The Pi-Rate Ratings

August 30, 2015

2015 NFC North Preview

A division that looked like one of the surer things in the 2015 NFL became very unsure in week two of the NFL Preseason.  When Green Bay wide receiver Jordy Nelson went down with a season-ending injury, the Packers’ advantage over their three division rivals went with him.  Now, this division is an open race, and all four teams could stay in contention through Thanksgiving.  The PiRate Ratings for the Packers will change between this entry and the opening week of the season, as Nelson is almost as valuable to the green and gold offense as Aaron Rodgers.

Detroit now becomes the co-favorite in the old “Black and Blue” division with a rifle-armed quarterback in Matthew Stafford and two all-pro receivers in Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate.  But, a running attack that has no star will allow defenses to key on Johnson and Tate.  Losing Ndamukong Suh will affect the defense.

 

Minnesota is the tiger in the tall grass in this division.  The Vikings are on the verge of becoming relevant again with an improving defense and more consistent offense.  The return of Adrian Peterson should allow Teddy Bridgewater to have more holes in pass defense coverage to locate new receiver Mike Wallace.  Our PiRate Ratings have a pre-set automatic improvement with this team if the Vikings start the season 3-0 like we think they have the chance to do.

 

Chicago is at a crossroads.  The Mark Trestman era was a short-lived failure, and the John Fox era begins after Fox left Denver following a lackluster blowout loss to Indianapolis, in which the Broncos did not act like they were happy to be there.  The Bears start over on defense with the switch from 4-3 to 3-4.  Jay Cutler lost his favorite receiver in Brandon Marshall.  The Bears could go either way this year.  Fox could bring the Monsters of the Midway back to respectability and challenge for a 9-7 season, or the Bears could sink to the bottom of the NFC, effectively ending the Cutler era in the Second City.  As the Vikings’ schedule gives them a shot at starting 3-0, the Bears are looking at a tougher start and could begin 0-3.

CHICAGO BEARS

Bears Starting Lineup
Offense
WR Alshon Jeffrey
WR Eddie Royal
WR Marquess Wilson
TE Martellus Bennett
LT Jermon Bushrod
LG Matt Slauson
C Will Montgomery
RG Kyle Long
RT Jordan Mills
QB Jay Cutler
HB Matt Forte
H-B Dante Rosario
   
Defense
DE Ego Ferguson
NT Jay Ratliff/Eddie Goldman
DE Jarvis Jenkins
LB Pernell McPhee
LB Shea McClellin
LB Christian Jones
LB Jared Allen
CB Kyle Fuller
S Antrel Rolle
S Brock Vereen
CB Alan Ball
N5 Ryan Mundy
   
Special
Kicker Robbie Gould
Punter Pat O’Donnell
KR Marc Mariani
PR Marc Mariani
Chicago Bears
Head Coach John Fox
Off. Coordinator Adam Gase
Def. Coordinator Vic Fangio
2014 W-L-T 5-11-0
Pts 19.9
Opp 27.6
   
Ratings  
PiRate 95.8
Mean 95.1
Bias 95.8
Average 95.6
   
Grades  
Running  C
Passing  C-
Vs. Run  C+
Vs. Pass  C
Special Teams  C
Coaching + Intangibles  A-
   
Predicted W-L 6-10-0
Division Rank 4
Conference Rank 14
Overall Rank 26
Postseason No

 

DETROIT LIONS

Lions Starting Lineup
Offense
WR Calvin Johnson
WR Golden Tate
TE Eric Ebron
TE Brandon Pettigrew
LT Riley Reiff
LG Laken Tomlinson
C Travis Swanson
RG Larry Warford
RT Cornelius Lucas
QB Matthew Stafford
HB Joique Bell
FB Mike Burton
   
Defense
DE Darryl Tapp
DT Haloti Ngata
DT Tyrunn Walker
DE Ezekiel Ansah
LB Tahir Whitehead
LB Stephen Tulloch
LB DeAndre Levy
CB Darius Slay
S James Ihedigbo
S Glover Quin
CB Rashean Mathis
N5 Josh Wilson
   
Special
Kicker Matt Prater
Punter Sam Martin
KR Jeremy Ross
PR Jeremy Ross
Detroit Lions
Head Coach Jim Caldwell
Off. Coordinator Gunther Cunningham
Def. Coordinator Teryl Austin
2014 W-L-T 11-5-0
Pts 20.1
Opp 17.6
   
Ratings  
PiRate 102.9
Mean 101.8
Bias 103.4
Average 102.7
   
Grades  
Running  D
Passing  A
Vs. Run  C
Vs. Pass  C
Special Teams  D
Coaching + Intangibles  C
   
Predicted W-L 9-7-0
Division Rank 2
Conference Rank 5
Overall Rank 10
Postseason No

 

GREEN BAY PACKERS

Packers Starting Lineup
Offense
WR Randall Cobb
WR Davanbte Adams
WR Andrew Quarless
TE Richard Rodgers
LT David Bakhtiari
LG Josh Sitton
C Corey Linsley
RG T. J. Lang
RT Bryan Bulaga
QB Aaron Rodgers
HB Eddie Lacy
FB John Kuhn
   
Defense
DE Letroy Guion
DT B. J. Raji
DE Mike Daniels
LB Clay Matthews
LB Sam Barrington
LB Nate Palmer
LB Julius Peppers
CB Casey Hayward
S Morgan Burnett
S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix
CB Sam Shields
N5 Micah Hyde
   
Special
Kicker Mason Crosby
Punter Tim Masthay
KR Ty Montgomery
PR Micah Hyde
Green Bay Packers
Head Coach Mike McCarthy
Off. Coordinator Edgar Bennett
Def. Coordinator Dom Capers
2014 W-L-T 12-4-0
Pts 30.4
Opp 21.8
   
Ratings  
PiRate 108.5
Mean 107.5
Bias 109.1
Average 108.4
   
Grades  
Running  B
Passing  A
Vs. Run  C
Vs. Pass  C+
Special Teams  C
Coaching + Intangibles  A-
   
Predicted W-L 9-7-0
Division Rank 1
Conference Rank 1
Overall Rank 1
Postseason Yes

 

MINNESOTA VIKINGS

Vikings Starting Lineup
Offense
WR Mike Wallace
WR Charles Johnson
WR Cordarrelle Patterson
TE Kyle Rudolph
LT Matt Kalil
LG Brandon Fusco
C John Sullivan
RG Michael Harris
RT T. J. Clemmings
QB Teddy Bridgewater
HB Adrian Peterson
FB Zach Line
   
Defense
DE Brian Robison
DT Linval Joseph
DT Sharrif Floyd
DE Everson Griffen
LB Anthony Barr
LB Audie Cole
LB Chad Greenway
CB Terence Newman
S Robert Blanton
S Harrison Smith
CB Xavier Rhodes
N5 Josh Robinson
   
Special
Kicker Blair Walsh
Punter Jeff Locker
KR Cordarrelle Patterson
PR Marcus Sherels
Minnesota Vikings
Head Coach Mike Zimmer
Off. Coordinator Norv Turner
Def. Coordinator George Edwards
2014 W-L-T 7-9-0
Pts 20.3
Opp 21.4
   
Ratings  
PiRate 100.5
Mean 97.4
Bias 101.9
Average 99.9
   
Grades  
Running  A
Passing  C-
Vs. Run  B
Vs. Pass  B
Special Teams  C
Coaching + Intangibles  C+
   
Predicted W-L 9-7-0
Division Rank 3
Conference Rank 9
Overall Rank 18
Postseason No

 

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August 30, 2013

2013 NFC North Division Preview

2013 N F C North Preview

The Old Black and Blue Division, it isn’t.  What once was a quartet known for punishing power running to set up play-action and long passes on offense going up against punishing defenders like Alan Page, Dick Butkus, Ray Nitschke, and Alex Karras, has become the air it out division.  Well, at least three of the teams in the division believe in pass first, pass second, pass, pass, pass.  When you have Adrian Peterson in your backfield, you run the ball about half the time.

 

Last year, the Detroit Lions scored 372 points; that was the worst offensive production in the division.  The Lions won only four games scoring 372 or 23.3 points per game.  In 1991, the year the Lions advanced to the NFC Championship Game, they only scored 339 points.  They averaged more than two points less per game when they last won the NFL Championship in 1958.

 

A return to the old plodding northern football of yesteryear is not on the horizon.  Expect the North to produce a lot of offense and average defense.  One team is liable to score more than 425 points, and that team should win the division.  However, it would not surprise us if all four teams were still alive in the division race after Thanksgiving.  This could be a season where after 12 games, there is one 7-5 team, two 6-6 teams, and one 5-7 team.

 

Green Bay is the obvious choice to repeat as division titlist.  The Packers have topped 400 points scored five out of the last six years, and they have made the playoffs in four of those five seasons.  The Packers have filled a cavity in recent years by drafting Eddie Lacy from Alabama.  Lacy should carry the ball about 15 times a game this year, and we expect him to take some of the heat off the passing game.  Look for Lacy to threaten the 1,000 yard mark, but if he averages four yards per attempt, he will do his job.

 

Aaron Rodgers is the best passer in the game in 2013.  As long as he stays healthy, the Packers will move the ball and score points on any defense.  He has one less familiar receiver in the lineup, as the team let Greg Jennings go, but this could be an addition by subtraction this season.  Wideouts Randall Cobb, James Jones, and Jordy Nelson and tight end Jermichael Finley make up the top receiving corps in the NFC (not too far behind the group in Denver).  Add a very talented offensive line, and it is hard to see any team, and only inclement weather, holding a healthy Packers’ team under 21 points in a game.

 

Chicago and Minnesota both finished one game behind the Packers last year, with the Vikings earning a wildcard berth.  Both teams have a lot of talent on hand, but we see some liabilities in both that we believe will keep them behind Green Bay.

 

Chicago is talented enough at the skill positions to win 12 or 13 games, but the Bears’ offensive line has been more like a 12-game loser.  This year, the blocking corps figures to take a decided leap forward thanks to some help in the draft class, but we believe the team still needs at least one more new lineman before Jay Cutler can relax in the pocket.  Additionally, new head coach Mark Trestman brings an entirely new offensive philosophy, and we expect some transitioning early in the season, possibly costing the Bears a game or two.  Give Trestman time, and he will turn the Bears into the Raiders of 2002, where he directed the offense.  Trestman won multiple Grey Cups with Montreal in the CFL, much like Bud Grant once did before guiding Minnesota to four Super Bowls.

 

Speaking of the Vikings, if Christian Ponder can advance this year as much as he did last year, the purple and white might challenge for a second consecutive playoff spot.  However, we cannot see Peterson running for anything close to the 2,097 yards he gained last year.  He might pick up just 1,500 this year, and we don’t see that extra 600 yards being picked up by the passing game.  Thus, we believe the Vikings will fall back this season and possibly have to fight to avoid the cellar.

 

Detroit started the year 4-4 and then lost its final eight games last year.  This team is scary on the offensive side, but the defense scares only people rooting for the team.  We expect some improvement on the stop side, and the offense could be even better this year.  Matthew Stafford could easily top 5,000 passing yards this year, as he barely missed that mark last year.  He still has Calvin Johnson, who almost topped 2,000 receiving yards last year.  Now, he has one of the best pass-catching running backs in Reggie Bush.  Bush could top 800 yards on the ground and catch 50 passes for another 400 yards, and if so, the 2013 Lions could be as potent as the 2009 Saints.  Still, it might take 400-430 points just to break even on the won-loss ledger.

 

We have added a new wrinkle to our coverage this year.  In the past, friends of ours have asked us if we knew how to recreate the exact colors of their favorite team so that they could print those colors on their computer.  We have found this information from multiple sites in the last couple of months, and we are going to show you the RGB numbers so you can replicate those colors.  These can be used in graphics programs, but it can easily be used in MS-Word and MS-Excel.

 

Here are the official colors for the AFC North.

North

Color

Red

Green

Blue

Chicago Bears

Navy

3

30

47

 

Orange

221

72

20

 

White

255

255

255

Detroit Lions

Honolulu Blue

42

110

187

 

Metallic Silver

133

136

139

 

White

255

255

255

Green Bay Packers

Dark Green

44

94

79

 

Gold

255

182

18

 

White

255

255

255

Minnesota Vikings

Purple

75

48

106

 

Gold

255

182

18

 

White

255

255

255

 

 

2012 Final Standings & PiRate Ratings

NFC North

PiRate

Mean

Biased

W-L-T

Pts

Opp

Green Bay Packers

106.5

106.5

106.5

11-5-0

433

336

Chicago Bears

104.7

103.2

102.2

10-6-0

375

277

Minnesota Vikings

101.6

102.2

102.6

10-6-0

379

348

Detroit Lions

96.1

95.1

94.3

4-12-0

372

437

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2013 Preseason PiRate Ratings

North

PiRate

Mean

Biased

Green Bay Packers

106.1

104.9

105.7

Chicago Bears

101.5

102.1

101.6

Minnesota Vikings

99.5

99.9

98.3

Detroit Lions

98.4

98.9

98.5

 

PiRate Previews

Team

Chicago Bears

               
Head Coach

Mark Trestman

O-Coord.

Aaron Kromer

D-Coord.

Mel Tucker

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Projected Starting Lineup

Position

Player

 

Offense

Quarterback

Jay Cutler

Running Back

Matt Forte

Fullback

Tony Fiammetta

Wide Receiver

Brandon Marshall

Wide Receiver

Alshon Jeffery

Tight End

Martellus Bennett

Left Tackle

Jermon Bushrod

Left Guard

Matt Slauson

Center

Roberto Garza

Right Guard

Kyle Long

Right Tackle

J’Marcus Webb

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Defense

Left End

Corey Wootten

Left Tackle

Henry Melton

Nose Tackle

Stephen Paea

Right End

Julius Peppers

Sam LB

James Anderson

Mike LB

D. J. Williams

Will LB

Lance Briggs

Left CB

Tim Jennings

Right CB

Charles Tillman

Strong Safety

Major Wright

Free Safety

Chris Conte

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Special Teams

Kicker

Robbie Gould

Punter

Adam Podlesh

K-Return

Devin Hester

P-Return

Devin Hester

 

 

Predictions

 

Record

9-7

Division

2nd

 

Team

Detroit Lions

               
Head Coach

Jim Schwartz

O-Coord.

Scott Linehan

D-Coord.

Gunther Cunningham

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Projected Starting Lineup

Position

Player

 

Offense

Quarterback

Matthew Stafford

Running Back

Reggie Bush

Wide Receiver

Calvin Johnson

Wide Receiver

Nate Burleson

Tight End

Brandon Pettigrew

Tight End

Tony Scheffler

Left Tackle

Riley Reiff

Left Guard

Rob Sims

Center

Dominic Raiola

Right Guard

Dylan Gandy

Right Tackle

Jason Fox

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Defense

Left End

Jason Jones

Left Tackle

Nick Fairley

Right Tackle

Ndamukong Suh

Right End

Ziggy Ansah

Sam LB

Ashlee Palmer

Mike LB

Stephen Tulloch

Will LB

DeAndre Levy

Left CB

Chris Houston

Right CB

Ronald Bartell

Strong Safety

Glover Quin

Free Safety

Louis Delmas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Special Teams

Kicker

David Akers

Punter

Sam Martin

K-Return

Micheal Spurlock

P-Return

Micheal Spurlock

 

 

Predictions

 

Record

6-10

Division

4th

 

Team

Green Bay Packers

               
Head Coach

Mike McCarthy

O-Coord.

Tom Clements

D-Coord.

Dom Capers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Projected Starting Lineup

Position

Player

 

Offense

Quarterback

Aaron Rodgers

Running Back

Alex Green/Eddie Lacy

Fullback

John Kuhn

Wide Receiver

Jordy Nelson

Wide Receiver

Randall Cobb

Tight End

Jermichael Finley

Left Tackle

David Bakhtari

Left Guard

Josh Sitton

Center

Evan Dietrich-Smith

Right Guard

T. J. Lang

Right Tackle

Marshall Newhouse

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Defense

Left End

Datone Jones

Nose Tackle

Ryan Pickett

Right End

B. J. Raji

Left OLB

Nick Perry

Left ILB

A. J. Hawk

Right ILB

Brad Jones

Right OLB

Clay Matthews

Left CB

Tramon Williams

Right CB

Sam Shields

Strong Safety

M. D. Jennings

Free Safety

Morgan Burnett

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Special Teams

Kicker

Mason Crosby

Punter

Tim Masthay

K-Return

Randall Cobb

P-Return

Randall Cobb

 

 

Predictions

 

Record

11-5

Division

1st

 

Team

Minnesota Vikings

               
Head Coach

Leslie Frazier

O-Coord.

Bill Musgrave

D-Coord.

Alan Williams

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Projected Starting Lineup

Position

Player

 

Offense

Quarterback

Christian Ponder

Running Back

Adrian Peterson

Fullback

Jerome Felton

Wide Receiver

Greg Jennings

Wide Receiver

Jerome Simpson

Tight End

Kyle Rudolph

Left Tackle

Matt Kalil

Left Guard

Charlie Johnson

Center

John Sullivan

Right Guard

Brandon Fusco

Right Tackle

Phil Loadholt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Defense

Left End

Brian Robison

Nose Tackle

Letroy Guion

Right Tackle

Kevin Williams

Right End

Jared Allen

Sam LB

Chad Greenway

Mike LB

Erin Henderson

Will LB

Marvin Mitchell

Left CB

Josh Robinson

Right CB

Chris Cook

Strong Safety

Jamarca Sanford

Free Safety

Harrison Smith

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Special Teams

Kicker

Blair Walsh

Punter

Jeff Locke

K-Return

Cordarrelle Patterson

P-Return

Marcus Sherels

 

 

Predictions

 

Record

8-8

Division

3rd

 

December 18, 2008

PiRate Ratings Week 16 NFL Previews: December 18-22, 2008

PiRate Ratings For NFL Week 16

A Preview Of The Conference Championship Games?

 

What a coincidence!  The Steelers go to Nashville, and the Panthers go to the Meadowlands in what could very well be a preview of the AFC and NFC Championship games.  Personally, I don’t think we will see either of these games replayed in the same venues in four weeks.

 

There are several other key games this week.  Indianapolis can clinch the number five playoff spot in the AFC if they defeat Jacksonville.  Baltimore and Dallas hook up in an important Saturday night game.  The loser of this game might need help in week 17. 

 

Miami faces a possible trap game at Kansas City, where the temperature is going to be well below freezing. 

 

Philadelphia and Washington play an eliminator game, where the loser can hang it up for the season. 

 

Arizona has a tough date at New England, where the Patriots are almost in a must-win situation. 

 

Atlanta and Minnesota play in the Fox second game, and the winner will be in great shape, while the loser is in trouble (especially if Chicago wins Monday night). 

 

The Jets must travel to the West Coast for the fourth time this season.  They are 0-3 so far. 

 

Denver can secure the AFC West with a win over swooning Buffalo or a San Diego loss at Tampa Bay.  The Bucs need to win against the Chargers. 

 

On Monday night, the Bears may be playing for a chance to knot the NFC North, or they could already be eliminated depending on what happens in Minneapolis.

 

The PiRate Pro Ratings (Rating)

 

The NFL version of the PiRate Ratings is not the same as the collegiate version.  The NFL version is strictly a statistical formula than could be reproduced by anybody who knew the equations I use to devise the formula.  No subjective data is used.

 

The formula combines scoring margin, strength of schedule, and early in the season, last year’s scoring margin and strength of schedule.  As the season progresses, last year’s data decreases to where it has little effect by mid-October. 

 

The Mean Ratings (Mean)

 

Just like the PiRate Ratings, the NFL Mean Ratings are not the same as the collegiate version.  The NFL Mean Ratings consist of a dozen different calculations.  Three calculations consist of different ways to look at point differential and strength of schedule.  Five calculations look at yards gained and allowed rushing and passing and special teams play with the strength of the opponents’ rushing and passing.  Point values are assigned based on each set of data.  The remaining four ratings are my old four pro ratings from the 1970’s and 1980’s.  The 12 ratings are given equal weight, and then I take the average (mean) to get the rating.

 

The Bias Ratings (Biased)

 

The Bias Ratings consist of five of the components of The Mean Ratings.  The five ratings are not given equal weight.  The five ratings are weighted at 37.5%, 25%, 12.5%, 12.5%, and 12.5%.  I have back tested these ratings and found that this weighting gives the rating its best predictive percentage.

 

All three ratings are normalized so that 100 is average.  If I don’t mess up with the math, each of the three ratings should average 100.  The teams’ ratings show how many points above or below average they are in comparison with the rest of the league.  A rating of 107 means that team is a touchdown better than average, while a rating of 93 means that team is a touchdown weaker than average. 

 

I do not attempt to rate teams from different years.  A 107-rated team in 2008 is not the same as a 107-rated team from 1972.  We all know that due to the evolution of strength and quickness, today’s Detroit Lions would blow the 1972 Miami Dolphins off the field.

Current NFL Standings

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFC East

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

New York

11

3

0

374

246

108.62

107.01

106.50

2

Dallas

9

5

0

332

288

102.95

103.96

105.36

2

Philadelphia

8

5

1

369

273

107.60

106.03

106.70

2

Washington

7

7

0

231

266

97.77

98.22

98.97

2

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFC North

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Minnesota

9

5

0

342

290

105.12

105.24

106.65

2

Chicago

8

6

0

331

302

103.12

101.77

101.95

2

Green Bay

5

9

0

371

339

104.35

101.02

97.85

2

Detroit

0

14

0

240

444

88.47

89.81

88.23

3

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFC South

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Carolina

11

3

0

353

264

106.47

105.55

107.58

2

Tampa Bay

9

5

0

313

251

105.19

103.84

105.78

2

Atlanta

9

5

0

336

281

104.71

103.45

103.21

2

New Orleans

7

7

0

390

353

103.29

102.62

100.96

2

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFC West

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Arizona

8

6

0

386

358

100.03

99.65

100.31

3

San Francisco

5

9

0

295

341

94.85

96.51

96.25

3

Seattle

3

11

0

260

355

91.65

93.14

92.53

3

St. Louis

2

12

0

189

417

83.33

87.70

84.98

2

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC East

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

New York

9

5

0

385

319

101.06

100.30

102.45

2

New England

9

5

0

350

302

100.33

101.54

102.55

2

Miami

9

5

0

283

269

98.18

99.21

101.65

2

Buffalo

6

8

0

306

306

96.18

95.64

95.74

3

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC North

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Pittsburgh

11

3

0

302

192

109.24

108.44

108.71

2

Baltimore

9

5

0

325

213

108.79

107.24

107.78

3

Cleveland

4

10

0

232

305

96.76

96.59

94.25

2

Cincinnati

2

11

1

174

358

91.41

92.93

91.84

2

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC South

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Tennessee

12

2

0

344

197

109.87

107.77

108.10

2

Indianapolis

10

4

0

323

274

104.76

104.55

106.44

2

Houston

7

7

0

319

343

100.27

101.56

101.34

3

Jacksonville

5

9

0

271

309

98.34

97.85

96.61

3

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC West

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Denver

8

6

0

326

366

95.50

97.62

99.00

2

San Diego

6

8

0

346

302

101.75

100.18

99.56

2

Oakland

3

11

0

205

348

89.46

90.76

89.22

2

Kansas City

2

12

0

254

386

90.65

92.31

90.97

2

 

If The Playoffs Started Today

 

NFC 1st Round

#6 Tampa Bay at #3 Minnesota

#5 Dallas at #4 Arizona

 

#1 New York Giants would host lower surviving seed

#2 Carolina would host higher surviving seed

 

Still Alive

Atlanta 9-5-0, Philadelphia 8-5-1, Chicago 8-6-0, Washington 7-7-0

 

AFC 1st Round

#6 Baltimore at #3 New York Jets

#5 Indianapolis at #4 Denver

 

#1 Tennessee would host lower surviving seed

#2 Pittsburgh would host higher surviving seed

 

Still Alive

Miami 9-5-0 leads New England 9-5-0

San Diego would beat out Denver if both finished 8-8-0

 

Note: due to the Thursday game, weather forecasts and odds are those as of Wednesday 12 Noon EST

 

You will now see multiple numbers given in the Vegas line and Ov/Un.  I am listing the range given by the different books in Vegas and offshore as of 12 Noon EST Wednesday, so you can use the one that best meets your needs.  Remember though, if you use parlays and teasers, you must use the same source.  You cannot play a parlay using the odds from different books.  What you will see in my “imaginary picks” below will show different books, but each teaser will be composed of games from the same book.  When I believe it is okay to play different spreads of the same game, I have put those numbers in parentheses.  If you don’t see different choices, then I only recommend that single spread for that game.

