Implied Dissent

Sunday, January 22, 2012

NFL Playoffs, Round 3

A split last round, 3-1 picking winners, 1-3 against the spread, bringing this year to 6-2 and 4-4. Moving on:

Baltimore Ravens at New England Patriots, Patriots favored by 7. Some real questions about both teams. Can Flacco make the big plays to win on the road? Can the Patriots beat a team that had a winning record (0-2 so far), and can their defense put up a good performance against an above-average offense? I'm expecting a hard-hitting game, but that the Pats' TEs will dominate again, taking the day, and that the Ravens will hit a bunch of FGs, but not many TDs. Patriots 34, Ravens 26.

New York (NJ) Giants at San Francisco 49ers, 49ers favored by 3. The team nobody believed in for the whole year against the team that was written off and got hot. A top tier defense against an offense that is playing great. Two #1 picks at QB that have had many doubters over the years. Very divided on this game, but I'm going with the idea that defense wins in the playoffs, and I have more confidence in how San Fran's D matches up than I do in how the Giants' D does. Another weird score win for San Fran: 49ers 22, Giants 20.

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Saturday, January 14, 2012

NFL Playoffs, Round 2

A pretty good Round 1, going 3-1 both picking winners and against the spread. The Broncos game was a lot of fun, as was the Saints win. Moving on:

New Orleans Saints at San Francisco 49ers, Saints favored by 4. I understand why the Saints are favored on the road. They have a great passing attack, and an excellent running game, and it's hard to get excited about QB Alex Smith for San Fran. However, the 49ers have a great defense, and the Saints offense isn't anywhere near as good on the road as at home. The Saints won't be blown out, and could win in a blowout or a close one, but I think the 49ers use their own excellent running game to good effect and they win the turnover battle, and so win a close one. I almost want to predict it goes to overtime, 20-20, but I won't. 49ers 23, Saints 20.
Denver Broncos at New England Patriots, Patriots favored by 14. The Patriots certainly can score a lot of points on anybody, even a very good defense like Denver's. However, this line is too high. The Patriots defense is somewhat underrated, but is still fairly bad, and will allow the Broncos to put up enough points to keep it interesting. Moreover, I expect Denver to run the ball so much that it reduces the number of possessions, and thus limit the total score somewhat; if the Pats score 2/3rds of the points in a 60 point game, they'd cover, but it will probably be more like 60% and 50. Patriots 30, Broncos 20.
Houston Texans at Baltimore Ravens, Ravens favored by 9. You've basically got two defenses that are close to equal (slight edge to Houston) and two running games that are close to equal (slight edge to Baltimore), but a decent coaching advantage for the Ravens, home field advantage for them, and a better and more experienced quarterback. Ravens 24, Texans 13.
New York (NJ) Giants at Green Bay Packers, Packers favored by 9. I expect that Green Bay's offense will struggle at first, given the bye week and that Aaron Rodgers sat out week 17 completely. It may take a quarter, it may take a whole half, but the Packers will start to score like Magic Johnson the rest of the way. Meanwhile the Giants offense will be good but not great, as the Packers' D is like the Pats' D, bad but underrated. Packers 34, Giants 23.

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Sunday, January 08, 2012


Looking back at my predictions for this NFL season, I see some very good calls, and some awful ones. Overall I think I did okay. I got 5 teams' win totals exactly right (Giants, Redskins, Falcons, Dolphins, Bills), 9 I was off by 1, and 9 I was off by 2. My worst call was the Rams, off by 7, with a 3-way tie for second worst at 6 off (Bucs, 49ers, Colts); I'd say Rams and Colts were very understandable/justified misses, Bucs and 49ers less so. My average error across all 32 teams was 2.2. I called 7 playoff teams correctly, but also said the aforementioned Rams and Bucs would make it and they didn't come close.

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Saturday, January 07, 2012

NFL Playoffs

First a review of previous years:
2011: 7-4 picking the winner, 6-5 against the spread
2010: 5-6 picking the winner, 4-7 against the spread
2009: 7-4, 6-4-1
2008: 6-5, 3-7-1
2007: 7-4, 6-5
2006: 5-6, 5-6
2005: 8-3, 7-4
2004: 5-6, 2-8-1
2003: 8-3, 4-7
Totals: 58-41 picking winners (59%), 43-53-3 against the spread (45%).

Cincinnati Bengals at Houston Texans, Texans favored by 4. Wouldn't be surprised either way in this one, but I think I'll take the rookie QB at home with the strong running game over the rookie QB on the road. There is definitely a risk of defensive TDs skewing things. Texans 17, Bengals 10.
(updated at 5:11pm)
Detroit Lions at New Orleans Saints, Saints favored by 11. I'm not very impressed with the Lions, and the Saints have been playing great. They can win a shootout, and they have an excellent running game to gash the Lions' poor run defense. That running might be the only reason it won't be a big blowout, by eating up the clock. Saints 38, Lions 27 (since that equals the line, call it 38.5 for the Saints).
Atlanta Falcons at New York (NJ) Giants, Giants favored by 3. The Falcons always beat bad and mediocre teams, and almost always lose to good teams. The Giants are all of those. However, I suspect the good Giants team will show up. Looks like the weather will be decent, helping Eli. Giants 23, Falcons 20 (call it Falcons 20.5 for line purposes).
Pittsburgh Steelers at Denver Broncos, Steelers favored by 9. The Steelers are missing Clark, Roethlisberger is hobbled, and the confusion factor for their D won't be a big factor against Tebow. And yet, they're still the better team. Don't count out the Broncos, but I doubt they'll generate the offense or turnovers to get it done. Steelers 20, Broncos 13.

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