Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Lions season outlook, week 5

Again, a win is good, but struggling initially against a good team is not (assuming Dallas is a good team; if they aren't, this is worse).

First, to updated Massey projections:
Week 5: Chicago, heavy favorite (moved up)
Week 6: San Francisco, heavy favorite
Week 7: Atlanta, heavy favorite
Week 8: at Denver, favorite
Week 9: bye
Week 10: at Chicago, slight favorite (moved up)
Week 11: Carolina, overwhelming favorite
Week 12: Green Bay, slight underdog
Week 13: at New Orleans, underdog
Week 14: Minnesota, overwhelming favorite (moved up)
Week 15: at Oakland, slight favorite (moved up)
Week 16: San Diego, heavy favorite
Week 17: at Green Bay, heavy underdog

Tossups are 50%; slight favorites are up to 3-2 (60%), then favorites up to 3-1 (75%), then heavy favorites up to 5-1 (86%), then overwhelming favorites. Slight underdogs are down to 2-3 (40%), then underdogs down to 1-3 (25%), then heavy underdogs down to 1-5 (14%), then overwhelming underdogs.

You won't see all the movement that actually happens because I'm not including the actual percentage each time: for that, I encourage you to visit his site. Notice that even with the close win, four games moved, including the Week 10 game flipping to a slight win for Detroit. They are underdogs in only three games now. Expected wins are now 11.8, which is almost a full win better than last week, but still well back of Green Bay. It's fair to say that 8-0 is now an expectation, especially with the next three games being home games in which Detroit is a heavy favorite. Best case is probably still 14-2, worst case is probably 10-6.

Defense adjustments make their first appearance in FO's data. The Playoff Odds report puts the Lions at 10.8 mean wins, up from last week but not by much; an 84% chance of a playoff spot, up 2.2%; 34.7% for a division title, down 4.8%; 20.3% for the #1 seed, down 4%; 13.7% for a Super Bowl appearance, down 3.3%; and 6% for a Super Bowl win, down 1.8%. They are also 0.7% to go 15-1, up 0.1%.

12-4 still seems about right, with a win at Chicago. The Oakland game might not be a loss, but then the Lions have been playing 30 minutes of good football in three of their four games and gotten away with it. At some point, they'll play a team that can play 60 minutes.

The big thing here will be to win the games they are expected to win. That's difficult for a young team, but what I like about this team is that they are not doing cartwheels for being 4-0. They seem to be approaching it like yeah, we're 4-0, we expect to win. A team like that should stay focused against weaker opponents like Chicago and San Francisco.

Massey likes the Lions by about 8.5. Vegas has Detroit between -5 and -6. I like the Lions as well, although I'll probably be in the car for half the game and asleep in my bed for the other half. Detroit, 31-16.

Current mood: hopeful

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