Sep 08

NFL 2016 Pick’em

This week presents us with a pair of third-string quarterbacks starting for teams we originally expected to win. Jacoby Brissett takes the snap under center for a Thursday Night Football home game, as the Patriots hosts the Texans in a teacher-apprentice match-up (re: Belichick v. O’Brien). Meanwhile, Cody Kessler takes the helm for Cleveland against Miami in a battle of two winless teams. This opens the door for a few amendments to the original predictions.

Ultimately, this boils down to the preparedness relative to other young quarterbacks. Let’s note that Jimmy Garappolo, Trevor Siemian and Carson Wentz all are 2-0 despite being first-time starters. Heck, Wentz is even a rookie, just like Dak Prescott (who relatively looks very composed for the 1-1 Cowboys). Brissett and Kessler are also rookies, so this makes for an interesting argument. Neither Brissett or Kessler (both third-round picks) qualify for our quarterback prospect study, we can at least provide some related context about these two.

Brissett was a two-year starter at North Carolina State after transferring from Florida. He posted a near even Relative Passing Efficiency (career 131.29 rating, division 131.18 in 2014 and 2015) while showing only a slight decline in some key passing stats. Kessler was a three-year starter at USC with strong relative numbers (+24.78 rating, +8.28 C%, +0.94 YPA, +1.79 TD% and +1.34 INT%). He improved markedly during his junior year before declining by a notable amount during his senior year. In short, Kessler could’ve been a first-round pick if he improved (instead of declining) as a senior.

We conclude that both quarterbacks have enough to not significantly drag down their respective teams. Brissett might be the weaker of the two quarterbacks, but he is coached by Bill Belichick after all. Belichick has the clear coaching advantage over Bill O’Brien on a short week, and he earned first-start wins for Tom Brady, Matt Casell and Jimmy Garappolo. Meanwhile, Kessler was an accurate passer who took care of the football at USC, and that should comfort a quarterback-friendly head coach like Hue Jackson. Plus, facing the third-worst team in the league isn’t exactly as the worst sentence for a rookie quarterback.

Beyond that, Kansas City’s loss last week puts us in an interesting pickle for our original Super Bowl outlook. With a Sunday Night Football game at the Steelers next week (with Le’Veon Bell set to return), a loss this week could mean the Chiefs are staring at a 1-3 start for the second consecutive season. Going two games under .500 isn’t normally fitting of a Super Bowl team, so we think Sunday’s game against the Jets enters “must win” territory. Meanwhile, we originally picked the Jets to beat the Chiefs as the lone salvage of a 1-5 start. That urgency is now gone after last week’s win in Buffalo. This is rare, but given our shining endorsement of Kansas City, we amend to pick Chiefs to win despite being one game below expectation.

Before continuing, let’s remember that this week’s predictions focus on how the 2016 NFL Season Predictions panned out, something which we will do until the match-ups for Week 5. Until the sample size from 2016 is sufficient, we need the original predictions to carry us at least until the TABRankings give full weight to the 2016 numbers. Note that the week-to-week analysis will progressively matter more until four weeks are in the books. We are likely to see another amendment or two next week.


Games of the Week (3 points each)
(8) Houston Texans (2-0) at (2) New England Patriots (2-0)
(3) Denver Broncos (2-0) at (10) Cincinnati Bengals (1-1)
(6) Minnesota Vikings (2-0) at (1) Carolina Panthers (1-1)
(13) New York Jets (1-1) at (7) Kansas City Chiefs (1-1) **Amended Pick**
(4) Pittsburgh Steelers (2-0) at (12) Philadelphia Eagles (2-0)

Non-GOTW Divisional Games (2 points each)
(24) Washington Redskins (0-2) at (14) New York Giants (2-0)
(17) Detroit Lions (1-1) at (11) Green Bay Packers (1-1)
(20) San Francisco 49ers (1-1) at (9) Seattle Seahawks (1-1)
(21) Atlanta Falcons (1-1) at (23) New Orleans Saints (0-2)

