Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Who Will Win the NFC Championship Game? (Jan 2012)

This year's NFC Championship Game is very interesting. We have a red-hot New York Giant team going up against a solid San Francisco 49ers squad that "quietly" put together a consistently great season.

As sports fans might expect, San Francisco shines in many statistics -- and this is true for the key championship characteristics that we study. In particular, the 49ers run an offense that can control the ball and is very mistake-free. In addition, although Giants fans have been talking up the Giant pass-rush and defense, San Francisco had the NFL's best defense this season.

The Giants have been red-hot, easily handling Atlanta in Round 1 of the playoffs 24-2, and then controlled most of the game against Green Bay, winning 37-20. The Giants ended the regular season on a strong note -- with a difficult schedule -- with wins against the likes of the Jets and Dallas (twice), before storming into the playoffs.

San Francisco got by New Orleans 36-32, and to many, the NFC Championship game pits strength (49ers) against a hot team with good momentum (Giants). We believe that the 49ers also have good momentum -- and for the most part, the championship characteristics point to San Francisco. Interestingly, our research, also says that momentum and a team's recent performance is sometimes overvalued.

As a result, our blog's official prediction is on the San Francisco 49ers. We do not have an official quant fact prediction on the AFC Championship game. New England is a fairly large favorite, but we note that the Patriots put together their regular-season record against a relatively weak schedule. In addition, Baltimore, as usual, boasts a top-notch defense and is battle-hardened because of their divisional rivalry with Pittsburgh.

Carlton Chin, CFA, an MIT-trained "quant" and fund manager and Dr. Jay Granat, a psychotherapist and sports psychologist, wrote "Who Will Win the Big Game? A Psychological & Mathematical Approach." Chin is a specialist in futures and quantitative trading systems at CARAT / Adamah Capital and Granat is founder of