The Pi-Rate Ratings

January 23, 2019

PiRate Ratings Super Bowl LIII Preview

Filed under: Pro Football — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 9:27 am

Super Bowl 53 Preview

NFC Champion: Los Angeles Rams 15-3-0

AFC Champion: New England Patriots 13-5-0

Date: Sunday, February 3, 2019

Kickoff Time: Approximately 6:30 PM Eastern Standard Time

TV: CBS

Online: CBSSports.com

Phone: CBS Sports App

TV Announcing Crew

Jim Nantz–Play-by-play

Tony Romo–Booth Analysis

Sideline Reporter–Tracy Wolfson

Sideline Reporter–Evan Washburn

 

This is the best Super Bowl TV talent in this generation, and the equal of Curt Gowdy, Al DeRogatis, and Kyle Rote in Super Bowl III on NBC in January of 1969 50 years ago.

 

Radio Coverage: Westwood One Radio Sports

Top Radio Market Affiliates

City Radio # Radio Station
Atlanta 92.9 FM WZGC
Austin 104.9 FM WTXX
Baltimore 105.7 FM WJZ
Boston 850 AM WEEI
Charlotte 610 AM WFNZ
Chicago 670 AM WSCR
Cincinnati 1360 AM WSAI
Cleveland 92.3 FM WKRK
Columbus 1460 AM WBNS
Dallas 105.3 FM KRLD
Denver 1600 AM KEPN
Detroit 1270 AM WXYT
Houston 610 AM KILT
Indianapolis 1260 AM WNDE
Kansas City 810 AM WHB
Las Vegas 1100 AM KWWN
Los Angeles 550 AM KLAC
Miami 790 AM WAXY
Minneapolis 100.3 FM KFXN
Nashville 104.5 FM WGFX
New York 660 AM WFAN
Orlando 580 AM WDBO
Philadelphia 1210 AM WPHT
Phoenix 910 AM KGME
Pittsburgh 93.7 FM KDKA
Portland 750 AM KXTG
Sacramento 1140 AM KHTK
San Antonio 760 AM KTKR
San Bernardino 1350 AM KPWK
San Diego 97.3 FM KWFN
San Francisco Bay Area 95.7 FM WGMZ
Seattle 950 AM KJR
St. Louis 101.1 FM WXOS
Tampa 820 AM WWBA
Virginia Beach 94.1 FM WVSP
Washington, DC 106.7 FM WJFK

 and Sirius XM Channel 88

Radio Broadcast Talent

Kevin Harlan–Play by Play

Kurt Warner–Booth Analysis

Others–Mike Holmgren, Ed Werder, Tony Boselli, Scott Graham, and Jim Gray

Nevada Lines

Line as of 12 Noon EST Wednesday, January 23

New England by 2 1/2

Total 57 1/2

Money Line

New England -135

Los Angeles +115

 

PiRate Ratings Spreads

Pirate: Los Angeles by 1.4

Mean: Los Angeles by 1.4

Bias: Los Angeles by 1.1

Total: 52

 

Computer Simulations

Data Used: Advanced Metric Statistics for both teams adjusted to strengths of schedules and then using a random number generator of potential outcomes, 100 simulations were run.  We feel that 10,000 simulations artificially lowers the variance, which was already quite low.

100 Sims

Los Angeles Wins: 56

New England Wins: 44

Average Score (Rounded) Los Angeles 30  New England 27

Simulations going over the total: 52

Simulations going under the total: 48

Standard Deviation on the Margin: 3.34

Standard Deviation on the Total: 5.22

Outlier Win for LA: Rams 41  Patriots 24

Outlier Win for NE: Patriots 31  Rams 16

This marks the final football publication for the PiRate Ratings until sometime in the Summer, when we will be in the process of updating the college football ratings for the 2019 season.  Thank You to all that patronize this site.  If you haven’t checked out our other ratings, we cover college basketball with new publications on Monday and Friday until the end of the regular season and then daily through Selection Sunday.  Our annual “Bracketnomics 505” comes out the Monday evening after Selection Sunday, and it has been our most read feature through the years.  We offer all this free to you, because we are a group of math geeks that were once athletes in the dark ages.

Our goal is to supply you with fun information and not to encourage you to wager money using our data for your research.  None of the contributors here at this site ever wager money on our recommendations.  We understand that there are professionals that come to this site, and more than one of you has told us that there is something we put out that does influence how you wager.  We hope for your sake, it doesn’t send you to the Poor House, because  we don’t have any more room here.

 

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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

TV: CBS

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.

 

January 8, 2019

PiRate Ratings NFL Forecast for The Divisional Playoff Round: January 12-13, 2019

NFL Divisional Playoff Round Ratings and Information

 

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Indianapolis Colts at Kansas City Chiefs

Time: 4:35 PM Eastern Standard

TV: NBC

Pirate Ratings Spreads

PiRate: Kansas City by 6.4 

Mean: Kansas City by 7.2

Bias: Kansas City by 5.7

Total: 55

Expected Score: Kansas City 31  Indianapolis 24

———————————————————————————-

Dallas Cowboys at Los Angeles Rams

Time: 8:15 PM Eastern Standard

TV: Fox 

Pirate Ratings Spreads

PiRate:  Los Angeles by 8.5

Mean: Los Angeles by 8.8

Bias: Los Angeles by 8.8

Total: 49.5

Expected Score: Los Angeles 30  Dallas 21

—————————————————————————-

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Los Angeles Chargers at New England Patriots

Time: 1:05 PM Eastern Standard

TV: CBS

PiRate Ratings Spreads

PiRate: New England by 3.5

Mean: New England by 2.8

Bias: New England by 2.7

Total: 45.5

Expected Score: New England 24  Los Angeles 21

———————————————————————————-

Philadelphia Eagles at New Orleans Saints

Time: 4:40 PM Eastern Standard

TV: Fox

PiRate Ratings Spreads

PiRate: New Orleans by 12.8 

Mean: New Orleans by 12.5

Bias: New Orleans by 12.4

Total: 49

Expected Score: New Orleans 31  Philadelphia 17

December 31, 2018

PiRate Ratings NFL Forecast for The Wildcard Playoff Round: January 5-6, 2018

This Week’s PiRate Rating Spreads

Home Visitor PiRate Mean Bias Total
Houston Indianapolis 2.0 2.7 2.1 49.5
Dallas Seattle -1.6 -1.9 -2.8 44.5
Baltimore L.A. Chargers 2.6 2.4 2.4 43
Chicago Philadelphia 5.5 5.5 6.4 44.5

The Wildcard Playoff Schedule

Saturday,  January 5, 2019

4:35 PM Eastern Standard Time

TV: ESPN

Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans

 

8:15 PM Eastern Standard Time

TV: Fox Network

Seattle Seahawks at Dallas Cowboys

 

Sunday, January 6, 2109

1:05 PM Eastern Standard Time

TV: CBS

Los Angeles Chargers at Baltimore Ravens

 

