It’s that time of year again!
This will be the third year I make picks for the playoffs. You cannot see my 2017 playoff predictions here, and my 2018 predictions here. Check them out. It can be incredibly fun to go back and read the old comments to see just how wrong (or right) we all were.
But let’s get to picking 2019’s playoff games!
The key stat: SRS
SRS stands for Simple Rating System. It evaluates teams based on their strength of schedule and point differential. OSRS and DSRS are the offensive and defensive components that are used to create the total SRS value; OSRS and DSRS always add up to equal SRS.
SRS Values for 2018 Playoff Teams
How we’ll make decisions
Using the OSRS, DSRS, and SRS ratings and each playoff matchup since the 2002 postseason, I was able to come up with a few stats that will help guide my predictions.
- 64 percent of playoff teams with the better SRS won the game.
- 63 percent of playoff teams with the better OSRS won
- 56 percent of playoff teams with the better DSRS won
In addition, since the merger, 68 percent of playoff games have been won by the home team.
Every year there are 11 playoff games. This means that on average, there are four SRS upsets, and seven SRS-predicted victories. So as I make the predictions. I will use the four upset games as the guideline for my predictions.
I will also use factors like home/away, injuries, OSRS/DSRS, other historical factors, etc. to help guide my decisions.
So let’s take a look at the picks. Please note the numbers in parentheses are the SRS ratings for each team, with 2.5 points added for home teams.
Wild Card Round
The Colts seem to be playing hot now. With both teams SRS scores being close, and the fact the Colts beat the Texans in their last matchup, I’m going to hop on the Colts bandwagon and pick them to upset the Texans in this game.
I have three upsets left.
I watched the Ravens manhandle the Chargers offense a few weeks ago, and that’s enough for me to believe the Ravens will win in Baltimore. Plus, Baltimore is the SRS favorite.
It’s tough to repeat in the NFL, and I believe the Bears defense is a little too much for the Eagles.
I have no idea why I’m picking the Cowboys here. For some reason, I get the feeling they’ll play out of their minds at home and actually win an unlikely playoff game against the Seahawks.
Two upsets are left.
Colts (3.4) @ Chiefs (11.4)
I think the Chiefs offense is too much for the Colts in this one. It will be close until the fourth quarter when the Chiefs pull away.
Ravens (7.0) @ Patriots (7.7)
I wanted to pick the Ravens so badly, but I just can’t pick a team to beat Tom Brady in a playoff game in New England with a run-first quarterback. However, I would not be surprised in the least if the Ravens defense shuts out the Patriots and the Ravens win.
Cowboys (1.1) @ Saints (12.6)
This will be ugly. The Saints win hugely.
Bears (6.3) @ Rams (11.0)
I am not high on the Rams like many are. I think the Bears defense is good enough to stop the Rams offense, and the Rams playoff issues continue.
This is the third upset. There is only one left.
Patriots (5.2) @ Chiefs (11.4)
The Chiefs are the SRS favorite in this game, and the past five teams to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl were the number one seed. I think the Chiefs win in a squeaker against the Patriots.
Bears (6.3) @ Saints (12.6)
New Orleans is a much tougher place to play than LA — the Bears nice playoff run ends at the hands of Drew Brees and the Saints.
Chiefs (8.9) vs Saints (10.1)
I only had one upset left, and this is the place to use it. The Chiefs beat the Saints in an epic offensive showdown. The 2019 Super Bowl between the Saints and Chiefs will go down as one of the highest scoring Super Bowls in history.
When I started writing this I had absolutely no clue what teams I would pick. I knew I would have the Chiefs win it all, but I’m writing for a Chiefs blog, so of course I’m going to favor the Chiefs! My readers should expect as much.
Also... with Patrick Mahomes at the controls, why shouldn’t I pick the Chiefs?
Let’s see how you feel the postseason will play out!