The Pi-Rate Ratings

January 4, 2011

The PiRate Ratings’ NFL Playoffs Edition–Wildcard Round

For each playoff game, we show the PiRate, Mean, and Biased rating spreads.  Then, we reveal the results of the 100 simulations.  And, just for you, we will reveal the vote of the five of us in picking each game against the spread as well as the total.

We have access to a computer simulator that allows us to rapidly simulate games 100 times.  We can simulate games based on certain statistical data, strength of schedule, and linear regression. 

Saturday, January 8, 2011

 4:30 PM EST on NBC-TV

New Orleans Saints  (11-5-0)  at Seattle Seahawks (7-9-0)

Vegas:        NO by 10 ½

Totals:       44 ½

PiRate:       NO by 9.3

Mean:         NO by 6.5

Bias:           NO by 4.9

100 Simulations:         NO 84  SEA 16

Avg. Sim Score             NO 32.7  SEA 16.8

Outlier A:                     NO 41  SEA 14

Outlier B:                     SEA 24  NO 19 (three others of 5 pts.)

5 PiRates Pick vs. Spread:   SEA—3        NO—2

5 PiRates Pick vs. Totals:    UND—4       OVR—1

 

8:00 PM EST on NBC-TV

New York Jets (11-5-0) at Indianapolis Colts (10-6-0) 

Vegas:        IND by 2 ½

Totals:       44 ½

 

PiRate:       IND by 0.6

Mean:         IND by 0.7

Bias:           IND by 0.3 

100 Simulations:         NYJ 57  IND 43

Avg. Sim Score             NYJ 22.8  IND 20.1

Outlier A:                     NYJ 27  IND 7

Outlier B:                     IND 30  NYJ 13

 

5 PiRates Pick vs. Spread:   NYJ—3        IND—2

5 PiRates Pick vs. Totals:    OVR—3       UND—2      

 

Sunday, January 9, 2011

1:00 PM EST on CBS-TV

Baltimore Ravens (12-4-0) at Kansas City Chiefs (10-6-0)

Vegas:        BAL by 2 ½

Totals:       41 

PiRate:       BAL by 2.3

Mean:         BAL by 2.6

Bias:           KC by 0.2 

100 Simulations:         BAL 52  KC 48

Avg. Sim Score             BAL 21.8  KC 20.7

Outlier A:                     BAL 35  KC 13

Outlier B:                     KC 27  BAL 10

 

5 PiRates Pick vs. Spread:   KC—4           BAL—1       

5 PiRates Pick vs. Totals:    OVR—3       UND—2      

 

 4:30 PM EST on FOX-TV

Green Bay Packers (10-6-0) at Philadelphia Eagles (10-6-0)

Vegas:        PHI by 2 ½

Totals:       46 ½  

PiRate:       GB by 3.5

Mean:         GB by 4.6

Bias:           GB by 1.1 

100 Simulations:         GB 67  PHI 33

Avg. Sim Score             GB 34.1  PHI 26.7

Outlier A:                     GB 41  PHI 16

Outlier B:                     PHI 33  GB 14

5 PiRates Pick vs. Spread:   GB—5            PHI—0       

5 PiRates Pick vs. Totals:    OVR—4       UND—1      

 

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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   

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  

February 3, 2010

PiRate Super Bowl Preview

The Particulars

Super Bowl XLIV—New Orleans Saints vs. Indianapolis Colts

Date: Sunday, February 7, 2010

Location: Sun Life Stadium, Miami

Turf: Natural Grass

Kickoff: Approximately 6:25 PM EST

TV: CBS (Pre-game coverage begins at 12:00 Noon)

Radio: Westwood One (go to www.followthegame.com for an interactive map of radio affiliates)

Forecast: Partly Cloudy with a 10% chance of rain and temperatures in the upper 60’s at kickoff falling to the lower 60’s by the end of the game.

The Numbers

Vegas Lines: Indianapolis by 4 ½, 5, and 5 ½

Offshore Lines: Indianapolis by 4 ½, 5, 5 ½, and 6

Totals: 56 ½ and 57 (both Vegas and Offshore)

Best New Orleans Money Line: +185 (MGM Mirage)

Best Indianapolis Money Line: -190 (Bodog)

100 Computer Simulations: Indianapolis 59  New Orleans 41

Average Sim Score: Indianapolis 30.2  New Orleans 25.6

Outlier Sim Score A: Indianapolis 41  New Orleans 17

Outlier Sim Score B: New Orleans 38  Indianapolis 23

An Explanation Of The Following Three Pro Football Ratings

 

The PiRate Rating

 

The NFL version of the PiRate Ratings was not the same as the collegiate version from 1979 to 2008.  The NFL version strictly used a statistical formula that could be reproduced by anybody who knew the equations used to devise the formula.  No subjective data was used.  Starting in 2009, a new PiRate formula was created and back-tested to 1999.  The results produced a more accurate rating.  This new formula is a close cousin to the formula used for years in the college PiRate formula.

 

The new formula begins with the previous season ending ratings with adjustments for experience, personnel aging, new coaching, injuries, and a couple dozen intangibles.  As the season progresses, the previous season’s results have less of an impact to where it has little effect by mid-October.  

 

The Mean Rating

 

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 Rating

 

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.

PiRate Rating Spread: Indianapolis by 1.3                  

Mean Rating Spread: New Orleans by 0.1

Bias Rating Spread: New Orleans by 5.0

 

Note: For the 2009 season, the Bias Rating was the most accurate, picking the winner against the spread almost 70% of the time.

Analysis

It’s being billed as Peyton Manning versus Drew Brees.  Football historians compare this game to the 1998 Super Bowl between Denver’s John Elway and Green Bay’s Brett Favre.  For those older readers, you might better compare these two gunslingers to the quarterbacks of Super Bowl II.  Manning is Bart Starr, while Brees is Daryle Lamonica. 

Manning is the mechanical quarterback.  Just wind him up, send him out there, and he operates like a machine.  If he throws 30 passes, 29 of them will look the same, and maybe one will be altered a tad.  He’ll complete better than 60% of his passes, three or more of which will go for 25 or more yards.

Brees tends to be more of a gambler.  He might force a throw for the reward of a long gain.  He will average more yards per completion and will most certainly connect for more than one touchdown.

All this comparison stuff is great for nostalgia buffs, but if you really want to know how this game will turn out, you are looking in the wrong direction.  Manning and Brees are not like the starting pitchers of game seven of the World Series. 

This game, like almost every NFL game, will be decided in the trenches.  If Brees and Manning are perfect on every throw, what will it matter if their offensive lines cannot protect them against the opposing defensive lines?  So what if either passer finishes the game 18 of 18 for 220 yards and three touchdowns, but gets sacked eight times and loses three fumbles because his offensive line cannot protect him?  I dare say, the other team will score at least three touchdowns off these turnovers.

What if none of the rushing plays work because there is no blocking?  It matters not how great the running backs play if they simultaneously receive the handoff and the defensive hit. 

What if the receivers continually break free and find themselves wide open, but the quarterbacks don’t get the time to set up and find them? 

Yes, the major discussion of this game needs to center on the four interior units plus the linebacker trios.  Knowing which team has the advantage in these areas will lead you to your Super Bowl Champion.

Let’s get something straight before we begin comparing players.  It is totally ridiculous the way most of the nation’s media waste their time and yours telling you which team has the better center, the better middle linebacker, the better tight end, etc.  Who cares if Reggie Wayne is somewhat more talented at wide receiver than Devery Henderson?  Tell me, at what point in this game will Wayne and Henderson be opposite each other on a scrimmage play?

There is only one way for the serious student of the game to analyze the talent by position.  Compare the offensive line to the opposing defensive line.  Compare the passing game to the opposing pass defense.  It is foolish to compare one wide receiver to one cornerback.  On the surface, that may sound like the way to go, but on most passing plays that cornerback may not be the defender who must break up a pass to that receiver.  Thus, we must compare the entire secondary to the entire receiving unit.

Without further adieu, here are the unit breakdowns according to the PiRates.

Running Game vs. Run Defense

When Indianapolis Runs

The Colts’ offensive line is better suited to block for the pass than the run.  However, when the Colts need one or two yards to convert a first down or to cross the goalline, the offensive line succeeds more than it fails.  Some of this success can be attributed to the threat of a Manning pass, but give the Colts a little credit for their short running game.  A two yard run on 3rd and one is much more successful than a seven yard run on 2nd and 10.  Rushing averages can be misleading.  It’s the number of successful running plays that matter.

