Tuesday, January 29, 2013

officials questioning officials

Yahoo has a recent article regarding the selection of officiating crew for the Super Bowl. see http://ca.sports.yahoo.com/news/nfl--officials-question-nfl-s-process-for-selecting-super-bowl-referee-145832403.html

I originally picked this up from SI see http://tracking.si.com/2013/01/25/officials-question-nfl-super-bowl-referee/?sct=obnetwork

I think transparency is the issue, years ago, I had posted a question on a officiating/referees forum requesting why doesn't the league (NFL) announce officiating crews before the game?
I was bombarded with tirades of secrecy for the protection of officials and on and on, yet as a fan I want as unbiased officiating crew as possible to officiate a game.

My reasoning at the time is that I had become aware of tendencies that were being tracked by the baseball regarding umpires. Tendencies such as W-L records for home teams, Total Runs scored, number of strikes called, these would give an edge to the informed bettor as far taking into account the umpire and their crew for that game. The MLB does announce before hand who their officiating crew will be, but the NFL has yet to institute that policy for the season. Though we have seen it for the playoffs and Super Bowl.

You can track the "white hat" for each game in the official .pdf available for download within the game center for each game on nfl.com, but this would be an after the game is done. You could then build up a tendencies database for officiating, but this would be of little use unless you knew who was the officiating crew prior to the game. Here's where transparency would be of great use. White hats are aware of their being graded and need the transparency from their graders of why such and such grade or penalty occurred. The retractions of grades and penalties needs to be explained as well and this transparency should also continue into the announcement of officiating crews prior to the game.

This would be for the good of the game, fairness is always an issue when clouds emerge and right now officials and their officiating are very murky at this time. Their seems to be multiple layers of veils and the fans and players as well as officials deserve much more clarity regarding officiating.

Monday, January 28, 2013

QB int rate from the minds of Football Perspective


A interesting topic, after reviewing/reading the article and current comments at the bottom, I thought of offensive style.
With BAL in particular they were a run first offense since that beginning of Flacco starting, RB Rice would be the setup man lulling the the D at times into sleep mode where they would be stunned by a deep pass. I suspect because most of the time as much I can recall, BAL O doesn't really play in catch mode. Catch up mode is when you're behind in points by at least 9pts, it would take two scores to get the win a TD and FG.

This year you could see BAL at times use the no huddle or speed up the game to get more touches of the ball (especially when OC Cameron was calling the plays), but in the playoffs they've reverted to run first in the first halves (with OC Caldwell play calling), waiting for the second halve to rely on Flacco's arm. Flacco I suspect hasn't had to run the offense from catch up mode as much as within one score mode. Those teams that get behind by 3 scores are normally doomed to lose and often throw a lot of passes and inevitably an interception occurs.

I think Flacco interception rate is low partly due to run first philosophy and also partly due to game situation/score for the majority of his career. If you don't have to play catch up you won't throw as many 'deep' passes or give the defense an opportunity to intercept the pass

official NFL press link for SB XLVII


The above link answered my question if any team has beaten both Brady and Manning in the playoffs. The answer is the 2010 NYJ (who was knocked out later in the playoffs)

There's also other interesting stats, the complete season standings and more QB as well as team SB history

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Harbaugh I, Bros Bowl I, HarBowl I

NFL films has a short clip, that's very interesting to watch
see: http://nflfilms.nfl.com/2013/01/27/49ers-must-avoid-more-miscues-like-these/

The game was also a Thursday night game @BAL, which BAL won 16-6 (think crossing 3 time zones and short week to prep, I'll assume they flew on Wed, I've done the cross country trip and the next morning you're tired if you need to get up early, I always had difficulty going to sleep, by the end of the week I was okay, but that first day is usually tiring)

You do see SF QB Smith missing out on taking a shot over BAL FS Reed to SF TE Walker.

There's also the penalties for a chop block by RB Gore and pass interference on CB Brown.

You also see BAL DL scheme really well vs SF OL on the right side, which allows a sack.

SF QB Smith to WR Edwards just not in synch, while BAL D gets inside position and interception.

This should serve as motivation for SF in the Super Bowl, they know they can be beaten by BAL. This could be a bit of over confidence for BAL since they already have a win over SF.

There's no home field advantage for the second clash between Harbaugh teams as well as body clock adjustment. BAL will be on an emo high w/MLB Lewis and potentially more BAL players in their twilight years. SF as well has a players where this could be their last game as well. Since it's the Super Bowl, both teams will be on a high, just who will come down first? Or make the first crucial error?

This should be a good game and I'm hoping for a great game.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

SB 47 Prop Bets

2/5 Update/Results
Only two of my thoughts hit
OVER on 5 1/2 total TDs and Will there be a Defensive or Special Teams TD?
Unsure of the payout for the total, but the other paid +160

If you had taken would a safety occur, it paid +600

I noticed SB XLVII prop bets over at footballperspective.com http://www.footballperspective.com/super-bowl-xlvii-prop-bets/ a couple of days ago and meant to pick a few in an eariler post. So though this maybe a bit late it's still in time for SB.

You might want to take a look at Delanie Walker at 18/1 as the first person to score a TD. He and Kaepernick were in sync earlier this year.