 

I leave it to you to find out the book in question.  Generally, some of the big ones in Vegas are: Hilton, Caesar’s-Harrah’s, MGM Mirage, Stations, Leroy’s, Wynn, Bellagio, Mandalay Bay, and The Palms.  Some of the large offshore books include: BetUs, Bodog, Sportsbook, BetJamaica, and Pinnacle.

 

Average Simulation Scores for each game are now rounded to nearest whole number.

 

NFL Previews-Week 16

 

Indianapolis (10-4-0) at Jacksonville (5-9-0)

Time:           8:15 PM EST, Thursday

TV:               NFL Network

Forecast:     Clear, light wind, temperature falling from the upper to mid 60’s

 

PiRate:                Indianapolis by 3                  

Mean:                  Indianapolis by 4

Bias:                    Indianapolis by 7

 

Vegas:               Indianapolis by 6, 6.5, 7

Ov/Un:               44, 44.5

 

100 Sims:           Indianapolis 79  Jacksonville 21

Avg Sim Score:  Indianapolis 27  Jacksonville 22

Outlier 1a Sim:  Indianapolis 38  Jacksonville 13

Outlier 1b Sim:  Jacksonville 27 Indianapolis 17

 

Strategy:     Over 44, Indianapolis +4 in 10-point teaser, Indianapolis +7 in 13-point teaser, Indianapolis -250, Over 34 in 10-point teaser, Over 31 in 13-point teaser

 

Indianapolis has something to play for in this game as well as some revenge for a nasty loss in September.  Jacksonville will finish in last place in the division after being picked to win it by many pundits.

 

The Colts have won seven games straight after losing at Tennessee to fall to 3-4.  It is my belief that they will win this game and win next week against Tennessee to finish in a tie for first in the division (Titans hold the tiebreaker edge).

 

By winning this game, Indianapolis will sew up the #5 seed in the AFC Playoffs, and that means playing at Denver (San Diego) rather than the AFC East Champion.  I think they will be ready to play, and it will lead to a touchdown or more victory.  Then, watch out for Peyton Manning in the playoffs.

 

 

Baltimore (9-5-0) at Dallas (9-5-0)

Time:           8:15 PM EST, Saturday

TV:               NFL

Forecast:     Thunderstorms possible, then clearing as a cold front moves through, moderate wins, temperature at kickoff in the low to mid 60’s but dropping rapidly to the low 40’s

 

PiRate:                Baltimore by 4

Mean:                  Baltimore by 1

Bias:                    Tossup

 

Vegas:               Dallas by 4, 4.5, 5   

Ov/Un:               39, 39.5, 40

 

100 Sims:           Dallas 52  Baltimore 48

Avg Sim Score:  Dallas 19  Baltimore 18

Outlier 1a Sim:  Dallas 21  Baltimore 7

Outlier 1b Sim:  Baltimore 20  Dallas 10

 

Strategy:     Baltimore +15 in 10-point teaser, Baltimore +18 in 13-point teaser, Under 53 in 13-point teaser

 

This could be the last game ever played in Texas Stadium, as the Cowboys could only host the NFC Championship if they finish as the higher-seeded wildcard team and they play the lower-seeded wildcard team.

 

Both teams played critical games last week and should enter this game at less than full strength, if only psychologically.  Baltimore should be ready to rebound.  I am not sure about the Dallas players.  Combine the dissension with the probable bounce from beating the Giants, and I think they could play below expectations this week.

 

I believe Baltimore has the better chance of winning, but I will play it close to the vest and select the Ravens in the teasers.  While I would normally tease the Over for a primetime game, I am guessing that the Ravens’ anger will benefit their defense and not their offense.  I am looking for a 17-13 Baltimore win.  Ray Lewis is mad, and that’s worth four points.

 

 

New Orleans (7-7-0) at Detroit (0-14-0)

Time:           1:00 PM EST

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Dome

 

PiRate:                New Orleans by 12

Mean:                  New Orleans by 10

Bias:                    New Orleans by 10

 

Vegas:               New Orleans by 6.5, 7, 7.5   

Ov/Un:               50, 50.5, 51, 51.5

 

100 Sims:           New Orleans 87  Detroit 13

Avg Sim Score:  New Orleans 36  Detroit 22

Outlier 1a Sim:  New Orleans 55  Detroit 20

Outlier 1b Sim:  Detroit 34  New Orleans 27

 

Strategy:     Detroit +7½, Detroit +17½ in 10-point teaser, Detroit +20½ in 13-point teaser 

 

Detroit has two weeks left to avoid a history-making season they definitely do not want to have.  They will be playing these last two games like they are playoff games.  I think this may be their better shot.

 

New Orleans was eliminated from the playoff hunt last week, and they have nothing to play for.  Reggie Bush may not play in this game, and you beat the Lions by running the ball down their throats.

 

New Orleans’ defense is just weak enough for Dan Orlovsky to pass for 200 yards.  I don’t know if it will be enough to win, but I think the Lions can beat the spread, even if they give up 400 passing yard to Drew Brees.

 

 

Cincinnati (2-11-1) at Cleveland (4-10-0)

Time:           1PM EST

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Snow, strong wind, temperature in the mid to upper 30’s

 

PiRate:                Cleveland by 7

Mean:                  Cleveland by 6

Bias:                    Cleveland by 4

 

Vegas:               Cleveland by 2.5, 3        

Ov/Un:               33.5, 34, 34.5

 

100 Sims:           Cleveland 63 Cincinnati 37

Avg Sim Score:  Cleveland 23 Cincinnati 19

Outlier 1a Sim:  Cleveland 40 Cincinnati 21

Outlier 1b Sim:  Cincinnati 28 Cleveland 14

 

Strategy:     Over 23½ in 10-point teaser, Over 20½ in 13-point teaser      

 

This is strictly a strategy pick here.  I think the average NFL team could put their defensive players on offense and have a good chance of scoring 20 points against the Bengals.  I think the Bengals have a 65% chance of scoring 20 points against the Browns.  The weather is the only negative intangible.  If it is really windy with blowing snow, it could hold the score down.  Still, I have to believe that a 14-10 final is about as low as the scoring could be in this one.  The actual attendance for this game might rival the attendance for the Humanitarian Bowl in a couple weeks.

 

Miami (9-5-0) at Kansas City (2-12-0)

Time:           1PM EST

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Partly cloudy, strong wind, temperature in the upper teens

 

PiRate:                Miami by 6

Mean:                  Miami by 5

Bias:                    Miami by 9

 

Vegas:                Miami by 3.5, 4

Ov/Un:               39.5, 40

 

100 Sims:           Miami 83  Kansas City 17

Avg Sim Score:  Miami 23  Kansas City 18

Outlier 1a Sim:  Miami 27  Kansas City 10

Outlier 1b Sim:  Kansas City 21 Miami 16 (4 others ended in 5-point wins)

 

Strategy:     Kansas City +14 in 10-point teaser, Kansas City +17 in 13-point teaser, Under 53 in 13-point teaser

 

Again, this game is another strategy pick game.  The Dolphins cannot prepare for 15-degree weather and wind chills below zero.  Kansas City seems to be the champion of losing close games.  Six of their losses have been by a touchdown or less.

 

Miami’s offense has been sputtering the last month or so, and I think the reason for it is that defenses have figured out how to play the single wing package.  The Dolphins’ defense should still control the Chiefs’ offense for most of the day, and I look for a final score of about 17-10 in favor of Tony Sparano’s Fish.

 

 

Pittsburgh (11-3-0) at Tennessee (12-2-0)

Time:           1PM EST

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Chance of light rain, strong wind, temperature in the upper 40’s

 

PiRate:                Tennessee by 3

Mean:                  Tennessee by 1

Bias:                    Tennessee by 1

 

Vegas:               Pk, Pittsburgh by 1, 1.5, 2, 2.5  

Ov/Un:               34.5, 35

 

100 Sims:           Pittsburgh 61  Tennessee 39

Avg Sim Score:  Pittsburgh 19  Tennessee 15

Outlier 1a Sim:  Pittsburgh 24  Tennessee 10

Outlier 1b Sim:  Tennessee 16  Pittsburgh 7

 

Strategy:     Pittsburgh Pk, Pittsburgh +10 in 10-point teaser, Pittsburgh +13 in 13-point teaser, Over 24½ in 10-point teaser, Over 21½ in 13-point teaser, Pittsburgh -130 

The winner of this game will have control over home field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.  The Titans seemed to have it clinched a few weeks ago when they held a three-game lead over the field.  After losses to the Jets and Texans and with Pittsburgh on a five-game winning streak, it sets up this big game.

 

The Steelers come into this game rather healthy for Week 17.  The Titans are hurting big time.  Both Kyle Vanden Bosch and Albert Haynesworth are finished for the regular season, and the Titans cannot rely on greybeard Jevon Kearse to be his old freakish self. 

 

Neither team strikes fear in opponents with their offenses, but Ben Roethlisberger is considerably better than Kerry Collins, and the Steelers’ receiving corps is much better than that of the Titans.

 

I believe the Steelers will outmuscle the Titans in the trenches and win an ugly game that leaves both teams in even worse shape as the final week approaches.  It is highly possible Tennessee will limp into the playoffs with a three-game losing streak, while Pittsburgh enjoys a seven-game winning streak with home field advantage theirs.

 

 

Philadelphia (8-5-1) at Washington (7-7-0)

Time:           1:00 PM EST

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Rain, freezing rain, and sleet, light wind, temperature falling through the 30’s

 

PiRate:                Philadelphia by 8

Mean:                  Philadelphia by 6

Bias:                    Philadelphia by 6

 

Vegas:               Philadelphia by 4.5, 5, 5.5

Ov/Un:               39, 39.5

 

100 Sims:           Philadelphia 60  Washington 40

Avg Sim Score:  Philadelphia 26  Washington 20

Outlier 1a Sim:  Philadelphia 38  Washington 16

Outlier 1b Sim:  Washington 24  Philadelphia 13

 

Strategy:     Philadelphia -4½, Philadelphia -215, Philadelphia +5½ in 10-point teaser, Philadelphia +8½ in 13-point teaser, Over 26 in 13-point teaser

Since Thanksgiving, the Eagles have played the best ball of all the NFC teams, while the Redskins performance has been no better than St. Louis or Detroit.

 

Both teams technically still have a chance to reach the playoffs, but Washington’s chances are about the same as one of their players winning the mega millions lottery.

 

Philadelphia has some amends to make up for after losing by six to the Redskins in early October.  At the time, the Eagles were in a funk while Washington was coming up with a way to win every week.  Expect a completely different game this week.  I’m looking for Philadelphia to win by five or more points and wouldn’t be surprised if that “more” was something like 10-17 points, as I am looking for Donovan McNabb and Brian Westbrook to shine.  

 

 

San Francisco (5-9-0) at St. Louis (2-12-0)

Time:           1:00PM EST

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Dome

 

PiRate:                San Francisco by 10

Mean:                 San Francisco by 7

Bias:                    San Francisco by 9

 

Vegas:                San Francisco by 5, 5.5

Ov/Un:               43, 43.5, 44

 

100 Sims:           San Francisco 68  St. Louis 32

Avg Sim Score:  San Francisco 25  St. Louis 17

Outlier 1a Sim:  San Francisco 35  St. Louis 13

Outlier 1b Sim:  St. Louis 17  San Francisco 12

 

Strategy:     Under 57 in 13-point teaser

Since that crazy 34-14 upset over Dallas, St. Louis has averaged just 11.6 points per game in their last eight games.  Since Mike Singletary took over as coach, the 49ers have yielded just 18.5 points per game (10.3 in their last 3).  That doesn’t bode well for the Rams’ offense.  I would be shocked if they reach 17 points in this contest.  San Francisco is no juggernaut on offense, and they could very well score 17 points or less themselves.

 

This game should be close, and I cannot see a scenario where both teams reach 20 points.  The highest score I could see in this would be around 28-17, so I like teasing the Under in this game.

 

 

San Diego (6-8-0) at Tampa Bay (9-5-0)

Time:           1:00 PM EST

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Partly cloudy, light wind, temperature in the upper 70’s

 

PiRate:                Tampa Bay by 5

Mean:                 Tampa Bay by 6

Bias:                    Tampa Bay by 8

 

Vegas:                Tampa Bay by 3, 3.5      

Ov/Un:               42, 42.5

 

100 Sims:           Tampa Bay 73  San Diego 27

Avg Sim Score:  Tampa Bay 29  San Diego 20

Outlier 1a Sim:  Tampa Bay 34  San Diego 13

Outlier 1b Sim:  San Diego 31  Tampa Bay 24

 

Strategy:     Over 32 in 10-point teaser, Over 29 in 13-point teaser

San Diego is so unpredictable, while Tampa Bay has been out of sync the last couple of weeks.  I won’t begin to try to figure out which team will win this “must win” game, but I will surmise that both teams will top 17 points in this strategy play.  I am hesitant to pick the Buccaneers to win at home, as they have been struggling to put together a total effort in the last month. 

 

San Diego has been involved in nine close games, in which the Chargers have gone just 2-7.  They play about the same on the road as they do at home.  It wouldn’t be much of an upset if they won this game, and it wouldn’t be surprising if they found a way to lose another close one.

 

 

Arizona (8-6-0) at New England (9-5-0)

Time:           1:00PM EST

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Light snow, moderate wind, temperature in the low 30’s

 

PiRate:                New England by 2

Mean:                  New England by 4

Bias:                    New England by 4

 

Vegas:               New England by 7.5, 8, 9

Ov/Un:               44, 44.5

 

100 Sims:           New England 57  Arizona 43

Avg Sim Score:  New England 29  Arizona 27

Outlier 1a Sim:  New England 41  Arizona 24

Outlier 1b Sim:  Arizona 45  New England 28

 

Strategy:     New England +2½ in 10-point teaser, New England +5½ in 13-point teaser, New England -335, Over 34 in 10-point teaser, Over 31 in 13-point teaser 

Arizona can do nothing to change its playoff destination.  The Cardinals will host an opening round game in the playoffs whether they finish 10-6, 9-7, or 8-8.  Yes, they could be the number three or number four seed, but it really won’t make much difference.

 

New England is still very much on the playoff bubble.  At 9-5-0, they are the eighth team in the AFC, and only six teams make the playoffs.  This game is much more important to them than it is to the Cardinals.  The snow and cold weather should help them a bit in this game.

 

Arizona is just 4-4 since their bye week.  The Cardinals have been struggling against the good teams and have fattened up on the weak teams.  Against teams with a losing record, they are 6-0.  In their last eight games against teams either in the playoffs or in the hunt for a playoff spot, they have given up 38 points per game.

 

New England is a Jekyll and Hyde team.  They have two typical offensive outputs.  Either they struggle offensively and lose 24-13 or they move the ball like they did most of last year and win 45-21.  I can see no reason not to believe that this will be one of those weeks where the Patriots have little trouble advancing the pigskin, even in inclement weather. 

 

Kurt Warner may pass for 300-350 yards, but I don’t see the Cardinals matching the Pats point for point.  I’ll go with Matt Cassel and crew to win 31-21 or thereabouts.

 

 

Houston (7-7-0) at Oakland (3-11-0)

Time:           4:05PM EST

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Mostly cloudy, light wind, temperature in the upper 40’s

 

PiRate:                Houston by 9

Mean:                 Houston by 9

Bias:                   Houston by 10

 

Vegas:               Houston by 7, 7.5, 8      

Ov/Un:               44, 44.5

 

100 Sims:           Houston 77  Oakland 23

Avg Sim Score:  Houston 26  Oakland 18

Outlier 1a Sim:  Houston 33  Oakland 14

Outlier 1b Sim:  Oakland 27  Houston 23

 

Strategy:     Houston +3 in 10-point teaser, Houston +6 in 13-point teaser

Houston could easily be in the playoff mix this season if it weren’t for all the troubles the team endured at the beginning of the season due to the hurricane.  Two close losses to Indianapolis and an overtime loss to Jacksonville keep them from owning a 10-4-0 record.  The Texans have won four in a row, and they can see a winning record in their future.  They must win this game and then beat the Bears at Reliant Stadium next week to clinch their first ever winning season.

 

Oakland would just like for this season to end.  When they lost at home to the Chiefs, the Raider defense seemed to have folded up the tent for the season.

 

I think Houston could win this game in a blowout, but the Texans are coming off an emotional high after defeating Tennessee.  So, I must caution you to be conservative in this one and consider the possibility that Houston could be a little flat this week.  They may have a hard time just winning by any amount, so go with them in the teasers.

 

 

New York Jets (9-5-0) at Seattle (3-11-0)

Time:           4:05 PM EST

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Snow, light wind, temperature in the upper 20’s

 

PiRate:                Jets by 7

Mean:                 Jets by 4

Bias:                   Jets by 7

 

Vegas:                Jets by 4.5, 5, 6

Ov/Un:               44, 44.5

 

100 Sims:           Jets 64  Seattle 36

Avg Sim Score:  Jets 32  Seattle 26

Outlier 1a Sim:  Jets 48  Seattle 21

Outlier 1b Sim:  Seattle 30  Jets 24 ot (largest spread)

 

Strategy:     Seattle +16 in 10-point teaser, Seattle +19 in 13-point teaser, Under 57½ in 13-point teaser

This will be Mike Holmgren’s last home game as coach of the Seahawks, and look who will be the opposing quarterback-the guy who wears the same Super Bowl ring he wears.

 

The Jets have made three other trips to the West Coast this year.  They lost at San Diego 48-29, at Oakland 16-13 in OT, and at San Francisco 24-14.  Seattle is no worse than Oakland and split with San Francisco, so they should have a decent chance to win this one.

 

The Jets control their own destiny.  If they win this game and then beat the Dolphins next week, they are the AFC East Champions.  If they lose this week, then they will need a New England loss and a win over Miami to get into the playoffs.

 

Brett Favre usually finds a way to win this type of game.  I think the Jets realize they are unlikely to make the playoffs if they lose.  However, I don’t expect them to win by double digits.  They will be happy to win by a field goal, so I like the home team in the teasers.

 

 

Buffalo (6-8-0) at Denver (8-6-0)

Time:           4:05 PM EST

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Partly cloudy, light wind, temperature in the upper 20’s

 

PiRate:                Denver by 1

Mean:                 Denver by 4

Bias:                   Denver by 5

 

Vegas:                Denver by 6.5, 7, 7.5   

Ov/Un:               43.5, 44

 

100 Sims:           Denver 55  Buffalo 45

Avg Sim Score:  Denver 30  Buffalo 27

Outlier 1a Sim:  Denver 41  Buffalo 23

Outlier 1b Sim:  Buffalo 28  Denver 17

 

Strategy:       Denver +3½ in 10-point teaser, Denver +6½ in 13-point teaser, Over 30½ in 13-point teaser

Two months ago, the Bills were 4-0 and the darlings of the NFL media world.  Coach Dick Jauron was a genius.  10 years go, Mike Shanahan was a genius.  Now, those same pundits believe neither coach could properly lead their teams out of paper bags.

 

The truth of the matter is that both of these teams have glaring holes on the defensive side of the ball, and both of these teams have been hurt by injuries on the attack side.

 

Trent Edwards will return to the lineup for Buffalo, and the Bills’ offense should rebound with a stellar effort.  Buffalo should top 21 points in this game.

 

Jay Cutler will go over 4,000 total passing yards in this game, as I expect him to top 275 yards against the Bills’ secondary.  Denver should top 24 points. 

 

The Broncos will win the AFC West without any help from Tampa Bay this week.  Look for the home team to win by five to eight points.    

 

 

Atlanta (9-5-0) at Minnesota (9-5-0)

Time:           4:15 PM EST

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Dome

 

PiRate:                Minnesota by 2

Mean:                  Minnesota by 4

Bias:                    Minnesota by 5

 

Vegas:               Minnesota by 3, 3.5

Ov/Un:               43, 43.5, 44, 44.5

 

100 Sims:           Minnesota 52  Atlanta 48

Avg Sim Score:  Minnesota 24  Atlanta 24

Outlier 1a Sim:  Minnesota 28  Atlanta 16

Outlier 1b Sim:  Atlanta 23  Minnesota 13

 

Strategy:     Minnesota +7 in 10-point teaser, Minnesota +10 in 13-point teaser, Over 30 in 13-point teaser

This is going to be a great game, and most of the nation will get to see it.  The Vikings will clinch the old black and blue division if they win, whereas the Falcons will likely move into the number six position in the playoff field if they win. 

 

Look at Minnesota’s resume since September.  The purple people eaters have won eight of their last 10 games.  The two losses have come on the road by seven and six points.  Gus Frerotte came off the bench to start the turnaround, but Tarvaris Jackson looked like an All-pro last week against Arizona.

 

Atlanta is a tough team in 2008.  They play like the Bears of the 1960’s and 1980’s.  Michael Turner should top the 1,500 yard rushing barrier some time during this game, and he should match Adrian Peterson yard for yard, even against the Vikings’ tough run defense.

 

The difference in this game could be Bernard Berrian.  He can take a simple pass reception and turn it into a 40 yard gain.  The Falcon secondary will have to play a little more loose to prevent Berrian from breaking a long one.  That should give Peterson just enough extra edge to have a five to six yards per carry average.  I’ll take the Vikings in a close one in the neighborhood of 24-21.

 

Carolina (11-3-0) at New York Giants (11-3-0)  

Time:           8:15PM EST

TV:               NBC

Forecast:     Rain, sleet, and snow, moderate wind, temperature falling from the mid 30’s to the mid 20’s

                    

PiRate:                Giants by 4

Mean:                  Giants by 3

Bias:                    Giants by 1

 

Vegas:               Giants by 3, 3.5

Ov/Un:               37.5, 38, 38.5, 39

 

100 Sims:           Giants 51 Carolina 48 1 Tie (8 OT games)

Avg Sim Score:  Carolina 20  Giants 19

Outlier 1a Sim:  Carolina 24  Giants 7

Outlier 1b Sim:  Giants 21  Carolina 12

 

Strategy:     Carolina +13½ in 10-point teaser, Carolina +16½ in 13-point teaser, Over 24½ in 13-point teaser

Carolina has its offense in gear, averaging 32.4 points in their last five games.  The Giants have played more like the Rams since the Plaxico Burress shooting incident.  Now, Brandon Jacobs is hurting, and even though it looks like he will play, don’t expect him to rush for 70 yards Sunday night.

