The Pi-Rate Ratings

August 25, 2010

Introducing the PiRate NFL Pass Rating Formula

Introducing the PiRate NFL Pass Rating Formula

 

The National Football League has been using the same pass rating formula for multiple decades.  It uses a combination of completion percentage, yards per attempt, touchdowns, and interceptions.  If you want to calculate it on your own, here it is:

 

I.     (Completion Percentage-30.0) * 0.05 +

II.    (Yards per attempt-3.0) * 0.25 +

III.   (20 * touchdowns per pass attempt) +

IV.   2.375 – (25 * interceptions per pass attempt)

 

If any of these four components are greater than 2.375, then cap the value at 2.375

 

Add these four stats together and multiple them by 16.667 to get the passer rating.  Here is an example:

 

In 1963, Y. A. Tittle had these stats for the New York Giants

Completions 221  Attempts 367  Yards 3145  Touchdowns 36  Interceptions 14

 

I.     (60.20 – 30.0) * 0.05 = 1.51  +

II.    (8.57-3.0) * 0.25 = 1.39        +

III.   (20 * .098) = 1.96                +

IV.   2.375 – (25 * .038) = 1.43    +

 

 Subtotal = 6.29     6.29 * 16.667 =

                     104.8

 

Once you know this formula, you can easily plug it into a spreadsheet and figure the ratings.  However, these ratings are a poor way to select the most efficient passer.

 

Let’s take a look at two opposing passers, Smith and Jones.

 

Smith completes 15 of 24 passes for 3 touchdowns with no interceptions.

 

Jones completes 10 of 24 passes for 0 touchdowns and 1 interception.

 

Smith is obviously much better, correct?  No, not correct.  It depends on several other things.  What if Jones has a lousy offensive line or receivers that drop every other pass thrown to them?  What if Smith has all day to pass with Jerry Rice-type receivers?  All these stats show us are just that—their stats.

 

Smith could have completed six passes to backs behind the line of scrimmage with the backs following blocking for long gains.  Jones could have threaded the needle with 30 yard passes to the deep sidelines only to have had them dropped by inept receivers.

 

In essence no pass-rating formula is worth a grain of salt.  Let’s look at two separate plays.  Passer A completes 13-yard pass for a touchdown.  It is a dump pass into the flat to the tailback with the tailback avoiding three defenders as he streaks into the end zone.  This one pass gets the NFL Maximum rating of 158.3.

 

Now, let’s look at Passer B.  His team is backed up at their own 1 yard line. He drops back and fires a bomb 55 yards through the air that comes down perfectly in the hands of his flanker.  The flanker takes off down the sideline and is knocked out just one yard from scoring.  This 98-yard pass gives Passer B a rating of 118.8!  Peyton Manning actually had a better total season rating than this a couple years ago, and even though he ranks among the best ever, he was not worth a 98-yard completion every time he threw the ball!

 

Can this be?  You betcha!  The rating is flawed.  Obviously the brilliantly thrown pass that travelled 55 yards past the line of scrimmage that comes down perfectly in the hands of the intended receiver should be worth a lot more than the dump pass that I could complete given two seconds protection.

 

Here is where the PiRate Pass Rating Formula tries to correct the incorrect values of the NFL Pass Rating Formula.

 

Our formula looks at just two statistics.  The first is interception percentage.  An intercepted pass is worth anywhere from 3 to 7 points for the other team on average.  We realize that all interceptions are not the same.  A poorly thrown pass into the flat at the offense’s 20-yard line hurts much more than a 3rd and 25 pass thrown 40 yards downfield and intercepted by the defense. 

 

The second stat is called “Air Yards Per Attempt,” or AYPA.  It is simply the passing yardage minus the yards after catch.  If Passer A completed a 51-yard pass for a touchdown, but the play consisted of a pass completed to a tailback one yard past the line of scrimmage with the back running for 50 yards, the passer gets credit for an AYPA of 1 yard (51 yard pass – 50 yards after the catch).

 

Here is the PiRate Pass Rating Formula:

[AYPA * 7 – (11 * Interception %) + 105] * 0.8

 Interception percentage is figured as: (Interceptions/Attempts) *100

 Anything over 100 is an excellent rating.  Over 90 means the QB is above average.  80 would be considered average; below 80 means this QB should be looking over his shoulder for a replacement to take his job.

 In our passer rating, we don’t include passing percentage or touchdown passes.  Yards gained are what matters.  Three consecutive completed passes that gain a total of nine yards means 4th & 1.  Two incomplete passes followed by an 11 yard completion means 1st & 10.  Which outcome is better?

