The Pi-Rate Ratings

September 21, 2010

PiRate Ratings For NFL Football: Week 3–September 26-27, 2010

Two weeks into the NFL season brings very few surprises.  Tampa Bay and Kansas City are 2-0, while Dallas and Minnesota are 0-2.  Overall, defenses are ahead of offenses on the whole, and it looks like very few teams will top 400 points this season.  The 3-4 defense with the zone blitz has stymied many quarterbacks, and we are seeing more 14-10 type games.  

We’ve noticed that punt returns are a dying art.  Punters are getting adequate hang time; more punts are being made that are not returnable, and players like Devin Hester are not getting the opportunity to return punts.

As we mentioned in the college ratings, our 10 and 13-point sweetheart teaser plays have been like gold to us so far.  If the scores continue to be lower than normal, these should continue to pay dividends for us.  Go to www.piratings.webs.com to purchase this week’s picks.  Deadline is 7 PM Eastern Time Wednesdays.  All purchases made after the deadline will be applied to the next week’s games.

Current Regular Season NFL PiRate Ratings
             
             

NFC East 

PiRate Mean Biased W-L-T PPG Opp
Dallas  102.4 100.2 99.4 0-2-0 13.5 20.0
Philadelphia  100.8 100.5 102.2 1-1-0 27.5 29.5
New York Giants 100.0 99.8 100.1 1-1-0 22.5 28.0
Washington 99.4 99.9 101.8 1-1-0 20.0 18.5
             
NFC North PiRate Mean Biased W-L-T Pts Opp
Green Bay 106.6 107.7 108.4 2-0-0 30.5 13.5
Minnesota 103.5 103.2 102.7 0-2-0 9.5 14.0
Chicago 101.5 99.8 103.4 2-0-0 23.0 17.0
Detroit 92.5 92.4 92.9 0-2-0 23.0 27.0
             
NFC South PiRate Mean Biased W-L-T Pts Opp
Atlanta 106.0 104.9 105.3 1-1-0 25.0 11.0
New Orleans 104.8 106.3 106.5 2-0-0 19.5 15.5
Carolina 98.3 97.1 96.2 0-2-0 12.5 25.5
Tampa Bay 96.5 99.7 100.6 2-0-0 18.5 10.5
             
NFC West PiRate Mean Biased W-L-T Pts Opp
San Francisco 99.2 96.6 98.7 0-2-0 14.0 28.0
Arizona 96.2 95.6 96.1 1-1-0 12.0 27.0
Seattle 94.2 96.3 99.4 1-1-0 22.5 18.5
St. Louis 89.9 89.8 90.1 0-2-0 13.5 16.5
             
AFC East PiRate Mean Biased W-L-T Pts Opp
NY Jets 107.9 105.1 105.1 1-1-0 18.5 12.0
New England 105.0 102.9 102.9 1-1-0 26.0 26.0
Miami 102.8 102.6 101.8 2-0-0 14.5 10.0
Buffalo 95.2 94.5 91.5 0-2-0 8.5 24.5
             
AFC North PiRate Mean Biased W-L-T Pts Opp
Baltimore 105.3 103.7 103.7 1-1-0 10.0 12.0
Pittsburgh 102.3 105.0 105.2 2-0-0 17.0 10.0
Cincinnati 100.7 99.8 99.6 1-1-0 19.5 24.0
Cleveland 96.2 94.9 95.3 0-2-0 14.0 16.5
             
AFC South PiRate Mean Biased W-L-T Pts Opp
Indianapolis 104.7 106.1 106.5 1-1-0 31.0 24.0
Houston 103.5 104.7 104.2 2-0-0 32.0 25.5
Tennessee 99.9 101.4 98.6 1-1-0 24.5 16.0
Jacksonville 95.6 96.3 94.3 1-1-0 18.5 27.5
             
AFC West PiRate Mean Biased W-L-T Pts Opp
San Diego 102.5 104.4 100.3 1-1-0 26.0 17.0
Kansas City 97.7 99.1 98.9 2-0-0 18.5 14.0
Denver 97.0 98.3 96.8 1-1-0 24.0 19.0
Oakland 92.0 91.8 91.5 1-1-0 14.5 26.0

 

This Week’s Games
Home Team in CAPS (N) Denotes Neutral Site        
             
Week 3: September 26-27, 2010          
Vegas Line as of 10:30 PM EDT Tuesday          
             
Favorite Underdog PiRate Mean Bias Vegas Totals
NEW YORK GIANTS Tennessee 3.1 1.4 4.5 3    42   
NEW ENGLAND Buffalo 13.8 12.4 15.4 14    42 1/2
BALTIMORE Cleveland 12.1 11.8 11.4 10 1/2 37   
Bitmap

Pittsburgh
TAMPA BAY 7.8 7.3 6.6 2 1/2 33   
CAROLINA Cincinnati 0.6 5.2 3.9 -3    38 1/2
NEW ORLEANS Atlanta 1.8 4.4 4.2 4    49 1/2
KANSAS CITY San Francisco 0.5 4.5 2.2 -3    36 1/2
MINNESOTA Detroit 15.0 14.8 13.8 11    42 1/2
HOUSTON Dallas 3.1 6.5 6.8 3    47 1/2
Washington ST. LOUIS 7.5 8.1 9.7 3 1/2 38   
Philadelphia JACKSONVILLE 2.2 1.2 4.9 3    44 1/2
Indianapolis DENVER 4.7 4.8 6.7 5 1/2 48   
San Diego SEATTLE 6.3 6.1 -1.1 5 1/2 44   
ARIZONA Oakland 6.2 5.8 6.6 4    39   
New York Jets MIAMI 3.1 0.5 1.3 -2 1/2 34 1/2
Green Bay CHICAGO 2.1 4.9 2.0 3    46   
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August 26, 2010

2010 PiRate Ratings NFL Preseason Ratings & Predictions

PiRate Ratings 2010 NFL Preseason Ratings & Predictions

 

Go to www.piratings.webs.com where we were 60.6% against the spread in 2009!

 

The 2010 edition of the NFL PiRate Ratings makes its debut today, and we have tweaked the ratings just a bit this season.  Every year, we evaluate every team’s ability to run the ball, pass the ball, defend the run, defend the pass, and all the special teams play.

 

Breaking down the run, we look at the offensive blocking for the run, the ability of the team to run up the gut and pick up two yards on 3rd & two, the ability to get outside and pick up a lot of yards, and so forth.  To us, it is more important to know the situation of each running play rather than the raw average.  If a team has a 1st & Ten at its own 20 yard line and runs the ball five consecutive times for eight, ten, four, two, and two yards, that team has averaged 5.2 yards per rush, but that team must now punt on 4th & two at their 46 yard line.

 

If that same team starts at its 20 yard line and runs the ball five consecutive times for four yards on every play, that team has averaged just four yards per rush, but they now have a 3rd & two—a much better proposition than 4th & two.

 

We break down the pass in a similar way.  We look at pass protection, passer ability, and pass receiving ability.  Passing percentage matters very little (virtually nothing).  Yardage gained and maintaining possession of the ball are all that matters.    

 

Of course, for every offensive action, there is a corresponding defensive action that we rate.  This year, we have given a little more weight to pass rush over pass coverage.  Sacks and hurries are becoming more influential in today’s short passing game offenses.  If you look at a typical game today, 80% of the passes thrown in the NFL are thrown to receivers/backs less than 10 yards pass the line of scrimmage.  The three and five-step drop have displaced the seven-step drop and longer passes.  Most longer passes today are of the play-action variety.  Of course, the 3rd & 20 situation still leads to the longer pass plays. 

 

With so many shorter passing routes against two-deep coverage, the pass rush deserves a little more weight at the expense of the pass coverage.  We are not talking about a major shift; this is more like a fraction of points, or what we call moving the minute hand on our watch by a minute to synchronize it with Coordinated Universal Time.

 

For those of you who are new to the PiRate Ratings, these ratings are only good for the current week’s games.  Since the season actually does not begin for a couple weeks, we may tweak them in the next 10-12 days once all cuts and late free-agent pickups are made. 

 

Additionally, we advise you not to use our raw ratings to pick games.  We offer picks against the spread at our sister site, www.piratings.webs.com, and we NEVER use the raw ratings.  If every scheduled game was played 100 times, then the ratings would be quite accurate.  We look at several variables and intangibles in addition to the pointspread to analyze each game and try to find a favorable angle that “gives” us an extra point or two.

 

You will see three ratings for each team: The PiRate, The Mean, and The Bias Rating.  Each rating is based on 100 being level par.  If a team has a rating of 103.7, then consider that team 3.7 points better than average. 

 

The PiRate is the raw score we give each team based on all the variables we discussed above (running, passing, etc.).  The Mean Rating is a separate rating of 12 variables that we have used since 1979.  It is purely statistical based on many of the same variables used for the PiRate Rating.  We take the exact average of those 12 variables and use a constant and a multiplier to produce a par of 100.  The Bias Rating takes those same 12 variables and gives each rating a different weight in the formula.  All three ratings have been quite accurate through the years. 

 

Here are the preseason ratings for the 32 teams.  Each week, the teams will be ranked by division in order of PiRate Rating.  We do not calculate an average of these three ratings, but you can if you want to. 

Initial Regular Season NFL PiRate Ratings
 

NFC East

PiRate Mean Biased W-L-T Pts Opp
Dallas 104.5 106.3 106.9 0-0-0 0 0
Philadelphia 101.7 104.1 98.7 0-0-0 0 0
New York Giants 100.0 99.9 102.3 0-0-0 0 0
Washington 98.3 96.1 95.8 0-0-0 0 0
             
NFC North PiRate Mean Biased W-L-T Pts Opp
Minnesota 104.8 108.0 107.9 0-0-0 0 0
Green Bay 104.1 106.7 105.7 0-0-0 0 0
Chicago 100.5 97.3 98.9 0-0-0 0 0
Detroit 92.1 88.1 89.4 0-0-0 0 0
             
NFC South PiRate Mean Biased W-L-T Pts Opp
New Orleans 105.2 109.8 106.6 0-0-0 0 0
Atlanta 104.7 103.5 104.6 0-0-0 0 0
Carolina 101.6 103.6 100.4 0-0-0 0 0
Tampa Bay 94.3 94.5 92.3 0-0-0 0 0
             
NFC West PiRate Mean Biased W-L-T Pts Opp
San Francisco 101.6 100.8 102.2 0-0-0 0 0
Arizona 98.5 100.3 99.1 0-0-0 0 0
Seattle 92.2 91.1 94.8 0-0-0 0 0
St. Louis 90.1 85.9 87.3 0-0-0 0 0
             
AFC East PiRate Mean Biased W-L-T Pts Opp
NY Jets 107.3 106.3 106.2 0-0-0 0 0
New England 105.7 106.5 105.4 0-0-0 0 0
Miami 101.1 100.4 100.8 0-0-0 0 0
Buffalo 97.6 97.4 95.9 0-0-0 0 0
             
AFC North PiRate Mean Biased W-L-T Pts Opp
Baltimore 105.6 106.3 106.5 0-0-0 0 0
Pittsburgh 100.9 102.2 101.8 0-0-0 0 0
Cincinnati 100.3 100.0 99.4 0-0-0 0 0
Cleveland 97.3 93.2 93.2 0-0-0 0 0
             
AFC South PiRate Mean Biased W-L-T Pts Opp
Indianapolis 104.9 106.8 107.1 0-0-0 0 0
Houston 102.0 101.9 101.9 0-0-0 0 0
Tennessee 97.9 99.3 101.2 0-0-0 0 0
Jacksonville 96.3 94.8 97.0 0-0-0 0 0
             
AFC West PiRate Mean Biased W-L-T Pts Opp
San Diego 102.5 106.0 104.6 0-0-0 0 0
Denver 96.6 99.3 98.5 0-0-0 0 0
Kansas City 95.7 92.3 94.5 0-0-0 0 0
Oakland 94.2 91.4 92.8 0-0-0 0 0

 

The following predictions are not based on the above ratings.  Remember, these ratings are not usable to select future games.  They are not even 100% affected by the scores of each week’s games.  For instance, San Diego would be considered a 6.8-point favorite in the PiRate Ratings over Kansas City in a neutral-site game (before intangibles and other variables).  Even if San Diego won 24-17, their PiRate rating would be adjusted based on how they won by a touchdown.  Suppose the Chiefs led 17-10 with five minutes to go in the game and had a 100-yard advantage, and the Chargers blocked two punts and recovered them in the end zone for touchdowns.  Or, what if the Chargers led 24-3 after three quarters but then lost their three linebackers to season-ending injuries?  The ratings would change drastically depending on how this 24-17 score occurred.

These predictions are our own personal opinions on how we think the season will pan out.  Take them for what it is worth.

NFC East W L   AFC East W L  
Dallas 10 6   New England 10 6  
New York 9 7   Miami 10 6  
Philadelphia 7 9   New York 9 7  
Washington 6 10   Buffalo 4 12  
                   
NFC South W L   AFC South W L  
New Orleans 13 3   Indianapolis 12 4  
Atlanta 10 6   Tennessee 9 7  
Carolina 7 9   Houston 8 8  
Tampa Bay 4 12   Jacksonville 5 11  
                   
NFC North W L   AFC North W L  
Green Bay 12 4   Baltimore 13 3  
Chicago 9 7   Pittsburgh 9 7  
Minnesota 9 7   Cincinnati 8 8  
Detroit 5 11   Cleveland 3 13  
                   
NFC West W L   AFC West W L  
San Francisco 9 7   San Diego 10 6  
Arizona 7 9   Oakland 7 9  
Seattle 6 10   Denver 7 9  
St. Louis 3 13   Kansas City 6 10  
                   
Wildcard Playoffs   Wildcard Playoffs  
San Diego over Tennessee   Dallas over Chicago  
Miami over New England   Atlanta over San Francisco  
       
Divisional Playoffs   Divisional Playoffs  
Baltimore over Miami   New Orleans over Atlanta  
San Diego over Indianapolis   Green Bay over Dallas  
       
AFC Championship   NFC Championship  
Baltimore over San Diego   Green Bay over New Orleans  
                   
Super Bowl  
Baltimore over Green Bay  

December 26, 2008

PiRate Ratings Week 17 NFL Previews: December 28, 2008

PiRate Ratings For NFL Week 17

Still Much To Be Decided

 

It seems like the end of the NFL season has come quickly this year.  Maybe it seems that way because last season coincided with the Presidential election that seemed to last forever.

 

Unfortunately, the end of this season coincides with too many holiday plans, and this preview will be abbreviated.  I will list all the playoff possibilities in this article in addition to the standings, ratings, and games.  I won’t list an in-depth game by game preview or make picks due to those time limitations.

