Thanks to all the rain in the midwest yesterday, I spent much more time on a plane than I had planned to. So we’ll fire through the power rankings as well as get in the pick for tonight’s game.
Let’s jump right in. Here are the power rankings after last weekend’s games.
As you can see, we have a new number one and they didn’t even have to play to get there. How does such a thing happen? Well, first off notice that while the Bears’ rating went up a bit, it wasn’t by much. Part of that can be attributed to tiny changes in the weights as new data is added each week, and part to what their previous opponents did in the most recent games. You might have heard that Green Bay had an impressive game, for example.
The other way that happens is that the other top teams play poorly. The 49ers were thoroughly handled by the Giants, Houston ran into the Packers, and the Patriots took a half off. And of course those teams aren’t clearly inferior to the Bears all of a sudden; their ratings are pretty well clustered together. We just have a bit more of a race after the weekend than we did before. As for where they’ll end up…
It’s still too early to really say anything about playoff positioning and whatnot. However, we can at least identify the teams unlikely to do anything of worth. Assuming that no one under 9-7 will make the playoffs, and assuming that no one is going to jump more than, say, 2 wins over their projections in the next 11 weeks (which is a guess, not a guarantee), we can eliminate any teams projected to get 6 or 7 wins or less. The Lions are just on the border of that number, which makes me sad. The rest of the list is Dallas, New Orleans, Indy, Carolina, Cleveland, Oakland, KC, Tennessee, and Jacksonville. Some of those teams are obviously terrible, some have just had too much of a poor start to overcome, and some have tough schedules ahead (or combinations of the three). But maybe someone will surprise us.
Alright, on to tonight’s game. Fresh off their embarrassment, the 49ers host the Seahawks. This is going to be advertised (I assume, I haven’t caught any commercials) as a surprisingly important divisional game between a vulnerable good team and a frisky underdog. Unfortunately, the 49ers are really just better. They are touchdown favorites and have the moneyline edge -325/+295. The over/under is 38, so they are expecting a somewhat low-scoring game. While the 49ers are indeed better, somewhat surprisingly the models all see this being a little closer. Luigi and Yoshi 2 are looking for San Fran to win by 4 or 5 while Yoshi 1 has it at around 3. So they all like the Seahawks to cover. They all also think Seattle is worth looking at for the moneyline, which isn’t to say that they think Seattle will actually win; they just think they have a better than 25% chance to do so. They’re all also taking the over, what that’s worth (which is nothing). Enjoy your Thursday!