4:40 PM Eastern Standard Time

TV: NBC

Philadelphia Eagles at Chicago Bears

 

For the Divisional Playoff Round

The lower remaining seed in the AFC will play at Kansas City on Saturday, January 12, on NBC at 4:35 PM EST

 

The higher remaining seed in the NFC will play at the Los Angeles Rams on Saturday, January 12, on Fox Network at 8:15 PM EST

 

The higher remaining seed in the AFC will play at New England on Sunday, January 13, on CBS at 1:05 PM EST

 

The lower remaining seed in the NFC will play at New Orleans on Sunday, January 13, on Fox Network at 4:40 PM EST

Ratings of the Playoff Teams

Playoff Team PiRate Mean Bias Avg. Total W-L
New Orleans 112.3 112.3 112.3 112.3 27 13-3
Kansas City 106.8 107.0 106.6 106.8 30.5 12-4
LA Rams 106.5 106.7 106.3 106.5 29 13-3
Chicago 104.9 105.1 105.8 105.3 21.5 12-4
New England 105.0 105.1 104.9 105.0 22.5 11-5
Seattle 104.6 104.7 105.2 104.8 24 10-6
LA Chargers 104.3 105.0 104.8 104.7 23 12-4
Baltimore 104.5 104.9 104.7 104.7 20 10-6
Indianapolis 102.9 102.3 103.3 102.8 25.5 10-6
Houston 102.4 102.5 103.0 102.6 24 11-5
Philadelphia 102.4 102.6 102.5 102.5 23 9-7
Dallas 100.5 100.3 99.9 100.2 20.5 10-6

 

Note: The College Basketball Bracket Gurus will debut next week.  Most of the gurus are enjoying vacations this week and did not submit their data to us.

December 25, 2018

PiRate Ratings NFL Forecast for Week 17: December 30, 2018

This Week’s PiRate Ratings Spreads

Home Visitor PiRate Mean Bias Total
New Orleans Carolina 10.5 11.0 10.7 50
Houston Jacksonville 7.6 8.1 8.6 42
Green Bay Detroit 5.2 5.9 5.8 48
Tampa Bay Atlanta -2.1 -1.8 -1.0 50.5
N.Y. Giants Dallas 0.5 0.7 1.3 42.5
New England N.Y. Jets 12.4 13.0 12.7 47.5
Buffalo Miami 1.4 1.9 1.8 40
Minnesota Chicago 0.8 0.9 0.0 42.5
Kansas City Oakland 17.0 17.1 16.9 52.5
Pittsburgh Cincinnati 15.1 15.2 15.5 48
Baltimore Cleveland 9.7 9.8 9.2 44
Washington Philadelphia -8.2 -8.9 -8.4 45.5
Seattle Arizona 15.2 15.9 16.4 41
L.A. Rams San Francisco 13.5 13.7 13.5 49
Denver L.A. Chargers -4.7 -5.5 -5.4 43
Tennessee Indianapolis -2.0 -1.4 -2.6 45

 

This Week’s PiRate Ratings

A F C
East PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
New England 105.0 105.1 104.9 105.0 22.5 10-5
N. Y. Jets 95.1 94.6 94.7 94.8 25 4-11
Miami 94.0 93.6 93.6 93.7 23 7-8
Buffalo 92.9 93.0 92.9 92.9 17 5-10
North PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
Pittsburgh 107.2 107.4 107.4 107.3 24.5 8-6-1
Baltimore 104.5 104.9 104.7 104.7 20 9-6
Cleveland 97.7 98.1 98.5 98.1 24 7-7-1
Cincinnati 95.1 95.2 94.9 95.1 23.5 6-9
South PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
Indianapolis 102.9 102.3 103.3 102.8 25.5 9-6
Houston 102.4 102.5 103.0 102.6 24.5 10-5
Tennessee 98.8 98.9 98.8 98.8 19.5 9-6
Jacksonville 97.3 96.9 96.9 97.0 17.5 5-10
West PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
Kansas City 106.8 107.0 106.6 106.8 31 11-4
LA Chargers 104.3 105.0 104.8 104.7 23.5 11-4
Denver 98.7 98.5 98.4 98.5 19.5 6-9
Oakland 92.2 92.4 92.3 92.3 21.5 4-11
N F C
East PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
Philadelphia 102.4 102.6 102.5 102.5 23.5 8-7
Dallas 100.5 100.3 99.9 100.2 19.5 9-6
N.Y. Giants 97.5 97.5 97.7 97.6 23 5-10
Washington 94.3 93.7 94.1 94.0 22 7-8
North PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
Chicago 104.9 105.1 105.8 105.3 22 11-4
Minnesota 103.3 103.4 103.3 103.3 20.5 8-6-1
Green Bay 99.8 100.2 99.7 99.9 25 6-8-1
Detroit 97.6 97.3 96.8 97.2 23 5-10
South PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
New Orleans 112.3 112.3 112.3 112.3 27 13-2
Atlanta 100.0 99.9 99.8 99.9 25.5 6-9
Carolina 99.8 99.3 99.5 99.5 23 6-9
Tampa Bay 95.9 96.1 96.8 96.3 25 5-10
West PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
LA Rams 106.5 106.7 106.3 106.5 28 12-3
Seattle 104.6 104.7 105.2 104.8 23.5 9-6
San Francisco 95.5 95.5 95.3 95.4 21 4-11
Arizona 91.9 91.3 91.2 91.5 17.5 3-12

 

The Playoff Scenarios

AFC

1.) Kansas City Chiefs

If the Chiefs beat Oakland, they win the #1 seed in the AFC and will have homefield advantage throughout the playoffs to the Super Bowl.

If the Chiefs lose to Oakland, then they can fall to the #5 seed if the Chargers beat Denver.  If the Chargers also lose, then the Chiefs will still win the AFC West, but they could fall to the #2 seed if New England or Houston wins, and the #3 seed if both New England and Houston win.

 

2.) New England Patriots

If the Patriots beat the New York Jets, they can be no worse than the #2 seed no matter what Houston does.  If the Pats beat the Jets and Kansas City loses to Oakland, New England will grab the #1 seed and get homefield advantage throughout the AFC Playoffs.

If the Patriots lose to the Jets, and Baltimore beats Cleveland, then the Patriots lose a first round bye and will be the #3 seed if Indianapolis beats Tennessee and the #4 seed if Tennessee beats Indianapolis.

If the Patriots lose and Baltimore also loses, New England retains the #2 seed if Indianapolis beats Tennessee, but they fall to the #3 seed if Baltimore loses but Tennessee beats Indianapolis.

 

3.) Houston Texas

Houston can still earn the #1 seed, if the Texans beat Jacksonville, while Kansas City and New England both lose.  If Houston wins but either Kansas City or New England win their games, the Texans would be the #2 seed.  If Houston wins but Kansas City and New England both win, then Houston gets the #3 seed.

If Houston loses to Jacksonville, then the Texans fall into a wildcard spot, as the winner of the Tennessee-Indianapolis game would win the AFC South.  Houston would fall to a #6 seed with a loss.