 

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

12

3

0

408

274

108.60

107.65

107.11

2

Dallas

9

6

0

356

321

102.49

103.67

103.29

2

Philadelphia

8

6

1

372

283

106.53

105.48

103.26

2

Washington

8

7

0

241

269

98.55

99.31

99.83

2

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFC North

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Minnesota

9

6

0

359

314

104.06

103.81

103.64

2

Chicago

9

6

0

351

319

102.96

101.42

102.34

2

Green Bay

5

10

0

388

359

103.77

101.48

98.91

2

Detroit

0

15

0

247

486

86.86

88.16

86.27

3

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFC South

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Carolina

11

4

0

381

298

106.14

105.11

106.11

2

Atlanta

10

5

0

360

298

105.19

104.46

105.79

2

Tampa Bay

9

6

0

337

292

104.06

102.01

102.68

2

New Orleans

8

7

0

432

360

104.61

104.52

102.09

2

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFC West

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Arizona

8

7

0

393

405

97.60

97.33

99.25

3

San Francisco

6

9

0

312

357

94.23

95.55

96.42

3

Seattle

4

11

0

273

358

92.89

94.36

94.11

3

St. Louis

2

13

0

205

434

84.00

86.47

86.56

2

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC East

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Miami

10

5

0

321

300

98.73

99.42

102.29

2

New England

10

5

0

397

309

103.21

104.76

105.46

2

New York

9

6

0

388

332

100.62

99.48

100.88

2

Buffalo

7

8

0

336

329

96.92

96.82

98.41

3

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC North

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Pittsburgh

11

4

0

316

223

108.32

107.71

106.47

2

Baltimore

10

5

0

358

237

108.82

107.90

106.01

3

Cleveland

4

11

0

232

319

95.34

94.57

92.24

2

Cincinnati

3

11

1

188

358

92.20

93.93

93.29

2

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC South

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Tennessee

13

2

0

375

211

110.38

109.14

108.97

2

Indianapolis

11

4

0

354

298

104.55

104.95

105.76

2

Houston

7

8

0

335

370

98.63

98.85

99.16

3

Jacksonville

5

10

0

295

340

97.86

97.78

97.59

3

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC West

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Denver

8

7

0

349

396

95.68

96.24

98.05

2

San Diego

7

8

0

387

326

103.66

103.18

102.23

2

Oakland

4

11

0

232

364

91.06

92.37

93.35

2

Kansas City

2

13

0

285

424

91.49

92.05

92.17

2

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 The Playoffs Scenarios

NFC Already in Playoffs

New York Giants: Clinched #1 Seed & home field advantage

Carolina: Clinched a playoff spot

Atlanta: Clinched a playoff spot

Arizona: Clinched West Division and will play on first weekend of the playoffs

 

NFC Scenarios

NFC EAST

DALLAS

In the playoffs as a Wildcard with:

A. A win

B. A tie plus a Chicago loss or tie and a Tampa Bay loss

C. A tie plus a Minnesota loss or tie and a Tampa Bay loss

D. A tie plus a Chicago loss and a Tampa Bay tie

E. A tie plus a Minnesota loss and a Tampa Bay tie

 

PHILADELPHIA

In the playoffs as a Wildcard with:

A. A win plus losses by Tampa Bay and Minnesota

B. A win plus losses by Tampa Bay and Chicago

 

NFC NORTH

MINNESOTA

Clinches Division with:

A. A win

B. A tie plus Chicago loss or tie

C. A Chicago loss

 

CHICAGO

Clinches Division with:

A. A win plus a Minnesota loss or tie

B. A tie plus a Minnesota loss

 

In the playoffs as a Wildcard with:

A. A win plus a Minnesota win and losses or ties by both Dallas and Tampa Bay

B. A tie plus losses by both Dallas and Tampa Bay

 

NFC SOUTH

ATLANTA has already clinched a playoff spot

Clinches Division and First Round Bye with:

A. A win plus a Carolina loss

 

CAROLINA has already clinched a playoff spot

Clinches Division and First Round Bye with:

A. A win or tie

B. An Atlanta loss or tie

 

TAMPA BAY

In the playoffs as a Wildcard with:

A. A win plus a Dallas loss or tie

B. A tie plus a Dallas loss and Minnesota loss or tie

C. A tie plus a Dallas loss and a Chicago loss or tie

D. A tie plus a Dallas tie and a Minnesota tie and a Chicago win or tie

E. A tie plus a Dallas tie and a Chicago tie and a Minnesota win or tie

 

AFC Already in Playoffs

Tennessee: Clinched #1 seed & home field advantage

Pittsburgh: Clinched division & first round bye

 

AFC Scenarios

AFC EAST

The AFC East Division Winner will play on the first weekend of the playoffs

 

MIAMI

Can clinch the Division with:

A. A win

B. A tie plus a New England loss or tie

 

Can clinch a Wildcard with:

A. A tie plus a Baltimore loss

 

NEW ENGLAND

Can clinch the Division with:

A. A win plus a Miami loss or tie

B. A tie plus a Miami loss

 

Can clinch a Wildcard with:

A. A win plus a Baltimore loss or tie

B. A tie plus a Baltimore loss

 

NEW YORK JETS

Can clinch the Division with:

A. A win plus a New England loss

 

Can clinch a Wildcard with:

A. A win plus a Baltimore loss

 

AFC NORTH

(Pittsburgh has already won the division and secured a first-round bye as the #2 seed)

 

BALTIMORE

Can clinch a Wildcard with:

A. A win

B. A tie plus a Miami loss or tie

C. A tie plus a New England loss or tie

D. A New England loss

 

AFC SOUTH

Tennessee has clinched division and the #1 seed, while Indianapolis has clinched a Wildcard

 

AFC WEST

DENVER plays At SAN DIEGO.  The winner of this game wins the Division.  It the game ends in a tie, then Denver wins the Division.  The Division winner will play on the first weekend of the playoffs.

 

If The Season Ended Today

NFC Seedings

1. New York Giants

2. Carolina

3. Minnesota

4. Arizona

5. Atlanta

6. Dallas

 

Dallas would play at Minnesota and Atlanta would play at Arizona.  The higher remaining seed would then play at Carolina and the weaker remaining seed would play at the New York Giants

 

AFC Seedings

1. Tennessee

2. Pittsburgh

3. Miami

4. Denver

5. Indianapolis

6. Baltimore

 

Baltimore would play at Miami and Indianapolis would play at Denver.  The higher remaining seed would then play at Pittsburgh and the weaker remaining seed would play at Tennessee

 

Here Is My Best Guess As To How The Season Will End

 

In the NFC, Philadelphia will take advantage of home field advantage and a revenge factor and defeat Dallas.

 

Atlanta will dismiss St. Louis with ease.

 

Carolina will stumble at New Orleans as Drew Brees finishes off one of the best passing seasons ever.

 

Tampa Bay handles Oakland at home but not by much.

 

Minnesota struggles but hangs up to beat the New York Giants after the Giants pull their starters in the second half.

 

Chicago falls at Houston as the Texans finish 8-8.

 

That would leave Atlanta and Minnesota as division champions and Tampa Bay as the final Wildcard.  Dallas, Philadelphia, and Chicago would be eliminated.

 

In the AFC, Miami will take advantage of Brett Favre’s shoulder problems and take out the Jets at the Meadowlands.

 

New England will go to Buffalo and put up some big numbers in a win, looking like the true dark horse Super Bowl contender (but only until the Baltimore game ends).

 

Baltimore will methodically defeat Jacksonville in a rough game and ruin the weekend for fans in New England.

 

San Diego will take some revenge against Denver and claim the West Division title.

 

That would leave Miami and San Diego as division champions and Baltimore as the final Wildcard team.

 

Note: Weather forecasts and odds are those as of Friday, December 26, 2008, 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 Friday, 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.  There are no picks this week due to lack of time to study the games..

 

I leave it to you to find out the book in question regarding the spreads.  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.

 

Note: The ratings and the simulations do not take into account the fact that some teams will not play their regulars much if at all this week.

 

NFL PiRate, Mean, and Bias Ratings-Week 17

 

Kansas City (2-13-0) at Cincinnati (3-11-1)

Time:           1:00 PM EST

TV:               CBS

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

 

PiRate:                Cincinnati by 3               

Mean:                  Cincinnati by 4

Bias:                    Cincinnati by 3

 

Vegas:               Cincinnati by 2.5 to 3

Ov/Un:               37.5 to 38.5

 

100 Sims:           Cincinnati 78  Kansas City 22

Avg Sim Score:  Cincinnati 29  Kansas City 22

Outlier 1a Sim:  Cincinnati 40  Kansas City 21

Outlier 1b Sim:  Kansas City 24  Cincinnati 14

 

 

St. Louis (2-13-0) at Atlanta (10-5-0)

Time:           1:00 PM EST

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Dome

 

PiRate:                Atlanta by 23

Mean:                  Atlanta by 20

Bias:                    Atlanta by 21

 

Vegas:               14 to 15.5  

Ov/Un:               44 to 44.5

 

100 Sims:           Atlanta 98  St. Louis 2

Avg Sim Score:  Atlanta 33  St. Louis 11

Outlier 1a Sim:  Atlanta 52  St. Louis 0

Outlier 1b Sim:  St. Louis 24  Atlanta 21

 

 

New England (10-5-0) at Buffalo (7-8-0)

Time:           1:00 PM EST

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Rain Showers, Very Strong Wind, Unseasonably mild temperature near 50

 

PiRate:                New England by 8

Mean:                  New England by 10

Bias:                    New England by 9

 

Vegas:               6 to 7   

Ov/Un:               40 to 41

 

100 Sims:           New England 73  Buffalo 27

Avg Sim Score:  New England 34  Buffalo 28

Outlier 1a Sim:  New England 45  Buffalo 23

Outlier 1b Sim:  Buffalo 31  New England 20

 

 

Detroit (0-15-0) at Green Bay (5-10-0)

Time:           1PM EST

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Light snow ending after game starts, moderate wind, temperature in low 20’s

 

PiRate:                Green Bay by 19

Mean:                  Green Bay by 15

Bias:                    Green Bay by 15

 

Vegas:               Green Bay by 10 to 11.5      

Ov/Un:               42.5 to 43

 

100 Sims:           Green Bay 64  Detroit 35  1 Tie

Avg Sim Score:  Green Bay 33  Detroit 29

Outlier 1a Sim:  Green Bay 24  Detroit 0

Outlier 1b Sim:  Detroit 38  Green Bay 30

 

 

Tennessee (13-2-0) at Indianapolis (11-4-0)

Time:           1PM EST

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Dome should be closed

 

PiRate:                Tennessee by 4

Mean:                  Tennessee by 2

Bias:                    Tennessee by 1

 

Vegas:                Tennessee by 3

Ov/Un:               38 to 38.5

 

100 Sims:           Indianapolis 58  Tennessee 42

Avg Sim Score:  Indianapolis 25  Tennessee 23

Outlier 1a Sim:  Indianapolis 28  Tennessee 13

Outlier 1b Sim:  Tennessee 24  Indianapolis 10

 

 

Chicago (9-6-0) at Houston (7-8-0)

Time:           1PM EST

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Mostly sunny, light wind, temperature around 60

 

PiRate:                Chicago by 1

Mean:                  Tossup

Bias:                    Tossup

 

Vegas:               Houston by 2.5 to 3  

Ov/Un:               46 to 46.5

 

100 Sims:           Houston 51  Chicago 49

Avg Sim Score:  Houston 27  Chicago 27

Outlier 1a Sim:  Houston 37  Chicago 20

Outlier 1b Sim:  Chicago 32  Houston 17

 

 

Oakland (4-11-0) at Tampa Bay (9-6-0)

Time:           1:00 PM EST

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Sunny, light wind, temperature near 80

 

PiRate:                Tampa Bay by 15

Mean:                  Tampa Bay by 12

Bias:                    Tampa Bay by 11

 

Vegas:               Tampa Bay by 12.5 to 14

Ov/Un:               39 to 39.5

 

100 Sims:           Tampa Bay 89  Oakland 11

Avg Sim Score:  Tampa Bay 26  Oakland 12

Outlier 1a Sim:  Tampa Bay 38  Oakland 7

Outlier 1b Sim:  Oakland 27  Tampa Bay 21

 

 

Cleveland (4-11-0) at Pittsburgh (11-4-0)

Time:           1:00PM EST

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Rain showers, strong wind, temperature in low to mid 50’s

 

PiRate:                Pittsburgh by 15

Mean:                 Pittsburgh by 15

Bias:                    Pittsburgh by 16

 

Vegas:                Pittsburgh by 10.5 to 11.5

Ov/Un:               31.5 to 33

 

100 Sims:           Pittsburgh 97  Cleveland 3

Avg Sim Score:  Pittsburgh 29  Cleveland 11

Outlier 1a Sim:  Pittsburgh 49  Cleveland 14

Outlier 1b Sim:  Cleveland 13  Pittsburgh 10 (2 other 3-point wins)

 

 

New York Giants (12-3-0) at Minnesota (9-6-0)

Time:           1:00 PM EST

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Dome

 

PiRate:                Giants by 3

Mean:                 Giants by 2

Bias:                    Giants by 1

 

Vegas:                Minnesota by 7 to 7.5

Ov/Un:               42

 

100 Sims:           Giants 54  Minnesota 46

Avg Sim Score:  Giants 23  Minnesota 20

Outlier 1a Sim:  Giants 31  Minnesota 14

Outlier 1b Sim:  Minnesota 27  Giants 17

 

 

Carolina (11-4-0) at New Orleans (8-7-0)

Time:           1:00PM EST

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Dome

 

PiRate:                Tossup

Mean:                  New Orleans by 1

Bias:                    Carolina by2

 

Vegas:               Carolina by 2.5 to 3

Ov/Un:               51.5 to 52.5

 

100 Sims:           New Orleans 55  Carolina 45

Avg Sim Score:  New Orleans 33  Carolina 32

Outlier 1a Sim:  New Orleans 44  Carolina 27

Outlier 1b Sim:  Carolina 35  New Orleans 20

 

 

Jacksonville (5-10-0) at Baltimore (10-5-0)

Time:           4:15PM EST

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Showers, moderate wind, temperature dropping from around 60 to the mid 50’s

 

PiRate:                Baltimore by 14

Mean:                 Baltimore by 13

Bias:                   Baltimore by 11

 

Vegas:               Baltimore by 12 to 13.5

Ov/Un:               36 to 36.5

 

100 Sims:           Baltimore 83  Jacksonville 16  1 Tie

Avg Sim Score:  Baltimore 25  Jacksonville 13

Outlier 1a Sim:  Baltimore 24  Jacksonville 0

Outlier 1b Sim:  Jacksonville 20  Baltimore 14

 

 

Dallas (9-6-0) at Philadelphia (8-6-1)

Time:           4:15 PM EST

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Rain showers, moderate wind, temperature falling through the 50’s

 

PiRate:                Philadelphia by 6

Mean:                 Philadelphia by 4

Bias:                   Philadelphia by 2

 

Vegas:                Philadelphia by 0 to 2

Ov/Un:               42.5 to 43

 

100 Sims:           Philadelphia 61  Dallas 39

Avg Sim Score:  Philadelphia 27  Dallas 22

Outlier 1a Sim:  Philadelphia 41  Dallas 24

Outlier 1b Sim:  Dallas 34  Philadelphia 24

 

 

Miami (10-5-0) at New York Jets (9-6-0)

Time:           4:15 PM EST

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Rain showers, moderate wind, temperature dropping from the mid 50’s to mid 40’s

 

PiRate:                Jets by 4

Mean:                 Jets by 2

Bias:                   Jets by 1

 

Vegas:                Jets by 2 to 3   

Ov/Un:               41.5 to 42.5

 

100 Sims:           Miami 50  Jets 50

Avg Sim Score:  Miami 25  Jets 25

Outlier 1a Sim:  Miami 27  Jets 14

Outlier 1b Sim:  Jets 20  Miami 12

 

 

Seattle (4-11-0) at Arizona (8-7-0)

Time:           4:15 PM EST

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Sunny, light wind, temperature in low 60’s

 

PiRate:                Arizona by 8

Mean:                  Arizona by 6

Bias:                    Arizona by 8

 

Vegas:               Arizona by 6 to 6.5

Ov/Un:               45 to 46

 

100 Sims:           Arizona 83  Seattle 17

Avg Sim Score:  Arizona 33  Seattle 23

Outlier 1a Sim:  Arizona 38  Seattle 16

Outlier 1b Sim:  Seattle 24  Arizona 20

 

 

Washington (8-7-0) at San Francisco (6-9-0)

Time:           4:15PM EST

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Showers possible, light wind, temperature in the mid 50’s

                    

PiRate:                Washington by 1

Mean:                  Washington by 1

Bias:                    Tossup

 

Vegas:               San Francisco by 3

Ov/Un:               37 to 37.5

 

100 Sims:           San Francisco 56  Washington 44

Avg Sim Score:  San Francisco 23  Washington 21

Outlier 1a Sim:  San Francisco 27  Washington 14

Outlier 1b Sim:  Washington 21  San Francisco 13

 

 

Denver (8-7-0) at San Diego (7-8-0)

Time:           8:15PM EST

TV:               NBC

Forecast:     Partly cloudy, light wind, temperature falling from mid to low 60’s

 

PiRate:                San Diego by 10

Mean:                  San Diego by   9

Bias:                    San Diego by   6

 

Vegas:                San Diego by 7.5 to 9.5

Ov/Un:               50 to 51

 

100 Sims:           San Diego 59  Denver 41

Avg Sim Score:  San Diego 34  Denver 30

Outlier 1a Sim:  San Diego 51  Denver 27

Outlier 1b Sim:  Denver 45  San Diego 31

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.

December 4, 2008

PiRate Ratings Week 14 NFL Previews: December 4-8, 2008

PiRate Ratings For NFL Week 14

Will It Be Another Topsy-Turvy Weekend?

 

Who woulda thunk it?  The Broncos clobbered the Jets at the Meadowlands.  San Francisco won at Buffalo.  Cleveland almost beat Indianapolis.  The Steelers blew New England out in Foxboro.  I don’t even want to list how poorly my record was in the selections.  Suffice it to say, it was brutal.

 

Starting this week, I am changing the coverage a little bit.  I have placed the current teams in the Pro Football Computer Simulator and simulated each game 100 times.  I figure the simulator may have better luck at picking the winners than me.  What you will see in each game preview is the number of games out of the 100 simulations each team won, the average score, the extreme scores in both directions, and the extreme total points scored in both directions.  The weather has also been simulated.  If the forecast calls for a 30% chance of showers, then 30 of the simulations had wet field conditions. 

