Week 17 Recap: A Nice End to the Season

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The final week of the season is in the books. Though we obviously have more football left to play and bet on, it’s sad to see a season come to a close. Let’s see how we did:

San Francisco 49ers @ Los Angeles Rams
Vegas: LAR -10
DomModel: LAR -13.246
Recommendation: LAR -10

This game was never close to being close. It was a blood bath from the beginning. The 49ers turned the ball over on each of their first three possessions, and the Rams were able to capitalize by scoring two touchdowns. Later in the first half, Nick Mullens threw a pick six, and the Rams added another touchdown on their next drive. It was 31-10 at the end of the half, and we were on easy street heading into cover city. The game ended 48-32, and it was only that close because of a few garbage time touchdowns against the Rams JV squad.

Turnovers are obviously a big part of who wins football games, but that only tells part of the story in this one. The Rams dominated every aspect of the game. On offense, Jarred Goff threw for 199 yards and 4 TDs, with both Brandin Cooks and Josh Reynolds catching a pair of touchdowns. On the ground, the Rams offensive line dominated — routinely giving CJ Anderson space to run with, who finished this one with 132 yards on 23 carries (5.7 ypc). On defense, Aaron Donald found himself in the 49ers backfield so often you would have thought he played for the 49ers. None of the 49ers receivers — outside of George Kittle — could get open. This game was so one-sided it’s a wonder the two teams play in the same league.

Final score: Rams 48, 49ers 32

Chicago Bears @ Minnesota Vikings
MIN -4.5
DomModel: MIN -1.592
Recommendation: CHI +4.5

This was an interesting game to bet on — the Bears would need to win this game and have a Rams loss to get a first round bye. The logic that most follow would be if the Rams were to dominate — which the model thought they would — the Bears would be scoreboard watching and would bench their starters. Therefore, how could we bet both the Rams and Bears?

Because here’s the thing. The Rams did dominate, but the Bears kept going all out.

It’s an important lesson for how week 17 typically goes. We knew going into this one that the Bears were going to go all out. Most coaches will want want their players focused on the game they were playing — not worried about a score of another game going on at the same time. They also want momentum going into the playoffs, and a decisive win over a solid divisional opponent on the road would accomplish just that. If you paid attention to week 17, you saw that almost every team simply went all out — even if they no longer had anything to play for. Remember that for next year.

The Bears won this game the way they usually win — Mitch Tribusky didn’t do anything flashy, but kept the ball out of harms way and made a few key throws on third down. Jordan Howard had his way on the ground, gaining 109 yards on 21 carries (5.2 ypc). On defense, we expected the Bears pass rush to dominate the Vikings offensive line, and that’s exactly what happened. The unexpected part came with the Bears secondary also consistently winning matchups against the Vikings superb duo at receiver. The Bears jumped out to a 13-3 lead at the half, and their defense never allowed the Vikings to get back into it.

Final score: Bears 24, Vikings 10

Arizona Cardinals @ Seattle Seahawks
SEA -13.5
DomModel: SEA -17.615
Recommendation: SEA -13.5

Ugh, now I have to get to the one that didn’t go our way. Things started out poorly — a Russell Wilson interception lead to a Cardinals field goal. But then two unanswered Seahawks touchdowns gave Seattle a 14-3 lead.

Midway through the second, Seattle was punting from their own 6. Dennis Gardeck got a hand on the punt, giving the Cardinals excellent field possession. 3 plays later, it was 14-10. Seattle then couldn’t get anything going offensively — the biggest problem was the Cardinals pass rush. I actually called them out in the analysis blog as terrible — which they are, and were without their 2nd and 3rd best pass rushers in terms of pressure. However, the Seahawks offensive line wasn’t up to the task of blocking anybody, as Russell Wilson was constantly under pressure. The good news was the Cardinals “offense” was equally stagnant. After a Seahawks third quarter touchdown, they were up 21-13. It looked like we still had a shot at covering.

Then things got ugly.

Seattle got a second punt blocked from their own 25. This time, however, Arizona was able to recover it and score a touchdown. After a successful 2 point conversion, we had a tie game, and any chance of covering had gone out the window. Arizona and Seattle ended up trading field goals, but Seattle was able to pull out the W after a final field goal with seconds left.

Final score: Seahawks 27, Cardinals 24

YTD Results: 28-25-1 (53%)
Week 1: 1-2-1
Week 2: 2-2
Week 3: 3-0
Week 4: 1-1
Week 5: 0-3
Week 6: 2-1
Week 7: 1-2
Week 8: 2-1
Week 9: 3-2
Week 10: 1-2
Week 11: 3-0
Week 12: 2-1
Week 13: 2-1
Week 14: 1-3 
Week 15: 0-2
Week 16: 2-1
Week 17: 2-1

That’s it for now, bitches. We will see you in the divisional round.

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