Super Bowl LI Preview

Posted: February 5, 2017 in NFL
Projections
Day and Time (CST) Home Team Home Team Win Probability Road Team Road Team Win Probability
Sun 5:30 New England Patriots 52.0% Atlanta Falcons 48.0%
Picks of the Week

Since the playoffs are upon us I will not be picking upsets and locks and games of the week and will instead pick each game. I was 9-5-1 in picking games not considered locks or upsets in the regular season. I am 10-0 thus far in the playoffs.

When the Patriots have the Ball

The Falcons defense, as a whole, has not been good this season. Overall they rank 27th in the NFL-19th against the pass and 29th against the run (DVOA). They have been playing better as of late, but I don’t think anyone would say Atlanta has a good defense. The Patriots have an outstanding offense, ranking 2nd in the NFL in DVOA. They have the 2nd ranked passing offense and the 17th ranked rushing offense. Other than general ranks, the Falcons defense is young while the Patriots offense is obviously well experienced. I think this is a game where the Patriots try and attack the Falcons in the middle of the field with a strong ground game. I expect Blount to have a big game if the Patriots are going to win this. Obviously, Tom Brady will do his thing as well.

When the Falcons have the Ball

The Patriots defense ranked 16th overall in DVOA, 23rd against the pass and 4th against the run. They have the #1 overall scoring defense but this defense has feasted on a weak schedule and early leads. Meanwhile the Falcons have the best offense in the NFL with the #1 overall passing offense and the 7th ranked rushing offense. I like the Falcons a lot in this matchup, I think they have enough schemes and weapons that they will still be able to move the ball. Belichick likes to take away the best/most productive scheme/player so I would expect the Patriots to try and take away Julio Jones. But the most dangerous scheme the Falcons have will be Freeman and Coleman coming out of the backfield and I am not sure if the Patriots have the personnel to keep those two in check. Additionally, Julio has been producing against double teams all season long and MVP Matt Ryan is great.

The Pick

I think both teams get off to a fast start on offense and the second and third quarters take more of the traditional hard fought Super Bowl game. I really like what the Falcons are doing right now but I also really like the Patriots experience and overall coaching. I think this game comes down to a late drive in the fourth quarter, but I think the team on defense at the end of the game wins. Falcons 34 Patriots 31

Accuracy

Below is a chart showing the accuracy of my projections. The number to watch is how close actual games right is to expected right. The closer those numbers are the more accurate the projections are. Thus far, my projections have slightly overestimated teams odds of winning games. Teams with a 61-80% chance of winning have still under performed, but it is getting much better. The current 10.7 game spread is down to just 4.8% off, and hopefully can continue its improvement through the rest of the season. I began monitoring how the simulator has performed with no preseason projections factored in (post week 6). Thus far, post Week 6 results look like this:

Expected 115.9 actual 116, 0.1% off. (66.7% of games picked correctly)

My belief is that the problem is mostly due to early season surprises with the simulation itself only being slightly at fault, so far that has been very accurate-I will look to improve preseason ranking system in hopes to have more success throughout the entire season.

W L T %
81+% 31 6 0 83.8%
61-80% 95 57 1 62.4%
51-60% 41 34 1 54.6%
          167      97              2 63.2%
Expected Right     177.69 4.0%
    (10.69)
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