The Saint’s run defense is underrated, maybe even more than the Colts’ running game.  Yes, New Orleans gave up more than 120 yard rushing per game, but if you throw out a couple of bad games, the Saints played well in this area.  In the playoffs, they have not been exploited by the opposition’s running game.

Indianapolis will run the ball about 24 times for 80 yards in this game.  If Joseph Addai consistently picks up three yards when the Colts need two or two yards when the Colts need one, I don’t see the Saints holding Indy under 28 points.  Those 80 yards could be big if they are the right 80.  If on the other hand, Addai picks up 20 yard on two separate attempts and then consistently gains two yards when the Colts need three and one when they need two, the Saints will exploit Manning’s one weakness and hold Indy under 24 points.  Our guess is the extremes will be split.  Addai will be about 50% successful, and Manning will be able to move his troops on half of their possessions.

When New Orleans Runs

The Saints have quality and depth in this department.  Their offensive line consistently opens enough running space, that it really doesn’t matter who totes the pigskin.  Guards Jahri Evans and Carl Nicks will be the two best interior linemen on the field Sunday.  The Colts will have a hard time consistently stopping the inside running game, as middle linebacker Gary Brackett and defensive tackles Daniel Muhr and Antonio Johnson will need a lot of help here.  It will force Indianapolis to gamble with stunts and blitzes, leaving them vulnerable to quick hitters to the perimeter.

In past Super Bowls, teams that could consistently run the ball between the tackles have controlled the clock and kept their defense fresh.  I believe the Saints will run the ball about 22 times for 95 yards.  That comes out to a 4.3 yard rushing average.  I expect the Saints to pick up 40 yards in two of those attempts, so in the other 20 attempts, New Orleans should gain about 55 yards.  That’s just a 2.8 yard per carry average.  However, in about eight attempts, the Saints will be in a situation where one yard is needed to either convert a first down or score.  If they pick up that yard seven of the eight times, that will leave 48 yards for the other 12 attempts—the ones that will be vital in this game.  At four yards per carry in these attempts, Mardi Gras might begin around 9PM Sunday night.

Passing Game vs. Pass Defense

When Indianapolis Passes

Indianapolis’s pass blocking is second to none in the NFL.  Even so, they aren’t infallible.  The Jets forced Manning to the ground several times in the first half in the AFC Championship Game, and the Saints will affect his rhythm enough to force Manning into at least one mistake.  However, New Orleans could put themselves into a situation where they win most of the battles but lose the war if they become intent on getting into Manning’s head.  The warning that they are coming after him may not be the smartest ploy.  This pre-game threatening has backfired in past Super Bowls.  In the very first Super Bowl in Los Angeles in January of 1967, Kansas City’s Fred “The Hammer” Williamson told the press that he would put the hammer to Green Bay’s receivers and knock Carroll Dale and Boyd Dowler.  Dowler indeed left the game with an injury early in that Super Bowl, but Williamson had nothing to do with it.  Veteran Max McGee came off the bench with a hangover and promptly caught seven passes for 138 yards and two touchdowns.  As for Williamson, he was knocked unconscious in the fourth quarter when Green Bay running back Donnie Anderson banged his knee into the Hammer’s helmet.

As for this game, I expect Manning to play like a superstar.  He may go down a few times, but Manning knows how to take a dive better than Sonny Liston.  He won’t be injured, and he won’t pull a Favre and throw a dumb pass while under pressure.  If the Saints blitz too much, expect Manning to burn them with a big six on a long pass.

When New Orleans Passes

The strongest asset with the Saints’ passing game is its versatility.  Seven different Saints’ receivers caught 35 or more passes this season.  He can go deep to game breakers Marques Colston and Devery Henderson.  Tight end Jeremy Shockey commands attention in the middle zones, and a quick pass behind the line of scrimmage to Reggie Bush can quickly turn into a 20-yard gain.  Indianapolis cannot decide to stop one player and shut the New Orleans passing game down.

What hurts the Colts the most in this game are the hurts themselves.  End Dwight Freeney, their best pass rusher by a long stretch, has a severe ankle sprain that will greatly limit his effectiveness.  He might be able to hold his own against the run, but rushing the passer will be a tough assignment.   Cornerback Jerraud Powers is still questionable after suffering a foot injury against the Ravens and missing the game with the Jets.  The Colts have very little secondary depth, and no other linemen on the roster can begin to replace the effectiveness of Freeney.  Thus, I believe Brees will enjoy an excellent day, as the Colts may be forced to gimmickry to slow down the passing game.  Look for Brees to throw for 300+ yards in this game.

Special Teams Play

Special teams play is usually equalized in the Super Bowl.  Sure, you have your last second heroics in Jim O’Brien’s “kick heard ‘round the world” in Super Bowl V, and the missed chip shot field goal by Scott Norwood in Super Bowl XXV.  However, all in all, I don’t expect this game to be decided by special teams play.  

If one team returns kicks to the 30, while the other returns them to the 20, we’re talking one completed pass play’s worth of difference.  If one team has a net punting average of 42 yards, and the other just 38 yards, we’re talking a difference of one running play. 

The one true special teams stat that matters in this game will be which team kicks off the most.

Who Wins?

This is one tough game to predict.  As of Wednesday afternoon, the injury status of Freeney and Powers is still a concern, and both of these players need to be at least 75% effective if the Colts really do deserve to be the favorites.  If neither can effectively play, and I expect both to play, the Saints should be favored by up to a touchdown.

As I write this today, I expect New Orleans to prevail in an exciting game.  With the best quarterback in modern day football and A+ pass blocking, one can never count out the Colts’ offense as long as there is time on the clock.  However, the opposing offense isn’t chopped liver.  They will exploit the liabilities brought on by the injuries, and they don’t need much help to hang 35 points on the board.

My advice for those who must get action on this game is to find the most points you can get and take the underdog Saints and those points.  If you want to play the totals, look to the first half line.  There is always a chance the teams will begin playing a little tight and need a quarter to get their offenses really going.  At 28 ½ for a first half total, I see value in the UNDER here.  I wouldn’t play with the game total.  Miami is prone to pop-up showers, even in the dry season.  It has rained frequently, and there is a chance of rain.  

The Five PiRates Predict: New Orleans 30  Indianapolis 27

January 19, 2010

NFL Conference Championship Previews

And Then There Were Four

Okay, first let’s get the bad news out of the way.  Our picks straight up against the spread finished 2-2, which is mediocre, but great in comparison to the totals, which went 0-4.  That brings or NFL playoff record to 5-3 vs. the sides and 3-5 vs. the totals.  It gets much harder from here, as little things mean a lot.  Then again, missed chip-shot field goals and stupid mistakes shouldn’t be much of a factor when you get this far.  But then again, Vikings fans can remember Gary Anderson hitting every extra point and every field goal during the 1998 season, and then he shanked a simple 30-yarder that kept the purple and white out of the 1999 Super Bowl.

Sunday,  January 24

New York Jets at Indianapolis Colts

Time: 3:00 PM EST     Network: CBS

Forecast–Dome Stadium, No Weather

PiRate:  Colts by 6.5

Mean:  Colts by 2.9

Bias:  Colts by 0.8

100 Sims:  Indianapolis 52  New York 48

Avg. Sim Score: New York 18.1  Indianapolis 16.9  

Outlier Score A:  Indianapolis 20  New York 13 (6 others by 7 points)

Outlier Score B:  New York 24  Indianapolis 10

Vegas: Colts by 7 ½     Totals: 39   

Analysis

The Colts have done it with timely Peyton Manning passes and just enough defense to get by.  Last week, the Ravens helped the Colts’ defense more than the Colts’ defense stopped the Ravens.  However, the Indy defense will face a considerably weaker Jets’ offense this week.  

The Jets cannot completely shut down Manning’s passing game unless they knock him out of the game.  Indianapolis cannot win running the ball, but they will get two yards on 3rd and 1.  That doesn’t show up in the statistics after the game, but it is successful when it accomplished that feat.

These two teams played in Week 16, when the Colts were 14-0 and the Jets were 7-7 and facing a must-win game.  Indianapolis led this game before removing the key starters, and then the Jets came from behind to win.  

