Depending on your opinion of things, either the Giants are an ok team that had a rough start, or Kirk Cousins is maybe not the QB of the future in Washington (or maybe both). All I know is that I had Larry Donnell on the bench for one of my fantasy teams, and that was not a happy feeling (cool story, bro). Also, I think Washington was a consensus winner for that game, so I don’t feel too bad about the models missing on it. Particularly when Cousins had such an atrocious game; even if he’s worse than he showed in his first couple appearances, he won’t turn it over 5 times in one game very often. Maybe the rest of the weekend’s games will be more in line with what the models think.
As covered earlier in the season, the most informative games are for teams with middling records. Since it’s only week 4, that means wins are going to be most important for 2-1 and 1-2 teams. That means the only “unimportant” games this week are Oakland-Miami (in London!), San Diego-Jacksonville, Pittsburgh-Tampa, and San Fran-Philly. Those all involve teams that are either 3-0 and can maybe afford a loss or 0-3 and aren’t going anywhere anyway. From the same perspective, I would pick Giants-Washington as a big game since it was in the division, and so I would also toss in Chicago-Green Bay and Indy-Tennessee.
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Speaking of Oakland-Miami, this is a good place to remind you that the model automatically accounts for home field advantage by having a certain order of predictor entry. All the home team stats go in and then all the away team stats. You can contrast this with Advanced NFL Analytics, where stats go in for either team and home field is a separate predictor. When I revamp my model I might switch to something more like that, because it’s easier to account for games like the one in London. My models assume Oakland is actually at home, so they give the Raiders a better chance then they should have.
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In terms of exciting games, the over/unders are highest for Chicago-Green Bay, San Fran-Philly, and Dallas-New Orleans. Those all make sense to me. Luigi doesn’t have the Bears-Packers as that high, probably because of Green Bay’s offensive struggles, but if you think Rodgers gets things together then it could be a shoot-out.
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Instead of Simmons picks, this week I have Barnwell picks. He didn’t have anything for Thursday night’s game, so I just gave him the same line as I have and the win out of generosity. Assuming these actually come from Barnwell, we’ll have to see if three weeks is enough time to tell if he does better than Simmons does. If he keeps skipping Thursdays and I keep being nice, he might be an improvement just by not picking those games.
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Finally, we have the SuperContest picks, or my top-five for each model. Luigi is going with Chicago +1.5, Pittsburgh -7.5 (the Carolina game was impressive for the Steelers, and Tampa has not been impressive), Oakland +4 (because of home field), Kansas City +3.5, and Washington -3.5 (already a loss). Next up to replace the Raiders would be Dallas +3. Yoshi 2 has the same picks. Yoshi 1 is going with Chicago, Kansas City, Jacksonville +12.5, Oakland, and Pittsburgh. The Raiders swap would be Dallas.