The Pi-Rate Ratings

September 19, 2017

PiRate Ratings NFL Forecast For Week 3: September 21-25, 2017

This Week’s PiRate Ratings Spreads

Home Visitor PiRate Mean Bias Score
San Francisco LA Rams 3.8 3.3 3.9 41
Jacksonville (London) Baltimore -7.9 -7.8 -8.2 41
Indianapolis Cleveland 3.0 2.9 2.3 46
Chicago Pittsburgh -10.5 -10.3 -10.8 43
N. Y. Jets Miami -5.4 -6.1 -5.3 44
Buffalo Denver -4.1 -2.4 -4.4 41
New England Houston 12.0 12.1 12.4 38
Carolina New Orleans 6.0 6.0 6.4 58
Minnesota Tampa Bay -0.5 0.7 -1.1 41
Detroit Atlanta -0.7 0.5 -1.1 56
Philadelphia N. Y. Giants 4.0 2.5 5.3 36
Tennessee Seattle 2.9 2.8 3.0 43
LA Chargers Kansas City -3.5 -4.0 -3.8 48
Green Bay Cincinnati 9.1 9.5 8.7 44
Washington Oakland -2.5 -3.6 -1.9 53
Arizona Dallas -0.2 1.1 -0.2 48


The AFC West Could Have The Three Best Teams In The NFL
How could it be that the three best teams in the NFL might all play in the same division? Is it possible that Oakland, Kansas City, and Denver are the top three teams? You’d get a good argument from fans in New England, Atlanta, and maybe Pittsburgh and Baltimore, but through two weeks of the season, it is hard to say that any of the other teams outside of the AFC West are better than the top three.

Oakland owns a win at Tennessee, the team picked to win the AFC South by a majority of prognosticators. Kansas City won at New England, a team that many thought could go 16-0 this year. Denver blew Dallas off the field Sunday. All three teams are 2-0, and it is possible that all three teams will win double digit games this year.

Guess what? This isn’t the first time this division has been so strong. Let’s return to the golden age of yesteryear. Set the time travel clock back to 1967 and 1968. The old American Football League’s West Division had the same four teams as today’s AFC West–Broncos, Chargers, Chiefs, and Raiders (The Cincinnati Bengals would join in 1968).
Oakland had the incredible mad bomber Daryle Lamonica throwing lasers to Warren Wells and Fred Biletnikoff with bruising running backs Hewritt Dixon, Clem Daniels, and Pete Banaszak, and the Raiders’ offense was maybe one of the best of all time during that era. The Silver and Black attack topped 32 points per game in consecutive seasons. The Raider defense featured stars in all three units. Tom Keating and the inimitable Ben Davidson kept the FTD Florist company in business, as relatives of injured NFL quarterbacks frequently ordered get-well bouquets for their injured heroes. Dan Conners was one of the top middle linebackers in the game in an era where this position usually was the most important of all. The secondary was tough with stars Willie Brown and Kent McCloughan at the corners.

Kansas City played a more ball-controlled offense than Oakland, but their defense was just as dominating as the Raiders, and it made for the best rivalry in the history of organized football. The Chiefs offense was led by Len Dawson, the most accurate passer in the AFL. Dawson did not throw as many deep balls, but he had the arm and accuracy. With incredible run support from Mike Garrett, Robert Holmes, and Wendell Hayes, the Chiefs ran the ball more than the rest of the AFL during this time, and it allowed their great defense to stay on the sidelines for longer stretches. When KC’s defense took the field, it was a red storm. Tackle Buck Buchanan was the biggest defender in the league. Teams usually ran away from him, which funneled the ball carrier toward another star, end Jerry Mays.

The linebacker corps may have been the best trio of all time. Willie Lanier was the cream of the crop of middle linebackers. Bobby Bell and Jim Lynch manned the outside spots, and this group was responsible for stopping opponents from converting first downs on third and short. On the back line, Johnny Robinson was one of the top two or three safeties in the 10-year history of the AFL, if not the best. Emmitt Thomas was the equal of Oakland’s Brown on the outside.

San Diego had been the dominant AFL West team during the first half of the decade. The Chargers won the AFL West Five of the first six years. Beginning with the Chiefs-Raiders dominance in 1966 and carrying through the 1970’s, the Chargers continued to be a very good team, just not quite up to the standards of the big two. San Diego was known to get off to great starts and then fade in the last four weeks of the season. In 1966, San Diego was just a half-game behind Kansas City after eight weeks, but they finished 7-6-1 losing four of their last six. In 1967, the Chargers were 8-1-1 through 10 games, just a half-game behind Oakland at 9-1. The two teams squared off in the AFL Game of the Year in San Diego. The Chargers briefly looked like they had what it took to win that day, before Oakland wore them down and Lamonica tore the Chargers’ secondary to shreds. Oakland finished 13-1, while the Chargers lost all the rest of their games to fall to 8-5-1, good for third place. In 1968, through 10 games, the Chargers stood at 8-2, tied with Oakland and a half-game behind Kansas City, who had played 11 games and was 9-2. Once again, the Chargers crashed in December, falling to 9-5, while Oakland and Kansas City won out to finish tied at 12-2 (Oakland won in a playoff).

If we look at history in this division, two of the three current dominating teams should continue to dominate week after week, while the third team will eventually fall back. Having to play four games against the other two powers will take its toll on all three teams, and it figures that one team will have a tough time recovering from the beatings. Statistically, we could be looking at one team finishing 12-4, one team finishing 11-5, and the third team falling to 9-7. Of course, this could be totally off base, and all three teams could be on their way to finishing between 12-4 and 10-6. All three teams could easily make the playoffs, as it looks unlikely that the AFC East or AFC South will produce a wild card team this year.

Only Thrice in 62 Years!
Can you name the NFL team that has won its division only three times in the last 62 years? Obviously, 62 years back means this team has to be an original NFL team. That should make it easy for you. In the last 62 seasons, The Detroit Lions won their three Black and Blue Division titles in 1983, 1991, and 1993. They have been the bridesmaid more times than any other team during that period, finishing second 16 times through the years.

With Minnesota and Green Bay showing numerous liabilities through two weeks of the season, could this finally be the year that Matthew Stafford guides the Lions to the top of the NFC North? Might there be a playoff victory coming to Ford Field? The last time the Lions won a playoff game, it happened at the old Pontiac Silverdome. Detroit slaughtered Dallas that day in 1991 by a score of 38-6. It wasn’t the great Barry Sanders that did all the damage. Quarterback Erik Kramer had a career day against the Cowboys, throwing for 341 yards and three touchdowns, while the Lions’ defense picked off two passes and sacked Cowboy quarterback Troy Aikman three times.

The Offense Continues to Rest
Through two weeks of play, the median NFL score is just 19 points, down four points from last year’s total. You have to go back to 1993 to find less scoring for an entire season. The NFL total TV ratings are down by a huge amount this year through the first two weeks of the season. While many in the political world believe it has to do with players refusing to stand for the National Anthem, we tend to believe that the average fan doesn’t really pay attention to that factor. The game has become boring. Teams no longer pass the ball down the field vertically. Quarterbacks rarely throw the ball more than 10 yards past the line of scrimmage. When it’s 3rd and 12, they throw a five-yard pass, hoping the receiver can run for another seven. Running games have come down to three basic types–a line plunge, a stretch, and a draw. All 32 teams look identical, like they must share one playbook.

Why do we believe that the ratings are down simply due to boring games and not due to political issues? There is a very simple explanation for our beliefs. Throughout the nation, there is unrest on the university campuses from coast to coast. Riots, vandalism, assaults, and the like are on the rise, and civil unrest is more the norm than the deviant behavior. Some colleges are redefining what is free speech. The same people that would theoretically have issues with this change of sociology and would be likely to turn off college football games just like they would turn off NFL games due to similar unrest have yet to turn away. In fact, college football ratings are on the rise, gaining about as much as the NFL is losing.

