Feb 03

NFL 2013 Pick’em: Final Results

In a dominant Super Bowl victory for the Seattle Seahawks, they exploited every match-up advantage I mentioned in my Super Bowl prediction — and then some. The 43-8 outcome was the most extreme way the league’s best team could impose a message that all football fans should heed: balance truly wins championships. Perhaps the 2013 Seahawks are one of the best champions of the Super Bowl era, and that’s something that will be investigated on Wednesday.

For now, let’s look back to this year. We’ll start with how this week panned out.

Super Bowl XLVIII (12 points)
(2) Denver Broncos (13-3 + 2-0) at (1) Seattle Seahawks (13-3 + 2-0)

A majority of the experts went with Denver, which just goes to show how the narrative to what makes a winner seems to be greatly misguided. Too many don’t look at the big picture, but are distracted by the most gaudy factor. Yes, Peyton Manning and the Broncos offense became the first ever 600-point offense in an NFL regular season, but gross passing isn’t enough to win against a well-balanced team like the Seahawks. Meanwhile, even many of the experts who picked the Seahawks were failing to give enough credence to Russell Wilson’s near-elite production. They call on the “defense wins champions” faulty cliche.

Regardless of the motivation, they finish strong like I did. Check out this week’s and the overall numbers:

  • This week’s record and points: 1-0 and 12 points
  • Overall record and points: 189-77-1 and 378 points (70.97 win percentage)
  • Postseason: 10-1 overall (90.91 win percentage)
  • Games of the Week: 34-14 overall (70.83 win percentage)
  • Divisional Games: 69-26-1 overall (72.40 win percentage) [includes 11-4 in GOTW]
  • Upset of the Week: 11-5 overall (143 ranking points)
  • Lock of the Week: 14-2 overall (best streak: six weeks)

Now for the competition. I wanted this to be a 1 v. 25 battle, so I selected experts from several different publications. Unfortunately, it seems like Brian Baldinger didn’t have picks submitted in Week 13 on NFL.com. Therefore, it’s now a 1 v. 24 battle.

Writing some freelance stuff for Cold, Hard Football Facts, I figure that website would provide a great litmus test. Meanwhile, I figure another publication that could provide a litmus test would be Football Outsiders. Of course, there needs to be that mainstream presence. Thus, the competition also includes the 13 experts from ESPN who publish their picks online and seven experts from NFL Network who work on either Gameday Morning or Playbook. Finally, we close the competition panel with Pete Prisco of CBS Sports and Don Banks of Sports Illustrated. They provide at least some perspective from other top publications.

Table 1: Expert Records and Points

Rank Expert Record Rank Expert Points
1 TABMathletics 189.5-77.5 1 TABM 378
2 Ron Jaworski, ESPN 181.5-85.5 2 Don Banks, SI 353
3 Football Outsiders 179.5-87.5 3 FO 349
4 Steve Mariucci, NFLN 178.5-88.5 4 Seth Wickersham, ESPN 347
5 Banks 177.5-89.5 5 Jaworski 345
6 KC Joyner, ESPN 175.5-91.5 6 Mariucci 336
7 Wickersham 172.5-94.5 7 Chris Mortensen, ESPN 329
8 Mortensen 171.5-95.5 8 Kurt Warner, NFLN 329
9 Cris Carter, ESPN 170.5-96.5 9 Marshall Faulk, NFLN 328
9 Tom Jackson, ESPN 170.5-96.5 9 Joyner 328
9 Adam Schefter, ESPN 170.5-96.5 9 Mark Schlereth, ESPN 328
9 Schlereth 170.5-96.5 12 Jackson 327
M Mean Record 169.86-97.14 M Mean Points 325.2
13 Mike Ditka, ESPN 169.5-97.5 13 Pete Prisco, CBS 325
13 Faulk 169.5-97.5 14 Mike Golic, ESPN 323
15 Cold, Hard Football Facts 168.5-98.5 15 CHFF 319
16 Keyshawn Johnson, ESPN 167.5-99.5 16 Schefter 318
16 Prisco 167.5-99.5 17 Erik Allen, ESPN 317
18 Warren Sapp, NFLN 166.5-100.5 17 Carter 317
19 Allen 165.5-101.5 19 Michael Irvin, NFLN 315
19 Golic 165.5-101.5 20 Johnson 313
19 Merril Hoge, ESPN 165.5-101.5 21 Shaun O’Hara, NFLN 312
22 Warner 163.5-103.5 22 Ditka 310
23 Irvin 160.5-106.5 23 Hoge 305
24 Sterling Sharpe, NFLN 156.5-110.5 23 Sapp 305
25 O’Hara 152.5-114.5 25 Sharpe 274

NOTE: M = mean (average of the 25 competitors).

Of the experts with a mean record or better coming into this week, only two other experts (Football Outsiders and Seth Wickersham) picked Seattle. Once again, we see how well the “big four factors” can work. Overall, I beat a list of 94 experts/entries, according to the fantastic people at NFL Pickwatch. Note that this doesn’t include either Football Outsiders or Cold, Hard Football Facts. As you can see, the best expert in this list (John Halpin of FOX, with a 186-80-1 record) finished three games worse than me.

This year should prove that understandable key macro aspects and factors of the game can help one to understand which teams have the best advantages in match-ups. While the experts might have the film and the experience to understand key micro aspects and factors, they don’t necessarily translate in quite the way that leads to successful predictions. When you’re making predictions from afar, which these experts are doing now that they are no longer in the game, you need the macro aspects.

Like the 2013 Seahawks dominance in the Super Bowl, the TABMathletics dominance in the NFL Pick’em proves that the true big picture of the game still isn’t understood by most. Not even some people who are deeply entrenched in the game or have high standing in the media own a true understanding. However, the big picture is only useful in situations that call for macroanalysis. It’s just like in economics, where different types of analysis impact different parts of the subject.

Where one needs the macroanalysis is in Pick’em situations, whether it applies to Vegas or not. For the fans watching at home, they see the game constantly from a macro aspect, so they deserve to receiver best macroanalysis. We provide just that here at TABMathletics, and this year’s elite-level showing in the NFL Pick’em provides a strong example of this quality.

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