 

 

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

1

0

352

206

110.99

110.26

108.82

2

Dallas

8

4

0

299

260

102.24

102.54

104.33

2

Washington

7

5

0

208

222

99.35

99.60

100.76

2

Philadelphia

6

5

1

319

249

106.51

104.08

103.69

2

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFC North

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Minnesota

7

5

0

287

260

104.10

103.89

103.77

2

Chicago

6

6

0

281

268

101.43

100.66

101.39

2

Green Bay

5

7

0

334

295

105.13

103.02

101.41

2

Detroit

0

12

0

203

393

86.33

89.17

85.28

3

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFC South

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Tampa Bay

9

3

0

280

200

106.14

104.70

106.14

2

Carolina

9

3

0

285

231

104.51

103.12

105.50

2

Atlanta

8

4

0

298

242

104.52

103.34

103.15

2

New Orleans

6

6

0

337

301

103.34

102.65

101.57

2

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFC West

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Arizona

7

5

0

338

313

100.78

101.15

101.36

3

San Francisco

4

8

0

262

313

93.72

95.48

95.81

3

Seattle

2

10

0

216

311

91.84

93.64

93.27

3

St. Louis

2

10

0

159

360

83.62

87.97

88.09

2

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC East

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

New York

8

4

0

340

268

102.78

102.82

103.29

2

New England

7

5

0

277

255

99.85

101.22

101.79

2

Miami

7

5

0

253

257

97.46

97.61

100.59

2

Buffalo

6

6

0

276

259

97.28

97.29

99.29

3

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC North

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Pittsburgh

9

3

0

269

170

108.99

106.90

107.15

2

Baltimore

8

4

0

292

190

109.14

107.58

106.12

3

Cleveland

4

8

0

213

247

98.35

97.56

95.36

2

Cincinnati

1

10

1

151

310

91.98

92.52

90.07

2

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC South

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Tennessee

11

1

0

304

175

109.77

107.45

108.02

2

Indianapolis

8

4

0

257

250

103.28

103.37

104.71

2

Houston

5

7

0

282

310

98.33

99.31

99.30

3

Jacksonville

4

8

0

241

270

97.81

97.65

97.07

3

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC West

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Denver

7

5

0

292

319

96.59

97.74

101.04

2

San Diego

4

8

0

290

274

101.44

99.65

98.79

2

Oakland

3

9

0

172

265

91.85

93.46

91.44

2

Kansas City

2

10

0

216

340

90.51

92.66

91.61

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.  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.

 

NFL Previews-Week 14

 

Oakland (3-9-0) at San Diego (4-8-0)

Time:           8:15 PM EST, Thursday

TV:               NFL Network

Forecast:     Mostly cloudy, light wind, temperature falling from the low 60’s to the upper 50’s

 

PiRate:                San Diego by 12                    

Mean:                  San Diego by 8

Bias:                    San Diego by 9

Vegas:               San Diego by 9,9.5, 10, 10.5

Ov/Un:               42, 42.5

100 Sims:           San Diego 83  Oakland 17

Avg Sim Score:  San Diego 29.6  Oakland 15.1

Outlier 1a Sim:  San Diego 48  Oakland 10

Outlier 1b Sim:  Oakland 24  San Diego 14

 

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

The Raiders lost at home to Kansas City last week after winning big at Denver the week before.  San Diego is slowly rotting away and appears out of the playoff picture.  I don’t expect a stellar effort from either side, but I do expect enough shenanigans due to national TV exposure for there to be some offensive fireworks.  I believe this game should see both teams top 17 points, so teasing the Over is how to play this one.

 

 

Atlanta (7-5-0) at New Orleans (6-6-0)

Time:           1:00 PM EST

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Dome

 

PiRate:                New Orleans by 1

Mean:                  New Orleans by 1

Bias:                    Tossup

Vegas:               New Orleans by 3    

Ov/Un:               51, 51.5, 52

100 Sims:           New Orleans 57  Atlanta 43

Avg Sim Score:  New Orleans 27.9  Atlanta 24.5

Outlier 1a Sim:  New Orleans 45  Atlanta 24

Outlier 1b Sim:  Atlanta 31  New Orleans 20

 

Strategy:            Over 41 in 10-point teaser, Over 38 in 13-point teaser, Under 65 in 13-point teaser

This will be an exciting game, and I expect both teams to score 21 or more points.  Drew Brees was not on target last week, and the Saints paid for it with a loss.  The Falcons won the first meeting in Atlanta, and this is a must-win for New Orleans.  If the dirty birds win, the Saints can go marching away from the playoffs.  I look for New Orleans to win the game and score 24-34 points.  They’ve given up 28 points per game in their last six contests, so I really like teasing the Over in this game.  Using another book’s high totals number, the Under 65 is enticing.  I am not as excited as the Over, but 65 points are asking a lot from both teams.  Think about a 35-28 game; that’s still not enough to sink us.  Of course, this could be a 38-35 game, so use this one with caution.  My best guess is 28-24 Saints.

 

 

Philadelphia (6-5-1) at New York Giants (11-1)

Time:           1:00 PM EST

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Intermittent snow showers, light to moderate winds, temperature in the mid to upper 30’s

 

PiRate:                Giants by 6

Mean:                  Giants by 8

Bias:                    Giants by 7

Vegas:               Giants by 6.5, 7, 7.5   

Ov/Un:               43, 43.5, 44

100 Sims:           Giants 89  Philadelphia 11

Avg Sim Score:  Giants 30.2  Philadelphia 22.6

Outlier 1a Sim:  Giants 44  Philadelphia 17

Outlier 1b Sim:  Philadelphia 27  Giants 24 (2 games)

 

Strategy:            Over 33 in 10-point teaser, Over 30 in 13-point teaser

Four weeks ago, these teams hooked up in a fantastic game in Philadelphia with the Giants winning 36-31.  The Eagles need this game to have a realistic shot at a wildcard berth.  If they can pull off the upset, I believe they will be no worse than 9-6-1 and could possibly run the table to finish 10-5-1.  If they lose, they could easily finish 8-7-1 or worse, and that won’t get them into the postseason.

 

The Giants could be the next repeat Super Bowl Champion.  In the past, the second championship team is usually a better defensive team than the prior year’s team.  It’s no different with New York, but the Eagles have the talent to score points on them.

 

For what it’s worth, 94 of the 100 simulations on this game produced results with a total score of 35 and above.  I will go with the simulator and call for a 30-21 score in favor of the Giants; that means, I’m teasing the Over in this one.

 

 

Jacksonville (4-8-0) at Chicago (6-6-0)

Time:           1PM EST

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Partly cloudy, moderate wind, temperature in mid 20’s

 

PiRate:                Chicago by 6

Mean:                  Chicago by 5

Bias:                    Chicago by 6

Vegas:               Chicago by 6.5         

Ov/Un:               39.5, 40, 40.5

100 Sims:           Chicago 79  Jacksonville 21

Avg Sim Score:  Chicago 25.3  Jacksonville 16.9

Outlier 1a Sim:  Chicago 37  Jacksonville 10

Outlier 1b Sim:  Jacksonville 24 Chicago 17

 

Strategy:            Over 26½ in 13-point teaser

This game scares me this week.  Both teams are headed in the wrong direction.  Chicago is still alive in the mediocre NFC North, where a 9-7 record could win the division.  The Jaguars are done for the season and have little to play for.  Their offense has continued to misfire, as the Jags have scored less than 20 points in five of the last six games (that one offensive outburst came against Detroit).

 

The weather should be very Chicago-like for December, and I don’t think the Jags will like it very much.  I look for the Bears to have their way this week, but I am worried that the elements could make it a better day for the defenses.  I am looking at a 20-10 win for Chicago, and that’s just enough to consider playing the Over in a 13-point teaser.  However, I’m not married to this game.

 

 

Minnesota (7-5-0) at Detroit (0-12-0)

Time:           1PM EST

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Dome

 

PiRate:                Minnesota by 15

Mean:                  Minnesota by 12

Bias:                    Minnesota by 15

Vegas:                Minnesota by 7.5, 8, 9  

Ov/Un:               45, 46.5

100 Sims:           Minnesota 96  Detroit 4

Avg Sim Score:  Minnesota 30.2  Detroit 14.4

Outlier 1a Sim:  Minnesota 51  Detroit 12

Outlier 1b Sim:  Detroit 24  Minnesota 20

 

Strategy:            Minnesota +5½ in 13-point teaser, Over 32 in 13-point teaser       

I thought that Detroit would eventually put it all together and pull off a win or two this year.  I still believe they might win a game before the season ends, and this is a week where they may believe they can win.  The Lions only lost to Minnesota 12-10 the first time, and they will have the confidence to go out there and play unlike an 0-12 team.

 

Detroit has the benefit of three extra preparation days, while Minnesota is coming off a Sunday night game.  The intangibles weigh heavily in favor of the Lions.  I still will pick the Vikings to win or at least lose by five or fewer points.  If Detroit pulls off the upset, I expect it to be by a field goal or less with the game decided at the very end. 

 

Minnesota’s defense is missing some key components, and I think Detroit will score 17-21 points in this game.  The Vikings should be able to run the ball for 150+ yards, and that should allow Gus Frerotte to put 20 points on the board.  Thus, I like teasing the Over in this game.

 

 

Houston (5-7-0) at Green Bay (5-7-0)

Time:           1PM EST

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Partly cloudy, moderate wind, temperature in the mid to upper teens

 

PiRate:                Green Bay by 9

Mean:                  Green Bay by 6

Bias:                    Green Bay by 4

Vegas:               Green Bay by 6  

Ov/Un:               47, 47.5

100 Sims:           Houston 52  Green Bay 48

Avg Sim Score:  Houston 32.3  Green Bay 31.8

Outlier 1a Sim:  Houston 47  Green Bay 28

Outlier 1b Sim:  Green Bay 30  Houston 14

 

Strategy:            Over 34½ in 13-point teaser

Both teams are 5-7, but the similarities end there.  Houston is 5-7 and on the rise, while Green Bay is 5-7 and on the decline.  The Packers have dropped four out of their last five games to fall two games in back of division-leading Minnesota.  The Texans have won five of eight after starting 0-3. 

 

Both of these teams could top 30 points against the opposition defense, but the weather could be a big factor this week.  With temperatures expected to be between 15 and 19 degrees over the course of the afternoon, Houston may not be ready to handle the elements.  Green Bay still has a remote shot at running the table and finishing 9-7 and winning the division.  Houston has no chance of getting into the playoffs.  In a last-ditch, must-win game, I expect Green Bay to win this game, but my safe choice here is to take the Over in a 13-point teaser.  Even with a frozen tundra playing surface, these teams should combine for at least 45 points and as many as 70.

 

 

Cleveland (4-8-0) at Tennessee (11-1-0)

Time:           1:00 PM EST

TV:               CBS

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

 

PiRate:                Tennessee by 13

Mean:                  Tennessee by 12

Bias:                    Tennessee by 15

Vegas:               Tennessee by 13.5, 14, 15

Ov/Un:               37.5, 38  

100 Sims:           Tennessee 88  Cleveland 12

Avg Sim Score:  Tennessee 30.7  Cleveland 19.4

Outlier 1a Sim:  Tennessee 41  Cleveland 10

Outlier 1b Sim:  Cleveland 28  Tennessee 23

 

Strategy:            Cleveland +28 in 13-point teaser, Over 24 ½ in 13-point teaser

Cleveland has very little left to play for this year.  The Browns are now down to their third quarterback in Ken Dorsey, and they won’t have Kellen Winslow for this game as well.  Their defense has a tough time stopping the run.

 

Tennessee will run the ball until Cleveland can stop it, and I don’t expect the Browns to consistently stop it.  The Titans will throw a host of blitzes and dogs at Dorsey, and it should be a long day for the Cleveland attack.

 

The weather will be more like Cleveland than Nashville, so that might help the Browns a little.  What I expect to help the Browns even more is the possibility that Titan Coach Jeff Fisher may choose to play overly conservative and possibly remove Kerry Collins if Tennessee is up by three touchdowns in the third quarter.

 

I believe the Titans will win this game with a score similar to 27-10.  It’s hard to ask them to win by more than four touchdowns, so I like the Browns as part of a 13-point teaser.  It’s not asking much to cover 24½ points, so I like teasing the Over.

 

One caveat to remember:  Cleveland beat the Giants by three touchdowns, and the Browns would like nothing more than to beat the top team in the AFC to make it a wonderful double. 

 

 

Cincinnati (1-10-1) at Indianapolis (8-4-0)

Time:           1:00PM EST

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Roof will be closed

 

PiRate:                Indianapolis by 13

Mean:                 Indianapolis by 13

Bias:                    Indianapolis by 17

Vegas:                Indianapolis by 13.5, 14, 15

Ov/Un:               41.5, 42, 42,5

100 Sims:           Indianapolis 98  Cincinnati 2

Avg Sim Score:  Indianapolis 34.7  Cincinnati 13.8

Outlier 1a Sim:  Indianapolis 49  Cincinnati 0

Outlier 1b Sim:  Cincinnati 27  Indianapolis 24

 

Strategy:            Indianapolis -½ in a 13-point teaser, Over 31½ in a 10-point teaser, Over 28½ in a 13-point teaser  

Indianapolis is on a roll, and I expect them to keep winning in the regular season.  They could easily run the table and finish 12-4 on a nine-game winning streak.

 

Cincinnati has nothing left to play for.  The team is rife with dissension, and I expect major changes in the off-season.  I am surprised that the simulator even had them winning one of the 100 simulations.  The two wins it gave the Bengals were by one and three points.

 

I am going to have faith in the simulator this week and believe that Indy has a 98% chance of winning the game.  So, that tells me to take the Peyton Manning and company as part of a 13-point teaser.  I expect the Colts to top 28 points with plenty of time left in the game, so even if the Bengals lay a goose egg on the scoreboard, this game should see at least 30 points scored.

 

 

Kansas City (2-10-0) at Denver (7-5-0)

Time:           4:05 PM EST

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Partly cloudy, moderate wind, temperature in the mid 50’s

 

PiRate:                Denver by 8

Mean:                 Denver by 7

Bias:                    Denver by 11

Vegas:                Denver by 8, 8.5, 9, 9.5, 10 

Ov/Un:               48, 48.5, 49

100 Sims:           Denver 79  Kansas City 21

Avg Sim Score:  Denver 33.0  Kansas City 20.3

Outlier 1a Sim:  Denver 55  Kansas City 17

Outlier 1b Sim:  Kansas City 31  Denver 24

 

Strategy:            Over 35 in 13-point teaser

Denver is so unpredictable.  They lost at Kansas City earlier in the season.  They lost at home to Oakland.  Yet, they won on the road against the Jets and won at Atlanta.

 

Kansas City is coming off a road win over rival Oakland, and the Chiefs have the confidence in knowing they stopped Jay Cutler once before.

 

My guess here is that the Chiefs will keep this game close enough to have a chance to win in the fourth quarter, but they will come up a bit short.  I think they will top 17 points for sure and should top 20.  Denver will score 21 to 31 points, so once again, I like teasing the Over as well as taking the revenge-mindful Broncos as a dog in a 13-point teaser.

 

 

Miami (7-5-0) vs. Buffalo (6-6-0) at Toronto

Time:           4:05PM EST

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Dome

 

PiRate:                Buffalo by 1

Mean:                  Buffalo by 1

Bias:                    Tossup

Vegas:               Buffalo by 0, 1, 1.5

Ov/Un:               42, 42.5

100 Sims:           Miami 56  Buffalo 44

Avg Sim Score:  Miami 24.7  Buffalo 22.1

Outlier 1a Sim:  Miami 38  Buffalo 17

Outlier 1b Sim:  Buffalo 27  Miami 14

 

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

So you want to see a really good game this week, eh?  You like a good, hard-fought game in the trenches, eh?  Then head north of the border to beautiful Toronto and catch this key game with major playoff implications.

 

The thing I like most about games played in unusual places is that they frequently take on the traits of Monday night games.  They usually end up being higher scoring than a typical game.

 

Miami beat the Bills 25-16 at Dolphins Stadium in October, and if this game were in Buffalo, I would pick the Bills to even the score.

 

The Rogers Centre (Skydome) is maybe worth one point of home advantage for Buffalo.  This game is a tossup, but I expect both teams to score 17 points or more.  That gives us a play in the teasers.

 

 

New York Jets (8-4-0) at San Francisco (4-8-0)

Time:           4:05PM EST

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Partly cloudy, light wind, temperature near 60

 

PiRate:                Jets by 6

Mean:                  Jets by 4

Bias:                    Jets by 4

Vegas:               Jets by 3.5, 4      

Ov/Un:               44, 44.5

100 Sims:           Jets 62  San Francisco 38

Avg Sim Score:  Jets 25.1  San Francisco 20.4

Outlier 1a Sim:  Jets 49  San Francisco 24

Outlier 1b Sim:  San Francisco 20  Jets 14

 

Strategy:            Over 31 in 13-point teaser

I don’t really like any plays in this game this week.  What can we make of the 49ers going to Buffalo and winning handily?  What can we make of the Jets crashing at home against Denver’s marginally decent defense?

 

I would normally call for San Francisco to bounce and stink up the joint this week, while Brett Favre rebounds with a big day.  However, since Mike Singletary took over control of Frisco, the 49ers have been a different team.  They could be on the verge of living up to their expectations, albeit too late to get them into the playoffs.

 

I believe this game will be close, and San Francisco has a decent shot at the upset-maybe as much as a 55% chance.  If you are a real aggressive player, then you might consider taking the 49ers at +4 or even at +175 in a money line play.  I choose to stick with a teasing of the Over in this one.  Look for the score to be close with both teams topping 17 points.  31 points isn’t asking much in this one.

