Sep 08

NFL 2016 Pick’em

In what’s been a stagnant past two months, it seems like Week 15 for provide yet another holding pattern in the Pick’em competition. That’s because as of Sunday morning, EVERY MATCH-UP this week features greater than a 75 percent expert consensus, according to NFL Pickwatch. With only a two-game and two-point deficit with three weeks left, this make the gameplan for this weekend quite easy. We will go with the consensus for all but one match-up, and that will be the Upset of the Week.

Looking at this week’s slate of games, there are 11 match-ups with greater than a 10-rank disparity. This means that the options are quite vast. For the Thursday night game, the Rams are a lock to lose after the firing of Head Coach Jeff Fisher on a short week. Playing in Seattle against a defense that will likely want to redeem itself for the horrific showing in Green Bay should make it near impossible for the Los Angeles offense to do enough to win. The rest of the match-ups should be tougher to decide. However, after being burned before, we know not to trust either the Jaguars or Chargers. Trust level is also low for the Bengals at home against the Steelers, as Marvin Lewis owns a 2-13 home record against Pittsburgh. This leaves just one potential multi-point match-up left, and that’s the Bears hosting the Packers. This isn’t a smart choice after Green Bay’s dominant win over Seattle.

So now there are five match-ups left. Browns-Bills features a Buffalo team that faces lingering doubt about the job stability for the head coach and starting quarterback. Sometime a team gives up in this spot. Sometimes it sparks a late-season fire with the hope that it carries over to the next season. What truly matters is the juicy potential for Buffalo’s elite run game. That should nearly lock in a win for the Bills. Eagles-Ravens sets up a major advantage for the Ravens defense. They should be able to thrive against Carson Wentz, who has put up a truly weak statistical profile since the team’s bye week in early October. Also note that Head Coach Jon Harbaugh is undefeated at home against rookie quarterbacks. Titans-Chiefs could be sneaky one, but Kansas City just got done taking care of a tough Denver-Atlanta-Oakland slate to prove that the home loss to Tampa Bay was no sign of decline. Tennessee would have a better argument for the win if Marcus Mariota provided anything against Denver last week. Finally, 49ers-Falcons is a virtual lock, although Atlanta was picked for that wrinkle last week against Los Angeles.

This then comes down to either Indianapolis-Minnesota or Carolina-Washington. The Colts seem to have the better match-up, given how Indianapolis can beat the Vikings simply by using just enough offensive firepower. Since the 5-0 start entering the bye week, Minnesota scored 17+ points in only three of eight games. Coincidentally, the Colts were held to only 17 points in last week’s monumentally disappointing loss at home to the Texans, but it was the second-lowest scoring output in an Andrew Luck start this season. There’s a little hunch that Carolina plays well on Monday night, given the strong December and January play by the team during the Cam Newton era. However, the home-field advantage for a primetime must-win game gives an edge in odds for Washington more so than Minnesota. Therefore, the Colts-Vikings match-up becomes the Upset of the Week.

Games of the Week (3 points each)
(1) New England Patriots (11-2) at (10) Denver Broncos (8-5)
(7) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-5) at (3) Dallas Cowboys (11-2)

Non-GOTW Divisional Games (2 points each)
(28) Los Angeles Rams (4-9) at (13) Seattle Seahawks (8-4-1) **Lock of the Week**
(20) Miami Dolphins (8-5) at (30) New York Jets (4-9)
(12) Green Bay Packers (7-6) at (27) Chicago Bears (3-10)
(29) Jacksonville Jaguars (2-11) at (18) Houston Texans (7-6)
(6) Pittsburgh Steelers (8-5) at (21) Cincinnati Bengals (5-7-1)
(2) Oakland Raiders (10-3) at (22) San Diego Chargers (5-8)

The Rest (1 point each)
(32) Cleveland Browns (0-13) at (17) Buffalo Bills (6-7)
(24) Philadelphia Eagles (5-8) at (9) Baltimore Ravens (7-6)
(16) Tennessee Titans (7-6) at (4) Kansas City Chiefs (10-3)
(15) Detroit Lions (9-4) at (14) New York Giants (9-4)
(26) Indianapolis Colts (6-7) at (8) Minnesota Vikings (7-6) **Upset of the Week**
(23) New Orleans Saints (5-8) at (19) Arizona Cardinals (5-7-1)
(31) San Francisco 49ers (1-12) at (5) Atlanta Falcons (8-5)
(25) Carolina Panthers (5-8) at (11) Washington Redskins (7-5-1)