 

Carolina has been quite fortunate to this point of the season.  Their defense has stayed healthy all season with nary a start being missed.  That could change this week as defensive tackle Maake Kemoeatu could miss this game with a tweaked ankle.

 

To the winner will more than likely go home field advantage for the playoffs.  I believe Carolina will pass the ball a little more than they normally do to set up the running game with their dynamic duo of James Stewart and DeAngelo Williams.  Jake Delhomme should pass for 200 yards, and the Panthers will win by about a field goal to a touchdown.

 

 

Green Bay (5-9-0) at Chicago (8-6-0)

Time:           8:30PM EST Monday

TV:               ESPN

Forecast:     Cloudy, moderate wind, temperature holding steady in the mid teens

 

PiRate:                Chicago by 1

Mean:                  Chicago by 3

Bias:                    Chicago by 6

 

Vegas:                Chicago by 4, 4.5

Ov/Un:               41.5, 42

 

100 Sims:           Chicago 89  Green Bay 11

Avg Sim Score:  Chicago 29  Green Bay 18

Outlier 1a Sim:  Chicago 37  Green Bay 17

Outlier 1b Sim:  Green Bay 32  Chicago 27

 

Strategy:     Chicago -4, Chicago -195, Chicago +6 in 10-point teaser, Chicago +9 in 13-point teaser, Over 31½ in 10-point teaser, Over 28½ in 13-point teaser

This is a tough game to analyze due to major intangible factors that won’t be known until Sunday evening.  If Minnesota beats Atlanta, then the Bears could be eliminated from the playoffs.  They will be eliminated from the NFC North race, and they will have only a tiny chance of gaining a wildcard spot.

 

Green Bay’s defense has gone south too many times this year, and that’s why the Packers are going to lose more than they win.  The offense hasn’t been as powerful since the first game against the Bears, and this game could see a near reversal of that one-but only if the Bears really have something to play for.

 

Regardless of the outcome in Minneapolis, I see Chicago winning this game by stopping the Green Bay offense and scoring just enough to be comfortably ahead as the fourth quarter starts.  Call it a 27-14 win on the Midway, as Kyle Orton passes for 250 yards against Aaron Rodgers’ 200 and a pick or two.

 

 

 A Bad Week Follow A Good Week

 

I made a mistake last week when I posted my picks for the week, and it wound up costing me two games.  Thus, I finished 1-4 when I should have gone 3-2.  Mistakes count, whether here or at a betting window, so I have to live with the consequences.  It made me quite upset when I realized it Sunday morning.

 

For the season, the record against the spread is now 95-79-7, which computes to 54.6%. 

 

I am going with a variety of picks this week, but I am not overly thrilled with the choices.  In past years, I have been more excited about the end of the season games than the early part of the schedule.  This year, I am finding it harder and harder to identify excellent plays as the season comes to the end.

 

Here are my wagers for week 17 (all wagered to win $100 or $100 wagered if at + odds on a parlay or money line):

 

1. Indianapolis & Jacksonville Over 44

 

2. Pittsburgh Pk vs. Tennessee

 

3. Philadelphia -4½ vs. Washington

 

4. Chicago -4 vs. Green Bay

 

5. Indianapolis -250 vs. Jacksonville

 

6. Philadelphia -215 vs. Washington

 

7. New England -335 vs. Arizona

 

8. Chicago -195 vs. Green Bay

 

9. 10-point teaser

Indianapolis +4 vs. Jacksonville

Indianapolis & Jacksonville Over 34

Baltimore +15 vs. Dallas

 

10. 10-point teaser

Detroit +17½ vs. New Orleans

Cincinnati & Cleveland Over 23½

Kansas City +14 vs. Miami

 

11. 10-point teaser

Pittsburgh +10 vs. Tennessee

Philadelphia +5½ vs. Washington

San Diego & Tampa Bay Over 32

 

12. 10-point teaser

New England +2½ vs. Arizona

New England & Arizona Over 34

Houston +3 vs. Oakland

 

13. 10-point teaser

Seattle +16 vs. New York Jets

Denver +3½ vs. Buffalo

Minnesota +7 vs. Atlanta

 

14. 10-point teaser

Carolina +13½ vs. New York Giants

Chicago +6 vs. Green Bay

Chicago & Green Bay Over 31½

 

15. 13-point teaser

Baltimore +18 vs. Dallas

Kansas City +17 vs. Miami

Pittsburgh +13 vs. Tennessee

Philadelphia +8½ vs. Washington

 

16. 13-point teaser

San Francisco & St. Louis Under 57

New England +5½ vs. Arizona

New England & Arizona Over 31

Houston +6 vs. Oakland

 

17. 13-point teaser

Seattle +19 vs. New York Jets

Minnesota +10 vs. Atlanta

Carolina +16½ vs. New York Giants

Chicago +9 vs. Green Bay

   

AND REMEMBER!!!  Do not use these picks for real.  I have no real money on the line in this mathematical experiment.  I won’t lose a penny if all these wagers lose this week, so you shouldn’t risk a penny on these picks either.  This is strictly for fun.

December 11, 2008

PiRate Ratings Week 15 NFL Previews: December 11-15, 2008

PiRate Ratings For NFL Week 15

And Down The Stretch They Come!

 

There’s just a furlong to go in the NFL regular season, and most of the playoff spots are still to be decided.

 

If the season ended today in the NFC, the Giants and Panthers would get first round byes, with the Cardinals, Vikings, Buccaneers, and Cowboys playing in the first round.  The Falcons still control their own destiny, even though they are the number seven team in the NFC this week.  Also in the running for a playoff spot are the Eagles, Redskins, Saints, and Bears.

 

If the season ended today in the AFC, the Titans and Steelers would get first round byes, with the Jets, Broncos, Colts, and Ravens playing in the first round.  The Dolphins and Patriots still have good chances to move up, while the rest of the conference is out of the picture (San Diego could sneak in with three wins and three Denver losses).

 

 

This week’s schedule is chock full of important games with playoff implications.  In the NFC alone, there are five games where both teams have winning records and strong playoff chances.  It will be almost like a preliminary to the playoffs.  In the AFC, all eyes will be in Baltimore for the big game between the Ravens and Steelers.  Pittsburgh must play at Tennessee next week, so the Steelers have a rough couple of road games.

 

The PiRate Pro Ratings (Rating)

 

The NFL version of the PiRate Ratings is not the same as the collegiate version.  The NFL version is strictly a statistical formula than could be reproduced by anybody who knew the equations I use to devise the formula.  No subjective data is used.

 

The formula combines scoring margin, strength of schedule, and early in the season, last year’s scoring margin and strength of schedule.  As the season progresses, last year’s data decreases to where it has little effect by mid-October. 

 

The Mean Ratings (Mean)

 

Just like the PiRate Ratings, the NFL Mean Ratings are not the same as the collegiate version.  The NFL Mean Ratings consist of a dozen different calculations.  Three calculations consist of different ways to look at point differential and strength of schedule.  Five calculations look at yards gained and allowed rushing and passing and special teams play with the strength of the opponents’ rushing and passing.  Point values are assigned based on each set of data.  The remaining four ratings are my old four pro ratings from the 1970’s and 1980’s.  The 12 ratings are given equal weight, and then I take the average (mean) to get the rating.

 

The Bias Ratings (Biased)

 

The Bias Ratings consist of five of the components of The Mean Ratings.  The five ratings are not given equal weight.  The five ratings are weighted at 37.5%, 25%, 12.5%, 12.5%, and 12.5%.  I have back tested these ratings and found that this weighting gives the rating its best predictive percentage.

 

All three ratings are normalized so that 100 is average.  If I don’t mess up with the math, each of the three ratings should average 100.  The teams’ ratings show how many points above or below average they are in comparison with the rest of the league.  A rating of 107 means that team is a touchdown better than average, while a rating of 93 means that team is a touchdown weaker than average. 

 

I do not attempt to rate teams from different years.  A 107-rated team in 2008 is not the same as a 107-rated team from 1972.  We all know that due to the evolution of strength and quickness, today’s Detroit Lions would blow the 1972 Miami Dolphins off the field.

 

Current NFL Standings
NFC East Won   Lost   Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

New York

11

2

0

366

226

110.21

109.88

108.46

2

Dallas

8

5

0

312

280

102.02

102.78

103.60

2

Philadelphia

7

5

1

339

263

107.18

105.64

105.81

2

Washington

7

6

0

218

246

99.03

99.74

100.60

2

NFC North

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Minnesota

8

5

0

307

276

103.51

103.71

104.09

2

Chicago

7

6

0

304

278

102.34

101.17

102.15

2

Green Bay

5

8

0

355

319

104.62

102.10

100.99

2

Detroit

0

13

0

219

413

87.55

88.46

87.65

3

NFC South

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Carolina

10

3

0

323

254

105.75

104.74

106.54

2

Tampa Bay

9

4

0

303

238

105.14

103.85

105.04

2

Atlanta  

8

5

0

323

271

104.40

103.44

103.62

2

New Orleans

7

6

0

366

326

103.61

103.00

102.17

2

NFC West

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Arizona

8

5

0

372

323

101.44

100.95

102.52

3

San Francisco

5

8

0

286

327

95.22

96.48

96.19

3

Seattle

2

11

0

237

335

92.29

92.89

92.48

3

St. Louis

2

11

0

169

394

83.23

86.90

84.67

2

AFC East

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

New York

8

5

0

354

292

101.26

101.10

102.52

2

New England

8

5

0

301

276

99.57

101.16

102.79

2

Miami

8

5

0

269

260

98.26

98.56

102.01

2

Buffalo

6

7

0

279

275

96.33

95.31

97.37

3

AFC North

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Pittsburgh

10

3

0

289

183

108.86

108.01

107.22

2

Baltimore

9

4

0

316

200

109.24

108.03

106.70

3

Cleveland

4

9

0

222

275

97.55

97.36

95.03

2

Cincinnati

1

11

1

154

345

90.35

91.54

88.23

2

AFC South

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Tennessee

12

1

0

332

184

110.21

108.83

108.85

2

Indianapolis

9

4

0

292

253

104.85

105.51

105.92

2

Houston

6

7

0

306

331

99.15

100.04

100.08

3

Jacksonville

4

9

0

251

293

97.23

96.78

94.85

3

AFC West

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Denver

8

5

0

316

336

96.27

98.09

100.92

2

San Diego

5

8

0

324

281

102.60

100.41

100.85

2

Oakland

3

10

0

179

299

90.57

91.98

89.56

2

Kansas City

2

11

0

233

364

90.15

91.53

90.58

2

                         

 

 

Note: due to the Thursday game, weather forecasts and odds are those as of Wednesday 12 Noon EST

 

You will now see multiple numbers given in the Vegas line and Ov/Un.  I am listing the range given by the different books in Vegas and offshore as of 12 Noon EST Wednesday, so you can use the one that best meets your needs.  Remember though, if you use parlays and teasers, you must use the same source.  You cannot play a parlay using the odds from different books.  What you will see in my “imaginary picks” below will show different books, but each teaser will be composed of games from the same book.  When I believe it is okay to play different spreads of the same game, I have put those numbers in parentheses.  If you don’t see different choices, then I only recommend that single spread for that game.

 

I leave it to you to find out the book in question.  Generally, some of the big ones in Vegas are: Hilton, Caesar’s-Harrah’s, MGM Mirage, Stations, Leroy’s, Wynn, Bellagio, Mandalay Bay, and The Palms.  Some of the large offshore books include: BetUs, Bodog, Sportsbook, BetJamaica, and Pinnacle.

 

Average Simulation Scores for each game are now rounded to nearest whole number.

 

NFL Previews-Week 15

 

New Orleans (7-6-0) at Chicago (7-6-0)

Time:           8:15 PM EST, Thursday

TV:               NFL Network

Forecast:     Overcast sky, moderate wind, temperature falling from the upper 20’s to the mid 20’s

 

PiRate:                Chicago by 1                   

Mean:                  Tossup

Bias:                    Chicago by 2

Vegas:               Chicago by 2.5, 3

Ov/Un:               44.5, 45, 45.5

100 Sims:           Chicago 64 New Orleans 36

Avg Sim Score:  Chicago 27 New Orleans 23

Outlier 1a Sim:  Chicago 34 New Orleans 13

Outlier 1b Sim:  New Orleans 30 Chicago 17

 

Strategy:     Chicago -2½, Chicago +7½ in 10-point teaser, Chicago +10½ in 13-point teaser, Over 31½ in 13-point teaser  

Drew Brees may be held well under his 300+ yard average in passing yards in this game due to the elements and not because of the Chicago pass defense  On an average day game, Brees might pass for over 400 yards against the Bears.  The Bears’ defensive line should contain the run just enough to force Brees to pass a few times too many in this game.  I expect Brees to go down at least twice, and he may rush some throws and connect with the wrong jersey.

 

The Bears won’t exploit the Saints’ defense like some teams have, but I expect the home team to win this game by more than a field goal.  The home field advantage should be on the high side for this game between two evenly-matched teams.  I’m looking for Chicago to win by a score around 24-20 with Matt Forte having a great night.

 

The loser of this game will not make the playoffs this year, while the winner stays in contention for another week.  With Minnesota playing a tough road game, Chicago could move into a first place tie in the black and blue division with a win.

 

 

Green Bay (5-8-0) at Jacksonville (4-9-0)

Time:           1:00 PM EST

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Mostly cloudy, moderate wind, temperature around 70

 

PiRate:                Green Bay by 9

Mean:                  Green Bay by 2

Bias:                    Green Bay by 6

Vegas:               Green Bay by 1, 1.5, 2, 2.5  

Ov/Un:               45, 45.5

100 Sims:           Green Bay 58 Jacksonville 42

Avg Sim Score:  Green Bay 25 Jacksonville 22

Outlier 1a Sim:  Green Bay 37 Jacksonville 21

Outlier 1b Sim:  Jacksonville 20 Green Bay 10

 

Strategy:     Jacksonville +12½ in 10-point teaser, Jacksonville +15½ in 13-point teaser, Over 32 in 13-point teaser, Under 58½ in 13-point teaser    

Welcome to the Disappointment Bowl.  These two teams are done for the year and have nothing to play for other than pride.  The Jaguars may be as weak as Cincinnati, St. Louis, and Oakland at this point of the season.  Green Bay’s problem is an inconsistent defense, especially against the pass.

 

Jacksonville’s passing game shouldn’t do to the Packers secondary what other teams have done this year, and the running game will be hindered with the absence of Fred Taylor due to an injured thumb.

 

I am looking for this game to be lower scoring than expected but not a defensive struggle.  The Packers should win this road game, but I have no confidence in the certitude.  I’ll call for them to win this one by a score similar to 24-17.

 

 

Detroit (0-13-0) at Indianapolis (9-4-0)

Time:           1:00 PM EST

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Cloudy, moderate wind, temperature around 50 if the dome roof is open

 

PiRate:                Indianapolis by 19

Mean:                  Indianapolis by 19

Bias:                    Indianapolis by 20

Vegas:               Indianapolis by 17,18   

Ov/Un:               Indianapolis by 44.5, 45

100 Sims:           Indianapolis 100 Detroit 0

Avg Sim Score:  Indianapolis 34 Detroit 12

Outlier 1a Sim:  Indianapolis 56 Detroit 7

Outlier 1b Sim:  Indianapolis 27 Detroit 24

 

Strategy:     Over 31½ in 13-point teaser

The simulation gave Indianapolis 100 wins in 100 sims.  I haven’t run 100 simulations for that long, but I have to believe it is quite a rarity for it to return 100% success for any NFL Team in a scheduled game.

 

I estimate the Colts to have a 95% chance of winning this game and a 50% chance of winning by double digits.  Peyton Manning and company have the offense up to full speed, and I could easily see the Colts running the table to finish 12-4 and winning their wildcard playoff round.

 

Detroit’s chances to get a win are getting slim.  With New Orleans at home and Green Bay on the road, it may not happen this year.  The Lions could become the first 0-16 team in history. 

 

This week, I am looking for the Colts to win almost effortlessly.  I could see them with a 28-3 lead at the half and then cruising to a 38-10 victory.  I favor the 13-point tease of the Over in this one, as I believe Indianapolis will top 31 points.  Even if they shut out Detroit (with the Lions’ QB problems, it could happen), the Colts can cover 31½ total points by themselves.

 

 

Washington (7-6-0) at Cincinnati (1-11-1)

Time:           1PM EST

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Cloudy, moderate wind, temperature in the low 50’s

 

PiRate:                Washington by 7

Mean:                  Washington by 6

Bias:                    Washington by 10

Vegas:               Washington by 6.5, 7, 7.5          

Ov/Un:               36.5, 37

100 Sims:           Washington 82 Cincinnati 18

Avg Sim Score:  Washington 26 Cincinnati 18

Outlier 1a Sim:  Washington 38 Cincinnati 13

Outlier 1b Sim:  Cincinnati 24 Washington 20 (2 times)

 

Strategy:            Over 23½ in 13-point teaser

This is a must-win game for the Redskins.  In all likelihood, they have to win out to qualify as a wildcard team.  They have dropped four out of their last five games, and I doubt they will win their final three.  In fact, this game could be their last win of the season.

 

Cincinnati has mailed it in for the year.  They need major reconstruction, and I think it will be quite some time before the Bengals are competitive again.  The Reds could be in the Major League playoffs before the Bengals make the NFL playoffs.

 

I look for a low-scoring game with Washington winning in boring fashion.  Clinton Portis will probably have a great game after running his mouth all week.

 

I don’t like playing the sides in this one, even in teasers.  While I think the Bengals will struggle to score more than a touchdown in this game, I do see Washington topping 21 points.  That makes the low Over a play in a 13-point teaser.

 

 

Tampa Bay (9-4-0) at Atlanta (8-5-0)

Time:           1PM EST

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Dome

 

PiRate:                Atlanta by 1

Mean:                  Atlanta by 2

Bias:                    Atlanta by 1

Vegas:                Atlanta by 2.5, 3  

Ov/Un:               44.5, 45

100 Sims:           Atlanta 53 Tampa Bay 47

Avg Sim Score:  Atlanta 23 Tampa Bay 22

Outlier 1a Sim:  Atlanta 28 Tampa Bay 14

Outlier 1b Sim:  Tampa Bay 23 Atlanta 14

(note: 7 sims went to OT)

 

Strategy:     Under 58 in 13-point teaser, Over 31.5 in 13-point teaser

This should be a great game, possibly one of the five best games of the regular season.  Both teams are coming off tough divisional losses.  The winner of this game will hold on strong to the top of the wildcard playoff bubble, while the loser will join a host of other teams in a mix at the bottom of the bubble.

 

Matt Ryan had his worst game when these two met in St. Petersburg in September.  I expect a much better effort this time out, and I also expect Michael Turner to break off a couple of 10+ yard runs.

 

This game will be close, and I believe both teams will score in the 20’s.  The best plays here are to sandwich the expected 40-50 point total with a teasing of both the Over and Under.

 

 

San Francisco (5-8-0) at Miami (8-5-0)

Time:           1PM EST

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Showers likely, moderate wind, temperature in the mid to upper 70’s

 

PiRate:                Miami by 5

Mean:                  Miami by 4

Bias:                    Miami by 8

Vegas:               Miami by 6.5, 7  

Ov/Un:               41.5, 42

100 Sims:           Miami 57 San Francisco 43

Avg Sim Score:  Miami 22 San Francisco 20

Outlier 1a Sim:  Miami 27 San Francisco 10

Outlier 1b Sim:  San Francisco 21 Miami 13

 

Strategy:            Under 55 in 13-point teaser

This one is a hard one to figure out.  The 49ers are playing really good ball even though it is too late to make the playoffs.  The Dolphins are in the hunt for both a wildcard spot and divisional championship.  Obviously, this is a critical game for Miami, and a loss would put them in serious jeopardy in the AFC playoff hunt.

 

Miami has quietly won six of seven games, and I think they are quietly going to win their next two games to set up a monumental season finale against the Jets in The Meadowlands.

 

As for this game, I expect it to be a hard-fought defensive battle.  I cannot say for sure that Miami can cover at 6½ or 7 points, but I do believe both teams will score fewer than 25 points.  Thus, teasing the Over is my selection for this game.

 

Seattle (2-11-0) at St. Louis (2-11-0)

Time:           1:00 PM EST

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Dome

 

PiRate:                Seattle by 7

Mean:                  Seattle by 4

Bias:                    Seattle by 6

Vegas:               Seattle by 3

Ov/Un:               43, 43.5  

100 Sims:           Seattle 61 St. Louis 39

Avg Sim Score:  Seattle 26 St. Louis 19

Outlier 1a Sim:  Seattle 24 St. Louis 3

Outlier 1b Sim:  St. Louis 17 Seattle 10

 

Strategy:     St. Louis +16 in 13-point teaser, Over 30 in 13-point teaser, Under 56½ in 13-point teaser

How much would you pay for tickets to this game?  You might find someone willing to pay you to take their ticket.  It was expected that St. Louis would be where they are at this point in the season, but Seattle was supposed to be about 9-4 after 13 games.  Injuries ruined their season, and those injuries continue to plague the Seahawks.  Don’t expect Matt Hasselbeck to play in this game.  Seneca Wallace isn’t totally healthy, but he’ll likely start this game.

 

The Rams should never be expected to win a game before it starts, even if they are hosting Detroit or Cincinnati.  I do expect them to lose by no more than 14 points if at all, so I can recommend taking St. Louis in a 13-point teaser.  My guess at the total score for this game is something like 23-21, which places that in the middle between the extremes of a 13-point teaser.

 

 

Buffalo (6-7-0) at New York Jets (8-5-0)

Time:           1:00PM EST

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Partly cloudy, light wind, temperature in the mid 40’s

 

PiRate:                Jets by 7

Mean:                 Jets by 8

Bias:                    Jets by 7

Vegas:                Jets by 7, 7.5

Ov/Un:               41

100 Sims:           Jets 73 Buffalo 27

Avg Sim Score:  Jets 32 Buffalo 24

Outlier 1a Sim:  Jets 48 Buffalo 17

Outlier 1b Sim:  Buffalo 28 Jets 20

 

Strategy:     Jets +3 in 10-point teaser, Jets +6 in 13-point teaser, Over 28 in 13-point teaser

Buffalo started 5-0, and the Bills have since gone 1-7.  Their season is done, and Dick Jauron has done nothing to earn his extension.

 

The Jets can ill afford to lose three games in a row and make the playoffs in the highly competitive AFC.  It looks like 10-6 will be the minimum record for the successful wildcard qualifiers.  A loss in this game just may be too much to overcome.  The Jets won handily in Buffalo six weeks ago, and they should win again this week.  Thus, I like playing New York on both 10 and 13-point teasers.  The 13-point tease of the Over should win before halftime, as I see 50 total points being scored in this game.

