Tuesday, December 04, 2007

NFL week 13 wrapup

Week 12 in the NFL...

  • There have been 5 NFL teams to start a season with 12 straight wins in the Super Bowl era.
    1972 Miami Dolphins - 14-0 (finished 14-0)
    1998 Denver Broncos - 13-0 (finished 14-2)
    2005 Indianapolis Colts - 13-0 (finished 14-2)
    1985 Chicaco Bears - 12-0 (finished 15-1)
    2007 New England Patriots - 12-0

    With a win over the Steelers next week, the Patriots would tie the Broncos and Colts for the 2nd longest season-opening unbeaten streak.

  • There's been a lot of whining from the Ravens about the officiating. I don't see where they've got a complaint. There was clearly holding on Watson (and on Gaffney underneath) on the 4th and 5. I also think that Gaffney caught the ball in the end zone, but even if the replay had overruled it, the Patriots would have been first and goal from the 2 with 50 seconds left. The Patriots did get lucky - the Ravens melted down, emotionally.

  • When the Cardinals, earlier in the year, looked about to step up to the next level, they started losing again. The Browns have apparently decided to do that now...

  • Taking a statistics class. Discussion question came up. Including response here...

    So can anyone take a shot a calculate the probably of the Patriots going undefeated?

    "It's a pretty easy calculation, but the problem is determing the actual probabilities of any given game resulting in a win. As I write, they've got four games left. Assuming that they're 50-50 to win any game, their odds of winning all four is .5^4, or 6.25%.

    However, there's no reason to think that they're a 50-50 team, and good reason to think that they're not. So you've got to come up with something different to use. If you use their current record, well, that's not very useful, either, because if they're 100% to win the next four, like the last twelve, well, they're 100% to win all of them. So we've got to find some other proxy winning percentage. One of the things that has been found to work pretty well in all sports (Bill James did it with baseball, and others have found that it works for other things, too) is what James termed the "Pythagorean" winning percentage. Basically, team's winning percentage tend to track very closely to the ratio of the square of the points scored to the sum of the squares of the points scored and points allowed. If we look at New England, we see that they've scored 469 while allowing 209, we can calculate a projected winning percentage of (469^2)/((469^2)+(209^2)) or .834. .834^4 suggests that the Patriots have a 48% chance of winning their last four games and finishing undefeated.

    Ideally, you'd go further, and incorporate opponent rankings, because they are far likelier to lose to 9-3 Pittsburgh than 0-12 Miami, but I'm actually pretty comfortable with that first order approximation, which suggests that they're about 50-50."

  • Evidence that you should be listening carefully to what I say (and there isn't much, as I'm finally in mid-season form):

    Seattle at Philadelphia - "The Eagles played the game of their season on Sunday night. They won't duplicate it. Seattle wins outright."

    NY Giants at Chicago - "The Giants are a better team than the Bears, despite being blown out by Minnesota while Chicago was winning a thriller against Denver last week. That doesn't mean that they'll win, though that's clearly the way that I'm picking. I absolutely could see another NY meltdown, it wouldn't shock me, it wouldn't surprise me. But that's not what I expect. If it does happen, they'll be done."

    Cincinnati at Pittsburgh - "There have been various noises out of Cincinnati to the effect that they've got it figured out, they've got it together, they're going on a run, they're going to win out and go to the play-offs. You can believe it, if you like - I don't."

  • Evidence that you should be listening carefully to what I say (and betting the opposite):

    Green Bay at Dallas - "So these are good teams, clearly the best in the NFC, but how good? I've gone back and forth on the winner here (picking Green Bay to beat the spread is fairly obvious, I think) and in the end, I trust the Green Bay defense a little bit more than the Cowboy defense. So Green Bay wins a close one, 34-31."

    New England at Baltimore - "Will the Patriots cover? Probably. Will they win? Almost certainly. Can the Ravens offense outscore the Patriots defense? Ah, that's a good question..."

  • For the week:
    Winners: 11-5
    ATS: 9-7-0

  • For the season:
    Winners: 124-68
    ATS: 99-83-10

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