Welcome to 2014 everybody! WordPress does a nice thing in sending you a yearlong summary, and apparently I had about 30,000 views this year. I took a class on science communication and the teacher said that any blog we had would get more readers than all of our actual science articles. I think it’s fair to say that this year alone makes that likely to be true, and thanks to everyone who comes by the site.
The new year falls at a good time this year, between the end of the NFL regular season and the playoffs, which gives me an extra incentive to look back on how Luigi, Yoshi 1, and Yoshi 2 have done in 2013. So this is just a rundown of how the predictions turned out this year. The numbers from previous years come from last year’s summary. Continue reading
The NFL regular season is in the books and the firings have already begun. There are going to be a lot of takes on the end of the season soon (and some already), so I’m just going to hit on some of my opinions, and later in the week we’ll have a model wrap-up and look forward to the weekend’s playoff games. Continue reading
You probably know what all is at stake at this point. The scenarios are here: the only playoff-eligible team with nothing to play for is the Chiefs, who are locked in the 5 seed. Chicago-Green Bay and Philly-Dallas are straight-up play-in games (it took until week 17, but that sentence set my record for hyphens). The only absolutely meaningless games are Tennessee-Houston, Minnesota-Detroit, and Giants-Washington. Even then, Houston is playing for the number 1 draft pick, if you’re into that kind of thing. Let’s take a look at a few games of interest to the model and do the picks. Continue reading
I had the ‘pleasure’ of tracking the Lions on my phone while driving to see family for Christmas (more accurately, while in the passenger seat – don’t drive and use your phone!). Reading about the game later confirmed that it was the most Lions-y game possible. Three turnovers? Check. Blown fourth quarter lead? Check. Playing a back-up with a concussion in crunch time, and giving up a pick-six to a guy who was arrested earlier in the weekend? Check and check. Most Lions-y of all, though, was losing in overtime as a big favorite when the results from other games would have given them control of their own destiny in week 17. Let’s run through some other results and see how the models did. Continue reading
With two weeks left in the season and a fair amount of playoff movement possible, I’m going to do the predictions this week game by game. Then I’ll wrap up with a bit of a summary with my usual tables and SuperContest picks. I’ll use the ESPN playoff machine to look at what each game does to the playoff picture, but with a sort of ‘holding everything else equal’ view; I’ll switch a particular game on and off, but assume that the predicted winner for every other game wins. Here goes! Continue reading
Well, that was pretty depressing. The Lions were at home and needed a win to put themselves in good, but not locked, playoff position. Their defense even did a decent job, keeping Baltimore out of the end zone even when they had possessions start near midfield and on the Detroit 34. Instead the offense didn’t come through, with Stafford throwing three picks and Calvin Johnson chipping in with a couple of big drops. Detroit was on the wrong end of a couple of pretty bad referee decisions, to be sure, but it shouldn’t have come to that. Let’s move on before I get too morose, which might happen anyway when we get to the playoff scenarios. Continue reading
It always feels nice to get a pick right, but it somehow feels better when it’s a big contrarian pick. The models thought that the Chargers could cover against the Broncos a few weeks ago, and they missed by a point; on Thursday they thought they would cover and this time the Chargers came through with the outright win. In terms of picking against the spread a win is a win, but for the moneyline picks the models already have a +435 win booked, which basically means they can afford to be wrong on four other games and still be up a little. Assuming you can pick the right ones out, that’s why going with the underdog can be nice.
As for the actual football consequences of the game, Bill Barnwell covered most of them already. While I don’t think that the Broncos’ loss opens up the AFC playoff picture quite as much as he says, it certainly leaves more options than a win would have. It’s true that the Patriots now have more of a shot at the 1 seed, but they still have to actually win to get there. They have to end up at least tied with Denver (and ahead of Cincinnati) for that to happen, and they have two road games left: Miami and Baltimore. They then finish at home against Buffalo, which seems much more winnable. To be fair, Denver has two road games left as well, but they’re against Oakland and Houston as opposed to potential playoff teams. The Bengals, who Barnwell didn’t mention, have Minnesota and Baltimore at home; if they get through the Steelers this weekend and the Broncos manage to lose one more game, they could end up the 1 seed at 12-4. Let’s get to the model predictions and look at a few more key games. Continue reading