 

 

Tennessee (12-1-0) at Houston (6-7-0)

Time:           1:00 PM EST

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Chance of thunderstorms, light wind, temperature in the mid 70’s

 

PiRate:                Tennessee by 8

Mean:                 Tennessee by 6

Bias:                    Tennessee by 6

Vegas:                Tennessee by 3, 3.5

Ov/Un:               44.5, 45

100 Sims:           Tennessee 66 Houston 34

Avg Sim Score:  Tennessee 29 Houston 22

Outlier 1a Sim:  Tennessee 33 Houston 14

Outlier 1b Sim:  Houston 28 Tennessee 16

 

Strategy:     Houston +13½ in 10-point teaser, Houston +16½ in 13-point teaser, Over 31½ in 13-point teaser, Under 58 (or 57½) in 13-point teaser     

This is a trap game for sure.  Even though the Texans cannot qualify for the playoffs this year, they still have much to play for, like their first ever winning season.  That September hurricane probably cost them a shot at the playoffs, for Houston might be 8-5 or 9-4 instead of 6-7 if it weren’t for all the troubles they endured in September.

 

In the first meeting of these two teams, Tennessee won by 19 points, but the game was much closer than the score indicated.  The Titans led 24-12 with Houston near the Tennessee goal line, when Titan CB Cortland Finnegan picked off a Matt Schaub pass and returned it 99 yards for a touchdown.

 

The Texans haven’t forgotten that game, nor have they forgotten that they had success running the ball against the Tennessee defense.  Steve Slaton topped 100 yards in that game.

 

Tennessee could wrap up home field advantage throughout the playoffs with a win Sunday.  It won’t be easy, and I think they have little more than a 50-55% chance of winning.  The Titans are the Texans’ biggest rival for obvious reasons, and they would like nothing more than to spoil that clinching chance for Tennessee.

 

I believe this game will be higher scoring than expected.  Tennessee has given up more than 21 points only once this year, and that was their lone loss.  I believe Houston will become the second opponent to top 21 points, but I’m not sure it will be enough to win the game.

 

I’m going with Tennessee to win and clinch home field advantage throughout the playoffs, but I don’t think they will win by much.

 

 

Pittsburgh (10-3-0) at Baltimore (9-4-0)

Time:           3:15PM EST

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Partly cloudy, light wind, temperature in the upper 40’s

 

PiRate:                Baltimore by 3

Mean:                  Baltimore by 3

Bias:                    Baltimore by 2

Vegas:               Baltimore by 1, 1.5, 2, 2.5

Ov/Un:               34, 34.5

100 Sims:           Baltimore 50 Pittsburgh 50

Avg Sim Score:  Baltimore 20 Pittsburgh 19

Outlier 1a Sim:  Baltimore 17 Pittsburgh 0

Outlier 1b Sim:  Pittsburgh 20 Baltimore 7

 

Strategy:     Baltimore -1, Baltimore +9 in 10-point teaser, Baltimore +12 in 13-point teaser, Pittsburgh +15½  (14, 14½, or 15) in 13-point teaser, Over 21 in 13-point teaser, Under 47 in 13-point teaser

This is the top game of the day, and it will look like one of those Packers-Vikings games from the mid to late 1960’s.  The winner could very well score just 10 points in this game, although I am expecting Baltimore to score at least 17 points and win the game.

 

The Steelers will clinch the AFC North with a win, and if Baltimore wins, the Steelers would still hold the tie-breaker edge over the Ravens by virtue of a one-game edge in AFC games (the 4th tie-breaker scenario). 

 

Both teams face a tough opponent on the road next week, and this game takes on even greater importance.  If Baltimore wins this week, and both teams lose next week, then it will take the 5th tiebreaking rule to separate the two.  That one is strength of victory, and it could still leave them tied.  Tiebreaker number six is strength of schedule, and yes, if New England and San Diego were to lose a few more games than Miami and Oakland, this could be a push as well.  Tiebreaker numbers seven through 11 would have to decide it, because tiebreaker number 12 is a coin flip.  With the NFL having so many financial troubles and with layoffs announced, they may not have the coin to make that flip and Bank of America won’t lend one to them.

 

Seriously, I look for Baltimore to play just a little more inspired and emerge with a 17-10 victory.  Both teams will make the playoffs if they are 10-4 after this game.  If Pittsburgh should find a way to win, then next week’s game at Tennessee could be for number one in the conference.

 

Denver (8-5-0) at Carolina (10-3-0)

Time:           4:15PM EST

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Mostly cloudy, light wind, temperature in the low 50’s

 

PiRate:                Carolina by 11

Mean:                 Carolina by 9

Bias:                   Carolina by 8

Vegas:               Carolina by 7, 7.5, 9

Ov/Un:               47, 47.5, 48

100 Sims:           Carolina 54 Denver 46

Avg Sim Score:  Carolina 29 Denver 28

Outlier 1a Sim:  Carolina 45 Denver 24

Outlier 1b Sim:  Denver 41 Carolina 24

 

Strategy:            Denver +19 in 10-point teaser, Denver +22 in 13-point teaser, Over 34 (34½ or 35) in 13-point teaser

It looked like the Broncos were going to swoon right out of the top spot in the AFC West after losing four of five earlier this year.  However, San Diego kept finding ways to lose, and now the Broncos have recovered as of late, winning four of five including two big road victories.

 

The time is right for the Panthers to bounce a little and come out flat in a game against a team capable of beating them in Charlotte.  Carolina played brilliantly, especially on offense, against Tampa Bay Monday night, but I don’t believe their running game will come close to repeating the production in that game.  Denver is by no means a run-stopping team, but they will concentrate their efforts on stopping the two-headed monster of Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams.  Jake Delhomme will have to pass the ball for the Panthers to win. 

 

I expect this to be a high scoring game.  Jay Cutler will not have Peyton Hillis available for this game, so I expect the Broncos will throw the ball 40 times and pick up more than 300 yards.

 

This game could see more than 135 scrimmage plays, and that should lead to both teams topping 24 points.  I like teasing the Over here, as I just cannot see the offenses being stopped all day, especially with this game set to be played in ideal football weather.

 

 

San Diego (5-8-0) at Kansas City (2-11-0)

Time:           1:00 PM EST

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Chance of showers, moderate wind, temperature in the low 50’s

 

PiRate:                San Diego by 10

Mean:                 San Diego by 7

Bias:                   San Diego by 8

Vegas:                San Diego by 4.5, 5, 5.5

Ov/Un:               45, 45.5, 46, 46.5

100 Sims:           Kansas City 52 San Diego 48

Avg Sim Score:  Kansas City 25 San Diego 24

Outlier 1a Sim:  Kansas City 28 San Diego 17

Outlier 1b Sim:  San Diego 40 Kansas City 20

 

Strategy:            Kansas City +15½ (15, 14½) in 10-point teaser, Kansas City +18½ (18, 17½) in 13-point teaser, Under 59½ (59, 58½) in 13-point teaser, Over 32 in 13-point teaser

Contrary to what the Charger brass have stated publicly, I believe this is going to be the final season for Coach Norv Turner in San Diego.  His team was robbed in that game in Denver, and that wasn’t his fault.  However, the way they reacted after that game and failed to recover is his fault.  He could even be shown the door Monday if San Diego loses to the lowly Chiefs.

 

Kansas City is not a pushover.  Just ask Denver after the Broncos had to come from behind to win at Invesco Field and avoid the sweep.  Five weeks ago at Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego escaped with a 20-19 win over Kansas City.

 

Note that the simulator gives Kansas City a 52% chance to win this game even though the Chargers are favored by more than a field goal.  I like those odds, and I am taking Kansas City in the teasers because of that.

 

Minnesota (8-5-0) at Arizona (8-5-0)

Time:           4:15 PM EST

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Partly cloudy, moderate wind, temperature in the low 60’s

 

PiRate:                Arizona by 1

Mean:                 Tossup

Bias:                   Arizona by 1

Vegas:                Arizona by 3   

Ov/Un:               47.5, 48

100 Sims:           Arizona 59 Minnesota 41

Avg Sim Score:  Arizona 33 Minnesota 24

Outlier 1a Sim:  Arizona 52 Minnesota 31

Outlier 1b Sim:  Minnesota 27 Arizona 17

 

Strategy:     Over 34 ½ (35) in 13-point teaser

This is another one of those great NFC games this week.  While Arizona has already clinched their division, the Cardinals can still get a first round bye if they win out and Carolina and Tampa Bay lose enough games.

 

Minnesota holds a tiny one game edge over Chicago, and they have the toughest final three games of any of the NFC contenders.  The Vikings must close against the Falcons and Giants after this game.

 

I give the Cardinals a very slight advantage in this game, but I find no value in any plays on sides in this game.  My only inclination is to tease the Over.  I cannot see Minnesota’s defense holding Kurt Warner and company at bay very often, and I cannot see Arizona stopping Adrian Peterson very often.  Tarvaris Jackson gets another chance to show he belongs in the NFL, as Gus Frerotte doesn’t appear likely to play. 

 

 

New England (8-5-0) at Oakland (3-10-0)

Time:           4:15 PM EST

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Rain showers, light wind, temperature in the upper 40’s

 

PiRate:                New England by 7

Mean:                  New England by 8

Bias:                    New England by 11

Vegas:               New England by 7

Ov/Un:               39,40

100 Sims:           New England 89 Oakland 11

Avg Sim Score:  New England 24 Oakland 15

Outlier 1a Sim:  New England 37 Oakland 7

Outlier 1b Sim:  Oakland 21 New England 16

 

Strategy:     Under 53 (52) in 13-point teaser

The Patriots have to win this game to stay in the playoff hunt.  If they lose to the pitiful Raiders, they may just fold up.  It’s not going to be easy for Coach Bill Belichick’s team this week.  Quarterback Matt Cassel left the team following the passing of his father.  He may not be ready to play Sunday.  Rookie Kevin O’Connell would start in his place, and even the Raiders’ anemic defense would give him fits.

 

Oakland isn’t healthy by any means, and I mean physically as well as mentally.  Quarterback JaMarcus Russell has a gimpy ankle, and he hasn’t produced all that much when he has been healthy.  Former Raider quarterback Rich Gannon openly stated that he does not think Russell has a work ethic conducive to being a winner in this league.

 

I expect this to be a low scoring game if Cassel is not on hand.  The totals line has dropped, and I am sure it will drop after this blog story comes out.  I am playing the Under in a 13-point teaser while I can get that number at 53 (or 52) points because I believe this will be a 35 to 45-point game.

 

New York Giants (11-2-0) at Dallas (8-5-0)

Time:           8:15PM EST

TV:               NBC

Forecast:     Partly cloudy, moderate wind, temperature falling from the upper to mid 60’s

                    

PiRate:                Giants by 6

Mean:                  Giants by 5

Bias:                    Giants by 3

Vegas:               Dallas by 2.5, 3

Ov/Un:               44, 44.5, 45

100 Sims:           Giants 58 Dallas 42

Avg Sim Score:  Giants 23 Dallas 19

Outlier 1a Sim:  Giants 28 Dallas 12

Outlier 1b Sim:  Dallas 24 Giants 10

 

Strategy:            Giants +13 in 10-point teaser, Giants +16 in 13-point teaser, Under 58 in 13-point teaser, Over 31 in 13-point teaser

Dallas should be favored in this game, and the betting public believes that as well.  The simulator has no biases, and it believes the Giants have a 58% chance of winning this game.  All three of my computer ratings agree with the simulator and favor New York by six, five, and three points.  That data is good enough for me to take the Giants in both 10 and 13-point teasers.

 

Almost all 100 simulations of this game produced scores with total points between 35 and 55.  So, I like playing both sides in 13-point teasers.

 

I think New York will pull off the mild upset and force Dallas into must-win situations their final two weeks.  The victory may hurt New York down the stretch, as this game should be very physical.  Without running back Brandon Jacobs, there’s a chance Eli Manning could see a heavier pass rush and possibly suffer an injury in this game.  With Carolina coming up next on the schedule and Minnesota probably needing a win in week 17, the Giants could trip up as the season concludes.  They need this game more than any of the other teams that have already clinched their division.  If they lose this one to fall to 11-3, they could easily lose their last two as well.

 

Dallas could also lose their final three games and miss out on the playoffs.  Baltimore and Philadelphia are two tough hombres as the season winds down.  This is probably a must-win game for the team and Coach Wade Phillips.  I’m guessing with a loss, Dallas is on the outside looking in, and Coach Phillips is soon to be on the unemployment line.

 

Cleveland (4-9-0) at Philadelphia (7-5-1)

Time:           8:30PM EST Monday

TV:               ESPN

Forecast:     Clear, light wind, temperature holding steady in the upper 40’s

 

PiRate:                Philadelphia by 12  

Mean:                  Philadelphia by 10

Bias:                    Philadelphia by 13

Vegas:                Philadelphia by 14, 14.5, 15

Ov/Un:               38.5, 39

100 Sims:           Philadelphia 90 Cleveland 10

Avg Sim Score:  Philadelphia 29 Cleveland 13

Outlier 1a Sim:  Philadelphia 44 Cleveland 6

Outlier 1b Sim:  Cleveland 28 Philadelphia 24

 

Strategy:     Over 28½ (29) in 10-point teaser, Over 25½ (26) in 13-point teaser 

Cleveland failed to show up last week in Nashville, and now they face a hungry and mad Eagles team ready to claw them to pieces.

 

Since the tie debacle with Cincinnati and a terrible follow-up with Baltimore, Philadelphia has been a terror on the gridiron.  The Eagles destroyed Arizona and then won at the Giants.  They have a clear path to a 10-5-1 season, and I think they will bring their A-game this week to the 21st Century version of the Mistake on the Lake known as Browns Stadium.

 

I don’t like the line in this game, but I do like the totals.  Philadelphia should top 24 points in this one, so I see both the 10 and 13-point teasers as being strong plays.  Remember that almost every Monday night game this year has been an offensive shootout.  I just cannot see the Browns slowing Donovan McNabb and company much if at all.

 

 

Hurray For A Good Week

 

I played it conservatively last week and stuck with what I had studied the most-playing teasers with totals instead of sides.  It produced a 5-2 record for the week and just missed by a whisker of going 7-0 (one game of each losing teaser just missed).  The return on the $700 “wagered” was $950 for a nice profit of $250 and ROI of 35.7%.

 

For the season, the record against the spread is now 94-75-7, which computes to 55.6%.  I’m under 60%, where I was for most of this season, but it least we are headed back up again.

 

I don’t really like most of the games this week insofar as picking point spread winners.  This is going to be a fun week for watching some big games.  I will stay with my minimalist view for another week and try to find the top values rather than go for quantity.

 

Here are my wagers for week 15 (all wagered to win $100 or $100 wagered if at + odds on a parlay or money line):

 

ALL 5 WAGERS = 13-POINT TEASERS

 

For those not familiar with a 13-point teaser, you can move the lines 13 points in your favor, but you must play a four-game parlay and all four games must win to win the wager.  You play at odds of 10-13, meaning you put up $13 for every $10 the book puts up.

 

1.    New Orleans & Chicago OVER 31½

       Green Bay & Jacksonville OVER 32

       Detroit & Indianapolis OVER 31½

       Washington & Cincinnati OVER 23½

 

2.    Tampa Bay & Atlanta OVER 31½

       San Francisco & Miami UNDER 55

       Buffalo & NY Jets OVER 28

       Tennessee & Houston UNDER 58

 

3.    Pittsburgh & Baltimore OVER 21

       Denver & Carolina OVER 34

       San Diego & Kansas City UNDER 59½

       New England & Oakland UNDER 53

 

4.    Seattle & St. Louis OVER 30

       Tennessee & Houston OVER 31½

       Minnesota & Arizona OVER 35

       NY Giants & Dallas UNDER 58

 

5.    Seattle & St. Louis UNDER 56½

       Pittsburgh & Baltimore OVER 21

       NY Giants & Dallas OVER 31

       Philadelphia & Cleveland OVER 25½   

 

AND REMEMBER!!!  Do not use these picks for real.  I have no real money on the line in this mathematical experiment.  I won’t lose a penny if all these wagers lose this week, so you shouldn’t risk a penny on these picks either.  This is strictly for fun.

November 26, 2008

PiRate Ratings Week 13 NFL Previews: November 27-December 1, 2008

PiRate Ratings For NFL Week 13

Can It Be Giants Vs. Jets In Super Bowl XLIII

 

The two hottest teams in the NFL both call East Rutherford, New Jersey, home.  The New York Giants at 10-1 reign supreme over the NFC.  The New York Jets are 8-3, and Brett Favre and company have won five games in a row by an average score of 34-18.  Three of those wins have come against teams with winning records, and two of them came against teams likely to contend with them for the AFC Championship.

 

 

The PiRate Pro Ratings (Rating)

 

The NFL version of the PiRate Ratings is not the same as the collegiate version.  The NFL version is strictly a statistical formula than could be reproduced by anybody who knew the equations I use to devise the formula.  No subjective data is used.

 

The formula combines scoring margin, strength of schedule, and early in the season, last year’s scoring margin and strength of schedule.  As the season progresses, last year’s data decreases to where it has little effect by mid-October. 

 

The Mean Ratings (Mean)

 

Just like the PiRate Ratings, the NFL Mean Ratings are not the same as the collegiate version.  The NFL Mean Ratings consist of a dozen different calculations.  Three calculations consist of different ways to look at point differential and strength of schedule.  Five calculations look at yards gained and allowed rushing and passing and special teams play with the strength of the opponents’ rushing and passing.  Point values are assigned based on each set of data.  The remaining four ratings are my old four pro ratings from the 1970’s and 1980’s.  The 12 ratings are given equal weight, and then I take the average (mean) to get the rating.

 

The Bias Ratings (Biased)

 

The Bias Ratings consist of five of the components of The Mean Ratings.  The five ratings are not given equal weight.  The five ratings are weighted at 37.5%, 25%, 12.5%, 12.5%, and 12.5%.  I have back tested these ratings and found that this weighting gives the rating its best predictive percentage.

 

All three ratings are normalized so that 100 is average.  If I don’t mess up with the math, each of the three ratings should average 100.  The teams’ ratings show how many points above or below average they are in comparison with the rest of the league.  A rating of 107 means that team is a touchdown better than average, while a rating of 93 means that team is a touchdown weaker than average. 

 

I do not attempt to rate teams from different years.  A 107-rated team in 2008 is not the same as a 107-rated team from 1972.  We all know that due to the evolution of strength and quickness, today’s Detroit Lions would blow the 1972 Miami Dolphins off the field.

 

Current NFL Standings & Ratings

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFC East

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

New York

10

1

0

329

199

110.19

115.97

110.53

2

Dallas

7

4

0

265

251

100.76

101.99

104.65

2

Washington

7

4

0

201

199

99.39

99.65

101.51

2

Philadelphia

5

5

1

271

229

104.14

102.50

100.63

2

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFC North

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Chicago

6

5

0

267

234

102.58

100.77

101.77

2

Minnesota

6

5

0

253

246

102.41

102.33

102.05

2

Green Bay

5

6

0

303

260

105.09

102.86

101.49

2

Detroit

0

11

0

193

346

87.33

90.06

88.18

3

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFC South

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Tampa Bay

8

3

0

257

180

105.88

104.23

105.53

2

Carolina

8

3

0

250

200

104.27

101.91

104.74

2

Atlanta

7

4

0

276

226

104.07

101.95

102.91

2

New Orleans

6

5

0

317

278

102.97

102.16

102.73

2

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFC West

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Arizona

7

4

0

318

265

103.17

102.77

104.09

3

San Francisco

3

8

0

252

310

93.22

94.58

93.86

3

Seattle

2

9

0

207

277

93.26

94.23

93.20

3

St. Louis

2

9

0

147

344

83.36

88.48

87.67

2

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC East

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

New York

8

3

0

323

234

105.83

105.68

107.01

2

New England

7

4

0

267

222

101.94

102.33

102.56

2

Buffalo

6

5

0

273

249

99.30

99.62

100.29

3

Miami

6

5

0

237

245

99.16

98.19

99.97

2

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC North

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Pittsburgh

8

3

0

236

160

107.36

104.39

105.25

2

Baltimore

7

4

0

258

187

107.39

105.27

104.24

3

Cleveland

4

7

0

207

237

97.72

97.16

96.48

2

Cincinnati

1

9

1

148

276

92.44

92.92

92.78

2

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC South

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Tennessee

10

1

0

257

165

108.61

105.77

106.38

2

Indianapolis

7

4

0

247

244

102.98

102.44

103.39

2

Jacksonville

4

7

0

224

240

98.45

98.57

96.91

3

Houston

4

7

0

252

293

96.90

98.78

97.24

3

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC West

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Denver

6

5

0

258

302

94.90

96.24

98.13

2

San Diego

4

7

0

274

252

102.15

100.47

99.83

2

Oakland

3

8

0

159

245

92.67

94.49

93.14

2

Kansas City

1

10

0

196

327

90.16

91.11

90.76

2

 

Note: due to the Thanksgiving holiday, weather forecasts and odds are those as of Wednesday 8 AM EST

 

NFL Previews-Week 13

 

Tennessee (10-1-0) at Detroit (0-11-0)

Time:           12:30 PM EST, Thursday 11/27

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Dome

 

PiRate:         Tennessee by 18                   

Mean:           Tennessee by 13

Bias:             Tennessee by 18

Vegas:        Tennessee by 11      -630/+530

Ov/Un:        44½

Strategy:     Tennessee -1 in 10-point teaser, Tennessee +2 in 13-point teaser, Tennessee -630 as part of money line parlay     

This game would have been much more interesting if the Titans had won last week, as no 11-0 team has played an 0-11 team in an NFL game.

 

Detroit is banged up quite a bit, while Tennessee has minimal injury concerns.  I would tend to pick the Titans to rebound and blow the Lions off the field by three or more touchdowns, but some gut instinct tells me this game will be closer than expected.  I actually believe the Lions will keep this one within striking distance and actually have a chance at the big upset.  I am too shy to take the Lions at +11, and I don’t even like taking them at +21 and +24 in teasers.  I do think Tennessee has a 90-95% chance of winning, so I will go with the Titans in the teasers, as well as using them as part of a money line parlay.

 

Seattle (2-9-0) at Dallas (7-4-0)

Time:           4:15 PM EST, Thursday November 27

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Chance of Showers, light wind, temperature in the upper 60’s

 

PiRate:         Dallas by 10

Mean:           Dallas by 10

Bias:             Dallas by 13

Vegas:        Dallas by 12       -710/+610 

Ov/Un:        46½

Strategy:     Dallas -2 in 10-point teaser, Dallas +1 in 13-point teaser, Seattle +22 in 10-point teaser, Seattle +25 in 13-point teaser, Dallas -710 as part of a money line parlay

Even with Felix Jones out for the year, Dallas has enough offensive weapons to outscore most of the opponents remaining on the schedule.  However, after this game, the final four opponents are all capable of beating them.  This is a must-win game for Dallas, while Seattle is just playing out the schedule. 

 

The Seahawks have been outscored 119-45 in their four road games on the East Coast.  This is their first road game in the Central Time Zone, but I expect the result to be similar. 

 

Dallas doesn’t blow opponents off the field, and Seattle has been losing by less than a dozen of late, so I like both ends in 10 and 13-point teasers.

 

Arizona (7-4-0) at Philadelphia (5-5-1)

Time:           8:15 PM EST, Thursday, November 27

TV:               NFL Network

Forecast:     Partly cloudy, light wind, temperature falling from the upper to mid 30’s

 

PiRate:         Philadelphia by 3

Mean:           Philadelphia by 2

Bias:             Arizona by 1

Vegas:        Philadelphia by 3     -145/+125   

Ov/Un:        46½  

Strategy:     Arizona +13 in 10-point teaser, Arizona +16 in 13-point teaser, Over 33½ in 13-point teaser

How do you figure Philadelphia?  Are they the team that beats Pittsburgh 15-6?  Are they the team that loses to Dallas 41-37?  Or, are they the team that ties the then 1-8 Bengals and loses to the Ravens 36-7 in their most recent games?