 

4. ) Baltimore Ravens or Pittsburgh Steelers

If the Ravens beat Cleveland, they are the AFC North Champion.  They can earn the #2 seed if Houston and New England both lose.  They will earn the #3 seed if they win and either New England or Houston loses.  They will earn the #4 seed if both New England and Houston win.

If the Ravens lose, but Pittsburgh also loses, they will be the #4 seed, but if the Ravens lose and Pittsburgh wins, the Steelers will win the AFC North, and the Ravens will be eliminated.  In the rare event that Pittsburgh wins and Baltimore ties Cleveland, then Pittsburgh will win the tiebreaker and become the AFC North champions and #4 Seed.

If Pittsburgh and Baltimore both win, then the Steelers could only squeak in as a Wildcard team if Indianapolis and Tennessee were to tie.

 

5.) Los Angeles Chargers

The Chargers can still win the AFC West and wrap up the top seed in the AFC if they beat Denver and Oakland beats Kansas City.  If Kansas City and the Chargers both win, then the Chargers are the #5 seed.

If the Chargers lose to Denver, then they are the #5 seed regardless of the outcomes of any other games.

 

6.) Tennessee Titans or Indianapolis Colts

Since this is the Sunday Night Game, both teams will know their fate when this game kicks off.

First, the winner of this game will be in the playoffs, while the loser will not be in the playoffs.  If the game ties, then either Indianapolis will be in the playoffs and Tennessee will be out, or both teams will be eliminated if Pittsburgh and Baltimore both win.

If Houston loses earlier in the day, then the winner of this game will win the AFC South.

If Tennessee beats Indianapolis:

The Titans can move up as high as the #2 seed if they beat the Colts, while New England, Houston, and Baltimore all lose.  The Titans can earn the #3 seed, if they beat the Colts, while New England and Houston lose but Baltimore wins or While Houston loses and Baltimore loses.  The Titans can earn the #4 seed if they beat the Colts, while Houston loses, and New England and Baltimore win.

If Tennessee beats Indianapolis, while Baltimore, New England, and Houston win, the Titans are the #6 seed.

If Indianapolis beats Tennessee:

The Colts can move no higher than a #3 seed if Houston loses to Jacksonville and Baltimore loses to Cleveland, no matter what happens in the other games.  If Indianapolis wins, Houston loses, and Baltimore wins, then the Colts are the #4 seed.

If Indianapolis wins and Houston wins, then the Colts are the #6 seed

 

NFC

1.) New Orleans Saints

The Saints have clinched the #1 overall seed in the NFC and have homefield advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.  Thus, they can rest Drew Brees and other key players this week in a meaningless game against Carolina.

 

2.) Los Angeles Rams

If the Rams beat San Francisco or Chicago loses to Minnesota, the Rams are the #2 seed.

If the Rams lose to the 49ers, while Chicago beats Minnesota, the Rams fall to a #3 seed and lose a first round bye.

 

3.) Chicago Bears

If Chicago wins and the Rams lose, the Bears get a bye and the #2 seed.

If Chicago wins and the Rams win, or if the Bears lose, they will be the #3 seed.

 

4.) Dallas Cowboys

Dallas is the automatic #4 seed, win or lose against the Giants.  The Cowboys will rest their starters in a meaningless game that could be Eli Manning’s last in a Giants’ uniform.

 

5.) Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks have clinched a Wildcard berth in the NFC Playoffs.  If Seattle wins, or Minnesota loses, then the Seahawks are the #5 seed.  If Seattle loses and Minnesota wins, the Seahawks fall to the #6 seed.

 

6.) Minnesota Vikings or Philadelphia Eagles

If Minnesota beats Chicago, the Vikings earn a Wildcard Bid, and would be the #5 seed if Seattle loses and the #6 seed if Seattle wins.

If Minnesota loses, then if Philadelphia beats Washington, the Eagles will earn the Wildcard bid and #6 seed, and the Vikings would be eliminated.

If both Minnesota and Philadelphia lose, then the Vikings sneak in as the #6 seed.

In the rare event that Minnesota ties Chicago, the Vikings would still be the #6 seed at 8-6-2, even if Philadelphia wins to get to 9-7.

 

 

 

 

December 18, 2018

PiRate Ratings NFL Forecast for Week 16: December 20-24, 2018

This Week’s PiRate Ratings Spreads

Home Visitor PiRate Mean Bias Totals
Tennessee Washington 6.9 7.5 6.8 41.5
L.A. Chargers Baltimore 4.8 5.2 5.4 44.5
Dallas Tampa Bay 7.2 6.8 5.7 44.5
Indianapolis N.Y. Giants 9.0 8.5 9.4 47.5
Philadelphia Houston 3.2 3.4 2.7 46.5
Miami Jacksonville -0.2 0.1 0.3 42
N.Y. Jets Green Bay -2.4 -3.3 -2.7 48
Cleveland Cincinnati 4.8 4.8 5.6 47.5
Detroit Minnesota -1.2 -1.5 -1.6 44.5
New England Buffalo 15.5 15.8 15.6 39.5
Carolina Atlanta 3.5 3.5 4.0 50
San Francisco Chicago -6.7 -6.7 -7.7 45
Arizona L.A. Rams -10.5 -11.4 -10.9 47
New Orleans Pittsburgh 8.0 7.8 8.0 50.5
Seattle Kansas City -0.2 -0.3 0.5 52.5
Oakland Denver -6.2 -6.0 -6.2 41

 

This Week’s PiRate Ratings

A F C
East PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
New England 105.2 105.4 105.2 105.3 22.5 9-5
N. Y. Jets 94.9 94.4 94.5 94.6 24 4-10
Miami 94.6 94.3 94.4 94.4 23.5 7-7
Buffalo 92.7 92.7 92.6 92.6 17 5-9
North PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
Pittsburgh 107.0 107.2 107.1 107.1 24 8-5-1
Baltimore 103.3 103.6 103.3 103.4 20.5 8-6
Cleveland 97.5 97.8 98.3 97.9 24 6-7-1
Cincinnati 95.3 95.5 95.1 95.3 23.5 6-8
South PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
Indianapolis 103.1 102.5 103.5 103.0 25 8-6
Houston 102.3 102.4 102.9 102.5 24 10-4
Tennessee 98.7 98.8 98.6 98.7 19.5 8-6
Jacksonville 96.7 96.2 96.1 96.3 18.5 4-10
West PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
Kansas City 107.3 107.5 107.1 107.3 30 11-3
LA Chargers 105.0 105.8 105.7 105.5 24 11-3
Denver 99.8 99.7 99.7 99.7 19.5 6-8
Oakland 91.1 91.2 91.0 91.1 21.5 3-11
N F C
East PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
Philadelphia 102.5 102.7 102.6 102.6 22.5 7-7
Dallas 100.6 100.4 100.0 100.3 19.5 8-6
N.Y. Giants 97.0 97.0 97.2 97.1 22.5 5-9
Washington 94.4 93.8 94.3 94.2 22 7-7
North PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
Chicago 105.0 105.2 105.9 105.4 23 10-4
Minnesota 102.5 102.5 102.3 102.4 21 7-6-1
Green Bay 99.8 100.2 99.7 99.9 24 5-8-1
Detroit 98.8 98.6 98.2 98.5 23.5 5-9
South PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
New Orleans 112.5 112.5 112.6 112.5 26.5 12-2
Carolina 100.7 100.3 100.6 100.5 24 6-8
Atlanta 99.6 99.4 99.2 99.4 26 5-9
Tampa Bay 95.9 96.1 96.8 96.3 25 5-9
West PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
LA Rams 105.7 105.9 105.5 105.7 28.5 11-3
Seattle 104.1 104.2 104.7 104.3 22.5 8-6
San Francisco 95.4 95.4 95.2 95.3 22 4-10
Arizona 92.7 92.1 92.0 92.3 18.5 3-11

