Friday, January 07, 2011

NFL Playoff previews: NFC Wild Card game 2

Sunday, January 9 - NFC Wild Card Game 2
Green Bay Packers (10-6) at Philadelphia Eagles (10-6)

By the numbers:
Baltimore @ Kansas City
TeamWLPFPADifPyth
Green Bay 106388240148.757
Philadelphia 10643937762.589

Unlike the other three games, the road team in this game does not have a better record than the home team. Like the other three games, all of the evidence suggests that the road team is, in fact, the better team. The Eagles advantage in points scored is dwarfed by the Packers advantage in points allowed, leading to a signficantly higher Pythagorean winning percentage. The same holds true over the last half of the season, as both are going in at 5-3 with a slight Eagle advantage in points scored and a big Packer advantage in points allowed and pythagorean winning percentage. On top of all that, they've already played this season, in Philadelphia, and the Packers won.

Just glancing at the teams and records, you'd expect this to be the pick'em game of the weekend. On the contrary, virtually everyone that I've heard or seen has picked the Packers.

Reason to pick the Packers:
As noted, they're a better team. They're a much better defensive team.

Reason to pick the Eagles:
No team in football has more "explosion" potential, with Michael Vick and DeSean Jackson. We all saw them score 28 points in the last 8 minutes to beat the Giants three weeks ago.

Green Bay wins if
The Packer defense (and special teams) can prevent the kind of explosive big plays that beat the Giants.

Philadelphia wins if:
The Packer defense (and special teams) can't prevent the kind of explosive big plays that beat the Giants.

My pick:
Green Bay

Bonus question/answer:
Q:Which of the two head coaches, known for making egregious clock/game management blunders, makes the most egregious clock/game management blunder?
A: Mike McCarthy. They win anyway.

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