 

 

New England (7-5-0) at Seattle (2-10-0)

Time:           4:05 PM EST

TV:               CBS

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

 

PiRate:                New England by 5

Mean:                 New England by 5

Bias:                   New England by 6

Vegas:                New England by 4.5, 5.5

Ov/Un:               43, 43.5

100 Sims:           New England 60  Seattle 40

Avg Sim Score:  New England 23.1  Seattle 17.7

Outlier 1a Sim:  New England 37  Seattle 16

Outlier 1b Sim:  Seattle 24  New England 13

 

Strategy:            Over 30 in 13-point teaser

If you have read this far, you have obviously noted the trend I am pointing to this week.  In a large majority of games this year, the teams have scored more than 13 points below the totals line.  In a small majority of games this year, the teams have scored less than 13 points above the totals line.  Thus, using the totals by playing the Over in 13-point teasers has a high chance of winning if you can pick the correct four games.

 

I have no desire to pick a winner in this game.  The Patriots are making a 3000-mile trek across three time zones to take on a wounded Seahawks team in adverse weather conditions.  New England is 10-14 points better than Seattle on a neutral field in ideal weather conditions.  The long distance and possible strong rain could neutralize most of that advantage.

 

I am tempted to call for this game to be very low scoring with the Patriots struggling to win 14-13.  I don’t think this game will see 45 points scored, and I am not all that sure that 35 total points will be scored.  30 points can be satisfied at 17-14 or 21-10.  It’s a little bit of a gamble, but I think 31 total points can be scored in this game, even if it is played in a monsoon.  A key turnover could lead to a defense scoring in this one.

 

 

Dallas (8-4-0) at Pittsburgh (9-3-0)

Time:           4:15 PM EST

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Snow showers, strong wind, temperature falling from around 30 to the upper 20’s

 

PiRate:                Pittsburgh by 9

Mean:                 Pittsburgh by 6

Bias:                   Pittsburgh by 5

Vegas:                Pittsburgh by 2.5, 3   

Ov/Un:               40, 40.5, 41

100 Sims:           Pittsburgh 55  Dallas 45

Avg Sim Score:  Pittsburgh 24.6  Dallas 22.8

Outlier 1a Sim:  Pittsburgh 30  Dallas 17

Outlier 1b Sim:  Dallas 28  Pittsburgh 21

 

Strategy:            Over 30 in a 10-point teaser, Over 27 in a 13-point teaser

There are five really big games this week, and this one may be the best of the lot.  These teams are playing their best ball of the season, and it should make for a great game.  An added bonus in this one is the fact that both teams have key intra-division games the following week.  If either or both teams’ players subconsciously look ahead to their big games next week, I expect it to affect their defenses more than their offenses.  Thus, if there is any intangible to take from the fact that Dallas must play the Giants and Pittsburgh must play Baltimore next week, it should lead to more points being scored in this game.

 

Remember that Dallas has enjoyed an extra three days off for this game.  However, in the past, the Cowboys have tended to under perform following their Thanksgiving game.

 

I believe the Steelers will win this game, and they will hold Tony Romo, Terrell Owens, and company below 20 points.  I wouldn’t be surprised if the Steelers won by more than a touchdown, but I feel more comfortable calling for them to win by a field goal.  The score could be 20-17, but I don’t expect it to be any lower scoring than that.

 

 

St. Louis (2-10-0) at Arizona (7-5-0)

Time:           4:15 PM EST

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Roof likely closed

 

PiRate:                Arizona by 20

Mean:                  Arizona by 16

Bias:                    Arizona by 16

Vegas:               Arizona by 14

Ov/Un:               48, 48.5

100 Sims:           Arizona 91  St. Louis 9

Avg Sim Score:  Arizona 37.6  St. Louis 17.8

Outlier 1a Sim:  Arizona 62  St. Louis 17

Outlier 1b Sim:  St. Louis 27  Arizona 24

 

Strategy:            Under 58½ in a 10-point teaser, Under 61½ in a 13-point teaser

This is one of the few games where I like teasing the Under as opposed to the Over.  St. Louis shouldn’t contribute too many points in this game.  The Rams scored just 13 points at home against the Cardinals in their first meeting, and they have failed to score 17 points for six consecutive weeks.

 

Arizona has dropped two games in a row to tough NFC East opponents.  The Cardinals have been outscored in their six games since their bye week.  They may feel some heat headed into this game, as their lead over San Francisco, while comfortable, is not insurmountable.  If they lose this game, and SF beats the Jets, who knows what may happen in the final three weeks?

 

It only takes a win this week coupled with a Jets win in the Bay for the Cardinals to clinch the NFC West.  I believe there’s a strong chance it will happen.  The Cardinals cannot lose this game.  I’m looking for a 35-10 win, and that’s well beneath the teaser points.

 

 

Washington (7-5-0) at Baltimore (8-4-0)

Time:           8:15PM EST

TV:               NBC

Forecast:     Scattered showers, strong wind, temperature falling from upper to mid 30’s

                    

PiRate:                Baltimore by 13

Mean:                  Baltimore by 11

Bias:                    Baltimore by 8

Vegas:               Baltimore by 5, 5.5, 6

Ov/Un:               35, 35.5, 36

100 Sims:           Baltimore 63  Washington 36  1 Tie

Avg Sim Score:  Baltimore 22.9  Washington 19.4

Outlier 1a Sim:  Baltimore 27  Washington 6

Outlier 1b Sim:  Washington 20  Baltimore 13

 

Strategy:            Over 25½ in a 10-point teaser, Over 22½ in                      a 13-point teaser 

This game is not that big of a rivalry game.  Even when the Colts played in Baltimore in the pre-merger days, this wasn’t that much of a rivalry.  The Orioles and Senators also didn’t have that much of a rivalry in the years they were both in the American League.

 

I don’t look at this game like it is a battle between Green Bay and Minnesota or Kansas City and Oakland.  It’s just another key game played on primetime, national television.

 

My immediate impulse is to play the Over in any NBC Sunday night game.  I am a little bit on the fence in this one, but in the end, I think we can win by teasing the Over. 

 

Washington’s offense has nearly disappeared in the last month.  The Redskins have scored just 43 total points in their last four games and only 99 points in their last seven games.  Baltimore’s defense gives up just 15.8 points per game.  I believe the Ravens can hold Washington to 10 points or even less in this game.  Let’s say, the Redskins score just seven points.  All Baltimore would have to do to help us win a 13-point teaser would be to score 16 points.  The Ravens have won six of seven games, and in those six wins, they have averaged 34 points per game.  ‘Nuf Ced.

 

 

Tampa Bay (9-3-0) at Carolina (9-3-0)

Time:           8:30PM EST Monday

TV:               ESPN

Forecast:     Clear, light wind, temperature falling from the low 40’s to the upper 30’s

 

PiRate:                Tossup 

Mean:                  Tossup

Bias:                    Carolina by 1

Vegas:                Carolina by 3

Ov/Un:               38, 38.5

100 Sims:           Carolina 52  Tampa Bay 48

Avg Sim Score:  Carolina 26.8  Tampa Bay 26.3

Outlier 1a Sim:  Carolina 31  Tampa Bay 14

Outlier 1b Sim:  Tampa Bay 24  Carolina 12

 

Strategy:            Over 28 in a 10-point teaser, Over 25 in a 13-point teaser

This just might be the best Monday night game of the season.  To the winner goes first place in the NFC South and an almost certain trip to the playoffs.  The loser will still be very much in the wildcard hunt, but the winner will be at home for the first playoff game and should get a bye, while the loser will have to play on the road and play the first week.

 

Jake Delhomme has returned to the form that he had when he led the Panthers to the Super Bowl.  He will be ready to make amends for the toilet bowl showing his team displayed in Tampa in the first meeting of these teams.  I expect the Panthers to score early and often in this game.  They could put it out of reach if the Bucs are not ready defensively.

 

Could Tampa not be ready on the stop side?  Rumors have been spreading like wildfire that famed defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin may be leaving the Bucs to join his son Lane’s staff at the University of Tennessee.  Monte is an old, grizzled veteran, and I don’t expect anything but a 100% effort from him.  His players are another story.  They could be affected by the news. 

 

I am going with Carolina to even the score and win this game by more than a touchdown.  However, my only advisable plays here are the good ole teasers.  As with all Monday night games, I’m going with the Over in both 10 and 13-point teasers.

 

 

Yuck, Part 2!!!

 

If you read this far the last two weeks, and you have made it this far this week, then you must be either my wife, dad, brother, brother-in-law, or close friend.  The last two weeks were stinkers.  I thought for sure I would recover from the 2-8-1 debacle of two weeks ago.  4-17-0 is the type of successful recovery that we see in government bailouts.  I’ll need someone to funnel me 8+ trillion bucks to an offshore account if I keep picking games this poorly.

 

This week, I am playing much more conservatively.  I have been looking to see what has worked this year, and it has been teasers involving totals and not sides.  So, that’s where I will be concentrating my efforts.

 

For the season, the record against the spread has fallen to 89-73-7, dropping me under 60% (54.9%) for the first time.  It’s time to start the recovery for real, and I’m looking at those totals this week.

 

Here are my wagers for week 14 (all wagered to win $100 or $100 wagered if at + odds on a parlay or money line):

 

1. 10-point teaser

San Diego & Oakland Over 32

Indianapolis & Cincinnati Over 31½

New York Giants & Philadelphia Over 33

 

2. 10-point teaser

New Orleans & Atlanta Over 41

Buffalo & Miami Over 32

Carolina & Tampa Bay Over 28

 

3. 13-point teaser

San Diego & Oakland Over 29

Indianapolis & Cincinnati Over 28½

Chicago & Jacksonville Over 26½

Green Bay & Houston Over 34½

 

4. 13-point teaser

Tennessee & Cleveland Over 24½

Minnesota & Detroit Over 32

Baltimore & Washington Over 22½

NY Giants & Philadelphia Over 30

 

5. 13-point teaser

New Orleans & Atlanta Over 38

NY Jets & San Francisco Over 31

Buffalo & Miami Over 29

Denver & Kansas City Over 35

 

6. 13-point teaser

Arizona & St. Louis Under 61½

Pittsburgh & Dallas Over 27

New England & Seattle Over 30

Carolina & Tampa Bay Over 25

 

7. 13-point teaser

Indianapolis -½ vs. Cincinnati

Cleveland +28 vs. Tennessee

Denver +5 vs. Kansas City

Minnesota +5½ vs. Detroit 

 

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.

November 20, 2008

PiRate Ratings Week 12 NFL Previews: November 20-23, 2008

PiRate Ratings For NFL Week 12

It Was A Touchdown!

 

To those who are a little poorer today than they were Sunday morning, my sincere condolences go to you and Troy Polamalu.  You should have won.  If you follow my advice and adhere to my request to do this just for fun, it only cost you a quick laugh (more about that in this week’s selections at the bottom).

 

 

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

9

1

0

292

170

110.47

108.91

109.67

2

Dallas

6

4

0

230

229

101.05

101.25

102.66

2

Washington

6

4

0

181

182

99.96

100.17

101.02

2

Philadelphia

5

4

1

264

193

106.59

104.54

102.02

2

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFC North

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Green Bay

5

5

0

274

209

107.61

105.28

102.97

2

Chicago

5

5

0

240

231

102.83

100.74

101.11

2

Minnesota

5

5

0

223

234

101.65

101.08

100.94

2

Detroit

0

10

0

173

308

87.78

90.46

90.04

3

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFC South

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Carolina

8

2

0

222

155

105.40

103.89

105.25

2

Tampa Bay

7

3

0

219

160

106.19

104.15

104.86

2

Atlanta  

6

4

0

231

198

102.71

101.15

102.37

2

New Orleans

5

5

0

266

249

100.56

100.83

100.67

2

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFC West

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Arizona

7

3

0

289

228

103.24

103.51

104.15

3

San Francisco

3

7

0

230

275

93.76

94.33

94.41

3

Seattle

2

8

0

190

257

93.57

95.18

94.55

3

St. Louis

2

8

0

144

317

83.58

89.63

89.04

2

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC East

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

New York

7

3

0

289

221

102.69

102.65

104.46

2

New England

6

4

0

219

194

99.73

101.92

101.33

2

Miami

6

4

0

209

197

99.79

99.38

102.03

2

Buffalo

5

5

0

219

218

97.46

97.50

98.19

3

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC North

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Pittsburgh

7

3

0

209

150

107.34

105.45

104.75

2

Baltimore

6

4

0

222

180

104.99

104.23

102.24

3

Cleveland

4

6

0

201

221

99.02

99.29

99.46

2

Cincinnati

1

8

1

138

249

92.86

93.53

94.67

2

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC South

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Tennessee

10

0

0

244

131

111.29

108.54

108.56

2

Indianapolis

6

4

0

224

224

102.73

102.66

102.07

2

Jacksonville

4

6

0

212

210

100.41

100.39

98.76

3

Houston

3

7

0

236

287

96.01

97.02

96.00

3

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC West

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Denver

6

4

0

248

271

96.76

97.65

100.48

2

San Diego

4

6

0

254

229

101.55

101.00

99.71

2

Oakland

2

8

0

128

235

89.60

91.62

88.84

2

Kansas City

1

9

0

165

273

90.87

92.20

92.81

2

 

Note: due to a Thursday game this week, weather forecasts and odds are those as of Wednesday Noon EST

 

NFL Previews-Week 12

 

Cincinnati (1-8-1) at Pittsburgh (7-3-0)

Time:           8:15 EST Thursday 11/20

TV:               NFL Network

Forecast:     Snow showers likely, moderate wind, temperature dropping from low 30’s to upper 20’s

 

PiRate:         Pittsburgh by 16                   

Mean:           Pittsburgh by 14

Bias:             Pittsburgh by 12

Vegas:        Pittsburgh by 10½   -600/+500

Ov/Un:        34  

Strategy:     Pittsburgh -½ in 10-point teaser, Pittsburgh +2½ in 13-point teaser, Over 24 in 10-point teaser, Over 21 in 13-point teaser

Has Cincinnati become a good team after starting the season as the Lions of the AFC?  Philadelphia has a potent offense, and holding the Eagles to 13 points in five full quarters of play is something to look at.  Pittsburgh’s offense is mediocre at the present time, and the Steelers may find the going tough, especially if inclement weather neutralizes their offense.

 

On the other hand, Pittsburgh slaughtered Cinti 38-10 just a month ago.  The Steelers’ defense is almost as strong as Tennessee’s.  I cannot see the Bengals scoring enough points in this game no matter how few they may need to score to win.  I am looking for the Steelers to come up with a big play or two, probably on the defensive side and possibly due to special teams.  Call it a Steeler win in the neighborhood of 20-7.  Because the weather could be worse or better than expected, I won’t take Pittsburgh outright in a straight play, but I do expect 25 or more points to be scored, even if there is a blizzard.     

 

Minnesota (5-5-0) at Jacksonville (4-6-0)

Time:           1PM EST

TV:               Fox

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

 

PiRate:         Jacksonville by 2

Mean:           Jacksonville by 2

Bias:             Jacksonville by 1

Vegas:        Jacksonville by 2      -140/+120

Ov/Un:        40½              

Strategy:     Minnesota +12 in 10-point teaser, Minnesota +15 in 13-point teaser, Over 30½ in 10-point teaser, Over 27½ in 13-point teaser 

This will be a tough battle between two teams just hanging on to playoff hopes.  If Minnesota wins, they get to hang on to a piece of first place in the NFC North and could possibly own it all to themselves.  If Jacksonville wins, they will still be in contention to get into contention.  If the Jags lose, their season is done.

 

I like the Vikings in the teasers because when they lose, it is usually by a touchdown or less, and when the Jags win, it is usually by a touchdown or less.  While this game could be lower scoring than normal, I cannot see it becoming a defensive struggle.  I am looking for a minimum of a 20-13 score either way and a maximum of 28-24 either way, so I am teasing the over in this game.

 

Philadelphia (5-4-1) at Baltimore (6-4-0)

Time:           1PM EST

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Sunny, light wind, temperature in the low 40’s

 

PiRate:         Baltimore by 1

Mean:           Baltimore by 3

Bias:             Baltimore by 3

Vegas:        Baltimore by 1          -120/+100   

Ov/Un:        39½

Strategy:     Philadelphia +11 in 10-point teaser, Philadelphia +14 in 13-point teaser, Over 26½ in 13-point teaser

We have two teams here who will be ready to play hard in an effort to erase the memories of what happened in their previous games.  The Eagles debacle with Cincinnati was made all the more worse when Donovan McNabb obviously did not know the rules of the game.  Of course, he does not call the plays, and the coaching staff knew the rules.  However, thinking that another overtime period was coming, he may not have played with the necessary hurried mentality.  On some of those plays in the second-to-last Eagle possession before the Hail Mary pass at the end, he may have thrown to a different receiver not trying to gamble when it actually was time to gamble.

 

Baltimore thought they were near the equal of the defending Super Bowl champions, and they had their hat handed to them when they played the Giants last week.  The Ravens are still on the good side of the playoff bubble and could still win 11 games this year.  That won’t happen if they don’t win this game.

 

I expect a close, hard-fought game that goes down to the wire.  I consider it a 50-50 contest, so I’ll play the teasers that give me the most points (taking the underdog).  I expect both offenses to be on their game and look for more than 30 total points in this game.  The 13-point tease on the Over looks like a gift here.

