The Pi-Rate Ratings

January 14, 2019

PiRate Ratings NFL Forecast for The Conference Championship Playoff Round: January 20, 2019

Sunday, January 20, 2019

NFC Championship Game

Los Angeles Rams 14-3-0 at New Orleans Saints 14-3-0

Time: 3:05 PM Eastern Standard Time

TV: Fox

Monday Line: New Orleans by 3 1/2

Total Line: 57

PiRate Ratings 

PiRate: New Orleans by 8.1

Mean: New Orleans by 7.8

Bias: New Orleans by 8.1

Total: 55 1/2

Expected Score: New Orleans 31  Los Angeles 24


AFC Championship Game

New England Patriots 12-5-0 at Kansas City Chiefs 13-4-0

Time: 6:40 PM Eastern Standard Time


Monday Line: Kansas City by 3

Total Line: 57

PiRate Ratings 

PiRate: Kansas City by 4.4

Mean: Kansas City by 4.4

Bias: Kansas City by 4.3

Total: 53

Expected Score:  Kansas City 28  New England 24


60 Seasons Ago

The NFL as we know it today owes its popularity to 60 years ago at the conclusion of the 1958 regular season.  This would be the first ever live nationally televised NFL Championship Game.  Before you wonder why other games before were not shown from coast to coast, just 10 years before only a handful of cities had television stations.  In some cities, only a test pattern was shown for most or all of the day, and people would turn their sets on to see it!  So, TV was still in its adolescence in 1958.

The upstart Baltimore Colts, led by the young and talented quarterback Johnny Unitas, fullback Alan Ameche, and two incredible pass catchers in Raymond Berry and Lenny Moore won the West Division Championship with a 9-3 record, 8-1 in the games Unitas started and played.  That one loss was to the New York Giants, a team with the greatest ever combination of offensive and defensive coordinators.  Vince Lombardi directed the Giants’ offense, and Tom Landry led the Giants’ defense.

Before the Giants could host this game in Yankee Stadium, they had to play an extra game to get to the NFL Championship Game.  The Giants finished tied with Cleveland at 9-3, and even though they had swept the Browns in the regular season, in those days if teams finished tied at the top of a division race, they played again for the division title, and the NFL Championship Game was re-scheduled for a week later.

New York stopped Cleveland for a third time that year, holding the great Jim Brown to just eight yards rushing in a 10-0 shutout.  The Giants were the favorites, and Jim Lee Howell and his coaching staff were more than prepared to contain Unitas and move the ball on offense with a conservative smash-mouth style of offense.

Like I said previously, it is because of this game that the NFL became what it is today.  Overnight, sports fans throughout the country stopped talking about the New York Yankees chances of repeating as World Series champions in 1959 (they would not), or whether the great two-year old thoroughbred Sword Dancer would break the 11-year string and win the Triple Crown (2nd in the Derby and Preakness and won the Belmont).

NFL Football was at best the number three sport in America before this game.  Major League baseball was still the number one sport and the real American Pastime.  There were still just 16 teams in the big leagues, even though two had left the number one market for the West Coast.  College football was number two, and the recent champion LSU Tigers with their famous Chinese Bandits had generated a lot of the headlines that Autumn.

If by chance you do not know how the NFL Championship Game turned out and why it “made” NFL Football into the number one spectator sport in the nation, take a look at this video from NFL Films.


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