The Pi-Rate Ratings

October 15, 2013

PiRate Ratings: NFL–Week 7, October 17-21, 2013

Implications Of This Week’s Games

Upon closer examination of this week’s NFL schedule, several interesting tidbits can be discussed.  Here is a sampling from the SS Buckaroo, o.k.a. PiRate Headquarters.

 

Seattle at Arizona

Arizona needs to come up with a Thursday night upset to stay in the NFC West and Wildcard races.  Where 7-9 won this division just a few years back, 8-8 could be the worst record in the division this year.

 

Seattle has a tricky two-game intradivisional road swing with games spaced 11 days apart.  They face the Rams in St. Louis on Monday night the following week.  Meanwhile, the rival 49ers have two very winnable games against AFC South opponents.

 

Tampa Bay at Atlanta

The Falcons still have a tiny bit of light left in their tunnel.  It is highly improbable that they can recover and make the playoffs, but it has happened before.  The 1976 Pittsburgh Steelers appeared dead in the water after five games into a then 14-game schedule.  At 1-4, the defending Super Bowl Champion appeared to be out of the playoff race.  They had just lost to the 1-3 Browns to slip into last place, three games behind two rivals.  Cincinnati and  Houston were both hot at 4-1, with the Oilers’ only loss coming by a point against Oakland (The Raiders would go 13-1 and win the Super Bowl).

 

Pittsburgh looked like the best NFL team ever in the final nine weeks of the season, winning all nine with a defense that looked like it had 15 men on the field.  They shut out five of the nine opponents and gave up a grand total of 28 points while scoring 234 (26-3 average).  Meanwhile, Houston folded losing seven games in a row, while Cincinnati lost twice to the Steelers and finished 10-4.  Pittsburgh won the division, while the Bengals missed out on the wildcard to New England by a game.

 

The Falcons have the talent to win nine games in a row, but we don’t really see history repeating itself.  9-2 is a bit more probable, and that is what Atlanta must do to get into the playoffs.  This game then becomes a definite must-win.

 

Cincinnati at Detroit

This can be called the Contender Bowl.  The winner will move to 5-2 and be in excellent shape to make the playoffs at the least as a wildcard.  The Bengals have a little more room for error, and a loss knocking them to 4-3 won’t hurt as much as it would for the Lions.  Detroit could become a Super Bowl Sleeper with an impressive showing.  The parts are there to excel on both sides of the ball.

 

Houston at Kansas City

The Texans can still turn their season around.  Nobody is going to run away and hide in this rather weak division.  A fifth consecutive loss could send fans to Gary Kubiak’s house, but this is a very tough time for the Texans to right their ship.  Kansas City’s defense is number one in the league, and their offense has done just enough to win games.  A Chief win would give the team close to a 90% chance of making the playoffs.  The second place teams in the other three divisions figure to struggle to finish better than 9-7, so at 7-0, the chances of finishing 3-6 would be quite high.  Of course, KC wants home field advantage, and a 13-3 or 14-2 record is possible.  We pity the poor team that has to come into the decibel domicile in January.

 

Buffalo at Miami

This game is more about proving the Dolphins belong in the playoff hunt, because Buffalo is a nice team going nowhere.  This is a game Miami should win by double digit points with an extra week to prepare while the Bills had to play a tough overtime game.

 

New England at N. Y. Jets

This game is the first repeat game of the year, as the Patriots bested the Jets on Thursday night in week two.  It was not pretty, and it took three Geno Smith interceptions to finally secure the game for the home-standing Pats.

 

This is a must-win game for New York if they are to have relevance this season.  At 4-3, they would be just a game behind New England.  At 3-4, the Rex Ryan watch can begin.  These are the games Ryan’s teams play their best.  This should be an interesting one to watch.

 

Dallas at Philadelphia

First place is up for grabs, and these are the two teams left in this race, as the Giants and Redskins have had forks stuck in them.  This game should be more like a Baylor-Oklahoma St. college game.  If you liked the Dallas-Denver game two weeks ago, this one should tickle your fancy.  On paper, Dallas appears to be the better team, but the Cowboys have to prove they can play with more consistency.  Don’t count out Chip Kelly to have some new wrinkle that Dallas is not expecting, even the great Monte Kiffin.

