Sep 08

NFL 2016 Pick’em

With another NFL season set to kick off tonight, we begin another year of our NFL Pick’em competition. Both the 2013 and 2014 seasons ended in rousing fashion, with TABMathletics reigning supreme over all other experts. Last year saw some of the much-discussed regression come into play, but TABMathletics still finished as one of the best experts in the land. While no three-peat was recognized, a simple bounce back towards our three-year mean could result in a third Pick’em title in four seasons. Will we live up to the hype in 2016?

The weekly predictions involve the straight-up choice, meaning that no spread will be considered. Meanwhile, there will also be a points system used to put some emphasis on correctly predicting the tough games. Using the TABRankings as a basis for illustrating the “power” of each game, the week’s schedule will be divided into three groups:

  • Games of the Week (3 points each): Any game with two teams having a combined ranking total of 24 or less. Both teams MUST be within 10 spots of each other, unless both teams are within top 12. (Theoretically, 1 v. 12 is a playoff-quality match-up.)
  • Non-GOTW Divisional Games (2 points each): Any divisional battle that isn’t in the aforementioned group.
  • The Rest (1 point each): Any match-up that is neither a Game of the Week or a divisional battle.

Each week will also include one upset pick and one lock pick. The lock picks will be made in the elimination pool format, with the winner only allowed to be used once during a present win streak. The upset picks will be used to collect ranking points, which will be determined by the difference in the TABRankings. If there’s enough time at season’s end, we’ll compare the power of the upset to other notable experts (something which we failed to analyze in each of the previous three seasons). For now, though, it’ll just be for personal keep.

Now for the competition. Experts from several different publications were selected to highlight the most well-known sources of football analysis. Two litmus tests of comparison to TABM would be Football Outsiders and the FiveThirtyEight Elo-based predictions. Of course, there also needs to be that mainstream presence. Thus, the competition also includes the nine experts from ESPN who publish their picks online and the four experts from NFL Network who work on GameDay Morning. The picks for Pete Prisco of CBS Sports and Vinnie Iyer of Sporting News will be monitored as well. Finally, we add in five experts from USA Today along with seven experts from Pro Football Focus (excluding Cris Collinsworth, who does not pick games he will broadcast for Sunday Night Football) to complete this year’s competition panel. This group of experts provides at least some perspective to compare from other top publications.

Before we move on, we’d like to send our best to two previous mainstays in Don Banks and Chris Mortensen. Banks was one of the most reliable hands to write for Sports Illustrated during the NFL’s “fantasy” era, but the publication laid him off. His last day was just last Thursday. It only gets tougher when thinking about Mortensen, who was diagnosed back in January that he had Stage IV throat cancer. Mortensen was arguably the classiest and most reliable of ESPN’s NFL reporters, and he was a great predicting hand to boot. Upon last word, Mortensen can now “focus on recovery,” which is some positive news that warms our hearts with hope. Bless them both.


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  1. Robert Anderson

    Adam – It would really help the pickers and give you more cred if you posted your picks before the games actually started.

    1. tabm1327

      Apologies for a busy week, but all picks in during the London kickoff!

      1. Robert Anderson

        Thanks! Really enjoy your work!

        1. tabm1327

          HOPEFULLY, it’s quicker next week and all done before the Thursday Night Football kickoff!

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