 

New England (6-4-0) at Miami (6-4-0)

Time:           1PM EST

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Chance of showers, strong wind, temperature in the low to mid 70’s

 

PiRate:         Miami by 2

Mean:           New England by 1

Bias:             Miami by 3

Vegas:        Miami by 2         -125/+105

Ov/Un:        42

Strategy:     New England +12 in 10-point teaser, New England +15 in 13-point teaser, Under 55 in 13-point teaser

11 weeks ago, who would have thought that this game would match two teams with identical records, and who would have thought that Miami would have clobbered the Patriots in the earlier meeting?  This game will be all about payback.  New England cannot afford to lose this game and remain a serious playoff threat.  Two losses to the Dolphins may leave them on the outside looking in for the rest of the season.

 

Miami has been winning ugly the last few games.  The Dolphins narrowly defeated weak Seattle and Oakland teams.  The Patriots will come out and play the best defense they can play, and I cannot see Miami topping 17 points.  The single wing won’t exploit the Pats like it did in the first game.

 

I expect New England to win this one outright, but I am going to play it safe and just take them and double digit points in the teasers.  Since Miami’s defense is quite capable, I will tease the Under at 13 points.  At 55 points, we still win if the final is 34-17, and I cannot see either team scoring 28 points in this game.

 

Chicago (5-5-0) at St. Louis (2-8-0)

Time:           1PM EST

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Dome

 

PiRate:         Chicago by 17

Mean:           Chicago by 9

Bias:             Chicago by 10

Vegas:         Chicago by 8      -350/+320  

Ov/Un:        43

Strategy:     Over 33 in 10-point teaser, Over 30 in 13-point teaser, Chicago +5 in 13-point teaser

The Bears are on the ropes after seemingly being in control of the NFC North two weeks ago.  They stopped the Titans’ ground game but lost the war when they allowed Kerry Collins to look like Peyton Manning.  Last week, Aaron Rodgers and company put a big whipping on them, and now there is a sense of urgency to avoid falling in the crapper.

 

St. Louis is back to being the dregs of the NFC.  I’m not sure they could beat Detroit today.  Injuries have hit, and the Rams just don’t have any depth.

 

Chicago scares me.  Kyle Orton obviously is not 100% healthy, and Rex Grossman is not the man who can run this offense.  Against an inept Rams’ defense, a semi-healthy Orton should put up 24 points or more.  The Rams have a chance at the upset, but even if they were to win, I can only see it coming by a field goal at the most.  Thus, I like taking the Bears in a 13-point teaser, as it gives us 5 points.  A teasing of the Over looks safe.

 

Houston (3-7-0) at Cleveland (4-6-0)

Time:           1PM EST

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Partly cloudy, moderate wind, temperature in the upper 30’s

 

PiRate:         Cleveland by 5

Mean:           Cleveland by 4

Bias:             Cleveland by 5

Vegas:        Cleveland by 3          -155/+135  

Ov/Un:        49½

Strategy:     Over 36½ in 13-point teaser

Both of these teams have been huge underachievers this year.  When two underachievers meet, there can be four outcomes each with about 25% of happening.  One team can play like they should have been playing while the other continues not to live up to its potential (that’s two different scenarios since it could be either team).  Both teams could play like they were supposed to be playing all along, or both teams could continue to play poorly.

 

Since there is a 50% probability that one of the two teams will play great while the other continues to stink, it makes playing a side too much of a risk.  However, I like the Over in a 13-point tease.  If only one team plays well, that team should top 35 points.  If both teams play well, it should be a track meet with both teams topping 24 points.  If both teams play poorly and underachieve once again, then two poor defenses should lead to a game with 60 or more total points.

 

San Francisco (3-7-0) at Dallas (6-4-0)

Time:           1:00 PM EST

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Chance of showers, moderate wind, temperature in upper 60’s

 

PiRate:         Dallas by 9

Mean:           Dallas by 9

Bias:             Dallas by 10

Vegas:        Dallas by 10  

Ov/Un:        47

Strategy:     Dallas Pk in 10-point teaser, Dallas +3 in 13-point teaser, Under 60 in 13-point teaser, Over 34 in 13-point teaser

Having Tony Romo back makes Dallas more than 10 points better than when he is out.  The Cowboys will win this game with about 95% certainty, but I wouldn’t advise giving away 10 points.  Play it safe and take Dallas as part of your parlay on a teaser.  This is a must-win game, and a one-point win is as good as an 11-point win for them.  Let it be that way for you too.

 

The teasing both ways of the totals are secondary plays in this game.  I see a final score being at least 21-17 and as much as 35-13.  Both scenarios fall within the 26-point range of both sides of the 13-point teaser.

 

Tampa Bay (7-3-0) at Detroit (0-10-0)

Time:           1:00PM EST

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Dome

 

PiRate:         Tampa Bay by 15

Mean:          Tampa Bay by 11

Bias:             Tampa Bay by 12

Vegas:         Tampa Bay by 8       -355/+325

Ov/Un:        41

Strategy:     Tampa Bay +2 in 10-point teaser, Tampa Bay +5 in 13-point teaser, Under 54 in 13-point teaser

Detroit last won a game on the Sunday before Thanksgiving eight years ago.  That was a Lion team that had a winning record, and it came against an opponent that finished 5-11.

 

Tampa Bay is headed to the playoffs as either NFC South champs or a wildcard.  Detroit is just hoping to win a game this year.  They will be thinking about the annual turkey day game on national television, and this game won’t be the one they win.  Look for the Lions to be 0-11 on Thanksgiving day, and it would be ironic if they face an 11-0 Tennessee team.

 

Tampa Bay has more than a 95% chance of winning this game.  By taking the Bucs in 10 and 13-point teasers, we get them as an underdog.

 

Tampa Bay’s defense should do a number on Detroit’s offense.  The Lions will be lucky to reach 17 points, and I believe they could be held under 14.  Tampa Bay isn’t a team that blows opponents off the field.  The Bucs could win 31-10, and that wouldn’t come close to topping our Over.

 

Buffalo (5-5-0) at Kansas City (1-9-0)

Time:           1:00 PM EST

TV:               Fox

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

 

PiRate:         Buffalo by 5

Mean:          Buffalo by 3

Bias:             Buffalo by 3

Vegas:         Buffalo by 3 -165/+145

Ov/Un:        43½

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

Dick Jauron cost his team a chance to win Monday night.  Trent Edwards quickly led the Bills into Browns’ territory at the end of the game.  Cleveland could not stop the Buffalo two-minute offense.  The Bills were facing a moderate wind, and a 46 yard field goal attempt was more like a 55 yard field goal attempt.  Jauron ordered consecutive running plays rather than continue to pass the ball.  Sure, Edwards had problems in the first quarter, but he was exploiting Cleveland’s defense on that final drive.  Jauron showed a lack of confidence in Edwards, and that does not bode well for the Bills.  I believe they are headed to a last place finish in the AFC East, and they could easily finish 7-9 or even 6-10.

 

Kansas City has now lost 19 of their last 20 games, but the Chiefs have suffered four close losses.  Tyler Thigpen is improving, and he could pass for 250 yards in this game.  Kansas City could certainly win this game, and I give them close to a 50% chance of doing so.  If they can pull off the upset, I am sure it will be by a touchdown or less.  Playing Buffalo in a 10 and 13-point teaser gives you seven and 10 points respectively.  I’ll take them.

 

I see this game leading to 40 points, so I’ll play the Over in a 13-point teaser.

 

New York Jets (7-3-0) at Tennessee (10-0-0)

Time:           1:00PM EST

TV:               CBS

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

 

PiRate:         Tennessee by 11

Mean:           Tennessee by 8

Bias:             Tennessee by 6

Vegas:        Tennessee by 5

Ov/Un:        40½

Strategy:     Jets +15 in 10-point teaser, Jets +18 in 13-point teaser, Over 27½ in 13-point teaser

Can Brett Favre torch the best defense in the AFC in the same manner he has done the last two months?  The Jets have averaged better than 33 points per game over the last four games, and better than 32 points per game over the last eight.

 

Tennessee leads the NFL in scoring defense, allowing just 13.1 points per game.  I believe that average will go up some this week, but maybe by just one point. 

 

This game could easily be a warm-up for the AFC Championship Game.  The Jets need it to be a high scoring game to win it, while the Titans need it to be a lower scoring game.  The weather will be perfect, and I believe Favre will be ready to play a great game.  He lives for games like this.

 

Tennessee keeps coming up with ways to win close games.  They may look awful for a half, and then in a span of five minutes, they score two touchdowns.  Then, their defense shuts down the opponents for the rest of the game.

 

I see the Titans struggling to stop the Jets this week.  I believe New York has as much chance of winning as Tennessee.  So, playing my typical strategy, I’ll take the underdog in the teasers and force the Titans to win by more than two touchdowns to beat me.  Playing the Over in a 13-point tease means we win if the score is 16-13, and I think that could be the halftime score this week.

 

Oakland (2-8-0) at Denver (6-4-0)

Time:           4:05PM EST

TV:               CBS

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

 

PiRate:         Denver by 9

Mean:           Denver by 8

Bias:             Denver by 14

Vegas:        Denver by 9 -400/+360 

Ov/Un:        42½

Strategy:     Denver +1 in 10-point teaser, Denver +4 in 13-point teaser, Under 52½ in 10-point teaser Under 55½ in 13-point teaser

Jay Cutler took apart the Raiders’ defense in the opening week of the season.  Oakland’s defense looked like Swiss cheese.  Since then, the Raider offense has disappeared, while the defense has played admirably.

 

Oakland has no offense to speak of since the dismissal of Lane Kiffin.  The Raiders have scored a grand total of 50 points in the last six games.  Even a second-rate Denver defense will hold the silver and black under 20 points.  Denver should gain the sweep and take a commanding lead in the AFC West, but I don’t expect Cutler to repeat the numbers he put up the first time.  I see Denver winning with a score similar to 31-17, 28-10, 30-14, and if it’s really close, 24-17.  Nine points is too much to ask the Broncos to cover, but taking the home team in the teasers is a nice, conservative move.  All of the scoring scenarios I listed are under 50 total points, so an Under tease is an approved move.

 

New York Giants (9-1-0) at Arizona (7-3-0)

Time:           4:15 PM EST

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Partly cloudy, light wind, temperature near 80

 

PiRate:         Giants by 4

Mean:          Giants by 2

Bias:            Giants by 3

Vegas:         Giants by 3

Ov/Un:        48½

Strategy:     Under 61½ in 13-point teaser

There is a second game this week that could be the preview of a conference championship game.  Arizona and the Giants could easily meet for the NFC title, but the game would take place in the Meadowlands and not in Phoenix.

 

I will be interested in seeing what the Giants do defensively to stop Kurt Warner.  The Warner that played for the Giants is not the same Warner today.  He has regained enough zip on his passes to be as dangerous as he was back in the “Greatest Show on Turf” days.

 

Remember two things.  First, the Giants figured a way to stop the Patriots’ offense last year.  That offense was considered the best ever to take the field.  Now, also remember that the Browns torched New York for 35 points. 

 

This will be the Giants’ first road game in the Mountain Time Zone.  It will be their third road game against a team with a winning record.  Those other two road games against winning teams both were in Pennsylvania.  They beat the Eagles by five and the Steelers by seven.

 

I believe Arizona is better than both Pitt and Philly.  I believe the road trip will be harder on the Giants than the hop to the Keystone State.  I believe we have another tossup game here, but I am not as confident as my writing would have you to believe.  If, and only if, you need one more game to fill out a parlay, then I would consider taking the Cardinals in a 10 or 13-point teaser.  I won’t be using that pick this week.  I only like teasing the Under in this game, because I believe the Giants will try to control the ball and eat up the clock and be happy to win 21-20.

 

Carolina (8-2-0) at Atlanta (6-4-0)

Time:           4:15 PM EST

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Dome

 

PiRate:         Carolina by 1

Mean:          Tossup

Bias:            Carolina by 1

Vegas:         Atlanta by 1½          -125/+105   

Ov/Un:        42½

Strategy:     Atlanta +8½ in 10-point teaser, Atlanta +11½ in 13-point teaser, Under 52½ in 10-point teaser, Under 55½ in 13-point teaser    

This game has been moved to 4:15 from 1:00, as it is an important game in the NFC South.  If the Panthers win this one, then they are in the driver’s seat in the division.  If Atlanta wins, then this race begins to look like the 1967 American League baseball pennant race.

 

The Falcons lost to Denver at the Georgia Dome last week, and they will bring their A-game this week.  Since their bye, Carolina has looked like they were not firing on all cylinders in relatively close wins over Oakland and Detroit.  They are primed to be upset.

 

I believe the Falcons have a great chance of winning this game, but so do the wise guys in Vegas.  So, I will resort to the teasers and take the Falcons.  We get more than a touchdown in 10 and 13-point teasers.  I also like teasing the Over in this game.  Atlanta’s defense will hold Carolina to 21 points or less, and the Falcons will not top 30.

 

Washington (6-4-0) at Seattle (2-8-0)

Time:           4:15 PM EST

TV:               Fox

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

 

PiRate:         Washington by 3

Mean:           Washington by 2

Bias:             Washington by 3

Vegas:        Washington by 3½         -170/+150

Ov/Un:        40½

Strategy:     Seattle +13½ in 10-point teaser, Seattle +16½ in 13-point teaser, Under 50½  in 10-point teaser, Under 53½ in 13-point teaser    

I thought the odds makers might install Seattle as a slight favorite in this game.  The Redskins are no juggernaut on the East Coast.  Let’s look at their recent history of the last month or so.  They lost at home to the Rams.  They barely edged Cleveland at home.  They had to come from behind in the fourth quarter to win at winless Detroit.  They didn’t show up in a loss at Pittsburgh, and then following a bye week, they blew the lead in a loss to Dallas.  That’s three losses in their last five games.

 

Seattle is not much better than Detroit and weaker than Cleveland.  They are better than the Rams.  While they are not in the Cowboys’ league, Washington will not be as up for this game as they were Sunday night. 

 

I give the Seahawks an excellent chance to win and almost recommend them straight up.  However, this week, I am only playing teasers, and I like getting the home team getting double digit points in this situation.  The score of Seattle games has been much lower as of late than it was at the beginning of the season.  Redskin games have been consistently lower than average, so I like teasing the Under in this one.

 

Indianapolis (6-4-0) at San Diego (4-6-0)

Time:           8:15PM EST

TV:               NBC

Forecast:     Clear, light wind, temperature falling from upper 60’s to upper 50’s

                    

PiRate:         San Diego by 1

Mean:           San Diego by 3

Bias:             San Diego by 3

Vegas:        San Diego by 3

Ov/Un:        49½

Strategy:     Indianapolis +13 in 10-point teaser, Indianapolis +16 in 13-point teaser

San Diego is the most underachieving team this season.  The 4-6 Chargers were supposed to win 12 to 14 games this year.  Now, they are just barely on playoff life support.  If they are 4-7 Monday morning, and the Broncos are 7-4, then this race is over.  The Chargers will not qualify as a wildcard if they are 4-7 after 11 games.  So, this is definitely a must-win game for the home team.

 

Indianapolis is slowly beginning to look like a 10 or 11-win team.  If they win this game, they could even run the table and finish 12-4.  After this game, the Colts have Cleveland, Cincinnati, Detroit, and Jacksonville and should win all four.  The season finale at home against Tennessee will only matter to the Titans if they are 15-0 then, and even at 15-0, Jeff Fisher would be crazy to stick with his key regulars and gamble on injuries.  We could see Vince Young running the zone read that week.

 

This game is not a must-win for the Colts, but we can never count out a Peyton Manning team in a nationally televised, primetime game.  I’ll take the Colts in the teasers and force San Diego to beat them big to hurt us.

 

Green Bay (5-5-0) at New Orleans (5-5-0)

Time:           8:30PM EST Monday

TV:               ESPN

Forecast:     Dome

 

PiRate:         Green Bay by 5 

Mean:           Green Bay by 2

Bias:             Tossup

Vegas:        New Orleans by 2½        -135/+115

Ov/Un:        51½  

Strategy:     Green Bay +12½ in 10-point teaser, Green Bay +15½ in 13-point teaser, New Orleans +10½ in 13-point teaser, Over 38½ in 13-point teaser  

The Monday night games continue to be high scoring affairs, and now we get two teams that like to light up the scoreboards.  This has the makings of a possible 80-point game.  Drew Brees could pass for 350-500 yards, and Aaron Rodgers could be only a couple dozen yards behind him.  I expect a maximum number of plays, in the neighborhood of 135-140.  I cannot see either team holding the other one under 28 points.  This game actually gives us several possible plays.  The winner of this game should win by single digits.  The total points scored should be in the 40’s at the minimum.