 

Chicago at Washington

They are the Deadskins once again in DC.  This team is headed nowhere fast, just hoping to finish ahead of the Giants.

 

As for Chicago, in the black and blue division, every game is vital.  10-6 could send some team home in January one game shy of the playoffs.  In essence, Chicago must win this game; they will more than likely not recover from 4-3 and pass Green Bay or Detroit.  Since it is almost a metaphysical certitude that two NFC West teams will make the playoffs, it stands to reason that just two NFC North teams will make the playoffs.  Losers to the Deadskins are not likely to be one of those two teams.

 

St. Louis at Carolina

A couple weeks ago, this game figured to offer no real reason to follow if you were not a Rams’ or Panthers’ fan.  Now, it actually can be considered a playoff elimination game.  The winner will stay alive in the playoff race, while the loser has about a 2% chance of recovering to make the playoffs.  It should be an interesting game.  Can Carolina stop the Rams’ new-found running game?  Can St. Louis slow down Cam Newton?

 

San Diego at Jacksonville

It figures that at some point this year, the Jaguars will win one game.  The team they defeat will suffer more than just one loss; it could hit them like a torpedo.

 

San Diego picked up a big win on Monday night, but now they must travel 2,000 plus miles and three time zones to play an early Sunday game.  Jacksonville’s 19-point loss at Denver, including a pick six has the Jags’ players feeling like they can compete in this league.  This is a big trap game for the Chargers, but if they can prove their mettle and come away with a nice win, then at 4-3, they will definitely be alive in the playoff race.

 

San Francisco at Tennessee

The Titans were 3-1 two weeks ago, but the loss of Jake Locker hit this team hard.  In his stead, backup Ryan Fitzpatrick has thrown four interceptions in two weeks.  No team, not even the Broncos, can defeat San Francisco and throw two interceptions.

 

The loser of this game will not be out of the playoff race.  It figures that 9-7 could win the AFC South, and it figures that the 49ers will win 11 or 12 games.  Rumor has it that Locker is trying to find a way to play in this game, but that is nonsense.  Remember what happened to RGIII last year?

 

Baltimore at Pittsburgh

What we said about Atlanta above is double true for the Steelers.  At 1-4, they are not out of this race, and a win over the Ravens Sunday could move them within two games of the lead.

 

As for Baltimore, the Ravens are missing several pieces to last year’s puzzle, but Joe Flacco is still the best vertical passer in the AFC.  Defenses have to play their secondary a little looser, and that gives the running game a chance to work.  Baltimore cannot be overlooked in this race, even with Cincinnati being the sexy pick in the AFC North and Cleveland being the darling pick.

 

Cleveland at Green Bay

The Browns have a little more reason to believe they can pull off an upset at Lambeau.  The Packers are ailing at the moment, and Aaron Rodgers does not have his usual cast of dangerous weapons.  Look for Green Bay to go to more double tight end sets and throw into the middle seams of opposing defenses.

 

Cleveland is strongest in their four-man linebacking crew.  The quartet of D’Qwell Jackson, Craig Robertson, Paul Kruger, and Jabaal Sheard can defend those middle seams, and the Browns cannot be counted out in this game.

 

The winner of this game will have four wins, which won’t mean anything yet, but the loser is going to be behind the eight ball.

 

Denver at Indianapolis

This Sunday night game speaks for itself.  Peyton Manning returns to Indianapolis.  Nothing else can trump that.  When Brett Favre returned to Green Bay, it was a big game, but this one is bigger.

 

As far as actual implications, Denver will make the playoffs no matter what happens in this game, but Indianapolis has not secured anything yet.  The Colts are now the clear-cut favorite in the AFC South, but if they lose and the Titans upset the 49ers, the race will be tied.

 

Minnesota at N. Y. Giants

There is only one way to look at this Monday night stinker.  It could be the worst Monday Night Football game ever.  We can remember two other really awful encounters, both several years back.

 

The Jets and Chargers hooked up in the mid-1970’s late in the season when they were both in last place in their divisions.  From memory, we believe San Diego was 1-11 or 1-12 and the Jets were only a game or two better.

