The Pi-Rate Ratings

August 26, 2010

2010 PiRate Ratings NFL Preseason Ratings & Predictions

PiRate Ratings 2010 NFL Preseason Ratings & Predictions


Go to where we were 60.6% against the spread in 2009!


The 2010 edition of the NFL PiRate Ratings makes its debut today, and we have tweaked the ratings just a bit this season.  Every year, we evaluate every team’s ability to run the ball, pass the ball, defend the run, defend the pass, and all the special teams play.


Breaking down the run, we look at the offensive blocking for the run, the ability of the team to run up the gut and pick up two yards on 3rd & two, the ability to get outside and pick up a lot of yards, and so forth.  To us, it is more important to know the situation of each running play rather than the raw average.  If a team has a 1st & Ten at its own 20 yard line and runs the ball five consecutive times for eight, ten, four, two, and two yards, that team has averaged 5.2 yards per rush, but that team must now punt on 4th & two at their 46 yard line.


If that same team starts at its 20 yard line and runs the ball five consecutive times for four yards on every play, that team has averaged just four yards per rush, but they now have a 3rd & two—a much better proposition than 4th & two.


We break down the pass in a similar way.  We look at pass protection, passer ability, and pass receiving ability.  Passing percentage matters very little (virtually nothing).  Yardage gained and maintaining possession of the ball are all that matters.    


Of course, for every offensive action, there is a corresponding defensive action that we rate.  This year, we have given a little more weight to pass rush over pass coverage.  Sacks and hurries are becoming more influential in today’s short passing game offenses.  If you look at a typical game today, 80% of the passes thrown in the NFL are thrown to receivers/backs less than 10 yards pass the line of scrimmage.  The three and five-step drop have displaced the seven-step drop and longer passes.  Most longer passes today are of the play-action variety.  Of course, the 3rd & 20 situation still leads to the longer pass plays. 


With so many shorter passing routes against two-deep coverage, the pass rush deserves a little more weight at the expense of the pass coverage.  We are not talking about a major shift; this is more like a fraction of points, or what we call moving the minute hand on our watch by a minute to synchronize it with Coordinated Universal Time.


For those of you who are new to the PiRate Ratings, these ratings are only good for the current week’s games.  Since the season actually does not begin for a couple weeks, we may tweak them in the next 10-12 days once all cuts and late free-agent pickups are made. 


Additionally, we advise you not to use our raw ratings to pick games.  We offer picks against the spread at our sister site,, and we NEVER use the raw ratings.  If every scheduled game was played 100 times, then the ratings would be quite accurate.  We look at several variables and intangibles in addition to the pointspread to analyze each game and try to find a favorable angle that “gives” us an extra point or two.


You will see three ratings for each team: The PiRate, The Mean, and The Bias Rating.  Each rating is based on 100 being level par.  If a team has a rating of 103.7, then consider that team 3.7 points better than average. 


The PiRate is the raw score we give each team based on all the variables we discussed above (running, passing, etc.).  The Mean Rating is a separate rating of 12 variables that we have used since 1979.  It is purely statistical based on many of the same variables used for the PiRate Rating.  We take the exact average of those 12 variables and use a constant and a multiplier to produce a par of 100.  The Bias Rating takes those same 12 variables and gives each rating a different weight in the formula.  All three ratings have been quite accurate through the years. 


Here are the preseason ratings for the 32 teams.  Each week, the teams will be ranked by division in order of PiRate Rating.  We do not calculate an average of these three ratings, but you can if you want to. 