All signs point to New Orleans becoming Peyton’s Place once again.  9-7 teams rarely beat 14-2 teams on the road, and there’s a reason the Jets lost seven times.  Passing and stopping the pass wins championships in the 21st Century.  The Jets cannot consistently stop the Colts’ passing game, while an average NFL defense can stop the Jets’ passing game.  Indianapolis has an above-average pass defense.

The spread is 7 ½ points, and we at the PiRate Ratings never recommend anybody giving up more than a touchdown in a playoff game.  We don’t necessarily like the Jets at +7 ½ either, but the logical choice is to take the Jets and hope they will lose by just a touchdown at the most.  We advise leaving this spread alone unless it drops below 7.

As for the Totals, we think New York will try their best to control the clock and make it a low-scoring game.  Miami tried that against Indy in September, and there were still 50 points scored in that game.  We believe Indianapolis will top 21 points in this game, but the Jets will be hard-pressed to get to 17.  If we have to choose, we’ll play the law of averages and take the OVER, but we aren’t in love with this pick either.  This is the week for a teaser play, and you’ll see it at the end of this feature.

Minnesota Vikings at New Orleans Saints

Time: 6:30 PM EST     Network: Fox

Forecast–Dome Stadium, No Weather

PiRate: Saints by 1.9

Mean:  Saints by 3.0

Bias:  Vikings by 0.8

100 Sims:  New Orleans 61  Minnesota 39

Avg. Sim Score:  New Orleans 33.2  Minnesota 25.4

Outlier Score A:  New Orleans 37  Minnesota 17

Outlier Score B:  Minnesota 31  New Orleans 23

Vegas: Saints by 3 ½     Totals: 52  

Analysis

This is the game most fans have wanted to see since early October.  The two best teams in the NFC face off in an emotional contest.  The Saints have never gotten this close to the Super Bowl, and they are one win away from hosting the big game in their own stadium.  As for the Vikings, they share the dubious distinction with the Buffalo Bills for being 0-4 in Super Bowls (at least the Bills have two AFL Championships to their credit).  

The key to this game will be defense.  It is a given that both teams can move the football on anybody’s defense.  It will be the defense that comes up with the big play at the opportune time that decides which way this game should turn.

New Orleans’ defense rose to the challenge against Kurt Warner last week, while the Vikings looked like the old Purple People Eaters of Alan Page, Carl, Eller, and company when they humiliated Dallas.

The Vikings’ defense has consistently shown they are capable of coming up with great efforts every week, while the Saints’ defense has had a tendency to follow up a good showing with a mediocre one.  

That’s where we think this game is headed.  It’s hard to select the enemy of the Packers with our former quarterback piloting the team, but that’s what we must do this week.  We believe Favre will get to close out his career with one final attempt to win a ring.  We’ll go with the Vikings to win a close one.  So, that means we take Minnesota and the points.

As far as the Totals go, 52 is an awful lot for a conference championship game.  Take the UNDER.

13-point Teaser

 

There are six different selections that can be made to satisfy the four picks in a 13-point Teaser.  They are: Jets +20 ½, Colts +5 ½, OVER 26, and UNDER 52 for the AFC game; and: Vikings +16 ½, Saints +9 ½, OVER 39, and UNDER 65.  Here are the four we’d take for our teaser:

Colts +5 ½, Jets & Colts UNDER 52, Vikings +16 ½, and Vikings & Saints UNDER 65.  That’s our one true recommended play this week.

January 12, 2010

NFL DIVISIONAL PLAYOFF ROUND PREVIEW

We’re down to just eight teams left in the road to Miami and Super Bowl 44.  As luck would have it, one team from each of the eight divisions remains.

Due to a weather problem preventing us from gaining access to the computer simulator until late Friday last week, we refunded the purchases of everybody who purchased our playoff package.  For those who still had time to play our picks, we went 3-1 against the spread, losing only the Packers-Cardinals Game.  We were also 3-1 in totals, missing only on the Ravens-Patriots.

Because we had to refund the payment of all those who played, we are going to go ahead and give everybody the rest of the playoffs free here.

Satruday, January 16

Arizona Cardinals at New Orleans Saints

Time: 4:30 PM EST     Network: Fox

Forecast–Dome Stadium, No Weather

PiRate: Saints by 7.3

Mean: Saints by 7.1

Bias: Saints by 6.8

100 Sims: New Orleans 79  Arizona 21

Avg. Sim Score: New Orleans 32.9  Arizona 23.3

Outlier Score A: New Orleans 45  Arizona 17

Outlier Score B: Arizona 37  New Orleans 27

Vegas: New Orleans by 7   Totals: 56 1/2

Analysis

The Saints lost their final three games after beginning the season 13-0.  In 1969, the Los Angeles Rams won their first 11 games and clinched the NFC Coastal Division title, and then proceeded to lose their final three games.  Quarterback Roman Gabriel looked like the league MVP in the 11-0 stretch.  The Rams faced a tough first round foe in the 12-2 Minnesota Vikings, possibly the greatest defensive team in a 20-year period.  The Purple People Eaters got the best of the Fearsome Foursome that day, as the Vikings’ defense outshone the Rams’ that day.

40 years later, it’s all about the offense in this game.  Drew Brees against Kurt Warner in a shootout.  Can a team that has not won in five weeks beat a team that is fresh and playing unbelievable football on the attack side?  The Saints’ defense did not shine in several games, and Warner will find holes all day long.

The problem for the Cardinals is they could not stop Aaron Rodgers when they had to.  Sure, the sack and fumble recovery was the winning play, but the Cards cannot be counted on to get to Brees five or six times to stop drives. 

We believe this will be an ugly game with a lot of offense and more than average mistakes (penalties, fumbles, dropped passes, etc.).  We’re contrarians here, so we think the key play in this game is UNDER 56 1/2.  At seven points, we’ll take Arizona +7, but we aren’t in love with this line.  We think New Orleans will win by about four or five.

Baltimore Ravens at Indianapolis Colts

Time: 8:15 PM EST     Network: CBS

Forecast–Dome Stadium, No Weather

PiRate: Ravens by 1.5

Mean: Colts by 1.8

Bias: Colts by 1.0

100 Sims: Baltimore 56  Indianapolis 44

Avg. Sim Score: Baltimore 22.6  Indianapolis 20.4

Outlier Score A: Baltimore 34  Indianapolis 17

Outlier Score B: Indianapolis 31  Baltimore 10

Vegas: Indianapolis 6 1/2   Totals: 44

Analysis

Here’s a game where the computer simulator believes it has found a big play.  The simulator uses a combination of least squares and absolute value regression, and it appears that the Colts not only have no homefield advantage, they play better on the road than at home.  The Ravens tend to perform just as competently on the road than at home.  Throw in the fact that Indianapolis rested its starters for two weeks, and the possibility of rust comes into play.  Could this be a big upset in the making?

The Ravens have twice knocked off the AFC team with the best record in this same situation (both times the Titans).  They will try to force Peyton Manning to throw short and then try to contain the receiver and limit yards after catch.  They should shut down the Colt running game.  The Ravens’ offense will try to hold onto the ball and keep Manning off the field, but don’t be surprised to see Joe Flacco throw long on play-action when the Colts least expect it (like 3rd and 1 at midfield).

We’re going to side with the computers.  We’re taking the Ravens to beat the spread at +6 1/2, and we think they have a 50-50 shot at winning outright.  As for the totals, we like the OVER here, but not by much.  We wouldn’t be surprised to see the total come within three of what Vegas says (44).

Sunday, January 17

Dallas Cowboys at Minnesota Vikings

Time: 1:00 PM EST     Network: Fox

Forecast–Dome Stadium, No Weather

PiRate: Cowboys by 0.2

Mean: Vikings by 1.3

Bias: Vikings by 1.1

100 Sims: Minnesota 61  Dallas 39

Avg. Sim Score: Minnesota 24.4  Dallas 20.1

Outlier Score A: Minnesota 37  Dallas 17

Outlier Score B: Dallas 35  Minnesota 16

Vegas: Minnesota by 3   Totals: 45 1/2

Analysis

Everybody is jumping on the Cowboys’ bandwagon, already proclaiming them to be certain Super Bowl Champions.  Their defense is being compared to the best of the Tom Landry years, when Lee Roy Jordan, Chuck Howley, Mel Renfro, and company put a big hurt on opponents.