Will this game go into OT? pays 6/1 for the yes, just a hunch

Will there be a Lead Change in the Second Half?  Yes (Lead Change in 2nd Half) +150 (3/2)
Total Touchdowns in the game  Over/Under 5 ½  I'd take the OVER
Will there be a Special Teams or Defensive Touchdown scored in the game? Yes (Defensive or Special Teams TD) +160 (8/5) - Normally I'd stay away, but both teams are stronger on D than on O, in particular BAL ST has been iffy at times in returns, muff or fumble anyone?
Half Time / Full Time                Tie / Baltimore Ravens 15/1 Tie / San Francisco 49ers 12/1
I like both of the above  for their payouts and it's reasonable to have a tie at the half
The largest points lead of the game by either team will be Over/Under 13, I wish they had a payout for this but I'd look at the under

That's all for now, I'm sure their are more props, but I'm thinking of a close game in the first half and then perhaps a runaway in the second half...

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Here's a twist for the Super Bowl, involving PHI


This unknown stat is crazy...

The opponent for PHI first home game has gone on to the Super Bowl the past 3 seasons (NO, GB, NYG) and this season it was BAL, that makes it 4-in-a-row!

The twist is that all prior 3 opponents won the Super Bowl but lost @PHI, this year BAL won @PHI ... just another interesting 'trend' to follow

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

2012 - week 21 & 22, Pro Bowl & Super Bowl 47

01/27 7:00 PM

495 AFC 81 *
496 NFC -3 OVER

AFC has a large contingent of HOU and DEN players, think more unity, we're on the same page, great for O and D. There were also many NE players, but about half will sit out due to injuries.

NFC w/o GB QB Rodgers, ATL QB Ryan

02/03 6:30 PM
101 BAL 48 OVER
102 SF -4 *

If this was a normal game it would be a defensive battle in 1st half and higher scoring in Q2 and Q4, but the SuperBowl is known for the ads and TV timeouts which really interrupt the flow of the game. This IMO helps the offense, thus the OVER pick.

BAL QB Flacco has been hot the past 3 weeks, with QBR rating of 125.6 116.2 106.2
BAL D QBR ratings of 59.8 88.3 62.3 vs Luck, Manning, Brady

SF QB Kaepernick has QBRs of 91.2 127.7
SF D QBR ratings of 91.5 114.8 vs Rodgers, Ryan

The emo edge may belong w/BAL MLB Lewis and his pending retirement.

SF holds an edge for overall team age as they are the senior team in total yrs, games played last year, game starts last year and career games.

BAL holds an edge for career starts by 416 games.

SF has 0 new vets and rookies in their starting line up, while BAL has 3 new veterans and 3 new starters
(11 O, 11 D and either 3 or 4 ST players [ depends if punt returner starts elsewhere])

What's apparent to me is that you can score on SF D, their CBs are very good, but seemed a step slow for Q1-Q2 @ATL. SF O also seemed to be highly predictable when SF QB Kaepernick used diamond motion with arms. If BAL O comes out throwing rather than running on first downs, BAL may well win the game.

What may be limiting for BAL D is that during regular season, they have limited experience vs a team that runs 'read/option' O (a wk14 road loss to WAS 28-31). This should be a challenge for BAL D and if they don't solve it quickly enough, this really will be a high scoring game.

BAL O seems to thrive on the deep pass, if I was SF secondary, I'd play more zone, force BAL to march down the field rather than allow deep passes. SF D adjusted to ATL deep passes, but ATL got a quick 17-0 lead and added a TD before the half. SF will need to adjust quicker or game plan better to snuff out BAL deep passes, especially to right side of field for BAL O

One big notable difference is the way BAL QB Flacco throws the ball with more arc, than zip on his deep passes and even mid range passes, this does allow his receiving options to get under the ball or even high point the ball. This may be a detriment if SF D can stick w/BAL WRs which I expect they will be able to do. There is one notable exception w/WR Torrey Smith who can just fly.

SF TE's Davis and Walker should be able to get open vs BAL LBs and safeties. They'll need to hold onto the ball as BAL SS Pollard is a TO machine creating fumbles.

Let's take a closer look at BAL @WAS wk14 road loss of 28-31 from personnel view.

Out or limited play:

Offense TE Dickson, limited play LT mcKinnie

Defense Rush Suggs, ILB/ST Ellerbe, MLB Lewis, CB Smith, limited play NT Kemoeatu

Played wk14 game @WAS, but out for SB:

LG Reid, WLB McClain, WR/ST Williams

So it appears BAL will be on the upswing as far as personnel goes, the only notable losses being LG Reid and WLB McClain.

Another way to look at the edge that BAL D seems to have is that they beat QB Brady and QB Manning in back to back games, I'm unsure if any other team has accomplished this feat and this impresses Dungy as well (interview via Dan Patrick show)

While SF D has beaten QB Ryan and QB Rodgers, which though formidable, just not quite that sparkling as beating Brady and Manning

How prophetic:
Justin Smith said. ''It's the team that works the hardest, prepares the hardest and has the best players and coaching staff. You pour all that in together and it comes out pretty good at the end.''

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

NFL 2012 ST ranking by Dallas News

Here's the link http://www.dallasnews.com/sports/columnists/rick-gosselin/20130120-nfl-special-teams-rankings-one-cowboy-is-a-hero.ece

For the most part I do like the ranking, I just find some of them misleading. Take for instance ARI is ranked #1 with most punts inside the 20yrd line. And why not? Their offense was miserable this season a much more effective ranking would be to divide # of punts inside the 20 divided by total punts to get a percentage of punts that were inside of the 20yd line.