The Rest (1 point each)
(5) Arizona Cardinals (1-1) at (22) Buffalo Bills (0-2) **Upset of the Week**
(18) Oakland Raiders (1-1) at (29) Tennessee Titans (1-1)
(31) Cleveland Browns (0-2) at (30) Miami Dolphins (0-2)
(15) Baltimore Ravens (2-0) at (32) Jacksonville Jaguars (0-2)
(19) Los Angeles Rams (1-1) at (26) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-1)
(16) San Diego Chargers (1-1) at (27) Indianapolis Colts (0-2)
(28) Chicago Bears (0-2) at (25) Dallas Cowboys (1-1) **Lock of the Week**


Results: Record and Points
Week 3: 9-7 and 16 points (out of 30 possible points)
Season: 33-15 and 53 points (68.75 win and 62.35 point percentage)
GotW: 2-3 this week (5-7 overall… 41.67 win percentage)
Divisional: 3-1 this week (11-4 overall… 73.33 win percentage) [includes 1-1 in GOTW]
Upsets: 3-0 overall (49 ranking points)
Locks: 3-0 overall (current streak: Seahawks, Panthers, Cowboys)


Week 3: Expert Records and Points

Rank Expert Record Rank Expert Points
1 Adam Dobrowolski, TABM 33-15 1 Lorenzo Reyes, USAT 54
2 Mike Middlehurst-Schwartz, USAT 31-17 2 A. Dobrowolski 53
2 Jeff Ratcliffe, PFF 31-17 3 KC Joyner, ESPN 52
2 L. Reyes 31-17 4 FiveThirtyEight Elo 50
5 Chris Burke, SI 30-18 4 M. Middlehurst-Schwartz 50
5 FiveThirtyEight 30-18 6 Gordon McGuinness, PFF 49
7 Matt Bowen, ESPN 29-19 7 Kevin Seifert, ESPN 48
7 Vinnie Iyer, SN 29-19 8 C. Burke 47
7 K. Joyner 29-19 8 V. Iyer 47
7 Steve Mariucci, NFLN 29-19 8 J. Ratcliffe 47
7 G. McGuinness 29-19 11 Mike Golic, ESPN 46
7 Kurt Warner, NFLN 29-19 11 Steve Palazzolo, PFF 46
13 Adam Caplan, ESPN 28-20 11 K. Warner 46
13 M. Golic 28-20 14 M. Bowen 45
13 S. Palazzolo 28-20 14 A. Caplan 45
13 K. Seifert 28-20 14 Merril Hoge, ESPN 45
M Mean Record 27.5-20.5 14 Nathan Jahnke, PFF 45
17 Neil Hornsby, PFF 27-21 14 Pete Prisco, CBSS 45
18 N. Jahnke 26-22 M Mean Points 44.87
18 Ron Jaworski, ESPN 26-22 19 S. Mariucci 44
18 M. Hoge 26-22 20 Seth Wickersham, ESPN 43
18 Tom Pelissero, USAT 26-22 21 Football Outsiders 42
18 P. Prisco 26-22 21 N. Hornsby 42
18 S. Wickersham 26-22 23 Dan Graziano, ESPN 41
24 Nate Davis, USAT 25-23 23 T. Pelissero 41
25 FB Outsiders 25-23 25 Jarrett Bell, USAT 40
25 D. Graziano 25-23 25 Marshall Faulk, NFLN 40
27 J. Bell 24-24 25 R. Jaworski 40
27 M. Faulk 24-24 25 Sam Monson, PFF 40
27 S. Monson 24-24 29 N. Davis 38
30 Mike Renner, PFF 23-25 30 M. Renner 35

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

No expert earned more than 10 wins this week, so it was a tough go all around. That means a relatively superb week (for our standards) doesn’t hurt all that much. The Games of the Week didn’t exactly go as planned either, as the consensus “favorites” went only 1-4 week in those Week 3 games. Heck, the consensus “favorite” only went 2-2 in the two-point match-ups. All said, if you picked all “favorites” by expert consensus, you would’ve finished with an 8-8 record and 12 points. That makes our week good by comparison.

It turns out holding up on the Patriots amendment while going with the Chiefs amendment were our best plays of the week. And neither team even made it look close. Our 15 losses are actually only by a combined 129 points (8.6-point average), with only one coming by a “big” margin (17+ points). That game was the Steelers-Eagles from Sunday. That’s a legitimate surprise.

Next week will be the final one to consider the original prediction used for our season preview. We’ll see if it keeps us ahead of the rest.


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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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