As I hoped, the football this weekend was pretty solid. When I don’t have any strong rooting interest I just hope for good, close games, and that’s what we got in three out of four. I won’t offer a lot of analysis on decision making in the games – that’s what Brian does so well – but I have a couple of words.
The Chiefs’ lack of rushing attempts (as Brian noted as well) was very odd. More costly was the fact that they turned the ball over 5 times. KC was tied for fifth in the league in turnover differential this year, and they didn’t do it by being lucky. They lost as many fumbles as they should have (roughly half), and actually recovered fewer on defense than they might have; they just caused more fumbles on defense than they had on offense. Cassel was also pretty safe with the ball until yesterday. The Ravens also turned it over twice, but it’s pretty hard to overcome a -3 differential in one game.
I gave the Seahawks a decent shot at winning, but still didn’t expect them to actually pull it off. Going forward, people will continue to discount Seattle and call them lucky (and perhaps they are). But I doubt anyone will mention luck when discussing the outcome of any other games. I think the impression is that when a big underdog wins it’s due to luck but if a small underdog wins it’s due to ‘toughness’ or ‘wanting it’. Those things might exist, but luck doesn’t go away just because two evenly matched teams are playing.
Not much to say about Indy-Jets or Philly-Green Bay. They were close as I expected. I would have preferred for Peyton to stay alive, but he was fortunate enough to make the playoffs in the first place. Hopefully next year they’ll have better luck with injuries.
A quick summary of how the models did. Mario was 2-2 against the over while Luigi was 1-3. The only game that had action on the moneyline was KC-Baltimore, which didn’t pan out. If I had found a number for Seattle-New Orleans I bet I would have made it up though. Against the spread both models skipped the Indy-Jets game and went 2-1 in the other three. And finally both Bill and myself (using Luigi’s picks) went 3-1 against his lines; I missed Baltimore and he missed Seattle. Mario went 2-2.
Look for the division round predictions on Saturday!