(Originally posted 7 Feb. 2010)
If you don’t think you have the stomach (figuratively and, perhaps, literally) for several hours of pre-game hype on TV today, but would actually like some useful pre-game analysis, spend some time with this lengthy breakdown by the stat-inventin’, amateur play-chartin’, number-crunchin’ wizards at Football Outsiders. If you don’t know them, these are the folks, week-in, week-out, who are trying to do for the No Fun League what Bill James and the sabrmetricians did for the National Pastime.
This week’s article begins with an unconscious nod in the direction of my last post, below: “With two evenly matched teams employing similar styles, this game will either come down to one of two things: a huge dose of luck, or the intricacies of matchups and situations.”
And it ends with the following advice: “Put it all in the big blender of matchups, and the result still comes out 50-50. This should be, and hopefully will be, an exciting, high-scoring, and very close game.”
But between those two “bottom lines” are a few thousand words of careful scrutiny about the brain-busting challenges that face any team trying to climb to the top of the NFL’s mountain and claim the flag — or any pundit or gambler trying to make a reliable pick.