Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

09 Nov 2012

NFL Lowdown: Week 10

Is Aldon Smith the CW's version of Green Arrow? Discuss.

Posted by: Mike Tanier on 09 Nov 2012

22 comments, Last at 11 Nov 2012, 10:51am by dmb


by BaronFoobarstein :: Fri, 11/09/2012 - 10:53am

The gamblers fallacy applies to independent events which NFL games certainly are not.

by Sophandros :: Fri, 11/09/2012 - 11:12am


Sports talk radio and sports message boards are the killing fields of intellectual discourse.

by DEW (not verified) :: Fri, 11/09/2012 - 10:57am

One thing Tanier didn't mention in the discussion of the line for the Saints/Falcons game is the power of expectations. The Saints, Eagles, Cowboys, and to a certain extent the Chargers were all expected to be good teams by assorted "experts" before the season started. That hasn't been the case but good luck trying to convince people of that (for example, for the Eagles/Falcons game, seven out of ESPN's fourteen so-called experts picked the Eagles to win). The media's starting to turn on the Eagles, but it's hard to convince people that what they believe and what is can be two different things.

Similarly, the Falcons are bland in people's minds; while now there's a lot more zipping the ball down the field to Jones, White, and Gonzalez then there are Turner carrying 30 times a game, that hasn't quite sunk in. And they're completely worthless as a media story because they conduct themselves like professionals and keep their mouths shut, win or lose. And they keep getting beat in the playoffs. That equates to "8-8 team" in the depth of people's souls. So they constantly get underrated, just as their flashier, better-news-story opponents get overrated.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Fri, 11/09/2012 - 11:25am

My thoughts exactly. I kind of wish the Falcons played the Jets this year (before the Jets revealed themselves as a total train wreck)...out of morbid curiosity to see how many "experts" would pick the Jets to win.

by Insancipitory :: Fri, 11/09/2012 - 11:38am

I think it's more like playing down to the Raiders, in their own house no less, that makes the Falcons feel like an 8-8 team deep down in the black pits of our souls.

by DisplacedPackerFan :: Sun, 11/11/2012 - 10:28am

I'm not disagreeing about the principal, but the specific of Eagles Falcons picks I think had a lot more to do with how well the Eagles had historically played coming off a bye, and recent history against the Falcons. I think those two effects swamped the perspective effect in that case. Not saying the perspective effect isn't there, I just think this case had other factors.

by Charles Jake (not verified) :: Fri, 11/09/2012 - 2:24pm

Tanier's exactly wrong about the teams' previous meetings. The Texans are the only team in the NFL that the Bears have never beaten.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Fri, 11/09/2012 - 2:38pm

A quick trip to ProFootballReference.com confirms that you are correct.

by Mike Tanier :: Fri, 11/09/2012 - 3:27pm

Yes, we got that fixed. It's another example of me reading information exactly backwards.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Fri, 11/09/2012 - 4:22pm

As a Lions fan, I wish I had the ability to accidentally read Detroit's won-loss record from 2001 through 2010 on Profootballreference exactly backwards.

by andrew :: Fri, 11/09/2012 - 8:09pm

Best I can do for you is this:

דטרויט ליונס.

Detroit Lions on profootball reference in hebrew. Which reads right to left.

by batbatt :: Fri, 11/09/2012 - 8:56pm

As someone who is left-handed, there have been times when I wish the U.S. used Hebrew. Mostly in school, when I had to write several pages for a book report or something.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Fri, 11/09/2012 - 9:04pm

Excellent! That Millen fellow constructed quite a dynasty!

Interesting that all of the Lions coaches' names are translated into the Hebrew alphabet, except for Mariucci, Mornhinweg, and Jauron. Is there some mystical, hidden meaning to that?

by Marko :: Fri, 11/09/2012 - 3:37pm

Yes, I knew that immediately. Just before that mistake, he also said that this is a "rare battle between franchises that have only met twice before." Well, since the Texans joined the NFL in 2002, and because they play each NFC team once every four years due to the rotating schedule, this is exactly as expected to anyone who follows the NFL. Other NFC teams that the Texans have played only twice include the Lions and Vikings (both of whom play the Texans later this season) and each team in the NFC West (the Texans will play each of those teams next year).

by erniecohen :: Sat, 11/10/2012 - 12:36am

From the article, "Belichick is one of the 10-to-15 greatest coaches in history and one of the three or four best in the NFL right now..."

Assuming that Belichick has not lost coaching ability, I can only interpret this as saying that 3 of the top 10 (or 4 of the top 15) coaches in NFL history are coaching now. I find this statement incredible. Who other than Belichick is even a candidate for the top 10?

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Sat, 11/10/2012 - 7:16am

You could argue Mike Tomlin and Tom Coughlin for top-20, but not top 10. If Mike McCarthy gets another ring or two, then he enters the top-20 discussion. But you're right, no other active coach could even be considered top 10. Maybe Mike was trying to avoid getting into an argument with the Belichek detractors.

by Tim R :: Sat, 11/10/2012 - 10:53am

Greatest and best aren't the same thing. To be great you need a protracted period of sustained success, where as you can be one of the best for a single season and then do nothing. I'm still not sure I agree with the statement but I think you could argue that this season Jim Harbaugh, Mike Smith and Lovie Smith have been better but no one would consider them greater career coaches than Belicheck.

by dmb :: Sat, 11/10/2012 - 1:17pm

Or, to put it more succinctly: Vince Lombardi is clearly one of the top 5 coaches of all time, but if a team decided to exhume his body to run their team, he would probably be the 31st-best head coach in the league right now. (After all, Romeo Crennel is still "running" the Chiefs.)

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Sat, 11/10/2012 - 1:43pm

"if a team decided to exhume his body to run their team, he would probably be the 31st-best head coach in the league right now."

Wow, quite a dramatic picture. To be fair to Zombie Vince Lombardi, it's hard to coach when you're undead and your only goal is to eat brains. His team's injury report could fill up pretty quickly.

by Insancipitory :: Sat, 11/10/2012 - 3:53pm

He could also be automaton or golem, particularly since not all the parts are likely to be there. It could be all he wants to do is flee fire.

by tuluse :: Sat, 11/10/2012 - 10:22pm

Or just a ghost haunting Brett Favre constantly giving him advice on whether or not he should retire.

by dmb :: Sun, 11/11/2012 - 10:51am

"To be fair to Zombie Vince Lombardi, it's hard to coach when you're undead and your only goal is to eat brains. His team's injury report could fill up pretty quickly."

I hear that helmet design has come pretty far due to increased emphasis on player safety. Maybe the league knows something we don't...?