 

This Week’s Playoff Projections

These projections are not to be confused with how the seedings would be if the playoffs started today.  They forecast the final two weeks of games.

AFC Seeding
1 L.A. Chargers
2 New England
3 Houston
4 Pittsburgh
5 Kansas City
6 Tennessee

 

NFC Seeding
1 New Orleans
2 L.A. Rams
3 Chicago
4 Dallas
5 Seattle
6 Minnesota

 

Playoff Projections

Wildcard Round
Houston over Tennessee
Pittsburgh over Kansas City
Chicago over Minnesota
Seattle over Dallas

 

Divisional Round
L.A. Chargers over Houston
New England over Pittsburgh
New Orleans over Seattle
Chicago over L.A. Rams

 

Conference Championships
L.A. Chargers over New England
New Orleans over Chicago

 

Super Bowl LIII
L.A. Chargers over New Orleans

 

What Would Happen If…

There is a chance that both the Los Angeles Rams and the Los Angeles Chargers could host their conference championship games.  There has always been a chance that the New York Jets and New York Giants could one year host their conference championship games.  In the future, once they occupy the same new colossus mega stadium, the Rams and Chargers could host their conference championship games in the same year.

Conference Championship Games are always on Sundays.  What that means, is there is maybe a 5% chance that the Rams and Chargers could end up hosting on this day.  While it would be okay having both networks in the City of Angels on the same day for separate games, once these teams share a home field (and if the world ever comes to an end and the Jets and Giants host conference championship games), it will not be possible to have doubleheaders on the same field on the same day.

Can you imagine the logistical nightmare it would cause to have the AFC Championship Game at 10 AM Pacific Time, followed by the NFC Championship at 1:30 PM Pacific Time on the same field?  First of all, it would be impossible.  Everybody in the stands would have to be escorted out of the stadium, before ticket holders for the second game could enter.  There would be about 15 to 20 minutes max for this to happen.  Like I said, this is impossible.

Next, the field itself would have to be transformed with new logos, as well as having any field damage repaired.  In the case of a game in East Rutherford, NJ, what if the weather conditions were 35 degrees with rain?  After 60 minutes of action, the next game would inherit very sloppy field conditions.  I did say impossible.

Now, what if the first game ended regulation with the game tied, and this game became a repeat of the 1971 Miami-Kansas City game at the old Municipal Stadium up on the hill in Kansas City.   What if the first game didn’t end until 2:30 PM Pacific Time?  The second game network would have to fill over an hour of time waiting for a game to end, when 99.9% of the football watching public would be tuned to the other game.  Once again, it is impossible.

I haven’t even mentioned that the teams in the second game need time to warm up on the field.  15 to 20 minutes is not enough.  They need at least an hour.  If you have to make a decision a week before to change the start times of the games, the network brass at CBS and Fox get very upset.  They cannot just make impromptu changes to their schedule a week in advance.  Only very important breaking news makes it okay to alter a TV schedule one week in advance.  The networks would say “impossible.”

However impossible it is, there is a chance that it could happen.  So what would happen if it did?  Yes, there is a contingency plan in place to cover this possibility.  If the same stadium is to host both conference championship games, one will be moved to Monday Night.  Yep, there could be a conference championship on Monday Night Football, but it would not be the regular MNF crew or network.  If it was the AFC game, it would be on CBS, and if it was the NFC game, it would be on Fox.

You might ask, has a network other than ABC or ESPN ever televised a Monday Night game?  The answer is “yes.”

It is a misnomer to believe that Monday Night Football on ABC in 1970 was the first time that NFL games were played and televised on Monday night.  Before there was MNF featuring Howard Cosell, CBS televised a handful of NFL games on Monday night during the 1960’s.  The games started at 9:30 PM Eastern Time, but because games concluded in 2 1/2 hours in those days, they were finished at Midnight.  One of the best games in this group was a 1968 game between an unbeaten Dallas team and a Green Bay Packer team coached by Phil Bengston, who was not having a rough time replacing Vince Lombardi, as the Packers were 2-3-1, but still in the race in the weak NFL Central Division.

Dallas led 10-0, and Green Bay looked more like an expansion team in the opening quarter plus.   Then, the great Bart Starr took the aging Packers on his shoulder and guided them back like it was 1966 again.  Starr threw three touchdown passes in the next quarter plus, and Green Bay took a 21-10 lead.  Starr threw another TD pass in the fourth quarter, and the Packers once again owned the Cowboys with a 28-17 win.

The American Football League also played a couple of Monday Night games in the 1960s, televised on NBC.  One notable game involved Broadway Joe Namath and the New York Jets playing host to the Houston Oilers in a game that would put the winner in first place in the AFL East at the midway point of the season.  Namath was victimized with a pick six by Zeke Moore early in the game, and he was somewhat of a disappointment that night with additional interceptions, but he also completed multiple long bomb passes to speedster Don Maynard, and the Jets pulled out the victory thanks to Jim Turner kicking four field goals, a couple from near midfield (goalposts were on the goalline then and not on the end line like today).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

December 10, 2018

PiRate Ratings NFL Forecast for Week 15: December 13-17, 2018

Filed under: Pro Football — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 10:07 pm

This Week’s PiRate Ratings Spreads

Home Visitor PiRate Mean Bias Totals
Kansas City L.A. Chargers 6.3 5.8 5.7 54
N.Y. Jets Houston -4.7 -5.2 -5.7 48
Denver Cleveland 6.0 5.7 5.2 44.5
Chicago Green Bay 7.8 7.5 8.9 47.5
Minnesota Miami 9.5 9.7 9.1 43.5
Buffalo Detroit -4.2 -4.2 -4.1 42
Baltimore Tampa Bay 10.5 10.9 10.1 46.5
Atlanta Arizona 7.7 7.9 7.6 43.5
Cincinnati Oakland 5.2 5.2 4.9 45
N.Y. Giants Tennessee 4.2 4.3 4.9 43
Jacksonville Washington 6.2 6.3 6.0 41.5
Indianapolis Dallas 2.4 1.5 3.0 45.5
San Francisco Seattle -7.1 -7.4 -8.3 44.5
Pittsburgh New England 4.0 3.8 3.7 47.5
L.A. Rams Philadelphia 9.5 9.8 9.7 51
Carolina New Orleans -9.9 -10.5 -10.4 51.5

