It is textbook.
Not that you will find this textbook in the library or anywhere in print, but Kevin, my son who has as much interest in handicapping the National Football League as I, developed this mathematical equation. It shows when an NFL team is as far out on the edges of their talent level and either due to bounce back or stumble after a series of wins.
It’s brilliant, and can be seen not only week-to-week but within a game.
Case in point.
Before the Tampa Bay Buccaneers played the Atlanta Falcons on October 9th, Kevin’s numbers showed that Tom Brady’s team was near the top of how far they could excel, and were in a prime spot for a snapback. Even with this factor working against the Buccaneers, they bolted to a 21-0 lead.
That’s their absolute max, Kevin’s numbers showed, and sure enough the Buccaneers gave up the next 15 points in that game and didn’t cover the point spread. Winning 21-15 straight-up, while giving ten points on the line. After their narrow win over the Falcons, the Buccaneers lost their next three games straight-up while favored against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Carolina Panthers and Baltimore Ravens.
All in alignment with the factor revealed through Kevin’s numbers.
Another clear example of his innovation in action is the Jacksonville Jaguars this season. Jacksonville recovered from an opening day loss with a shutout win over the Indianapolis Colts, 24-0. In third week action, they were touchdown underdogs in Los Angeles and upset the Chargers by four touchdowns, 38-10.
The back-to-back road wins punctuated by a road underdog straight-up double-digit victory put the Jaguars in a horrible imbalance that came up negative on Kevin’s calculations. And the Jaguars lost seven of their next nine games both straight-up and against the point spread. According to the axiom they carried after their blowout win at SoFi Stadium, the Jaguars would need a jolt the other way, a decisive loss, to get back into a positive mode to generate wins.
It happened in Detroit the first weekend in December. The Jaguars got crushed, 40-14, and the weight of the blowout win in Week Three that drove Jacksonville down, was now counterbalanced by a blowout loss.
Should be smooth sailing for the Jaguars in the coming weeks.
They have responded with five straight wins, while only losing a single point spread decision. That was last week, when they won the AFC South Division title with a win over the Tennessee Titans. The victory didn’t come easy, and required the defense to step up with the play that determined the outcome.
Is five straight wins with the slippage of a point spread loss last week reason to get on the Chargers this week in Florida?
It might be in some circumstances, but football games are more often determined by the unique factors that dictate results as opposed to a template that shows only favorable situations.
What the narrow win by the Jaguars doesn’t reveal to all is how big of a triumph that was. The Jaguars had won a meaningless game the week before, while knowing all that mattered was last week’s season closing contest against Tennessee to decide their division race. When a team wins a game they don’t need, their chances of winning the one they do need is greatly reduced.
The rule; they lose.
The fact is; Jacksonville won.
They broke a rule and the closeness of the game actually has both the books and public turning to the road favorite in this contest, that is the Chargers. Some think Jacksonville’s win by a narrow margin, 20-16, is reason to doubt their success this week.
In fact, that was a monumental win last Saturday night for the Jaguars, and they did it like all great teams win games. When one unit isn’t firing on all cylinders, another unit picks up the slack. In this case, while the Jaguars offense was lethargic in their end of the season title game, Jacksonville’s defense made the big plays.
They survived when the deck was stacked against them. This week, the cards all fall their way and the motivational spike coupled with the talent that was able to win last week leads to a surprisingly wide victory margin for the home team.
Qoxhi Picks: Jacksonville Jaguars (+2½) over Los Angeles Chargers