September 25, 2009

TMQ Rejoinder - Week 2


Stats of the Week No. 1: Drew Brees is on pace to throw 72 touchdown passes this season. The NFL record, held by Tom Brady, is 50.

Stats of the Week No. 2: New Orleans is on pace to score 744 points this season. The NFL record, held by New England, is 589.

Isn’t it a bit early to start doing season-long projections and comparisons to all time records?

Stat of the week No. 57: There are 10 teams on pace to go undefeated this season!  In the history of the NFL, there have only been 2 undefeated regular seasons!

Obama Gives Too Many Speeches

Ugh, I can’t even bring myself to go into this one.  Suffice to say that TMQ goes on for 7 long paragraphs about how the president is talking in public too much instead of “governing.”  All the political stuff is insufferable, and I can’t believe any of his readers care about that nonsense.

I’m losing steam on this whole enterprise, so we’ll see if it returns next week.  If not, there will be some other new content in its place.

September 24, 2009

NFL Win-Loss Records 2000-2008 Team-By-Team

Who protects their house? Since 2000, the strength of home field advantage has varied league-wide.

**All statistics are regular season only. Houston has been adjusted to account for not existing in 2000 or 2001**

2000 - 54.0%
2001 - 54.0%
2002 - 58.0%
2003 - 61.3%
2004 - 56.6%
2005 - 59.0%
2006 - 53.1%
2007 - 57.4%
2008 - 57.2%

These teams protect their house the best, winning the highest percentage of their home games:

Team - Wins - Win Pct.
IND - 53 - 0.736
NE - 53 - 0.736
BAL - 52 - 0.722
PIT - 51.5 - 0.715
DEN - 50 - 0.694
MIN - 47 - 0.653
GB - 47 - 0.653
SEA - 47 - 0.653
PHI - 46 - 0.639
TB - 45 - 0.625
TEN - 44 - 0.611
CHI - 44 - 0.611
SD - 43 - 0.597
KC - 42 - 0.583
DAL - 42 - 0.583
MIA - 41 - 0.569
STL - 40 - 0.556
NYG - 39 - 0.542
NYJ - 39 - 0.542
JAX - 39 - 0.542
CAR - 37 - 0.514
WAS - 37 - 0.514
SF - 37 - 0.514
ATL - 37 - 0.514
ARI - 36 - 0.500
CIN - 35.5 - 0.493
BUF - 35 - 0.486
HOU - 26 - 0.464
OAK - 33 - 0.458
NO - 32 - 0.444
CLE - 28 - 0.389
DET - 27 - 0.375

But the home winning percentage is less telling than the percentage of a team's wins that come at home. In other words, is a team collecting its wins primarily at home or on the road?

DET 67.5%
ARI 65.5%
HOU 65.0%
KC 63.6%
MIN 63.5%
CIN 61.2%
SF 60.7%
DAL 59.2%
BUF 58.3%
DEN 58.1%
SEA 58.0%
CHI 57.9%
BAL 57.8%
SD 57.3%
TB 57.0%
MIA 56.2%
JAX 55.7%
WAS 55.2%
STL 54.8%
ATL 54.4%
OAK 54.1%
GB 54.0%
CLE 53.8%
NYJ 53.4%
TEN 51.8%
PIT 49.5%
IND 49.1%
CAR 48.7%
NE 45.7%
PHI 45.1%
NO 44.4%
NYG 44.3%

You might be surprised to see some good teams at the bottom of the list, including Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, New England, Philadelphia and the New York Giants. These teams are typically in the playoff hunt, yet they win more games on the road than at home.

On the other hand, there are some bad franchises at the top of the list, headlined by Detroit, Houston, Kansas City and Cincinnati.

What might explain this? While there are far too many variables to make any definitive conclusions, I have two theories. First, teams that are traditionally good enjoy less of a home field advantage than those who are typically bad. In most recent seasons, New England, Pittsburgh and Indianapolis fans have been basically hoping to get through the season with limited injuries so they can enjoy the playoffs. It takes less to excite these fans.

As for the bad teams at the top, a bad team is more likely to be affected by hostile crowds on the road. Also, a "good" team should actually be towards the 55-60% mark and not higher, because a good team should be able to take advantage of the luxuries of home crowd noise, but not be rattled when on the road. Teams over 60% might lose predominately more on the road due to distractions and hostile crowds.

Does anyone else have a theory to explain the numbers?

NFL Week 3 Against the Spread (ATS) Picks

So we're at week 3 and some of us are off to respectable starts, others are off to starts that will take until December to overcome. The bye weeks haven't yet kicked in so there is still a full slate of games to choose from - this will change shortly and there will probably be more consent/disagreement between us when we overlap the games that we pick.