One of those great Cowboy teams back then, a Super Bowl participant at that, faced a Viking team not as good as this current edition, and Minnesota beat them at the old Metropolitan Stadium 54-13!

Favre knows this is more than likely his last chance to get another ring.  He has the tools to make it to Miami.  Remember all those years where John Elway couldn’t take Denver all the way?  In the playoffs, it’s almost impossible to take a team on your shoulders and knock off three great teams.  Once Elway had a great running game backing him up, the Broncos won two titles in a row.  Favre has one of the three best running attacks in the NFL, and the Viking defense is highly underrated for a division champion.  We see the purple and white advancing to the NFC Championship Game.

Minnesota is a 3-point pick.  It’s hard to win by less than three, especially when you know there cannot be a tie.  We’ll take the Vikings as a short favorite.  If the line moves to 3 1/2, things might change, and if the line moves down to 2 1/2, we will love this spread.  As for the totals, at 45 1/2 points, this is right on the mark we agree with.  We don’t like playing the totals in this game, but if we have to pick, we’ll take the OVER.  Dallas’s defense has possibly caused this number to be a point or two too low.

New York Jets at San Diego Chargers

Time: 4:40 PM EST     Network: CBS

Forecast–Low 60’s with a 30% chance of rain showers

PiRate: Chargers by 8.4

Mean: Chargers by 3.4

Bias: Chargers by 7.5

100 Sims: San Diego 51  New York 49

Avg. Sim Score: New York 21.5  San Diego 21.4

Outlier Score A: New York 23  San Diego 10

Outlier Score B: San Diego 17  New York 0

Vegas: San Diego by 7.5   Totals: 42

Analysis

This one surprised all five of us.  We admit that we repeated the 100 game simulation several more times to make sure it wasn’t a mistake.  Every time, it came out basically a push, but the Jets continued to hold a small edge in average sim score. 

It’s hard to determine how the computer justified these results.  The Chargers appear to have a major advantage when you compare their passing game to the Jets’ pass defense versus the Jets’ passing game to the Chargers’ pass defense.

The Jets definitely have the advantage when comparing their running game to the Chargers’ run defense as opposed to the Chargers’ running game against the Jets’ run defense.

Here is a caveat:  weather is not a variable in the simulations.  If it indeed rains Sunday afternoon, the passing game could either be helped or hurt by the surface.  If it’s just wet enough to cause slippery conditions, then the receivers get a big advantage over the defenders (they know when they will change speeds or directions and the defense has to guess).  If it rains hard and affects visibility and makes it impossible to keep the ball dry, then the passing game will suffer.

The big part of this game is the spread.  It isn’t often that a playoff team with a playoff win already under its belt finds itself a 7.5 point dog.  The Chargers didn’t fold up at the end of the year like the Colts and Saints.  They kept playing to win and ended the season on an 11-game winning streak.  On paper, they look to us to have the entire package.  We think they are the favorite to go all the way, but we aren’t about to pick them to win by more than a touchdown.  Our selection is to take the Jets at +7 1/2 and to play the OVER at 42.

Playing A 13-point Teaser

For those of you who are not familiar with teasers, here is a brief explanation.   A teaser allows you to move the pointspread or totals of a game in either direction by the number of points in your teaser (A 13-point teaser would allow you to move the pointspread or total by 13 points in either direction).  Now, before you say you want to play one of these teasers, you can’t pick one team and move the spread by 13 points.  No, in a 13-point teaser, you must pick four games and win all four after you’ve moved the points by 13 in your favor.

We like 13-point teasers in the playoffs, but only when we use it to make a favorite into an underdog or an underdog into a huge underdog.  This week, we find some good possibilities.  The problem with teasers, and thus it’s why they get their name, is that it looked really easy when you move a line by 13 points.  However, one in four games typically deviates from the pointspread by 13 or more points.  So, it isn’t easy.  We picked 52 13-point teasers during the 2009 NFL regular season.  We won 32 of them and lost 20.  Of those 20 losses, we were correct on three of the four games in each teaser 16 times.  In four of those cases, we lost when one game hit the exact pointspread (unlike straight sides wagers, you lose if one team pushes).

Here are the teasers possibilities for you this week with our grade on their playability.  If you’re lucky, you can pick four choices from among this group and find yourself a winner.  Caution:  Teasers become addictive quickly.

New Orleans +6 vs. Arizona  Grade: B+

Arizona +20 vs. New Orleans  Grade: A-

New Orleans & Arizona OVER 43 1/2  Grade: A-

New Orleans & Arizona UNDER 69 1/2  Grade: B

Baltimore +19 1/2 vs. Indianapolis  Grade: A

Indianapolis +6 1/2 vs. Baltimore  Grade: C+

Baltimore & Indianapolis OVER 31  Grade: A-

Baltimore & Indianapolis UNDER 57  Grade: B+

Minnesota +10 vs. Dallas  Grade: A-

Dallas +16 vs. Minnesota  Grade: A-

Minnesota & Dallas OVER 32 1/2  Grade: A

Minnesota & Dallas UNDER 58 1/2  Grade: A

San Diego +5 1/2 vs. New York  Grade: C

New York +20 1/2 vs. San Diego  Grade: A+

San Diego & New York OVER 29  Grade: A

San Diego & New York UNDER 55 Grade: B-

January 4, 2010

Final Regular Season PiRate Ratings: January 4, 2010

PLAYOFFS!!! DO TALK ABOUT PLAYOFFS!!!

With Apologies to Jim Mora, Sr.

 

The folks at ESPN and other networks carrying the college bowls need to look at their ratings for these meaningless games they have been carrying for the last couple of weeks.  Take a look at the ratings for this coming weekend’s playoff games.  The Alamo Bowl and Gator Bowl equivalents will be played this weekend and known as the Wildcard Playoff Round.  Both of those bowls had a news angle to them.  Bobby Bowden coached in his final game in the Gator Bowl, and Texas Tech minus Coach Mike Leach played in the Alamo Bowl.  I didn’t watch either game, as the baseball book I read Friday and Saturday was much more entertaining. 

Note: If you want to be floored by just how much a drop-dead gorgeous actress knows about baseball, read Alyssa Milano’s new book Safe at Home. She just picked up a new customer, as I will be purchasing Twins’ clothing for my female relatives on their next birthdays.

 

The irony of this week’s opening slate of playoff games is that three of the four games are sequels of yesterday’s week 17 games.  Arizona and Green Bay will hook up again in Phoenix and Dallas and Philadelphia will do it over again in Arlington, Texas.  The Jets and Bengals will be a little more democratic than the other two games; they will switch venues from the Meadowlands to Paul Brown Stadium.

At first glance, this seems to make these games less electrifying, since the teams will play two games in a row, and in less than a week in the case of the two Saturday games (Jets-Bengals & Cowboys-Eagles).  Nothing could be further from the truth.  It will add to the excitement.  Football is a lot more than just blood and guts.  It is perhaps the one sport that is affected by coaching strategy than any other.  It is a chess game with human pieces.

Imagine how much different the games would be if the coaches were forced to share their game plans in advance.  In the case of Philadelphia and Dallas, this game meant a lot as homefield advantage and a possible bye were riding on the outcome.  Both teams had to show the other team everything they had in preparation for this game, and now both teams have one less day to prepare for the rematch. 

Cincinnati had little to play for against the Jets, so they benefitted from getting a good luck at everything Coach Rex Ryan’s team had, since the Jets had to win the game.  Think of it as one team getting to see the other team’s game plan.  Even with Cincinnati swooning in the second half of the season, one has to believe this repeat game gives the Bengals twice the homefield advantage of a normal NFL game.

Green Bay and Arizona really didn’t gain much repeat advantage when the two squared off yesterday.  In this case, it was the devastating results of personnel injuries.  The Packers saw ace defensive back Charles Woodson go down with a shoulder injury, while Arizona saw star receiver Anquan Boldin leave the game with an ankle injury; defensive end Calais Campbell suffered a broken thumb, and defensive back Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie injured his knee.  Even if these four players can play again this week, none will be at 100%.

The one game that isn’t a rematch of week 17 finds Baltimore going to New England.  Both of these teams are talented enough to run the table and get a ticker tape parade in February.

