Prediction League Rules
1. General Information
The prediction league consists of three contests (regular season picks, a playoff round, bracket predictions) and it is not necessary to participate in all of them. You can choose what you like, although if you want to try your luck in the playoff round, you will have to compete in the regular season beforehand.
I will enter all predictions, results, standings and playoffs in a Google spreadsheet. The link will permanently reside at the top of the first post in this thread and will also be posted in the weekly updates for results and standings throughout the thread.
If I post updates to the prediction league in this thread, they will start with an easily visible ANNOUNCEMENT headline, so they shouldn't be easy to overlook, even if you have a habit of scrolling past most posts in this thread.
Prediction league sign-ups will be open until the early Sunday games of week 2 have been kicked off.
2. Weekly Predictions
2.1 Deadline: The deadline for predictions is the kickoff time of any given game exactly as it is listed on NFL.com. Said kickoff time doesn't necessarily always line up with the actual kickoff time, but that's irrelevant. This means that if the listed kickoff time for Sunday Night Football is 8:30 pm Eastern Time, the game got kicked off at 8:33 pm and the timestamp of your post on VGC is 8:31 pm, then your prediction will not count despite technically coming in before the game started. One minute past the official kickoff time is already too late. No exceptions.
In case you miss the Thursday Night Game (which is bound to happen to some people) or any of the following games, it/they will be recorded as a loss for you, but you can still predict the remaining games of the week. You are allowed to change your already submitted predictions before a deadline, but you must make a new post, because VGC has no notifications that a post was edited. Preferably you quote your previous predictions and point out what you want to have changed.
2.2 Reminders: You will receive a PM notifying you about the start of the prediction league one day before the Season Opening Game in case that you didn't already submit at least one prediction for week 1. I don't want anyone to quit because they happened to miss the first week. During the season, people who missed an entire week (or the majority of it) will receive a PM. Beyond that, there won't be any reminders. Showing up is part of the game.
2.3 Predictions: Predictions can be posted in this thread or you can send me a PM. The second post in this thread will contain a table with all games for any given week and I usually update it on Mondays, so you will have sufficient time to make your picks. It's allowed to drop a short post with your Thursday Night Football pick and make the rest of your predictions later. Quote the second post of this thread or copy-paste the table and fill in your predictions. Write down a "1", if you think the team listed first will win, or a "2", if you think the team listed second will win. If for whatever reason you think that a game will end with a tie, write down a "T".
2.4 Monday Night Football: For the Monday Night Game you have to predict by how many points the team of your choice will win. If your prediction is spot on, you can earn a prediction point (said points serve tie-breaking purposes in the standings and also play a minor role in the playoff round during the postseason). The Monday Night Game will always be in the bottom right corner of the table in the second post and marked with "by X", so it should be easy to remember what you are supposed to do. For example, if the matchup is CHI-DET and you think that Detroit is going to win by 7 points, you enter "DET by 7". In Week 17 there is no MNF, so the game with the chance to earn a prediction point will be chosen by me. It's going to be a game where a lot is at stake, preferably for both teams involved. It will most likely be the game that is moved into the Sunday Night slot.
2.5 Cheating: Anyone who gets caught cheating, whether that is on one, several or all games in a given week, will go 0-X for the week ("X" being equal to the number of games during the week in question). Repeat offenders can and will be banned from the prediction league entirely.
3. Weekly Results
3.1 The Winner: The player(s) with the best record wins the week, it's as simple as that. The tie-breaking procedure from previous years has been dropped due to a lack of interest and in an effort to simplify things, so ties will be very common now.
3.2 Rankings: They are made in accordance with records, not the number of people. This sounds probably very confusing, but if two people won the week with a 14-2 record and are listed as first, then the people with the next best record aren't refered to as third, but rather as second because their record is the second best of the week. The same logic applies for the rest of the players. This is done in an effort to make the distribution of prediction points easier to understand, as well as the additional statistics in the standings. People who share the same record will be listed in alphabetical order.
3.3 Prediction Points (PP): The top performers of any given week will earn prediction points which serve tie-breaking purposes in the standings and also play a minor role in the playoff round during the postseason. The best record of the week will be rewarded with 4 points, the second best with 2 points and the third best with 1 point. For example, the two winners in a week finished 14-2, so each one of them receives 4 points; nobody has a 13-3 record, so all three players with a 12-4 record earn 2 points and the five people who went 11-5 get 1 point each.
3.5 Perfect Result (PR): Any player, regardless of their record for the week, has a chance to snatch 1 PP for predicting the winner and the point differential of Monday Night Football correctly.
3.6 Perfect Week (PW): If a player manages to predict the winners of all games in a given week correctly, he will be rewarded with 2 PP. A perfect week does not necessitate a perfect result for Monday Night Football, so it's enough to predict the winner of that game correctly.
4.1 Rankings: Players will be ranked based on their amount of correctly predicted games over the course of the season. Whoever predicted the most games across 17 weeks correctly wins the regular season of the prediction league.
