Saturday, December 18, 2004

Football Picks – Week 15: Only a couple of weeks left in the season. I know many of you will be glad. I, on the other hand, will need something new. How about online poker? Dangerous.

Anyway, here's where you can read the background on my selection method and get the latest decision grid for all NFL games. Below, a team's DVOA advantage is in parenthesis.

As always, we start with teams that are 40+ percentage points superior in DVOA and are favored by a touchdown or less. This week, that amounts to one:

Washington (47.3) -4.5 at San Francisco

That's cool with me. We'll take the 'Skins.

Next up we look for underdogs of a touchdown or more but with small(er) DVOA deficits. I do not have a rule of thumb for what small(er) DVOA deficits are. Anything under 30 is worth a look at least. Once again, there is only one in that category.

Indiana (19.4) -8 at Baltimore

I'm going to pass on this one. Baltimore has a great defense, but Indiana is at home and they have this disturbing habit of scoring a bajillion points at times.

Lastly, we look for disconnects -- games where the team with the superior DVOA is the underdog. This week we have a whopping six of these:
  • Carolina (17.4) +3 at Atlanta

  • Houston (30.9) +1 at Chicago

  • Minnesota -3 at Detroit (0.2)

  • Denver -1 at Kansas City (4.0)

  • St Louis -3 at Arizona (2.6)

  • Tennessee (1.3) +2.5 at Oakland

Wow. Where to begin? How about the beginning. I'm going to take Carolina although I'm rather scared to because it's Atlanta at home. But Atlanta has clenched the division and Carolina has come on so strong it's worth the risk. I've got to take Houston just because of the huge DVOA spread. I'll also take Detroit at home and suddenly with a running game, and hope Mike Tice keeps calling silly plays. KC over Denver is tough; Denver has something to fight for so I'll pass. I can’t take Arizona with the quarterback situation the way it is. Tennessee at Oakland -- I have no clue so I'll pass.

Thus, this week's picks:
  • WAS -4.5 over SF

  • CAR +3 over ATL

  • Houston +1 over Chicago

  • Detroit +3 over Minnesota

For the record I did my picking on Friday night with the intent of posting on Saturday, then I turned on Sportscenter and they were talking about today's games. At least I'll have these up before any of the games end.