Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Lions season outlook, week 10

Obviously no changes on the Lions' side ... it was disappointing to see Chicago beat Philadelphia because it puts the Bears even with Detroit if they win this week, but it does keep another team farther from playoff contention, and the Lions don't have to pass every team.

Changes below come from opponents' results:

Massey projections:
Week 10: at Chicago, slight underdog
Week 11: Carolina, overwhelming favorite
Week 12: Green Bay, slight underdog
Week 13: at New Orleans, slight underdog
Week 14: Minnesota, overwhelming favorite (moved up)
Week 15: at Oakland, heavy 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.

Not much to note. The Green Bay home game is about to flip to underdog status, and the Minnesota game is just barely overwhelming. The Lions are still heavy favorites or better in four of their remaining eight games, which suggests at least a 10-6 record, and in fact estimated wins are up again to 10.94. (Remember that the Lions have three games as underdogs where the likelihood of them winning is 40% or better.)

The Playoff Odds report is below:
Mean wins: 10.5, unchanged
Playoffs: 79.6%, down 4.1 points
Division title: 12.9%, down 7.1 points
Top seed: 3.5%, down 1.4 points
NFC title: 6.8%, down 1.7 points
Super Bowl win: 3.4%, down 1.0 points

The Chicago win establishes the Bears as a serious contender for a playoff spot (up 22.6 points to 62.2%, third among wild-card teams behind Detroit and Atlanta). Green Bay continues to recede in the distance: while their defense still looks flawed, their offense still looks good enough to overcome those mistakes.

The meat of the schedule begins Sunday. A win in Chicago would be a huge boost to Detroit's playoff hopes; a loss isn't a killer, but it does create problems, given that the loss to Atlanta gives the Falcons a head-to-head edge. The Bears are vulnerable, just as the 49ers and Falcons were. Playoff teams win at least some of these games. Make it happen.

Do I think it will? No. The Lions had several chances to win the San Francisco game at home and did not, and Dallas doesn't yet look like a contender. Until Detroit can beat a contender on the road, I'm not sure they can get it done. Bears, 23-13.

Last week: no game

Current mood: pessimistic

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