Therefore, it is our belief that total football TV ratings are about on par with their historical averages. The change is that more people are now watching on Saturday than ever before, while Sunday viewing is sinking. It is obvious why this is so. College football is quite a bit more entertaining.

In the college game, you have multiple offensive philosophies. Even when multiple teams run the identical spread offense, there are many variations. Arizona’s and New Mexico’s spread offenses are basically 21st Century wishbone offenses that have evolved. Ohio State’s and Auburn’s spread offenses resemble the old single wing offenses of way back. Oklahoma’s and Clemson’s spread offenses look more like the old NFL Shotgun offenses and the really old TCU Spread of the 1950s. You also have smash-mouth T offenses with Michigan and others. You still have standard triple option offenses at Army, Navy, Air Force, Tulane, and Georgia Tech. There is variety, and on top of the varying offenses, there are numerous philosophies on how to implement these offenses.

It also doesn’t hurt the college game that the average fan can choose between four or five games at 12 PM, 3:30 PM, and 7 PM Eastern time, while the NFL does not give that option to the fans. If you live in an NFL city, you get your team’s game, and if they are at home, you get only your team’s game. CBS and Fox have to take turns getting double header games, so if your team is at home when its regular network (CBS for AFC and Fox for NFC) doesn’t have a double header, you get just one Sunday afternoon game.

The NFL has to understand that just because somebody lives in Atlanta, Charlotte, Nashville, or Jacksonville, it does not mean they have lived there their entire lives. Actually, in the rapidly expanding metropolis cities of the Sunny South, more fans have moved into this area from colder and less financially lucrative cities. Take Nashville for instance. The city gains 100 new residents every day. In the last three football seasons, 109,500 new residents have added to the Music City’s metro population. Of that 100K plus, a large number moved from New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Tampa-St. Pete, Detroit, Cincinnati, Washington DC, and Dallas. Of the football fans, many remain fans of their former city and have no ties with the Titans. Go to a local sports-themed eatery on Sunday afternoon, and you will find as many fans of other teams watching their former city’s team play than there are fans at LP Field watching the Titans.

If the NFL was smart, it would drop their holier than thou elite beliefs and realize that it might be today’s Walmart having to face the new reality that there is now a better option called Amazon, and the fans have discovered this option.


This Week’s NFL PiRate Ratings

East PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals
New England 106.4 107.0 106.3 106.5 24
Miami 99.6 99.8 99.3 99.6 23
Buffalo 97.5 98.2 97.7 97.8 22
N. Y. Jets 91.2 90.7 91.0 91.0 21
North PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals
Pittsburgh 105.9 106.1 105.8 106.0 22
Baltimore 103.4 103.5 103.7 103.5 18
Cincinnati 97.0 97.4 97.0 97.2 16
Cleveland 94.4 94.8 94.8 94.6 21
South PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals
Tennessee 101.0 101.1 100.5 100.9 25
Houston 97.4 97.8 96.9 97.4 14
Jacksonville 95.5 95.7 95.4 95.5 23
Indianapolis 95.4 95.7 95.0 95.4 25
West PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals
Oakland 105.4 106.0 105.1 105.5 28
Kansas City 105.2 105.4 105.6 105.4 22
Denver 104.6 103.6 105.1 104.4 19
LA Chargers 99.8 99.3 99.8 99.6 26
East PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals
Dallas 103.4 102.4 103.3 103.1 23
Philadelphia 101.3 100.1 102.2 101.2 22
Washington 99.3 98.9 99.7 99.3 25
N.Y. Giants 99.3 99.6 98.9 99.3 14
North PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals
Green Bay 103.2 103.9 102.7 103.3 28
Detroit 102.4 103.2 102.4 102.7 23
Minnesota 98.7 99.0 98.8 98.8 18
Chicago 92.9 93.4 92.5 92.9 21
South PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals
Atlanta 105.6 105.2 106.1 105.6 33
Tampa Bay 102.3 101.3 102.9 102.2 23
Carolina 101.4 100.5 101.7 101.2 25
New Orleans 98.4 97.5 98.4 98.1 33
West PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals
Seattle 101.2 101.3 100.5 101.0 18
Arizona 100.2 100.5 100.1 100.3 25
San Francisco 92.5 92.3 92.5 92.4 23
LA Rams 91.2 91.5 91.1 91.3 18

To estimate a game’s total points scored, add both teams’ totals.




September 12, 2017

PiRate Ratings NFL Forecast For Week 2: September 14-18, 2017

This Week’s PiRate Spreads & Totals

Home Visitor PiRate Mean Bias Total
Cincinnati Houston 3.5 2.9 4.5 31
Jacksonville Tennessee 2.2 1.4 3.1 47
Baltimore Cleveland 11.6 11.5 11.5 40
Carolina Buffalo 7.1 5.1 7.3 50
New Orleans New England -2.6 -4.6 -2.3 55
Indianapolis Arizona -1.5 -1.8 -1.8 53
Kansas City Philadelphia 6.7 8.2 6.1 43
Pittsburgh Minnesota 7.2 7.7 6.4 41
Tampa Bay Chicago 9.3 8.0 9.9 42
LA Chargers Miami 5.4 3.7 6.3 52
Oakland N. Y. Jets 16.0 17.6 15.6 46
LA Rams Washington -4.2 -3.5 -4.7 43
Denver Dallas -1.1 -0.1 -1.0 39
Seattle San Francisco 13.8 14.2 13.6 42
Atlanta Green Bay 4.3 2.5 5.1 62
N. Y. Giants Detroit 3.9 3.0 3.9 35

This Week’s PiRate Ratings

East PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals
New England 104.7 105.6 104.5 104.9 22
Miami 98.6 99.3 98.0 98.6 24
Buffalo 97.5 98.4 97.7 97.9 24
N. Y. Jets 92.0 91.3 92.0 91.8 19
North PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals
Pittsburgh 104.4 104.9 104.0 104.5 23
Baltimore 103.2 103.4 103.5 103.3 18
Cincinnati 97.7 97.8 97.9 97.8 16
Cleveland 94.6 94.9 95.0 94.8 22
South PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals
Tennessee 98.6 99.2 97.9 98.6 25
Jacksonville 97.9 97.6 98.0 97.8 22
Houston 97.2 97.9 96.5 97.2 15
Indianapolis 95.6 95.8 95.2 95.5 27
West PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals
Kansas City 105.0 105.3 105.4 105.2 22
Oakland 104.6 105.4 104.1 104.7 27
Denver 101.8 101.3 102.1 101.7 17
LA Chargers 100.5 99.5 100.8 100.3 28
East PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals
Dallas 105.9 104.4 106.0 105.5 22
N.Y. Giants 101.3 101.4 101.1 101.3 14
Philadelphia 101.4 100.1 102.3 101.3 21
Washington 99.1 98.7 99.5 99.1 25
North PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals
Green Bay 103.8 104.8 103.3 104.0 28
Detroit 100.4 101.4 100.2 100.7 21
Minnesota 100.2 100.2 100.6 100.3 18
Chicago 94.5 95.0 94.3 94.6 20
South PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals
Atlanta 105.0 104.3 105.5 104.9 34
Carolina 101.6 100.5 101.9 101.3 26
Tampa Bay 100.9 99.9 101.3 100.7 22
New Orleans 99.6 98.4 99.7 99.2 33
West PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals
Seattle 102.4 102.5 101.9 102.3 18
Arizona 100.1 100.5 100.0 100.2 26
LA Rams 91.4 91.7 91.3 91.5 18
San Francisco 91.5 91.3 91.3 91.4 24

The Offense Rests
Okay, it has only been one week of the NFL season, and two teams didn’t even play, so we are looking at just 15 games to date. And, after 15 games, the worry going around the NFL is that there is a giant lack of offense. Let’s look into this potential problem to see where the answer(s) might be.