4.2 Tie-Breaking Procedure: If two or more players have the same record, the prediction points come into play. Here's the step-by-step tie-breaking procedure that ends as soon as a step is decisive. If a tie needs to be broken between three or more players, the tie-breaking procedure returns to step 1 every time a player has been evaluated as the best one of the group.
1. Higher/highest amount of prediction points.
2. Higher/highest amount of top 3 finishes.
3. Higher/highest amount of #1 in weekly results.
4. Higher/highest amount of #2 in weekly results.
5. Higher/highest amount of #3 in weekly results.
All of the above criteria are part of the additional statistics in the standings, so it will be easy to keep track of them. As can be seen, prediction points that were earned from perfect results or perfect weeks hold no weight beyond the first step. The second tie-breaker step exists to reward more consistent players rather than those who had a rollercoaster performance throughout the season. Should the above five steps not lead to a decision, then it remains a tie for the time being and the players are listed in alphabetical order.
4.3 Tie-Breaking Procedure in Week 17: In the final week of the season all ties will be broken. If the above steps don't lead to a result, then the player who ranked higher in the Week 17 predictions comes out on top. In case this happens to have been a tie between these players as well, we'll go back to Week 16 and so on and so forth until the tie is broken. There will be no tied positions whatsoever at the end of the season, because the seeding for the playoffs needs to be determined.
5.1 General Information: The playoffs are a fun little extra game for the postseason. Unlike in the NFL though, the winner of this round doesn't supplant the best performer of the regular season as the greatest of the year. Nevertheless, it's still a prestigious title to win.
5.2 Number of Contenders: It's 16 because that's the perfect number for four rounds of one-on-one matchups. The people who don't manage to finish in the top 16 of the regular season will be able to participate in the non-prestigious Bracket B of the playoffs.
5.3 Eligible Players: In order to be eligible for either bracket of the playoff round, a certain threshold of regular season picks must have been made. That number is 230, so you are allowed to miss 26 games (slightly more than 10%) of the regular season.
5.4 Seeding in the Wild Card Playoffs: Highest seed vs. lowest seed. #1 vs. #16, #2 vs. #15 etc. The winner proceeds to the next round, the loser is out. The same logic applies to Bracket B.
5.5 Predictions: You have to predict the results, not just the winners of the four games. In other words, predictions have to be made in the same way as for Monday Night Football during the regular season. You have to send me your predictions via PM. Well, technically you can post them in this thread too, but that would give your opponent the chance to play the math game. My opponent in the playoffs and I will send our predictions to a third person (will be determined when the time has come) to make it fair game for everyone involved. The deadline for each given playoff game will be its respective kickoff time. If you want to change a prediction, you can use the same PM because each post in a PM generates a new timestamp and edits aren't possible to begin with.
Predictions will show up in the spreadsheet after the final game of each given weekend has been kicked off. This is done in order to prevent people from playing the math game.
5.6 The Home Field Advantage: The higher seed in each matchup will enjoy a home field advantage in the playoffs. It will only apply in a tie-breaking procedure (necessary when both players predicted the same amount of winners correctly), otherwise it is useless. Here's the formula to calculate the home field advantage:
Home field advantage = (correct picks of the higher seed in the regular season - correct picks of the lower seed in the regular season) + ([PP of the higher seed - PP of the lower seed] /2)
And if that wasn't enough, there are two extra rules for this calculation. For one, if the PP of the lower seed exceed the PP of the higher seed, then the second half of the above equation will be set to 0 (otherwise the home field advantage could theoretically be a home field disadvantage). And two, if the result of the equation has a decimal (can only be .5), then it will be rounded up.
5.7 The Winner: Whoever predicted more winners of the Wild Card playoff games correctly proceeds to the next round.
5.8 Tie-Breaking Procedure: If both players predicted the same amount of winners correctly, then the points differentials (meaning how far the players have been off with their predictions) for all four games will be added up. For the player who holds the home field advantage (HFA), the number of his HFA will be substracted from his points differential total. In other words, this player has more room for error in his predictions. After the HFA is applied, the player who is closer to the number 0 is the winner. If there's still a tie at that point, then the player who holds the HFA (in other words, the higher seed) goes to the next round.
5.9 Failure to Show up: If one player of a matchup forgets to submit predictions altogether while the other player predicts at least one game, then their opponent basically earns a bye week. If both players forget to submit predictions altogether, then both will be eliminated. Instead the best loser (the lucky loser) of the current playoff round will move on.
5.10 Lucky Loser: This rule will only be applied under the special circumstance that both players of a matchup failed to show up. Since both players will be eliminated, a spot will be open and it will go to the best loser of the given playoff round. In order to determine the lucky loser, the results of all losers in the given playoff round will be compared. Highest record and best points differential total are the things that matter. Players who enjoyed an HFA will have their non-HFA points differential total used in this comparison. If there's a tie, then the higher/highest seed will go to the next round.
5.11 Divisional Playoffs (Bracket A): Highest remaining seed vs. lowest remaining seed. The rules are exactly the same as in the Wild Card Playoff round.
