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Showing posts with label Jay Cutler. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jay Cutler. Show all posts

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Week 12, 2011: Raiders vs. Bears by EvenMoney

Oakland Raiders vs. Chicago Bears highlights a week where we are very wary of picking underdogs. So, we go to two seemingly evenly-matched teams that were not on our radar this season. Both, especially the Oakland Raiders, are having better than expected seasons. Since they are matched up in pivotal games for each of them, we figured it is time to look into the numbers. From there, project just how serious a threat they are come playoff time.
If they lose and the Denver Broncos win today, the Raiders will find themselves in a tie with the Broncos for the AFC West lead. This loss could also put their playoffs hope in jeopardy as the AFC second tier of playoff teams is crowded, with 5 other teams trying to secure 2 slots.

The Raiders need this win to convince many, including themselves, that they truly belong atop their division. A loss today could be the start of a four-game losing streak, or they can hold pace and finish by splitting their remaining 6 games for a 10-6 record.

Ironically the Raiders are facing what I see as their NFC counterpart, a team that has benefitted from a major slide by the Detroit Lions. This has allowed the Bears to climb into second place in the NFC North, behind the undefeated Green Bay Packers. But, unlike the Raiders, the remainder of the Bears schedule is relatively weak. A win today and they can easily win 4 of the 5 other remaining games, to finish the season at 12-4.

Besides benefitting from weak schedules, what are the Bears and Raiders doing correctly? They both put up lots of points and have enough strength in both the running and passing game. They do not rank highly in any individual category, with Oakland being the better statistical team, specifically in rushing (4.9 vs. 4.3 yards per rush; and 5.5 more rushes per game).

Defensively, they’re even with the Bears being a run-stopping, low-scoring defense, while the Raiders are a bend but don’t break model.

Raiders (-3) Over (41) – Though not a highlight of our analysis, the absence of Bears QuarterBack Jay Cutler will be the deciding factor because the Raiders will now be able place more emphasis on stopping the run.

11/27 4:05 ET     At Oakland         -3            Chicago                41

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Week 7, 2011: Bears vs Bucs by EvenMoney

Chicago Bears vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (At London) is this week’s spotlight game, in a week with not many marquee matchups. Of the two games that pass the test, we chose this one because for the Bears, if they lose, they might as well hibernate for the winter. Though the Bucs’ playoff fate will not be decided for, at least, two more weeks, a loss keeps them questioning whether they will ever take that proverbial step forward.

Courtesy of dclfboy5

In Week 1, we questioned the Bucs’ readiness and they’ve slightly surpassed our expectations, because of last week’s win over the New Orleans Saints. But, at the same time, that blowout loss (48-3) to the San Francisco 49ers two weeks ago has us back to square one. Who are the Bucs and can they surpass our projected win total of 9, for the season? A win this week simply holds us at this projection, and remotely a chance at 10 wins for the season.

A loss and it could mean no playoffs, even though the Bucs have beaten both the other top teams in their division. For this week, let us focus on a Bucs team that loses whenever it gives up more than 20 points in a game. They will be facing a Bears team that only wins when it scores 30+ points or keeps the opponent at 17 points and under.

In a nutshell, one team loves a blowout and the other does not; one has no identity and the other does. On paper, the Bucs defense is in the league’s lower tier, except where it counts: Points Against. On offense, they are mediocre across the board. A lot of their stats – offense and defense - have to do with the San Francisco game, where they did not show up on either side of the ball. This game against the Bears will tell which side of the ball they can count on for the remainder of the season.

The Bears have similar problems, except they are worse offensively and defensively. Their lone advantage is their Special Teams, specifically Returns featuring Devin Hester.

Bucs (+1.5) Over (43.5) – Go with consistency and quality of opponents, and Josh Freeman is playing (slightly) better than Jay Cutler.

10/23 1:00 ET Chicago -1.5 Tampa Bay (At London) 43.5