The Average Points Per Game for Week 1 was 20.2 points, which is down a little from the recent trend of about 22.5 to 23.0 points per game. The Average in total yards was 305, which is off by a little more than the recent historical norm of 325 yards.

Have defenses simply just gotten better, and is this trend real? Or, could there be other factors? The professional athlete continues to evolve into a more fit, stronger, quicker, and smarter specimen. This evolution has changed all sports, as NBA basketball has a handful of superstars, and you must have at least one and preferably two to compete for the title. Major League Baseball is all about how hard one can hit the ball and how difficult one can prevent one from hitting the ball. Small Ball is almost extinct, as it is all about OPS and preventing such.

Could it be that football has changed as well, and that the superior athletes of today can close up all the gaps on the field and make it much more difficult to gain yards?

We think not. Let’s look back to the 1960’s, a time when the professional athlete was evolving from a time 10 years earlier when linemen might be 210 pounds and backs 180. In the 1960’s, the trend of 270-pound tackles and 220-pound linebackers led to the fear that the field might become too small. However, the NFL featured all types of scoring. You had teams that scored a lot of points and gave up a goodly amount as well. You had teams that featured defenses that held teams under 10 points per game for an entire season. You had quarterbacks that you knew would lead their teams to the playoffs, while others would not be up to the challenge.

The philosophy of the game was much different. Today, almost every NFL team relies on the short passing game to move the ball, complimented with the power running game. A team is likely to feature 15 to 20 line plunges and 15-20 passes of less than 5 yards through the air. Defenses basically must defend horizontally, and they can get by with 2-deep coverage or man-to-man with a free safety for most of the game. They can bring 7 men into the box on more downs than ever, because today 2nd and 10 is more likely to see the QB throw a short pass of less than 5 yards with the hope that the receiver can run for another 5 after the catch.

Even on 3rd & 10, there is a great chance that the QB will throw a short pass, hoping that the receiver can gain the necessary yards to convert. Defenses can play 2-deep with a nickel or dime package and appear to have all the zones covered in the 10-yard range.

This bunching horizontally has led to an appearance that the running gaps are covered across the field. It is much easier to squeeze in and stuff the inside run, and since there are defenders spread out, the wide runs don’t always work any more, as the art of pulling two guards to lead interference has gone away like the drop kick.

Statistically, quarterbacks today look much better than quarterbacks of 50 years ago, but it is most likely not the case. And, here’s why. Today’s quarterbacks might go 20 of 30 for 185 yards with a TD. A passer from 50 years ago might go 14 of 30 for 185 yards with a TD. The 2017 QB has a higher QB rating (94.5 to 77.8), but how did he perform any better? The 2017 QB most likely threw passes that gained little yardage or even lost yardage. The 1967 QB rarely completed a pass for less than 5 yards. It was unheard of back then, and when it happened, it was almost always from a botched screen pass. In essence, if you look at the 2017 QB, he might have 40% of his completions going for less than 8 yards. The 1967 QB was more likely to have 10% of his completions going for less than 8 yards, and for the most part coming on 3rd and 5, not 3rd and 10.

Let’s look at the breakdown of some of the passing philosophies of today and 50 years ago. First, let us categorize passing plays into screens, short passes thrown no more than 5 yards downfield with some coming behind the line, medium passes in the 6-12 yard range, intermediate passes in the 13-20 yard range, deep passes in the 21-30 yard range, and long passes in the 31+ yard range.
The passer of today might throw 2 screens, 16 short passes, 8 medium passes, 2 intermediate passes, 1 deep pass, and 1 long pass per game. He might complete both screens, 12 of the short passes, 4 of the medium passes, 1 intermediate pass, and 1 of the two deeper throws for 20 completions. This gives him 185 passing yards.

The passer of 50 years ago might have thrown 4 screens (this play was used a lot more then), 3 short passes, 10 medium passes, 5 interemediate passes, 3 deep passes, and 5 long passes for his 30 attempts. He might complete 3 of the 4 screens, 2 of the 3 short passes, 5 of the 10 medium passes, 2 of the 5 intermediate passes, 1 of the 3 deep passes, and 1 of the 5 long passes for 14 completions but also for 185 yards.

So, which is better? We believe the 1967 stats are better, because they are more likely to produce points. It has always been difficult to drive down the field 80 yards in 15 plays for a touchdown. It takes long-gaining plays to win in the NFL, and it always has been the case. There have been teams like the 1960’s Green Bay Packers, and the 1970’s Miami Dolphins that could sustain drive after drive, but these teams also had great defenses, and they could afford to grind it out with 40 running plays and 20 passing plays in a game. Still, when you looked at Bart Starr, his passing feats were usually right there at the top. Starr would set up the longer passes by forcing the defense to stop the Packer running game. The Packers spread the field both horizontally and vertically.

Other quarterbacks like Johnny Unitas, Norm Van Brocklin, Sonny Jurgensen, Roman Gabriel, Don Meredith, George Blanda, Daryle Lamonica, Len Dawson, John Hadl, Joe Namath, Norm Snead, and Frank Ryan rarely threw a short pass. Lamonica is the quintessential passer from the 1960’s. Known as the “Mad Bomber,” he led the Oakland Raiders to a 37-4-1 record from 1967 to 1969. Lamonica threw the ball more than 40 yards downfield about 7 or 8 times a game, usually completing 2 or 3, and usually passing for 2 to 3 touchdowns every week. Having Warren Wells and Fred Biletnikoff running deep routes and having hands like glue meant that defenses had to play 3 and 4 deep on many downs. 2 Deep coverage was rare, because the QBs of the 1960’s would burn it.

The running games had more room in the 1960’s, and with a two-back alignment, the running game was more consistent. Defenses had to play looser against the deep pass and had to worry about which of the two backs would carry the ball. Defenses could not cover all the running gaps, because at least 3 defensive backs had to play off the line of scrimmage far enough back to cover the deep passing routes, and the linebackers had to worry about the intermediate zones of which there was more width than today, as today’s underneath zones usually have 5 defenders, whereas 50 years ago, there were just 4.

There are a few teams that showed us a vertical game this past weekend. Oakland, Minnesota, and Atlanta, showed a vertical passing offense this week, and the three teams combined for 78 points (26.0 ppg). All three won their games.

So, we believe the issue of less offense has more to do with game-planning than with evolution of athletes. Athletes have been evolving continually for years with consistency. Philosophies have changed through the years. As soon as one team succeeds in playing a certain way, 80% of the league tries to copy it. Maybe, when a vertical passing team wins a Super Bowl, within a couple years, the vertical passing game will be the norm once again, like it was in the 1960’s when the NFL and AFL were more exciting than the NFL today. It could also be a factor in the decline of television viewership and the less frequent sellouts in the stadiums.