 

Coach Andy Reid could be on his way out and quarterback Donovan McNabb may be joining him.  They better come up with their A-games this week.

 

Arizona could probably lose all their remaining games and still win their division at 7-9.  This isn’t a must-win game for the Cardinals, but don’t expect them to lie down and play dead in the city of brotherly love this week.

 

Kurt Warner should have a 300+ passing yard day this week, and Arizona should top 24 points.  It’s all up to the Eagle offense.  They could lay another egg and lose by two touchdowns; they could play a decent game and make it a close game either way; or, they could play like they know their backs are against the wall and win by two touchdowns.  The Cardinals have a decent chance or winning, a great chance of losing by a touchdown or less, and an outstanding chance of covering at double digit points.

 

Denver (6-5-0) at New York Jets (8-3-0)

Time:           1PM EST

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Showers possible, light wind, temperature in low 40’s

 

PiRate:         Jets by 13

Mean:           Jets by 11

Bias:             Jets by 11

Vegas:        Jets by 7½  -325/+295       

Ov/Un:        47½

Strategy:     Jets +2½ in 10-point teaser, Jets +5½ in 13-point teaser, Jets -325, Under 60½ in 13-point teaser   

Denver should have the services of at least two capable running backs this week, but that isn’t going to solve the Broncos’ woes.  They are fortunate that 8-8 can win their division this year, because they may struggle to finish 8-8.  They could easily finish 1-4 to end up at 7-9 and become the first team with a losing record to make the playoffs in a non-strike-shortened season.

 

The Jets are playing as good right now as they have since Joe Namath led them to victory in Super Bowl III.  Dominating Tennessee in Nashville last week was no small task.  Add wins over New England and Buffalo, and this is a powerful team.  As of this writing, I rate the Jets as the top team in the AFC.

 

The weather could be the only intangible keeping this game close.  I see the Jets winning this one with relative ease, but a wet field could keep the margin down under the line. 

 

The New York defense has been hiding under the radar.  In the last seven games, they have surrendered less than 17 points per game (better than the Ravens and Titans over that time).

 

Miami (6-5-0) at St. Louis (2-9-0)

Time:           1PM EST

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Dome

 

PiRate:         Miami by 14

Mean:           Miami by 8

Bias:             Miami by 10

Vegas:         Miami by 7½      -325/+275  

Ov/Un:        44

Strategy:     Miami +2½ in 10-point teaser, Miami +5½ in 13-point teaser, Miami -325, Under 54 in 10-point teaser, Under 57 in 13-point teaser

Miami definitely must win this game to stay in the playoff hunt, as it might be necessary to post a 10-6 record to earn an AFC Wildcard spot.  At 6-5, there isn’t much room for error, and this is the easiest game remaining on their schedule. 

 

St. Louis may have to go without Marc Bulger.  As I write this on Wednesday, he is listed as very doubtful.  The Rams are headed nowhere, so it would be foolish for Bulger to risk permanent brain damage to play in this game.  Thus, I am of the belief that an almost washed-up Trent Green will be under center for the Rams. 

 

If Steven Jackson can play, the Rams may have a chance to keep this game close.  However, Jackson will be rusty even if he is close to 100% by game time.  Don’t expect a 20-100 rushing day out of him; look for something more like 7-25.  Miami will win, but it may be closer than their fans will like.

 

New York Giants (10-1-0) at Washington (7-4-0)

Time:           1PM EST

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Chance of rain, light wind, temperature around 40

 

PiRate:         Giants by 9

Mean:           Giants by 14

Bias:             Giants by 7

Vegas:        Giants by 3½     -190/+165  

Ov/Un:        42

Strategy:     Washington +13½ in 10-point teaser, Washington +16½ in 13-point teaser, Over 29 in 13-point teaser 

This is going to be one whale of a game.  These two opened the season in DC, and it was a real snoozer.  The Giants won 16-7, and it was assumed at that time by the so-called experts that Washington would have a tough season adjusting to new coach Jim Zorn’s offense.  Since then, the Redskins have averaged almost 20 points per game, but their defense has continued to keep them in every game.  The most they have surrendered in any game is 24 points (only Pittsburgh can say the same).

 

This is going to be a game where the outstanding running games try to plow through rather strong defenses.  Both New York’s Brandon Jacobs and Washington’s Clinton Portis enter this contest with injuries.  It is not sure whether either or both will miss this game.

 

I look for this game to stay close throughout the day, and I am going with the Redskins in the teasers.  Because there is a chance that the passing games may have to be used more than preferred, I am also teasing the Over.

 

New Orleans (6-5-0) at Tampa Bay (8-3-0)

Time:           1:00 PM EST

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Showers likely, moderate wind, temperature in the upper 70’s

 

PiRate:         Tampa Bay by 5

Mean:           Tampa Bay by 4

Bias:             Tampa Bay by 5

Vegas:        Tampa Bay by 3½    -190/+165  

Ov/Un:        47½  

Strategy:     Tampa Bay +6½ in 10-point teaser, Tampa Bay +9½ in 13-point teaser, Tampa Bay -190, Tampa Bay -3½, Over 34½ in 13-point teaser, Under 60½ in 13-point teaser

Let’s take a look at some statistical information concerning the Saints.  At home, they are 4-1 (5-1 if you count the game in London) and average 35 points to 17 for the opposition.  On the road, they are 1-4 and average 22.6 points to 29.4 for the opposition.  Their lone road win came at lowly Kansas City.

 

Tampa Bay has taken care of the other two NFC South teams to come to Raymond James Stadium.  They should make it a perfect three for three this week.  New Orleans will bounce some from their big Monday night win, and the Buccaneers must play back-to-back road games against Atlanta and Carolina after this game. 

 

I am going with the Bucs to win and cover the spread in this game.  I believe their defense will hold New Orleans under 24 points as well.    

 

 

Indianapolis (7-4-0) at Cleveland (4-7-0)

Time:           1:00PM EST

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Snow showers possible, light wind, temperature around 35

 

PiRate:         Indianapolis by 3

Mean:          Indianapolis by 3

Bias:             Indianapolis by 5

Vegas:         Indianapolis by 5     -220/+180

Ov/Un:        45

Strategy:     Indianapolis +8 in 13-point teaser, Under 58 in 13-point teaser

Cleveland will have to go without Brady Quinn the rest of the year.  I am almost convinced that the Browns have quit on Derek Anderson.  I also believe that Coach Romeo Crennel and General Manager Phil Savage will be leaving at the end of this year. 

 

Indianapolis keeps winning by slim margins, but they keep winning.  I see no reason why they cannot run the table and finish 12-4. 

 

The weather could play a major part in many games this week, and this is one of those games where cold and wet conditions could make for slippery footballs and slippery turf.  That could neutralize some of Indy’s advantage, but I’ll take the Colts in the teasers.  I’m looking for the Colts to win 27-13.  The loss of center Jeff Saturday could cause Manning to rush a pass or two and the newfound running game to take a small step backward.

 

San Francisco (3-8-0) at Buffalo (6-5-0)

Time:           1:00 PM EST

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Snow showers likely, moderate wind, temperature in mid 30’s

 

PiRate:         Buffalo by 9

Mean:          Buffalo by 8

Bias:             Buffalo by 9

Vegas:         Buffalo by 7 -275/+255 

Ov/Un:        42½  

Strategy:     Buffalo -7, Buffalo -275, Buffalo +3 in 10-point teaser, Buffalo +6 in 13-point teaser

San Francisco has so much going against them in this game.  To start out, no West Coast team has won on the East Coast this year, and the 49ers’ three wins have come in the Pacific Time Zone.  San Francisco is not acclimated to playing in cold, snowy weather, and they are likely to get a dose of that this week.  The 49ers have nothing to play for, while Buffalo definitely must win this game to keep their playoff hopes alive.  Their final four games are all tough ones against teams competing for a playoff spot.

 

I’m looking for a Buffalo blowout by two touchdowns or more.  I won’t pick any totals in this game, because the weather could be a bigger factor than the personnel.

 

Baltimore (7-4-0) at Cincinnati (1-9-1)

Time:           1:00PM EST

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Light rain possible, light wind, temperature around 40

 

PiRate:         Baltimore by 13

Mean:           Baltimore by 10

Bias:             Baltimore by 9

Vegas:        Baltimore by 7   -300/+250

Ov/Un:        36½

Strategy:     Baltimore +3 in 10-point teaser, Baltimore +6 in 13-point teaser, Baltimore -300 in Money Line parlay, Over 23½ in 13-point teaser

Cincinnati is a mess in both of its professional sports, and the problem is in the front office in both.  Baltimore is a mess in baseball, but their football team is rather good.  The Ravens have a great chance of finishing 11-5 and challenging for the AFC North title.  Pittsburgh has a much tougher final month of games, and the Ravens could be tied for first after this week.

 

The Bengals failed to show up in Pittsburgh a week ago, and they showed no offense the week before against Philadelphia.  I don’t see them finding the solution this week against Ray Lewis and his merry men of mayhem.

 

The two big intangible factors in this game both favor Cincinnati.  The weather should make for a closer than expected game, and the Bengals get an extra three days to prepare for this one.  Thus, I believe the margin of victory will be slimmer than expected.  Even if the field is as big of a mess as the home team, I think there will be at least 25 total points scored.

 

Carolina (8-3-0) at Green Bay (5-6-0)

Time:           1:00PM EST

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Light snow, moderate wind, temperature in the upper 20’s to near 30

 

PiRate:         Green Bay by 3

Mean:           Green Bay by 3

Bias:             Carolina by 1

Vegas:        Green Bay by 3½     -170/+150  

Ov/Un:        42

Strategy:     Under 55 in 13-point teaser, Green Bay -170

This is a tough game to diagnose.  Both teams lost games last week when their defenses suffered major letdowns, and their offenses or special teams contributed to the other side of the scoreboard. 

 

I see one excellent play in this game.  When both teams surrendered a great deal of points in their last games and it was also greater than they normally surrender, look for a regression to the mean in the next game.  Thus, I believe this game will be lower scoring than expected.  The possible inclement weather should aid us in that prediction.

 

This is a must-win game for Green Bay, as a loss will put them two games behind the Bears-Vikings winner.  The NFC North will not supply any wildcard teams this year, so at 5-7, the Packers can have the fork stuck in them.

 

Atlanta (7-4-0) at San Diego (4-7-0)

Time:           4:05 PM EST

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Sunny, very windy (will affect passes and kicks), temperature in the mid to upper 70’s

 

PiRate:         Tossup

Mean:          San Diego by 1

Bias:            Atlanta by 1

Vegas:         San Diego by 5  -205/+175

Ov/Un:        49

Strategy:     Atlanta +15 in 10-point teaser, Atlanta +18 in 13-point teaser, Over 36 in 13-point teaser, Under 62 in 13-point teaser

This game will be more of a rivalry game than your typical NFC South versus AFC West game.  Michael Turner warmed the bench in San Diego while LaDainian Tomlinson got the accolades in Chargerville.  Now, Turner is the big star, while Tomlinson waddles in mediocrity for the Chargers.  Turner has rushed for 1,088 yards and 13 touchdowns, while Tomlinson has rushed for 770 yards and five touchdowns. 

 

Matt Ryan is now the odds-on choice to win the Rookie of the Year title.  You will be hard pressed to find another first year quarterback with ratings like his.

 

This game has become a must-win contest for both teams.  I would have thought that San Diego would have been eliminated with a loss last week, but now it looks like 8-8 will win the pathetic West Division. 

 

I don’t really love any of the selections in this game, but if I had to guess, I would say it will be lower scoring than expected and a true tossup game.

 

Pittsburgh (8-3-0) at New England (7-4-0)

Time:           4:15 PM EST

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Rain likely, light wind, temperature in the upper 30’s

 

PiRate:         Pittsburgh by 3

Mean:          Tossup

Bias:            Pittsburgh by 1

Vegas:         New England by 1    -120/+100   

Ov/Un:        40

Strategy:     New England +9 in 10-point teaser, New England +12 in 13-point teaser, New England -1, New England -120, Under 53 in 13-point teaser

Pittsburgh has big injury issues headed into this game, and the fact that I have to preview this game five days in advance makes it difficult to get a good grasp on making selections.  The choices I have above are made with the assumption that Willie Parker will either miss this game or have very little affect on the outcome due to his sore knee.

 

I like New England to win this game by a couple of points in a defensive struggle.  The rain should help keep the score down as well.

 

 

Kansas City (1-10-0) at Oakland (3-8-0)

Time:           4:15 PM EST

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Sunny, light wind, temperature in the mid to upper 60’s

 

PiRate:         Oakland by 5

Mean:           Oakland by 5

Bias:             Oakland by 4

Vegas:        Oakland by 3     -160/+140

Ov/Un:        41½

Strategy:     Oakland +7 in 10-point teaser, Oakland +10 in 13-point teaser, Oakland -160, Oakland -3, Over 28½ in 13-point teaser

In years past, this would have been the game of the week this week and possibly the game of the year.  Now it could be an exciting game just because these two teams are equally inept.

 

The Raiders defeated Kansas City at Arrowhead Stadium earlier this year.  Oakland’s other two wins strangely came against two division leaders.  What’s even stranger is that if they win this game to improve to 4-8, they could possibly move into a second place tie in the AFC West and be just two games out of first place with four games to go.  They just might have an outside chance at getting to 7-9 and backing into the division title. 

 

That above fairy tale isn’t likely to happen, but I believe the silver and black will win again this week.

 

 

Chicago (6-5-0) at Minnesota (6-5-0)

Time:           8:15PM EST

TV:               NBC

Forecast:     Dome

                    

PiRate:         Minnesota by 2

Mean:           Minnesota by 4

Bias:             Minnesota by 2

Vegas:        Minnesota by 3         -160/+150

Ov/Un:        42

Strategy:     Minnesota +7 in 10-point teaser, Minnesota +10 in 13-point teaser, Chicago +13 in 10-point teaser, Chicago +16 in 13-point teaser, Over 29 in 13-point teaser

To the winner of this game goes undisputed possession of first place in the NFC North and a possibility of having a two-game cushion over Green Bay.  This will be an interesting game between two decent teams albeit with exploitable liabilities.

 

I am going with the Over tease because it is a primetime, nationally-televised game.  I also believe it will be a close game, so I think we can play both sides on 10 and 13-point teasers.

 

Since Minnesota lost 48-41 at Chicago, they have definitely been playing better football than the Bears, but I am not about to use that as a definitive fact that Minnesota will win this game.  I still think it is close to a 50-50 tossup.  The game will probably turn on one big play.  Adrian Peterson and Devon Hester are both overdue for such antics.

 

 

Jacksonville (4-7-0) at Houston (4-7-0)

Time:           8:30PM EST Monday

TV:               ESPN

Forecast:     Partly cloudy, light wind, temperature around 65

 

PiRate:         Houston by 1    

Mean:           Houston by 3

Bias:             Houston by 3

Vegas:        Houston by 3     -175/+155

Ov/Un:        48½

Strategy:     Houston +7 in 10-point teaser, Houston +10 in 13-point teaser, Houston -175, Over 35½ in 13-point teaser

Neither team has enjoyed the success many picked them to have this season.  Houston’s malaise has been more excusable because the team was displaced earlier in the season by a hurricane.

 

Jacksonville won the first meeting in overtime two months ago.  Since then, the Jags have gone 2-5, while Houston has gone 5-3. 

 

I’ll take the hotter team playing at home with a tiny axe to grind after losing a game they should have won in the first meeting.  I’ll tease the Over just because it is a Monday night game.

 

Yuck!!!

 

It had to happen.  My picking against the spread was just too highly accurate to continue week after week. Last week’s picks finished just 2-8-1, my worst week of the year.  What made it so annoying was that most of my picks were correct, but I played nothing but teasers.  You had those handful of games that were completely out of the norm that the NFL sees happening with regularity this time of the year.  Philadelphia completely laid an egg after the tie debacle of the previous week.  Denver showed why they are not in the same league with the other division leaders by getting blown out at home to the Raiders (they also lost to the 1-10 Chiefs).  Green Bay blew up on Monday night in just three plays.  Cleveland’s offense was totally lost once Brady Quinn proved that his injured finger was getting in his way. And so on and so on.  The bank account took a major hit; you can subtract $800 from the pushka, leaving me with $1,120.  That means the for the season profit stands at just $120 after all those winning weeks.  Can I get a bailout from the NFL Reserve?

 

For the season, my picks against the spread are now 85-56-7 (60.3%).  

 

I am going with a large amount of games this week, because I have noticed that when I make cuts in the games I like, I usually cut games I would have won if I had played them.

 

Here are my wagers for week 13 (all wagered to win $100 or $100 wagered if at + odds on a parlay or money line):

 

1. Tampa Bay -3½ vs. New Orleans

2. Buffalo -7 vs. San Francisco

3. New England -1 vs. Pittsburgh

4. Oakland -3 vs. Kansas City

5. New York Jets -325 vs. Denver

6. Miami -325 vs. St. Louis

7. Tampa Bay -190 vs. New Orleans

8. Buffalo -275 vs. San Francisco

9. Green Bay -170 vs. Carolina

10. New England -120 vs. Pittsburgh

11. Oakland -160 vs. Kansas City

 

12. Money Line Parlay (+130)

Tennessee over Detroit

Dallas over Seattle

NY Jets over Denver

Baltimore over Cincinnati

 

13. Money Line Parlay (+200)

Tennessee over Detroit

Dallas over Seattle

NY Jets over Denver

Baltimore over Cincinnati

Miami over St. Louis

 

14. 10-point teaser (TURKEY SPECIAL)

Tennessee -1 vs. Detroit

Dallas -2 vs. Seattle

Arizona +13 vs. Philadelphia

 

15. 10-point teaser

NY Jets +2½ vs. Denver

Miami +2½ vs. St. Louis

Tampa Bay +6½ vs. New Orleans

 

16. 10-point teaser

Buffalo +3 vs. San Francisco

Baltimore +3 vs. Cincinnati

New England +9 vs. Pittsburgh

 

17. 13-point teaser

Tennessee +2 vs. Detroit

Dallas +1 vs. Seattle

Arizona +16 vs. Philadelphia

NY Jets +5½ vs. Denver

 

18. 13-point teaser

Miami +5½ vs. St. Louis

Tampa Bay +9½ vs. New Orleans

Indianapolis +8 vs. Cleveland

Buffalo +6 vs. San Francisco

 

19. 13-point teaser

Baltimore +6 vs. Cincinnati

New England +12 vs. Pittsburgh

Oakland +10 vs. Kansas City

Miami & St. Louis Under 57

 

20. 13-point teaser

Baltimore & Cincinnati Over 23½

Washington & NY Giants Over 29

Tampa Bay & New Orleans Over 34½

Indianapolis & Cleveland Under 58

 

21. 13-point teaser

Atlanta & San Diego Over 36

Minnesota & Chicago Over 29

Houston & Jacksonville Over 35½

Arizona & Philadelphia Over 33½        

 

AND REMEMBER!!!  Do not use these picks for real.  I have no real money on the line in this mathematical experiment.  I won’t lose a penny if all these wagers lose this week, so you shouldn’t risk a penny on these picks either.  This is strictly for fun.

October 10, 2008

PiRate Ratings Week 6 NFL Previews: October 12-13, 2008

PiRate Ratings For NFL Week Six

 

The PiRate Pro Ratings

 

The NFL version of the PiRate Ratings is not the same as the collegiate version.  The NFL version is strictly a statistical formula than could be reproduced by anybody who knew the equations I use to devise the formula.  No subjective data is used.

 

The formula combines scoring margin, strength of schedule, and early in the season, last year’s scoring margin and strength of schedule.  As the season progresses, last year’s data decreases to where it has little effect by mid-October. 

 

The Mean Ratings

 

Just like the PiRate Ratings, the NFL Mean Ratings are not the same as the collegiate version.  The NFL Mean Ratings consist of a dozen different calculations.  Three calculations consist of different ways to look at point differential and strength of schedule.  Five calculations look at yards gained and allowed rushing and passing and special teams play with the strength of the opponents’ rushing and passing.  Point values are assigned based on each set of data.  The remaining four ratings are my old four pro ratings from the 1970’s and 1980’s.  The 12 ratings are given equal weight, and then I take the average (mean) to get the rating.

 

The Bias Ratings

 

The Bias Ratings consist of five of the components of The Mean Ratings.  The five ratings are not given equal weight.  The five ratings are weighted at 37.5%, 25%, 12.5%, 12.5%, and 12.5%.  I have back tested these ratings and found that this weighting gives the rating its best predictive percentage.

 

Current NFL Standings

(listed alphabetically by division)  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFC East

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Dallas

4

1

0

151

111

109.97

106.14

108.09

2

New York

4

0

0

127

49

110.99

107.61

109.19

2

Philadelphia

2

3

0

127

97

107.44

104.55

104.27

2

Washington

4

1

0

109

98

110.22

106.43

108.20

2

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFC North

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Chicago

3

2

0

128

87

108.76

105.32

105.29

2

Detroit

0

4

0

66

147

80.19

87.10

83.93

3

Green Bay

2

3

0

133

128

101.21

100.01

99.71

2

Minnesota

2

3

0

101

109

103.20

101.93

100.50

2

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFC South

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Atlanta

3

2

0

117

107

99.39

98.31

99.61

2

Carolina

4

1

0

114

70

110.14

105.07

107.31

2

New Orleans

2

3

0

138

130

105.33

101.24

100.78

2

Tampa Bay

3

2

0

114

94

107.69

103.31

103.47

2

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFC West

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Arizona

3

2

0

147

120

106.98

102.26

103.12

3

St. Louis

0

4

0

43

147

73.25

85.65

81.05

2

San Francisco

2

3

0

115

127

92.32

94.27

95.59

3

Seattle

1

3

0

83

124

82.87

93.40

92.92

3

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC East

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Buffalo

4

1

0

126

104

95.52

99.24

102.62

3

Miami

2

2

0

79

74

105.18

100.62

102.43

2

New England

3

1

0

79

79

97.34

101.44

102.83

2

New York

2

2

0

115

116

103.98

100.74

102.22

2

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC North

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Baltimore

2

2

0

75

56

105.99

102.08

103.48

3

Cincinnati

0

5

0

74

118

97.21

96.25

92.76

2

Cleveland

1

3

0

46

78

93.05

96.47

93.17

2

Pittsburgh

4

1

0

103

79

103.82

104.39

105.91

2

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC South

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Houston

0

4

0

83

130

90.59

96.30

92.65

3

Indianapolis

2

2

0

83

94

97.57

100.80

101.54

2

Jacksonville

2

3

0

100

111

97.36

100.41

100.82

3

Tennessee

5

0

0

115

56

111.01

107.17

108.51

2

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC West

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Denver

4

1

0

149

130

103.97

100.89

104.04

2

Kansas City

1

4

0

65

131

87.57

91.16

89.82

2

Oakland

1

3

0

78

101

92.80

95.83

93.00

2

San Diego

2

3

0

148

129

107.07

103.50

103.98

2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFL Previews-Week Six

 

Oakland (1-3) at New Orleans (2-3)

Time:           1PM EDT

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Dome

 

PiRate:         New Orleans by 15 

Mean:           New Orleans by 7

Bias:             New Orleans by 10

Vegas:        New Orleans by 7     -285/+245  

Ov/Un:        47

Strategy:     Over 37 in 10-point teaser, Over 34 in 13-point teaser

 

Oakland has a new coach and is coming off a bye week, whereas New Orleans played Monday night.  How will the Raiders respond?  Also, how much can Darren McFadden play?  These are major issues, and I wouldn’t begin to pick a side in this one, even in teasers.

