Late For Work 12/11: Pundit Predictions: Seahawks vs. Ravens


Pundit Predictions: Seahawks vs. Ravens

I can't remember when this has ever happened before.

All the pundits agree.

Of the whopping 58 experts below, not a single one predicted the Ravens will beat the Seattle Seahawks Sunday at 1 p.m. Despite having home-field advantage at M&T Bank Stadium, where the Ravens hold the NFL's third best record (47-14) since John Harbaugh became head coach in 2008, Baltimore is six-point underdogs.

When ESPN's Trey Wingo opened up the pick 'em segment on "NFL Live," he said at least one thing we can know for sure about this matchup: the outcome will be close.

Colleagues Herm Edwards and Greg Schiano stared at Wingo like he was crazy. You could almost hear the crickets chirping. The silence was broken by a mocking laugh and Schiano saying, "I don't think so."

All 12 Ravens games this season have been decided by eight points or less, an NFL record, but many pundits say the streak will end Sunday.

That said, given the injuries and everything else that has gone wrong in Baltimore this season, no matter what else happens, all three ESPN analysts agree on one thing:

"Honestly, because of the way the season has gone, it's a testament to John Harbaugh to get that team ready to roll when they know they're out of it, right?" Wingo said.

"There is no doubt," said Schiano. "A great, great coaching job."


Edwards Goes Absolutely Bonkers About Player Selfishness

Here's an interesting contrast to the Harbaugh compliments given above by ESPN pundits.

They praised the Ravens head coach for his ability to rally his players despite hardships. And in another unrelated segment of the same show, Edwards went absolutely bonkers about players' selfishness on a league-wide level. 

Because of that selfishness, he said he would never want to return to the game as a coach. Meanwhile, Harbaugh seems to have overcome that potential selfish tendency with his players.

Take a look at the key moment of his screaming while gesturing wildly (the full segment is below):

"It's hard to argue with Herm on this one," wrote Baltimore Beatdown's Matthew Stevens. "Players are being given increasing amounts of money, being seen on billboards and becoming stars in a way never done before. … Players begin to yell at coaches and think that they are above the team and the game itself because of the promotion they get on ESPN, NFL Network, and during the games.

"Because of this, I'll say that the Ravens losing as many players as they have and being forced to go back to basics has helped this team more than it has hurt. … Through all the injuries, the Ravens have made a Christmas special worthy of an ABC Family presentation. They have become a true team."

Likelihood Of Clausen Starting Is Increasing

One of the reasons national pundits believe the Ravens will lose Sunday is because quarterback Matt Schaub continues to throw pick-sixes.

But those national experts may be making predictions based off criteria that may not even apply to the game. Schaub can't throw pick-sixes if he's not playing.

"The Ravens still haven't ruled out [Schaub], but signs continue to point toward Jimmy Clausen starting," wrote The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec.

Schaub has not practiced yet this week, with his final opportunity coming today. Offensive Coordinator Marc Trestman told the media that he is getting Clausen prepared in case he has to start.

"Jimmy is the guy practicing right now," Trestman said. "Certainly, Matt is in the meetings. He's all over the game plan. He knows exactly what to do and where to go. It's just a day-to-day thing from Matt's standpoint. And while Jimmy's here, he's certainly getting all the reps."

Mind-Boggling Statistical Improbability Of Schaub's Pick-Sixes

If Schaub does play, he could equal his own previously set NFL record of four-straight games with a pick-six.

Want to know what the chance of that would be? About 4,000 times lower than being struck by lightning.

Neil Greenberg of The Washington Post mathematically demonstrated just how improbable this truly remarkable streak would be.

Apparently, through the first 12 weeks of the season, the chance of any quarterback throwing a pick-six on any pass attempt this season was 0.3 percent. Schaub had two in 62 pass attempts as of Sunday, giving him a 3.2 percent rate, which was 10 times higher than what would be expected on an average pass.

It gets even crazier from there.

"Since 2013, there have been 151 interceptions returned for touchdowns, giving you an 11 percent chance of seeing one in any given game," wrote Greenberg. "If we go with the assumption that all games and quarterbacks are equal, that puts the chances of Schaub throwing a pick-six in each of his last three games at 0.13 percent, or a 1-in-751 chance.

"The odds of a quarterback throwing pick-sixes in four straight games is 6,830-to-1. The odds of the same quarterback throwing pick-sixes in four straight games twice in his career is that squared, almost 4,000 times worse than being struck by lightning (12,000 to 1)."

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