September 6, 2017

PiRate Ratings–NFL For Week 1

Filed under: Pro Football — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 7:18 am

Week 1 NFL Spreads

Home Visitor PiRate Mean Bias
New England Kansas City 7.4 7.7 6.9
Buffalo N. Y. Jets 7.7 9.6 7.9
Chicago Atlanta -7.7 -6.4 -8.5
Cincinnati Baltimore 2.6 2.0 2.9
Cleveland Pittsburgh -7.9 -8.0 -7.3
Dallas N. Y. Giants 5.0 3.2 4.9
Detroit Arizona 1.1 2.3 0.8
Green Bay Seattle 3.8 5.1 3.6
Houston Jacksonville 7.7 8.4 7.2
LA Rams Indianapolis -1.1 -1.1 -0.9
Miami (Postponed) Tampa Bay x x x
San Francisco Carolina -3.7 -3.4 -3.9
Tennessee Oakland -1.3 -2.2 -1.2
Washington Philadelphia 2.5 3.5 1.9
Denver LA Chargers 4.5 5.0 4.7
Minnesota New Orleans 1.9 4.2 1.7

Week 1 NFL Totals

Home Visitor Total
New England Kansas City 41
Buffalo N. Y. Jets 46
Chicago Atlanta 56
Cincinnati Baltimore 36
Cleveland Pittsburgh 45
Dallas N. Y. Giants 37
Detroit Arizona 47
Green Bay Seattle 47
Houston Jacksonville 37
LA Rams Indianapolis 43
Miami (postponed) Tampa Bay x
San Francisco Carolina 52
Tennessee Oakland 52
Washington Philadelphia 47
Denver LA Chargers 46
Minnesota New Orleans 52

The PiRate Ratings were ready for publication Monday, but our captain, with loads of “oceanic” experience in search of robbing Las Vegans of their gold, gave the orders to hold off a couple days.  Our captain knew that the schedule for week 1 would more than likely change due to Ms. Irma of the Atlantic.

How ironic that this hurricane be named Irma.  Irma is an old name seldom seen these days and maybe after next week, joining Jedidiah, Japath, and other names not used any more.

The NFL schedule makers used to consider weather possibilities when creating the annual slate of games.  Not that Vince Lombardi ever needed the help, but Green Bay frequently began seasons with multiple home games early in the season, while Los Angeles played on the road more early in the season.  Then, when the weather turned raw, the Packers had more road games, while the Rams closed the season with more home games.  By this time, Green Bay had a gaudy won-loss record, while the already eliminated Rams played home games in a rather empty Los Angeles Coliseum, and coaches like Harland Svare suffered the consequences.

The Miami Dolphins and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers now face the task of having to play 16 games in 16 weeks, as Hurricane Irma has forced this Sunday’s opener to be postponed to Week 11.  Because the Dolphins already have one home game in London, it was not feasible that the team would move a second home game away from home.  The right thing for the players would have been to move the game to a location as close as possible without putting it in the path of the hurricane.  A large stadium like Legion Field in Birmingham might have been able to host this game, but this is not an NFL venue, and the NFL usually only relocates games to other NFL stadiums, because there are certain quality standards that must be set.

Moving the game to week 11, when by happenstance both teams have their regularly scheduled bye, is means the Dolphins will not play a real home game until October, and having to play 16 games in 16 weeks will most likely hurt both teams’ chances to make the playoffs this season.  With the concussion protocol rules, the chances of having a full roster of skill position players for 16 consecutive weeks is close to nil.  Players need an extra week off at some point in the meat of the schedule just to nurse the bumps and bruises that make every day life uncomfortable.  This is likely to cost both teams a win or two, as they will not be able to field a healthy roster when they most need a week off.

What you will see in our projected standings reflects what we think will happen.  Both teams were originally selected to become Wildcard Playoff participants before this happened.  Now, both teams are moved out of the playoffs.  The Dolphins are sacrificing the possibility of playoffs for the guarantee of a seventh home game.

2017 Opening NFL PiRate Ratings 

Current NFL PiRate Ratings
East PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals
Buffalo 97.4 98.4 97.6 97.8 26
Miami 98.6 99.3 98.0 98.6 24
New England 107.1 107.8 106.9 107.2 20
N. Y. Jets 92.1 91.3 92.1 91.9 20
North PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals
Baltimore 100.7 101.1 100.8 100.8 19
Cincinnati 100.2 100.1 100.6 100.3 17
Cleveland 94.3 94.7 94.6 94.5 22
Pittsburgh 104.7 105.1 104.4 104.8 23
South PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals
Houston 99.9 100.4 99.4 99.9 15
Indianapolis 99.1 99.3 98.7 99.0 27
Jacksonville 95.2 95.1 95.1 95.1 22
Tennessee 99.4 99.7 98.9 99.3 25
West PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals
Denver 101.9 101.4 102.3 101.9 17
Kansas City 102.6 103.1 103.0 102.9 21
LA Chargers 100.4 99.4 100.6 100.1 29
Oakland 103.8 104.9 103.1 103.9 27
East PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals
Dallas 104.6 103.0 104.5 104.1 23
N.Y. Giants 102.6 102.8 102.6 102.7 14
Philadelphia 100.3 98.9 101.2 100.1 21
Washington 100.2 99.9 100.6 100.2 26
North PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals
Chicago 94.4 95.0 94.1 94.5 20
Detroit 99.3 100.6 99.0 99.7 21
Green Bay 103.5 104.7 102.9 103.7 29
Minnesota 99.3 99.9 99.5 99.6 17
South PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals
Atlanta 105.1 104.3 105.7 105.0 36
Carolina 100.2 99.3 100.3 99.9 26
New Orleans 100.5 98.7 100.8 100.0 35
Tampa Bay 100.9 99.9 101.3 100.7 22
West PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals
Arizona 101.2 101.3 101.2 101.2 26
LA Rams 94.9 95.2 94.8 95.0 16
San Francisco 92.9 92.5 92.9 92.8 26
Seattle 102.7 102.6 102.3 102.5 18

To estimate spreads, simply subtract the lower rated teams’ ratings from the higher rated teams’ rating.  Then, add your home field advantage of choice.  The PiRates use game specific advantages for each game.

To estimate the total points scored, simply add the two teams’ Totals numbers.

PiRate Ratings Preseason Playoff Projections 

AFC Seeding

1. New England

2. Oakland

3. Pittsburgh

4. Houston

5. Kansas City

6. Baltimore


NFC Seeding

1. Seattle

2. Green Bay

3. NY Giants

4. Atlanta

5. Arizona

6. Dallas


Wildcard Playoff Round

Pittsburgh over Baltimore

Kansas City over Houston

NY Giants over Dallas

Arizona over Atlanta


Divisional Playoff Round

New England over Kansas City

Oakland over Pittsburgh

Arizona over Seattle

Green Bay over NY Giants


Conference Championship Games

Oakland over New England

Green Bay over Arizona


Super Bowl 52

Oakland over Green Bay

February 1, 2017

NFL Ratings And Spreads For Super Bowl LI: February 1, 2017

We present our Super Bowl LI preview a few days later than originally planned, but we decided that 100 computer simulations were not enough.  Over the last several days, we have visited the big bits and bytes to run numerous simulations on the big game.  We stopped at 10,000, the going rate among other simulators out there.

After running the first 100, we recorded the results to see how much different the results from 10,000 simulations.  What we found was that one metric definitely and consistently came through in both 100 and 10,000 sims that could be used by somebody unconcerned with losing a lot of their investment.  See below for the shocking revelation concerning this game and the Las Vegas Books.

Let’s get on with the data.

Super Bowl LI

Date: Sunday, February 5, 2017

Time: 6:30 PM EST

Place: Houston, TX

TV: Fox Sports

Radio: Westwood One

Find Your Affiliate Here


AFC Champion: New England Patriots 16-2-0

NFC Champion: Atlanta Falcons 13-5-0


Las Vegas Info

Current Line (2/1/17 @ 10AM EST): New England by 3

Totals Line: 59

Money Line: New England -155, Atlanta +135


PiRate Ratings

PiRate: New England by 2.4

Mean: New England by 0.6

Bias: New England by 3.2

Average: New England by 2

Total: 60


10,000 Simulations

The winner when we simulated 100 times was the same as the winner when we simulated 10,000 times.  The average margin minimally changed between 100 and 10,000 sims.

The standard deviation went down a little with 10,000 sims, but that was to be expected with so many more sims.

