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Sep 08

NFL 2016 Pick’em

WEEK 5: TOUGH TIMES CONTINUE FOR MOST — BUT NOT US
Since our 2016 NFL Season Predictions did so well, except for the Games of the Week, we felt good about emerging from Week 5 as the competition’s top expert as long as we could correctly predict the top four match-ups of the week. Look at those four match-ups, the most intriguing game featured Atlanta’s elite offense against Denver’s elite defense. Both units were arguably the best in the league heading into Sunday, making up a juicy match-up to say the least. However, with quarterback Trevor Siemian out due to the injury, the Denver offense lost its advantage over the Atlanta defense. We don’t expect Paxton Lynch to keep up the Falcons, even if the Broncos will limit the scoring. As a result, we go against the grain to pick the Atlanta grabbing a monster win on the road.

In the other match-ups, we feel quite confident to take at least two of three. The Vikings defense owns a distinct advantage over the Texans offense, which makes Minnesota an easy choice to win. The Cowboys have yet to face a team as good or balanced as the Bengals, so that will make a tough challenge for rookie Dak Prescott. Finally, the Rams are being outscored despite their 3-1 record, which suggests they will likely regress soon. Note that we think the Cincinnati-Dallas game is probably the toughest Game of the Week to pick. The other three should be relatively safe picks, as far as Games of the Week usually go.

As for the rest of the games go, we are in interesting pickle. There is either a major ranking disparity (25-rank differential or greater) and a close match-up (eight-rank differential or less) for all other games EXCEPT for the Chargers-Raiders. This pretty much forces us to take the Chargers for our upset of the week, even if we can’t remotely trust them to close out a win. We may have to eat a loss here.

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Games of the Week (3 points each)
(12) Houston Texans (3-1) at (1) Minnesota Vikings (4-0)
(6) Atlanta Falcons (3-1) at (3) Denver Broncos (4-0)
(16) Cincinnati Bengals (2-2) at (8) Dallas Cowboys (3-1)
(7) Buffalo Bills (2-2) at (14) Los Angeles Rams (3-1)

Non-GOTW Divisional Games (2 points each)
(24) Arizona Cardinals (1-3) at (20) San Francisco 49ers (1-3)
(21) San Diego Chargers (1-3) at (9) Oakland Raiders (3-1) **Upset of the Week**
(26) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-3) at (19) Carolina Panthers (1-3)

The Rest (1 point each)
(5) New England Patriots (3-1) at (32) Cleveland Browns (0-4) **Lock of the Week**
(4) Philadelphia Eagles (3-0) at (31) Detroit Lions (1-3)
(22) Chicago Bears (1-3) at (29) Indianapolis Colts (1-3)
(28) Tennessee Titans (1-3) at (30) Miami Dolphins (1-3)
(17) Washington Redskins (2-2) at (13) Baltimore Ravens (3-1)
(27) New York Jets (1-3) at (2) Pittsburgh Steelers (3-1)
(18) New York Giants (2-2) at (10) Green Bay Packers (2-1)

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Results: Record and Points
Week 5: 9-5 and 16 points (out of 25 possible points)
Season: 52-25 and 84 points (67.53 win and 61.76 point percentage)
GotW: 3-1 this week (9-10 overall… 47.37 win percentage)
Divisional: 1-2 this week (15-9 overall… 62.5 win percentage) [includes 1-2 in GOTW]
Upsets: 4-1 overall (65 ranking points)
Locks: 5-0 overall (current streak: Seahawks, Panthers, Cowboys, Vikings, Patriots)

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Week 5: Expert Records and Points

Rank Expert Record Rank Expert Points
1 Adam Dobrowolski, TABM 52-25 1 KC Joyner, ESPN 85
2 Mike Middlehurst-Schwartz, USAT 50-27 2 A. Dobrowolski 84
3 K. Joyner 48-29 3 M. Middlehurst-Schwartz 82
3 Kurt Warner, NFLN 48-29 4 Lorenzo Reyes, USAT 80
5 Matt Bowen, ESPN 47-30 5 K. Warner 76
5 Neil Hornsby, PFF 47-30 6 M. Bowen 75
5 L. Reyes 47-30 6 Mike Golic, ESPN 75
8 Chris Burke, SI 46-31 6 Nathan Jahnke, PFF 75
8 Jeff Ratcliffe, PFF 46-31 9 FiveThirtyEight Elo 74
10 FiveThirtyEight 45-32 9 N. Hornsby 74
10 M. Golic 45-32 9 Gordon McGuinness, PFF 74
10 Vinnie Iyer, SN 45-32 12 Kevin Seifert, ESPN 73
10 G. McGuinness 45-32 13 C. Burke 72
M Mean Record 44.1-32.9 13 V. Iyer 72
14 Adam Caplan, ESPN 44-33 M Mean Points 71.13
14 N. Jahnke 44-33 15 A. Caplan 71
14 Steve Mariucci, NFLN 44-33 15 Merril Hoge, ESPN 71
14 Steve Palazzolo, PFF 44-33 17 Marshall Faulk, NFLN 70
14 K. Seifert 44-33 17 S. Palazzolo 70
19 M. Hoge 43-34 19 Pete Prisco, CBSS 69
19 Tom Pelissero, USAT 43-34 19 J. Ratcliffe 69
21 Nate Davis, USAT 42-35 21 Dan Graziano, ESPN 68
21 M. Faulk 42-35 22 Football Outsiders 67
21 D. Graziano 42-35 22 T. Pelissero 67
24 FB Outsiders 41-36 24 Jarrett Bell, USAT 65
24 Ron Jaworski, ESPN 41-36 24 S. Mariucci 65
24 P. Prisco 41-36 26 N. Davis 63
27 J. Bell 40-37 26 Sam Monson, PFF 63
27 Seth Wickersham, ESPN 40-37 26 S. Wickersham 63
29 Mike Renner, PFF 39-38 29 M. Renner 62
30 S. Monson 38-39 30 R. Jaworski 60

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

All said, our Falcons pick was the true winner of the week. Very few experts went with the road team in this match-up, sticking their hopes on the defending Super Bowl champions and the elite defense. This game provided yet another example that balance wins out more often than sheer defense. On the flip side, our most costly pick was the upset. Like we said earlier, it was just one we had to eat.

Week 6 provides another interesting challenge, with nine of 15 games featuring a match-up between teams within one game of each other in win-loss record. This includes expected Games of the Week involving Falcons-Seahawks and Cowboys-Packers, two showdowns between a pair of one-loss teams. We’ll need to do quite a bit of research to feel comfortable with our picks.

4 comments

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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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