2013 COAS/SSLYAR Pigskin Pick’Em: Week 13

Apologies to everyone involved for throwing these picks up late – traveling 370 miles to visit family on Thanksgiving Day doesn’t leave much time for writing NFL synopses, but better late than never! At least that’s what I’m hoping. In the interest of full disclosure, here’s how Lucas and I picked yesterday’s games:

Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions (-5.5)

Lucas: Packers. I know, Aaron Rodgers isn’t playing, and this isn’t 2011, but remember the last time Matt Flynn played Detroit? Also, it’s Thanksgiving, so Ndamukong Suh is due to do something that reminds us all that he’s a dirty player. If you don’t believe me, Evan Dietrich-Smith’s arm and Matt Schaub’s balls would like a word with you.

Nathaniel: Lions. I predict the Lions will rack up over 500 yards of offense and the Packers won’t crack 100 until James Jones catches a long pass on their last possession of the game. I also predict Aaron Rodgers’ mustache will look awesome on the sideline.

Oakland Raiders at Dallas Cowboys (-9.5)

Lucas: Raiders. This is less about Matt McGloin starting and more about I don’t trust the Cowboys to win by double digits. I think they win; it is November, after all, but I like the points here.

Nathaniel: Raiders. I predict that the Cowboys will find a way to give up a touchdown on their opening kickoff return of the game, but still win anyway. I also predict Sebastian Janikowski will lead an inspiring last second backdoor cover for the Raiders.

Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens (-2.5)

Lucas: Ravens. General rule of thumb: take the Ravens at home. Pitt will make this a game, but the Ravens are a better team at home than they are on the road.

Nathaniel: Ravens. I predict the Steelers will score three touchdowns on their final possession but only one of them will stand. I also predict that Emmanuel Sanders will suck at catching passes like he always does.

Okay, fine, I wrote my synopses retroactively – all the picks are accurate, however. Lucas went 1-2 yesterday and I went 2-1. Lucas still leads overall this year by five games. Here’s how we’re picking the rest of Week 13’s games:

Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings (-0.5)

Lucas: Vikings. Be prepared to hear a lot of this on Sunday, Bears fans.

Nathaniel: Bears. You don’t have to remind me how bad the Bears defense has been this year, but how exactly does a matchup with 2-8-1 team vs. a 6-5 team get called a virtual pick’em? There’s a reason the 2-8-1 team’s only won two games all year.

Jacksonville Jaguars at Cleveland Browns (-7.5)

Lucas: Jaguars. Why am I on a Jaguars kick lately? This was a team that just a month ago was being hyped up as maybe the worst team ever! Hey, morons, still think the best college teams can beat Jacksonville? Also, Brandon Weeden.

Nathaniel: Jaguars. In five short weeks, Browns fans will (Lord-willing) never be subjected to Brandon Weeden’s sadistic forms of torture ever again. For the love of God, please find something else to do at 1 o’clock on Sundays in December, Browns fans.

Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts (-4.5)

Lucas: Colts. Indy has been kind of awful lately, but coming home to face a mediocre Titans team might be just what the doctor ordered.

Nathaniel: Titans. I don’t like having to put my faith in Ryan Fitzpatrick, but I really don’t think the Colts are a good team right now and Reggie Wayne isn’t walking through that door any time soon.

Miami Dolphins at New York Jets (-1.5)

Lucas: Jets. Maybe Nathaniel is right and the Jets can only win in odd numbered weeks.

Nathaniel: Dolphins. Sure hope I’m wrong this week, though!

New England Patriots at Houston Texans (+8.5)

Lucas: Patriots. I’d make a “Bill Belichick takes the wind” joke here, but it wouldn’t fit indoors. What also won’t fit indoors will be the sound of the boos coming from the Texans fans after another clunker.

Nathaniel: Patriots. Who thought in August that the Texans would be the favorite to secure the #1 pick in the 2014 draft going into December? This after starting 2-0, too! What a bizarre tailspin this team’s been in.

Arizona Cardinals at Philadelphia Eagles (-3.5)

Lucas: Cardinals. I know the Eagles offense has been pretty good, but why is there no real fear in Vegas of the Arizona defense? I feel like they can contain Nick Foles and company.

