Hello ladies and gentlemen, my name is Matt Davis. I'm known as "The Stat Man", and this is Statistically Speaking! Every week, myself, and two friends will discuss and pick the weekly point spread lines in the NFL. Again, I'm a Jets fan, AJ is a life-long Saints fan, and Pat is a game theory mathmetician student engineer who doesn't follow football. Each week we discuss, pick, and compete against each other regarding the point spread lines in the NFL. Each week, AJ and I will choose to discuss five games that we disagree on. The games can not be played on Thursday Night, and can not have a point spread of under 2 points (So pick, and -1 games will not be discussed). The lines we choose will be the Tuesday afternoon lines featured on Sportsbook.ag
The Scoreboard after Week 9:
I'm only three back! This scoreboard is as tight as the Presidential election. And just like the election, in the end all three of us are losing. I'm sure you've heard, but United States President Barack Obama has won re-election after taking home 303 electoral votes earlier this week. He won only 49.7% of the popular vote though, with both candidates finishing within tens of thousands of votes of each other in a country where hundreds of millions vote (Romney finished with 49.3%). This brings up several things to discuss. Why should a President be elected the leader of a country, if less than half of the people support him? Equally, why should a President be elected the leader of a country if only 45% of the states choose to elect him President? What did Obama achieve, truly? He didn't win a majority of the states, and he didn't have 50% of the popular vote. Statistically speaking, he wasn't elected by a majority of the people or states. Equally alarming is the fact that third party candidates Gary Johnson and Jill Stein were held out of the debates (Stein was even arrested for trying to enter the second debate), and had to battle lawsuits from both the Democratic and Republican committees to be allowed on the ballot. What are these parties scared of? Why should anyone be denied the chance to be elected President of the United States? I should be allowed to vote for anyone I want to. We don't have the right to vote in this country. We are forced to choose between two candidates that lobbyists and special interests groups nominate. Does anyone trust that the Democratic or Republican National Committees strive for excellence, or look out for the interest of the common citizens? No. They have their own agendas, and we, as a people, suffer for it.
AJ: Actually the United States was built to elect a President who didn't receive a majority of the popular vote. That's partially the reason for the existence of the electoral college. The Founders didn't assume parties would rise, but they did. I would have rather seen 4 legit candidates run, then have winner secure 35-40% of the popular vote with the requisite 270 electoral votes. That'd force compromise and respect the views of a wider range of people versus the whole "lesser of two evils" system presently in place. Oh well, I was part of the mighty 1% that voted for Gary Johnson. May a 3rd party grow!
..Back to the intended purpose of this column, as you can tell, there was no column last week. Matt lived in a Sandy-affected area and didn't feel as if a column would be appropriate. I agreed. As someone who lives in an area decimated by a storm, don't assume the place magically gets better once the cameras pull up and leave. It's a long fight that will take years of hard work and good luck weather-wise. Donate, if you can. Maybe next year travel to the area and give them some tourism dollars. Every bit of help counts.
Atlanta Falcons @ New Orleans Saints
AJ: My bias will shine like the North Star here. Atlanta is an unimpressive 8-0. They have had the easiest schedule in football. The only good team they played was the Broncos, but Manning was still getting a feel for his team. Let's do a blind comparison, shall we?
- Team A: 278 passing yards/game (8th overall), 99 rushing yards/game (25th overall), 128 yards rushing allowed/game (25th overall)
- Team B: 305 passing yards/game (2nd overall), 81 rushing yards/game (29th overall), 177 rushing yards allowed/game (32nd overall)
AJ: Team A is the Falcons, and Team B is the Saints. The Falcons are modeling themselves after the Saints. It's not a bad idea, but Matt Ryan isn't Drew Brees. Neither team runs well, but the Saints have chosen not to run for whatever reason. The Falcons just look like they can't more times than not. When the Saints' hand was forced last week, they ran all over the Eagles. Darren Sproles should miss this game, so he can't be Brees' crutch. That means the Saints should run more, and that bodes well for them. Not many teams get better without one of their top 3 offensive weapons, but the Saints will. (NO +2.5)
Matt: Seriously, how much does Roger Goodell hate the Saints? Is there going to be a federal investigation? How many things can he do to this franchise and not get in trouble? First the BountyGate stuff. Now he's released Sean Payton of his contract because it was based on illegal terms of agreement before the labor boards agreed to a new collective bargaining agreement. I think he's just screwing with the Saints. This isn't even close to unbiased judgment. That being said, the Falcons have a legitimate MVP quarterback and two All-Pro wide receivers, as well as a Hall of Fame catching tight end. Aside the quarterback, the Saints just don't have those weapons. I need to see more out of Jimmy Graham before I can annoint him on the level of Tony G. The Falcons defense will smother a wilting Saints offense, as the Saints prepare for a long, cold winter without a Santa Claus. And by that, I mean draft. (ATL -2.5)