What surprised us was the definite deviation between the Total Points and the Vegas Total, and it is so wide that we felt compelled to highlight this even though we BEG you not to bet on this game using our data and cannot stress enough that we bet $0 on sporting events.


Wins: New England 53.9%  Atlanta 46.1%

Percentage going to overtime: 0.87%

Average Score: New England 24.3  Atlanta 23.2  ***47.5 points***

St Deviation: 7.3 (almost 2 deviations difference in Vegas Total)

Outlier A: New England 34  Atlanta 7

Outlier B: Atlanta 29  New England 10

Percentage of outcomes under 59 total points: 87.78%

If you haven’t caught on, the computer simulator says that about 7 out of every 8 times these two teams would face off in Houston, the total score would be less than 59 points.

This disagrees with our own PiRate Rating expected total of 60, but our totals have been totally pitiful this year.  I would trust this simulator over our own ratings.


So, we would make the UNDER 59 our best advice for this game, but once again we beg, urge, and plead with you not to wager money using the information we supply to you.  We are in this just for fun.

January 17, 2017

NFL Ratings And Spreads For NFL Conference Championships: January 22, 2017


NFC Championship

Atlanta Falcons vs. Green Bay Packers

Time: 3:05 PM EST

TV: Fox Sports Network

Radio: Westwood One  

Find Your Local Westwoon One Affiliate at:

Line: Atlanta by 4 1/2 or 5 (changing rapidly)

Total: 61

PiRate Ratings Spreads

PiRate: Atlanta by 7.4

Mean: Atlanta by 8.2

Bias: Atlanta by 7.7

PiRate Total: 67


100 Simulations

Atlanta wins: 56

Green Bay wins: 44

Average Score: Atlanta 34  Green Bay 32

Outlier A: Atlanta 45  Green Bay 23

Outlier B: Green Bay 48  Atlanta 27


AFC Championship

New England Patriots vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

Time: 6:40 PM EST


Radio: Westwood One  

Find Your Local Westwood One Affiliate at:


Line: New England by 5 1/2 or 6 (changing rapidly)

Total: 51


PiRate Ratings Spreads

PiRate: New England by 9.4

Mean: New England by 8.4

Bias: New England by 9.6

Total: 47


100 Simulations

New England wins 48

Pittsburgh wins 52

Average Score: New England 26  Pittsburgh 26

Outlier A: New England 41  Pittsburgh 20

Outlier B: Pittsburgh 24  New England 7

January 9, 2017

NFL Ratings And Spreads For Divisional Playoff Round: January 14-15, 2017

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Game 1: Seattle Seahawks at Atlanta Falcons

Time: 4:35 PM EST

TV: Fox

Vegas Line: Atlanta by 4 1/2

Total Line: 51


PiRate Rating: Atlanta by 6.5

Mean Rating: Atlanta by 9.0

Bias Rating: Atlanta by 6.1

PiRate Total: 56


100 Simulations

Atlanta wins 63

Seattle wins 37

Average Score: Atlanta 29  Seattle 24

Outlier A: Atlanta 37  Seattle 16

Outlier B: Seattle 24  Atlanta 9


Game 2: Houston Texans at New England Patriots

Time: 8:15 PM EST


Vegas Line: New England by 16

Total Line: 45


PiRate Rating: New England by 17.8

Mean Rating: New England by 15.5

Bias Rating: New England by 19.5

PiRate Total: 45


100 Simulations

New England wins 96

Houston wins 4

Average Score: New England 37  Houston 17

Outlier A: New England 56  Houston 7

Outlier B: Houston 24  New England 20


Sunday, January 15, 2017

Game 1: Pittsburgh Steelers at Kansas City Chiefs

Time: 1:05 PM EST


Vegas Line: Kansas City by 1 1/2

Total Line: 45 1/2


PiRate Rating: Kansas City by 2.9 

Mean Rating: Kansas City by 3.1

Bias Rating: Kansas City by 3.0

Total Line: 46


100 Simulations

Kansas City wins 53

Pittsburgh wins 47

Average Score: Kansas City 23  Pittsburgh 23 (KC 23.3 Pit 22.9)

Outlier A: Kansas City 27  Pittsburgh 10

Outlier B: Pittsburgh 34  Kansas City 13


Game 2: Green Bay Packers at Dallas Cowboys

Time: 4:40 PM EST

TV: Fox

Vegas Line: Dallas by 4

Total Line: 52


PiRate Rating: Dallas by 2.7 

Mean Rating: Dallas by 3.5

Bias Rating: Dallas by 3.2

Total Line: 52


100 Simulations

Dallas wins 43

Green Bay wins 57

Average Score: Green Bay 33  Dallas 28

Outlier A: Dallas 34  Green Bay 20

Outlier B: Green Bay 38  Dallas 16

January 4, 2017

NFL Ratings And Spreads For Wildcard Playoff Round: January 7-8, 2017

Filed under: Pro Football — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 7:31 am

NFL Playoffs–Wildcard Round

Oakland Raiders (12-4-0) at Houston Texans (9-7-0)

Saturday, January 7, 4:35 PM EST


Las Vegas Line: Houston by 3 1/2,

Totals Line: 36 1/2

Note: Raiders’ rookie QB Connor Cook will start

Texans expect to start Brock Osweiler at QB who will play at less than 100%

PiRate Spread: Houston by 2.7

Mean Spread: Houston by 3.0

Bias Spread: Houston by 1.8

Totals Spread: 46 points

100 Simulations

Houston wins 77

Oakland wins 23

Average score: Houston 23  Oakland 18

Outlier A: Houston 41  Oakland 13

Outlier B: Oakland 34  Houston 16


Detroit Lions (9-7-0) at Seattle Seahawks (10-5-1)

Saturday, January 7, 8:15 PM EST


Las Vegas Line: Seattle by 8

Totals Line: 43

PiRate Spread: Seattle by 8.6

Mean Spread: Seattle by 6.9

Bias Spread: Seattle by 9.3

Totals Spread: 43 points

100 Simulations

Seattle wins 86

Detroit wins 14

Average Score: Seattle 26  Detroit 16

Outlier A: Seattle 42  Detroit 13

Outlier B: Detroit 27  Seattle 20


Miami Dolphins (10-6-0) at Pittsburgh Steelers (11-5-0)

Sunday, January 8, 1:05 PM EST


Note: Miami QB Ryan Tannehill is out for this game.  Matt Moore will start.

Las Vegas Spread: Pittsburgh by 10

Totals Spread: 47

PiRate Spread: Pittsburgh by 9.9

Mean Spread: Pittsburgh by 9.8

Bias Spread: Pittsburgh by 10.0

Totals Spread: 45 points

100 Simulations

Pittsburgh wins 73

Miami wins 27

Average Score: Pittsburgh 25  Miami 20

Outlier A: Pittsburgh 35  Miami 10

Outlier B: Miami 19  Pittsburgh 10


New York Giants (11-5-0) at Green Bay Packers (10-6-0)

Sunday, January 8, 4:40 PM EST

TV: Fox

Las Vegas Line: Green Bay by 5

Totals Line: 44 1/2

PiRate Spread: Green Bay by 5.6

Mean Spread: Green Bay by 6.1

Bias Spread: Green Bay by 5.0

Totals Spread: 57 points

100 simulations

Green Bay wins 59

New York wins 41

Average Score: Green Bay 26  New York 24

Outlier A: Green Bay 31  New York 13

Outlier B: New York 30  Green Bay 17

December 27, 2016

NFL Ratings And Spreads For Week 17: January 1, 2017

Filed under: Pro Football — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 10:46 am

Not Much Left To Be Decided
Week 16’s results greatly reduced the importance of the season’s final week. 10 of the 12 playoff spots have been earned already, and from the remaining spots left to be awarded, just three teams will vie for them.