Now, throw into the equation that the two AFC games will have serious weather issues this weekend.  It’s still too early to know for sure, but it looks like the Bengals-Jets game will be played in temperatures around 20 degrees with a chance of snow.  The Patriots-Ravens game should have clear skies, but the temperature should be in the upper teens.  When it’s this cold, it becomes much more difficult to pass and catch the ball and slightly more difficult to hold onto the ball on running plays and field kicks.  In the old days, players would just put enough “stick-em” on their hands to become a ball magnet.  The leather gets really slippery when the temperature dips below 25. 

For those of you who have chosen to purchase our weekly picks on the webpage (www.piratings.webs.com), we will have a different approach for the playoffs.  We concluded the regular season with a 5-2 record for the week, and that brought our seasonal record to 94-61-2 (60.6%).  For the NFL playoffs, we will offer a $10 package that is good for all playoff games.  Instead of giving you an exact card to play, we will diagnose every game and give you the PiRate Rating predicted score, the Mean Rating predicted score, the Bias Rating predicted score, and the infamous 100 simulations results from the research lab computer that proved that garbage in, garbage out isn’t always the case.  If you want to know more about the 100 simulations playoff results, check in on last year’s Super Bowl blog here: https://piratings.wordpress.com/2009/01/30/pirate-ratings-super-bowl-43-preview/ .  You will find the computer simulator was very accurate in the 2008-2009 playoffs.  Check it out on the webpage at “Playoff Winners: $10.

NFL Regular Season Epilog

 

The NFL regular season concluded with a couple of important games, while the other games proved to be about as important as the Sun Bowl.  Here are some points to ponder.

1. The Cincinnati Bengals finished the season 3-4.  They averaged only 15.8 points per game in the nine weeks after their bye week.  They gave up 26 points per game in their final four games.  Is this the look of a playoff team?  Cleveland looked more like the playoff team, winning their final four games by an average of 8.5 points per game.

2. Denver has swooned for the second year in a row.  Second verse was same as the first.  A fast start, a mediocre middle, and an 0-4 conclusion saw the Broncos eliminated from the playoffs yet again.  The 44-24 loss to the Chiefs capped a 2-8 finish after a 6-0 start.  During the 2009 flop, the Broncos were outscored 258-193 and lost to both Kansas City and Oakland, as well as lowly Washington.  The Broncos could finish in last place in the AFC West in 2010, as they will have a harder schedule than the Raiders and Chiefs.

3. The New York Giants began the season 5-0 and finished 8-8.   Their defense gave up 14.2 points per game in the 5-0 start and 32.4 points per game in the 3-8 finish.

4. The Tennessee Titans and Carolina Panthers were the opposites of the Broncos and Giants.  Carolina found itself in an 0-3 hole and slowly climbed back to finish 8-8.  Tennessee began 0-6 and finished 8-2 with Vince Young at quarterback.

5. The two hottest teams in the league are the Chargers and Packers.  While New Orleans, Indianapolis, and Minnesota were hogging the headlines, San Diego won their last 11 games by more than a 13-point average margin.  Included in this string were victories over three playoff teams—Philadelphia, Dallas, and Cincinnati.  Green Bay found itself in a hole after losing to then winless Tampa Bay and falling to 4-4.  In the second half of the season, the Packers finished 7-1 with an average scoring margin of 30.8 to 15.6.

6. Speaking of Indy and New Orleans, no team has every won the Super Bowl after beginning the year with a 10+-game winning streak and tailing off at the end of the year.  Look at last year’s Titans.  They were 10-0 and finished 13-3.  The Titans promptly exited in their first playoff game and then saw it mount to an 0-6 start this season.  You may ask when was the last time a team lost its final two (as in the Colts) or three (as in the Saints) games of the regular season and then won the Super Bowl?  The Green Bay Packers of 1967 dropped their final two regular season games and then won Super Bowl II.  No team has ever lost their last three regular season games and won the Super Bowl.  In fact, going back to the pre-Super Bowl days, no team has every won the league championship after losing their final three regular season games.

7. There has been a consistent predictor of NFL playoff winners over the course of four plus decades.  Almost every NFL Champion since 1960 has possessed a trio of shared traits.  Of course, it’s not that easy.  In many years, three or more teams possessed these traits.  However, in only a couple of years did the champion not possess the traits we speak of.  If you want to know what these traits are, you’ll have to sign up for our postseason coverage at www.piratings.webs.com.  $10 will buy you analysis on every playoff game.

Final Regular Season NFL PiRate Ratings

           
               

NFC East

PiRate Mean Biased W-L-T Pts Opp
Dallas  106.3 107.4 107.2 11-5-0 361 250
Philadelphia  105.1 105.3 105.3 11-5-0 429 337
New York Giants 98.8 99.6 99.9 8-8-0 402 427
Washington  96.9 96.2 95.3 4-12-0 266 336
               
NFC North PiRate Mean Biased W-L-T Pts Opp
Green Bay  108.2 108.3 108.3 11-5-0 461 297
Minnesota 106.3 106.6 106.4 12-4-0 470 312
Chicago 97.1 97.2 98.5 7-9-0 327 375
Detroit 87.8 87.6 86.9 2-14-0 262 494
               
NFC South PiRate Mean Biased W-L-T Pts Opp
New Orleans 106.9 107.3 106.1 13-3-0 510 341
Carolina 106.1 103.7 103.4 8-8-0 315 308
Atlanta   103.9 103.6 103.6 9-7-0 363 325
Tampa Bay 94.3 94.5 95.0 3-13-0 244 400
               
NFC West PiRate Mean Biased W-L-T Pts Opp
San Francisco 102.3 101.3 101.6 8-8-0 330 281
Arizona 101.3 99.9 102.3 10-6-0 375 325
Seattle 88.0 90.5 90.6 5-11-0 280 390
St. Louis 84.4 85.5 84.6 1-15-0 175 436
               
AFC East PiRate Mean Biased W-L-T Pts Opp
New England 107.8 107.8 106.4 10-6-0 427 285
NY Jets 105.1 106.7 105.6 9-7-0 348 236
Miami 97.9 99.8 99.2 7-9-0 360 390
Buffalo 95.4 97.7 97.1 6-10-0 258 326
               
AFC North PiRate Mean Biased W-L-T Pts Opp
Baltimore 108.8 105.9 105.6 9-7-0 391 261
Pittsburgh 104.3 101.8 103.9 9-7-0 368 324
Cincinnati 98.8 99.7 101.7 10-6-0 305 291
Cleveland 94.9 96.7 98.0 5-11-0 245 375
               
AFC South PiRate Mean Biased W-L-T Pts Opp
Indianapolis 107.3 104.4 106.2 14-2-0 416 307
Houston   103.3 101.9 103.1 9-7-0 388 333
Tennessee 100.4 98.5 101.8 8-8-0 354 402
Jacksonville 93.7 94.2 97.2 7-9-0 290 380
               
AFC West PiRate Mean Biased W-L-T Pts Opp
San Diego 111.5 106.8 109.3 13-3-0 454 320
Denver 95.3 99.3 99.8 8-8-0 326 324
Oakland   92.8 91.6 92.9 5-11-0 197 379
Kansas City 91.4 92.6 92.3 4-12-0 294 424

December 29, 2009

PiRate Ratings and Spreads For NFL Week 17: January 3, 2010

NFL Week 17 Preview

Warning: Electrifying Playoffs Ahead!!!

 

All of a sudden what seemed to be an ironclad cut and dry Super Bowl between New Orleans and Indianapolis now looks like it could just as easily be Green Bay and The Jets.  Parity has come along late in the season, and the best teams no longer look unbeatable, while some of the worst may be among the best.

The Saints have dropped consecutive games.  Only one other time in NFL history has a team been undefeated until three games to go and then lost all three.  The 1969 Los Angeles Rams opened 11-0 before losing their final three games.  They promptly lost in the first round of the playoffs to the Vikings a possible playoff opponent in the second round if Minnesota and Philadelphia lose this week while Arizona wins.

The six NFC playoff teams are known.  New Orleans has secured the top spot.  Philadelphia currently holds down the number two seed, but the Eagles must win at Dallas to keep it. The Eagles hold the tiebreaker over Minnesota if both teams finish 12-4.  Should Dallas beat Philadelphia, the Vikings hold the tiebreaker over the Cowboys.  Should Dallas win and Minnesota lose, Arizona could take the second seed with a win over Green Bay.  Dallas would get the bye only if they beat Philadelphia and both Minnesota and Arizona lost.

