Sunday, January 19, 2014

2014 AFC and NFC Championship Game Previews

I haven't been posting my NFL ratings and thought regularly this year, but it is Conference Championship time so I thought it was time to do so.

First, here are my computer's ratings through the Divisional Round of the playoffs.

1Seattle90.31614-381.824+0, +0.185
2Denver88.57814-379.766+0, -0.015
3San Francisco88.47614-482.133+0, +0.837
4New Orleans86.49012-682.589+0, -0.140
5Arizona86.03210-682.570+1, +0.013
6Carolina85.70212-581.903-1, -0.784
7New England85.68413-479.808+0, +0.872
8Kansas City83.72311-679.922+1, -0.120
9Cincinnati83.61511-679.096+2, +0.022
10San Diego83.57610-881.244+0, -0.069
11Indianapolis83.19712-681.484-3, -0.781
12St Louis81.8297-982.985+0, +0.010
13Philadelphia81.71910-779.800+0, -0.011
14Dallas80.2078-880.022+0, -0.006
15Pittsburgh79.9688-878.705+0, +0.082
16Tennessee79.7507-981.150+0, -0.058
17Miami79.5328-880.788+0, +0.033
18Baltimore78.7048-879.381+1, +0.101
19NY Giants78.6817-980.694-1, -0.021
20Detroit78.5527-978.845+0, +0.028
21Chicago78.3068-879.139+0, +0.020
22Green Bay78.1628-8-179.409+0, +0.084
23Tampa Bay78.0704-1282.948+0, -0.000
24Atlanta77.8074-1282.500+0, +0.005
25Buffalo77.6566-1080.468+0, +0.045
26NY Jets77.3728-880.303+0, +0.045
27Minnesota76.5575-10-179.839+0, -0.009
28Oakland74.9474-1280.979+0, -0.043
29Houston74.4172-1482.257+0, -0.023
30Washington74.4163-1380.619+0, +0.033
31Jacksonville74.1744-1281.495+0, -0.058
32Cleveland74.0604-1279.643+0, +0.051

We can see the 4 teams in the championship games are ranked 1 thru 3 and 7.  So not a lot of surprises here.  We can also see that the home teams are rated higher, so in theory when you add in home field advantage they should be favored as they are.

But let's take a deeper look!

Here is Seattle's performance chart.

We can see they had their worst game of the year against Arizona, but recovered pretty well with good results against St. Louis and New Orleans.  We can also see that while they do well at home, they have some very good results on the road too so they aren't just a home team.  Even if we ignore their loss to Arizona, their last three games are right around 94, but with it their last four are 89.5.

San Francisco we can see has been on a slow but pretty steady improvement since mid-year.  Their last four, three on the road, average 90.6, but take their three best of their last four and they are 92.4.

So you can make the argument that the 49ers are playing at the same level Seattle is, but given the game is in Seattle, you have to give the advantage to Seattle.  But San Francisco just proved they can throw up a great result, 99.1, on the road last week so if they can do that again, they have a shot.

Denver took a small drop late in the year, and the San Diego loss was their worst result of the year, but they avenged that loss last week.  Their last three average is 89.9 and with the San Diego loss it is 85.8.

New England improved slightly late in the year with 3 good results.  Their average from those three is a very good 93.6 but throw in the loss and they are at 89.6.

So based on their late season results, New England would seem to be the stronger team, but the game is in Denver so there is some advantage to that.  By the numbers, this game should be closer and has the better chance of the upset.

What do you think?