We know that New England, Oakland, PIttsburgh, Houston, Kansas City, and Miami will be the six conference teams in the playoffs, but there is still some work to be done to determine the exact seeding. It is not that hard at this point.

New England holds the key to home field advantage to the Super Bowl. If the Patriots win this weekend against Miami, they secure the #1 seed. If Oakland loses to Denver, then the Pats also would get the top seed, win or lose.

Oakland can still earn the top seed if the Raiders (sans QB Derek Carr) beat Denver, and Miami beats New England. If Oakland and New England both win, the Raiders will be the #2 seed.

Pittsburgh has clinched the #3 seed and will host the #6 seed wildcard team, no matter what happens this weekend.

Houston has clinched the #4 seed and will host the #5 seed wildcard team, no matter what happens this weekend.

In the West, if Kansas City wins at San Diego, and Oakland loses to Denver, then the Chiefs will win the division, claim the #2 seed, and earn a bye to the divisional playoff round, while Oakland drops to the #5 seed.

If Kansas City and Oakland both win, then Oakland wins the division and first round bye, while KC becomes the #5 Seed. If Kansas City loses, and Miami wins over New England, then the Dolphins jump over KC for the #5 seed, pushing the Chiefs back to #6. A Chiefs win or Dolphins loss would leave Miami as the #6 seed.

Dallas has clinched the top seed overall and will enjoy a first round bye and home field advantage throughout the NFC Playoffs. Their finale against Philadelphia is meaningless, so Tony Romo could get to see action this weekend.

The leader for the #2 seed and first round bye going into Week 17 is Atlanta. If the Falcons beat New Orleans, they clinch the bye. If Atlanta loses, and Seattle bests San Francisco, the Seahawks would then elevate to the #2 seed. Additionally, if thr Falcons lose, and Detroit beats Green Bay, Atlanta would fall to #4 seed, while the Lions jump to #3.

If both Seattle and Atlanta lose, and then Detroit beats Green Bay, the Lions would move into the #2 seed slot and earn a bye.

Green Bay cannot jump over Atlanta if the Packers beat the Lions, while Atlanta loses to New Orleans, regardless of what Seattle does. The Packers lose all tiebreakers to the Falcons.

As for the last two playoff spots, the Giants have clinched the #5 seed and their game with Washington is meaningless to them. However, it means everything to the Redskins. A Washington win to move to 9-6-1 puts the Redskins in the playoffs over the loser of the Green Bay-Detroit game. If Washington loses this game, then the loser of the Packers-Lions game would back into the #6 Seed.

Here are this week’s PiRate Ratings

Current NFL PiRate Ratings
East PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
New England 111.3 109.8 112.3 111.1 68 43
Buffalo 101.5 101.8 101.7 101.7 63 39
Miami 99.4 99.1 99.9 99.4 60 39
N. Y. Jets 92.3 91.8 92.4 92.2 57 35
North PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Pittsburgh 105.2 104.9 105.7 105.3 63 42
Baltimore 101.0 101.8 100.9 101.2 61 40
Cincinnati 101.2 101.0 101.2 101.2 59 42
Cleveland 88.8 89.6 88.7 89.0 56 33
South PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Indianapolis 100.1 101.4 99.8 100.4 64 36
Houston 97.5 98.1 97.0 97.5 60 38
Tennessee 96.8 97.7 96.5 97.0 59 38
Jacksonville 95.1 96.1 94.9 95.4 60 35
West PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Kansas City 105.5 105.3 106.1 105.6 65 41
Oakland 102.2 102.7 102.9 102.6 67 36
Denver 102.6 102.1 101.8 102.1 60 42
San Diego 97.6 98.6 97.2 97.8 63 35
East PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Dallas 105.7 105.1 106.2 105.7 64 42
Washington 102.1 101.6 102.2 102.0 62 40
N.Y. Giants 100.0 99.4 100.3 99.9 62 38
Philadelphia 99.9 98.9 99.5 99.4 60 39
North PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Green Bay 103.0 102.7 102.9 102.9 67 36
Minnesota 99.5 99.3 99.1 99.3 57 42
Detroit 99.3 99.1 99.0 99.1 61 38
Chicago 92.8 92.0 92.5 92.5 55 38
South PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Atlanta 108.6 109.1 108.8 108.8 72 37
Carolina 101.5 101.5 101.6 101.5 60 42
New Orleans 101.1 101.6 101.5 101.4 68 33
Tampa Bay 101.3 101.4 101.4 101.4 63 38
West PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Seattle 105.1 103.2 105.5 104.6 63 42
Arizona 102.5 101.7 102.4 102.2 63 39
Los Angeles 92.9 93.7 92.3 93.0 54 39
San Francisco 89.1 90.0 88.6 89.2 55 34

This Week’s PiRate Spreads

Home Visitor PiRate Mean Bias Totals
Atlanta New Orleans 10.5 10.5 10.3 70
Cincinnati Baltimore 2.2 1.2 2.3 38
Detroit Green Bay -0.7 -0.6 -0.9 54
Indianapolis Jacksonville 7.0 7.3 6.9 63
Miami New England -8.9 -7.7 -9.4 48
Minnesota Chicago 8.7 9.3 8.6 33
New York Jets Buffalo -8.2 -9.0 -8.3 47
Philadelphia Dallas -1.8 -2.2 -2.7 44
Pittsburgh Cleveland 17.4 16.3 18.0 45
Tampa Bay Carolina 0.8 0.9 0.8 44
Tennessee Houston 0.3 0.6 0.5 44
Washington New York Giants 5.1 5.2 4.9 46
Denver Oakland 3.4 2.4 1.9 47
Los Angeles Arizona -8.6 -7.0 -9.1 39
San Diego Kansas City -6.9 -5.7 -6.9 52
San Francisco Seattle -13.0 -10.2 -13.9 44


December 20, 2016

NFL Ratings And Spreads For Week 16: December 22-26, 2016

Filed under: Pro Football — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 9:30 am

This Week’s Playoff Scenarios

There are still more than four billion playoff scenarios with just two weeks left in the season, so it is impossible to list every scenario left.  However, for most teams still in the race, their paths are for the most part clear.

AFC East

New England has clinched the division title and a bye to the Divisional Round.  The Patriots would clinch home field advantage and the top seed by winning out (vs. NYJ, @Mia) or by winning one game while Oakland loses one game or if Oakland loses both games.


Miami clinches a wildcard berth by winning one of its remaining two games (@Buf, vs. NE).  The Dolphins cannot make the playoffs at 9-7.


Buffalo’s slight chance of earning the #6 seed require the Bills to win twice (vs. Mia, @NYJ), a lot of other things to occur.  The computer lists Buffalo with about a 3% chance of making the playoffs.  Here is one scenario that works.

This Week: Jacksonville must beat Tennessee, Oakland must beat Indianapolis, Cincinnati must beat Houston, and Pittsburgh must beat Baltimore

Next Week: Cincinnati must beat Baltimore, New England must beat Miami, and Oakland must beat Denver

AFC North

Pittsburgh wins the division if they beat Baltimore this week at Heinz Field.  They can still win the division if they lose to Baltimore this week, and then Baltimore loses at Cincinnati while the Steelers defeat Cleveland in the final week.  The Steelers have numerous opportunities of earning a wildcard if they lose this week and win next week to finish 10-6 and very limited opportunities of earning a wildcard if they lose both remaining games.


Baltimore can win the division title by winning out or by beating Pittsburgh this week and then both the Steelers and Ravens lose their season finales.  The Ravens have limited possibilities of earning a wildcard if they lose to Pittsburgh and beat Cincinnati to finish 9-7.