Other notables:
KC which ended up ranked #23 has hired ST guru Dave Toub for this upcoming 2013 season
KC will be on an upward trend for ST

CHI loss Toub, but gained ST coach Joe DeCamillis
CHI will hopefully remain about the same next year, say #10

DAL loss DeCamillis, but gained ???
DAL at this time, I can't say much, but if they don't improve they'll be worst than this years rank of #17

DET smartly let go ST coach Danny Crossman, but guess who hired him? BUF did!
Seems really inane of BUF to do so, probably better to hire someone from college ranks, sigh, or at least keep coach DeHaven, so I expect a big fall from their #8 ranking of this 2012 season.

Who did DET hire? again still an unknown, but they should go up as they ranked #30 for 2012 (I'm just thinking it's more likely they rise in the rankings than fall)

more to follow, need to deal with a virus after googling buffalo 'special teams' and opening windows from a buffalo news site and wikipedia, one of them is spreading this infection, which ms defender caught

Kurt Warner on Colin Kaepernick and comments on coaching

Here's video on Warner's Corner at nfl.com, see: http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-network-gameday/0ap2000000128604/Warner-s-Corner-Kaepernick

Warner has been a favorite football analyst/commentator of mine (as well as xSTL team mate Marshall Faulk see: How-to-read-the-zone-read-option) so when they speak I listen. I can't watch nfl network at this time (funding issues for the past couple of years), but I do watch them every now and then on nfl.com

What makes the above video so good is Warner's breakdown of each play. There is a segment where he identify's what Kaepernick is looking at on a play action off of an option read. Kaepernick scans half the field for his one player, once he assess' the left side is not an option to pass, he quickly rotates to the right, identify's his player is open and slings a pass. This is what separates most QB's, first is the physical tools to throw a ball on a line with zip versus having to loft a ball to the right spot. The second I believe comes from great tutoring which is what Harbaugh and staff (Roman and QB coach if there is one) has done w/Kaepernick for a year and a half before unleashing him this season.

Warner goes on to identify Kaepernick great awareness to run, when no pressure or pressure exists, to the open area on the field. Having watched Kaepernick at UNR for several years, I believe this is where his college coach Ault was instrumental in having Kaepernick identify the open area and the smarts to get down prior to a tackle (or out of bounds). Long live the Pistol Offense. NFL.com has a video of Ault on Kaepernick

I just thought to mention, that 'weaker armed' QB's can also do the same thing as Kaepernick, it's just they need to have better coordination with WR. The QB's w/o the zip, will have to throw to the open spot and the WR will need to get to that open spot. For WR's I believe they would rather have the deep passes w/more loft as it allows them to run under the ball and make the catch. DBs would also rather see the lofty passes, the QBs that can throw the ball on a rope 30+ yds will always give them issues. WR's with QBs that can gun the ball, need to have better hand-eye coordination and not necessarily speed. I'll take a good hands WR over a speed WR any day of the week. And I'll take a QB with accuracy and play recognition over a QB with the physical tools. Sadly I think many coaches think they can coach up these physically gifted players, but from my observations there are very few that can teach play recognition (or where's the open spot vs this defense).

Of all the coaches in the college world that I wish had made the leap to the NFL, Urban Meyer tops the list. He had great players on his team, but we also now know he also was handicapped w/Tebow throwing ability (as well as with prior QBs). Right now, Alabama is the toast of the college world, but if you track the players from Alabama playing in the NFL, for the most part I believe they are over rated. In particular I find there LBs lack range and lack short area quickness, they are big, strong and fast, have been known to stop the run fairly well, but are deficient in defending the pass. The best out of Alabama maybe their RB's, OL and WRs. I think the NFL should pluck more WR's out of the spread systems. Well enough of this rant....

Sunday, January 20, 2013

2012 - week 20 - results

weekly total 0-1-1 ATS, 2-0 totals

playoff totals 5-4-1 ATS, 4-6 totals

ATL came out on fire and built a 17-0 lead mid Q2, SF D was getting beat, appeared a step behind, but SF O and D turned it around starting in Q2. Q3 SF D turns it up a notch and gets TO's (int and fumble by ATL QB Ryan), ATL D starts to hesitate and SF run O is working, SF D continues to stymie ATL O and win the game. SF did have it's own TO issue, WR Crabtree fumble on 2yd line and K Akers missed 38yd FG. Injury note: ATL QB Ryan separates left shoulder (non-throwing) Q4

NE led at half 13-7. From the start BAL O was continually faced with long drives, in Q3 they put together a 90yd drive score the TD, BAL D gets turnovers including a huge hit by Pollard causing NE RB Ridley to fumble and stop a NE drive that would have scored. Q4 NE QB  Brady has a passed batted which end ups with BAL D getting a timely interception. BAL O changes there first half MO from run first to pass first in Q3 and this really seems to galvanize O as they score 3TDs in 2nd half.
note: injuries - NE CB Talib Q1, SS Chung Q2, RB Ridley Q4

The home teams lost and a Harbaugh Bros Bowl is on!

just a thought but both home teams led at the half and maybe got complacent, their Ds just were beaten or their Os were beaten up, wow....

Friday, January 18, 2013

ahem - end of season hiring - or yea! nay! wtf?