 Touchdowns skew the ratings.  If one coach sends in passing plays at the opponents’ one yard line, while another sends his 240-pound power back to plunge over the goal, the quarterbacks will get too much credit in once instance and no credit in the other. 

 Let’s take a look at the PiRate Rating in action.  First, you must be wondering where can you find AYPA?  There is an excellent website that carries this stat, so you don’t have to try to figure out the YAC for each QB.  Go to: www.advancednflstats.com

 Here is a look at both ratings side-by-side:

Player

PiRate QB Rating

 

Player

Official NFL Rating

Aaron Rodgers

108.9

|||

Drew Brees

109.6

Drew Brees

107.5

|||

Brett Favre

107.2

Brett Favre

106.7

|||

Phil Rivers

104.4

Tony Romo

105.6

|||

Aaron Rodgers

103.2

Phil Rivers

104.8

|||

Ben Roethlisberger

100.5

Ben Roethlisberger

97.9

|||

Peyton Manning

99.9

Matt Schaub

97.8

|||

Matt Schaub

98.6

Peyton Manning

97.2

|||

Tony Romo

97.6

Donovan McNabb

96.3

|||

Tom Brady

96.2

David Garrard

96.1

|||

Kurt Warner

93.2

Kyle Orton

94.7

|||

Eli Manning

93.1

Brad Gradkowski

94.4

|||

Donovan McNabb

92.9

Tom Brady

93.8

|||

Joe Flacco

88.9

Kurt Warner

93.4

|||

Kyle Orton

86.8

Eli Manning

92.8

|||

Jason Campbell

86.4

Vince Young

92.1

|||

Carson Palmer

83.6

Joe Flacco

87.7

|||

David Garrard

83.5

Marc Bulger

86.7

|||

Vince Young

82.8

Jason Campbell

85.4

|||

Alex Smith

81.5

Matt Ryan

83.0

|||

Matt Ryan

80.9

Carson Palmer

81.7

|||

Brad Gradkowski

80.6

Chad Henne

80.8

|||

Jay Cutler

76.8

Alex Smith

79.7

|||

Chad Henne

75.2

Brady Quinn

78.4

|||

Matt Hasselbeck

75.1

Matt Hasselbeck

75.7

|||

Trent Edwards

73.8

Matt Cassel

75.7

|||

Marc Bulger

70.7

Kerry Collins

72.1

|||

Matt Cassel

69.9

Trent Edwards

69.9

|||

Ryan Fitzpatrick

69.7

Kyle Boller

69.1

|||

Brady Quinn

67.2

Jay Cutler

67.3

|||

Kerry Collins

65.5

Ryan Fitzpatrick

64.3

|||

Mark Sanchez

63.0

Mark Sanchez

60.9

|||

Kyle Boller

61.2

JaMarcus Russell

56.4

|||

Matt Stafford

61.0

Matt Stafford

54.1

|||

Josh Freeman

59.8

Jake Delhomme

51.5

|||

Jake Delhomme

59.4

Josh Freeman

46.4

|||

JaMarcus Russell

50.0

Derek Anderson

46.3

|||

Derek Anderson

42.1

 

Coming tomorrow: We reveal the initial NFL PiRate, Mean, and Bias ratings for the 2010 season and give our predictions for each division.

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December 11, 2008

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

PiRate Ratings For NFL Week 15

And Down The Stretch They Come!

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

The PiRate Pro Ratings (Rating)

 

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

 

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

 

The Mean Ratings (Mean)

 

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

 

The Bias Ratings (Biased)

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Current NFL Standings
NFC East Won   Lost   Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