Initial Regular Season NFL PiRate Ratings

NFC East

PiRate Mean Biased W-L-T Pts Opp
Dallas 104.5 106.3 106.9 0-0-0 0 0
Philadelphia 101.7 104.1 98.7 0-0-0 0 0
New York Giants 100.0 99.9 102.3 0-0-0 0 0
Washington 98.3 96.1 95.8 0-0-0 0 0
NFC North PiRate Mean Biased W-L-T Pts Opp
Minnesota 104.8 108.0 107.9 0-0-0 0 0
Green Bay 104.1 106.7 105.7 0-0-0 0 0
Chicago 100.5 97.3 98.9 0-0-0 0 0
Detroit 92.1 88.1 89.4 0-0-0 0 0
NFC South PiRate Mean Biased W-L-T Pts Opp
New Orleans 105.2 109.8 106.6 0-0-0 0 0
Atlanta 104.7 103.5 104.6 0-0-0 0 0
Carolina 101.6 103.6 100.4 0-0-0 0 0
Tampa Bay 94.3 94.5 92.3 0-0-0 0 0
NFC West PiRate Mean Biased W-L-T Pts Opp
San Francisco 101.6 100.8 102.2 0-0-0 0 0
Arizona 98.5 100.3 99.1 0-0-0 0 0
Seattle 92.2 91.1 94.8 0-0-0 0 0
St. Louis 90.1 85.9 87.3 0-0-0 0 0
AFC East PiRate Mean Biased W-L-T Pts Opp
NY Jets 107.3 106.3 106.2 0-0-0 0 0
New England 105.7 106.5 105.4 0-0-0 0 0
Miami 101.1 100.4 100.8 0-0-0 0 0
Buffalo 97.6 97.4 95.9 0-0-0 0 0
AFC North PiRate Mean Biased W-L-T Pts Opp
Baltimore 105.6 106.3 106.5 0-0-0 0 0
Pittsburgh 100.9 102.2 101.8 0-0-0 0 0
Cincinnati 100.3 100.0 99.4 0-0-0 0 0
Cleveland 97.3 93.2 93.2 0-0-0 0 0
AFC South PiRate Mean Biased W-L-T Pts Opp
Indianapolis 104.9 106.8 107.1 0-0-0 0 0
Houston 102.0 101.9 101.9 0-0-0 0 0
Tennessee 97.9 99.3 101.2 0-0-0 0 0
Jacksonville 96.3 94.8 97.0 0-0-0 0 0
AFC West PiRate Mean Biased W-L-T Pts Opp
San Diego 102.5 106.0 104.6 0-0-0 0 0
Denver 96.6 99.3 98.5 0-0-0 0 0
Kansas City 95.7 92.3 94.5 0-0-0 0 0
Oakland 94.2 91.4 92.8 0-0-0 0 0


The following predictions are not based on the above ratings.  Remember, these ratings are not usable to select future games.  They are not even 100% affected by the scores of each week’s games.  For instance, San Diego would be considered a 6.8-point favorite in the PiRate Ratings over Kansas City in a neutral-site game (before intangibles and other variables).  Even if San Diego won 24-17, their PiRate rating would be adjusted based on how they won by a touchdown.  Suppose the Chiefs led 17-10 with five minutes to go in the game and had a 100-yard advantage, and the Chargers blocked two punts and recovered them in the end zone for touchdowns.  Or, what if the Chargers led 24-3 after three quarters but then lost their three linebackers to season-ending injuries?  The ratings would change drastically depending on how this 24-17 score occurred.

These predictions are our own personal opinions on how we think the season will pan out.  Take them for what it is worth.

NFC East W L   AFC East W L  
Dallas 10 6   New England 10 6  
New York 9 7   Miami 10 6  
Philadelphia 7 9   New York 9 7  
Washington 6 10   Buffalo 4 12  
NFC South W L   AFC South W L  
New Orleans 13 3   Indianapolis 12 4  
Atlanta 10 6   Tennessee 9 7  
Carolina 7 9   Houston 8 8  
Tampa Bay 4 12   Jacksonville 5 11  
NFC North W L   AFC North W L  
Green Bay 12 4   Baltimore 13 3  
Chicago 9 7   Pittsburgh 9 7  
Minnesota 9 7   Cincinnati 8 8  
Detroit 5 11   Cleveland 3 13  
NFC West W L   AFC West W L  
San Francisco 9 7   San Diego 10 6  
Arizona 7 9   Oakland 7 9  
Seattle 6 10   Denver 7 9  
St. Louis 3 13   Kansas City 6 10  
Wildcard Playoffs   Wildcard Playoffs  
San Diego over Tennessee   Dallas over Chicago  
Miami over New England   Atlanta over San Francisco  
Divisional Playoffs   Divisional Playoffs  
Baltimore over Miami   New Orleans over Atlanta  
San Diego over Indianapolis   Green Bay over Dallas  
AFC Championship   NFC Championship  
Baltimore over San Diego   Green Bay over New Orleans  
Super Bowl  
Baltimore over Green Bay  

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