Getting Middled

"Hey diddle diddle, the fiddle hit a middle."

Did the Giants get middled in going 7-9?

One of the tools of the trade in sports betting is trying to middle a sports line.  It's the hole in the middle of a betting structure where you can win both sides of a bet.  The classic middle is one where you think there is no chance of a team winning a game yet you do not want to lay all of the points either.  So you take the Texans +7.5 at home vs the Patriots and you bet the Pats on the moneyline (or more commonly in a teaser structure) to simply win the game outright.  When the Pats win by a FG, you win both sides and clean up.

When the Giants were 0-6, we wanted change.  When the Giants finished 7-9, nothing had changed in the final 10 games to warrant status quo.  The risk here was that the Giants were getting middled.  The porridge was not hot enough for the playoffs, but not cold enough to get ownership/management interested in the necessary changes.  Thankfully, Mara's comment that the offense was "broken" meant the 7 wins did not cover up the failures that were present this season. 

Too many time this year, we would not let you forget about the circumstances behind those wins. One of those wins (vs Minnesota) was revealed to be exactly what we said, by its players… "YOU COULD TELL JOSH DID NOT KNOW THE OFFENSE," said one Viking player anonymously, referring the week of practice before Freeman's one and ONLY start all season.  The reason we come back to this game is, once again, not to undermine the effort by the Giants players or the hard work of the coaching staff, but merely to forensically review our claims.  Here, we get a unique opportunity to discover the truth about 2013 because Frazier was fired.  If Frazier is still there, we won't hear this candid admission from people on the inside.  Logic and our eyes told us it was a supreme gift-wrapped win.  But Vikings players let us know that that was indeed the case that the Giants stuffed a Vikings offense that scored a total of 7 points, all off of a punt return.

It's not that hard to see the difference in the Packers, a team that saw 4 QBs this year with different results vs different opponents.  As Fassel explained, it is not who you play but WHEN you play them.  Rodgers came back in Week 17 and lifted the Pack to a win and the playoffs.  He finished the season 6-2, with the 2 losses to the playoff teams of SF and CIN in weeks 1 & 3.  Behind Rodgers was Flynn, who was 2-2-1, followed by Wallace at 0-1 and Tolzien at 0-2. It is not being overly simplistic to say that depending on which QB you faced, that determined your outcome.  

The important thing is that as long as Mara is not completely delusional, he is going to see the issues we saw.  I frankly do not feel that Reese has the integrity to honestly evaluate his performance or the team's performance, since he gets paid for puffery.  I can say that based on his remarks at midseason, which focused more on the opportinuity presented by a pathetic division than by his flawed architecture.  The bottomline is that vs flawed teams the Giants were able to get some wins, and that versus competent teams the Giants ALWAYS LOST and were often embarrassed.

Another element to the Giants porridge not being too hot or too cold is the middling draft pick.  

The Giants pick at #12 in the draft.  That should be good enough to get a solid LT.  Even though we have shown that drafting at the beginning of Round 1 is not that much better than drafting at the end of Round 1, still there is no doubt that picking higher will generate a better prospect (just not by a great amount).

What is so maddening about the NFL draft order tiebreaker is how they use strength of schedule to establish reverse order and then they rotate by 1 slot each round.  We'll link to this discussion from a 2008 post to show how it should be done.  And while we are talking about seeding, let's go back to a comment from dbs50: based on point differentials, the Giants were clearly not a 7 win team, or certainly were the weakest of the bunch.   

Draft Pick Team Strength of Sched Pt Diff
10 DET 0.457 +19
11 TEN 0.504 -19
12 NYG 0.520 -89
13 STL 0.551 -16

It would seem logical to us that if Point Differential is one of the tiebreakers for getting into the playoffs/seeding, that reverse point differentials should be factored into seeding for draft order. Wins are the best arbiter of competiveness, but the Point Differential is still a good yardstick for the same. 

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