 

Foiled By A Missed Interpretation Of The Rules And The Coaching Of Dick Jauron

 

Last week’s picks finished 9-6-0 for what looked like a winning week.  However, when looking at the “money” on the line, I lost $145.  Upon closer inspection, the wrong call in the Pittsburgh game cost me $210, which would have made it a winning week at 10-5-0 with $65 profit.  On Monday night, Buffalo was exploiting Cleveland’s secondary at the end of the game.  Trent Edwards quickly marched the Bills to the Browns 30 yard line, and then Coach Dick Jauron cost his team the game by running the ball forward for a grand total of a yard or two.  A 46 yard field goal attempt into a strong wind was not what to play for, especially when the Bills had time to drive to the goal line or at least into short field goal range.  It’s a little too late to reconsider Jauron’s long contract extension.  I advise you monitoring the Bills to see if Jauron has “lost the team.”  The Bills’ players were not happy with the end of the game management.

 

For the season, my picks against the spread are now 83-48-6 (63.4%).  The account balance is $1,920. 

 

Here are my wagers for week 12 (all wagered to win $100 or $100 wagered if at + odds on a parlay or money line):

 

1. 10-point teaser

       A. Pittsburgh -½ vs. Cincinnati

       B. Miami +12 vs. Jacksonville

       C. Philadelphia +11 vs. Baltimore

 

2. 10-point teaser

       A. New England +12 vs. Miami

       B. Dallas Pk vs. San Francisco

       C. Tampa Bay +2 vs. Detroit

 

3. 10-point teaser

       A. New York Jets +15 vs. Tennessee

       B. Denver +1 vs. Oakland

       C. Seattle +13½ vs. Washington

 

4. 10-point teaser

       A. Indianapolis +13 vs. San Diego

       B. Green Bay + 12½ vs. New Orleans

       C. Pittsburgh & Cincinnati Over 24

 

5. 10-point teaser

       A. Minnesota & Jacksonville Over 30½

       B. Atlanta & Carolina Under 52½

       C. Seattle & Washington Under 50½

 

6. 13-point teaser

       A. Pittsburgh +2½ vs. Cincinnati

       B. New England +15 vs. Miami

       C. Minnesota & Jacksonville Over 27½

       D. Houston & Cleveland Over 36½

 

7. 13-point teaser

       A. Minnesota +15 vs. Jacksonville

       B. Chicago +5 vs. St. Louis

       C. Green Bay & New Orleans Over 38½

       D. Dallas & San Francisco Under 60

 

8. 13-point teaser

       A. Philadelphia +14 vs. Baltimore

       B. Dallas +3 vs. San Francisco

       C. New England & Miami Under 55

       D. Pittsburgh & Cincinnati Over 21

 

9. 13-point teaser

       A. New York Jets +18 vs. Tennessee

       B. Tampa Bay +5 vs. Detroit

       C. Denver +4 vs. Oakland

       D. Green Bay +15½ vs. New Orleans

 

10. 13-point teaser

       A. Atlanta +11½ vs. Carolina

       B. Seattle +16½ vs. Washington

       C. Indianapolis +16 vs. San Diego

       D. Buffalo & Kansas City Over 30½

 

11. 13-point teaser

       A. New York Jets & Tennessee Over 27½

       B. Philadelphia & Baltimore Over 26½

       C. Chicago & St. Louis Over 30

       D. Buffalo +10 vs. Kansas City               

     

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 13, 2008

PiRate Ratings NFL Previews For Week 11: November 13-17, 2008

PiRate Ratings For NFL Week 11

 

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

8

1

0

262

160

108.73

107.66

108.18

2

Washington

6

3

0

171

168

100.32

100.91

101.54

2

Philadelphia

5

4

0

251

180

108.50

105.53

104.70

2

Dallas

5

4

0

216

219

100.33

101.20

101.60

2

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFC North

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Chicago

5

4

0

237

194

106.55

102.63

104.33

2

Minnesota

5

4

0

210

215

101.66

101.38

101.90

2

Green Bay

4

5

0

237

206

104.33

103.23

102.81

2

Detroit

0

9

0

151

277

87.31

89.90

85.94

3

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFC South

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Carolina  

7

2

0

191

133

106.84

104.19

105.90

2

Tampa Bay

6

3

0

200

147

106.08

103.46

105.01

2

Atlanta

6

3

0

211

174

104.11

102.06

104.33

2

New Orleans

4

5

0

236

229

100.49

100.32

99.06

2

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFC West

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Arizona

6

3

0

263

208

103.71

102.93

104.42

3

Seattle

2

7

0

170

231

92.76

95.33

94.11

3

San Francisco

2

7

0

195

259

92.62

93.51

91.32

3

St. Louis

2

7

0

128

282

84.47

90.05

86.60

2

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC East

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

New England

6

3

0

188

160

99.65

102.71

104.17

2

New York

6

3

0

255

190

102.62

102.12

104.04

2

Miami

5

4

0

192

182

100.60

99.58

102.53

2

Buffalo

5

4

0

192

189

97.47

97.85

99.16

3

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC North

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Pittsburgh

6

3

0

198

140

107.83

105.45

105.75

2

Baltimore

6

3

0

212

150

106.45

105.14

105.41

3

Cleveland

3

6

0

172

194

98.52

98.51

96.50

2

Cincinnati

1

8

0

125

236

91.18

92.96

92.12

2

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC South

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Tennessee

9

0

0

220

117

111.42

107.94

108.77

2

Indianapolis

5

4

0

191

197

103.05

103.17

103.14

2

Jacksonville

4

5

0

198

186

100.01

100.75

99.05

3

Houston

3

6

0

209

254

96.02

97.67

95.84

3

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC West

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Denver

5

4

0

224

251

95.51

96.94

99.19

2

San Diego

4

5

0

244

218

101.06

100.83

101.68

2

Oakland

2

7

0

113

218

88.97

91.40

89.57

2

Kansas City

1

8

0

145

243

90.94

92.67

91.42

2

 

Note: due to a Thursday game this week, weather forecasts and odds are those as of Wednesday Noon EST

 

NFL Previews-Week 11

 

New York Jets (6-3) at New England (6-3)

Time:           8:15 EST Thursday 11/13

TV:               NFL Network

Forecast:     Rain Showers, moderate wind, temperature holding steady around 44 degrees

 

PiRate:         Jets by 1                  

Mean:           New England by 3

Bias:             New England by 2

Vegas:        New England by 3    -165/+155

Ov/Un:        40½  

Strategy:     New England +7 in 10-point teaser, New England +10 in 13-point teaser, Over 30½ in 10-point teaser, Over 27½ in 13-point teaser    

The weather could play an important role in this game, but I still believe the power of weeknight primetime television will have an even stronger effect.

 

To the winner goes undisputed first place in the toughest division in the AFC.  The Patriots’ defense dominated the Jets in their earlier meeting in New Jersey, but Brett Favre’s grasp of the Jet offense is much stronger now.  The Jets have scored 101 points in their last three games.

 

This is a tricky game, and the rivalry between the two coaches is important.  I like the home team on short preparation but not enough to take them outright.  Thus, I will utilize our trusty friend “The Teaser” and take the Pats and points.      

 

Denver (5-4) at Atlanta (6-3)

Time:           1PM EST

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Dome

 

PiRate:         Atlanta by 11

Mean:           Atlanta by 7

Bias:             Atlanta by 7

Vegas:        Atlanta by 6       -265/+245

Ov/Un:        50½              

Strategy:     Over 40½ in 10-point teaser, Over 37½ in 13-point teaser 

Atlanta has a favorable schedule the rest of the way, and the Falcons should win at least 10 games.  Coach Mike Smith has to be one of the favorites for Coach of the Year.  His team has played tough every week, and his rookie quarterback Matt Ryan has enjoyed a first year that few star quarterbacks in the past have enjoyed.  Ryan is on pace for 3,400 passing yards and 20 TDs.

 

Denver’s Jay Cutler may have to pass the ball 45 times this week, as the Broncos are missing their top four runners.  There is a chance Selvin Young might be able to go, but it looks like fullback Peyton Hillis will have to carry the load.

 

I am looking for a rather high scoring game.  Atlanta has not surrendered more than 27 points in any game this year, and they may hold Denver to 21 to 27 points this week.  Atlanta will top 20 points as well, so I am teasing the totals.

 

Oakland (2-7) at Miami (5-4)

Time:           1PM EST

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Partly cloudy, moderate wind with occasional strong gusts, temperature in low 70’s

 

PiRate:         Miami by 14      

Mean:           Miami by 10

Bias:             Miami by 15

Vegas:        Miami by 10½   -500/+400   

Ov/Un:        38

Strategy:     Miami -500 (as part of a money line parlay), Miami -½ in 10-point teaser, Miami +2½ in 13-point teaser

Teams traveling from the West Coast to the East Coast have yet to win a game this year, and I don’t expect that stat to change with this game.  Oakland has scored 35 total points in their last five games (since Tom Cable took over as interim coach).  JaMarcus Russell may be another Vince Young in the making without all the off-the-field problems.  He is questionable for this game.  Last week’s starter Andrew Walter is not 100% healthy this week, and he wasn’t effective when he was healthy.  Marques Tuiasosospo is the third quarterback; does it really matter which of these three play Sunday?  I don’t think so.  The Raiders are completely dysfunctional, and I’m thinking they will be lucky to score a touchdown this week.

 

Miami is the Atlanta of the AFC.  Coach Tony Sparano should be the AFC Coach of the Year, but Jeff Fisher might get that award if the Titans go 14-2 or better.  The Dolphins are considerably better defensively now than they were in September, and this week should be like child’s play for the stop side. 

 

When Miami has the ball, it may take a quarter to get untracked, but eventually they will score points.  Go with the fish in this one.  I like playing the Dolphins in a money line pick, but I love them as part of a money line parlay.

 

Baltimore (6-3) at New York Giants (8-1)

Time:           1PM EST

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Sunny, moderate wind, temperature in upper 40’s

 

PiRate:         Giants by 4

Mean:           Giants by 5

Bias:             Giants by 5

Vegas:        Giants by 7        -290/+245

Ov/Un:        41½

Strategy:     Baltimore +17 in 10-point teaser, Baltimore +20 in 13-point teaser, Over 31½ in 10-point teaser, Over 28½ in 13-point teaser 

Could this Baltimore team be as good as the one that won the Super Bowl eight years ago?  That 2000 Ravens team was only 5-4 after nine games, and their offense was averaging just 15.6 points per game.  True, their defense was yielding less than 11 points per game at that time.  This Ravens team is 6-3 with a potent offense averaging 33.5 points per game in the last four weeks.  The defense is not comparable to the champion defense of 2000, but Ray Lewis and company can still get the job done; Baltimore is giving up just 16.7 points per game.

 

Can the Ravens win on the road against the 8-1 defending Super Bowl Champs?  Yes, they can, but don’t risk losing money on that chance.  Feel confident that they will at the very least keep this game within two touchdowns. The Giants have to cover a touchdown and adding 10 or 13 points onto that gives them an almost impossible task.  New York could win this game by 10 points, and they could be extended until late in the fourth quarter with the game on the line.  Baltimore could win.  Playing the Ravens in the teasers wins in all three circumstances.

 

I like teasing the Over here as well.  Joe Flacco is giving Matt Ryan a good battle for rookie supremacy.  Having three quality running backs on hand takes the heat off him.  While I don’s see the Ravens striking for 30 points this week, I do see them topping 20.  So, I like teasing the Over as well.

 

Houston (3-6) at Indianapolis (5-4)

Time:           1PM EST

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Dome likely to be closed, but if it is open: Mostly cloudy, moderate wind, temperature in the low to mid 40’s.

 

PiRate:         Indianapolis by 9

Mean:           Indianapolis by 8

Bias:             Indianapolis by 9

Vegas:         Indianapolis by 7½ -340/+310  

Ov/Un:        50

Strategy:     Indianapolis -340 (as part of money line parlay), Indianapolis +2½ in 10-point teaser, Indianapolis +5½ in 13-point teaser, Over 40 in 10-point teaser, Over 37 in 13-point teaser    

The Colts find themselves one game behind the wildcard leaders with seven weeks to go, but it is my opinion that they will finish the season as strong as they have finished in prior years.  They could easily win 10 or 11 games, especially if Tennessee has nothing to play for on the final weekend.

 

Houston’s three week rise came to a crash in Minneapolis two weeks ago, and the Texans are headed nowhere this year.  They gave up 31 points to Peyton Manning and company in their first meeting, and number 18 could easily top that mark in this game.

 

I’m going with the Colts to win this game, but I do not like the 7½ point spread.  So, I will include Indianapolis in my money line parlays and my teasers.  The Over could be topped by the Colts’ offense alone when you tease it.

 

Chicago (5-4) at Green Bay (4-5)

Time:           1:00 PM EST

TV:               Fox

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

 

PiRate:         Tossup

Mean:          Green Bay by 3

Bias:            Tossup

Vegas:         Green Bay by 4½     -210/+180  

Ov/Un:        44½

Strategy:     Chicago +14½ in 10-point teaser, Chicago +17½ in 13-point teaser, Over 31½ in 13-point teaser

As I write this Wednesday afternoon, it is unsure whether Kyle Orton will be able to go for the Bears this week.  Orton makes a huge difference over Rex Grossman.  So, I cannot recommend any plays here until it is known who will be under center for Chicago.  The above strategy applies only if Orton will play.

 

On the other side of the field, Aaron Rodgers is still nursing a sore shoulder.  He cannot throw the deep ball with the same zip he could when healthy.

 

Philadelphia (5-4) at Cincinnati (1-8)

Time:           1PM EST

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Clouds giving away to sun, moderate wind, temperature in the low to mid 40’s

 

PiRate:         Philadelphia by 15

Mean:           Philadelphia by 13

Bias:             Philadelphia by 11

Vegas:        Philadelphia by 9½         -385/+355  

Ov/Un:        41½

Strategy:     Cincinnati +19½ in 10-point teaser, Cincinnati +22½ in 13-point teaser, Over 31½ in 10-point teaser, Over 28½ in 13-point teaser  

Cincinnati had the week off, while the Eagles played the Giants in a crucial game.  There could be a small case made that the Bengals were in a great position to pull off a big upset this week.

 

Carson Palmer is still not able to play, and that will keep the Bengals from pulling out a second consecutive win.  However, Cincinnati has all the other breaks in their favor, and I think they will compete in this game.  The Eagles have too much talent to lose in what is certainly a must-win game for them.  I am looking at a 31-17 win for Philly, but I won’t give 9½ points to the home team in this game.

 

New Orleans (4-5) at Kansas City (1-8)

Time:           1:00 PM EST

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Sunny, moderate wind, temperature in the low to mid 50’s

 

PiRate:         New Orleans by 8

Mean:           New Orleans by 6

Bias:             New Orleans by 6

Vegas:        New Orleans by 5½        -240/+200  

Ov/Un:        49½

Strategy:     Kansas City +15½ in 10-point teaser, Kansas City +18½ in 13-point teaser, Over 36½ in 13-point teaser     

The Chiefs keep coming up with surprisingly good games when you least expect it from them.  Half of their losses could have gone the other way.  New Orleans qualifies as a team the Chiefs can scare the daylights out of before losing late.

 

Drew Brees is on pace to smash the all time passing yardage record for a single season; at the rate he is going, he will top 5,300 yards.  He is averaging more than 40 passing attempts per game, but he may get a small break this week.  Reggie Bush could return to action to help take the heat off the passing game, and the Chiefs are giving up more than 170 rushing yards per game at an average of more than five yards per attempt.

 

I am going with the Chiefs in a Teaser because I don’t believe New Orleans can hold them under 20 points.  The Saints may control the ball on the ground more this week, and it may lead them to winning 28-20 rather than 37-32.

 

Detroit (0-9) at Carolina (7-2)

Time:           1:00PM EST

TV:               Fox

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

 

PiRate:         Carolina by 22

Mean:          Carolina by 16

Bias:             Carolina by 22

Vegas:         Carolina by 14          -800/+650

Ov/Un:        39½

Strategy:     Carolina -800 (as part of money line parlay), Carolina -4 in 10-point teaser, Carolina -1 in 13-point teaser, Over 29½ in 10-point teaser, Over 26½ in 13-point teaser 

Detroit has Daunte Culpepper tossing the pigskin now, but I don’t expect much difference in the results of Lions’ games.  That said, Detroit has actually been much more competitive on the road than at home this season.  While I don’t see them scaring Carolina this week, I would not be surprised to see the Lions covering the two touchdown spread this week.

 

Jake Delhomme had a terrible game last week in Oakland, and you can expect him to rebound this week.  He won’t have to throw the ball all over the field, and that should help him improve his accuracy.  Look for him to take advantage of some mismatches when the Lions try to throw the kitchen sink at him.  The Carolina ground game should top their 119 yards per game rushing average by at least 30 if not 50 yards.

 

I think Carolina has a 95% chance of winning this game and a 55% chance of winning by more than two touchdowns.  So, I am selecting the Panthers as part of a money line parlay, but I won’t take them and give 14 points to a team that has lost its most recent road games by four, seven, and two points.