The good:
Let's go with the good news first, KC fans will be happy in the coming seasons. The staff being assembled is a proven commodity.

update 1/19
CLE is another unknown, they need more talent, appears to be good staff hires, but the draft will really tell the tale. They'll probably need at least two to three years beat highly competitive in their division

The bad:
I can't say the same for the staff with CHI, looks like bad O, with D and ST to carry the team, but I think ST will decline with the departure of Toub and the D is on the descent not ascent...  so next season will be crummy for bears fans

It doesn't look much better for BUF either, they picked up Crossman to coach ST again after last years season in DET, they were pathetic, allowing TDs and way too many yards. BUF has blinders on, this movement of the Syracuse staff to BUF maybe great for the coaching families, but not for the fans, who will suffer again.

The unknown (to be updated):
PHI is an unknown, lots of talent, can Kelly get them to gel quickly on O? and he needs a DC. I think they have some cap issues as well

JAC recent hire of Bradley is a bit curious as they suffer on O, but if he can solidy the D and get their ground game going again, they have a chance. Guess they'll be rebuilding for a couple of years at least

SD, I'm sitting on the fence at this time only the GM HC and OC hired so far. There is talent, just will they respond with new coaching staff?

ARI, again another late hiring with Arians, will he be able to build a decent staff in time? I'll admit I'm leaning toward good, but they let DC Ray Horton go to CLE, I guess they thought he would stay, ARI loss is CLE gain. Still they have some really good D players, would make who ever becomes their DC an easier job, than redoing/rebuilding

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

hear yea, hear all,

I couldn't have said it or written any better (I'm just okay at writing), Arthur Arkush and his 60 second rant (which in this case isn't a rant at all) on IND owner Jim Irsay and how it's worked out this year for the 'colts

1/17 update:
here's an interview (1/14) w/Ault (father of the pistol offense, retired 2012) and his former QB Kaepernick
some nice insights from an innovative mind. I noted the difference in O's w/Chip Kelly, I guess next year with PHI we'll see more run sweeps and then play action, maybe?...

and while we're on the subject of Chip Kelly, a nice little prediction at smartfootball.com on the raw materials of his up tempo O

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

2012 season AFC and NFC Championships

Click on the above image to access NFL .pdf file. What I noticed immediately was the records of common opponents. NE has beaten both common opponents (DEN, HOU) and BAL has loss to each opponent.
There a lot of stats that favor NE, TAKE/GIVE (aka Turnovers) +16 edge, OFFENSE +75yds edge, QBR +11. What else stands out? the number of close games that they have played, so you would expect another close game, but I don't think this one will be close. Last weekend BAL came out as the winner @DEN, but I thought it was due more to TO's and lack of coaching by DEN than to dominance by BAL, it was almost as if BAL was waiting for DEN errors. Last weekend watching NE I get the sense they are on a roll and will dictate on O, D and ST to BAL. I think this will be a blow out with NE O just running plays and speeding up the game getting the lead and forcing BAL to play catchup ball, which isn't there best scheme on O or D

Click on the above image to access NFL .pdf file. Of the common opponents SF only loss is to NYG (last years SB winner) who ATL beat and ATL only loss is to division rival NO who SF beat. This is a bit of a wash. On O there are small edges at best for both teams, what you do notice is that the leading receiver for ATL is TE Gonzalez and for SF WR Crabtree. SF does hold a signficant edge with Defense of about 70yds and ATL K Bryant is far more accurate than SF K Akers. Unlike the AFC game, these opponents have met only once in post season. What I noticed last week is that ATL is a lot like DEN in their conservative nature with playcalling and their willingness to wait and see if the other teams makes an error then they can get a shorter field and score. SF plays like a dominating team especially along OL and DL and they execute very well. It hard to see ATL winning even though they are at home. SF appears to be built to win on the road, they have a dominating D, strong ST and a run game for O. SF QB Kaepernick and Co would need to make several mistakes (TOs) to lose this game, but it's not likely.

1/16 additional thoughts:

Last week I had hoped SEA DE Irvin would have been more disruptive, but ATL LT (and LG) handled him quite well, as ATL had several long runs from their RBs. So their is a big drop off when SEA DE Clemons is not in the game as he was this past weekend due to injury.

This past weekend we got to watch SF DT Justin Smith return (from a three week injury layoff) and he did quite well, even while limited with his torn triceps, his strength along DL is so evident, that I don't think ATL LT and LG will have the same success this weekend, granted their QB is right handed so you think the pocket will tend to move to the right, but Smith and Smith are fully capable of beating their blocks and getting to QB with impressive closing speed.

ATL best move may be to run at Smith and Smith. I would run on the side of the injured arm, testing Smith's getting off of blocks and tackling ability again and again, until I notice a level of consistency. BTW I'd also do this to BAL MLB Lewis, though I admit this may be tougher to do versus BAL DL, but I'd probably test with a TE instead of with a RB, or a RB out in the middle flat area.

