Jumping the gun on Tex here.

My own power ratings, point spreads and playoff game of the week.

I’ve done quite well all season with my power ratings.  In particular, I threw lots of authoritative spitballs at many of the Patriots’ opponents and at various media outlets.  Occasionally the Pats have surprised me by grinding an opponent way, way down, but at least I’ve never had to forecast a game for the opposition.

 

My point-spread calls, being not based on recent injuries and not on individual or team matchups, were not particularly good.  I’ve been recovering somewhat with “Game of the Week” in the last half of the season, which has been reasonably on target until this week when Oakland got hot and when KC might have saved its essential bodily fluids a bit for the next game.  I have Baltimore at playoff slot #5 rated below the Jets at slot #6, so maybe KC played their game properly.  New England seemed to throw an occasional game at the end of the season to draw the right opponent.  I don’t know if that loss should count against KC’s power rating, but I counted the KC game as real.  Their starting QB played the whole game until it was out of reach. 

As previously noted, the week 17 New England and Jets games are off the board (even though they both creamed someone.  Too many substitutes played these games to make them real.)

Normally my power ratings give the number of games (out of 16) that a team would win if the season started fresh.  In this case, New England has become a historical anomaly, an outlier that consistently swats down good teams like flies.  My power ratings drive my point spread forecasts, so New England has to be flying up there at above 16. 

1   ne   17.1   (last wk. 1)

2   gb   13.3   (last wk. 2)

3   pit   12.9   (last wk. 3)

4   atl   11.7   (last wk. 4)

5   chi   11.1   (last wk. 5)

6   nyj   10.7   (last wk. 6)

7   bal   10.2   (last wk. 9)

8   phi   9.7   (last wk. 8)

9   det   9.6   (last wk. 11)

10   no   9.4   (last wk. 7)

11   nyg   9.2   (last wk. 12)

12   ind   8.7   (last wk. 13)

13   tb   8.6   (last wk. 18)

14   mia   8.5   (last wk. 14)

15   sd   8.4   (last wk. 10)

16   min   7.6   (last wk. 16)

17   oak   7.5   (last wk. 26)

18   dal   7.5   (last wk. 22)

19   ten   7.3   (last wk. 23)

20   cin   7.2   (last wk. 19)

21   kc   6.9   (last wk. 15)

22   buf   6.9   (last wk. 21)

23   cle   6.6   (last wk. 17)

24   hou   6.5   (last wk. 27)

25   was   6.4   (last wk. 24)

26   jac   6.2   (last wk. 20)

27   stl   6.1   (last wk. 25)

28   sf   6.1   (last wk. 28)

29   den   4.0   (last wk. 29)

30   car   1.6   (last wk. 31)

31   sea   1.3   (last wk. 32)

32   az   1.0   (last wk. 30)

My point spreads for the wild card games

no        sea                               -9.0            -10.5            1.5

nyj        ind                                0.0            3            -3.0

bal        kc                                -2.0            -2.5            0.5

gb        phi                                -2.3            2.5            -4.8

 

My wild card game of the week is Green Bay beating Philly against the spread.  Green Bay came into Foxboro three weeks ago and at least kept it close, and Green Bay played substitute QB Fitzpatrick to boot.  No one else in the past six weeks has done anything of the sort.  The problem is, Green Bay has played most teams tough starting in week 8.  The main exception was the week their starting QB went down.

gb        phi                                -2.3            2.5            -4.8

 

Looking ahead, possible 1/16/11 New England point spreads

Visitor/home/my point spread

nyj   ne    12.7

bal   ne    13.3

kc   ne    18.3

(sea   ne    26.5    I was just curious!)

In other words, none of these are anywhere near to being close games. 

 

Factors to add to the 1/16/11 point spreads:

A blowout in a wild card game will raise the winner’s rating a bit, narrowing the spread.

Teams usually don’t do as well against BB the second time they meet.  Exception, Baltimore after Wes Welker was injured last year.  That’s not true this year, and Edelman is a competent fill-in for Welker.

BB is a master at using a bye week to prepare.  The meaningless Miami game should count as even more extra preparation time.

Lots of Patriots will be back on the field in two weeks. Spikes will be back and healthy.  On the scratch list against Miami:  Welker, Deion Branch, Aaron Hernandez, Mike Wright, Dan Connolly, Tully Banta-Cain, Jermaine Cunningham.  Myron Pryor was questionable but played in the Miami game until he hurt his eye.  Gronkowski hinted that a few of the team’s nagging injuries that we couldn’t see will also be better with rest.  I was also hoping to see Ron Brace back, but he just landed on injured reserve.  Also, Deaderick just got banished, probably for the next game. 

Bonus, BB has a young, fast-healing team with lots of rookie starters, and if anything, the rooks will all get a bit better in two weeks.

So, the actual point spread deserves to be even scarier than listed for an NFL divisional playoff game.