Nathaniel: Cardinals. The NFC representative in this year’s Super Bowl seems likely to be either Seattle or New Orleans, but Arizona would be a pretty intriguing dark horse if they could sneak in as a wild-card. They’re secretly one of the ten best teams in the league and nobody would want to see that defense in January. This is definitely the best of the early games.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers (-8.5)

Lucas: Panthers. This is a pretty big spread considering Tampa has won three in a row. Carolina has had a resurgence though, and I’m not sure they can contain Cam Newton and company.

Nathaniel: Buccaneers. Is Greg Schiano actually saving his job now? Cue to all seven Buccaneers fans screaming, “NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!”

Atlanta Falcons at Buffalo Bills (-3.5)

Lucas: Falcons. As bad as the Falcons are, I don’t think they’re 2-9 bad. Give them one.

Nathaniel: Falcons. Only because the Bills’ excellent home-field advantage goes out the window when they play in Toronto.

St. Louis Rams at San Francisco 49ers (-9.5)

Lucas: Rams. To my chagrin, I picked the Rams last time, but I’m sticking to my guns. Mainly because I think Tavon Austin is still running.

Nathaniel: Rams. The Rams are back to being the team Jeff Fisher always hopes his teams will be at the end of the year – .500 and not having any chance at the playoffs, but a real pain in the tucus to play. Doesn’t seem likely that the 49ers will have enough offensive firepower to make this line stand up.

Cincinnati Bengals at San Diego Chargers (-1.5)

Lucas: Bengals. I’m already supporting one ginger quarterback. Why not another?

Nathaniel: Chargers. If anyone of those AFC wild-card hopefuls in that 5-6 quagmire has a real shot of reaching 9-7, it’s probably the Chargers. They’ve got four home games left and they may very well have the best offense in the league. They also may very well have the worst defense, but let’s forget about that for now.

Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs (+4.5)

Lucas: Broncos. Andy Reid was going to take the wind, but he was too busy wolfing down his 34th barbecued turkey.

Nathaniel: Broncos. Just can’t envision the Chiefs scoring enough to win this game.

New York Giants at Washington Redskins (+1.5)

Lucas: Giants. I just don’t trust the Skins this year. I feel like there’s too much dysfunction in that locker room and RGIII isn’t the same and their defense sucks… there’s probably more, but I think that suffices.

Nathaniel: Giants. Looks like NBC forgot they can flex games out of Sunday Night Football late in the year. Blech.

New Orleans Saints at Seattle Seahawks (-5.5)

Lucas: Seahawks. Originally, I was going to pick the Saints. I feel like they’re one of only a handful of teams that can take the Seahawks in Seattle. Then I saw the weather forecast for Monday and remembered that Drew Brees sucks in the cold. Also, the last time the Saints were in town, Marshawn Lynch caused an earthquake.

Nathaniel: Saints. Nothing much on the line here, just home field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. Let’s enjoy this one, folks!

2013 records:

Lucas: 92-88 (7-7 last week, 1-2 so far this week)

Nathaniel: 87-93 (7-7 last week, 2-1 so far this week)

Also, here’s this week’s Predictive Yards per Play rankings (not including Thanksgiving’s games):

Offensive Predictive Yards per Play Rankings, through Week 12:

Rank Team Yards Plays Passing TDs INTs Rushing TDs Fumbles SOS Predictive Yards per Play
1 San Diego Chargers 4485 722 22 8 6 8 -0.22 6.91
2 New Orleans Saints 4565 739 28 8 7 9 -0.06 6.67
3 Green Bay Packers 4668 746 17 10 11 13 -0.02 6.42
4 Atlanta Falcons 3830 682 18 12 5 12 0.42 5.93
5 Denver Broncos 4967 803 36 7 14 26 -0.32 5.62
6 Indianapolis Colts 3738 692 15 8 11 6 0.22 5.59
7 Philadelphia Eagles 4536 719 21 7 10 14 -0.25 5.58
8 Chicago Bears 4097 703 20 9 9 13 -0.04 5.56
9 Detroit Lions 4533 762 24 12 9 17 -0.19 5.51
10 Carolina Panthers 3507 711 17 9 11 10 0.27 5.46
11 Seattle Seahawks 3943 673 20 6 11 20 0.02 5.44
12 New England Patriots 4080 784 17 7 12 19 0.15 5.04
13 Houston Texans 3998 764 16 13 2 14 0.19 5.03
14 Tennessee Titans 3672 696 15 8 10 20 0.08 4.89
15 Pittsburgh Steelers 3734 716 19 10 4 12 0.13 4.87
16 Dallas Cowboys 3605 653 23 7 6 12 -0.17 4.82
17 Cincinnati Bengals 4010 756 21 15 7 15 0.12 4.80
18 St. Louis Rams 3571 687 18 6 6 15 0.02 4.77
19 Washington Redskins 4311 768 14 13 12 18 -0.54 4.76
20 San Francisco 49ers 3394 651 14 7 15 16 0.10 4.50
21 Arizona Cardinals 3674 694 16 15 8 17 0.09 4.44
22 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 3337 705 16 7 4 13 -0.02 4.41
23 Kansas City Chiefs 3595 728 14 5 9 12 -0.15 4.38
24 Minnesota Vikings 3624 687 11 13 15 17 -0.15 4.35
25 Buffalo Bills 3642 774 12 9 9 20 0.35 4.34
26 Cleveland Browns 3548 751 18 13 1 13 0.13 4.33
27 Miami Dolphins 3410 683 15 12 7 10 -0.08 4.25
28 Baltimore Ravens 3397 749 14 14 6 11 0.17 4.14
29 Oakland Raiders 3671 692 11 12 10 17 -0.22 4.11
30 New York Jets 3468 702 9 18 6 13 0.12 3.92
31 Jacksonville Jaguars 3113 692 5 16 7 13 0.20 3.68
32 New York Giants 3563 694 14 18 7 16 -0.53 3.50

Defensive Predictive Yards per Play Rankings, through Week 12:

Rank Team Yards Plays Passing TDs INTs Rushing TDs Fumbles SOS Predictive Yards per Play
1 San Francisco 49ers 3428 712 11 12 9 17 0.28 3.77
2 Arizona Cardinals 3488 729 19 15 4 12 0.27 3.84
3 Seattle Seahawks 3226 697 12 16 4 23 -0.07 3.90
4 Baltimore Ravens 3619 716 17 9 1 17 -0.15 4.26
5 New York Jets 3552 715 20 6 6 15 0.05 4.30
6 Cincinnati Bengals 3444 745 14 12 4 12 -0.19 4.34
7 New York Giants 3688 729 16 12 7 16 0.16 4.36
8 Houston Texans 3194 644 18 4 8 11 -0.06 4.38
9 Cleveland Browns 3367 757 18 8 9 9 -0.19 4.40
10 Carolina Panthers 3272 658 9 15 3 14 -0.26 4.47
11 Kansas City Chiefs 3860 718 13 12 6 17 -0.13 4.50
12 Tennessee Titans 3655 692 8 9 15 17 -0.08 4.64
13 New Orleans Saints 3409 652 11 10 9 13 -0.13 4.68
14 Buffalo Bills 3826 752 22 16 4 10 -0.22 4.70
15 Miami Dolphins 3944 764 12 14 11 9 0.32 4.74
16 Oakland Raiders 3929 716 21 7 7 22 0.05 4.76
17 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 3807 702 22 15 5 12 0.34 4.76
18 Denver Broncos 4158 767 21 13 10 18 -0.09 4.76
19 New England Patriots 3961 783 18 13 5 17 -0.04 4.77
20 St. Louis Rams 3942 688 17 12 12 20 0.11 4.83
21 Pittsburgh Steelers 3775 711 13 7 13 14 -0.27 5.12
22 Detroit Lions 4013 691 21 11 5 11 -0.07 5.12
23 Jacksonville Jaguars 4134 721 20 5 15 19 0.14 5.14
24 Washington Redskins 4203 696 22 10 15 10 0.34 5.36
25 Chicago Bears 4136 685 16 14 14 19 0.10 5.43
26 Philadelphia Eagles 4597 824 17 13 7 15 -0.08 5.69
27 Indianapolis Colts 4060 696 16 8 9 14 -0.03 5.71
28 Minnesota Vikings 4411 786 24 8 13 12 0.21 5.83
29 Green Bay Packers 3956 700 19 4 9 11 -0.24 5.96
30 Dallas Cowboys 4754 772 22 12 11 14 0.10 6.10
31 Atlanta Falcons 4193 692 23 6 8 7 0.08 6.43
32 San Diego Chargers 4285 668 18 6 9 10 -0.11 6.69