Green Bay holds the tiebreaker edge over Dallas if they finish tied in the wildcard position.  They could possibly play at Arizona in consecutive weeks, which would be quite interesting.

The AFC is a big mess.  And, to make matters worse, some of the larger websites are wrong on which teams control their own destiny.  If you have read that Denver is in with a win, then you have been victimized by shoddy information.

The two AFC teams in control of their own destiny are New York and Baltimore.  Denver needs help to make the playoffs even though if the playoffs started today, they would be in.  The problem is this week’s schedule changes to formula.  So, The Jets and Ravens are the teams who get in if they win.

Denver can get in with a win and losses or ties by either Baltimore or Pittsburgh; or a loss by the Jets and a Houston win.  If the Broncos lose, then they would make the playoffs with a slew of losses by other teams (more than we can list and so improbable that there is no reason to list).

Houston can clinch a playoff spot with a win and at two from among Baltimore, Denver, and The Jets lose and/or tie.

Pittsburgh can make the playoffs with a win and: Houston and either Jets or Ravens lose and/or tie;  or Jets, Baltimore and Denver lose and/or tie.

Miami and Jacksonville can only get to 8-8 with wins, and too many things must happen for either to qualify.  For the Dolphins to sneak in, they must beat Pittsburgh and then have the Jets, Ravens, and Texans lose and Jacksonville lose or tie.  Jacksonville needs a win over Cleveland plus losses by four more teams (several combinations but most include Pittsburgh, Baltimore, and Denver).

New England holds the tiebreaker over Cincinnati in the battle for the third seed.

Looking at this week’s closing schedule, the Jets and the Ravens have tough opponents, but both teams should win if they play up to their capacity.  Oakland knocked Tampa Bay out of the playoffs last year, but we cannot see the Raiders beating the hard-nosed Ravens.  The Jets face Cincinnati at home, and the Bengals may be the weakest division winner in several years. 

If things go the way the PiRate Ratings say they should, here’s how the playoffs should look:

Wildcard Round

NFC

#6 Dallas at #3 Minnesota

#5 Green Bay at #4 Arizona

 

AFC

#6 Baltimore at #3 New England

#5 New York Jets at #4 Cincinnati

 

Divisional Round

 

NFC

#1 New Orleans hosts lower remaining seed

#2 Philadelphia hosts higher remaining seed

 

AFC

#1 Indianapolis hosts lower remaining seed

#2 San Diego hosts higher remaining seed

 

Current NFL PiRate Ratings
               
               
Bitmap

NFC East

 

PiRate Mean Biased W-L-T Pts Opp
Philadelphia 106.4 106.5 107.6 11-4-0 429 313
Dallas 105.0 104.4 105.7 10-5-0 337 250
New York Giants 100.9 101.1 101.9 8-7-0 395 383
Washington 95.3 96.0 91.3 4-11-0 246 313
               
NFC North PiRate Mean Biased W-L-T Pts Opp
Green Bay 106.2 105.7 106.8 10-5-0 428 290
Minnesota 104.2 106.1 105.3 11-4-0 426 305
Chicago 96.1 96.6 96.4 6-9-0 290 352
Detroit 88.8 88.5 84.9 2-13-0 239 457
               
NFC South PiRate Mean Biased W-L-T Pts Opp
New Orleans 108.1 109.9 108.0 13-2-0 500 318
Carolina 104.9 100.3 100.7 7-8-0 292 298
Atlanta   103.2 102.0 103.1 8-7-0 343 315
Tampa Bay 95.0 93.1 93.1 3-12-0 234 380
               
NFC West PiRate Mean Biased W-L-T Pts Opp
Arizona 103.3 102.4 104.4 10-5-0 368 292
San Francisco 100.0 101.5 99.4 7-8-0 302 275
Seattle 87.2 91.9 89.5 5-10-0 267 373
St. Louis 86.7 86.6 86.5 1-14-0 169 408
               
AFC East PiRate Mean Biased W-L-T Pts Opp
New England 108.6 108.7 107.3 10-5-0 400 251
NY Jets 103.3 104.7 104.2 8-7-0 311 236
Miami 99.1 101.0 100.9 7-8-0 336 360
Buffalo 94.3 95.9 94.1 5-10-0 228 319
               
AFC North PiRate Mean Biased W-L-T Pts Opp
Baltimore 109.5 106.5 105.8 8-7-0 370 248
Pittsburgh 103.1 100.7 104.0 8-7-0 338 300
Cincinnati 100.6 101.6 103.1 10-5-0 305 254
Cleveland 94.2 91.8 94.4 4-11-0 222 358
               
AFC South PiRate Mean Biased W-L-T Pts Opp
Indianapolis 108.4 108.6 109.6 14-1-0 409 277
Houston   102.5 102.2 103.0 8-7-0 354 306
Tennessee 101.2 100.1 102.3 7-8-0 337 389
Jacksonville 94.4 95.8 98.3 7-8-0 273 357
               
AFC West PiRate Mean Biased W-L-T Pts Opp
San Diego 109.9 106.6 108.9 12-3-0 431 300
Denver 98.3 102.2 102.2 8-7-0 302 280
Oakland   92.1 90.9 90.8 5-10-0 184 358
Kansas City 88.4 90.4 86.4 3-12-0 250 400

 

This Week’s Games
Home Team in CAPS (N) Denotes Neutral Site          
             
HFA for Week 17 = 2.4            
Vegas Line as of 8:30PM EDT Tuesday            
Sunday, January 3, 2010            
Favorite Underdog PiRate Mean Bias Vegas Totals
Indianapolis BUFFALO 11.7 10.3 13.1 NL NL
New Orleans CAROLINA 0.8 7.2 4.9 NL NL
CLEVELAND Jacksonville 2.2 -1.6 -1.5 Pk 37   
DALLAS Philadelphia 1.0 0.3 0.5 3    47   
Chicago DETROIT 4.9 5.7 9.1 3    45   
New England HOUSTON 3.7 4.1 1.9 -8    46   
Pittsburgh MIAMI 1.6 -2.7 0.7 NL NL
MINNESOTA New York Giants 5.7 7.4 5.8 8 1/2 48   
NEW YORK JETS Cincinnati 5.1 5.5 3.5 10    35   
San Francisco ST. LOUIS 10.9 12.5 10.5 7 1/2 40 1/2
Atlanta TAMPA BAY 5.8 6.5 7.6 3    41 1/2
Green Bay ARIZONA 0.5 0.9 0.0 3 1/2 43 1/2
DENVER Kansas City 12.3 14.2 18.2 13    38   
Baltimore OAKLAND 15.0 13.2 12.3 10 1/2 38   
SAN DIEGO Washington 17.0 13.0 20.0 3 1/2 38 1/2
Tennessee SEATTLE 11.6 5.8 10.4 4    44   

December 22, 2009

PiRate Ratings and Spreads For NFL Week 16: December 25-28, 2009

Week 16 NFL Preview

 

It’s crunch time in the NFL, so there’s no need to begin with some flashy witticism or catch phrase.  Let’s just dig right in with what is important—the playoffs.

In the NFC, New Orleans has clinched a first-round bye and needs only a win or tie or a Viking loss or tie to clinch homefield advantage throughout the playoffs.  They will be the number one seed.

Minnesota has clinched the North, while Arizona has clinched the West.  Philadelphia clinches the East with one more win and a Dallas loss or tie, or of course, two wins.

The Wildcard race is not much of a nail-biter, as only three teams are left to compete for the two spots.  Green Bay and Dallas, both at 9-5, hold a one-game lead over the Giants.  7-7 Atlanta has been eliminated.

Dallas closes at Washington and at home with Philadelphia.  If the Redskins can upset their rival this weekend, the Cowboys could wind up the odd team out.  The Giants finish at home against Carolina and at Minnesota, and if they split those games, they hold the tiebreaker over Dallas. 

Green Bay should clinch a playoff spot this weekend when they host Seattle.  The Packers finish at Arizona.

