Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Lions season outlook, week 9 (bye week)

Doing this just to track changes, even though there isn't anything to predict this week.

For the second time this year, the Lions absolutely dominated an AFC West opponent. All that proves, I think, is that the AFC West is terrible. (It's true that good teams stomp bad opponents, but the Lions did not stomp Minnesota.) The defense, in particular, made sure that this game wouldn't be like the last two. I bet Cliff Avril is looking forward to seeing more lefthanded quarterbacks in the league.

Combine this game with some interesting results across the league, and there should be some changes below.

Massey projections:
Week 9: bye
Week 10: at Chicago, slight underdog (moved up)
Week 11: Carolina, overwhelming favorite (moved up)
Week 12: Green Bay, slight underdog (moved up)
Week 13: at New Orleans, slight underdog (moved up)
Week 14: Minnesota, heavy favorite
Week 15: at Oakland, favorite
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.

Again, all movement that makes sense given the Week 8 results (although keep in mind that it's a cumulative effect: these changes will get smaller and smaller as the season goes on). Estimated wins are up to 10.82, which reflects the difficulty of their remaining schedule. (Massey has the Lions 3rd overall, but with the toughest schedule in the last nine weeks.)

The Playoff Odds report is below:
Mean wins: 10.5, up 0.8
Playoffs: 83.7%, up 16.1 points
Division title: 17.0%, up 7.1 points
Top seed: 4.9%, up 2.2 points
NFC title: 8.5%, up 4.0 points
Super Bowl win: 4.4%, up 2.5 points

Green Bay still looks good, but they lose a tiny bit of ground from not playing. More important was the Saints losing; that, coupled with the Cowboys and Washington losing, took down a few of the teams likely to compete for a wild-card spot, which means that the Lions benefit.

Now Detroit gets to sit back and wait for a week. The way Chicago handles the pressure from Philadelphia may show how much Martz learned from the Monday Night loss to the Lions: the Eagles and Lions do some similar things and have similar pressure from outside (although the Eagles' secondary is much better, at least now that it's playing well). My guess is that they won't have been able to do too much, other than reminding Cutler not to hold onto the ball forever.

Last week: predicted 19-8, actual 45-10

Current mood: relieved

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