If ATL can't run at Smith and Smith, they'll need to find running space elsewhere, probably with scheme and play calling, create mismatches with other personnel then hit SF with running plays. Get SF to think pass and run instead, but this may be for naught as SF OL looked dominant vs GB DL/LBs and the same will probably hold true vs ATL DL/LBs.

update 1/17/2013 WIN-LOSS comparing records for the remaining teams:

NOTE: replacement referees used wks 1-3

losses ARI wk2 @BAL wk3 @SEA wk6 SF wk15
DIV 6-0
in conference vs AFC S 4-0
peer games BAL(L), DEN(W) 1-1
out of conference vs NFC W 1-3

losses @PHI wk2 @HOU wk7 PIT wk13 @WAS wk14 DEN wk15 @CIN wk17
DIV 4-2
in conference vs AFC W 3-1
peer games NE(W), HOU(L) 1-1
out of conference vs NFC E 2-2

losses @NO wk10 @CAR wk14 TB wk17
DIV 3-3
in conference vs NFC E 4-0
peer games DET(W), ARI(W) 2-0
out of conference vs AFC W 4-0

losses @MIN wk3 NYG wk6 @STL wk13 @SEA wk16
DIV 3-2-1 STL(tie) wk10
in conference vs NFC N 3-1
peer games NYG(L), NO(W) 1-1
out of conference vs AFC E 4-0   What stands out ... NE was able to dominate their division, SF also gave the goose egg to the AFC E ATL had the weakest peer games and had the weakest division record, but their only losses were to their division rivals, going 4-0 for their in conference games vs NFC E. BAL split their games vs NFC E NE, BAL and SF were 1-1 vs peers. The NFC appears to be better going 8-0 vs their AFC opponents this year. The AFC could only manage a 3-5 record vs NFC opponents. NE played the weakest in conference opponents, BAL the second weakest, ATL the third weakest   FYI: I ranked the conferences at the end of this year as (using QBrt - DQBrt over regular season): NFC W #1 NFC S #2 NFC N #3
AFC N #4
AFC E #5
NFC E #6
AFC W #7
AFC S #8
If I just added up the opponents conference ranking for each team (don't add peer games):
SF #9
NE #14
ATL #15
BAL #17

SF clearly had the toughest schedule, playing the #1, #3 and #5 conferences
NE played #5, #8, #1
ATL played #2, #6, #7
BAL played #4, #7, #6

But I'm still not feeling warm and fuzzy with this as the replacement refs were a factor, just how much I wasn't able to measure in a satisfactory method.   The BAL @NE game may come out to be a closer game than expected and the SF @ATL game may be more of a blowout

Monday, January 14, 2013

2012 - week 20 - Conference Championship picks

01/20 3:00 PM

301 SF -4 ***
302 ATL 48½ over

This will be SF QB Kaepernick first road playoff game, SF D and ST are playing well, if Kaepernick plays half as well as his first home game, they'll still beat ATL. ATL now has confidence with first playoff win. SF is a better team than last year when then lost to eventual SB champ NYG in a close game 'til Q4. ATL was stomped on last year in the playoffs, they may yet again get stomped on this year by SF

01/20 6:30 PM
303 BAL 51½ under
304 NE -9½ *

BAL lost to NE last year in playoffs, then returned favor to NE this season with a 1pt win at home.
Since that time, NE has acquired CB Talib and BAL has lost CB Webb. BAL will have Suggs back, but I don't believe it will be enough to counter NE O as they appear to be in sync and getting better. Meanwhile NE D as well is playing fairly well, BAL O isn't quite up to snuff and if BAL O can only hit the deep pass on the right side, you'd think NE would be able to scheme for that quite easily

On the W-L opponents records side,

SF (+2) @ATL (-40)

BAL (-2) @NE (-2)

Last weekend results SU and ATS:

BAL @DEN (team w/better opponents won SU, win SU and ATS)
GB @SF (team w/better opponents loss, loss SU loss ATS)
SEA @ATL (team w/better opponents loss, loss SU win ATS)
HOU @NE (team w/better opponents won SU, win SU and ATS)

so 2-2 SU and ATS

2012 - week 19 - results

All four games were OVER the total, the favorite was 3-1 SU (DEN loss) 2-2 ATS (DEN and ATL did not cover spread). My revised Super Bowl participants are now SF and NE.

The early games on Saturday and Sunday were worth watching, though on Sunday SEA HC Carrol makes a mistake by losing the ball on downs instead of kicking the FG, but ATL lets SEA back into the game with QB Ryan second interception of the game. Game notes below:


BAL wins a great game, DEN gets two ST TDs, a punt return and a kick return, BAL scores 2TDs after TO's by DEN QB Manning. At the end of regulation the game is tied 35-35, snow begins to fall as the temperature has continued to fall throughout the game and in the 2nd OT BAL scores a FG after getting another interception off of Manning and this one was Mannings fault. First interception could be placed on WR catching ability. BAL O played really well scoring 3TDs to the right side of field with WR Smith burning CB Bailey. DEN ST played really well, DEN D was suspect at times and their O wasn't given enough chances or wasn't trusted
Here's a view from nfl.com http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap1000000125374/article/denver-broncos-john-fox-coached-not-to-lose-game

There were some curious officiating calls going against both teams

Hmmmmm.... "The Mile High Miracle", who've thought BAL could overcome all their late season woes and the greatness that Manning & Co. represented? This was perhaps the best D that Manning has ever been paired with, but clearly the secondary had issues in this game. BAL QB Flacco had 3TDs on the right side of the field all long throws.


SF QB Kaepernick gives up an interception returned for a TD early in the game, but recovers and delivers strikes to his WR's to win the game going away from the 3rd quarter.

GB muffed punt Q2, great field postion 11:43, SF scores TD pass to Crabtree
ties 14-14
Rodgers throws a mistake, SF starts just over mid-field
Rodgers-Jones hot pass 20+yd ties 21-21
SF gains edge with FG just before half 24-21
At the half, Rodgers and Co. are making more mistakes than SF
SF takes game over and GB just doesn't have enough, game is over by end of 3rd Q, though score is still close, GB intensity along OL and DL just isn't as much as SF.


