Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Lions season outlook, week 16

Yet again, another close call. Yet again, it came down to the final play, and yes, a 65-yard field goal is still a viable attempt if Sebastian Janikowski is your kicker. The Lions held on, though, and escaped Oakland with a huge win. Instead of being just a game ahead of the sub-wild-card pack, Detroit is now two games up, with their magic number being 1 ... a Lions win, or a loss by each of the teams that don't have a tiebreaker edge over Detroit (Seattle, Chicago, and Arizona), will give them a wild-card spot. Two wins plus at least one Atlanta loss will give them the #5 seed and an "easier" game at the NFC East champion. (Of course if it's Dallas, the Lions already have good memories from a road game there.)

Massey projections:
Week 16: San Diego, slight favorite
Week 17: at Green Bay, heavy underdog (moved up)

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.

San Diego remains about the same thanks to the Chargers' renaissance. Green Bay drops a little, but of course that is assuming the starters play the entire way. They likely won't, as the Packers should crush the injured Bears and clinch the top seed next week. Without a perfect season at stake, the last game should be meaningless.

Unfortunately, Massey's site has changed, and expected wins are no longer available.

The Playoff Odds report for Week 16:

Mean wins: 9.9, up 0.5
Playoffs: 85.6%, up 11.5 points
NFC title: 3.3%, up 0.9 points
Super Bowl win: 1.4%, up 0.4 points

Winning a 50/50 game gives you an extra half-win. Chicago's collapse is complete, the Giants throw away wild-card hopes, so it's up to Seattle to make a wild-card run. (They have most of the remaining playoff hopes at 10.9%.)

The Lions did struggle against the Raiders' defense, except when it came to Calvin Johnson, and that seems to be a Mrs. Lincoln situation. The Lions were lucky to hold on for the win. Fortunately, they'll be at home this week, but unfortunately, San Diego has figured out how to play again. Instead of an easy win, this should be a close game. I believe Detroit will clinch a playoff win at home, though. Lions, 31-26.

Last week: predicted 24-14, actual 28-27

Current mood: excited

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