Predictive Yards per Play Differential, through Week 12:

Rank Team PY/P Diff. Remaining SOS Projected Wins
1 New Orleans Saints 1.99 12.33 12.40
2 Seattle Seahawks 1.54 6.52 13.46
3 Carolina Panthers 0.99 7.96 10.75
4 Denver Broncos 0.85 1.16 12.09
5 San Francisco 49ers 0.73 -0.85 9.96
6 Houston Texans 0.64 -1.72 4.65
7 Arizona Cardinals 0.60 10.14 9.67
8 Cincinnati Bengals 0.47 -12.80 10.16
9 Green Bay Packers 0.45 -6.68 8.14
10 Detroit Lions 0.38 -16.46 9.04
11 New England Patriots 0.27 -3.74 10.82
12 Tennessee Titans 0.25 0.00 7.62
13 San Diego Chargers 0.23 -9.55 7.88
14 Chicago Bears 0.13 -13.44 8.81
15 St. Louis Rams -0.06 22.79 6.55
16 Cleveland Browns -0.07 -6.90 6.44
17 Philadelphia Eagles -0.11 -11.80 8.65
18 Indianapolis Colts -0.12 -6.65 9.16
19 Kansas City Chiefs -0.12 -2.57 11.51
20 Baltimore Ravens -0.12 -5.79 7.57
21 Pittsburgh Steelers -0.25 -4.73 7.61
22 Tampa Bay Buccaneers -0.34 14.33 4.65
23 Buffalo Bills -0.37 -12.65 6.52
24 New York Jets -0.38 -8.94 7.26
25 Miami Dolphins -0.49 -4.94 7.31
26 Atlanta Falcons -0.50 2.09 4.00
27 Washington Redskins -0.60 -22.26 5.57
28 Oakland Raiders -0.65 0.08 5.91
29 New York Giants -0.86 4.65 5.62
30 Dallas Cowboys -1.29 -11.67 8.11
31 Jacksonville Jaguars -1.46 -8.96 3.60
32 Minnesota Vikings -1.48 -4.63 4.15

Projected AFC Playoff Picture, through Week 12:

RDS PER PLAY RANKINGS

Busy week offline for me, so this will mostly just be a data dump. One important thing to note: Denver’s win over Kansas City Sunday Night reinstalled the Broncos as slight favorites to win the AFC West and, by extension, home field advantage throughout the playoffs in Predictive Yards per Play’s eyes. Of course, the rematch at Arrowhead Stadium on Thanksgiving Weekend will ultimately be the deciding factor.

Offensive Predictive Yards per Play Rankings, through Week 11:

Rank Team Yards Plays Passing TDs INTs Rushing TDs Fumbles SOS Predictive Yards per Play
1 San Diego Chargers 3994 655 19 8 4 7 -0.26 6.78
2 New Orleans Saints 4191 680 26 8 7 9 0.05 6.61
3 Green Bay Packers 4174 657 16 10 9 13 0.10 6.54
4 Denver Broncos 4555 717 34 6 13 21 -0.30 5.79
5 Atlanta Falcons 3475 616 18 12 4 11 0.38 5.79
6 Detroit Lions 4143 690 21 8 9 14 -0.16 5.72
7 Indianapolis Colts 3499 637 14 7 11 6 0.09 5.66
8 Philadelphia Eagles 4536 719 21 7 10 14 -0.18 5.63
9 Carolina Panthers 3212 642 16 8 10 10 0.23 5.55
10 Chicago Bears 3673 629 18 8 8 10 -0.06 5.50
11 Seattle Seahawks 3943 673 20 6 11 20 -0.02 5.39
12 New England Patriots 3640 700 14 7 11 13 0.15 5.20
13 Houston Texans 3780 707 16 12 2 14 0.27 5.20
14 Washington Redskins 4121 710 14 12 12 17 -0.67 4.94
15 Pittsburgh Steelers 3432 648 17 10 4 12 0.13 4.88
16 Cincinnati Bengals 4010 756 21 15 7 15 0.12 4.79
17 Dallas Cowboys 3278 591 21 6 6 11 -0.26 4.67
18 Tennessee Titans 3246 623 13 8 10 17 0.08 4.65
19 San Francisco 49ers 3090 592 11 7 15 13 0.18 4.60
20 St. Louis Rams 3165 634 17 6 3 15 0.05 4.51
21 Kansas City Chiefs 3200 669 11 4 7 11 0.03 4.47
22 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 3108 656 14 7 4 12 -0.04 4.46
23 Minnesota Vikings 3177 608 10 13 14 15 -0.03 4.38
24 Cleveland Browns 3181 678 17 12 1 10 0.15 4.36
25 Buffalo Bills 3642 774 12 9 9 20 0.35 4.33
26 Arizona Cardinals 3264 623 14 15 7 16 0.11 4.16
27 Miami Dolphins 3078 621 14 11 7 10 -0.11 4.16
28 Baltimore Ravens 3085 687 13 13 6 11 0.15 4.04
29 New York Jets 3248 647 9 16 6 12 0.02 4.00
30 Oakland Raiders 3318 637 10 11 10 15 -0.26 3.92
31 Jacksonville Jaguars 2780 627 5 16 6 12 0.19 3.55
32 New York Giants 3207 632 12 18 7 15 -0.40 3.51

Defensive Predictive Yards per Play Rankings, through Week 11:

Rank Team Yards Plays Passing TDs INTs Rushing TDs Fumbles SOS Predictive Yards per Play
1 Arizona Cardinals 3249 674 18 14 4 12 0.23 3.88
2 San Francisco 49ers 3238 654 11 11 9 16 0.26 3.92
3 Seattle Seahawks 3226 697 12 16 4 23 -0.11 3.93
4 New York Jets 3240 653 19 5 6 15 0.11 4.21
5 New York Giants 3361 667 14 11 7 15 0.24 4.24
6 Cincinnati Bengals 3444 745 14 12 4 12 -0.15 4.29
7 Baltimore Ravens 3399 661 17 7 1 16 -0.01 4.30
8 Cleveland Browns 3065 689 16 8 9 9 -0.17 4.33
9 Houston Texans 2861 579 18 4 7 10 -0.05 4.38
10 Kansas City Chiefs 3369 651 10 12 4 16 -0.30 4.39
11 Carolina Panthers 2940 596 8 14 3 14 -0.25 4.43
12 Tennessee Titans 3302 637 7 8 15 15 -0.03 4.53
13 Oakland Raiders 3503 643 19 7 7 19 0.09 4.61
14 New Orleans Saints 3054 586 11 10 8 12 -0.27 4.63
15 Buffalo Bills 3826 752 22 16 4 10 -0.19 4.66
16 St. Louis Rams 3518 614 15 11 11 17 0.05 4.81
17 Miami Dolphins 3649 695 11 13 10 9 0.28 4.82
18 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 3417 630 19 11 5 9 0.29 4.90
19 Denver Broncos 3718 683 18 13 9 12 -0.15 4.93
20 New England Patriots 3549 697 16 12 4 12 -0.10 4.95
21 Pittsburgh Steelers 3408 638 12 6 13 11 -0.25 5.21
22 Chicago Bears 3730 632 15 14 11 19 0.15 5.22
23 Detroit Lions 3784 642 19 11 5 10 -0.04 5.25
24 Jacksonville Jaguars 3916 664 20 4 15 19 0.10 5.33
25 Washington Redskins 3899 637 19 10 15 7 0.44 5.38
26 Indianapolis Colts 3650 625 14 8 8 13 -0.02 5.56
27 Philadelphia Eagles 4597 824 17 13 7 15 -0.06 5.65
28 Minnesota Vikings 3917 697 23 8 11 12 0.14 5.86
29 Green Bay Packers 3509 621 18 4 8 9 -0.18 5.94
30 Dallas Cowboys 4398 710 20 12 11 13 0.26 5.96
31 Atlanta Falcons 3819 633 21 6 8 7 -0.08 6.53
32 San Diego Chargers 3890 609 15 5 7 9 -0.07 6.77

