o Analyze results, identify trends and predict outcomes for NFL, NBA, WTA and ATP matches.

o Assign player fantasy sports value, measure player efficiency, and compare and rank teams across eras.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Week 3, 2011: Eagles vs Giants by EvenMoney

Philadelphia Eagles @ New York Giants will go a long way in determining how strong the NFC East will be this season, and whether all four teams can battle for a playoff spot up until December. This game means much more to the Giants than it does the Eagles because the Eagles are viewed as a lock to win the division unless QuarterBack Michael Vick gets injured.

Video Courtesy of AbSoLuTeNiNja21

Vick did get injured, this past week, and is the key reason why the Eagles are not 2-0. Though Vick fumbled twice and threw an interception, he had the Eagles heading to a 1o-point lead against the Falcons, before he suffered a concussion and left the game.

Up until then, he powered a balanced Eagles’ offense, in which he had thrown his 4th TouchDown of the season.

The Eagles are 19th in total Passing (250.5), 2nd in total Rushing (184.5 yards), and 6th in overall Offense.

They bring this against a Giants team that is ranked 19th in overall defense, but 3rd against the Rush, limiting opponents to 66.5 yards per game. Where the Giants defense falters is in their inability to get off the field – 15 Passing First Downs per opponent.

To beat the Eagles, the New York Giants need a big game from Eli Manning. On the surface since the Eagles ranked 30th in Rush Defense, it seems to be the logical point of attack. Rushing leads their opponents to eating the clock while not producing much in terms of scoring. And, when a team has to pass, their goal is for short yardage to gain a First Down, especially since the Eagles boast a formidable secondary: Asante Samuel and Nnamdi Asomugha.

When coupled with a defensive line featuring Jason Babin  and Cullen Jenkins, they go on to form the NFL’s 5th ranked Passing defense, with 9 total Sacks and giving up only 180.5 yards per game.

Eagles (-8.5) Under (48) – Eli is under 60% passing, under 250 yards per game, at a 1:1 TD/Interception ratio.

9/25 1:00 ET At Philadelphia -8.5 NY Giants 48

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Week 2, 2011: Cowboys vs 49ers by EvenMoney

Dallas Cowboys @ San Francisco 49ers is a major test for both teams and has playoff implications. Yes, this early in the season! The NFC East will send two teams and the NFC West will only send one. A win over Dallas puts the Niners on pace for at least a 9-win season, which should be enough to win the NFC West.

Contrast that to Dallas which needs at least 10 wins to even think of claiming a Wild Card spot. The Cowboys tossed away a win in the final minutes in Week 1 against the Jets. They showed an ability to pass the ball with Tony Romo going for 342 yard on 64% completion. For the most part, the Cowboys handled the Jets’ various blitz packages, including on 3rd & long.

HIGHLIGHTS - Dallas Cowboys vs New York Jets Week 1, 2011

The Cowboys defense played well. They stifled the Jets’ run game and matched the Jets’ 4 sacks. Dallas lost the game on penalties, turnovers and Special Teams.

On the other side of the field, they will face a 49ers team that had an impressive defensive outing against the Seattle Seahawks. The Seahawks won the NFC West in 2010 but with only a 7-9 record, which demonstrates why this division is there for the taking and will likely only send one team to the playoffs.
Courtesy of frostwd

For the 49ers, QuarterBack Alex Smith had an efficient outing where he completed 75% of his 20 passes. The defense set the pace early by holding the Seahawks scoreless for the first half, as the Niners went on to lead 16-0 at the half. And, the Special Teams converted on two big plays (kick and put returns) for touchdowns to squelch a Seahawks comeback with the score at 19-17.

Picking this game is about determining the quality of opponent that the 49ers faced last week. Dallas showed they could control the ball and pass against a highly-touted Jets defense. Both teams have to answer these questions:
***Since neither team showed a running game in Week 1, can both QBs maintain their efficiency?
***Or, will Special Teams once again play a major role?

Cowboys (-3) Over (42) – Felix Jones will establish himself, as Dallas dominates time of possession.

9/18 4:05 ET Dallas -3 At San Francisco 42

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Week 1, 2011: Bucs vs Lions by EvenMoney

Detroit Lions @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers might be the most important game this opening week of the NFL season! Think about it: Bucs went 10-6 last season. They did so against a very soft schedule, while going 2-5 against playoff teams. What it proved is that they were “better” than 8 teams.

Contrast that to the Lions who showed nothing throughout the season and then won their last 4 games, to finish 6-10. One of those wins came against the Bucs, as the latter was in the midst of a playoff chase, which they failed to make.

Simply put, the Detroit Lions are the new Tampa Bay Buccaneers – both are the only two NFL teams to experience winless seasons; Lions in 2008, and Bucs in 1976.

Whereas Tampa Bay has won a Super Bowl (XXXVII; 2002 season) after years of ineptitude, Detroit garnered respectable seasons, until Barry Sanders retired in 1999 and the following season. 

Courtesy of elsharkdelocho

Once the franchise hired Matt Millen in 2001, it went into a tailspin that paralleled Detroit’s economy and resembled an expansion franchise – the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Coaching hires (Tony Dungy and Raheem Morris) have been the lynchpin for both of the Bucs’ recoveries; and Detroit seems to be patterning that fact, with Jim Schwartz.

Once we get past the history, we have to look at the key players and team strengths. The Lions have a middle of the road schedule wherein they should win 8 games, not counting this first game. Though 9 wins might not be enough to get into the playoffs, it would be a great next step for the Lions.

On both sides of the ball, the running game will be the big question mark for the Lions. Last year, they had a capable QB/Receiver tandem in Shaun Hill/Calvin Johnson, and capable backups (Stanton and Stafford). This year Matthew Stafford is expected to be the starter.

For the Bucs, it mainly comes down to Josh Freeman’s arm and health, as they have no capable, better yet battletested backup QBs. 

 courtesy of jjesse1978

The Bucs can beat a team with either passing or running the ball, but it will come down to their defense and these questions.
·         Can the Bucs’ passing defense rattle Stafford and bring about interceptions?
·         Can the Bucs’ defense stop the Lions’ mediocre running game?

Lions (+1.5) Over (41) – The Bucs’ schedule indicates they will win 8 or 9 games, counting this game.

9/11 1:00 ET At Tampa Bay -1.5 Detroit 41