The Pi-Rate Ratings

January 4, 2010

Final Regular Season PiRate Ratings: January 4, 2010

PLAYOFFS!!! DO TALK ABOUT PLAYOFFS!!!

With Apologies to Jim Mora, Sr.

 

The folks at ESPN and other networks carrying the college bowls need to look at their ratings for these meaningless games they have been carrying for the last couple of weeks.  Take a look at the ratings for this coming weekend’s playoff games.  The Alamo Bowl and Gator Bowl equivalents will be played this weekend and known as the Wildcard Playoff Round.  Both of those bowls had a news angle to them.  Bobby Bowden coached in his final game in the Gator Bowl, and Texas Tech minus Coach Mike Leach played in the Alamo Bowl.  I didn’t watch either game, as the baseball book I read Friday and Saturday was much more entertaining. 

Note: If you want to be floored by just how much a drop-dead gorgeous actress knows about baseball, read Alyssa Milano’s new book Safe at Home. She just picked up a new customer, as I will be purchasing Twins’ clothing for my female relatives on their next birthdays.

 

The irony of this week’s opening slate of playoff games is that three of the four games are sequels of yesterday’s week 17 games.  Arizona and Green Bay will hook up again in Phoenix and Dallas and Philadelphia will do it over again in Arlington, Texas.  The Jets and Bengals will be a little more democratic than the other two games; they will switch venues from the Meadowlands to Paul Brown Stadium.

At first glance, this seems to make these games less electrifying, since the teams will play two games in a row, and in less than a week in the case of the two Saturday games (Jets-Bengals & Cowboys-Eagles).  Nothing could be further from the truth.  It will add to the excitement.  Football is a lot more than just blood and guts.  It is perhaps the one sport that is affected by coaching strategy than any other.  It is a chess game with human pieces.

Imagine how much different the games would be if the coaches were forced to share their game plans in advance.  In the case of Philadelphia and Dallas, this game meant a lot as homefield advantage and a possible bye were riding on the outcome.  Both teams had to show the other team everything they had in preparation for this game, and now both teams have one less day to prepare for the rematch. 

Cincinnati had little to play for against the Jets, so they benefitted from getting a good luck at everything Coach Rex Ryan’s team had, since the Jets had to win the game.  Think of it as one team getting to see the other team’s game plan.  Even with Cincinnati swooning in the second half of the season, one has to believe this repeat game gives the Bengals twice the homefield advantage of a normal NFL game.

Green Bay and Arizona really didn’t gain much repeat advantage when the two squared off yesterday.  In this case, it was the devastating results of personnel injuries.  The Packers saw ace defensive back Charles Woodson go down with a shoulder injury, while Arizona saw star receiver Anquan Boldin leave the game with an ankle injury; defensive end Calais Campbell suffered a broken thumb, and defensive back Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie injured his knee.  Even if these four players can play again this week, none will be at 100%.

The one game that isn’t a rematch of week 17 finds Baltimore going to New England.  Both of these teams are talented enough to run the table and get a ticker tape parade in February.

Now, throw into the equation that the two AFC games will have serious weather issues this weekend.  It’s still too early to know for sure, but it looks like the Bengals-Jets game will be played in temperatures around 20 degrees with a chance of snow.  The Patriots-Ravens game should have clear skies, but the temperature should be in the upper teens.  When it’s this cold, it becomes much more difficult to pass and catch the ball and slightly more difficult to hold onto the ball on running plays and field kicks.  In the old days, players would just put enough “stick-em” on their hands to become a ball magnet.  The leather gets really slippery when the temperature dips below 25. 

For those of you who have chosen to purchase our weekly picks on the webpage (www.piratings.webs.com), we will have a different approach for the playoffs.  We concluded the regular season with a 5-2 record for the week, and that brought our seasonal record to 94-61-2 (60.6%).  For the NFL playoffs, we will offer a $10 package that is good for all playoff games.  Instead of giving you an exact card to play, we will diagnose every game and give you the PiRate Rating predicted score, the Mean Rating predicted score, the Bias Rating predicted score, and the infamous 100 simulations results from the research lab computer that proved that garbage in, garbage out isn’t always the case.  If you want to know more about the 100 simulations playoff results, check in on last year’s Super Bowl blog here: https://piratings.wordpress.com/2009/01/30/pirate-ratings-super-bowl-43-preview/ .  You will find the computer simulator was very accurate in the 2008-2009 playoffs.  Check it out on the webpage at “Playoff Winners: $10.

NFL Regular Season Epilog

 

The NFL regular season concluded with a couple of important games, while the other games proved to be about as important as the Sun Bowl.  Here are some points to ponder.

1. The Cincinnati Bengals finished the season 3-4.  They averaged only 15.8 points per game in the nine weeks after their bye week.  They gave up 26 points per game in their final four games.  Is this the look of a playoff team?  Cleveland looked more like the playoff team, winning their final four games by an average of 8.5 points per game.