The AFC is a little more muddled than the NFC.  Indianapolis is the number one seed and gets homefield advantage through the playoffs.  San Diego has clinched the West.  Cincinnati needs one more win or one Baltimore loss to clinch the North, while New England is one win or one Miami loss away from clinching the East (The Jets cannot win the division).

Denver and Baltimore, both at 8-6, hold a one-game lead over six other teams (Miami, NY Jets, Houston, Jacksonville, Tennessee, and Pittsburgh.)  Obviously if just two teams finish 9-7, those teams will be the Wildcards.  That’s not going to happen.

Denver closes at Philadelphia and at home against Kansas City.  The won’t lose to the Chiefs, so they will be at least 9-7.  Baltimore has a slightly harder road, as they finish on the road at Pittsburgh and the surging Raiders.  The Ravens should win at least one of these games to finish 9-7.

Miami finishes at home against Houston and Pittsburgh, and these will be playoff eliminators.  The Jets have a difficult closing schedule at Indianapolis and at home with Cincinnati.  We don’t see them finishing 9-7.

Tennessee hosts San Diego on Christmas night and finishes at Seattle.  The Titans and Chargers are the two best current AFC teams after Indy, and it should be a great game.  If the Titans win and then knock off lowly Seattle, they will have done the unthinkable and finished 9-7 after starting 0-6.  Jacksonville has a tough game at New England and finishes at home with Cleveland.  We see 8-8 in their future.

In the end, we believe Baltimore and Denver will hold on to take the two Wildcard spots.

If this scenario holds out, here’s how the first round would look January 9 and 10.

NFC

#6 Dallas at #3 Philadelphia

#5 Green Bay at #4 Arizona

 

AFC

#6 Denver at #3 New England

#5 Baltimore at #4 Cincinnati

 

We would go with Philadelphia, Green Bay, New England, and Baltimore to win those games, setting up this scenario the following week.

NFC

#5 Green Bay at #1 New Orleans

#3 Philadelphia at #2 Minnesota

 

AFC

#5 Baltimore at #1 Indianapolis

#3 New England at #2 San Diego

 

               

Current NFL PiRate Ratings

             
 

 

NFC East

PiRate Mean Biased W-L-T Pts Opp
Philadelphia  107.0 106.8 107.3 10-4-0 399 286
Dallas 104.3 104.3 106.2 9-5-0 320 250
New York Giants 104.1 102.8 103.5 8-6-0 386 342
Washington 96.0 97.3 94.2 4-10-0 246 296
               
NFC North PiRate Mean Biased W-L-T Pts Opp
Minnesota 106.3 105.7 106.9 11-3-0 396 269
Green Bay 103.7 104.4 106.1 9-5-0 380 280
Chicago 94.0 95.6 93.4 5-9-0 254 322
Detroit 88.8 88.1 86.1 2-12-0 233 437
               
NFC South PiRate Mean Biased W-L-T Pts Opp
New Orleans 110.8 109.5 108.6 13-1-0 483 298
Carolina 101.7 99.8 98.8 6-8-0 251 289
Atlanta   101.2 100.7 101.9 7-7-0 312 312
Tampa Bay 92.3 93.1 91.4 2-12-0 214 363
               
NFC West PiRate Mean Biased W-L-T Pts Opp
Arizona 103.1 102.3 103.8 9-5-0 337 282
San Francisco 100.0 101.0 98.1 6-8-0 282 269
Seattle 89.7 92.9 92.0 5-9-0 257 325
St. Louis 86.9 87.9 84.5 1-13-0 159 377
               
AFC East PiRate Mean Biased W-L-T Pts Opp
New England 107.5 107.3 106.9 9-5-0 365 244
NY Jets 101.8 102.8 102.4 7-7-0 282 221
Miami 100.5 100.7 101.7 7-7-0 316 333
Buffalo 96.3 96.9 95.9 5-9-0 225 288
               
AFC North PiRate Mean Biased W-L-T Pts Opp
Baltimore 110.7 106.3 107.3 8-6-0 350 225
Pittsburgh 101.9 100.3 101.9 7-7-0 315 280
Cincinnati 101.8 101.4 102.7 9-5-0 288 244
Cleveland 92.6 92.5 91.9 3-11-0 199 349
               
AFC South PiRate Mean Biased W-L-T Pts Opp
Indianapolis 109.9 107.8 109.2 14-0-0 394 248
Tennessee 103.4 101.7 104.3 7-7-0 320 347
Houston   101.1 101.5 101.4 7-7-0 327 286
Jacksonville 95.5 97.9 100.2 7-7-0 266 322
               
AFC West PiRate Mean Biased W-L-T Pts Opp
San Diego 107.7 106.2 107.3 11-3-0 389 283
Denver 97.7 101.0 102.4 8-6-0 275 250
Oakland   93.7 92.7 94.0 5-9-0 175 335
Kansas City 87.2 90.8 87.5 3-11-0 240 383

 

This Week’s Games
Home Team in CAPS (N) Denotes Neutral Site          
             
HFA for Week 16 = 2.5            
Vegas Line as of 12:30PM EDT Tuesday            
Friday, December 25            
Favorite Underdog PiRate Mean Bias Vegas Totals
San Diego TENNESSEE 1.8 2.0 0.5 -3    47   
             
Sunday, December 27, 2009            
Favorite Underdog PiRate Mean Bias Vegas Totals
GREEN BAY Seattle 16.5 14.0 16.6 14    42   
CLEVELAND Oakland 1.4 2.3 0.4 3 1/2 38   
CINCINNATI Kansas City 17.1 13.1 17.7 13 1/2 40 1/2
ATLANTA Buffalo 7.4 6.3 8.5 9    41   
MIAMI Houston 1.9 1.7 2.8 3    45   
NEW YORK GIANTS Carolina 4.9 5.5 7.2 7    42   
NEW ORLEANS Tampa Bay 21.0 18.9 19.7 14    49   
NEW ENGLAND Jacksonville 14.5 11.9 9.2 7 1/2 43 1/2
Baltimore PITTSBURGH 6.3 3.5 2.9 -2 1/2 41   
PHILADELPHIA Denver 11.8 8.3 7.4 7    41 1/2
ARIZONA St. Louis 18.7 16.9 21.8 14    43   
SAN FRANCISCO Detroit 13.7 15.4 14.5 12 1/2 41 1/2
INDIANAPOLIS New York Jets 10.6 7.5 9.3 5    40 1/2
Dallas WASHINGTON 5.8 4.5 9.5 7    42   
             
Monday, December 28, 2009            
Favorite Underdog PiRate Mean Bias Vegas Totals
Minnesota CHICAGO 9.8 7.6 11.0 7    41   

December 15, 2009

PiRate Ratings and Spreads For NFL Week 15: December 17-21, 2009

Week 15 NFL Preview

PiRate Picks Go A Perfect 7-0!

 

We’re quite happy here at the PiRate Ratings this week.  Our picks against the spread (available for just $5 a week at www.piratings.webs.com), finished a perfect 7-0 last week bringing our record for the season to 86-48-2, 64.2%.  Our two-week record is 11-1, and we’ve basically used the same strategy both weeks.

This week, the NFL schedule presents the viewer with a basket of lemons.  There are some rather lousy games on tap: Arizona-Detroit, Chicago-Baltimore, Kansas City-Cleveland, Houston-St. Louis, and Seattle-Tampa Bay.  However, to the investor, sometimes, these games become hidden gems.

Throw in the college bowl season’s first offerings, and there are still options to consider this week.

The playoff chase is becoming interesting in the AFC, where the 6-win teams are still very much in the hunt.  In the NFC, the Packers are virtually a shoo-in now as a Wildcard team, but the final spot is still up for grabs.  Dallas holds the upper hand today, but with three very tough finishing games, the Cowboys cannot even be considered the favorite for that spot.  Now, if Dallas can somehow pull off the big upset this weekend in New Orleans, then it may be the end of the chase in the NFC.

Here is the way we at the PiRate Ratings see the playoffs shaping up. 

NFC East

 

Philadelphia is 9-4 and should win 11 games to take the title.

Dallas is 8-5, but could easily lose their last three games.  We see them finishing 9-7.

New York is 7-6 and absolutely must win at Washington Monday night.  If they get by the Redskins, they should beat Carolina, but the finale at Minnesota could be tough unless the Vikings have nothing to play for.  We can see the Giants finishing 9-7.

