Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Upon Further Review: Seahawks Lose 24-42

It's hard to climb back to .500 when you can't win two in a row. I actually felt pretty good about this pick, but the 2.5 point underdog Seahawks were blown out to the tune of 42-24 by the Chiefs. The Chiefs offense was basically unstoppable, as Cassel generated 7.28 YPA and threw for 4 TDs with no interceptions. Moreover, their top 2 running backs combined for a whopping 42 carries, which yielded 241 yards. They were also able to consistently convert on 3rd down and keep Seattle's defense on the field, and ended up dominating the time of possession.

Dwayne Bowe was the main reason they were so successful  on 3rd down; he was simply unstoppable, and seemingly all of his catches either resulted in 3rd down conversions or touchdowns. Seattle's failure to cover Bowe confounded logic. The film of his TD catches reveals that Seattle simply neglected to cover him, and they consistently refused to adjust their scheme to take him away. This failure was inexplicable given that Bowe has been on a torrid TD-catching streak and is rapidly emerging as a dominant WR. Indeed, Seattle made the Cassel-to-Bowe connection look unstoppable.

All that said, Seattle was in this game in the second half. They made some of the lucky plays that have characterized their home games, including a blocked FG and a blocked punt for a TD. In fact, at one point in the 2nd half they were down only 21-17 and were driving near midfield. But then, the wheels came off. Unlike last week, when a close game broke my way late, this week it broke even more dramatically the wrong way. As a result, the Seahawks came nowhere near covering.


1. Stay away from the Seahawks and the Chiefs this year. Ugh. Those two teams obviously continue to befuddle me. I entered the year thinking that the Seahawks were atrocious. They immediately proceeded to win by 25 points.  A few weeks later, I picked against them again, as they went on the road to Soldier field to play the (now 8-3 and coming off a convincing win over the Eagles) Bears. Of course, Seattle immediately won what I have little doubt will be their only road  game of the year. Then, I finally pick them at home to continue their winning ways, and they get blown out by a Chiefs team that had at that point only 1 road win -- a 2 point squeaker over Jake Delhomme. And what do they do? They get eviscerated by 18 points. In short, I can't win with this team, and I'm done with them for this year.

Of course, I'd also predicted that the Chiefs would dominate the bad Broncos (who have since lost 2 straight and appear to be imploding) in Denver 2 weeks ago. I was expecting to get the type of performance we got this week. Instead, they were blown out. Then I decide to pick against them, and they become the ones doing the blowing out. Very frustrating.

This seems to be the type of season where no trend sustains itself for long. I said in the aftermath of the last Chiefs' loss that I would beware teams coming off huge blowouts. Although that was 2 weeks ago, perhaps I should have heeded that advice this week. In this weird NFL season, the fact that the Chiefs lost huge on the road last time out probably should have suggested that they'd inexplicably play great this time around. 

Either way, Seattle by any statistical measure is quite bad. BadNFL will not be involved in any of their games for the rest of this season.

2. BadNFL's continued inability to make coherent use of home/road splits. I have now picked twice on the theory that one team was atrocious on the road, and both times that team has won. I don't know what it is; as one commenter pointed out,  Seattle's home wins have come over uniformly atrocious teams. Maybe that was a sign. It seems that by the time a home/road split deepens enough to where its noticeable, the team in question performs the opposite of expectations the following week.

3. The Hilton 100 theory: 2-0 this week, as the Vikings +2 and the Chargers +3 both covered. The Vikings game was pretty close, but the Chargers covered by 25 points. I'm wishing I had picked that Chargers game instead -- they historically match-up quite well against the Colts, and as I noted last year, the Chargers start to dominate at this time of year, and appear primed to do it again.

In any event, the Hilton 100 theory now moves to 10-3, with mostly dominating cover margins. It really does, at least of late, look like a freakishly accurate prediction market. Maybe I should just start piggybacking BadNFL on its results (although that in some ways defeats the point of the website). Hopefully I'll get it back on track next week.

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