 

This Week’s PiRate Ratings

A F C
East PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
New England 105.6 105.9 105.8 105.8 23 9-4
Miami 95.3 95.1 95.3 95.2 23 7-6
N. Y. Jets 95.0 94.5 94.6 94.7 24 4-9
Buffalo 92.5 92.4 92.2 92.3 18 4-9
North PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
Pittsburgh 106.6 106.7 106.5 106.6 24.5 7-5-1
Baltimore 103.5 103.9 103.7 103.7 21 7-6
Cleveland 97.2 97.5 98.0 97.6 24.5 5-7-1
Cincinnati 94.6 94.7 94.2 94.5 23.5 5-8
South PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
Houston 102.2 102.3 102.8 102.4 24 9-4
Indianapolis 101.2 100.4 101.4 101.0 25.5 7-6
Tennessee 97.4 97.4 97.1 97.3 20 7-6
Jacksonville 97.5 97.1 97.1 97.2 19 4-9
West PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
Kansas City 107.6 107.8 107.5 107.6 30 11-2
LA Chargers 104.2 105.0 104.8 104.7 24 10-3
Denver 100.3 100.2 100.2 100.2 20 6-7
Oakland 91.8 92.0 91.9 91.9 21.5 3-10
N F C
East PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
Dallas 101.8 101.8 101.4 101.7 20 8-5
Philadelphia 100.8 100.9 100.7 100.8 22.5 6-7
N.Y. Giants 98.6 98.7 99.0 98.8 23 5-8
Washington 93.9 93.2 93.6 93.6 22.5 6-7
North PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
Chicago 105.0 105.2 106.0 105.4 23 9-4
Minnesota 101.8 101.7 101.4 101.6 20.5 6-6-1
Green Bay 99.8 100.2 99.6 99.8 24.5 5-7-1
Detroit 99.2 99.1 98.8 99.0 24 5-8
South PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
New Orleans 112.8 112.9 113.1 112.9 27 11-2
Carolina 100.4 99.9 100.1 100.1 24.5 6-7
Atlanta 98.5 98.2 97.9 98.2 25.5 4-9
Tampa Bay 95.9 96.0 96.6 96.2 25.5 5-8
West PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
LA Rams 107.4 107.7 107.4 107.5 28.5 11-2
Seattle 104.8 105.0 105.6 105.1 22.5 8-5
San Francisco 94.7 94.6 94.3 94.5 22 3-10
Arizona 93.8 93.3 93.3 93.5 18 2-11

 

This Week’s Playoff Projections

AFC Seeding
1 Kansas City
2 Houston
3 New England
4 Pittsburgh
5 L.A. Chargers
6 Miami

 

NFC Seeding
1 New Orleans
2 L.A. Rams
3 Chicago
4 Dallas
5 Seattle
6 Minnesota

 

Wildcard Round
New England over Miami
L.A. Chargers over Pittsburgh
Chicago over Minnesota
Dallas over Seattle

 

Divisional Round
Kansas City over L.A. Chargers
Houston over New England
New Orleans over Dallas
L.A. Rams over Chicago

 

Conference Championship
Kansas City over Houston
L.A. Rams over New Orleans

 

Super Bowl 53
Kansas City over L.A. Rams

 

 

 

 

 

 

December 4, 2018

PiRate Ratings NFL Forecast for Week 14: December 6-10, 2018

This Week’s PiRate Ratings Spreads

Home Visitor PiRate Mean Bias Totals
Tennessee Jacksonville 0.6 0.9 0.3 39
Kansas City Baltimore 8.0 8.0 8.1 51
Houston Indianapolis 5.0 6.3 5.7 49.5
Cleveland Carolina -2.1 -1.4 -1.4 49
Green Bay Atlanta 2.6 3.3 2.6 49.5
Tampa Bay New Orleans -13.5 -13.5 -13.1 53.5
Buffalo N.Y. Jets 0.2 0.7 0.6 41
Miami New England -8.2 -9.2 -9.0 44.5
Chicago L.A. Rams -0.6 -1.3 0.0 52.5
Washington N.Y. Giants 1.8 0.9 1.4 44
San Francisco Denver -6.1 -6.1 -6.4 43
L.A. Chargers Cincinnati 13.3 13.9 14.2 47.5
Arizona Detroit -1.3 -1.5 -1.0 43
Dallas Philadelphia 4.1 4.3 4.4 41
Oakland Pittsburgh -12.8 -12.7 -12.6 46
Seattle Minnesota 4.8 4.9 5.8 44

 

This Week’s PiRate Ratings 

A F C
East PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
New England 105.9 106.4 106.4 106.2 22.5 9-3
Miami 94.7 94.3 94.4 94.4 22 6-6
N. Y. Jets 94.6 94.1 94.1 94.3 23.5 3-9
Buffalo 92.9 92.8 92.7 92.8 17.5 4-8
North PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
Pittsburgh 106.5 106.5 106.2 106.4 24.5 7-4-1
Baltimore 102.9 103.2 102.9 103.0 21 7-5
Cleveland 96.6 96.9 97.3 96.9 24.5 4-7-1
Cincinnati 94.3 94.4 93.9 94.2 23.5 5-7
South PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
Houston 102.8 103.1 103.6 103.1 24 9-3
Indianapolis 100.3 99.3 100.3 100.0 25.5 6-6
Jacksonville 98.8 98.5 98.6 98.6 19 4-8
Tennessee 96.9 96.8 96.4 96.7 20 6-6
West PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
Kansas City 107.9 108.2 108.0 108.0 30 10-2
LA Chargers 104.5 105.3 105.1 105.0 24 9-3
Denver 101.8 101.7 101.7 101.7 20.5 6-6
Oakland 90.7 90.8 90.6 90.7 21.5 2-10
N F C
East PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
Dallas 101.9 102.0 101.7 101.9 19 7-5
Philadelphia 100.7 100.7 100.4 100.6 22 6-6
N.Y. Giants 96.3 96.5 96.6 96.5 22 4-8
Washington 96.2 95.4 96.0 95.9 22 6-6
North PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
Chicago 104.2 104.2 105.0 104.5 23.5 8-4
Minnesota 102.4 102.4 102.1 102.3 21 6-5-1
Green Bay 99.1 99.5 98.7 99.1 24 4-7-1
Detroit 98.4 98.2 97.8 98.1 24.5 4-8
South PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
New Orleans 112.5 112.6 112.8 112.6 27.5 10-2
Carolina 101.3 100.8 101.1 101.1 24.5 6-6
Atlanta 99.5 99.2 99.1 99.2 25.5 4-8
Tampa Bay 96.0 96.1 96.7 96.3 26 5-7
West PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
LA Rams 107.9 108.4 108.1 108.1 29 11-1
Seattle 104.2 104.3 104.9 104.5 23 7-5
Arizona 94.6 94.2 94.3 94.4 18.5 3-9
San Francisco 93.2 93.1 92.8 93.0 22.5 2-10