After opening game jitters, ATL settles down gets a 13-0 lead, then SEA Carroll goes for it on 4th down instead of settling for the FG, SEA turns ball over on downs ATL uses momentum and marches down the field, scores with a 20-0 lead 4:16 left in the game and effectively the game is over. SEA w/o DE Clemons just can't stop run consistently. SEA secondary does play well, but the D seems to lose faith and ATL continues fairly sound play calling, though I wouldn't pick on CB Sherman, ATL does continue to have big gains with running plays. SEA killed itself with fumble and no score in last 2 min of half.

ATL QB Ryan has an early Q1 int, but Q4 int w/11:04 to go is a curious choice by Ryan. SEA scores brings game to 21-27. ATL goes 3 and out. SEA punts ATL punts, SEA moves ball, 12 men on field D penalty puts on ball on two yd line, 34 sec left, Lynch scores TD, PAT good 28-27.
ATL w/25 sec two passes gets them to the 30yd line, FG wins game 28-30, 8sec left, squib 6sec left
46yd, 2sec, hail mary intercepted. ATL closes game out, but its so close, too conservative with play calling in the 2nd half for me by ATL. ATL seem to lack a true killer instinct or that ability to put another team away, coaching??


NE TE Gronkowski Q1 re-injured arm, seems to be the only significant note for this game. NE came out running plays fast (and adjusted very well after losing both RB Woodhead and TE early in Q1), HOU just couldn't keep up, they did play a lot better in Q1 (than prior game), but Q2 and Q3 were clearly NE. NE stretched their lead to 38-13 in Q4, NE plays alot of man with CB Talib on the field, once NE got the lead the game was over.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

2012 - week 19 - Division - picks

Early thoughts:
HOU will need a lot of things to break their way to beat NE on the road. HOU O will need to be near flawless, I just can't see them having much success running or passing ball on NE D. This could be a laugher which is won't be good for the last game of the weekend

BAL D will face DEN O where the no-huddle is a staple. DEN will get TDs, I'm wondering if BAL D will be gassed by Q4. DEN D will have a much easier time vs BAL O which seems to lack an identity. BAL O needs to run more, they'll be facing an even tougher DL and secondary, pts may be hard to come by in this game for BAL.

GB is near full strength and their O is looking potent, they'll score on SF D
SF O needs to run and run more. They'll need to play keep away from Rodgers and Co. to have a chance to win. GB D stopped MIN run O, but MIN O blocking isn't as diverse as SF O blocking schemes. SF QB Kaepernick will need to have his best game yet this season. I'd give SF more of a chance if DL Justin Smith plays

SEA and ATL maybe without their best DE's in Clemons and Abraham, thus running game should be more effective for both teams. SEA CB Browner looked suspect after coming back from four game PED suspension. I expect SEA to be getting points. I'd take the road dog

Update with lines:

01/12 4:30 PM

109 BAL 45½ Under
110 DEN -8½ *

BAL coming off emo high and will need to play keep away (run, run and more run) to beat DEN

When DEN QB Manning was with IND he had a clear advantage over BAL

during play offs - see http://pfref.com/tiny/04b9E

and regular season http://pfref.com/tiny/BcY4j

note: season 2011 Manning did not play

DEN D is probably the best D that Manning has ever played with

01/12 8:00 PM
111 GB 45 *
112 SF -3 over

just thinking if GB D can stop SF run O they win this game

01/13 1:00 PM
113 SEA 46 *
114 ATL -2½ UNDER

Both D may be w/o their best DE

Both teams are run first, but SEA is more so than ATL

This is a strength on strength game - SEA D vs ATL O

but the more important matchup maybe SEA O vs ATL D

I'd give ST edge to SEA

01/13 4:30 PM
115 HOU 48½ UNDER
116 NE -9½ ***

HOU by far has been playing the worst of all the remaining teams, very difficult to take their side even with 10pts

Opponents Win-Loss (W-L) records - results and upcoming games:
Last weekend teams that had the tougher regular season schedule based on opponents W-L record went 3-1 SU/ATS

The lone loss was with MIN who announced a new QB 90 min prior to game. QB Webb had not thrown a pass during regular season, plus my guess was he didn't have enough snaps during practice prior to game. It really showed as he was either late with throws or made some very inaccurate throws

This week the tougher regular season opponents W-L matchups are:

BAL (-2) @DEN (-22)

GB (4) @SF (2)

SEA (2) @ATL (-40)

HOU (-2) @NE (-2)

So BAL and SEA have clear advantages

GB has a slight advantage

and its a tossup between HOU and NE

1/8 update: More stats straight from NFL

AFC division capsule: http://nfllabor.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/afc-divisional-caps.pdf

NFC division capsule http://nfllabor.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/nfc-divisional-caps.pdf