New York Jets @ Seattle Seahawks
Matt: The Jets. What can I say about the Jets? Lets start with the fact they traded for Tim Tebow and have absolutely no idea what to do with him. They're abusing him worse than WCW abused Bret Hart. A couple weeks ago, the Jets were on the Patriots 2 yard line, and they passed! Mark Sanchez isn't exactly known for his ability to make plays consistantly, so of course the pass was dropped in the endzone, and the Jets kicked a field goal. WHY WOULD YOU KICK A FIELD GOAL?! They spent the enter summer hyping up "The Tim Tebow Goalline Package", and they kick a god damned field goal from the 2! Its so aggravating. Now that I've got that out of my system, I can move on and say that while I don't think the Jets will prove much this week, I think they'll cover. I don't trust the Seahawks to blow the Jets out. While the defense may look good, and they may be at home, Russell Wilson is still very raw and the Jets defense shows flashes of brilliance (shutting down Tom Brady and Matt Schaub in recent weeks). Jets keep it honorably close, and cover. (NYJ +6.5)
AJ: Seattle playing at home gives me enough confidence that they can cover. Seattle is so good at home that they can lose to Green Bay and still be awarded a win. They're winning with the league's 7th best rushing attack and worst passing attack. Sounds like the old Tebow formula. Speaking of Tim Tebow. He's in town this week. He'll appreciate the game plan as he rots on the bench and wonders why Blaine Gabbart is a starting QB and he can't be given a chance. (SEA -6.5)
San Diego Chargers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
AJ: This game is only watchable because I have Doug Martin in one of my fantasy leagues and am starting Josh Freeman in another. That said, Tampa's winning. Freeman is looking like the 2010 version of himself. He's doing enough to win games and isn't throwing picks like crazy. Coupled with a respectable defense and a quickly improving ground game, and the Bucs are sneaky good. Of course, one doesn't have to sneak up to beat the Chargers. Norv Turner has become Peter from Office Space. He sucks at his job and is likely doing bad work on purpose, but cannot get fired. Sadly, Phillip Rivers has become Milton. (TB -3)
Matt: I'm not sure if San Diego is good or terrible. Isn't that how the Chargers have been for the past three years? You never know what you're going to get. Which puts this game in the wonky "Vegas Zone". If the Chargers win by 1 or 20 they cover. If the game goes to OT, they cover. If they lose by 1 or 2, they cover. The chances they cover, are greater than the chances the Bucs cover. That's the simple algorythm I'm using here. I said in week 1 that the Bucs would have a break out year, and I was right. But they still don't strike me as a team that can win every week to the point I can pick them to cover 3 points against a perrenial play off team. (SD +3)
St. Louis Rams @ San Francisco 49ers
Matt: This is the easiest game of the week to pick. San Francisco has played great since losing to New York (and played great two weeks before that as well). The team is firing on all cylinders. Alex Smith may not be the greatest quarterback in the league, but I'd like him over Mark Sanchez. The 49ers are an old school team who plays defense and runs the ball to win games. The Rams are ugly. Sam Bradford clearly isn't the answer. Steven Jackson is breaking down and is far from the elite back he once was. Plus, after flying to London two weeks ago, now St. Louis flies to the west coast. That's a lot of travel and a lot of jetlag in two weeks. SF covers (-11.5)
AJ: I know a thing or two about jet leg as I have made the flight to Britain twice in my life. Two weeks is more than enough time to recover and make a small 5 hour flight to San Francisco. Non-factor. As for the game, I think the Rams can cover. Their defense is ranked 13th against the run, and that is all the 49ers can do. It should be enough for them to win, but not by 12 points. This can be a classic NFC West slugfest capped off with at Sam Bradford backdoor cover. 24-10 with about 3 minutes left. Bradford takes apart a soft zone and leads the Rams to a TD with less than 30 seconds to go. 49ers recover the onside, ball game.
OTHER GAMES: (It's not that we don't care about these games, we just don't love them as much as the others. Like an adopted child...)
AJ: NYG -4.5, DEN -4, MIA -6, OAK +7.5, DAL -1.5, CHI -1, DET -2, PIT -12.5
Matt: NYG -4.5, DEN -4, MIA -6, OAK +7.5, PHI +1.5, CHI -1, MIN +2, PIT -12.5
Pat: NE -11, CAR +4, SD +3, NO +2.5, CIN +4.5, DET -2, BAL -7.5, MIA -6, NYJ +6.5, PHI +1.5, SF -11.5, CHI -1, KC +12.5
AJ: Well, it feels good it get back into the groove of things. Though the political process and sinus surgery took it out of me, football has a way of healing those wounds. Also, in the scheme of things (with Sandy fresh in mind), life ain't so bad. No parting shots at anyone or complaining. Just grateful as it is almost Thanksgiving. Have a great weekend watching football and watching me take sole possession of 1st place!
Matt: Very well said. Thank you AJ. I cement my "Bret Hart-esque" heel turn after months of complaining, by reminding everyone that Black Friday is only two weeks away! The single greatest day in retail. Tell your wives (Mormons*) and girlfriends. Women love to shop. I hope and expect to see each and every one of you there buying expensive things, paying my salary. Go Jets! Woo!