 

This Week’s PiRate Ratings Playoff Projections

AFC Seeding
1 Kansas City
2 New England
3 Houston
4 Pittsburgh
5 L.A. Chargers
6 Baltimore
NFC Seeding
1 L.A. Rams
2 New Orleans
3 Chicago
4 Philadelphia
5 Seattle
6 Minnesota

 

Wildcard Round
Houston over Baltimore
L.A. Chargers over Pittsburgh
Chicago over Minnesota
Philadelphia over Seattle

 

Divisional Round
L.A. Chargers over Kansas City
New England over Houston
New Orleans over Chicago
L.A. Rams over Philadelphia

 

Conference Championship
L.A. Chargers over New England
L.A. Rams over New Orleans

 

Super Bowl 53
L.A. Rams over L.A. Chargers

 

 

November 26, 2018

PiRate Ratings NFL Forecast For Week 13: November 29-December 3, 2018

This Week’s PiRate Ratings

Home Visitor PiRate Mean Bias Totals
Dallas New Orleans -10.8 -11.0 -11.7 48
Jacksonville Indianapolis 0.7 1.1 -0.3 46
Pittsburgh L.A. Chargers 5.9 5.4 5.5 47.5
Tampa Bay Carolina -4.5 -4.1 -4.0 51.5
Atlanta Baltimore 1.0 0.2 0.7 46.5
Houston Cleveland 7.5 7.2 7.2 49.5
Miami Buffalo 4.6 4.3 4.5 39.5
N.Y. Giants Chicago -6.3 -6.3 -7.0 44.5
Cincinnati Denver -2.6 -2.2 -2.4 45.5
Detroit L.A. Rams -6.2 -7.0 -6.5 54
Green Bay Arizona 9.2 10.4 9.4 43.5
Oakland Kansas City -14.4 -14.9 -15.2 50
Tennessee N.Y. Jets 4.8 5.4 4.8 42.5
New England Minnesota 5.4 5.7 5.8 44.5
Seattle San Francisco 11.7 11.7 12.6 44.5
Philadelphia Washington 5.1 5.8 4.5 44

 

This Week’s PiRate Ratings

A F C
East PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
New England 105.1 105.5 105.4 105.3 23 8-3
Miami 95.0 94.6 94.7 94.7 22 5-6
N. Y. Jets 94.6 94.0 94.1 94.2 23 3-8
Buffalo 92.9 92.8 92.7 92.8 17.5 4-7
North PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
Pittsburgh 107.0 107.1 106.9 107.0 24 7-3-1
Baltimore 102.3 102.6 102.2 102.4 21 6-5
Cleveland 97.2 97.6 98.1 97.6 25 4-6-1
Cincinnati 95.5 95.7 95.3 95.5 24.5 5-6
South PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
Houston 102.2 102.4 102.8 102.4 24.5 8-3
Indianapolis 100.5 99.6 100.8 100.3 26.5 6-5
Jacksonville 98.6 98.2 98.1 98.3 19.5 3-8
Tennessee 96.9 96.9 96.4 96.7 19.5 5-6
West PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
Kansas City 107.9 108.3 108.2 108.1 29.5 9-2
LA Chargers 104.0 104.7 104.4 104.4 23.5 8-3
Denver 100.6 100.4 100.3 100.4 21 5-6
Oakland 90.4 90.4 90.1 90.3 20.5 2-9
N F C
East PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
Dallas 100.4 100.4 100.0 100.3 20 6-5
Philadelphia 99.7 99.7 99.2 99.5 22 5-6
Washington 97.2 96.4 97.2 96.9 22 6-5
N.Y. Giants 95.6 95.7 95.8 95.7 21.5 3-8
North PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
Chicago 104.4 104.5 105.3 104.7 23 8-3
Minnesota 102.7 102.8 102.6 102.7 21.5 6-4-1
Green Bay 100.2 100.8 100.0 100.3 24.5 4-6-1
Detroit 98.8 98.6 98.4 98.6 25 4-7
South PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
New Orleans 113.7 113.9 114.2 113.9 28 10-1
Carolina 102.4 102.0 102.4 102.3 25 6-5
Atlanta 100.7 100.4 100.4 100.5 25.5 4-7
Tampa Bay 95.4 95.4 95.9 95.6 26.5 4-7
West PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
LA Rams 107.5 108.0 107.5 107.7 29 10-1
Seattle 102.9 102.9 103.5 103.1 22.5 6-5
San Francisco 94.2 94.2 93.9 94.1 22 2-9
Arizona 94.0 93.4 93.5 93.6 19 2-9

 

If The Playoffs Began Today

AFC Seedings

  1. Kansas City
  2. New England
  3. Houston
  4. Pittsburgh
  5. L.A. Chargers
  6. Baltimore

NFC Seedings

  1. New Orleans
  2. L.A. Rams
  3. Chicago
  4. Dallas
  5. Minnesota
  6. Washington

 

 

Playoff Projections

AFC Seeding
1 Kansas City
2 New England
3 Houston
4 Pittsburgh
5 L.A. Chargers
6 Indianapolis

 

NFC Seeding
1 New Orleans
2 L.A. Rams
3 Chicago
4 Dallas
5 Seattle
6 Minnesota

 

Wildcard Round
Houston over Indianapolis
L.A. Chargers over Pittsburgh
Chicago over Minnesota
Seattle over Dallas

 

Divisional Round
L.A. Chargers over Kansas City
New England over Houston
New Orleans over Seattle
L.A. Rams over Chicago

 

Conference Championship
New England over L.A. Chargers
New Orleans over L.A. Rams

 

Super Bowl 53
New Orleans over New England

 

 

 

November 20, 2018

PiRate Ratings NFL Forecast For Week 12: November 22-26, 2018

Filed under: Pro Football — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 11:49 am

This Week’s PiRate Ratings Spreads

Home Visitor PiRate Mean Bias Totals
Detroit Chicago -2.3 -2.3 -3.3 49
Dallas Washington 5.8 6.6 5.4 41
New Orleans Atlanta 16.2 16.7 17.2 53.5
Buffalo Jacksonville -4.1 -3.8 -4.2 36
Baltimore Oakland 15.0 15.4 15.3 41.5
Tampa Bay San Francisco 2.4 1.9 2.7 49.5
Philadelphia N.Y. Giants 6.3 6.4 5.8 43.5
Cincinnati Cleveland 2.5 2.6 2.0 48
N.Y. Jets New England -7.4 -8.4 -7.8 46
Carolina Seattle 3.2 2.8 3.1 46.5
Indianapolis Miami 8.9 8.4 9.6 48.5
L.A. Chargers Arizona 10.2 11.6 10.7 41.5
Denver Pittsburgh -4.9 -5.4 -5.5 45
Minnesota Green Bay 4.8 4.3 4.9 46
Houston Tennessee 6.0 5.9 6.7 43