 

The Saints’ defense cannot be counted on to stop enemy offenses for 60 minutes.  Given an extra week to tweak their offense, I expect the Raiders to score at least 17 points and as much as 25 points this week.  New Orleans is in a must-win situation this week, as a 2-4 start probably puts them too far behind in their division to dig themselves out.  Therefore, I tend to believe New Orleans will find a way to win, but I don’t feel confident enough to pick them at -285 in a money line selection.  I am confident that Drew Brees can pass for 300 yards and direct the offense to 20 or more points, so teasing the Over is how to play this game.

 

Cincinnati (0-5) at New York Jets (2-2)

Time:           1PM EDT

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Sunny, light wind, temperature in the upper 60’s

 

PiRate:         Jets by 9    

Mean:           Jets by 6

Bias:             Jets by 11

Vegas:        Jets by 5½         -240/+200   

Ov/Un:        44½  

Strategy:     Jets -240, Jets +4 ½ in 10-point teaser, Jets +7½ in 13-point teaser

 

The Jets had a bye last week, while Cincinnati had to play a rough game at Dallas.  The 0-5 Bengals must play on the road again this week with a wounded quarterback.  Even if Carson Palmer plays, he won’t be close to 100% effective.  The Jets’ defense ranks in the bottom half of the league after giving up 83 points in their previous two contests, but I expect a vast improvement following a week off.  Brett Favre should be at peak performance as well, so I like the Jets to win outright.  5½ points is tricky, so I’ll go the money line route in this one. 

 

Only one thing worries me this week: there are still four NFL teams looking for their first win of the season in week six.  How many times in the past have four teams continued to remain winless six weeks into the season?  The odds are heavily in favor of one or more of those winless teams winning this week. So, the 13-point teaser gives the Jets more than a TD at home, which I fell is quite safe.

 

Chicago (3-2) at Atlanta (3-2)

Time:           1PM EDT

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Dome

 

PiRate:         Chicago by 7     

Mean:           Chicago by 5

Bias:             Chicago by 4

Vegas:        Chicago by 3      -145/+135  

Ov/Un:        43½  

Strategy:     Atlanta +3, Atlanta +13 in 10-point teaser, Atlanta +16 in 13-point teaser

 

Atlanta is the top surprise in the NFC five weeks into the season.  New coach Mike Smith has the Falcons in the playoff hunt and a win in this game might be enough to guarantee the dirty birds a winning season.  The schedule is not that difficult, and at 4-2, it is easy to see 9-7 or even better for this team.

 

Chicago finds itself alone in first in the old black and blue division.  The Bears are not that far from being 5-0, losing by three at Carolina and in overtime by three to Tampa Bay. 

 

Teams that play consecutive road games and win the first one usually bounce some in the second road game and perform worse than they did in the previous game.  Many teams play much better at home after playing consecutive road games.  Both of these factors are in play this week, so I like the home team to cover in a close game.  As a double-digit ‘dog in teaser plays, Atlanta looks safe.  Chicago destroyed a weak Detroit team last week, and they will face a much tougher opponent this week.  The Falcons will rough them up, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Matt Ryan have his first 200 yard passing game.  The Bears might be able to shut down Michael Turner, or at least limit his effectiveness, but that will be at the expense of giving Ryan more holes to find in the intermediate zones. 

 

Detroit (0-4) at Minnesota (2-3)

Time:           1PM EDT

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Dome

 

PiRate:         Minnesota by 25      

Mean:           Minnesota by 17

Bias:             Minnesota by 19

Vegas:        Minnesota by 13       -600/+450  

Ov/Un:        45½  

Strategy:     Minnesota -3 in 10-point teaser, Minnesota Pk in 13-point teaser, Over 32½ in 13-point teaser

 

This game scares me a little.  Minnesota enjoyed a big win Monday night in New Orleans, while Detroit was reduced to fodder at home against the Bears Sunday.  The Lions have nothing to lose from here on out, as they are basically competing with the Rams for the rights to Tim Tebow, Beanie Wells, or whoever is deemed the top draft choice in 2009.

 

Minnesota is just one game out of first place in the NFC North, where 9-7 could easily win the division title.  Obviously, a loss to the lowly Lions would kill their chances.  The Vikings have an easier schedule left than the Packers, and a win Sunday could possible propel them into a first place tie.

 

Normally, you could expect Minnesota to come out flat in this situation and lay an egg.  If Detroit was as good as less than mediocre Cleveland, I would pick the Lions as an upset possibility this week.  However, with Jon Kitna likely out for this game and Calvin Johnson probably playing at less than 100% strength, what weapons can Detroit use effectively? 

 

Adrian Peterson is going to think he is facing the Baylor defense when he played at Oklahoma.  Detroit cannot stop average backs, so expect Peterson to have a memorable day.

 

St. Louis (0-4) at Washington (4-1)

Time:           1PM EDT

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Sunny, light wind, temperature around 70

 

PiRate:         Washington by 39   

Mean:           Washington by 23

Bias:             Washington by 29

Vegas:        Washington by 13½       -625/+450   

Ov/Un:        44

Strategy:     St. Louis +23½ in 10-point teaser, St. Louis +26½ in 13-point teaser, Washington -3½ in 10-point teaser, Washington -½ in 13-point teaser, Over 34 in 10-point teaser, Over 31 in 13-point teaser   

 

Could this be a mini-trap game?  The Rams find themselves in the same situation as the Raiders this week.  They are coming off a bye with a new head coach to play a road game against a team that was extended for 60 minutes the previous game.  There are two differences between the former L.A. teams. The Raiders at least can play a little defense, whereas the Rams play matador defense.  However, the Rams still have Marc Bulger who is capable of throwing for 300 yards and leading his team on a scoring binge.  That’s a remote possibility at best, but the Redskins have to cover by two touchdowns against this possibility.

 

I won’t go with either team at + or -13½.  However, both sides look playable in a 10 or 13-point teaser.  The Redskins have yet to blow out an opponent, so asking them to cover at 23½ or 26½ points is a big stretch.  Likewise, at -3½ or -½, the home team looks great.  Teasing the totals looks promising this week.  The Rams have given up 31 or more points in every game this year, and even if they improve by 14 points off their 37 points per game allowed average, they should score at least 14 themselves this week.    

 

Carolina (4-1) at Tampa Bay (3-2)

Time:           1PM EDT

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Thunderstorms possible in the 2nd half, light wind, temperature in mid 80’s and likely dropping if rain occurs

 

PiRate:         Pick      

Mean:           Pick

Bias:             Carolina by 2

Vegas:        Tampa Bay by 1       -120/+110  

Ov/Un:        36½  

Strategy:     Tampa Bay -1, Tampa Bay +9 in 10-point teaser, Tampa Bay +12 in 13-point teaser, Over 26½ in 10-point teaser, Over 23½ in 13-point teaser 

 

This game is one where you need to check back Friday evening to peruse the injury report.  Will Brian Griese be able to play Sunday?  If not, then what difference will it make for Jeff Garcia to start?  Garcia has played in two games this year.  The Bucs lost both.  Griese has started and finished three games this year; the Bucs won all three.  The stats of the two QBs are about the same, but Tampa Bay just doesn’t score as many points when Garcia runs the offense.

 

Carolina in week six is a good touchdown or more improved from the team that opened the season.  The Panthers could take a commanding lead in the NFC South with a win and a Falcons’ loss this week.

 

Therefore, I recommend that you use the above sides’ strategies only if you are missing one piece of a three or four team parlay.  I do have more confidence in the totals’ teasers.

 

Miami (2-2) at Houston (0-4)

Time:           1PM EDT

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Partly Cloudy, light wind, temperature in the mid 80’s

 

PiRate:         Miami by 12      

Mean:           Miami by 1

Bias:             Miami by 7

Vegas:        Houston by 3     -150/+130  

Ov/Un:        45

Strategy:     Houston +7 in 10-point teaser, Under 55 in 10-point teaser (but not so hot on these two)

 

Like the previous game, I am not so hot on this game.  Houston is still a team in flux following the hurricane.  The Texans have the talent to beat Miami by 10 points, but some of the players may be about ready to fold on this season.

 

Miami is a team on the rise.  The Dolphins have just enough talent and a nice gimmick offense to sneak out of town with their third consecutive victory.  I think they have a 60% chance of winning this game outright, but I believe if they win, the Texans have a 75% chance of losing by less than a touchdown.

 

I think Miami will try to control the clock and make this game a lower than expected outcome.  Again, I warn only to use the strategies above if you need a third or fourth part of a parlay.

 

Baltimore (2-2) at Indianapolis (2-2)

Time:           1PM EDT

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Dome

 

PiRate:         Baltimore by 6  

Mean:           Indianapolis by 1

Bias:             Pick

Vegas:        Indianapolis by 3½        -190/+160   

Ov/Un:        38½  

Strategy:     Indianapolis -3½, Indianapolis, +6½ in 10-point teaser, Indianapolis +9½ in 13-point teaser, Over 25½ in 13-point teaser   

 

This game looks like the top play of the week.  Baltimore just played two emotional games against two physical teams and lost both games.  The come into this game with numerous injuries to key personnel (Willis McGahee, Ray Lewis, Fabian Washington, Derrick Mason).  Even if they all play, they won’t be nearly as effective as they normally would play.

 

Peyton Manning now has four games under his belt following his knee surgery.  He missed all of the preseason, so this game is almost like his normal opening game.  His stats have slowly improved as the season has progressed, and the Colts’ offense has gotten a little better each week.  If Washington cannot go for the Ravens, Manning will pick apart the Baltimore secondary.  As long as he gets protection, Indianapolis should move the ball more effectively than any Raven opponent to date.

 

I foresee a Colt double digit win this week.  Their real liability is their run defense, but Baltimore may have to go without McGahee or at the best with him playing on an injured ankle. Le’Ron McClain isn’t going to rush for 100 yards and exploit that liability.

 

I’m going with the Colts to win this one by a score similar to 24-13.  So, my strategies for this game include using the Colts straight up and in teasers, as well as teasing the Over with the belief that Indianapolis will continue to improve offensively and be opportunistic defensively.  

 

Jacksonville (2-3) at Denver (4-1)

Time:           4:05PM EDT

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Thunderstorms possible, considerable winds, temperature in the mid 50’s

 

PiRate:         Denver by 9

Mean:           Denver by 2

Bias:             Denver by 5

Vegas:        Denver by 3 -175/+155  

Ov/Un:        48½  

Strategy:     Jacksonville +13 in 10-point teaser, Jacksonville +16 in 13-point teaser, Under 58½ in 10-point teaser, Under 61½ in 13-point teaser

 

The Broncos’ offense has taken a step back in recent weeks after looking more like the 2007 Patriots at the beginning of the season.  Not having Selvin Young, Ryan Torain, Tony Scheffler, and maybe Eddie Royal on hand this week isn’t going to make things any better.  Denver will have to pass, pass, pass to a group of less experienced players, and Jacksonville will be able to adjust their blitz packages to take advantage of this fact.

 

The Jaguars will continue to try to control the clock with the short passing game and power running in short yardage situations.  It’s hard to be perfect for long drives all day long on an opponent’s field, so they must play better defense if they plan on winning this game. 

 

This game isn’t far from being a tossup given the injuries on the Broncos’ side of the field.  If you take the underdog in a teaser, you get a nice amount of points.  Denver might have a 55-60% chance of winning this game, but they have maybe a 10-15% chance of winning by more than two touchdowns.  I’ll take the 13 and 16 points in the teasers.  Because I believe Jacksonville will try to shorten the game, I like teasing the Under as well.  If the forecasted rain comes, it could help us a little here.

 

Green Bay (2-3) at Seattle (1-3)

Time:           4:15PM EDT

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Sunny, light wind, temperature in upper 50’s

 

PiRate:         Green Bay by 15      

Mean:           Green Bay by 4

Bias:             Green Bay by 4

Vegas:        Seattle by 2       -120/+110  

Ov/Un:        45½  

Strategy:     Green Bay +12 in 10-point teaser, Green Bay +15 in 13-point teaser, Over 35½ in 10-point teaser, Over 32½ in 13-point teaser 

 

We have two teams going in the same direction in this game, but unfortunately it is the wrong direction.  Seattle was the odds-on favorite to win the NFC West, but injuries have made them a mere shell of their former selves.  They never really play well on the East Coast, but they also lost at home to San Francisco.

 

Green Bay has dropped three games in a row, and the Packer defense is not getting the job done.  They cannot give up 28 points per game and think about the playoffs much less having a winning season.  Even Brett Favre would be struggling to win games if he was directing the Packers’ offense and having to score 30 points every week to win.

 

I believe the loser of this game will be out of the playoff hunt, so it becomes a must-win game for both teams.  The players on both sides probably realize this, so I expect a great game that goes down to the wire.  As I previously stated, I like teasing the underdog when I perceive a possible tossup game.  It’s like getting extra points.  Since I don’t have much faith in these two defenses, it’s understood that I would like teasing the Over as well.

 

Philadelphia (2-3) at San Francisco (2-3)

Time:           4:15PM EDT

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Sunny, considerable wind, temperature in mid to upper 60’s

 

PiRate:         Philadelphia by 12  

Mean:           Philadelphia by 7

Bias:             Philadelphia by 6

Vegas:        Philadelphia by 5     -230/+190  

Ov/Un:        42½  

Strategy:     San Francisco +5, San Francisco +15 in 10-point teaser, San Francisco +18 in 13-point teaser, Over 32½ in 10-point teaser, Over 29½ in 13-point teaser 

 

Philadelphia’s 2008 plight can be summed up by reading the book A Tale of Two Cities.  When Brian Westbrook has been healthy, it has been the best of times in the city of brotherly love.  When Westbrook has been injured, it has been the worst of times in Philly.

 

Westbrook is out for this game, so I expect something close to the worst of times for the Eagles.  Add to this trouble that Donovan McNabb is far from healthy and Wide out Reggie Brown will miss the game.  Former star Kevin Curtis should finally get on the field for the first time this year, but he won’t be ready to have a 100-yard receiving day right out of the box.  I just don’t see the Eagles topping 20 points in this game.  Against a weaker than average 49er defense, they will score more than 14, but 17 points may be about their limit unless the defense and/or special teams contribute to the scoring load.

 

San Francisco is one of the hardest teams to figure out.  J.T. O’Sullivan has proven he is a legitimate starter in the NFL and is running the Mike Martz offense almost as competently as Marc Bulger and Kurt Warner ran it.  Frank Gore is keeping defenses honest.  The 49ers just cannot stop anybody.  Even a wounded Eagles’ offense should pick up 300-350 yards and the aforementioned 17 points.

 

I am going with the 49ers to win this game for a couple of reasons.  First, this is a must-win game for them.  At 2-4, they will be in too much of a hole to make up in a division where only the winner is going to qualify for a playoff spot.  Second, Philadelphia is 10 points weaker without Westbrook than they would be if he was healthy.  Third, Philadelphia is making a cross-country trip a week after being extended to the final gun against Washington, while San Francisco is at home for the second week in a row.  Finally, a loss in this game will start the ball rolling for the dismissal of Coach Mike Nolan. 

 

I see San Francisco playing their best game of the year this week and pulling off the upset.  So, I like them straight up at +5½ as well as in teasers.  I look for them to win 24-17, so I like teasing the Over as well.  If you can find a money line that has SF +220 or higher, then it might be worth a little bit of a gamble, but I won’t pursue that at +190.

 

Dallas (4-1) at Arizona (3-2)

Time:           4:15PM EDT

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Sunny, considerable wind, temperature in mid to upper 70’s

 

PiRate:         Pick      

Mean:           Dallas by 1

Bias:             Dallas by 2

Vegas:        Dallas by 5         -220/+180  

Ov/Un:        50

Strategy:     Arizona +15 in 10-point teaser, Arizona +18 in 13-point teaser

 

Dallas has played a wee bit below their predicted expectations the last two weeks.  Arizona has lived up to their billing as a force to be reckoned with this year.  The Cardinals have the lead in the NFC West, and it looks like 9-7 could get them into the playoffs as division winner.

 

The Cardinals’ two home wins look more impressive now that Miami is playing so much better.  They look strong enough to beat just about anybody at University of Phoenix Stadium.

 

Dallas has the potential to go on the road and win by 14 or more points, but if they continue to play like they have the best two weeks, they could also find themselves in trouble in this game.

 

I am going with the percentages and progressions here in this game.  Give me the home team and more than two touchdowns, and I will be happy, especially when I get Kurt Warner and more than two touchdowns.

 

New England (3-1) at San Diego (2-3)

Time:           8:15PM EDT

TV:               NBC

Forecast:     Sunny, then clear after dark, considerable wind, temperature falling from mid 60’s to upper 50’s

                    

 

PiRate:         San Diego by 12      

Mean:           San Diego by 4

Bias:             San Diego by 3

Vegas:        San Diego by 5         -220/+200  

Ov/Un:        45

Strategy:     None

 

I do not like the two prime time games this week.  This game is between two very inconsistent teams.  Which New England team will we see this week?  Will it be the team that struggled to edge the hapless Chiefs and saw the Dolphins blow them off their home field, or will it be the team that held Brett Favre and the Jets to 10 points and won all the way across the country last week?

 

San Diego keeps finding ways to lose games, but they also scored like they were a basketball team in their prior prime time game.

 

I’ll leave this one alone.  It is too risky.

 

New York Giants (4-0) at Cleveland (1-3)

Time:           8:30PM EDT Monday

TV:               ESPN

Forecast:     Partly cloudy, light wind, temperature falling through the 60’s

 

PiRate:         Giants by 16     

Mean:           Giants by 9

Bias:             Giants by 14

Vegas:        Giants by 7½     -325/+265   

Ov/Un:        43½  

Strategy:     None

 

Sooner or later, Cleveland is going to break through with a big game on offense.  They had a week off to prepare for this game, and they have too many weapons on the attack side not to bust loose eventually.  I watched these two teams play in the preseason, and the Browns gave the Giants 23 points in gifts yet still lost by three.  Obviously, the preseason is not an accurate gauge, but I believe the Browns are itching to show the defending Super Bowl champions their best effort.

 

The one thing that worries me is the health of Kellen Winslow.  He may not be able to go Monday night, but even if he misses the game, I can still see Cleveland having their best game of the year.

 

The Giants can still win this game by 10 points even if the Browns play their best game of the year.  Their defense is starting to look like one of those great stop troops of yesteryear.  You know the type I am talking about; I’m referring to those defenses that have been immortalized with a fancy nickname like the Purple People Eaters, the Fearsome Foursome, the Steel Curtain, the Doomsday Defense, the No-name Defense, etc.  They are on pace to give up less than 200 points (that equates to less than 175 points when comparing to the teams from the 14-game schedule era).

 

Two things worry me this week about the Giants.  First, even with a tough taskmaster like Tom Coughlin on the sidelines, the Giants won with such ease against Seattle last week and can only be a little too cocky this week.  They will definitely bounce some.  Second, New York has played three home games and just one road game, which was at St. Louis.  This is their first road game against a team that has enough talent to score points against their defense.

 

The problem with this game is that there are too many variables.  I like the Browns’ prospects in this game.  I think they have a better than expected chance of keeping this one close and having a shot at the big upset.  However, if this isn’t the week they awaken from their offensive slumber, this game could be another snoozer for the fans.  It isn’t one to consider in my strategies.

 

The Imaginary Bank Account Makes It Five-for-Five

 

It wasn’t pretty, but after the smoke cleared Sunday night in Jacksonville, I was a winner for the fifth consecutive week.  My picks finished 7-4 for the week, running my record to 34-16-3 for the season (68%).

 

Due to the fact that I lost a money line pick, my profit was only $80, bringing my year-to-date profit to $1,345.00.  That gives me a return on investment of 25.4%.  The come from behind victory by Washington was the killer, as if Philadelphia had held on in the fourth quarter, the difference in 7-4 and 8-3 would have been an extra $360.  Oh well, I’ll just have to be glad with being able to maintain 100% winning weeks a month and a half into the season.

 

Last week, it was the straight wagers that won for me, as I went 4-1 in those five picks, while going just 3-3 in the 10-point teasers.  I have noticed that a lot of my teaser losses have come about because one team or one total in the parlay failed to cover by one or two points.  It kills you to watch a team elect to go for a touchdown late in the game and miss on fourth down when a field goal would have covered your wager, but such is life.  Losing by one or two points should be rectifiable by playing some 13-point teasers.  Of course, it could just be the new way to lose by one or two points, and I still have a 100% record of winning weeks, so I could be setting myself up for disaster.  Remember this!  I don’t really have anything monetary to worry about since I don’t actually wager with money.  So, I can gamble a little with four-team, 13-point teaser parlays and sleep comfortably this weekend. 

 

Here are my wagers for week six (all wagered to win $100):

 

1. New York Jets -240 vs. Cincinnati

 

2. Atlanta +3 vs. Chicago

 

3. Tampa Bay -1 vs. Carolina

 

4. Indianapolis -3½ vs. Baltimore

 

5. San Francisco +5 vs. Philadelphia

 

6. 10-point teaser

       A. Atlanta +13 vs. Chicago

       B. Minnesota -3 vs. Detroit

       C. Washington -3½ vs. St. Louis

 

7. 10-point teaser

       A. Tampa Bay +9 vs. Carolina

       B. Indianapolis +6½ vs. Baltimore

       C. Jacksonville +13 vs. Denver

 

8. 10-point teaser

       A. Green Bay +12 vs. Seattle

       B. San Francisco +15 vs. Philadelphia

       C. Tampa Bay & Carolina Over 26½

 

9. 10-point teaser

       A. Green Bay & Seattle Over 35½

       B. San Francisco & Philadelphia Over 32½

       C. Arizona +15 vs. Dallas

 

10. 13-point teaser

       A. New York Jets +7½ vs. Cincinnati

       B. Atlanta +16 vs. Chicago

       C. Minnesota Pk vs. Detroit

       D. St. Louis +26½ vs. Washington

 

11. 13-point teaser

       A. Detroit & Minnesota Over 32½

       B. Washington -½ vs. St. Louis

       C. Tampa Bay +12 vs. Carolina

       D. Indianapolis & Baltimore Over 25½

 

12. 13-point teaser

       A. Tampa Bay & Carolina Over 23½

       B. Indianapolis +9½ over Baltimore

       C. Jacksonville +16 vs. Denver

       D. Green Bay +15 vs. Seattle

 

13. 13-point teaser

       A. Green Bay & Seattle Over 32½

       B. San Francisco +18 vs. Philadelphia

       C. San Francisco & Philadelphia Over 29½

       D. Arizona +18 vs. Dallas              

 

AND REMEMBER!!!  Do not use these picks for real.  I have no real money on the line in this mathematical experiment.  I won’t lose a penny if all nine wagers lose this week, so you shouldn’t risk a penny on these picks either.  This is strictly for fun.

October 3, 2008

PiRate Ratings Week 5 NFL Previews: October 5-6, 2008

PiRate Ratings For NFL Week Five

 

The PiRate Pro Ratings

 

The NFL version of the PiRate Ratings is not the same as the collegiate version.  The NFL version is strictly a statistical formula than could be reproduced by anybody who knew the equations I use to devise the formula.  No subjective data is used.

