2008 NFL Divisional Picks

I didn’t really give picks for the wildcard round since the season was over and since they were divinable by the rankings, but what the heck.

The home teams are all favored this week. A rare week of harmony with the conventional wisdom.

Baltimore at TENNESSEE: No change anywhere if Tennessee wins. If Baltimore wins, it creates a season split, while Tennessee has an alternate beatpath – no change to the graph or rankings in this case, either. What this really means is that if Baltimore wins, it would very much definitely be an upset.

Arizona at CAROLINA: No change in the graph if Carolina wins, although Carolina would be helped in the rankings a bit. If Arizona wins, they’d shed the beatloss to Carolina, which would subtly hurt Carolina in the rankings.

Philadelphia at NY GIANTS: The Giants are favored, but if they win, crazy things happen – Philadelphia loses their beatwins over Cleveland and Minnesota, and Arizona. Also, ARI->DAL->CIN->WAS disappears. Since ARI->DAL disappears, the Giants actually come out of it looking weaker than the AFC teams, and fall in the rankings, although Philadelphia would fall by more. If Philadelphia wins, it’s cleaner – all the resultant beatloops are already redundant, and so there’s no change to the graph or rankings.

San Diego at PITTSBURGH: No change anywhere if Pittsburgh wins. If San Diego wins, it’s just another season split that is invisible due to alternate beatpaths.

Overall, a continuation of a very weird season – usually, nonfavored teams have an opportunity climb up in the graph throughout the playoffs. There doesn’t seem to be much likelihood of a sane result in the beatpaths graph this season – best we can hope for is for San Diego to defeat Pittsburgh, lose to Tennessee (which would loop away the Jets), and then have Tennessee win the Super Bowl.

2 Responses to 2008 NFL Divisional Picks

  1. Tom says:

    It seems like you’re saying that Beatpaths 1) by picking NY Giants, and 2) by dropping the NY Giants in the rankings if they win, is telling us that the NY Giants are actually overrated by the system itself.

  2. ThunderThumbs says:

    Yeah, something like that – I’ve seen this before, and it makes me think of one other big line of analysis we can take – as we’ve pointed out, the rankings are dependent on game outcomes, but they’re also dependent on what games are scheduled.

    If you start with a ranking in week four, and then assume that every game for the rest of the season turns out as expected, with the favored team always winning, the resultant beatpath rankings will not be the same as the rankings in week 4.

    So this has made me wonder about a ranking system that would take the season’s future schedule into account somehow.

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