2. Denver has swooned for the second year in a row.  Second verse was same as the first.  A fast start, a mediocre middle, and an 0-4 conclusion saw the Broncos eliminated from the playoffs yet again.  The 44-24 loss to the Chiefs capped a 2-8 finish after a 6-0 start.  During the 2009 flop, the Broncos were outscored 258-193 and lost to both Kansas City and Oakland, as well as lowly Washington.  The Broncos could finish in last place in the AFC West in 2010, as they will have a harder schedule than the Raiders and Chiefs.

3. The New York Giants began the season 5-0 and finished 8-8.   Their defense gave up 14.2 points per game in the 5-0 start and 32.4 points per game in the 3-8 finish.

4. The Tennessee Titans and Carolina Panthers were the opposites of the Broncos and Giants.  Carolina found itself in an 0-3 hole and slowly climbed back to finish 8-8.  Tennessee began 0-6 and finished 8-2 with Vince Young at quarterback.

5. The two hottest teams in the league are the Chargers and Packers.  While New Orleans, Indianapolis, and Minnesota were hogging the headlines, San Diego won their last 11 games by more than a 13-point average margin.  Included in this string were victories over three playoff teams—Philadelphia, Dallas, and Cincinnati.  Green Bay found itself in a hole after losing to then winless Tampa Bay and falling to 4-4.  In the second half of the season, the Packers finished 7-1 with an average scoring margin of 30.8 to 15.6.

6. Speaking of Indy and New Orleans, no team has every won the Super Bowl after beginning the year with a 10+-game winning streak and tailing off at the end of the year.  Look at last year’s Titans.  They were 10-0 and finished 13-3.  The Titans promptly exited in their first playoff game and then saw it mount to an 0-6 start this season.  You may ask when was the last time a team lost its final two (as in the Colts) or three (as in the Saints) games of the regular season and then won the Super Bowl?  The Green Bay Packers of 1967 dropped their final two regular season games and then won Super Bowl II.  No team has ever lost their last three regular season games and won the Super Bowl.  In fact, going back to the pre-Super Bowl days, no team has every won the league championship after losing their final three regular season games.

7. There has been a consistent predictor of NFL playoff winners over the course of four plus decades.  Almost every NFL Champion since 1960 has possessed a trio of shared traits.  Of course, it’s not that easy.  In many years, three or more teams possessed these traits.  However, in only a couple of years did the champion not possess the traits we speak of.  If you want to know what these traits are, you’ll have to sign up for our postseason coverage at www.piratings.webs.com.  $10 will buy you analysis on every playoff game.

Final Regular Season NFL PiRate Ratings

           
               

NFC East

PiRate Mean Biased W-L-T Pts Opp
Dallas  106.3 107.4 107.2 11-5-0 361 250
Philadelphia  105.1 105.3 105.3 11-5-0 429 337
New York Giants 98.8 99.6 99.9 8-8-0 402 427
Washington  96.9 96.2 95.3 4-12-0 266 336
               
NFC North PiRate Mean Biased W-L-T Pts Opp
Green Bay  108.2 108.3 108.3 11-5-0 461 297
Minnesota 106.3 106.6 106.4 12-4-0 470 312
Chicago 97.1 97.2 98.5 7-9-0 327 375
Detroit 87.8 87.6 86.9 2-14-0 262 494
               
NFC South PiRate Mean Biased W-L-T Pts Opp
New Orleans 106.9 107.3 106.1 13-3-0 510 341
Carolina 106.1 103.7 103.4 8-8-0 315 308
Atlanta   103.9 103.6 103.6 9-7-0 363 325
Tampa Bay 94.3 94.5 95.0 3-13-0 244 400
               
NFC West PiRate Mean Biased W-L-T Pts Opp
San Francisco 102.3 101.3 101.6 8-8-0 330 281
Arizona 101.3 99.9 102.3 10-6-0 375 325
Seattle 88.0 90.5 90.6 5-11-0 280 390
St. Louis 84.4 85.5 84.6 1-15-0 175 436
               
AFC East PiRate Mean Biased W-L-T Pts Opp
New England 107.8 107.8 106.4 10-6-0 427 285
NY Jets 105.1 106.7 105.6 9-7-0 348 236
Miami 97.9 99.8 99.2 7-9-0 360 390
Buffalo 95.4 97.7 97.1 6-10-0 258 326
               
AFC North PiRate Mean Biased W-L-T Pts Opp
Baltimore 108.8 105.9 105.6 9-7-0 391 261
Pittsburgh 104.3 101.8 103.9 9-7-0 368 324
Cincinnati 98.8 99.7 101.7 10-6-0 305 291
Cleveland 94.9 96.7 98.0 5-11-0 245 375
               
AFC South PiRate Mean Biased W-L-T Pts Opp
Indianapolis 107.3 104.4 106.2 14-2-0 416 307
Houston   103.3 101.9 103.1 9-7-0 388 333
Tennessee 100.4 98.5 101.8 8-8-0 354 402
Jacksonville 93.7 94.2 97.2 7-9-0 290 380
               
AFC West PiRate Mean Biased W-L-T Pts Opp
San Diego 111.5 106.8 109.3 13-3-0 454 320
Denver 95.3 99.3 99.8 8-8-0 326 324
Oakland   92.8 91.6 92.9 5-11-0 197 379
Kansas City 91.4 92.6 92.3 4-12-0 294 424
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