 

The formula combines scoring margin, strength of schedule, and early in the season, last year’s scoring margin and strength of schedule.  As the season progresses, last year’s data decreases to where it has little effect by mid-October. 

 

The Mean Ratings

 

Just like the PiRate Ratings, the NFL Mean Ratings are not the same as the collegiate version.  The NFL Mean Ratings consist of a dozen different calculations.  Three calculations consist of different ways to look at point differential and strength of schedule.  Five calculations look at yards gained and allowed rushing and passing and special teams play with the strength of the opponents’ rushing and passing.  Point values are assigned based on each set of data.  The remaining four ratings are my old four pro ratings from the 1970’s and 1980’s.  The 12 ratings are given equal weight, and then I take the average (mean) to get the rating.

 

The Bias Ratings

 

The Bias Ratings consist of five of the components of The Mean Ratings.  The five ratings are not given equal weight.  The five ratings are weighted at 37.5%, 25%, 12.5%, 12.5%, and 12.5%.  I have back tested these ratings and found that this weighting gives the rating its best predictive percentage.

 

Current NFL Standings & Ratings

(alphabetically by division)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFC East

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

PiRate

Mean

Biased

HTA

Dallas Cowboys

3

1

0

120

89

105.62

110.24

106.84

2

New York Giants

3

0

0

83

43

106.18

107.84

105.87

2

Philadelphia Eagles

2

2

0

110

74

104.29

109.20

104.57

2

Washington Redskins

3

1

0

86

81

106.50

107.53

106.48

2

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFC North

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

PiRate

Mean

Biased

HTA

Chicago Bears

2

2

0

94

80

108.05

107.28

103.74

2

Detroit Lions

0

3

0

59

113

77.87

91.85

85.61

3

Green Bay Packers

2

2

0

109

101

97.22

105.01

102.32

2

Minnesota Vikings

1

3

0

71

82

98.76

103.91

100.00

2

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFC South

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

PiRate

Mean

Biased

HTA

Atlanta Falcons

2

2

0

90

83

92.71

99.62

97.33

2

Carolina Panthers

3

1

0

80

70

107.98

105.90

105.24

2

New Orleans Saints

2

2

0

111

100

110.15

105.57

105.01

2

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

3

1

0

101

78

109.21

107.44

106.40

2

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFC West

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

PiRate

Mean

Biased

HTA

Arizona Cardinals

2

2

0

106

103

98.46

101.91

100.74

3

St. Louis Rams

0

4

0

43

147

73.72

89.51

83.12

2

San Francisco 49ers

2

2

0

94

97

88.35

98.50

97.44

3

Seattle Seahawks

1

2

0

67

70

90.56

100.41

97.66

3

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC East

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

PiRate

Mean

Biased

HTA

Buffalo Bills

4

0

0

109

63

106.64

98.99

104.80

3

Miami Dolphins

1

2

0

62

64

95.36

94.46

95.63

2

New England Patriots

2

1

0

49

58

94.77

96.65

101.35

2

New York Jets

2

2

0

115

116

99.40

96.86

99.92

2

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC North

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

PiRate

Mean

Biased

HTA

Baltimore Ravens

2

1

0

65

43

102.14

98.35

102.57

3

Cincinnati Bengals

0

4

0

52

87

96.20

92.47

91.80

2

Cleveland Browns

1

3

0

46

78

91.71

93.68

94.15

2

Pittsburgh Steelers

3

1

0

77

58

100.53

100.52

103.28

2

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC South

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

PiRate

Mean

Biased

HTA

Houston Texans

0

3

0

56

99

91.61

93.98

92.99

3

Indianapolis Colts

1

2

0

52

67

99.93

97.50

101.36

2

Jacksonville Jaguars

2

2

0

79

85

102.80

98.58

102.75

3

Tennessee Titans

4

0

0

102

46

111.36

103.45

106.63

2

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC West

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

PiRate

Mean

Biased

HTA

Denver Broncos

3

1

0

133

117

108.27

96.97

102.92

2

Kansas City Chiefs

1

3

0

65

97

85.33

90.22

90.98

2

Oakland Raiders

1

3

0

78

101

94.83

93.54

94.74

2

San Diego Chargers

2

2

0

138

112

111.16

101.91

105.68

2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFL Previews-Week Five

 

Kansas City (1-3) at Carolina (3-1)

Time:           1PM EDT

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Sunny, light wind, temperatures 75-80

 

PiRate:         Carolina by 25  

Mean:           Carolina by 18

Bias:             Carolina by 16

Vegas:        Carolina by 9½         -420/+350  

Ov/Un:        38

Strategy:     Kansas City +19½ in a 10-point teaser, Carolina +½ in a 10-point teaser, Over 28 in a 10-point teaser

 

Kansas City looked like a different team against Denver last week, but the Chiefs won’t run the ball for 200+ yards this week against the Panthers’ defense.  Damon Huard completed a bunch of safe passes last week, but I believe he will have to throw the ball downfield more to give his team a chance to win Sunday.

 

Carolina is not the type of team that will beat an opponent 35-10.  Their 15-point win over Atlanta last week is about the limit of their ability to win.  The Panthers should move to 4-1, but I think this will be an entertaining game for most of the day.  I’m looking for Carolina to win by about 10-14 points in the neighborhood of 27-17 to 27-13.   

 

Tennessee (4-0) at Baltimore (2-1)

Time:           1PM EDT            

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Partly cloudy, light wind, temperature around 65

 

PiRate:        Tennessee by 6

Mean:           Tennessee by 2

Bias:             Tennessee by 1

Vegas:        Tennessee by 3        -150/+130

Ov/Un:        33

Strategy:     Under 43 in 10-point teaser, Baltimore +13 in 10-point teaser          

 

If you really loved the old Packers-Vikings games back in the days when Coaches Lombardi and Grant went head-to-head, this is a must-watch game for you.  These two teams are no longer in the same division, but the rivalry is still as strong as ever.  They hate each other, and it will lead to a death-match in Baltimore. 

 

The Ravens just don’t allow teams to run the ball, and Tennessee is one of the most run-dependent teams in the NFL.  The Titans have little if any weakness on the defensive side, and they will throw multiple blitz packages at rookie quarterback Joe Flacco.  I cannot see either team winning by more than a touchdown, so I am playing the home team in a 10-point teaser.  Additionally, since I believe they are going to beat each other up, I expect the final score to be around 17-13.  Keep an eye on the Raven’s injuries in this game.  They must play at Indianapolis next week, and they are almost guaranteed to bounce.  The Titans have a bye next week, and they couldn’t have asked for a better time for it.

 

San Diego (2-2) at Miami (1-2)

Time:           1PM EDT            

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Scattered thunderstorms, windy, temperature in low 80’s

 

PiRate:        San Diego by 14

Mean:           San Diego by 5

Bias:             San Diego by 4

Vegas:        San Diego by 6½            -260/+220

Ov/Un:        45

Strategy:     Miami +16½ in 10-point teaser, Over 35 in 10-point teaser  

 

Miami actually used a real single wing offense with unbalanced line two weeks ago against New England, and the Patriots were caught with their pants down.  The Dolphins scored four touchdowns in just a handful of single wing plays, including a brilliant touchdown pass from the hands of tailback Ronnie Brown.  What’s next? Is Brown going to punt out of this formation and become a true triple-threat? 

 

Anything that upsets a teams’ normal weekly routine has an effect on the scoreboard on Sunday.  The Chargers aren’t the best defensive team in the AFC, and they have been forced to prepare for the possibility that the Dolphins will not only use it again this week, but they might have added more to the package.  I expect Miami to run this old-time formation about five to eight times, as any more usage will kill its effectiveness.

 

For these reasons, I think this should be a higher than expected scoring game, and Miami will stay in this game for longer than most people expect.  In fact, if the Dolphins’ defense can force Phillip Rivers to beat them instead of LaDainian Tomlinson, they have a decent shot at another upset.

 

Seattle (1-2) at New York Giants (3-0)

Time:           1PM EDT

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Mostly sunny, light wind, temperature around 65

 

PiRate:        New York by 18

Mean:           New York by 9

Bias:             New York by 10

Vegas:        New York by 7          -330/+270

Ov/Un:        43½

Strategy:     New York -7, New York +3 in 10-point teaser, Over 33½ in 10-point teaser

 

Both teams had two weeks to prepare for this game.  The last time these two teams played a game when both they and their opponents had two weeks to prepare were their two most recent Super Bowl games.  The Giants fared rather well in their Super Bowl, while the Seahawks did not.  That’s not the only reason I like the Giants this week.  Seattle just doesn’t show up when they travel from coast to coast.  Buffalo drilled them 34-10 in week one, so the trend continues in 2008.

 

New York can realistically think about a 6-0 start before heading to Pittsburgh in week eight.  The Giants are winning games in the same manner as they finished 2007-with strong defense and ball-control offense.  They are emulating the Packers of the 1960’s.  This team is not resting on its laurels, and Coach Tom Coughlin, like Vince Lombardi, is too tough of a guy to allow the team to just show up expecting to win.  I think the Giants can win by 14 or more points in this game, so I like them straight up as well as in a teaser.  I’m considering teasing the Over because 34 total points is easily possible in this game.

 

Washington (3-1) at Philadelphia (2-2)

Time:           1PM EDT

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Partly cloudy, light wind, temperature around 65

 

PiRate:        Pick

Mean:           Philadelphia by 4

Bias:             Pick

Vegas:        Philadelphia by 6            -260/+220

Ov/Un:        42

Strategy:     Washington +16 in 10-point teaser, Over 32 in 10-point teaser, Philadelphia -260, Philadelphia +4 in 10-point teaser           

 

They’re talking do-or-die up in the City of Brotherly Love.  While the Phillies are getting the headlines, the Eagles cannot afford to begin the season 2-3 in the league’s top division.  It’s possible that three NFC East teams will make the playoffs for the second straight year, but the Eagles could be the odd team out once again if they fall two games behind the other three teams.

 

The Redskins rode an emotional high all week after thumping the Cowboys in Big D last Sunday.  They can only bounce this week, but this will still be a close game.  Washington has played four close games so far, while the Eagles have played three consecutive nail-biters after toying with the St. Louis Lambs.  There’s no reason to think this game will be any different.  It should be exciting, but I think the Eagles will be ready to stay in the playoff hunt.  I’m looking at a final score of Philadelphia 24  Washington 20.

 

Indianapolis (1-2) at Houston (0-3)

Time:           1PM EDT

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Sunny, light wind, temperature near 85 (this game will be an outdoor game due to roof damage at Reliant Stadium)

 

PiRate:        Indianapolis by 5

Mean:           Indianapolis by 1

Bias:             Indianapolis by 5

Vegas:        Indianapolis by 3            -170/+150

Ov/Un:        47

Strategy:     Indianapolis -3, Indianapolis +7 in 10-point teaser, Over 37 in 10-point teaser, Indianapolis -170

 

Either the Colts are going to get off the mat and begin to play like the Colts that we all know, or this is going to quickly become a long season in Indy.  They are heading into a shootout in Houston this week, as the Texans finally get a home game.  Reliant Stadium has undergone some changes thank to Ike’s Construction Company.  That blowhard Ike took off the roof and temporarily turned it into an open venue. 

 

If Houston wins this game, Peyton’s place will be last in the AFC South.  I just cannot see that happening, especially when Indianapolis had a week off to prepare.  The Colts should square their record and win this game by at least a touchdown.  I also think this week will see them reaching 28 points for the first time this year, so I like teasing the Over.  My guess at the final score is 28-17 Indianapolis.

 

Atlanta (2-2) at Green Bay (2-2)

Time:           1PM EDT

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Scattered showers, light wind, temperature in low 50’s

 

PiRate:        Green Bay by 7

Mean:           Green Bay by 7

Bias:             Green Bay by 7

Vegas:        No Line        (Aaron Rodgers ?)

Ov/Un:        No Line

Strategy:     N/A

 

As of Friday morning, Aaron Rodgers is still questionable for this game, so no official line has been issued.  Rodgers is probably worth 5-7 points, so if Matt Flynn starts and plays, Green Bay is in trouble.  The Falcons are capable of winning a low-scoring game on the road with two rookie quarterbacks playing.  The weather may also force both teams to stick to a ground game.

 

Chicago (2-2) at Detroit (0-3)

Time:           1PM EDT

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Dome

 

PiRate:        Chicago by 27

Mean:           Chicago by 12

Bias:             Chicago by 15

Vegas:        Chicago by 3½         -200/+170

Ov/Un:        44½  

Strategy:     Detroit +13½ in a 10-point teaser, Under 54½ in 10-point teaser

 

Chicago has a chance to take over first place in the old black and blue division.  If Rodgers cannot go for Green Bay, Chicago could easily be alone at the top of the standings if they can edge an old, weak rival this week.

 

Don’t expect Detroit to hand over the game to the Bears.  The Lions can score points, and they could force Chicago to reach the 30-point mark to beat them.  The Lions have had an extra week to prepare for this game, and they could be this week’s Kansas City Chiefs.  I don’t believe Chicago is capable of blowing Detroit off their home field, so I like the 10-point teaser in this one.  Since I believe the Bears will try to control the clock and hold the score down, I also like the Under in a teaser.  This game could easily be a 24-21 affair.  Even if it goes to overtime at 24-24, a touchdown won’t kill the teaser.  However, a big day by Devin Hester and/or Calvin Johnson could push the total over 55.

 

Tampa Bay (3-1) at Denver (3-1)

Time:           4:05 PM EDT

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Isolated thunderstorms, light wind, temperature around 60

 

PiRate:        Denver by 1

Mean:           Tampa Bay by 8

Bias:             Tampa Bay by 1

Vegas:        Denver by 3       -170/+150

Ov/Un:        47½

Strategy:     Tampa Bay +13 in 10-point teaser, Over 37½ in 10-point teaser

 

This should be a quite entertaining game.  I call it close to a 50-50 tossup.  The Broncos were tamed in Kansas City last week, and they should be more focused for this game and not suffer a four turnover repeat.

 

Tampa Bay’s offense has improved a little every week thus far, and the Bucs have to be considered a serious contender for the NFC Championship.  Their defense is strong enough to keep Jay Cutler and company from scoring 30 points, but I think Denver is still capable of scoring 24-28 points.

 

Denver’s defense has yet to prove they can stop a competent offense, and Tampa Bay should easily top 20 points in this one.  Denver has a 55-60% chance of winning outright, but they won’t win convincingly, and the game should still be up for grabs well into the fourth quarter.  Thus, I like the underdog Bucs getting double digits in a 10-point teaser, and I like the Over in a teaser.

 

Cincinnati (0-4) at Dallas (3-1)

Time:           4:15 PM EDT            

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Partly cloudy, windy, temperature in upper 80’s

 

PiRate:        Dallas by 11

Mean:           Dallas by 20

Bias:             Dallas by 17

Vegas:        Dallas by 17              -1500/+1100

Ov/Un:        44

Strategy:     Cincinnati +27 in 10-point teaser, Over 34 in 10-point teaser

 

This is purely a numbers’ pick here.  I don’t think Cincinnati has a chance to win this game, even if Carson Palmer is able to play.  I don’t think they can stay within 10 points of Dallas even if Palmer has a 250 yard passing day.  However, 27 points is just plain ridiculous to get in a teaser.  Dallas could jump out to a 28-0 lead and then cruise to a 38-14 win, and they wouldn’t cover at 27.

 

The Cowboys have an excellent shot at topping 35 points and satisfying the Over in a teaser, but for our sake let’s hope we get that 38-14 blowout and nothing worse.

 

Buffalo (4-0) at Arizona (2-2)

Time:           4:15 PM EDT

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Partly cloudy, windy, temperature around 80

 

PiRate:        Buffalo by 5

Mean:           Buffalo by 6

Bias:             Buffalo by 1

Vegas:        Pick              Arizona -115, Buffalo -105

Ov/Un:        44½  

Strategy:     Arizona Pk, Arizona +10 in 10-point teaser, Over 34½ in 10-point teaser

 

I’ve been keying on this game all week.  I think the Cardinals should be favored by at least a field goal, and it looks like the start of a nice gift as a pick.  Right off the bat, a 10-point teaser looks like a 13-point cushion to me. 

 

Buffalo is a good team, but they are not so good that they can go on the road 2,000 miles and beat a playoff-quality team.  I just don’t see the Bills at 5-0 on Monday morning. 

 

Arizona has only played one home game, and they looked strong in their destruction of the Dolphins.  When Miami thumped New England the following week, the 21-point Cardinals’ victory looked even better.  Throw in the fact that the Bills are making a second consecutive road trip, and I think they will be just a little off this week.  I like the Cardinals to win outright at home, and I could see this one becoming a shootout.  My guess is Arizona will win by a score similar to 35-28.

 

New England (2-1) at San Francisco (2-2)

Time:           4:15 PM EDT

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Showers likely, windy, temperature in mid to upper 60’s

 

PiRate:        New England by 3

Mean:           San Francisco by 5

Bias:             New England by 1

Vegas:        New England by 3           -200/+170

Ov/Un:        41

Strategy:     San Francisco +13 in 10-point teaser

 

This game is this week’s toughest for me to gauge.  New England lost big at home against Miami two weeks ago.  With two weeks to prepare for the 49er passing game, the Patriots’ defense should be up to the challenge.  I think they will hold J. T. O’Sullivan below his average of 240 passing yards per game. 

 

San Francisco has moved the ball this year, but the 49ers have struggled to put points on the board at times.  Their current average of 14.2 yards gained per point scored is not going to get them into the playoffs, but it could allow them to win this game.  They are likely to struggle to reach 300 yards in this game.  If they gain 280 total yards, that would mean they would fail to score 20 points.  However, the Patriots haven’t scored 20 points in any of their first three games.  Throw in the fact that they are traveling west more than 3,000 miles, and the edge begins to tilt toward the upstart home team.

 

Whether or not San Francisco can win and possibly stay in a first place tie in the weak NFC West is up for debate, but I cannot see New England winning by 14 points.  Thus, I think taking the 49ers in a 10-point teaser is the way to go with this game.

 

Pittsburgh (3-1) at Jacksonville (2-2)

Time:           8:15 PM EDT

TV:               NBC

Forecast:     Clear, windy, temperature dropping from 80 to the low 70’s

 

PiRate:        Jacksonville by 5

Mean:           Jacksonville by 1

Bias:             Jacksonville by 2

Vegas:        Jacksonville by 4             -215/+185

Ov/Un:        36

Strategy:     Over 36, Over 26 in 10-point teaser, Jacksonville +6 in 10-point teaser 

 

If you have Ben Roethlisberger on your fantasy team, you could see him throw the ball 40-50 times this week.  I’m not into fantasies, so the only way that could help me is to see Big Ben connect on 25-30 of those passes for 300-400 yards and a couple of touchdowns.  What that would do is make this game a higher than expected offensive exhibition.

 

Jacksonville likes to hold onto the ball for long drives and take chunks off the clock, but I don’t think the Jaguars can do that against the Steelers’ defense.  The Jags gave up 27 to Houston, and Pittsburgh should top 20 as well even with no running attack whatsoever.  What it means to me is that Jacksonville should score points aplenty this week and win by a score of something like 31-24.  The Over 26 becomes my top priority in a 10-point teaser parlay, and if I was an aggressive guy, I might play this in every parlay.  Since my imaginary bank account is up by over a grand from the start of the season, I won’t be liberal even with play money, so I will use it just once.

 

Minnesota (1-3) at New Orleans (2-2)

Time:           8:30 PM EDT Monday

TV:               ESPN

Forecast:     Dome

 

PiRate:        New Orleans by 13

Mean:           New Orleans by  4

Bias:             New Orleans by  7

Vegas:        New Orleans by 3           -215/+185

Ov/Un:        46½  

Strategy:     Over 36½ in 10-point teaser 

 

Monday night games tend to be higher than average scoring games.  New Orleans can score points with anybody in the league, and the Vikings can score points when their running game gets untracked.

 

Adrian Peterson is facing a Saints’ defense that surrendered 82 rushing yards in 16 attempts to Frank Gore, 65 yards in 11 attempts to Selvin Young, 96 yards on 21 attempts to Clinton Portis, and 91 yards on 10 attempts to backup Buc runner Earnest Graham.  Look for A.P. to run the ball 25 times for 150-200 yards in this game.  Minnesota will reach their season-to-date high point on the scoreboard Monday night; the Vikings should hit or top the 24-point mark.

 

Will 24 points be enough to win at the Superdome?  I’m not sure, but I am sure without a doubt that the Saints will top 14.  24 plus 14 means this game should easily go Over in a 10-point teaser.  Let’s lay off any side in this one and watch our Over win early in the second half.

 

The Imaginary Bank Account Turns A Profit For A Fourth Straight Week

 

Four weeks does not a season make, but I must admit I am quite pleased with how my picks against the spread have fared so far.  I not only made it a perfect four for four in winning weeks, I finished better than 70% for the second time in three weeks.  My picks finished 5-2-2 for 71.4% for the week, and those two pushes were on third parts of teasers.  For the season, my record against the spread stands at 27-12-3 for 69.2%, and my bank account added another $260 to make the new profit $1,265 for the season.  My return on investment is now 30.1%.  I am going to stick with what has been winning, namely 10-point teaser parlays.  I will use that 10-point change to turn favorites into underdogs and force favorites to blow out their opponents to beat me.  I will tease the totals line to give me very opportunistic numbers.

 

Here are my wagers for week five (all wagered to win $100):

 

1.    New York Giants -7 vs. Seattle

 

2.    Philadelphia -260 vs. Washington

 

3.    Indianapolis -3 vs. Houston

 

4.    Indianapolis -170 vs. Houston

 

5.    Arizona Pk vs. Buffalo

      

6.    10-point teaser

       a.    Carolina +½ vs. Kansas City  

       b.    Baltimore +13 vs. Tennessee

       c.    Miami +16½ vs. San Diego

 

7.    10-point teaser

       a.    Kansas City & Carolina Over 28

       b.    Miami & San Diego Over 35

       c.    New York Giants +3 vs. Seattle

 

8.    10-point teaser

       a.    Washington +16 vs. Philadelphia

       b.    Indianapolis +7 vs. Houston

       c.    Detroit +13½ vs. Chicago

 

9.    10-point teaser

       a.    Detroit & Chicago Under 54½ 

       b.    Tampa Bay +13 vs. Denver

       c.    Jacksonville +6 vs. Pittsburgh

 

10.  10-point teaser

       a.    Tampa Bay & Denver Over 37½ 

       b.    Cincinnati & Dallas Over 34

       c.    Arizona +10 vs. Buffalo

 

11.  10-point teaser

       a.    Cincinnati +27 vs. Dallas

       b.    Arizona & Buffalo Over 34½

       c.    Pittsburgh & Jacksonville Over 26

 

AND REMEMBER!!!  Do not use these picks for real.  I have no real money on the line in this mathematical experiment.  I won’t lose a penny if all nine wagers lose this week, so you shouldn’t risk a penny on these picks either.  This is strictly for fun.