Predictive Yards per Play Differential, through Week 12:

Rank Team PY/P Diff. Remaining SOS Projected Wins
1 New Orleans Saints 1.99 12.33 12.40
2 Seattle Seahawks 1.54 6.52 13.46
3 Carolina Panthers 0.99 7.96 10.75
4 Denver Broncos 0.85 1.16 12.09
5 San Francisco 49ers 0.73 -0.85 9.96
6 Houston Texans 0.64 -1.72 4.65
7 Arizona Cardinals 0.60 10.14 9.67
8 Cincinnati Bengals 0.47 -12.80 10.16
9 Green Bay Packers 0.45 -6.68 8.14
10 Detroit Lions 0.38 -16.46 9.04
11 New England Patriots 0.27 -3.74 10.82
12 Tennessee Titans 0.25 0.00 7.62
13 San Diego Chargers 0.23 -9.55 7.88
14 Chicago Bears 0.13 -13.44 8.81
15 St. Louis Rams -0.06 22.79 6.55
16 Cleveland Browns -0.07 -6.90 6.44
17 Philadelphia Eagles -0.11 -11.80 8.65
18 Indianapolis Colts -0.12 -6.65 9.16
19 Kansas City Chiefs -0.12 -2.57 11.51
20 Baltimore Ravens -0.12 -5.79 7.57
21 Pittsburgh Steelers -0.25 -4.73 7.61
22 Tampa Bay Buccaneers -0.34 14.33 4.65
23 Buffalo Bills -0.37 -12.65 6.52
24 New York Jets -0.38 -8.94 7.26
25 Miami Dolphins -0.49 -4.94 7.31
26 Atlanta Falcons -0.50 2.09 4.00
27 Washington Redskins -0.60 -22.26 5.57
28 Oakland Raiders -0.65 0.08 5.91
29 New York Giants -0.86 4.65 5.62
30 Dallas Cowboys -1.29 -11.67 8.11
31 Jacksonville Jaguars -1.46 -8.96 3.60
32 Minnesota Vikings -1.48 -4.63 4.15

Projected AFC Playoff Picture, through Week 12:

  1. Denver (12.1 wins)
  2. New England (10.8 wins)
  3. Cincinnati (10.2 wins)
  4. Indianapolis (9.2 wins)
  5. Kansas City (11.5 wins)
  6. San Diego (7.9 wins)

In the hunt: Tennessee (7.6 wins), Pittsburgh (7.6 wins), Baltimore (7.6 wins), Miami (7.3 wins), NY Jets (7.3 wins), Buffalo (6.5 wins), Cleveland (6.4 wins)

Mediocre: Oakland (5.9 wins)

Teddy Bridgewater Sweepstakes: Houston (4.7 wins), Jacksonville (3.6 wins)

Projected NFC Playoff Picture, through Week 12:

  1. Seattle (13.5 wins)
  2. New Orleans (12.4 wins)
  3. Detroit (9.0 wins)
  4. Philadelphia (8.7 wins)
  5. Carolina (10.8 wins)
  6. San Francisco (10.0 wins)

In the hunt: Arizona (9.7 wins), Chicago (8.8 wins), Green Bay (8.1 wins), Dallas (8.1 wins)

Mediocre: St. Louis (6.6 wins), NY Giants (5.6 wins), Washington (5.6 wins)

Teddy Bridgewater Sweepstakes: Tampa Bay (4.7 wins), Atlanta (4.0 wins), Minnesota (4.2 wins)

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