 

Minnesota (5-4) at Tampa Bay (6-3)

Time:           1:00 PM EST

TV:               Fox

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

 

PiRate:         Tampa Bay by 6

Mean:          Tampa Bay by 4

Bias:             Tampa Bay by 5

Vegas:         Tampa Bay by 3        -185/+165

Ov/Un:        38½

Strategy:     Tampa Bay -3, Tampa Bay -185, Tampa Bay +7 in 10-point teaser, Tampa Bay +10 in 13-point teaser, Over 28½ in 10-point teaser, Over 25½ in 13-point teaser    

The Vikings have a chance to take command in the NFC North if they can pull off the mild upset, and Green Bay beats Chicago.  If they lose, then they will be on the outside looking in.  The Vikings’ schedule is tricky the rest of the way, and I don’t believe they will win the division if they are 5-5 after this week.

 

Tampa Bay is a team that could be great but seems to always misfire in one area.  When their offense plays well, their defense seems to slip.  A great defensive performance seems to coincide with difficulty with their offense.  Therefore, almost all of their games are nip and tuck affairs that go to the final gun.

 

Things could be looking up for Tampa Bay starting this week.  Cadillac Williams has been activated, and he should play some this week.  If he can run the ball five times for 20 yards, it could allow Earnest Graham to rest just enough to keep him effective.

 

The weather is going to be ideal for football, and I look for the home team to move to 7-3.  I’m going with the Bucs giving three, on the money line, and in the teasers.  The ideal weather should lead to both teams topping 20 points and definitely topping 17, which is good enough to win at both 10 and 13 point teasers.

 

 

St. Louis (2-7) at San Francisco (2-7)

Time:           4:05PM EST

TV:               Fox

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

 

PiRate:         San Francisco by 11

Mean:           San Francisco by 6

Bias:             San Francisco by 8

Vegas:        San Francisco by 7          -265/+245

Ov/Un:        45

Strategy:     St. Louis +17 in 10-point teaser, St. Louis +20 in 13-point teaser, Under 58 in 13-point teaser   

Personally, I am fed up with the 49ers.  A head football coach once denigrated his team publicly by saying they didn’t know how to win; that applied aptly to this team.  Even facing the lowly Rams, I am hesitant to pick the 49ers to win this game.  Marc Bulger could torch the secondary and lead his team to a road win.  Should San Francisco figure out a way to win this game, I cannot see them doing so by double digits.  Therefore, I believe that taking those dreadful Rams in the teasers is one of the best selections of the week.  I have added the Under 58 teaser option only as a last choice to fill out a 13-point parlay.  My guess at the final score will be something like 24-21 to 28-21 with both teams having about a 50-50 chance of winning.  Having Steven Jackson back for the Rams is my insurance policy on this pick.

 

Arizona (6-3) at Seattle (2-7)

Time:           4:05PM EST

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Cloudy, light wind, temperature near 55

 

PiRate:         Arizona by 8

Mean:           Arizona by 5

Bias:             Arizona by 7

Vegas:        Arizona by 3      -140/+130       

Ov/Un:        47½

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

This is a serious trap game this week.  Seattle is primed to pull off a big shocker, and even if they fall short, I believe the Seahawks have a great chance at covering if you give them an extra 10 or 13 points.

 

Arizona had a Monday night game, and they will be traveling 1,500 miles north on short rest.  More importantly, it looks like Matt Hasselbeck and Deion Branch will both play this week, and that makes Seattle seven to 10 points better offensively.

 

Tennessee (9-0) at Jacksonville (4-5)

Time:           4:15 PM EST

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Sunny, moderate wind, temperature falling from 60 to the mid 50’s

 

PiRate:         Tennessee by 8

Mean:          Tennessee by 4

Bias:            Tennessee by 7

Vegas:         Tennessee by 3        -145/+125

Ov/Un:        39½

Strategy:     Jacksonville +13 in 10-point teaser, Jacksonville +16 in 13-point teaser, Over 29½ in 10-point teaser, Over 26½ in 13-point teaser

The first time these teams played, it was the opening week of the season.  Vince Young threw two interceptions, and the Titans appeared to be on their way to an 0-1 start.  Then, Young buried his head on the bench and almost did not go back in the game.  A couple plays later, he suffered a sprained knee, and Kerry Collins entered the game.  He quickly tossed a touchdown pass, and the Titans began their 9-0 start with a revived offense.

 

Jacksonville was supposed to have an offense that could not be stopped or contained.  Instead, the Jaguars have looked inept some weeks.  Losses to Cleveland and Cincinnati have ruined their chances for making the playoffs this season.  Beating Tennessee would be their big game of the year.  Tennessee has been their nemesis through the years, and an upset over their hated rival would make their season.

 

This game has been moved to 4:15 for national television, and I am expecting the motivated Jags to come out and make this game a hard-fought war for 60 minutes.  It could come down to a last play field goal attempt to decide it all.  Even if it goes to overtime, and the highest spread possible becomes six points, it won’t be enough to hurt us if we take Jacksonville in the teasers.  I am also teasing the totals here, because in the twenties, it isn’t asking that much for the teams to do.  A special teams or defensive big play could add an extra touchdown to the final score.

 

San Diego (4-5) at Pittsburgh (6-3)

Time:           4:15 PM EST

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Snow flurries and possible snow showers, moderate wind, temperature dropping through the 30’s

 

PiRate:         Pittsburgh by 9

Mean:           Pittsburgh by 7

Bias:             Pittsburgh by 6

Vegas:        Pittsburgh by 4        -225/+185

Ov/Un:        43

Strategy:     Pittsburgh -225, Pittsburgh +6 in 10-point teaser, Pittsburgh +9 in 13-point teaser

I almost picked the Steelers to cover the spread without the use of a teaser in this game, and I think if the snow is anything more than flurries, Pittsburgh will win by more than a touchdown.

 

San Diego is another one of those West Coast teams playing in the Eastern Time Zone, and like I wrote above, no West Coast team has won a game in the Eastern Time Zone this year.

 

I am of the belief that Norv Turner is an excellent offensive coordinator who does not get the most out of his talent as a head coach.  San Diego is a bigger disappointment this year than Cleveland or Dallas.  I really cannot see them winning this game, and at 4-6, Turner’s seat will begin to heat up.  Pittsburgh has lost their last two home games, and I look for that to change this week.  Call it a 20-14 home win in Steeltown.

 

Dallas (5-4) at Washington (6-3)

Time:           8:15PM EST

TV:               NBC

Forecast:     Partly cloudy, moderate wind, temperature falling from the upper to lower 40’s

                    

PiRate:         Washington by 2

Mean:           Washington by 2

Bias:             Washington by 2

Vegas:        Tossup         -120/+110

Ov/Un:        43½

Strategy:     Dallas +10 in 10-point teaser, Dallas +13 in 13-point teaser, Over 33½ in 10-point teaser, Over 30½ in 13-point teaser 

This is a great rivalry game.  You can throw out the past when these two teams hook up.  The Redskins won in Texas Stadium, but that means little in their chances to go for the sweep.

 

What does mean a lot in deciding this week’s outcome is the status of some key personnel on both sides of the ball.  For Dallas, it revolves around Tony Romo and Felix Jones.  What kind of performance will they be able to display?  For Washington, it looks like Clinton Portis will not play, while Santana Moss plays at less than 100%.  Portis cannot be replaced, and the Cowboys will concentrate their efforts on stopping the Redskin passing attack.

 

I like Dallas’s chances of getting revenge in this game and throwing the NFC East into a three-way tie for second place at 6-4.  If the Cowboys lose, then it is highly unlikely that they will recover to make it in the playoffs as a wildcard team.  So, I am taking the visitors in the teasers.  I believe the final score will be somewhat similar to the final score the first time, only with the Cowboys winning. 

 

Cleveland (3-6) at Buffalo (5-4)

Time:           8:30PM EST Monday

TV:               ESPN

Forecast:     Snow showers, moderate to strong winds, temperature holding steady in the low 30’s

 

PiRate:         Buffalo by 2

Mean:           Buffalo by 2

Bias:             Buffalo by 6

Vegas:        Buffalo 6     -225/+185

Ov/Un:        41½  

Strategy:     Buffalo -225, Cleveland +16 in 10-point teaser, Cleveland +19 in 13-point teaser, Over 31½ in 10-point teaser, Over 28½ in 13-point teaser 

What a great time for a Monday night game near the snow capital of the lower 48!  Buffalo should be a winter wonderland as ESPN comes on the air for this game.  Snowfall can be a good friend to those who play teasers.  It tends to even out the score when there is a possible mismatch, and it tends to lead to turnovers that produce points.  It doesn’t have to be bitter cold or a blizzard to affect a game.  Try fielding a high punt in the lights when snow is falling.  It isn’t easy. 

 

So, that is why I am actually teasing the Over and not the Under in this game.  Of course, with Monday night games comes higher scoring, as can be attested by this year’s average Monday night score of 34-20.

 

Another Nice Winning Week Against The Spreads

 

Last week’s picks finished 9-4-0 adding $400 more to the bank account.  For the season, my picks against the spread are now 74-42-6 (63.8%).  The account balance is $2,065.  For the year, my Return on investment is 16.9%.

 

The money line parlay I selected last week produced a winning wager, and I will try using that again this week.  Thanks to the ending off bye weeks for the season, we have 16 games per week for the remainder of the regular season.

 

Last week, I played a little defensively due to weather and injury issues.  This week will only see those factors become more important.

 

Here are my wagers for week 11 (all wagered to win $100 or $100 wagered if at + odds on a parlay or money line):

 

1. Tampa Bay -3 vs. Minnesota

2. Pittsburgh -4 vs. San Diego

3. Buffalo -225 vs. Cleveland

4. Tampa Bay -185 vs. Minnesota

5. Pittsburgh -225 vs. San Diego

 

6. Money Line Parlay (-130)

       A. Miami over Oakland

       B. Indianapolis over Houston

       C. Carolina over Detroit

 

7. Money Line Parlay (+220)

       A. Buffalo over Cleveland

       B. Tampa Bay over Minnesota

       C. Pittsburgh over San Diego

 

8. 10-point Teaser

       A. Miami -½ vs. Oakland

       B. Indianapolis +2½ vs. Houston

       C. Jacksonville +13 vs. Tennessee

 

9. 10-point Teaser

       A. Kansas City +15½ vs. New Orleans

       B. Tampa Bay +7 vs. Minnesota

       C. St. Louis +17 vs. San Francisco

 

10. 10-point Teaser

A. Pittsburgh +6 vs. San Diego

       B. Dallas +10 vs. Washington

       C. Cleveland & Buffalo Over 31½

 

11. 13-point Teaser

       A. Chicago +17½ vs. Green Bay

       B. Miami +2½ vs. Oakland

       C. Baltimore +20 vs. New York Giants

       D. Indianapolis +5½ vs. Houston

 

12. 13-point Teaser

       A. Jacksonville +16 vs. Tennessee

       B. Kansas City +18½ vs. New Orleans

       C. Carolina -1 vs. Detroit

       D. Tampa Bay +10 vs. Minnesota

 

13. 13-point Teaser

       A. St. Louis +20 vs. San Francisco

       B. Seattle +16 vs. Arizona

       C. Pittsburgh +9 vs. San Diego

       D. Dallas +13 vs. Washington

 

14. 13-point Teaser

       A. Cleveland & Buffalo Over 28½

       B. Denver & Atlanta Over 37½

       C. Miami & Oakland Over 25

       D. Jacksonville & Tennessee Over 26½

 

15. 13-point Teaser

       A. Denver & Atlanta Under 63½

       B. Carolina & Detroit Over 26½

       C. Tampa Bay & Minnesota Over 25½

       D. Dallas & Washington Over 30½           

     

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 6, 2008

PiRate Ratings Week 10 NFL Previews: November 6-10, 2008

PiRate Ratings For NFL Week 10

 

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

7

1

0

226

129

109.14

107.20

108.43

2

Washington

6

3

0

171

168

101.74

102.36

101.48

2

Philadelphia

5

3

0

220

144

110.07

106.36

107.24

2

Dallas

5

4

0

216

219

101.30

101.71

100.36

2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFC North

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Chicago

5

3

0

223

173

107.23

103.65

103.43

2

Green Bay

4

4

0

210

178

104.67

103.70

102.33

2

Minnesota

4

4

0

182

188

101.75

100.67

100.84

2

Detroit

0

8

0

137

239

89.18

90.56

90.31

3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFC South

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Carolina

6

2

0

174

127

107.60

104.89

105.56

2

Tampa Bay

6

3

0

200

147

105.89

103.85

102.61

2

Atlanta

5

3

0

177

154

102.86

101.51

102.13

2

New Orleans

4

4

0

216

195

101.57

100.90

100.55

2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFC West

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Arizona

5

3

0

234

184

104.89

103.95

104.23

3

San Francisco

2

6

0

171

230

92.37

92.64

94.36

3

Seattle

2

6

0

151

210

92.73

94.48

94.80

3

St. Louis

2

6

0

125

235

88.22

92.18

92.84

2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC East

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

New York

5

3

0

208

187

98.82

100.05

100.73

2

New England

5

3

0

168

150

97.96

101.13

100.78

2

Buffalo

5

3

0

182

169

98.19

98.80

99.16

3

Miami

4

4

0

171

163

100.66

99.80

99.85

2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC North

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Pittsburgh

6

2

0

178

116

109.21

107.03

106.91

2

Baltimore

5

3

0

171

137

104.08

103.73

103.42

3

Cleveland

3

5

0

142

160

99.50

99.87

98.13

2

Cincinnati

1

8

0

125

236

90.87

92.55

93.74

2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC South

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Tennessee

8

0

0

199

103

110.47

108.75

108.70

2

Indianapolis

4

4

0

167

177

101.55

101.48

100.66

2

Jacksonville

3

5

0

160

172

98.69

99.15

98.13

3

Houston  

3

5

0

196

213

98.14

98.36

98.46

3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC West

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Denver

4

4

0

190

221

93.84

95.57

97.04

2

San Diego

3

5

0

224

199

101.35

100.72

99.87

2

Oakland

2

6

0

107

201

86.91

91.22

90.88

2

Kansas City

1

7

0

126

223

88.42

91.10

92.06

2

 

Note: due to Thursday games for the next few weeks, weather forecasts and odds are those as of Wednesday Noon EST

 

NFL Previews-Week 10

 

Denver (4-4) at Cleveland (3-5)

Time:           8:15 EST Thursday 11/06

TV:               NFL Network

Forecast:     Clear, light winds, temperature falling from upper 50’s to lower 50’s

 

PiRate:         Cleveland by 6  

Mean:           Cleveland by 6

Bias:             Cleveland by 3

Vegas:        Cleveland by 3   -150/+170

Ov/Un:        46

Strategy:     Cleveland -3, Cleveland +7 in 10-point teaser, Cleveland +10 in 13-point teaser, Over 33 in 13-point teaser

Brady Quinn takes over at quarterback for the Browns, and I would normally penalize Cleveland some for this.  However, he will be facing a Bronco secondary that is weak and getting weaker due to injuries.  I expect Quinn to complete about 20-25 passes for 225-275 yards.  The Browns’ running attack should pick up some important yardage, even though it will be measured in quality and not quantity.

 

Jay Cutler is on pace to pass for more than 4,000 yards, but it’s starting to look like Denver’s offense will not score enough points to counter their atrocious defense.  The Broncos could very well give up close to 450 points, and no team makes the playoffs when giving up that many points.  For this game, half of the Denver starting secondary will be out, and top tackler D.J. Williams will be out as well.

 

For this reason, and also because it is a weeknight primetime affair, I like teasing the Over to start off week 10.  Because Denver is on the decline, and this is a must win game for Romero Crennel’s team (Cleveland must finish 9-7 or better or he’s gone).  I like the Browns at home, and a field goal isn’t much to cover in what should be a high scoring game.  Even with Quinn under center, I expect Cleveland to win 34-27 or something like that.  It should be quite an entertaining game for the small percentage of fans that can pick up the NFL Network.   

 

Jacksonville (3-5) at Detroit (0-8)

Time:           1PM EST

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Dome

 

PiRate:         Jacksonville by 10

Mean:           Jacksonville by 6

Bias:             Jacksonville by 6

Vegas:        Jacksonville by 6½         -260/+240

Ov/Un:        36½

Strategy:     Detroit +16½ in 10-point teaser, Detroit +19½ in 13-point teaser, Over 23½ in 13-point teaser   

Jacksonville was humiliated by the winless Bengals last week, and now the Jags get the opportunity to go double or nothing with the final winless team.  This is a Detroit team without its starting quarterback as well.  Daunte Culpepper is the likely starter for this game, and he was cast away by the lowly Dolphins and Raiders the last two years.

 

This looks like a chance for Jacksonville to right their listing ship, but I don’t expect the Jaguars to win by two touchdowns.  They should regroup and pick up the win this week, but they will have to play well for four quarters to do so, as I cannot see them blowing any opponent off the field (their three wins were by two, three, and seven points).

 

Tennessee (8-0) at Chicago (5-3)

Time:           1PM EST

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Mostly cloudy, strong wind, temperature in the upper 30’s

 

PiRate:         Chicago by 1     

Mean:           Tennessee by 3

Bias:             Tennessee by 3

Vegas:        Tennessee by 3        -150/+130  

Ov/Un:        38½

Strategy:     Chicago +13 in 10-point teaser, Chicago +16 in 13-point teaser, Under 51½ in 13-point teaser

The Titans will be facing their toughest opponent of the season this week when they head to Soldier Field.  Weather conditions will be as harsh as they have seen in a long time, and the Bears are good enough to peg a loss on the last undefeated team.

