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Sep 08

NFL 2016 Pick’em

WEEK 6: BLOWN DOUBLE-DIGIT LEADS SPOIL PROMISING WEEK
Week 6 is ripe of interesting games and quirky analytical twists. A heavy majority of this week’s games feature something we must mention to explain our picks. Time to buckle up! Fittingly so, the results this week were filled with twists and turns.

Starting with the Thursday Night Football game, the Broncos will play without head coach Gary Kubiak. That makes for a very interesting twist. We can’t help but think Denver won’t be as prepared as they can be, all the while heading into San Diego to face the league’s least clutch team thus far. Believe it or not though, the Chargers rank second in scoring offense. Remember that the first-ranked Falcons won in Denver last Sunday. Going against better judgment, we make a late switch to pick the Chargers.

Beyond that, there are nine match-ups between teams within one game of each other. This makes for many tough-to-pick games. For the Games of the Week, we take the two home teams in 4-1 v. 3-1 match-ups. The Seahawks and Packers are more proven with the stronger defensive play. As impressive as Atlanta was to win in Denver last week, let’s state the obvious by saying Russell Wilson will be a tougher quarterback to beat than Paxton Lynch. We don’t think 23 points will be enough for the Falcons this time around. Meanwhile, as perfect as Dallas has managed pace during a four-game win streak, the match-up in Green Bay presents previously unseen challenges. The Packers have the league’s best run defense so far. We also still think Aaron Rodgers is an important factor.

Looking at the divisional games, the battle in DC could influence the White House. For 19 consecutive elections, the winner in Washington’s final home preceding the General Election determined if the incumbent party remained in the White House. That streak ended in 2012, even though Washington followed that with seven consecutive wins to close the regular season. In the very rarely political analysis, we think Hillary Clinton keeps the Democratic Party in the White House, so we take Washington to win.

Elsewhere, we take the road teams to thrive in must-win situations. Before the season started, we predicted Carolina and Indianapolis to win their respective south divisions. It should help that Carolina takes on a poor New Orleans defense, while Indianapolis takes on a poor Houston offense. We think this hides the problems in the Carolina offense and Indianapolis defense.

Looking at the rest, we will pick Baltimore based on the element of surprise. The Ravens switch from Marc Trestman to Marty Mornhinweg at offensive coordinator, and new elements for that unit may be enough to make Baltimore’s offense superior to New York’s struggling attack. The Jaguars also get the nod of the road, but this time the edge comes on defense. Outside of the horrible showing in San Diego, Jacksonville’s defense overall looks like its trending up relative to last year. We close out this group of games by picking the Lions and Cardinals, as neither the Rams or Jets have the offenses to keep up with what the home teams will provide.

If all that wasn’t enough, there’s still another Game of the Week to discuss. Andy Reid’s impeccable record after the bye week (15-2) comes into play in Oakland. This makes things quite interesting, as Kansas City’s defense has been hit-or-miss thus far. The unit played poorly against good offenses like San Diego and Pittsburgh, all the while handling shaky offenses like Houston and New York quite well. Here’s a chance to break the trend, as Reid’s post-bye successes should knock the Raiders down a peg back to reality.

Finally, let’s focus on the Lock of the Week. We entertained going with the Bills over the 49ers, but we think there’s a slight chance that the San Francisco switch to Colin Kaepernick at quarterback presents some element of surprise for the visitors. Meanwhile, we also considered the Steelers over the Dolphins, but Mike Tomlin’s Steelers have a penchant for letdown games. At 4-1, we think there’s an outside chance that letdown happens this week. For those reasons, we think the Cardinals are the safest bet to win.

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Games of the Week (3 points each)
(17) Kansas City Chiefs (2-2) at (7) Oakland Raiders (4-1)
(5) Atlanta Falcons (4-1) at (11) Seattle Seahawks (3-1)
(8) Dallas Cowboys (4-1) at (10) Green Bay Packers (3-1)

Non-GOTW Divisional Games (2 points each)
(9) Denver Broncos (4-1) at (23) San Diego Chargers (1-4)
(2) Philadelphia Eagles (3-1) at (14) Washington Redskins (3-2)
(27) Carolina Panthers (1-4) at (25) New Orleans Saints (1-3)
(30) Indianapolis Colts (2-3) at (12) Houston Texans (3-2) **Upset of the Week**

The Rest (1 point each)
(26) San Francisco 49ers (1-4) at (6) Buffalo Bills (3-2)
(31) Cleveland Browns (0-5) at (20) Tennessee Titans (2-3)
(13) Baltimore Ravens (3-2) at (18) New York Giants (2-3)
(28) Jacksonville Jaguars (1-3) at (24) Chicago Bears (1-4)
(16) Los Angeles Rams (3-2) at (21) Detroit Lions (2-3)
(3) Pittsburgh Steelers (4-1) at (32) Miami Dolphins (2-3)
(22) Cincinnati Bengals (2-3) at (4) New England Patriots (4-1)
(29) New York Jets (1-4) at (15) Arizona Cardinals (2-3) **Lock of the Week**