 

The Vikings must be considered a contender for Johnny Manziel.  It figures that Teddy Bridgewater will be the first QB picked in the 2014 NFL Draft.  Manziel will be there should Minnesota have one of the top five picks, and a loss here would place them just behind Jacksonville and Tampa Bay.

 

Current NFL PiRate Ratings

N F C

East

PiRate

Mean

Biased

Dallas Cowboys

102.3

104.5

103.1

Philadelphia Eagles

96.7

98.2

96.8

Washington Redskins

96.4

96.1

96.0

New York Giants

92.3

91.3

90.7

 

 

 

 

North

PiRate

Mean

Biased

Green Bay Packers

106.7

105.8

106.5

Chicago Bears

102.3

101.8

101.5

Detroit Lions

101.6

103.4

101.6

Minnesota Vikings

95.1

93.8

94.2

       
South

PiRate

Mean

Biased

New Orleans Saints

106.2

108.1

106.7

Carolina Panthers

101.7

101.5

101.7

Atlanta Falcons

100.3

99.1

99.4

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

94.1

93.0

93.4

 

 

 

 

West

PiRate

Mean

Biased

Seattle Seahawks

108.1

107.5

107.9

San Francisco 49ers

107.7

108.0

108.0

St. Louis Rams

97.1

97.9

96.9

Arizona Cardinals

96.4

98.9

97.1

       

A F C

East

PiRate

Mean

Biased

New England Patriots

106.1

103.9

106.6

Miami Dolphins

99.4

99.4

99.5

Buffalo Bills

96.6

95.7

97.1

New York Jets

95.1

92.7

95.0

       
North

PiRate

Mean

Biased

Baltimore Ravens

103.0

102.1

102.7

Cincinnati Bengals

102.9

102.5

103.3

Cleveland Browns

97.7

98.5

98.0

Pittsburgh Steelers

97.3

95.9

96.5

       
South

PiRate

Mean

Biased

Indianapolis Colts

104.5

104.5

105.2

Tennessee Titans

100.7

101.3

101.5

Houston Texans

97.4

96.0

97.0

Jacksonville Jaguars

86.2

85.4

85.8

       
West

PiRate

Mean

Biased

Denver Broncos

110.9

111.8

111.1

Kansas City Chiefs

103.9

106.9

105.2

San Diego Chargers

100.0

101.2

100.7

Oakland Raiders

93.3

93.3

93.3

 

This Week’s Games

   

 

 

 

Week Number:

7

 

 

 

Date of Games:

October 17-21

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

 

 

Home Visitor

PiRate

Mean

Bias

Arizona Seattle

-8.7

-5.6

-7.8

Atlanta Tampa Bay

9.2

9.1

9.0

Detroit Cincinnati

1.7

3.9

1.3

Kansas City Houston

9.5

13.9

11.2

Miami Buffalo

5.8

6.7

5.4

N Y Jets New England

-8.5

-8.7

-9.1

Philadelphia Dallas

-2.6

-3.3

-3.3

Washington Chicago

-2.9

-2.7

-2.5

Carolina St. Louis

7.6

6.6

7.8

Jacksonville San Diego

-10.8

-12.8

-11.9

Tennessee San Francisco

-4.0

-3.7

-3.5

Pittsburgh Baltimore

-3.2

-3.7

-3.7

Green Bay Cleveland

12.0

10.3

11.5

Indianapolis Denver

-3.4

-4.3

-2.9

N Y Giants Minnesota

0.2

0.5

-0.5

   

 

 

 

Byes: New Orleans, Oakland

 

 

 

 

Playoff Projections

 

A F C

1. Denver

2. New England

3. Cincinnati

4. Indianapolis

5. Kansas City

6. Miami

 

N F C

1. Seattle

2. New Orleans

3. Green Bay

4. Dallas

5. San Francisco

6. Detroit

 

Wildcard Round

Cincinnati over Miami

Kansas City over Indianapolis

Green Bay over Detroit

San Francisco over Dallas

 

Divisional Round

Denver over Kansas City

Cincinnati over New England

Seattle over San Francisco

New Orleans over Green Bay

 

Conference Championships

Denver over Cincinnati

Seattle over New Orleans

 

Super Bowl

Denver over Seattle

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