The Pi-Rate Ratings

September 19, 2012

PiRate Ratings and Spreads For NFL Week 3: September 20-23, 2012

Filed under: Pro Football — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 9:11 am

The New Power Division

Just two years ago, the Seattle Seahawks won the NFC West Division with a 7-9-0 record.  In the previous eight seasons, only seven NFC West teams posted winning records, and never once did two teams from that division win nine games in the same season.  You have to go back to 2003 to fins two teams with winning records from this division.

 

After two weeks of the 2012 season, it looks like the NFC West will break that trend.  San Francisco might be the best team in all of football.  The 49ers won easily at Lambeau Field, and they handled Detroit in Candlestick Park Sunday night.  It is more than a small possibility that they could be 13-0 when they visit New Englandin December.

 

Arizona is also 2-0 with a win at New England.  This is without starting quarterback John Skelton.  Seattle lost at Arizona in week one and then demolished Dallas in week two.  Even St. Louis appears to be ready to challenge for a winning record.  Jeff Fisher has the Rams looking like a playoff contender after losing a close game at Detroit and then winning at home against Washington.

 

To The Contrary

The divisions expected to be the best in both conferences are a combined 8-8 so far, with all eight teams sitting at 1-1.  The NFC North has the misfortune of playing the new power division, and both Green Bay and Detroit have felt the wrath of Harbaugh.  Minnesota lost to Andrew Luck and the Colts.  The Bears have not lost out of division yet, but heading into week three, they are in more disarray than any team that is not wearing fleur de leis on their helmets.

 

In the AFC East, the Jets lost big to Pittsburgh and New England was surprised by Arizona.  Buffalo lost big to the Jets, while Miami lost big to Houston.  It is still too early to make a big assumption here, but New England faces a big game this week at Baltimore.  The Pats have not started 1-2 since 2001, but that team rallied to finish 11-5-0 and first in the division.  It was the year Tom Brady replaced Drew Bledsoe at quarterback three games into the season and guided New England to a Super Bowl Championship.

 

Comparing 2012 to 1966

What seems like a move to a predominant passing game in the 21st Century NFL compared to a former running game back in the Vince Lombardi days is mostly utter nonsense.  Let’s look at some statistics from this season compared to 1966, when Lombardi’s Packers won the NFL-AFL Championship Game in what would soon be renamed “The Super Bowl.”

 

In 2012, the average team scores 24.3 points per game.  In 1966, the NFL averaged 21.7 points per game, and the AFL averaged 22.5 points per game.  There’s very little difference there.

 

In 2012, the average team runs the ball 42% of the time and passes 58% of the time.  In 1966, the average NFL team ran the ball 49% of the time and passed 51% of the time.  The average AFL team ran the ball 46% of the time and passed 54% of the time.  In all three instances, these teams consistently averaged 63 scrimmage plays per game.  We are talking basically three more passing attempts per game these days compared to back in the days of Lombardi.  Scattered over the course of a game, the difference is negligible.

 

In 2012, the average team averages 7.0 yards per pass attempt and 11.1 yards per completion.  In 1966, the NFL averaged 6.9 yards per pass attempt and 13.4 yards per completion, while the AFL averaged 6.8 yards per attempt and 14.7 yards per completion.  Basically, today’s trend is to throw shorter passes for a higher completion percentage, while in 1966, teams tended to throw longer passes with lower completion percentages but more yards per completion.  The real difference is that teams tended to throw a couple extra long bombs in those days.  Once again, the differences are negligible, and the overall results are about the same.

 

In 2012, the average team averages 4.1 yards per rushing attempt.  In 1966, the average NFL team averaged 3.9 yards per rushing attempt, and the average AFL team averaged 4.0 yards per rushing attempt.  This miniscule difference can be explained by the simple fact that teams in 1966 always had a fullback that ran the ball.  In 3rd and short or at the goalline, teams would give the ball to their bigger, more powerful back to get two yards and a first down.  Today, teams are more liable to throw a quick pass than use a line plunge or quick trap through the A-gap to get a first down.

 

In essence, the game has changed very little since the days of Lombardi.  The main difference is that teams used two backs and a tight end almost exclusively in 1966, whereas teams almost always use just one back in 2012.  When a team used two backs today, one of those backs is only a blocker.  In 1966, the two backs split the running plays.  Some teams gave the ball more to the fullback, and some gave it more to the halfback.