    The BAL @DEN capsule doesn't have much meaningful stats IMO, but their is one that stands out and it's comparing the yards per game difference (O-D) 352.5 - 350.9 [BAL = 1.6yds/game] vs 397.9 - 290.8  [DEN = 107.1yds/game]. I look at it this way, BAL O will most likely sputter and DEN O will move the ball and score at least FGs, but more likely TDs. BAL did have a tougher opponent schedule this season than DEN, but so did HOU and NE and look at their yards per game difference (HOU = 372.1 - 323.3 = 48.8 yds/g) (NE = 427.9 - 373.3 = 54.6 yds/g). Why doesn't BAL have something similiar? I would expect somewhere around 50yds/g O-D difference, but BAL is nearly 50 yds/g below expectations and DEN over 50 yds/game above expectations. This game will most likely be BAL MLB Lewis last game and it won't be pretty. DEN should dominate and cover the spread, if they score too much (DEN D may score off of TO's) the game will go over the total.   I would normally expect a close game with HOU @NE, but HOU O has been sputtering this past month and NE will have Gronk back. Unless NE TE's get the dropsies, this game will be another run away game, hopefully staying under the total.   Looking at the GB @SF game in the same light, SF has an edge (GB 22.6, SF 67.4) but with QB Kaepernick at the helm, they just aren't as effective and the offense doesn't run through TE Davis with RB Gore a solid threat. Add in the injury to Justin Smith and SF w/o the combo of Smith & Smith (Alex, Justin) will not be able to reach their lofty goal. GB appears to be returning to full strength, can you really look at this game in any other way? Sure SF has 'home field advantage', I just don't it'll be enough to get the win.   SEA @ATL, yards per game difference SEA 44.4 ATL 3.5, SEA is near expectations, ATL is far below, couple this with tougher opponent schedule (see playoff teams W-L record comparison) and SEA is the clear choice.

2012 - week 18 - results

Linesmaker have correctly picked the favorite in each game, and each game has gone under the total.

Favorite and under combo sweeps the weekend

MIN and IND w/late changes to personnel (MIN QB Webb starts and IND QB coach Christensen does OC duty) were too much for either team to overcome and it's reflected in the scores where GB and BAL won by greater than two TD's.

WAS may have been served better if backup QB Cousins had started, as after initial emotional high Q1, their O sputtered and SEA showed the type of resolve to win the game, after losing their best DE player Clemons in Q3

Both teams start out punting, looks like a D battle, HOU had first possession. Notably out of position is CIN MLB Maulauga, Q1 HOU TE just looks quicker, short area, Q2 HOU RB Foster just makes him look bad. I think the closer to the line of scrimmage that he is, the better he plays, anything else, he just doesn't have the quickness required in the short area .
CIN CB Hall makes the play of the game so far returning an interception for a TD. CIN TE Gresham had the dropsies in Q1 and CIN QB Dalton just not making good decision, very lucky a throw was not intercepted by HOU D. CIN RB Green-Ellis is doing well.
HOU QB Shaub is intercepted in Q2. A very bad throw and it's returned for a TD, he still has accuracy issues.
HOU ST Q3 KO error doesn't hurt it. CIN ST punting team makes mental error, they appear to be tense
CIN O punts in starting Q3 it doesn't look good for them. HOU D is much more aggressive, HOU O marches down field and scores TD, TE Daniels injury?
CIN O 2nd drive of Q3 is looking good, 6 consecutive passes, 4 to WR Green (3 caught, 1out of bounds), drive stalls/ends w/FG (odd why does Kubiak challenge incomplete pass?)
HOU O next drive ends up punting, again CIN ST looking shaky, punt almost muffed.
CIN O next drive is disrupted by HOU DE Watt, but D make mental error, again CIN O runs on first down, intercepted by CB Joseph on next play.
HOU O starts in FG range, run, pass, pass (TE Daniels catches middle pass), pass, run, pass, FG (holding penalty somewhere before that).
CIN ST nice return, CIN O quick throw, run determined, pass incomplete, pass, run, 4th down, run = 1st down, deep pass incomplete, late, wants too pass, but runs, pass, FG
HOU O pass, run, pass, pass, pass, punt
CIN O pass, run, wants too pass, but runs, timeout, O penalty no play, pass - D penalty, pass, run, pass incomplete, deep pass incomplete, arggh TV reception, pass incomplete? downs?
HOU O run, run, pass D penalty, run, run, knee - game over

I guess you can say HOU owns CIN w/2nd straight playoff win. End of game thoughts - CIN seems ill prepared on O, decent on D (D out scored O 7-6), tense execution on ST at times. HOU D played really well (Watt) O seemed to just survive, and at times ST was tense as well
BTW really nice broadcast team w/Mayock and ?

Late news: MIN QB Webb to start (annonced 90 min prior to game), QB Ponder injured elbow/triceps

MIN O runs and runs and runs, running all over GB D, QB Webb runs 2x, Peterson the rest, all the way to the 15yd line before an O timeout, pass incomplete, FG

GB O punts, MIN O runs, pass to TE, pass incomplete, punts, GB O run, run, run, D-penalty, pass pass run, pass run pass run pass TD
MIN O punts, GB O cross mid field, punts, MIN O punts, GB O makes 4th down count FG
MIN O punts GB Walden having a great game, MIN O needs to run more
GB O rush TD, Rodgers is smiling, this game is in the bag

rest of game who cares?