 

This Week’s PiRate Ratings

A F C
East PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
New England 104.8 105.2 104.9 105.0 23 7-3
N. Y. Jets 94.9 94.3 94.6 94.6 23 3-7
Miami 94.8 94.4 94.5 94.5 22 5-5
Buffalo 92.6 92.5 92.2 92.4 17 3-7
North PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
Pittsburgh 107.5 107.7 107.6 107.6 24 7-2-1
Baltimore 102.2 102.5 102.1 102.3 21 5-5
Cincinnati 96.7 97.0 96.7 96.8 24 5-5
Cleveland 96.1 96.4 96.8 96.4 24 3-6-1
South PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
Houston 101.1 101.2 101.5 101.2 24 7-3
Indianapolis 100.7 99.8 101.0 100.5 26.5 5-5
Jacksonville 99.2 98.8 98.9 98.9 19 3-7
Tennessee 98.1 98.2 97.8 98.0 19 5-5
West PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
Kansas City 107.6 108.0 107.9 107.8 29.5 9-2
LA Chargers 102.9 103.6 103.1 103.2 23 7-3
Denver 99.6 99.3 99.1 99.3 21 4-6
Oakland 90.6 90.6 90.3 90.5 20.5 2-8
N F C
East PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
Dallas 100.4 100.4 100.0 100.3 19.5 5-5
Philadelphia 99.8 99.9 99.4 99.7 22 4-6
Washington 97.6 96.8 97.6 97.3 21.5 6-4
N.Y. Giants 95.5 95.5 95.6 95.5 21.5 3-7
North PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
Chicago 104.2 104.2 105.0 104.5 23.5 7-3
Minnesota 102.6 102.7 102.5 102.6 21.5 5-4-1
Green Bay 100.3 100.9 100.1 100.4 24.5 4-5-1
Detroit 99.0 98.9 98.7 98.9 25.5 4-6
South PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
New Orleans 113.8 114.0 114.4 114.1 28 9-1
Carolina 102.6 102.2 102.8 102.5 24.5 6-4
Atlanta 100.6 100.3 100.2 100.3 25.5 4-6
Tampa Bay 94.6 94.4 94.9 94.6 27 3-7
West PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
LA Rams 107.2 107.7 107.2 107.4 29 10-1
Seattle 102.4 102.4 102.8 102.5 22 5-5
San Francisco 95.3 95.5 95.2 95.3 22.5 2-8
Arizona 95.2 94.6 94.9 94.9 18.5 2-8

 

This Week’s PiRate Ratings Playoff Projections

If Playoffs Began Today

AFC
1 Kansas City
2 Pittsburgh
3 New England
4 Houston
5 L.A. Chargers
6 Baltimore

 

NFC
1 L.A. Rams
2 New Orleans
3 Chicago
4 Washington
5 Carolina
6 Minnesota

 

Projections

AFC Seeding
1 Pittsburgh
2 Kansas City
3 New England
4 Houston
5 L.A. Chargers
6 Indianapolis

 

NFC Seeding
1 New Orleans
2 L.A. Rams
3 Chicago
4 Dallas
5 Carolina
6 Seattle

 

Wildcard Round
Indianapolis over New England
Houston over L.A. Chargers
Chicago over Seattle
Carolina over Dallas

 

Divisional Round
Pittsburgh over Indianapolis
Kansas City over Houston
New Orleans over Carolina
L.A. Rams over Chicago

 

Conference Championship
PIttsburgh over Kansas City
New Orleans over L.A. Rams

 

Super Bowl 53
New Orleans over Pittsburgh

 

Last Night’s Rams-Chiefs Game Made A Lot of History, BUT…

Last night’s Rams-Chiefs game at the Coliseum in Los Angeles was historic.  The 105 points scored, however, was not an all-time regular season high total.  Yours truly remembers the one game that tallied 113 total points.

The year was 1966.  The Green Bay Packers were trying to win the Western Conference Championship with the Baltimore Colts hot on their heels.  In the Eastern Conference, upstart Dallas, a seventh year franchise yet to have experienced a winning record was about to surprise the two-time defending Eastern Conference Champion Cleveland.

It was the Sunday after Thanksgiving.  The football world was still talking about the Michigan State-Notre Dame game the week before and the fact that Notre Dame had secured the national title by their 51-0 pasting of USC the day before.

The Washington Redskins were just 5-6 on the dawn of this Sunday.  For Redskin fans, this was a high water mark for their franchise in recent years, as the club became known as the “Deadskins” during these years.  Legendary quarterback Otto Graham, the Tom Brady of the late 1940’s and 1950’s, had taken over the running of the team, and in his first year as head coach, Washington’s offense was much improved.  Quarterback Sonny Jurgensen flourished in the new offense, and the defense was still a work in progress with a couple of aging stars, led by the once best defender in the league in Sam Huff.

The New York Giants were headed in the opposite direction.  Just a few years earlier, the Giants rode the arm of Y.A. Tittle to three consecutive Eastern Conference Championships.  From the late 1940’s through the early 1960’s, the Giants were the most consistently good team in the NFL, much like the Pittsburgh Steelers have been since the 1970’s.  However, by 1966, the Giants had fallen on hard times.  This was their worst team in history up to that time and arguably their worst team ever.  Coach Allie Sherman’s offense was too inconsistent and conservative, and after half of a season, Sherman benched veteran starter Earl Morrall, when the Giants fell to 1-5-1.  The lone win came over the Redskins at Yankee Stadium.  At the halfway point, Sherman decided to go with what he believed was the future quarterback, Ivy Leaguer Gary Wood.  Wood was in his third season in New York, and he had played sparingly and inefficiently.  The Giants lost their next game, and they headed to District of Columbia Stadium (would be renamed Robert F. Kennedy Stadium after his assassination) to face the Redskins in a hope to sweep the one team the players believed they could beat.  They entered the game at 1-8-1.

Sherman decided to make another quarterback change for this game.  He inserted Rookie Tom Kennedy, a stretch prospect from a small college.  This would be Kennedy’s only start of his brief one year career and only real playing experience of the season.

On the other side of the field, the aging Huff prepared for this game like it was Super Bowl I.  He hated Sherman, enough to punch him in the jaw if he got the chance.  Sherman had dismissed Huff from the Giants following the 1963 season after the Giants lost to the Bears in the NFL Championship.  He wanted to punish Sherman, and when the Redskins lost to New York a few weeks earlier, it made Huff even more violent than was portrayed in the spectacular documentary, “The Violent World of Sam Huff.”

Huff fired up his teammates for this game.  The Redskins put in a game plan to blitz the daylights out of the raw rookie.  They would rush him and force him to get rid of the ball quickly or prepare to accept a lot of floral bouquets in his upcoming hospital room.

On the other side of the ball, the Redskins understood that with an erratic quarterback most likely unable to sustain many drives, that they would get many opportunities to exploit the worst defense in the NFL.  The Redskins’ players felt confident that they could top 30 points in this game and win by double digits.

