Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

04 Nov 2013

Mandatory Monday: Confidence Game

Winning more and enjoying it less? Welcome to the Seahawks' and Chiefs' world! Stick around to the end for links to my latest Run to Win takedown and a (somewhat) tongue-in-cheek look at five teams that should be out-chipping Chip Kelly.

Posted by: Mike Tanier on 04 Nov 2013

21 comments, Last at 05 Nov 2013, 6:20pm by LionInAZ


by willybhu :: Mon, 11/04/2013 - 9:26am

"It was easy to think that everybody stinks because the Broncos and 49ers, the two most likely Super Bowl participants, were on a bye."

Was that a rhetorical device or am I missing something? According to FO's playoff odds, SF barely has a better chance of making the Super Bowl than Carolina does. http://www.footballoutsiders.com/stats/playoffodds

by Rhombus (not verified) :: Mon, 11/04/2013 - 2:47pm

That's because FO's metrics still assume that Seattle will win the NFC West, an assumption that over the last few weeks has become increasingly unlikely, whatever DVOA has to say. The 49ers will probably beat Seattle at home, which will probably mean Seattle loses the one advantage they might have in the playoffs (home field). And even that advantage has been somewhat diminished given Sunday's events. The 49ers have consistently played better than Seattle since week 3, and as FO readers know weeks 1-4 or so have the least predictive value. As the season progresses, Seattle will lose a few games, and the Niners show no signs of slowing down.

At this point in the season, it's very fair to say that Denver is the best team in the AFC, and the 49ers are the best team in the NFC. If/when the Niners retake the division, the 49ers are clear favorites. Right now, they are just probable favorites.

by Ian Chapman (not verified) :: Mon, 11/04/2013 - 3:44pm

I don't know where you are getting that Rhombus. Before San Fransisco even gets to see Seattle again, they have to face Carolina (who by DVOA is better than the Niners), New Orleans AT New Orleans (and New Orleans simply doesn't lose at New Orleans), and then an improving Washington team on the road. Of all these teams, I'd only say that the Redskins team is the only sure win for the Niners of the three.

By contrast, Seattle has Altanta on the road...an Atlanta team that has quit on the season (see yesterday's game if you doubt this), and a Minnesota team at home. Now no team is every a sure win or sure loss in the NFL, but if you want to project who is likely to win the NFC West, I'd much rather be Seattle than San Fran especially when Seattle starts this string spotted a one game lead.

by Rhombus (not verified) :: Tue, 11/05/2013 - 4:06am

In this specific case, I don't think you can look at strength of schedule, because the Seahawks have just proven that they can lose to anyone, anytime, anywhere. The Niners are strong and getting better. In any given game, I think the Niners have a better chance of winning than the Seahawks, regardless of opponent.

My opinion, of course. But I tend to think that the better team, in a close divisional race, will usually end up with the division title. There are too many games left to think that chance wins will continue to prevail.

by Ian Chapman (not verified) :: Tue, 11/05/2013 - 2:19pm


No they haven't. How many close games has Seattle lost? One. That was to an Indy team that I don't think anyone would call bad, so no they haven't proven they can lose to anyone.

by LionInAZ :: Tue, 11/05/2013 - 6:20pm

An Indy team that beat the 49ers too, by the way.

by Ian Chapman (not verified) :: Mon, 11/04/2013 - 3:48pm

My personal take/observation is that the author is a bit of a 49ner homer. The 49ners have had a lot of stomps lately and have looked more impressive to the naked eye, but this is why I trust DVOA. If you agree with the assumptions of DVOA (and I do), it's a more objective yardstick over the whole season.

Regardless, this is the NFL and not the BCS. As Bill Parcells once said, "You are what your record says you are." I don't think Parcells is totally correct, but in the NFL IMHO he's not far wrong.

by theslothook :: Mon, 11/04/2013 - 5:07pm

I think he's very far off. The chiefs ARE a 9-0 team? Or do you mean when the season ends? They will likely be no worse than 12-4. Are they 12-4 good? you might think so, but then that implies they were a better team than the 10-6 packers who won the sb. Or the 11-4-1 49ers who lost in the sb last year. Records can be inflated by fluky wins, easy schedules, or excellence in one area that will unravel in the postseason. The reverse is also true in losses.

by LionInAZ :: Mon, 11/04/2013 - 10:26pm

I had to laugh at the idea that Tanier, a die-hard Eagles fan, could be labeled 'a bit of a 49ers homer'.

by dmb :: Mon, 11/04/2013 - 9:47am

The complete absence of even a single mention of the Packers in this article seems like a significant oversight.

by justanothersteve :: Mon, 11/04/2013 - 10:05am

You are taking Tanier way too seriously. Had you not mentioned it, I wouldn't have even noticed. And that's coming from a green-and-gold-monocled fan.

by mathesond :: Mon, 11/04/2013 - 12:08pm

You have to admit, they did nothing yesterday to make them seem like Super Bowl favourites

by LionInAZ :: Mon, 11/04/2013 - 10:28pm

Were you paid by Paul M. (not verified) to write this?

by Guest789 :: Mon, 11/04/2013 - 11:08pm

Tanier specified that he was only talking about teams that played on Sunday.


“Treat a man as he is, and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he could be, and he will become what he should be.”

by Noah Arkadia :: Tue, 11/05/2013 - 1:16pm

Which also explains why he didn't mention the Bengals.

The man with no sig

by MilkmanDanimal :: Mon, 11/04/2013 - 1:12pm

"But the Buccaneers played a miniature version of Schiano's career in one game: tough and creative at the start, increasingly embarrassing as it went on."

What a depressingly accurate sentence.

by robbbbbb (not verified) :: Mon, 11/04/2013 - 5:03pm

I know your favorite team is doing badly, but I want you to know how much I'm enjoying your descriptions of the experience. You've got a good eye for a well-turned phrase that is inspiring.

I guess all artists must suffer.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Mon, 11/04/2013 - 5:30pm

I apologize in advance for any future reduction of humor quality resulting from the theoretical possibility of the Glazers finally wising up and throwing Greg Schiano off a building.

by LionInAZ :: Mon, 11/04/2013 - 10:32pm

If you're lucky, they'll decide he's much better suited to coach Man U instead, thus increasing the humor possibilities.

by dbostedo :: Tue, 11/05/2013 - 12:48am

You have no idea how badly I want to see this.

Actually, it might be something like this - What Might Happen if a Football Coach Coached Soccer

But with a lot more scowling.

by anotherpatsfan :: Tue, 11/05/2013 - 2:47pm

That's pretty damn funny.