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.
The Packers and Bears did their bests to keep things interesting in the NFC North. Both lost, but Detroit had already done their damage. On the plus side, they’ll still have their play-in game next week. Maybe Aaron Rodgers will even make his return.
The Packers made it interesting with the Steelers; thanks to Pittsburgh and San Diego winning along with Baltimore and Miami losing, we have quite a situation for the AFC’s 6 seed. Any of the four could still get in, although Pittsburgh needs the most help. Miami has the best chance of making it.
Maybe the main story this weekend was about teams blowing chances. The Chiefs could have kept things interesting for a bye; instead they lost convincingly to the Colts at home and now have nothing to play for in week 17. They are the only completely locked-in team in the playoff picture. The Saints put themselves in a position to miss the playoffs entirely, although it isn’t likely (all they have to do is beat the Bucs or have the 49ers beat the Cardinals, either of which seems likely enough). Seattle cost themselves a week off. The Ravens hurt their chances of getting in. Maybe the only teams that really took care of business were the Broncos, 49ers, and Bengals. Even the 49ers needed a pick-six late in the game to lock up their win. It was a weird week all around.
Let’s slip in the power rankings and season predictions real quick.
For something a little different, I’m going back to an old favorite to pick on TMQ briefly. This week he claims that scoring is up in the NFL this year because of the proliferation of seven-on-seven football in Texas. He says this despite noting that the current record for NFL scoring was set in 1948. Maybe Texas high school football innovated the wing in the early 40s? Directly after talking about Texas football, TMQ blames year-round football for African-American women passing African-American men in college. Perhaps TMQ should run one of my favorite Google Image searches for ‘correlation causation’, which will lead to future articles on how piracy causes global warming (by which I mean actual pirates, not downloading music), Facebook usage caused the Greek debt crisis, and the decline in M. Night Shyamalan’s movie-making ability caused newspaper sales to plummet. I’ll take the opportunity to link to one of my all-time favorite XKCD comics.
On to the model results! In all games Luigi was 9-7 but would have passed on seven games (a lot of close calls for Luigi this week) and gone 6-3 on the rest. That gives Luigi a total of 115-104-5/90-80-3. Yoshi 1 was 8-8/6-6 for a total of 107-112-5/89-97-5, and Yoshi 2 was 9-7/7-4 for a total of 110-109-5/89-88-3. The consensus picks, where all three models agree, were 4-2 for a 63-54-1 total.
Luigi’s SuperContest picks were 4-1, which is the kind of week I like to see. That puts my record at 46-32-2 for 47 points. The Hilton website hasn’t updated the standings as of right now, so I don’t know where I am specifically but I would guess I moved up at least a little, and I guessed last week that I would need two weeks like this to have a shot at getting to the money. Yoshi 1 would have gone 3-2 for a record of 38-40-2. Yoshi 2 would have gone 4-1 for a total of 43-36-1.
Thanks primarily to the Cards, Colts, and Giants, all three models had a slightly positive week on the moneyline.
Using his lines, Bill Simmons went 7-9 to continue his ridiculously poor season. Luigi went 9-7, Yoshi 1 went 8-8, and Yoshi 2 went 8-8 (not exactly great showings, no, but still better than Bill). That makes the counts Bill 92-112-6, Luigi 108-96-6, Yoshi 1 108-96-6, and Yoshi 2 101-103-6. With one set of 16 games to go, Bill could only tie me if he is perfect and Luigi is completely wrong on every pick. Not going to happen.