The Giants won the toss that day.  It would be their only win of the day.  Kennedy was thrown into the fray quickly, and on his first pass attempt, Washington blitzed and forced him to pass quickly.  The ball was well off target and was intercepted and returned deep into Giants’ territory.  A short Redskin drive led to an immediate touchdown.  The PAT was blocked, and the score was 6-0 Redskins.

Kennedy improved somewhat the rest of the first quarter.  He improved from intercepted passes to incomplete passes.  At least, punter Ernie Koy pinned the Redskins back inside their own 25 yard line.

The Giants figured that they would have to stop Jurgensen’s pinpoint deep passes to all-pro end Charley Taylor.  This opened up running lanes, and halfback A.D. Whitfield broke free for the longest run in his career, over 60 yards for the second touchdown.  The PAT was good this time, and the Redskins led 13-0 after the end of the first quarter.  Nobody could guess what would happen next.

In the second quarter, Kennedy began to complete some passes and drove the Giants into Washington territory.  A pass play was called with an option to throw the ball to the end zone.  Facing a linebacker blitz, Chris Hanburger clobbered Kennedy into the ground, and he coughed up the ball going down.  Rookie defensive back Brig Owens would be a star one day, but on this day, he would have his best ever game.  He already had an interception in this game, and he scooped up the fumble and went all the way to the house for a Redskins’ touchdown.  Now, the score was 20-0, and the Giants could see the writing on the wall.

On the next possession, Kennedy had his career moment.  He drove the Giants 70+ yards for a touchdown to cut the lead to 20-7.  Kennedy felt confident on the sideline that he could lead the Giants back into this game.  After the defense forced Washington to punt, Kennedy began to move the Giants toward midfield, when he threw his second interception of the half.  A few plays later, Washington scored on a line plunge to make it 27-7 with time left to completely put the game away before halftime.

Once again, the key weapon for the Redskins just before the half was their defensive backfield.  Kennedy threw his third interception into the hands of future Minnesota Vikings’ Hall of Famer Paul Krause.  Jurgensen quickly led the Redskins to paydirt, and Washington led 34-7 with less than two minutes remaining in the half.  At this point, Sherman had seen enough of Kennedy.  He inserted Wood into the game, and Wood directed the Giants on a quick touchdown drive to cut the lead to 34-14 at the half.

In the locker room, Huff told his teammates not to let up and to pour it on New York.  He wanted to top 50 points, maybe even get to 60.  He knew the Giants’ defense would totally fold in the second half.  In the other locker room, Sherman decided to stick with Wood at quarterback to start the third quarter.  Wood would face the same blitz packages as Kennedy, but Wood was just as interception prone as Kennedy.  He was just as likely to complete passes to the wrong colored jersey as his own, and he would not disappoint Huff and his Redskins’ teammates.

However, on the Giants’ first possession of the third quarter, Wood directed the Giants on a scoring march.  The Giants might have been inept on defense, but they still had some weapons.  Receivers Homer Jones and Aaron Thomas were threats to score any time they caught the ball in the open field.  Old-timer Joe Morrison still had the ability to find an overdrive gear and bust open a long play.  Wood connected with Morrison, and the veteran took the ball the distance to cut the lead to 34-21.  The Giants were still alive with more than a quarter to go.

I know what you are thinking.  At this point, the game was midway through the third quarter, and the score was only 34-21.  How in the world could the teams combine for 58 more points in the next quarter and a half?  From this point on, it looked like an Arena Football game.  It started with a quick touchdown drive led by Jurgensen to put the Redskins up 41-21.  He finally connected with Taylor on a long scoring pass.

A few plays into the next drive, Wood threw a long bomb for a touchdown to Jones to cut the lead to 41-28.  Not to be outdone, Jurgensen threw long to Taylor, and Taylor took it all the way for a 74-yard score to make it 48-28, as the third quarter came to a close.

The fourth quarter was just plain crazy.  It started with New York having to punt from well inside their own territory.  Rickie Harris, who led the NFL in punt returns as a rookie in 1965 was experiencing a sophomore slump, but he broke free for a touchdown on the return, as Washington stretched the lead to 55-28.

Rather quickly, Wood tossed a touchdown pass, but this time it was to the opposite colored jerseys.  Owens intercepted his third pass of the day, and he scored on his second 60+ yard return to make it 62-28.

At this point, Sherman put Kennedy back in to face the relentless pressure.  In what would be his one big highlight of the day, he quickly responded with a touchdown pass to Thomas to make it 62-34 when the PAT sailed wide.

At this point, Graham relieved Jurgensen for the rest of the day, placing backup Dick Shiner into the game.  Shiner attempted one pass on the day, and it was intercepted, which led to the Giants scoring for the last time on this day to cut the lead to 62-41.  Time was running out on this classic game, but there would be two more scores yet.

Down by three touchdowns, Sherman called for an onside kick, which failed.  A couple of plays later, back Charlie Mitchell broke through the line on a quick trap and ran 45 yards for a touchdown.  The score was now 69-41 in favor of the Redskins, the second highest amount ever scored in an NFL game.

The last score should not have happened.  Kennedy tried to move the Giants quickly and was out of time outs.  He thought he was clocking the ball on 3rd down to set up a 4th down pass for a first down, but instead, it was 4th down.  When he threw the ball out of bounds (spiking was not legal then), the Redskins took over possession deep in Giants’ territory with less than 10 seconds remaining.

All Washington had to do was take a knee, and the game would be over.  But, Sam Huff had other ideas this Sunday afternoon.  He wasn’t pleased with just a 28-point when and 69 points.  He hated Sherman so much that he called a timeout.  He convinced Coach Graham to let kicker Charlie Gogolak try a field goal to put Washington over the 70-point mark, something that had only been done once before in regular season play and would be second most ever to when Chicago beat the Redskins 73-0 in the NFL Championship Game of 1945.

During the timeout, Huff was observed telling Sherman about his family heritage among other expletives.  He wanted to goad the Giants into starting a fight, so he could go deck Sherman.  Instead, Gogolak finished the game with a field goal to make the final score 72-41.  Coach Graham stood up for Huff by stating that he wanted to give Gogolak some extra field goal practice, but Charlie had made nine PATs in this game and didn’t need any more practice.

The win moved Washington to 6-6 in the standings, and the Redskins would split their final two games to finish the season at 7-7, their only non-losing record in a 12-year span.  Washington would not enjoy a winning season until 1969 when Vince Lombardi coached his last team prior to his death.

As for the Giants, the next week, they scored 40 points again, and for the only time in history a team lost consecutive games when they scored 40 or more points, as the Browns came from 20 points down to win 49-40.  New York would finish the season 1-12-1, giving up 35.8 points per game and turning the ball over an amazing 44 times in 14 games.  They would finally have a star quarterback the following year, when they traded for Fran Tarkenton from Minnesota, but the best Sherman could do with Tarkenton were consecutive 7-7 seasons in 1967 and 1968.  It would take until 1981 for the Giants to make the playoffs again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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