 

The Titans’ defense is riddled with key injuries, as Kyle Vanden Bosch and Keith Bulluck could both miss the game.  Albert Haynesworth cannot make all the plays.  On offense, Kerry Collins is not 100%, and if he has to come out of the game, I am not sure Vince Young is ready to return to the field.

 

Chicago’s defensive strength is against the run, and Tennessee’s primary offensive weapon is the running game.  I believe the Bears will hold LenDale White and Chris Johnson under 100 combined yards in this game and force the Titans to pass the ball to receivers who have not caught passes in 35-degree temperatures this year. 

 

Chicago’s offense could be what prevents them from pulling off the upset.  Starting quarterback Kyle Orton may or may not play due to an ankle injury.  If he plays, he won’t be very mobile against a defense that likes to send extra pass rushers.  If backup Rex Grossman plays, the Bears may see their offense grind to a halt like it did in the past.

 

I think this game will be decided on special teams play.  Chicago’s Devin Hester has yet to break a long punt return and only has one relatively long kick return.  Tennessee’s kick and punt coverage units are the team’s liabilities.

 

New Orleans (4-4) at Atlanta (5-3)

Time:           1PM EST

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Dome

 

PiRate:         Atlanta by 2

Mean:           Atlanta by 3

Bias:             Atlanta by 3

Vegas:        Tossup         -110/-110

Ov/Un:        50½

Strategy:     Atlanta +10 in 10-point teaser, Atlanta +13 in 13-point teaser, Under 63½ in 13-point teaser   

I would tend to pick the Falcons straight up in this game, but they are returning from a West Coast trip while New Orleans had a week off.  They may not have needed Sam Baker to protect Matt Ryan against the Oakland defense, but he will be missed some this week.

 

When two teams are relatively even as a whole, it is a rare event for the home team to lose by two touchdowns.  That is the main reason why I like Atlanta in teaser plays.  The Falcons’ defense has yet to yield 28 points in any game, and I think they will hold the Saints’ outstanding offense to 27 points or less.  I cannot see Atlanta topping 35, so I love the 13-point teaser above.

 

St. Louis (2-6) at New York Jets (5-3)

Time:           1PM EST

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Partly cloudy, light wind, temperature in low to mid 50’s

 

PiRate:         Jets by 10

Mean:           Jets by 10

Bias:             Jets by 9

Vegas:         Jets by 8     -335/+325

Ov/Un:        44½

Strategy:     Jets +2 in 10-point teaser, Jets +5 in 13-point teaser, Over 31½ in 13-point teaser

The Rams’ modest rebound with two wins and a near loss is now a recent memory.  Last week, Arizona brought St. Louis back to reality.  The Rams have several key injuries, most notably at running back where Steven Jackson and Antonio Pittman are both hurt.  Jackson may play, but he will not be all that effective if he goes.

 

The Rams had great difficulty defending the magical arm of Kurt Warner when the former Ram returned to St. Louis.  Now, they must play in the new hometown Favreorite in the Big Apple.  Brett Favre could have his best day in a Jets’ uniform.  I expect a 250-yard passing game from number four, and I believe the running game will add another 120 or more yards. 

 

St. Louis will score about 13-17 points in this game, and I expect the Jets to top 24.  Thus, playing it a little defensively, I like teasing the Over here. 

 

Buffalo (5-3) at New England (5-3)

Time:           1PM EST

TV:               CBS

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

 

PiRate:         Buffalo by 1

Mean:          New England by 4

Bias:            New England by 3

Vegas:        New England by 3½ -185/+175

Ov/Un:        41½

Strategy:     New England -185, New England -3½, New England +6½ in 10-point teaser, New England +9½ in 13-point teaser, Under 54½ in 13-point teaser   

Buffalo has found the going a little tough once they began playing teams from their own division.  Consecutive losses at Miami and at home to the Jets have brought the Bills back to the pack.  A loss this week, and the Bills will fall out of first place and possibly into last place.

 

New England is going to prod along the second half of the season and finish with a 10-6 record (give or take a game).  They should make the playoffs, but they won’t be expected to get to the AFC Championship Game.  They lost last week at Indianapolis, and I expect them to rebound with a win this week.

 

Baltimore (5-3) at Houston (3-5)

Time:           1PM EST

TV:               CBS

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

 

PiRate:         Baltimore by 2

Mean:           Baltimore by 2

Bias:             Baltimore by 2

Vegas:        Baltimore by 1   -120/+100

Ov/Un:        42

Strategy:     Baltimore +9 in 10-point teaser, Baltimore +12 in 13-point teaser, Houston +14 in 13-point teaser, Over 29 in 13-point teaser, Under 55 in 13-point teaser

Baltimore is an intriguing team.  If Joe Flacco can continue to play just a tad above average, this team can become a dark horse candidate for getting to the Super Bowl.  Even with Willis McGahee on the shelf, the Raven ground game excelled with the running of Ray Rice.  This Baltimore is considerably better than the Super Bowl Champion team eight years ago.  The defense is not as strong, but it is good enough for the Ravens to finish with 11 wins.

 

Houston is still in the mix at 3-5, but they have no room for error.  They will have to go at least 7-1 in the second half to make the playoffs.  I don’t see it happening.  They will be tough to beat at Reliant Stadium, but they are beatable.  I am looking to play both ends against the middle in the teasers in this one.

 

Seattle (2-6) at Miami (4-4)

Time:           1:00 PM EST

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Chance of showers, light wind, temperature in the upper 70’s

 

PiRate:         Miami by 9

Mean:           Miami by 7

Bias:             Miami by 7

Vegas:        Miami by 8½      -350/+320

Ov/Un:        43

Strategy:     Miami -350, Miami +1½ in 10-point teaser, Miami +4½ in 13-point teaser, Over 30 in 10-point teaser, Over 27 in 13-point teaser 

The Seahawks have flown to the East Coast three times this season and have an 0-3 record to show for it.  Those losses came by a combined 98-26 score against Buffalo, the Giants, and Tampa Bay.  Miami is just a small notch behind the average strength of those three teams, and I expect more of the same in this one.  It’s asking too much for the Dolphins to cover at 8½ points, but I think their chances of winning are more than good enough to look at the Money Line.  I have a new wager I am playing this week to help make that type of wager less dangerous.

 

I am looking for the Dolphins to win their third game in a row and reveal to the rest of the league that they are serious contenders for a playoff berth.  Let’s go with a Miami win in the neighborhood of 27-20.

 

Green Bay (4-4) at Minnesota (4-4)

Time:           1:00PM EST

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Dome

 

PiRate:         Green Bay by 1

Mean:           Green Bay by 1

Bias:             Tossup

Vegas:        Minnesota by 2½     -130/+120

Ov/Un:        45½

Strategy:     Green Bay +2½, Green Bay +120, Green Bay +12½ in 10-point teaser, Green Bay +15½ in 13-point teaser, Over 35½ in 10-point teaser, Over 32½ in 13-point teaser  

The first time these teams played, the teams’ two offenses had not yet put it all together.  The Vikings needed a new quarterback, and the Packers needed their new quarterback to get his feet wet.

 

This time around, both teams are considerably better on the attack side, with Gus Frerotte now the starting quarterback of the rejuvenated purple attack and Aaron Rodgers playing like a seasoned veteran.

 

This game has more meaning than just the old rivalry.  The winner will be 5-4 and on the top side of the wildcard bubble, while the loser will be 4-5 and on the bottom of the bubble.  With the Bears playing Tennessee, it gives the winner of this game a chance to be in a first place tie.

 

You might want to check Friday to see how Rodgers’ shoulder is before making a selection in this game.  Since I cannot do so due to there being a Thursday night game, I am guessing Rodgers will be just fine on Sunday.  If so, I can see the Pack pulling off the season’s sweep.

 

Carolina (6-2) at Oakland (2-6)

Time:           4:05 PM EST

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Mostly sunny, moderate wind, temperature in the upper 50’s

 

PiRate:         Carolina by 18

Mean:          Carolina by 12

Bias:             Carolina by 13

Vegas:         Carolina by 9½         -400/+360

Ov/Un:        37½

Strategy:     Carolina -400, Carolina +½ in 10-point teaser, Carolina +3½ in 13-point teaser, Under 50½ in 13-point teaser

Did you see the Oakland-Atlanta game last Sunday?  If so, let me tell you how sorry I am that you had nothing better to do.  The Raiders act like they wish they could be doing anything else but playing football.  If they had punted on first down every time they had the ball in the first half last week, they would have finished with two more total yards than they actually had going to the locker room.

 

It is starting to look like JaMarcus Russell is going to be a miss.  At the least, he needs more time to study the game.  He cannot learn much running for his life 20 times a game.

 

The Panthers have won just one road game thus far, but it was at San Diego.  The Carolina players know this is a must win game, for they cannot afford to lose to the lowly Raiders and expect to win a division where 8-8 could be sole possession of last place.

 

I expect the Panthers to play it a little close to the vest and rely on superior talent match-ups to produce a plodding, but assured victory.  I see a 28-14 win in the offing.

 

Kansas City (1-7) at San Diego (3-5)

Time:           4:15PM EST

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Mostly sunny, light wind, temperature in mid to upper 60’s

 

 

PiRate:         San Diego by 17

Mean:           San Diego by 12

Bias:             San Diego by 10

Vegas:        San Diego by 15½   -1000/+700

Ov/Un:        47

Strategy:     San Diego -1000, San Diego -5½ in 10-point teaser, San Diego -2½ in 13-point teaser, Over 34 in 13-point teaser, Under 60 in 13-point teaser 

Okay, now just settle down a minute!  I am not advocating that you risk a grand to win a c-note.  I don’t care if the Chargers are playing a high school team from Kansas City; it’s never worth it to play at 1-10 odds.  You will have to read down at the bottom to see why I have this game listed as part of my strategy.

 

On the surface, the Chargers have about a 90-95% chance of winning, so the odds of playing at 1-10 are honest.  Still, I would never play with that type of risk.  However, I really don’t love taking San Diego in the teasers.  They could escape with a close win and still not meet the spread.

 

San Diego had an extra week to prepare for a weak team.  It could lead to a big slaughter, but it could also lead to complacency, as the players might believe they won’t have to play 100% to win the game. 

 

Indianapolis (4-4) at Pittsburgh (6-2)

Time:           4:15PM EST

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Rain possibly mixed with snow, light wind, temperature falling from low 40’s to mid 30’s

 

PiRate:         Pittsburgh by 8

Mean:           Pittsburgh by 8

Bias:             Pittsburgh by 8

Vegas:        No Line       

Ov/Un:        None

Strategy:     None

Ben Roethlisberger may or may not play, so there is no official line for this game. I have seen an unofficial line of Pittsburgh -3.  If the line was at three, I would like the Colts in a 13-point teaser at +16. 

 

New York Giants (7-1) at Philadelphia (5-3)

Time:           8:15PM EST

TV:               NBC

Forecast:     Partly cloudy, light wind, temperature dropping from near 50 to the low 40’s

                    

PiRate:         Philadelphia by 5

Mean:           Philadelphia by 1

Bias:             Philadelphia by 1

Vegas:        Philadelphia by 3     -140/+130

Ov/Un:        43

Strategy:     Philadelphia -3, Philadelphia -140, Philadelphia +7 in 10-point teaser, Philadelphia +10 in 13-point teaser, Over 30 in 13-point teaser

Normally, I would tend to side with the Giants in this game.  However, the defending Super Bowl Champions are playing their third consecutive tough/rivalry game.  Philadelphia has had an easier road the last month.

 

While I believe New York is the better team, I like the Eagles in this one due to several intangibles.  Throw in the fact that this is the top Sunday night game to date, and the Eagles will be ready to show the country that they are back and ready to compete for the NFC title.  I believe Philly will win by five to eight points with a final score around 24-17.

 

San Francisco (2-6) at Arizona (5-3)

Time:           8:30PM EST Monday

TV:               ESPN

Forecast:     Clear, light wind, temperature falling from the low 70’s to low 60’s

 

PiRate:         Arizona by 16   

Mean:           Arizona by 14

Bias:             Arizona by 13

Vegas:        Arizona by 9½   -380/+350

Ov/Un:        46

Strategy:     Arizona -380, Arizona +½ in 10-point teaser, Arizona +3½ in 13-point teaser,  San Francisco +19½ in 10-point teaser, San Francisco +22½ in 13-point teaser, Over 36 in 10-point teaser, Over 33 in 13-point teaser   

This may not be the biggest marquee game this week, but in my opinion, it has a great chance to be an interesting game.  The 49ers are a big bust in my opinion.  They should have been competitive this season.  Instead, they are mired in a three-way tie for second (or the cellar depending on how you look at it).  Because the Cardinals will not go 3-5 in the second half of the season, San Francisco will have to go a minimum of 7-1 to win the division title.  It will never happen.  This race is over, but the 49er players may think they still have a chance.  They have enjoyed an off week, giving them some time to get accustomed to Coach Mike Singletary’s coaching.  Mike Martz has had an extra week preparing against a Cardinal defense that doesn’t remind anybody of the Titans or Ravens.

 

Kurt Warner may once again be the best quarterback in the NFL.  He is on pace to pass for close to 4,700 yards and more than 30 touchdowns.  He doesn’t have a strong running game, but Arizona can get by averaging 3.6 yards per run as long as they run on second and three and third and one.

 

I believe this will be a game that is still to be decided in the final seven minutes.  As most Monday night games go, I am looking for an offensive shootout.  Call it a 35-28 win for the Cardinals to virtually clinch the NFC West with a four game lead.

 

 

The Imaginary Bank Account Makes A Deposit

 

Last week’s picks finished 6-3-0 adding $140 to the bank account.  For the season, my picks against the spread are now 65-38-6 (63.1%).  The account balance is $1,665.  For the year, my Return on investment is 15.3%.

 

Both the straight wager and teaser picks broke even.  The teasers made me my profit last week, as I connected on five of the seven I picked.

 

For this week, I am going to play a little defensively.  The weather could play a factor in several games, but the weather forecasts are not as reliable because they are coming a day earlier than normal.  Also, there are some quarterback issues with some teams.  Since I am not a fan of these teams, when I tell you I don’t like the changes at QB, it’s strictly because it greatly changes the norm for these teams.  It’s the norm that is our friend when we try to pick games.  We are ultimately fans of our bank account, so we don’t want change we cannot believe in.

 

Here are my wagers for week 10 (all wagered to win $100):

 

1 Cleveland

-3

vs.

Denver

   

 

 

 

2 Philadelphia

-140

vs.

NY Giants

   

 

 

 

3 Arizona

-380

vs.

San Francisco

   

 

 

 

4 Money Line Parlay

 

 

 

(This 3-game parlay calculates at -130)

  Miami

-350

vs.

Seattle

  Carolina

-400

vs.

Oakland

  San Diego

-1000

vs.

Kansas City

   

 

 

 

5 10-point teaser

 

 

 

  Detroit

+16 1/2

vs.

Jacksonville

  Chicago

+13

vs.

Tennessee

  Atlanta

+10

vs.

New Orleans

   

 

 

 

6 10-point teaser

 

 

 

  NY Jets

+2

vs.

St. Louis

  Baltimore

+9

vs.

Houston

  Miami

+1 1/2

vs.

Seattle

   

 

 

 

7 10-point teaser

 

 

 

  Miami & Seattle

 

Over 30

  Green Bay

+12 1/2

vs.

Minnesota

  Carolina

+ 1/2

vs.

Oakland

   

 

 

 

8 10-point teaser

 

 

 

  Philadelphia

+7

vs.

NY Giants

  Arizona

+ 1/2

vs.

San Francisco

  San Francisco & Arizona

 

Over 36

   

 

 

 

9 13-point teaser

 

 

 

  Cleveland & Denver

 

Over 33

  Detroit

+19 1/2

vs.

Jacksonville

  Chicago

+16

vs.

Tennessee

  Atlanta

+13

vs.

New Orleans

   

 

 

 

10 13-point teaser

 

 

 

  Detroit & Jacksonville

 

Over 23 1/2

  NY Jets

+5

vs.

St. Louis

  New England

+9 1/2

vs.

Buffalo

  Baltimore

+12

vs.

Houston

   

 

 

 

11 13-point teaser

 

 

 

  NY Jets & St. Louis

 

Over 31 1/2

  New England & Buffalo

 

Under 54 1/2

  Miami

+4 1/2

vs.

Seattle

  Green Bay

+15 1/2

vs.

Minnesota

   

 

 

 

12 13-point teaser

 

 

 

  Miami & Seattle

 

Over 27

  Green Bay & Minnesota

 

Over 32 1/2

  Carolina

+3 1/2

vs.

Oakland

  Philadelphia

+10

vs.

NY Giants

   

 

 

 

13 13-point teaser

 

 

 

  Carolina & Oakland

 

Under 50 1/2

  Philadelphia & NY Giants

 

Over 30

  Arizona

+3 1/2

vs.

San Francisco

  San Francisco & Arizona

 

Over 33

     

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.

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