Results: Record and Points
Week 15: 13-3 and 23 points (out of 26 possible points)
Season: 147-75-2 and 245 points (66.07 win and 65.33 point percentage)
GotW: 2-0 record (28-18-1 overall… 60.64 win percentage)
Divisional: 6-0 record (47-21-1 overall… 68.84 win percentage) [includes 7-4-1 in GOTW]
Upsets: 9-6 overall (149 ranking points)
Locks: 13-2 overall (current streak: Chiefs, Cardinals, Giants, Steelers, Patriots, Falcons, Seahawks… best streak: 7 weeks)


Week 15: Expert Records and Points (2 ties = 1 win + 1 loss)

Rank Expert Record Rank Expert Points
1 Chris Burke, SI 150-74 1 C. Burke 246
2 Gordon McGuinness, PFF 149-75 2 Adam Dobrowolski, TABM 245
2 Mike Middlehurst-Schwartz, USAT 149-75 2 G. McGuinness 245
4 A. Dobrowolski 148-76 4 KC Joyner, ESPN 243
5 Lorenzo Reyes, USAT 147-77 4 M. Middlehurst-Schwartz 243
6 FiveThirtyEight Elo 144-80 6 L. Reyes 242
6 Jeff Ratcliffe, PFF 144-80 7 FiveThirtyEight 240
6 Kurt Warner, NFLN 144-80 7 K. Warner 240
9 K. Joyner 143-81 9 Mike Golic, ESPN 235
10 Vinnie Iyer, SN 142-82 10 V. Iyer 231
11 Football Outsiders 141-83 10 Pete Prisco, CBSS 231
11 M. Golic 141-83 10 J. Ratcliffe 231
11 Dan Graziano, ESPN 141-83 13 D. Graziano 230
11 Kevin Seifert, ESPN 141-83 13 K. Seifert 230
M Mean Record 140-84 15 Adam Caplan, ESPN 229
15 Matt Bowen, ESPN 140-84 15 FB Outsiders 229
15 Steve Palazzolo, PFF 140-84 M Mean Points 228.8
17 Steve Mariucci, NFLN 139-85 17 Merril Hoge, ESPN 227
18 Nate Davis, USAT 138-86 18 M. Bowen 226
18 M. Hoge 138-86 19 S. Mariucci 224
18 P. Prisco 138-86 20 Marshall Faulk, NFLN 223
21 A. Caplan 137-87 21 S. Palazzolo 222
21 Seth Wickersham, ESPN 137-87 21 S. Wickersham 222
23 M. Faulk 136-88 23 Jarrett Bell, USAT 221
23 Tom Pelissero, USAT 136-88 24 Nathan Jahnke, PFF 220
25 J. Bell 134-90 25 N. Davis 218
25 Neil Hornsby, PFF 134-90 26 T. Pelissero 217
25 Ron Jaworski, ESPN 134-90 27 Mike Renner, PFF 216
28 M. Renner 133-91 28 N. Hornsby 214
29 N. Jahnke 132-92 28 R. Jaworski 214
30 Sam Monson, PFF 130-94 30 S. Monson 210

NOTE: M = mean (average of the 30 competitors)

Due to correctly predicting the Upset of the Week, this week can be considered a success. However, there wasn’t much head room gained atop the rankings. Chris Burke of Sports Illustrated still leads in the competition, with a two-game and one-point advantage with two more regular season weeks left. There is still more work left to do in Week 16.

Of another note, it looks the 2016 NFL Season Predictions finally lost steam after the third quarter turn. A fter a mere .500 mark over the past two weeks, the record falls to 132-90-2 with 218 points. That is only better than a few Pro Football Focus staff writers, so it’s time to retire the talk about the season predictions being applied on a week-by-week basis. Odds are the August picks won’t do any good in either Week 16 or Week 17, but perhaps the fortunes will be different in this Pick’em competition.


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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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