AFC South

This is an interesting scenario.  As far as the division title goes, it does not matter what Houston does this week against Cincinnati.  In theory, they could rest their starters and lose to the Bengals and then would become division champs if they beat Tennessee in Week 17.  The Texans still have a very slim (less than 1 in 300 chance) of earning a wildcard if they win this week and lose next week, but it is so infinitesimally small, that Houston would be best served by concentrating all their efforts on the Titans.  Then, there is the opportunity to clinch the division this week should Jacksonville upset Tennessee.  The Texans will know the outcome of the Titans’ game before they play Cincinnati.

Tennessee must win out to win the division, or they must beat Houston next week if the Texans and Titans both lose this week.  However, under this scenario, the Titans can only win the division at 9-7 if Indianapolis loses one of its final two games.  The Titans have a slim wildcard chance, but it is a little better than the Texans’ wildcard chance.


Indianapolis can still win the division by winning out with Houston losing both of its final two games and Tennessee losing to Jacksonville.   The Colts still have a tiny wildcard shot if they win out.  That chance is smaller than Buffalo’s.


AFC West

Oakland must finish a game ahead of Kansas City to win the division.  Two Raider wins, and one Patriot loss would give the Raiders home field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.  One Oakland win guarantees a first round bye, but the Raiders can still clinch a bye with two losses if Pittsburgh loses a game.

Kansas City wins the division in any tie with Oakland.  The Chiefs would receive a first round bye if they finish with two wins, and Pittsburgh loses one game.  KC wins the wildcard unless they lose their final two games (vs. Den, @SD) and Baltimore wins out, while Pittsburgh and Miami both finish 10-6.

Denver has numerous possibilities in their route to the #6 seed.  The Broncos must win out (@KC, vs. Oak), and then need help from losses by Miami and Baltimore, or a monumental Cleveland upset of Pittsburgh.

NFC East

Dallas needs one win or one New York Giant loss to clinch the top seed and earn home field advantage throughout the NFC Playoffs.  If the Cowboys lose twice (@Phi, @Was), and Dallas loses twice (vs. Det, @Phi), and the Giants win twice, the Giants earn home field advantage and the top seed.

New York can still be eliminated with two losses and multiple other scenarios including Tampa Bay, Green Bay, Atlanta, and Detroit finishing 10-6.

Washington is still alive and has a very good shot at a wildcard if they win out (@Chi, vs. NYG), and a very slim chance if they lose one of their last two.


NFC North

If Detroit beats Green Bay next week, the Lions win the division regardless of what happens in this weeks game at Dallas.  If Green Bay beats Detroit, then the Packers win the division if the two teams finished tied.  Both teams hold limited wildcard possibilities, with the Lions’ chances more than twice as strong.


Minnesota holds very slim wildcard hopes.  The Vikings must beat Green Bay and Chicago and then hope Tampa Bay loses out, Washington loses at least once, and Detroit beats Green Bay.


NFC South 

Atlanta and Tampa Bay are both looking good with the majority of scenarios placing both teams in the playoffs.  If Atlanta wins just one of its final two games, there are very few scenarios where the Falcons would be eliminated, and if Tampa Bay wins out, there are even fewer scenarios where they would be eliminated.  The Falcons can earn a bye by winning out to finish 11-5, if Seattle loses one of its final two games.


NFC West

Seattle has clinched the division and can clinch a first round bye if they win out.  They cannot clinch the number one seed, as only Dallas and the Giants are alive for the top spot.


If The Playoffs Began Today

1 New England
2 Oakland
3 Pittsburgh
4 Houston
5 Kansas City
6 Miami
1 Dallas
2 Seattle
3 Atlanta
4 Detroit
5 N.Y. Giants
6 Tampa Bay

PiRate Playoff Projections

AFC Seeding
1 Oakland
2 New England
3 Pittsburgh
4 Tennessee
5 Kansas City
6 Miami
NFC Seeding
1 Dallas
2 Seattle
3 Atlanta
4 Detroit
5 New York
6 Tampa Bay

PiRate Playoff Projections Played Out

Wildcard Round
Pittsburgh over Miami
Kansas City over Tennessee
Tampa Bay over Atlanta
N.Y. Giants over Detroit
Divisional Round
Oakland over Kansas City
New England over Pittsburgh
Dallas over Tampa Bay
N. Y. Giants over Seattle
Conference Championship
Oakland over New England
N. Y. Giants over Dallas
Super Bowl 51
N. Y. Giants over Oakland


This Week’s PiRate Ratings

Current NFL PiRate Ratings
East PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
New England 109.7 108.4 110.6 109.6 67 43
Buffalo 101.9 102.1 102.2 102.1 63 39
Miami 99.0 98.8 99.4 99.0 60 39
N. Y. Jets 93.9 93.2 94.1 93.7 57 37
North PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Pittsburgh 105.3 104.9 105.9 105.4 63 42
Cincinnati 101.4 101.1 101.5 101.4 59 42
Baltimore 100.9 101.8 100.7 101.1 61 40
Cleveland 87.5 88.4 87.3 87.7 55 33
South PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Indianapolis 100.2 101.5 99.9 100.5 64 37
Tennessee 98.8 99.4 98.8 99.0 61 38
Houston 97.3 98.0 96.7 97.3 60 37
Jacksonville 93.1 94.4 92.6 93.4 58 35
West PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Kansas City 103.8 103.8 104.2 103.9 64 40
Denver 104.3 103.6 103.7 103.8 62 42
Oakland 102.1 102.6 102.8 102.5 67 36
San Diego 98.9 99.8 98.6 99.1 63 36
East PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Dallas 104.5 103.9 104.9 104.4 62 42
Washington 100.8 100.5 100.7 100.7 62 39
N.Y. Giants 100.2 99.6 100.6 100.1 62 38
Philadelphia 99.7 98.7 99.2 99.2 60 39
North PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Green Bay 102.2 102.0 102.0 102.1 66 36
Detroit 100.5 100.3 100.3 100.4 61 39
Minnesota 100.3 100.0 100.0 100.1 57 43
Chicago 94.1 93.1 94.0 93.8 56 38
South PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Atlanta 107.5 108.2 107.5 107.7 71 37
Carolina 102.6 102.4 102.9 102.6 60 43
Tampa Bay 101.5 101.6 101.6 101.6 63 39
New Orleans 100.9 101.4 101.3 101.2 68 33
West PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Seattle 106.1 104.0 106.7 105.6 63 43
Arizona 101.5 100.9 101.2 101.2 62 39
Los Angeles 93.7 94.4 93.2 93.8 54 40
San Francisco 88.3 89.3 87.7 88.4 54 34


This Week’s PiRate Spreads

Home Visitor PiRate Mean Bias Totals
Philadelphia New York Giants 1.5 1.1 0.6 47
Buffalo Miami 5.9 6.3 5.8 47
Carolina Atlanta -2.4 -3.3 -2.1 51
Chicago Washington -4.2 -4.9 -4.2 43
Cleveland San Diego -8.4 -8.4 -8.3 51
Green Bay Minnesota 4.4 4.5 4.5 45
Jacksonville Tennessee -2.7 -2.0 -3.2 47
New England New York Jets 18.8 18.2 19.5 45
New Orleans Tampa Bay 2.4 2.8 2.7 60
Oakland Indianapolis 4.9 4.1 5.9 60
Los Angeles San Francisco 7.9 7.6 8.0 33
Seattle Arizona 7.6 6.1 8.5 45
Houston Cincinnati -1.1 -0.1 -1.8 40
Pittsburgh Baltimore 6.9 5.6 7.7 43
Kansas City Denver 2.5 3.2 3.5 45
Dallas Detroit 7.0 6.6 7.6 43




December 13, 2016

NFL Ratings And Spreads For Week 15: December 15-19, 2016

Three Week Sprint

With three weeks to go in the 2016 season, only Philadelphia, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, the NY Jets, Cleveland, Jacksonville, and San Diego have been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs.  You can add New Orleans, Carolina, Arizona, Buffalo, and Cincinnati to the list that are not playoff bound this year, as these five teams need miracles to make the postseason.