 

This Week’s PiRate Ratings

NFC East

PiRate

Mean

Biased

Vintage

HFA

Philadelphia Eagles

104.6

106.8

106.1

106.5

2

New York Giants

101.6

101.2

101.9

102.5

2

Dallas Cowboys

100.7

101.2

99.7

99.0

3

Washington Redskins

97.5

98.8

96.4

95.5

2.5

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFC North

PiRate

Mean

Biased

Vintage

HFA

Green Bay Packers

107.2

106.7

104.6

105.0

2

Chicago Bears

103.5

102.4

103.0

102.0

2

Detroit Lions

101.7

100.6

101.6

101.5

2

Minnesota Vikings

92.6

94.6

92.2

91.5

2.5

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFC South

PiRate

Mean

Biased

Vintage

HFA

Atlanta Falcons

104.5

104.9

104.9

107.0

3

New Orleans Saints

99.4

99.0

95.0

93.5

2.5

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

96.1

96.8

98.7

100.5

2.5

Carolina Panthers

96.0

98.8

99.6

98.5

2.5

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFC West

PiRate

Mean

Biased

Vintage

HFA

San Francisco 49ers

108.4

108.4

106.7

108.0

3

Arizona Cardinals

101.6

100.8

104.1

104.0

3

Seattle Seahawks

100.8

100.6

101.7

102.5

3

St. Louis Rams

95.4

94.3

96.6

98.0

2.5

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC East

PiRate

Mean

Biased

Vintage

HFA

New England Patriots

106.7

106.5

104.6

106.5

2.5

New York Jets

101.6

99.8

100.1

101.0

2.5

Buffalo Bills

98.2

97.1

100.6

100.0

2.5

Miami Dolphins

97.7

97.4

98.8

98.5

2.5

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC North

PiRate

Mean

Biased

Vintage

HFA

Baltimore Ravens

107.3

106.0

106.7

107.0

3

Pittsburgh Steelers

106.0

102.9

101.7

104.0

2.5

Cincinnati Bengals

97.4

97.8

100.9

100.5

2

Cleveland Browns

94.0

94.3

96.4

97.0

2.5

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC South

PiRate

Mean

Biased

Vintage

HFA

Houston Texans

109.0

107.7

108.0

108.0

2

Jacksonville Jaguars

93.4

93.1

92.1

91.5

2

Tennessee Titans

93.0

94.4

92.6

92.0

2.5

Indianapolis Colts

90.6

93.0

95.4

98.0

2.5

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC West

PiRate

Mean

Biased

Vintage

HFA

San Diego Chargers

104.3

104.5

103.2

103.0

3.5

Denver Broncos

103.3

102.5

101.8

101.0

3

Kansas City Chiefs

93.6

93.1

91.2

90.0

2

Oakland Raiders

92.0

94.0

92.9

93.0

3

 

This Week’s PiRate Spreads

Home Team in all CAPS

Vegas Spread as of: Wednesday, September 19 @ 9AM EDT

Favorite Underdog

PiRate

Mean

Bias

Vintage

Vegas

Totals

New York Giants CAROLINA

3.1

-0.1

-0.2

1.5

Pk

50 1/2

CHICAGO St. Louis

10.1

10.1

8.4

6

9

44 1/2

DALLAS Tampa Bay

7.6

7.4

4

1.5

8

46 1/2

San Francisco MINNESOTA

13.3

11.3

12

14

8

43

Detroit TENNESSEE

6.2

3.7

6.5

7

3

46 1/2

WASHINGTON Cincinnati

2.6

3.5

-2

-2.5

3 1/2

49

New York Jets MIAMI

1.4

-0.1

1.2

0

2 1/2

40

NEW ORLEANS Kansas City

8.3

8.4

6.3

6

9 1/2

52 1/2

Buffalo CLEVELAND

1.7

0.3

1.7

0.5

2 1/2

43 1/2

Jacksonville INDIANAPOLIS

0.3

-2.4

-5.8

-9

-2 1/2

41 1/2

ARIZONA Philadelphia

0

-3

1

0.5

4

43 1/2

SAN DIEGO Atlanta

3.3

3.1

1.8

-0.5

3

47 1/2

Houston DENVER

2.7

2.2

3.2

4

Pk

46

Pittsburgh OAKLAND

11

5.9

5.8

8

4

44 1/2

BALTIMORE New England

3.6

2.5

5.1

3.5

2 1/2

44 1/2

Green Bay SEATTLE

3.4

3.1

-0.1

-0.5

3

46 1/2

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