September 26, 2008

PiRate Ratings Week 4 NFL Previews–September 28-29, 2008

PiRate Ratings For NFL Week Four

(Listed Alphabetically Within Each Division)
NFC East

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

 
Dallas

3

0

0

96

63

113.56

109.11

109.08

2

 
New York

3

0

0

83

43

105.26

105.58

107.36

2

 
Philadelphia

2

1

0

90

50

110.86

107.07

108.31

2

 
Washington

2

1

0

60

57

105.74

102.17

103.37

2

 
   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
NFC North

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

 
Chicago

1

2

0

70

60

105.16

102.48

100.27

2

 
Detroit

0

3

0

59

113

86.65

90.03

89.19

3

 
Green Bay

2

1

0

88

71

106.24

103.71

104.95

2

 
Minnesota

1

2

0

54

52

104.57

101.33

99.97

2

 
   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
NFC South

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

 
Atlanta

2

1

0

81

59

96.23

97.28

97.01

2

 
Carolina

2

1

0

56

61

101.51

101.57

102.12

2

 
New Orleans

1

2

0

80

83

104.27

100.82

101.05

2

 
Tampa Bay

2

1

0

71

57

104.04

102.73

102.85

2

 
   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
NFC West

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

 
Arizona

2

1

0

71

47

103.78

101.02

102.29

3

 
St. Louis

0

3

0

29

116

76.37

86.82

84.63

2

 
San Francisco

2

1

0

67

56

94.04

96.39

97.14

3

 
Seattle

1

2

0

67

70

94.51

96.81

99.47

3

 
   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
AFC East

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

 
Buffalo

3

0

0

78

49

101.85

103.16

104.75

3

 
Miami

1

2

0

62

64

94.20

96.85

95.39

2

 
New England

2

1

0

49

58

100.19

101.62

104.35

2

 
New York

1

2

0

59

81

94.49

96.99

96.90

2

 
   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
AFC North

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

 
Baltimore

2

0

0

45

20

101.46

100.74

102.42

3

 
Cincinnati

0

3

0

40

67

95.26

96.83

95.84

2

 
Cleveland

0

3

0

26

66

89.56

94.30

91.95

2

 
Pittsburgh

2

1

0

54

38

102.78

103.38

103.62

2

 
   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
AFC South

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

 
Houston

0

2

0

29

69

89.13

96.35

93.42

3

 
Indianapolis

1

2

0

52

67

101.40

101.34

101.17

2

 
Jacksonville

1

2

0

49

58

103.10

102.42

101.84

3

 
Tennessee

3

0

0

72

29

105.98

106.64

106.51

2

 
   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
AFC West

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

 
Denver

3

0

0

114

84

104.17

103.69

104.08

2

 
Kansas City

0

2

0

32

78

82.22

90.08

88.50

2

 
Oakland

1

2

0

60

73

94.45

96.52

94.39

2

 
San Diego

1

2

0

110

94

106.59

104.07

105.92

2

 

 

 

NFL Previews-Week Four

 

Denver Broncos (3-0) at Kansas City Chiefs (0-3)

Time:           1 PM EDT

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Sunny, light wind, temperature in upper 70’s

 

PiRate:         Denver by 20    

Mean:           Denver by 12

Bias:             Denver by 4

Vegas:        Denver by 9½

Ov/Un:        46½

Strategy:     Denver +½ in 10-point teaser, Over 36½ in 10-point teaser

On the surface, this looks like a slam-dunk game for the Broncos.  Kansas City has scored just 32 points in three games. They have already lost at home to Oakland, and Denver blew the Raiders out in Oakland.  So, why is Denver not a double-digit favorite?  The Broncos have problems on defense, and Kansas City should score a season high in points Sunday. 

 

Damon Huard will start at quarterback for the Chiefs, and while he is not a star, he will perform better than Tyler Thigpen.  Look for the Chiefs to hit the 20-point mark for the first time this year, but Jay Cutler and company will score 24 to 35. 

 

Since the Bias rating doesn’t believe Denver can cover at 9½, I am sticking with the teaser plays in this one. 

 

Cleveland Browns (0-3) at Cincinnati Bengals (0-3)

Time:           1 PM EDT

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Partly Cloudy, light wind, temperature in upper 70’s

 

PiRate:        Cincinnati by 8

Mean:           Cincinnati by 5

Bias:             Cincinnati by 6

Vegas:        Cincinnati by 3½

Ov/Un:        44

Strategy:     Cincinnati -3½, Cincinnati +6½ in 10-point teaser, Over 34 in 10-point teaser             

The losing coach in this game will have to purchase asbestos pants, because his seat is going to be mighty hot come Monday morning.  One of these teams will be 0-4 and have absolutely no chance of recovery.  The winner will still be in trouble at 1-3, but they will still be in the race in this division.  If you are old enough to remember 1970, the Bengals actually began that year 1-6 before winning seven in a row to take the division by a game over the Browns.

 

Neither team has a great defense, but Cincinnati began to play a little more consistently last week in New Jersey.  Cleveland might be in last place in defense if not for playing Pittsburgh in weather more suitable to trout.  The Browns’ offense has been the top disappointment in the NFL thus far, and Derek Anderson has a pitiful 43.5 QB Rating.  If he doesn’t come out of the gate hot this week, look for Brady Quinn to become the new quarterback.  Sticking with the nostalgia theme, back in 1968, Frank Ryan began the season as the Browns’ QB but in about the fourth game, Bill Nelsen took over.  Cleveland was a different team with Nelsen, and the Browns went on a long winning streak to win their division after digging themselves a hole at the beginning.

 

In this big rivalry game, I look for the Bengals to be ready to play good, but not great defense, while the Browns’ play better than they have to date and make this a great game.  It won’t be like last year’s shootout, but this one should be decided late.  I’ll go with the home team to win, but I am not wild about the selection.  I like teasing the Over, because these teams have the potential to score points quickly.

 

 

Houston Texans (0-2) at Jacksonville Jaguars (1-2)

Time:           1 PM EDT

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Partly Cloudy, light wind, humid, temperature in upper 80’s

 

PiRate:        Jacksonville by 17

Mean:           Jacksonville by 9

Bias:             Jacksonville by 11

Vegas:        Jacksonville by 7

Ov/Un:        42½

Strategy:     Houston +17 in 10-point teaser, Jacksonville +3 in 10-point teaser, Under 52½ in 10-point teaser

Jacksonville should have some momentum after winning at Indianapolis last week.  That half-day scoring drive that consumed most of the second half was quite impressive, but it is not conducive to covering the spread when a team is favored like the Jags are this week.

 

Houston looked better than their 19-point loss to Tennessee last week.  Until a late 99-yard interception return for a touchdown, the Texans were actually threatening to cut the Titans lead to less than a touchdown with enough time to win the game.

 

I think the Texans will be a little down this week, and when you combine the high the Jaguar players will be on this week, I can only see Jacksonville winning this game.  However, as I mentioned above, the Jaguars may or may not cover the spread because of their style of play.  They could easily win 17-10.  So, I’m going with both sides as part of a 10-point teaser, and I’m teasing the Under. 

 

 

Arizona Cardinals (2-1) at New York Jets (1-2)

Time:           1 PM EDT

TV:               FOX

Forecast:     60% chance of Thundershowers could be heavy at times and affect the game, light wind, temperature around 70

 

PiRate:        Arizona by 7

Mean:           Arizona by 2

Bias:             Arizona by 3

Vegas:        New York Jets by 1

Ov/Un:        44

Strategy:     Arizona +11 in 10-point teaser, Over 34 in 10-point teaser          

If the weather turns out to be a factor, it could actually help Brett Favre and Kurt Warner.  People mistakenly believe a wet field curtails passing.  It does not; in fact, it can be a major help.  Remember, the offensive player knows where he is going and when he is going to make a cut, while the defender has to react. 

 

Both of these hard-throwing drop back passers may also benefit from a slower pass rush if the weather is lousy.  Of course, there is a two in five chance that it won’t rain, and that produces a predicament. 

 

Either way, I don’t think the Jets are capable of beating the Cardinals by double digits, so I am going with the visitors in a teaser play.  With these two gunslingers going at it, I expect this game to see its share of scoring.  Therefore, I like teasing the Over.

 

 

San Francisco 49ers (2-1) at New Orleans Saints (1-2)

Time:           1 PM EDT

TV:               FOX

Forecast:     Dome

 

PiRate:        New Orleans by 12

Mean:           New Orleans by 6

Bias:             New Orleans by 6

Vegas:        New Orleans by 5½

Ov/Un:        48

Strategy:     Over 48, Over 38 in 10-point teaser            

This game should be one of the more exciting games of the week.  J.T. O’Sullivan may be on the verge of becoming another Kurt Warner.  Having Mike Martz as his offensive coordinator means he will be throwing the ball for the 49ers a lot in the Superdome on Sunday.

 

Drew Brees deserves more credit than he is getting.  He is on pace for a 4,500 yard season, and it won’t be anything new if he gets it.  If the Saints’ running game can live up to its potential, then New Orleans may eventually have a more potent offense than Dallas.

 

If I had to pick a straight spread winner in this game, I’d go with San Francisco.  I don’t have much confidence in that pick, at least not enough to make it a selection.  I do think this game could be a 35-31 game, so I like the Over as a straight selection and love it as part of a teaser.

 

 

Atlanta Falcons (2-1) at Carolina Panthers (2-1)

Time:           1 PM EDT

TV:               FOX

Forecast:     30% chance of Thunderstorms could affect game, light wind temperature in the upper 70’s

 

PiRate:        Carolina by 7

Mean:           Carolina by 6

Bias:             Carolina by 7

Vegas:        Carolina by 6½

Ov/Un:        39½

Strategy:     Carolina +3½ in 10-point teaser, Under 49½ in 10-point teaser          

This is another game that could be affected by the weather, so I approach it with caution.

 

The Falcons have benefited from playing Detroit and Kansas City, two of the worst four teams in the NFL.  Carolina has played at San Diego, Chicago, and at Minnesota.  Their 2-1 record is more legitimate than Atlanta’s.  The one time the Falcons ventured on the road this season, they lost at Tampa Bay and didn’t really compete in that game.  I tend to believe that will happen again this week, but Atlanta will play a little tougher in this road game.

 

I am impressed with the Falcons’ defense this year and think that they will eventually beat a playoff-bound team.  I just don’t think it will happen this week.  However, I don’t see Carolina having their way in this game.  I can see a 21-17 score, so I am going to go with the Under in a teaser.

 

 

Minnesota Vikings (1-2) at Tennessee Titans (3-0)

Time:           1 PM EDT

TV:               FOX

Forecast:     Sunny, light wind, humid, temperature near 80

 

PiRate:        Tennessee by 3

Mean:           Tennessee by 7

Bias:             Tennessee by 9

Vegas:        Tennessee by 3

Ov/Un:        35½

Strategy:     Minnesota +13  in 10-point teaser, Tennessee +7  in 10-point teaser Over 25½ in 10-point teaser, Under 45½ in 10-point teaser        

These teams are eerily similar except for their records.  Both teams began the season with running quarterbacks that many sports analysts believed could not keep defenses honest with their passing skills.  Both teams began the season with very strong running attacks and doubts that they had adequate pass receivers.  Both teams had punishing defensive front sevens and improving pass defenses.  Both teams were supposed to win games by ugly scores with brute force on both sides of the ball.

 

Now, both teams find themselves being led at quarterback by an aging veteran, and both teams have discovered those pass receivers aren’t all that bad once a competent quarterback began to throw them the ball.

 

The difference in these two teams is that Kerry Collins became the Titans’ starting quarterback in the fourth quarter of game one, while Gus Frerotte took over for the Vikings in game three.  The Titans would be fortunate to win by a field goal in this one, so I cannot select them even at home against a team not prepared to play in hot and muggy weather.  I do think this game will be decided by less than a touchdown either way, so I like teasing both sides.  I also like teasing both of the Totals.  That 20-point range looks rather safe.  Collins and Frerotte might hook up in a mini-passing duel if both of the defensive lines prove that top-rated run defenses can stop top-rated runners. 

 

I tend to believe Adrian Peterson will find a modicum of success against Tennessee’s front wall and end up with about 90 yards on 25 attempts.  I believe the combo of Chris Johnson and LenDale White will combine for 30 carries and 105 rushing yards.  That means that the game will be decided by who has the hotter passing day.  It should be close.  I’ll go with a game with a score similar to 20-17 either way.

 

 

Green Bay Packers (2-1) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-1)

Time:           1 PM EDT

TV:               FOX

Forecast:     Partly cloudy, light wind, humid, temperature in the mid to upper 80’s

 

PiRate:        Pick’em

Mean:           Tampa Bay by 1

Bias:             Pick’em

Vegas:        Pick’em

Ov/Un:        42½

Strategy:     Tampa Bay +10 in 10-point teaser, Under 52½ in 10-point teaser           

I have been struggling with analyzing both of these teams thus far.  I don’t think either has found its true identity as of yet.  My three ratings and the Vegas spread are basically all the same, so I am not about to begin to pick a side in this one.  If I absolutely had to go with a winner, I’d take Tampa Bay for three reasons.  First, Green Bay’s players are going to suffer more fatigue in the second half of this game than in any other game this year due to the summer-like conditions.  Next, the Packers may be a little thin in their secondary with Al Harris out and Charles Woodson, Atari Bigby, and Aaron Rouse all ailing.  Additionally, Aaron Rodgers may be a little confused facing the multiple defenses Tampa Bay will throw at him.

 

On the other hand, I am not convinced that Tampa Bay’s offense can exploit the secondary liabilities of the Packers.  Brian Griese is not the type of passer who can sting defenses with a bevy of long passes.  He’s more of the dink and doink quarterback who picks on the short zones.  On top of that, Griese is not 100% healthy this week.

 

For the reasons mentioned above, I like teasing the Under.  I can see this one ending in the range of 24-20.  I’m going with the Bucs in a teaser play as well, but I will hold off on playing the other side of that teaser.

 

 

Buffalo Bills (3-0) at St. Louis Rams (0-3)

Time:           4:05 PM EDT

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Dome

 

PiRate:        Buffalo by 23

Mean:           Buffalo by 14

Bias:             Buffalo by 18

Vegas:        Buffalo by 8

Ov/Un:        42

Strategy:     Buffalo +2 in 10-point teaser, Over 32 in 10-point teaser     

The Rams have looked like the worst NFL team in two decades so far this season, while the Bills have shot out to the lead in the AFC East.  Still, this game scares me.  This is St. Louis’s final game before their bye week.  If they lose this game in another blowout, Coach Scott Linehan will more than likely not see game five in two weeks.  Linehan has made numerous changes this week including naming Trent Green the starting quarterback over Marc Bulger.  Bulger has come out publicly in the media and said he will not play another game for Linehan.  Star running back Steven Jackson endorsed Bulger and openly opposed his benching. 

 

One of two things will happen this week.  Either the Rams’ players will get behind their coach and show a major improvement, or this team will begin to resemble the 1952 Dallas Texans.  Either way, I think Buffalo has a great chance to win outright, but since I like to play conservatively, I’d much rather get Buffalo and points than have to worry about them covering by more than a touchdown.  I like teasing the Over because the Rams have given up more than 32 points in every game, and two of those opponents have weaker offenses than the Bills do right now.

 

 

San Diego Chargers (1-2) at Oakland Raiders (1-2)

Time:           4:05 PM EDT

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Sunny, light wind, temperature in low 70’s

 

PiRate:        San Diego by 10

Mean:           San Diego by 6

Bias:             San Diego by 10

Vegas:        San Diego by 7½

Ov/Un:        45½

Strategy:     San Diego +2½ in 10-point teaser, Oakland +17½ in 10-point teaser, Over 35½ in 10-point teaser             

Did you hear what Raiders’ owner Al Davis decided to do when he was invited to a costume party?  He went as former Cleveland Cavaliers owner Ted Stepien (if you don’t know who Stepien was, Google his name).  After stepping down as head coach of the team in 1965, he hired John Rauch.  Rauch quickly made Oakland the dominant team of the old AFL.  From 1967 to 1969, the Raiders went 37-4-1 with Rauch at quarterback, but Davis couldn’t resist telling Rauch what he needed to be doing, as if 90.2% success wasn’t acceptable.  Rauch fled Oakland for the then moribund Bills.  So, the meddling isn’t anything new.  It just gets a lot more press coverage in the 24/7 media world of the 21st Century.

 

The latest episode in the gridiron serial is called, “Is he or isn’t he?”  Coach Lane Kiffin, who actually is beginning to receive more and more accolades as a young man who knows what he is doing, has been like the condemned prisoner who keeps getting a reprieve from the Governor as he is being strapped into the chair.  We all know that eventually Kiffin’s appeals will run out, and he will no longer be the head coach.

 

Until then, Kiffin and his team simply have to deal with all the distractions including having a defensive coordinator who does not get along with the head coach and does not have any loyalty to him.

 

Somehow in all this mess, the Raiders have been competitive after looking terrible on the opening week of the season.  If not for a late collapse last week, this team could be 2-1. 

 

The Raiders’ opponent this week is also 1-2, but they are the best NFL team with a losing record.  San Diego could easily be 3-0 today, and they legitimately should be 2-1.  The Chargers are a team with huge chips on the shoulders of its players and coaches.  That is a good thing, because this team knows it is in a bit of a hole being two games behind Denver.

 

The biggest concern to me in this game is the nasty spread.  I don’t like 7½-point spreads in any game unless I think it is off by five points or more.  The Chargers should be able to outscore Oakland, but it’s iffy whether they can win by eight or more.   I like teasing both sides, although I would advise against picking the Raiders in any play right now.

 

Washington Redskins (2-1) at Dallas Cowboys (3-0)

Time:           4:15 PM EDT

TV:               FOX

Forecast:     Sunny, light wind, temperature near 90

 

PiRate:        Dallas by 10

Mean:           Dallas by 9

Bias:             Dallas by 8

Vegas:        Dallas by 11

Ov/Un:        46½

Strategy:     Washington +22 in 10-point teaser, Under 56½ in 10-point teaser

The old movies where the cowboys and Indians fought it out always provided great entertainment to young and old alike back in the 1950’s and 1960’s.  Today, that type of movie would be considered politically incorrect, but we still have this epic arch-rivalry game between two franchises who like nothing more than to beat their nemesis.

 

Dallas has the upper hand these days, but Washington is improving and capable of winning in their last scheduled visit to Texas Stadium.  I see one of the best plays here this week.  I am going with the underdog in a teaser.  When you get 22 points with a decent team, it makes it quite difficult for the other team to beat you.  Dallas is coming off an emotional Sunday night game at Green Bay, and they may have just enough of a bounce to allow the Redskins to stay in the game.  Washington’s defense and ball control offense should keep this game lower scoring than normal, so I like teasing the Totals line as well.

 

 

Philadelphia Eagles (2-1) at Chicago Bears (1-2)

Time:           8:15 PM EDT

TV:               NBC

Forecast:     Partly cloudy, 20% chance of rain, light wind, temperatures falling from the mid 60’s to upper 50’s

 

PiRate:        Philadelphia by 4

Mean:           Philadelphia by 3

Bias:             Philadelphia by 6

Vegas:        Philadelphia by 3

Ov/Un:        40½

Strategy:     Chicago +13 in 10-point teaser, Philadelphia +7 in 10-point teaser, Over 30½ in 10-point teaser

If you consider that Dallas has a home field advantage of about three points, then Philadelphia must be about as powerful as the Cowboys right now.  However, not many football fans would agree with the Cowboys being a three-point pick over the Bears.  The spread would be more like seven to nine points if Dallas were venturing to Soldier Field this week.

 

Both teams have major injury concerns for this game.  The Bears top receiver, Brandon Lloyd, has a sore hip.  He did not practice today (Thursday) and is questionable for Sunday.  Devin Hester is still suffering from sore ribs, and he has been limited in practice.  He too is listed as questionable.  Without one or both of these stars, the Bears become a much easier team to defend.

 

Philadelphia has some question marks as well.  Quarterback Donovan McNabb will play with a sore chest, while running back Brian Westbrook has an ankle injury and will be a game-time decision. 

 

Factoring all the injuries into the equation as well as the possibility that there could be some rain in this game, I look for it to be a close decision.  I think Philadelphia is the better team, but Chicago may be the hungrier team.  Therefore, I am playing both sides in a teaser here.  If the Bears win, I expect it to be by one to five points, and if the Eagles win, I cannot see it being by more than seven or eight points.

 

Baltimore Ravens (2-0) at Pittsburgh Steelers (2-1)

Time:           8:30 PM EDT Monday

TV:               ESPN

Forecast:     Partly cloudy, 20% chance of rain, light wind, temperatures falling from the mid 60’s to upper 50’s

 

PiRate:        Pittsburgh by 3

Mean:           Pittsburgh by 5

Bias:             Pittsburgh by 3

Vegas:        Pittsburgh by 5

Ov/Un:        34½

Strategy:     Pittsburgh +5 in 10-point teaser 

Are the Ravens for real this year?  Could it be that last year was just a fluke?  How about the Steelers?  Can they score enough points to win this game after doing nothing on the attack side the prior two games?

 

Of all the games on this week’s schedule, this is the most intriguing to me.  I don’t like playing the Under in Monday Night Football games, because they tend to become more of a theatrical event with a high number of points scored.  If this game were a 1 PM game on Sunday, I would be playing Under 44½ in a teaser, because I would be picking this game to be a 14-13 affair.  I cannot recommend a play here. 

 

Baltimore will be without the services of leading tackler Dawan Landry after Jamal Lewis steamrollered over him last week.  Additionally, cornerback Samari Rolle could miss the game.  Pittsburgh will not have starting running back Willie Parker available for this game, and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will play with multiple injuries.   

 

 

The Imaginary Bank Account Increases Again In Week Three

It wasn’t as beautiful as the first two weeks, but I maintained my perfect record of having a winning week in week three.  I finished 6-4-1, with a profit of $95.  For the year, that makes me 22-10-1 (68.8%) with a profit of $1,005.  For the year, I now have a return on investment of 30.5%.

 

As week four begins, I feel the urge to play a little conservatively and protect my investment.  I like teasing the totals lines when I believe the folks in Las Vegas have struggled with either lowering or raising it too much.  Moving that line by 10 points in our advantage gives me the sense that we are getting 15 points when it appears that the totals line has been moved more toward the average.

 

Here are my wagers for week four (all wagered to win $100):

 

1. Jacksonville -300 Money Line

 

2. Pittsburgh -230 Money Line

 

3. New Orleans and San Francisco Over 48

 

4. 10-Point Teaser

       a. Denver & Kansas City Over 36½

       b. Houston +17 vs. Jacksonville

       c. Houston & Jacksonville Under 52½

 

5. 10-Point Teaser

       a. Jacksonville +3 vs. Houston

       b. Arizona +11 vs. New York Jets

       c. Arizona & New York Jets Over 34

 

6. 10-Point Teaser

       a. San Francisco and New Orleans Over 38

       b. Carolina + 3½ vs. Atlanta

       c. Minnesota +13 vs. Tennessee

 

7. 10-Point Teaser

       a. Tennessee +7 vs. Minnesota

       b. Tampa Bay +10 vs. Green Bay

       c. Buffalo +2 vs. St. Louis

 

8. 10-Point Teaser

       a. Buffalo & St. Louis Over 32

       b. San Diego +2½ vs. Oakland

       c. San Diego & Oakland Over 35½

 

9. 10-Point Teaser

       a. Oakland + 17½ vs. San Diego

       b. Washington +22 vs. Dallas

       c. Philadelphia +7 vs. Chicago      

 

AND REMEMBER!!!  Do not use these picks for real.  I have no real money on the line in this mathematical experiment.  I won’t lose a penny if all nine wagers lose this week, so you shouldn’t risk a penny on these picks either.  This is strictly for fun.

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