That leaves 19 teams competing for 12 playoff spots.  Let’s take a look at each division.

AFC East

New England would have to lose three straight, while Miami wins three straight for the Dolphins to win the division.  Because one of those prospective Pats’ losses would have to be against the Jets, the chances become about the same as being hit by lightning on a sunny day.

Miami is in contention for the 6th seed with Denver, but as of today, the Broncos have the small advantage based on wins against common opponents.  Miami closes with games at the Jets and Bills and a home finale against New England.

Buffalo has a very slim chance of getting a wildcard bid.  The Bills must win out against Cleveland, Miami, and the Jets, and then they need a lot of help, definitely more than they can expect.  It looks like the longest playoff drought will extend to 17 seasons.


AFC North

Pittsburgh leads Baltimore by a game, but this race is still close to a tossup with three weeks to go.  The Ravens won at Pittsburgh earlier in the year, and the teams must still play in Baltimore in two weeks.  Both contenders must still play at Cincinnati, so there is an infinitesimal chance that the Bengals could win out at 8-7-1 and steal the division over 8-8 rivals.  For that to happen, Baltimore must beat Pittsburgh, and then the Steelers have to lose at home to Cleveland.


AFC South

This is the most interesting race in the NFL.  Three teams can still win this division, and the two that do not have little to no chance of winning a wildcard bid.  Houston and Tennessee are tied at 7-6, with Indianapolis a game back at 6-7.  The Texans have the easiest road to the finish line, as their schedule brings Jacksonville and Cincinnati to Reliant Stadium, before the Texans finish at Tennessee.

The Titans must travel to Arrowhead Stadium to take on Kansas City, and a loss in this game would mean that Houston would have to lose at home for Week 17 to matter.

Indianapolis can only win the division by finishing a game ahead of Houston and at least tied with Tennessee.  The Colts have the toughest remaining schedule of the three rivals (including road games against Minnesota and Oakland), so it looks like the Texans are prohibitive favorites for now.


AFC West

Kansas City now controls its own destiny for a bye in the playoffs and guaranteed home game in the Divisional Round.  The Chiefs still have a shot at securing home field advantage throughout the AFC Playoffs.

Oakland remains in contention for the division title, but for now, the Raiders look like the #5 seed.  They could still stumble into the 6th seed.

Denver has little room for error.  The Broncos are now tied with Miami and hold a precarious tiebreaker, but a 10-6 record could force the reigning Super Bowl Champions out of the playoffs.


NFC East

The Dallas Cowboys look unbeatable when the opponent does not have an “N” and a “Y” on their football helmets.  Big D still owns a two-game cushion for the top record in the NFC, but their next two games are going to be tough.  A hot Tampa Bay team comes to Jerryworld this week, followed by a visit from the number two team in the NFC, Detroit.  Losses in both games could allow the Lions to emerge as the #1 seed.

The New York Giants host the Lions this week in what could be the top game on the slate.  A Giant win actually gives Eli Manning and company a shot to win the Division and even earn the top seed, but more than likely this team will have to settle for the #5 seed.

Washington is still very much alive for a wildcard bid.  The Redskins must beat Carolina and Chicago the next two weeks before closing with the Giants.


NFC North

Detroit has a firm hold on this division with a two-game lead over Minnesota and Green Bay, but stranger things have happened before.  The Lions have a very tough closing troika of games and could lose any or all of them (@NYG, @Dal, vs. GB).

Should the Lions swoon in the stretch, Green Bay has a slim advantage over Minnesota, as the Packers still play the Lions, while the Vikings were swept by Detroit and can only take the division title if Detroit loses all three, and the Vikings win all three (which would include a win over Green Bay).  The chances are below average that this division will produce a wildcard team, but it is not impossible.


NFC South

Atlanta and Tampa Bay are locked in a fantastic finish for the division title, and the team that does not win the flag has a better than average chance of taking a wildcard spot.  If Carolina beats Atlanta, and then the Falcons and Buc finish 10-6, Tampa Bay would win the division.


NFC West

Seattle would have to lose its final three games, which includes dropping games to the Rams and 49ers, and Arizona would have to win its final three games, which includes winning at Seattle, for the Cardinals to surpass the Seahawks for the division title.


This Week’s PiRate Ratings

Current NFL PiRate Ratings
East PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
New England 109.0 107.8 109.8 108.9 67 42
Buffalo 101.8 102.0 102.1 102.0 63 39
Miami 97.4 97.6 97.6 97.5 59 39
N. Y. Jets 95.5 94.4 95.9 95.3 57 38
North PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Pittsburgh 105.1 104.7 105.7 105.2 63 42
Cincinnati 101.6 101.3 101.7 101.6 60 42
Baltimore 100.9 101.9 100.8 101.2 61 40
Cleveland 87.6 88.5 87.4 87.8 55 33
South PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Tennessee 98.4 99.2 98.2 98.6 61 38
Indianapolis 97.9 99.5 97.4 98.3 62 36
Houston 97.5 98.2 96.9 97.5 61 37
Jacksonville 92.9 94.2 92.4 93.2 58 35
West PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Denver 105.0 104.2 104.5 104.5 63 42
Kansas City 104.2 104.0 104.8 104.3 64 40
Oakland 102.1 102.6 102.8 102.5 67 36
San Diego 98.9 99.8 98.6 99.1 63 36
East PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Dallas 104.5 103.9 104.9 104.4 62 42
Washington 101.9 101.5 102.0 101.8 63 39
N.Y. Giants 99.6 99.1 99.9 99.5 62 38
Philadelphia 99.7 98.6 99.1 99.1 60 39
North PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Minnesota 102.6 102.0 102.5 102.4 59 43
Green Bay 102.3 102.1 102.2 102.2 66 36
Detroit 101.1 100.8 101.0 101.0 62 39
Chicago 94.0 93.0 93.8 93.6 56 38
South PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Atlanta 107.2 107.9 107.2 107.4 71 36
Tampa Bay 101.5 101.6 101.6 101.6 63 39
Carolina 101.5 101.4 101.6 101.5 60 42
New Orleans 100.1 100.9 100.3 100.4 67 33
West PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Seattle 105.8 103.6 106.3 105.2 62 43
Arizona 102.3 101.4 102.2 102.0 63 39
Los Angeles 94.0 94.8 93.6 94.2 54 40
San Francisco 88.6 89.6 88.0 88.7 54 35

This Week’s PiRate Spreads & Totals

Home Visitor PiRate Mean Bias Totals
Seattle Los Angeles 14.8 11.8 15.7 34
New York Jets Miami 0.6 -0.7 0.8 40
Baltimore Philadelphia 3.2 5.3 3.7 44
Buffalo Cleveland 16.7 16.0 17.2 48
Chicago Green Bay -5.8 -6.6 -5.9 50
Dallas Tampa Bay 6.0 5.3 6.3 46
Houston Jacksonville 7.6 7.0 7.5 49
Kansas City Tennessee 8.8 7.8 9.6 49
Minnesota Indianapolis 7.7 5.5 8.1 44
New York Giants Detroit 1.5 0.3 1.9 49
Arizona New Orleans 5.2 3.5 4.9 60
Atlanta San Francisco 21.6 21.3 22.2 56
Denver New England -1.0 -0.6 -2.3 48
San Diego Oakland -0.7 -0.3 -1.7 60
Cincinnati Pittsburgh -1.0 -0.9 -1.5 41
Washington Carolina 2.9 2.6 2.9 44


Older Posts »

Create a free website or blog at