Game thoughts MIN went away from run O too soon, too much passing, first drive was run O, every drive after that lots of passing QB Webb lacks accuracy, out of synch w/WRs. MIN D was picked apart slowly but surely by GB O, GB owned game by mid Q2

Loved the live streaming (though it's about a play behind broadcast tv, should've tried first), wish Sunday's games were streamed as well

late news IND OC Arians hospitalized, QB coach Christensen calling plays on sideline

@the end of half
BAL D in near constant blitzing mode, BAL O needs to feed Ray Rice
IND D plays well, IND O QB Luck is withstanding the blitz, making plays, only ST needs noticeable help
you would think BAL O would have an advantage vs IND D, but BAL O needs to feed Ray Rice more
Somehow MLB Lewis drops a gift interception, seems to be his only mistake in first half, though you could see a couple of times he was caught up in the 'wash'
I think they don't need to give ball to RB Pierce, feed RB Rice, ride your stud RB

BAL TD, IND FG, not a good trade off, but IND O is moving ball with no-huddle O, keeps blitzing down, wish they had started no-huddle earlier.
BAL gets the win, IND looks like the best young team

which rookie QB will advance?

SEA O starts out oddly with 3 straight passes, SEA D is also contained on the edge allowing big runs by WAS O. WAS QB Griffen is limping, SEA D shouldn't worry about running QB. Emo edge early on with WAS, SEA withstands it and comes back nicely 13-14 @half.

SEA opening drive ends with a fumble, DE Clemons injured on next series, things aren't looking good for SEA, but WAS O punts.
SEA punts next 2 possessions and so does WAS, finally SEA scores on a rush TD, follows with a pass for a 2pt PAT and the game is officially on SEA side, even officials seem to overlook a penalty of pass interference on SEA D later on in Q4. WAS O lost steam after Q1 and perhaps they would have been better served with backup QB Cousins starting, QB Griffin injured in Q4, two bad snaps by WAS C and QB Cousins makes a couple of good passes, but not enough to comeback and win

Friday, January 04, 2013

William Hill does it again - all 72 possible combos for SuperBowl

see http://www.lasvegassun.com/blogs/talking-points/2013/jan/04/las-vegas-sports-book-odds-every-super-bowl-result/

I've been playing with SEA vs DEN and SEA vs NE as my most likely scenario, the link above pegs it at 18-1 (if SEA wins)

DEN vs SEA 15-1 (if DEN wins)
NE vs SEA 12-1 (if NE wins)

looks like they're pegging ATL, GB with better chances than SEA and SF has the same chance as SEA, when looking thru DEN and NE odds

2012 Win Loss Opponents Records - Playoff teams

Odd, I can't upload an image directly from my PC, a screen capture of my spreadsheet showing the playoff teams opponents Win-Loss records for the regular season


Update I was able to upload image using a workaround, I first uploaded to Picasa web album, then selected pix from within blog menu template, sheesh twice the work, when it was so much easier to prior to today.

  Anyway, here's some of my thoughts....  

ATL has the weakest opponent W-L record with a difference of -40
followed by CIN (-32) IND (-30) DEN (-22)
WAS (-3) NE, HOU, BAL (-2)
SEA, SF (+2)
GB (+4)
and MIN (+10) who had the toughest opponents of all the playoff teams this year.

What else that jumps right out? All of the entire AFC opponents were in the negative range and only two for the NFC (ATL and WAS). You can still bet on the AFC vs NFC superbowl angle and get +1.5pts if you took the NFC. 

Comparing Rookie QBs in the playoffs
IND QB Luck faced opponents that totaled 113-143 W-L records (-30)
WAS QB Griffin faced opponents that totaled 126-129 W-L records (-3)
SEA QB Wilson faced opponents that totaled 127-125 W-L records (+2)

just to compare MIA QB Tannehill faced opponents that totaled 127-127 W-L records (+/- 0)
MIA also played SF and STL who have tied this year (add +2 for total games to equal 256)

So who do you think is the best rookie QB? Wilson played the toughest schedule, Luck the easiest

This year is a bit unusual with SF and STL first division game ending in a tie.
Here's what I think for the playoff teams affected by the tie.
If you added a W and a L to each column for NE you would still have them at -2.
You could do the same for MIN and GB.
For SEA you would add +2 to each W and L column and still end up +2. So no change their either.

With SF:
the worst would be to add two to loss column and they would go from +2 to 0
the best would be to add two to win column and they would go from +2 to +4
(still .500 or better)

With WAS:
the worst would be to add one to loss column and they would go from -3 to -4
the best would be to add one to win column and they would go from -3 to -2
(still negative)

So for the majority of teams affected by SF/STL tie game, they would not be affected at all.

WAS would have a +1/-1 record (but still opponents W-L records would still be negative) and SF would be affected in the +2/-2 range (opponents would be .500 or better)

Other notables:
ATL may be headed for another one and done year. So could DEN, odd how the number one seeds both faced much weaker opponents than the second through fourth seeds.

If you were to just use opponent W-L records for betting this weekend, you would be favoring for the AFC - BAL and HOU, with the NFC - SEA and MIN
The closest games would be SEA @WAS (5), then MIN @GB (6) with the AFC games a probable blowout since the difference in opponents records are 28 (IND @BAL) and 30 (CIN @HOU)

Earlier this week:
 I have picked CIN due to their underrated D and HOU recent inability to score pts or stop opponents consistently

I took IND +6 due to their team having less issues than BAL and even with BAL MLB Lewis announcement of retirement I just didn't think BAL would cover the spread of -6

GB should have Woodson back along with Cobb and MIN Winfield may be back as well, but I thought it was unusual for GB not to pick on his replacement more in last weeks game. GB will be at home and coming off a loss to MIN last week, so they should be highly motivated.

SEA @WAS will be the most interesting game to watch, I expect both teams to run the ball, with SEA the better running team, the stronger D and having an edge as well with ST