Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Lions season outlook, week 14

So that was the last of the bonus games, the ones the Lions probably weren't going to win. The rest are games they probably need to win, possibly including the season finale (the one where Green Bay will have clinched everything and should be resting their starters). With Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas, and the Giants losing, Detroit could have been in a really nice position with a win, but whatever.

Massey projections:
Week 14: Minnesota, heavy favorite
Week 15: at Oakland, slight favorite
Week 16: San Diego, favorite (moved down)
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.

The San Diego game flips and the Green Bay game is about to move to overwhelming. Still, Detroit is favored in three of its four remaining games. Expected wins are down to 9.24, once again dropping after a loss. (Those "partial" wins – the games in which the Lions are not favored – have a more noticeable impact later in the season.)

The Playoff Odds report is below:
Mean wins: 9.2, down 0.5
Playoffs: 58.2%, up 5.8 points
NFC title: 2.3%, up 0.3 points
Super Bowl win: 1.0%, up 0.3 points

Again, the mean wins drop due to Detroit not winning a game they had a reasonable chance of winning. The division title is effectively out of reach, but the playoff chances spike because of Chicago's unexpected loss to Kansas City.

Next, playoff odds reflecting the loss of key QBs:

Mean wins: 9.2, same
Playoffs: 66.0%, 7.8 points higher
NFC title: 2.5%, 0.2 points higher
Super Bowl win: 1.0%, same

The playoff odds jump is a reflection of Hanie's struggles. Kansas City was crushed by Detroit; the Bears should have done the same.

The Lions did dig themselves a big first-half hole and did not climb out of it; I got basically everything right about that game. Unfortunately for Detroit, injuries on defense continue to pile up. Suh will be suspended for this game as well, and if neither Delmas nor Houston can play, the Lions will have backups in too many positions to be able to pressure Ponder as they'd like to, especially if Fairley misses any time. (He probably wasn't 100% in the first place.) Still, with Peterson either out or just returning after a high ankle sprain, an injury that really affects RBs, Minnesota won't be quite the same team they were early in the season. Ponder's much better than McNabb was, but he's still inexperienced, and the Lions will be looking to take advantage of his mistakes. The beleaguered Vikings defense won't have a home crowd to support them: look for Jared Allen to cry about officiating as Stafford carves up their secondary. Lions, 37-21.

Last week: predicted 20-31, actual 17-31

Current mood: expecting something decent

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