note: this week's posts may be late

My monitor is dying. I have another on order, scheduled to arrive some time next week. Meanwhile the old one is still more-or-less usable, but I'm not sure how long that will last. Hopefully my old monitor can hang on until the new one gets here, but if it doesn't, this week's posts will be delayed until I can get going again.