Brien (3-7-0)
Not off to a very good start, but it only takes one good week to turn it around.

HOUSTON (-3.5) over Jacksonville - The Jaguars look terrible so far, and the Texans have a few good wins.

Chicago (-1.5) over SEATTLE - I'm impressed that the Bears beat the Steelers, and the Seahawks seem to be just a little too old.

SAN DIEGO (-6) over Miami - The Chargers pass offense looked unstoppable against the Ravens.

Denver (-1.5) over OAKLAND - I think the Broncos might be for real.

Indianapolis (+2.5) over ARIZONA - Still not a believer in the Cardinals.

Jason (7-3-0)
Compared to these clowns, I'm doing okay.

Atlanta (-4) over NEW ENGLAND - People expect New England to "bounce back" after two mediocre weeks. I think people have been sleeping on Atlanta still.

SAN DIEGO (-6) over Miami - Miami played Monday Night and has to travel to a San Diego team that knows they let one get away last week. (Thanks Norv!)

OAKLAND (+1.5) over Denver - Oakland is a bit better than expected and Denver is Denver.

BUFFALO (+6) over New Orleans - I just have a feeling we're in for a classic NO defensive collapse.

DETROIT (+6) over Washington - Dare to dream.

Jeremy (2-8-0)

Holy crap, I don't think in two prior seasons of doing this I've ever been 6 games under .500. I'm turning into the Washington Nationals of this competition. Good thing I haven't been putting my money where my picks are. I'd have no kneecaps right now.

BALTIMORE (-13) over Cleveland
- I don't think any Ravens fan in their wildest imagination expected the Ravens to have an offense that would deserve this much respect from Vegas. I'm actually taking the Ravens to cover against a Browns D that has surrendered 34 points to Minnesota (loss by 14) and surrendered 27 points to Denver (loss by 21).

New York Giants (-6.5) over TAMPA BAY - Only way the Giants don't cover this line is if it turns into a shootout. Justin Tuck's injury is a slight concern.

Atlanta (+4) over NEW ENGLAND - Don't forget that the Pats are a Buffalo kick returner fumble away from being 0-2. Atlanta's looked better.

Green Bay (-6.5) over ST. LOUIS - This is the week that Aaron Rodgers and Greg Jennings get back on track.

Carolina (+9) over DALLAS - A large spread for a desperate Carolina team and a Dallas team possibly without Barber (although Jones/Choice not exactly a bad replacement)

Magic 8 Ball (4-6-0)
BALTIMORE (-13) over Cleveland
- "My sources say yes." (Ravens will beat the spread)

TAMPA BAY (+6.5) over New York Giants - "Yes." (Bucs will beat the spread)

Atlanta (+4) over NEW ENGLAND - "Don't count on it." (Pats won't beat the spread)

ST. LOUIS (+6.5) over Green Bay - "My sources say yes." (Rams will beat the spread)

Carolina (+9) over DALLAS - "My answer is no." (Cowboys won't beat the spread)

Russell (5-5-0)
Second place is better than my normal standing in this competition. Hopefully it will last a week or two.

Chicago (-1.5) over SEATTLE
- I would have liked the Bears even with Hasselbeck healthy.

Tennessee (+3) over NY JETS
- I can't see this Titans team at 0-3. Look for them to take advantage of Sanchez.

MINNESOTA (-6.5) over San Francisco
- Have to like the Vikings at home, even against an improved 49ers.

BALTIMORE (-13) over Cleveland
- What's to like about the Browns?

ARIZONA (-2.5) over Indianapolis
- The Cards always play better at home, and it's a short week between two road games for the Colts.

Jeremy: ATL, BAL, CAR, GB, NYG
Russell: ARI, BAL, CHI, MIN, TEN

College Football Picks - Week 4

Enthused by an excellent week 3, even better than week 2 was bad, I'm ready to sweep this week's picks! The only problem is that I really don't like this week's spreads. Also, there aren't many big games this week, so get your excitement where you can find it.

Ole Miss (-4) over SOUTH CAROLINA - There are so many question marks going into this game... Will Snead look like last year or like Week 1 vs Memphis? Will the 'Cocks D play like they did vs NCSt or vs UGA? Will Garcia continue to progress as a young QB, or regress? I'm taking Ole Miss on the basis that a top 5 team should beat an unranked team. Plus Ole Miss should be a little more rested, and Nutt always has some tricks up his sleeve. The Rebels are the more talented team.