NFC South

 

The Saints have this race in hand and will have home field advantage for the NFC playoffs.

Atlanta is 6-7 and must win their final three games to have a chance.  All three games left are winnable, but the Falcons have not had much luck with injuries this year.  We believe they will lose at least once more and be eliminated.

NFC North

 

Minnesota has secured the title, and Green Bay will secure a wildcard spot with one more win, which they will get either this week or next.

NFC West

 

Arizona still holds a two-game lead over San Francisco with three to play, so we will pick the Cardinals to repeat as champs.

San Francisco is 6-7.  They have to win at Philadelphia this week, to benefit from closing with Detroit and St. Louis.  We don’t see Mike Singletary’s club winning at Philly this weekend.

AFC East

 

This race is still up for grabs.  New England owns just a one-game lead over Miami and the Jets, and the Patriots have lost all their true away games this year.  With two more away games to play, the Pats could be looking at 9-7, which would open the door.

Miami has topped .500 at 7-6, and they visit Tennessee this week in a death match.  The loser can look to next year.  If the Dolphins prevail, they finish with two winnable home games and could win the division.  We think 9-7 is what Miami fans should expect.  The Dolphins hold the tiebreaker advantage over New England, so we believe they can win the division at 9-7 if the Pats blow it this week at Buffalo.

The Jets are also 7-6.  They host Atlanta in another death match game.  However, they must still go to Indy next week and host Cincinnati in week 17.  It looks bleak for Jets’ fans.

AFC South

 

It’s all about who will finish second in this division, as the only intrigue with the title is whether the Colts can run the table.

Jacksonville is 7-6 and the leader in the clubhouse for the final wildcard spot.  They host Indianapolis this week, and they almost beat the Colts at Indy earlier this year.  They finish at New England and at Cleveland, so the Jags could be looking at 8-8, which would put them out.

Houston is 6-7 and needs too many things to happen to qualify, least of which is winning their final three games at St. Louis, at Miami, and versus New England.  They will be lucky to finish 8-8 for the third straight year.

Tennessee is 6-7 after beginning 0-6.  They also need too many things to happen to be considered a legitimate contender.  If they defeat Miami at home this week, they still must beat San Diego at home next week and win at Seattle.  It looks like 8-8 is their best possibility as well.

AFC North

 

Cincinnati is on the verge of securing the division title, but the Bengals are the most likely division winner to lose to a wildcard in the opening round.

Baltimore is 7-6, and the Ravens are the one team the division winners don’t want to face in the first round.  Baltimore should manhandle the Bears this week to set up a death match game at Pittsburgh.  A season finale at Oakland could be tricky, as the Raiders played spoiler last year in week 17.  Still, we see the Ravens coming through to win finish at least 9-7

Pittsburgh is 6-7 and is fading as fast as the Red Sox used to fade in baseball.  We don’t see them recovering to win three in a row.

AFC West

 

San Diego holds a two-game lead over Denver, and we see no reason to expect the Chargers to fold.

Denver is 8-5 and has a favorable finishing schedule with both Oakland and Kansas City coming to the Mile High City.  You can use pen to put them in as a wildcard.

PiRate Playoff Speculation

 

NFC—Round One

#3 Philadelphia hosts #6 Dallas

#4 Arizona hosts #5 Green Bay

 

Divisional Round

 

#1 New Orleans hosts lower remaining seed

#2 Minnesota hosts higher remaining seed

 

AFC—Round One

 

#3 Cincinnati hosts #6 Baltimore

#4 Miami hosts #5 Denver

 

Divisional Round

 

#1 Indianapolis hosts lower remaining seed

#2 San Diego hosts higher remaining seed

 

Current NFL PiRate Ratings
               
               
Bitmap

NFC East

 

PiRate Mean Biased W-L-T Pts Opp
Philadelphia 106.3 105.7 106.7 9-4-0 372 273
Dallas 101.7 102.4 103.3 8-5-0 296 233
New York Giants 101.5 100.4 103.5 7-6-0 341 330
Washington 99.6 99.3 96.9 4-9-0 234 251
               
NFC North PiRate Mean Biased W-L-T Pts Opp
Minnesota 109.4 107.1 108.8 11-2-0 389 243
Green Bay 103.9 104.3 105.9 9-4-0 344 243
Chicago 95.6 96.8 95.0 5-8-0 247 291
Detroit 88.0 88.2 86.3 2-11-0 209 406
               
NFC South PiRate Mean Biased W-L-T Pts Opp
New Orleans 113.4 109.9 110.8 13-0-0 466 274
Atlanta 99.9 99.8 98.8 6-7-0 302 305
Carolina   98.4 98.2 92.8 5-8-0 225 282
Tampa Bay 89.1 91.8 88.5 1-12-0 190 356
               
NFC West PiRate Mean Biased W-L-T Pts Opp
Arizona 103.9 103.1 105.1 8-5-0 306 258
San Francisco 100.7 101.5 100.5 6-7-0 269 242
Seattle 92.9 95.0 94.7 5-8-0 250 301
St. Louis 85.9 88.9 86.1 1-12-0 146 361
               
AFC East PiRate Mean Biased W-L-T Pts Opp
New England 107.8 106.6 105.4 8-5-0 348 234
NY Jets 103.1 102.8 104.3 7-6-0 275 211
Miami 100.3 100.8 103.9 7-6-0 292 306
Buffalo 96.0 97.0 96.3 5-8-0 215 271
               
AFC North PiRate Mean Biased W-L-T Pts Opp
Baltimore 109.1 105.2 106.6 7-6-0 319 218
Pittsburgh 101.7 99.8 99.8 6-7-0 278 244
Cincinnati 101.0 101.0 104.1 9-4-0 264 217
Cleveland 91.5 92.3 92.1 2-11-0 158 315
               
AFC South PiRate Mean Biased W-L-T Pts Opp
Indianapolis 111.0 109.2 110.7 13-0-0 359 217
Tennessee 103.6 102.4 103.1 6-7-0 293 323
Houston   102.1 102.5 100.4 6-7-0 311 273
Jacksonville 94.4 96.7 98.9 7-6-0 235 287
               
AFC West PiRate Mean Biased W-L-T Pts Opp
San Diego 108.5 105.9 107.8 10-3-0 362 259
Denver 100.0 101.7 104.0 8-5-0 256 230
Oakland   91.4 92.2 90.8 4-9-0 155 316
Kansas City 88.3 91.7 88.3 3-10-0 206 342

 

This Week’s Games
Home Team in CAPS (N) Denotes Neutral Site          
             
HFA for Week 15 = 2.7            
Vegas Line as of 12:30PM EDT Tuesday            
Thursday, December 17, 2009            
Favorite Underdog PiRate Mean Bias Vegas Totals
Indianapolis JACKSONVILLE 13.9 9.8 9.1 6 1/2 46   
             
Saturday, December 19, 2009            
Favorite Underdog PiRate Mean Bias Vegas Totals
NEW ORLEANS Dallas 14.4 10.2 10.2 7    53 1/2
             
Sunday, December 20, 2009            
Favorite Underdog PiRate Mean Bias Vegas Totals
PITTSBURGH Green Bay 0.5 -1.8 -3.4 1    40   
TENNESSEE Miami 6.0 4.3 1.9 3    41 1/2
New England BUFFALO 9.1 6.9 6.4 7    40 1/2
Arizona DETROIT 13.2 12.2 16.1 10 1/2 47   
PHILADELPHIA San Francisco 8.3 6.9 8.9 9    44 1/2
NEW YORK JETS Atlanta 5.9 5.7 8.2 NL NL
BALTIMORE Chicago 16.2 11.1 14.3 10    40 1/2
Cleveland KANSAS CITY 0.5 -2.1 1.1 -2    36 1/2
Houston ST. LOUIS 13.5 10.9 11.6 9 1/2 43   
SAN DIEGO Cincinnati 10.2 7.6 6.4 6 1/2 44   
DENVER Oakland 11.3 12.2 15.9 14    37   
SEATTLE Tampa Bay 6.5 5.9 8.9 7    39 1/2
Minnesota CAROLINA 8.3 6.2 13.3 7    43   
             
Monday, December 21, 2009            
Favorite Underdog PiRate Mean Bias Vegas Totals
WASHINGTON New York Giants 0.8 1.6 -3.9 -3    43   
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