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Results: Record and Points
Week 6: 9-6 and 15 points (out of 25 possible points)
Season: 61-31 and 99 points (66.30 win and 61.49 point percentage)
GotW: 2-1 this week (11-11 overall… 50 win percentage)
Divisional: 3-2 this week (18-11 overall… 62.07 win percentage) [includes 2-2 in GOTW]
Upsets: 4-2 overall (65 ranking points)
Locks: 6-0 overall (current streak: Seahawks, Panthers, Cowboys, Vikings, Patriots, Cardinals)

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Week 6: Expert Records and Points

Rank Expert Record Rank Expert Points
1 Adam Dobrowolski, TABM 61-31 1 A. Dobrowolski 99
2 Neil Hornsby, PFF 59-33 1 KC Joyner, ESPN 99
2 Mike Middlehurst-Schwartz, USAT 59-33 3 M. Middlehurst-Schwartz 94
4 Chris Burke, SI 58-34 4 N. Hornsby 93
4 K. Joyner 58-34 5 K. Warner 92
4 Kurt Warner, NFLN 58-34 6 C. Burke 91
7 G. McGuinness 56-36 6 Gordon McGuinness, PFF 91
8 FiveThirtyEight 55-37 8 FiveThirtyEight Elo 90
9 Matt Bowen, ESPN 54-38 8 Kevin Seifert, ESPN 90
9 M. Golic 54-38 10 Mike Golic, ESPN 89
9 M. Hoge 54-38 10 Lorenzo Reyes, USAT 89
9 Vinnie Iyer, SN 54-38 12 Merril Hoge, ESPN 87
9 Jeff Ratcliffe, PFF 54-38 12 V. Iyer 87
9 L. Reyes 54-38 14 Jarrett Bell, USAT 86
9 K. Seifert 54-38 M Mean Points 85.63
M Mean Record 53.53-38.47 15 M. Bowen 85
16 Adam Caplan, ESPN 53-39 15 A. Caplan 85
16 Tom Pelissero, USAT 53-39 17 Nathan Jahnke, PFF 84
18 J. Bell 52-40 18 Marshall Faulk, NFLN 83
18 Ron Jaworski, ESPN 52-40 18 Dan Graziano, ESPN 83
18 Steve Mariucci, NFLN 52-40 18 T. Pelissero 83
18 Steve Palazzolo, PFF 52-40 18 Pete Prisco, CBSS 83
22 Nate Davis, USAT 51-41 22 J. Ratcliffe 82
22 D. Graziano 51-41 23 S. Palazzolo 81
22 N. Jahnke 51-41 24 Football Outsiders 80
22 P. Prisco 51-41 25 Mike Renner, PFF 79
22 Seth Wickersham, ESPN 51-41 25 S. Wickersham 79
27 M. Faulk 50-42 27 R. Jaworski 78
27 FB Outsiders 50-42 27 S. Mariucci 78
27 M. Renner 50-42 29 N. Davis 77
30 Sam Monson, PFF 45-47 30 S. Monson 72

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

It ends up that the Colts (14 points) and Ravens (10 points) both blowing double-digit leads proved to be costly this week. Two games and three points (accounting for a four-game and six-point differential) won’t make a major difference in the big picture of this competition, but it will most certainly add up if this trend continues. Odds are that luck will be our side once or twice more, while luck will be against us once or twice more. Situations like this tend to even out over the span of 17 weeks and the postseason.

At least we had a better Week 6 than previous points leader KC Joyner of ESPN. We are now in a two-way tie atop the list in this competition. Heck, through six weeks, we actually top all competitors. Looking at NFL PIckwatch’s standings, we top the list of 118 “experts” (re: actual experts, plus Pickwatch’s factor trackers) that are tracked by group. Kate Hairopoulos of Dallas Morning News sits just one game behind us, and she is the only other expert to hit the 60-win mark through six weeks. Perhaps we’re playing the role of 5-0 Vikings to her 5-1 Cowboys. Of course, there are other close competitors. Those like Joyner, Neil Hornsby of Pro Football Focus and Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz of USA Today are within scouting distance to overtaking TABMathletics as soon as Week 7.

As for somebody who isn’t providing a close competition so far, meet Pete Prisco. Still in denial that Russell Wilson is a superior quarterback to Andrew Luck, Prisco decided to take it up our own Adam Dobrowolski on Twitter. Let’s just say the argument was just as one sides as our 55-game and 103-point lead over him since 2013. We’d show you his hollow “barbs” and out-of-touch arguments, but he resorted to block Dobrowolski on Twitter. So you can check it out Dobrowolski’s Twitter for yourself and assess the damage.

All clowns aside, we just need to steering the ship straight ahead in the upcoming weeks. Consider this: our 2016 NFL Preview Predictions own a 57-35 record with 89 points through six weeks. Most teams are heading towards our win projections, so we don’t need to rethink our thought process all that much. Continuing with this week’s theme, 14 of 15 games in Week 7 will feature match-ups of teams within two games of each other. It’s time to dig deep to find winners for this challenge slate of games.

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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