Wake Forest (+1) over BOSTON COLLEGE - You have to like the experience of senior QB Riley Skinner and a Wake team that's already played close games with Baylor and Stanford. Plus BC hasn't really found a QB yet. Posting 7 pts at Clemson didn't impress me much.

CLEMSON (-2.5) over Tcu - I know TCU has one of the best defenses in the nation, but the athletic ability of Clemson will lead them to victory in what I expect to be a low scoring game.

Rutgers (-1.5) over MARYLAND - I'm still waiting for the Terps to show me something. Anything...? Guess who's first on the waiting list of Bottom 10 this week?

Miami (-3) over VIRGINIA TECH - The Hokies have looked mortal this year, and the Canes appear to be back to Butch Davis form. This could be the real coming out party for Jacory Harris.

That's right I'm picking all ACC games (except the Thursday night which I try to pick every week), and I'm not picking the Tech game because I can't truly believe that we're this much worse than last year.

Last week: 6-1
Season: 12-10

September 23, 2009

Season of Discontent Brewing for Redskins Bandwagon

To recap the Redskins season to date:

--Redskins rumored to offer the world to trade up and take Mark Sanchez.

--Redskins rumored to offer the world to acquire Jay Cutler.

I was 11 when this happened.

--Redskins make great strides to improve their defensive pressure, adding Albert Haynesworth and drafting Orakpo. Offensive line is completely ignored, even though it was suspect to begin with.

--Redskins bumble through the preseason, showing the offensive tendencies that landed them at 8-8 last year after a 6-2 start.

--Hope for the future, QBs Colt Brennan and Chase Daniel both fail to make the 53-man roster.

--Washington Post runs a story about the organization suing elderly fans for unpaid bills, despite the advent of the Great Recession.

--Redskins lose opener to Giants, scoring once on a fake field goal and a second time when the Giants were up 14 late.

--Fans call for Zorn's head.

--Fans call for Jason Campbell's head.

--Washington Post runs story on continuing efforts to have the Redskins' trademark invalidated.

--Redskins fail to get into the end zone against the awful Rams, settling for three field goals. Boos rain down from FedEx Field despite the 9-7 win.

--Best lineman Randy Thomas out with torn triceps.

--Sixth-round draft pick Robert Henson, who has yet to see the field, engages in a 50-plus Twitter session in which he tells his 1300 followers that Redskins fans are fake, that he makes more money in a week that they do in a year, and that they are all McDonald's 9-to-5ers.

And all of this is occurring with the running backstory that Jim Zorn was not the coach owner Danny Snyder or Vinny Cerrato wanted. He's the guy who was in place at offensive coordinator (without a head coach, mind you) when the merry-go-round stopped. Is "stay medium" Zorn going to inspire the troops and right the ship?

If you think about it, Jim Zorn and John Fox are probably lame duck coaches NOW, in Week 3. Mike Shanahan, Bill Cowher, Jon Gruden, Mike Holmgren, Brian Billick and others are all sitting at home recharging the batteries. Would any of them work for Snyder? Will Snyder fire Zorn before he finds out?

If the Skins lose to Detroit at Ford Field this weekend, will we see a mutiny?

In the end, isn't a truly disastrous season what this organization really needs? As it is they are stuck in 7-9 to 9-7 mediocrity without the organization to get them over the hump. If Snyder and Cerrato can continue to think "We're just one piece away!" year after year, will they ever re-evaluate their entire way of approaching team-building? Will they ever draft again if they continually believe their window is closing?

Add up the big-dollar free agent acquisitions on the Patriots, Giants, Steelers, Colts, Chargers and Ravens. One of those teams is going to win the Super Bowl this year.

September 20, 2009

Coach Zorn, Redskins Suck at Math

If you are up 9-7, and the opposing team has NO F-ING TIME OUTS, and you are in chip shot range, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD KICK THE F-ING FIELD GOAL. Twice, TWICE, in the 4th quarter the Skins went for 4th and short within field goal range while only up 2. The first time was barely understandable. The second time made NO sense.

When the Rams stopped the Skins on the second attempt, giving them the ball needing only a field goal with over a minute left, Zorn looked nauseous. He should have actually puked. How can a coach not realize the difference between being up 2 and being up 5? Zorn changed the equation from needing to put together a full touchdown drive to just needing to get to the 35-yard-line.

Instead Coach Zorn chose to give the Rams a shot to win. I mean he literally evaluated his options and CHOSE TO KEEP THE RAMS IN THE GAME. Other than Art Shell, I have never seen more ridiculous decision-making.