5.12 Divisional Playoffs (Bracket B): In case that Bracket B started with fewer than 16 players in the wild card round, there will be at least one missing player to round out a group of eight. This will allow the best loser(s) of Bracket A to continue in Bracket B as the now lowest seed(s); the new seeding is assigned based on the performance in the wild card round, so for example, the seed #16 of Bracket A could end up in a better position than seed #15 if both manage to go to Bracket B as lucky losers. Furthermore, in such a scenario of fewer than 16 players at the start of Bracket B, the home field advantage formula will be dropped for the remainder of Bracket B because it wouldn't make sense anymore, and a simplified tie-breaker will be used instead. In case of a tie in record and points differential total, the higher seed of the given matchup will proceed to the next round.
5.13 Championship Games: Highest remaining seed vs. lowest remaining seed. The rules remain largely the same, the exception being that the calculated HFA will be divided by 2 (the result will always be rounded up if it has a decimal), because there are only two playoff games instead of four. For Bracket B, there will be no HFA if rule 5.12 was triggered and instead the previously mentioned simplified tie-breaker will be used.
5.14 Super Bowl: The two remaining players duke it out. No home field advantage for the higher seed. Predict the winner of the Super Bowl and by how many points they will win. Tie-breaking procedure, if both players picked the winner correctly or incorrectly:
1. Better prediction for the points difference between the two teams.
2. Better playoff performance. All playoff predictions of the two players will be tallied up and compared. First the record, then the points differential totals without applying any HFAs that both players might have had in the various playoff rounds. The person who holds this advantage will be announced prior to the Super Bowl.
3. Better regular season position. In other words, the higher seed wins.
In order to prevent an anticlimatic finish of the season which would happen if both players predicted exactly the same outcome for the Super Bowl (and thus the winner would be a foregone conclusion before the Super Bowl even started), both players will be informed that their opponent predicted exactly the same. If this happens, both players are allowed to submit a new prediction or stick with their initial one. Should both players predict exactly the same a second time around, then there will be no notification, so that's the improbable scenario in which the tie-breaking steps 2 and 3 would be needed.
Furthermore, the deadline for the Super Bowl prediction can be moved to an earlier point than kickoff time if both players agree on it. People might go to a Super Bowl party and would like to know what they have to root for during the game in order to win this prediction league. If the deadline gets moved to an earlier point, the predictions of both players will be announced in this thread once the deadline has expired.
6. Bracket Predictions
6.1 General Information: Bracket Predictions are another separate contest in this prediction league. The deadline is the kickoff of the season opening game. Usual rules for submitting predictions apply. Changes can be made before the deadline, but a new post is required.
6.2 Brackets: Here is the list of what a full bracket prediction contains.
1. Rankings of the eight divisions (32 entries).
2. #1 draft pick (1).
3. AFC playoff teams, including seeding (6).
4. NFC playoff teams, including seeding (6).
5. AFC teams in the divisional playoffs (4).
6. NFC teams in the divisional playoffs (4).
7. AFC teams in the championship game (2).
8. NFC teams in the championship game (2).
9. Super Bowl teams (2).
10. Super Bowl winner (1).
That's a total of 60 predictions. A template can be found in the third post of this thread. After the season has started, the third post will be used to show the standings for this contest.
6.3 Logical Consistence: Every player is required to submit a logical consistent bracket, meaning that all of the named playoff teams in each round have to make sense based on the previous entries in the bracket. Should a player fail to correct mistakes in his bracket before the deadline hits, then illogical entries will be left blank in the spreadsheet.
6.4 Scoring: Here is the breakdown for how many points you can earn in each category.
1. Rankings of the eight divisions (32 points).
2. #1 draft pick (2).
3. AFC playoff teams, including seeding (12+6).
4. NFC playoff teams, including seeding (12+6).
5. AFC teams in the divisional playoffs (8).
6. NFC teams in the divisional playoffs (8).
7. AFC teams in the championship game (4).
8. NFC teams in the championship game (4).
9. Super Bowl teams (4).
10. Super Bowl winner (2).
That's a total of 100 points. To clarify point 3 and 4, you'll get 2 points for each team that made it into the playoffs and you can earn an extra point for each team you got the seeding right.
6.5 Standings: Players will be ranked by their amount of points. Additional statistics will show how many points were earned in each phase of the season.
6.6 Tie-breaking Procedure: Here is the step-by-step tie-breaking procedure which ends as soon as a step is decisive. If three or more players are tied, the tie-breaking procedure reverts to step 1 once a player has been evaluated as the best of the group.
1. Earned more points from the Super Bowl winner.
2. More/most points from the two Super Bowl teams.
3. More/most points from the four teams in the Championship Games.
4. More/most points from the eight teams in the Divisional Playoffs.
5. More/most points from the twelve playoff teams (points from seeding excluded).
6. More/most points from seeding.
7. More points from the #1 draft pick.
If none of the above steps break the tie, then it will remain a tie. This tie-breaking procedure will also be applied in the standings that come before the final one, with steps that cannot be determined at the given time being excluded.