New York

11

2

0

366

226

110.21

109.88

108.46

2

Dallas

8

5

0

312

280

102.02

102.78

103.60

2

Philadelphia

7

5

1

339

263

107.18

105.64

105.81

2

Washington

7

6

0

218

246

99.03

99.74

100.60

2

NFC North

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Minnesota

8

5

0

307

276

103.51

103.71

104.09

2

Chicago

7

6

0

304

278

102.34

101.17

102.15

2

Green Bay

5

8

0

355

319

104.62

102.10

100.99

2

Detroit

0

13

0

219

413

87.55

88.46

87.65

3

NFC South

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Carolina

10

3

0

323

254

105.75

104.74

106.54

2

Tampa Bay

9

4

0

303

238

105.14

103.85

105.04

2

Atlanta  

8

5

0

323

271

104.40

103.44

103.62

2

New Orleans

7

6

0

366

326

103.61

103.00

102.17

2

NFC West

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Arizona

8

5

0

372

323

101.44

100.95

102.52

3

San Francisco

5

8

0

286

327

95.22

96.48

96.19

3

Seattle

2

11

0

237

335

92.29

92.89

92.48

3

St. Louis

2

11

0

169

394

83.23

86.90

84.67

2

AFC East

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

New York

8

5

0

354

292

101.26

101.10

102.52

2

New England

8

5

0

301

276

99.57

101.16

102.79

2

Miami

8

5

0

269

260

98.26

98.56

102.01

2

Buffalo

6

7

0

279

275

96.33

95.31

97.37

3

AFC North

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Pittsburgh

10

3

0

289

183

108.86

108.01

107.22

2

Baltimore

9

4

0

316

200

109.24

108.03

106.70

3

Cleveland

4

9

0

222

275

97.55

97.36

95.03

2

Cincinnati

1

11

1

154

345

90.35

91.54

88.23

2

AFC South

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Tennessee

12

1

0

332

184

110.21

108.83

108.85

2

Indianapolis

9

4

0

292

253

104.85

105.51

105.92

2

Houston

6

7

0

306

331

99.15

100.04

100.08

3

Jacksonville

4

9

0

251

293

97.23

96.78

94.85

3

AFC West

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Denver

8

5

0

316

336

96.27

98.09

100.92

2

San Diego

5

8

0

324

281

102.60

100.41

100.85

2

Oakland

3

10

0

179

299

90.57

91.98

89.56

2

Kansas City

2

11

0

233

364

90.15

91.53

90.58

2

                         

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

NFL Previews-Week 15

 

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

Time:           8:15 PM EST, Thursday

TV:               NFL Network

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

 

PiRate:                Chicago by 1                   

Mean:                  Tossup

Bias:                    Chicago by 2

Vegas:               Chicago by 2.5, 3

Ov/Un:               44.5, 45, 45.5

100 Sims:           Chicago 64 New Orleans 36

Avg Sim Score:  Chicago 27 New Orleans 23

Outlier 1a Sim:  Chicago 34 New Orleans 13

Outlier 1b Sim:  New Orleans 30 Chicago 17

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

Time:           1:00 PM EST

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Mostly cloudy, moderate wind, temperature around 70

 

PiRate:                Green Bay by 9

Mean:                  Green Bay by 2

Bias:                    Green Bay by 6

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

Ov/Un:               45, 45.5

100 Sims:           Green Bay 58 Jacksonville 42

Avg Sim Score:  Green Bay 25 Jacksonville 22

Outlier 1a Sim:  Green Bay 37 Jacksonville 21

Outlier 1b Sim:  Jacksonville 20 Green Bay 10

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

Time:           1:00 PM EST

TV:               Fox

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

 

PiRate:                Indianapolis by 19

Mean:                  Indianapolis by 19

Bias:                    Indianapolis by 20

Vegas:               Indianapolis by 17,18   

Ov/Un:               Indianapolis by 44.5, 45

100 Sims:           Indianapolis 100 Detroit 0

Avg Sim Score:  Indianapolis 34 Detroit 12

Outlier 1a Sim:  Indianapolis 56 Detroit 7

Outlier 1b Sim:  Indianapolis 27 Detroit 24

 

Strategy:     Over 31½ in 13-point teaser

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

Time:           1PM EST

TV:               Fox

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

 

PiRate:                Washington by 7

Mean:                  Washington by 6

Bias:                    Washington by 10

Vegas:               Washington by 6.5, 7, 7.5          

Ov/Un:               36.5, 37

100 Sims:           Washington 82 Cincinnati 18

Avg Sim Score:  Washington 26 Cincinnati 18

Outlier 1a Sim:  Washington 38 Cincinnati 13

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

 

Strategy:            Over 23½ in 13-point teaser

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

Time:           1PM EST

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Dome

 

PiRate:                Atlanta by 1

Mean:                  Atlanta by 2

Bias:                    Atlanta by 1

Vegas:                Atlanta by 2.5, 3  

Ov/Un:               44.5, 45

100 Sims:           Atlanta 53 Tampa Bay 47

Avg Sim Score:  Atlanta 23 Tampa Bay 22

Outlier 1a Sim:  Atlanta 28 Tampa Bay 14

Outlier 1b Sim:  Tampa Bay 23 Atlanta 14

(note: 7 sims went to OT)

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

Time:           1PM EST

TV:               Fox

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

 

PiRate:                Miami by 5

Mean:                  Miami by 4

Bias:                    Miami by 8

Vegas:               Miami by 6.5, 7  

Ov/Un:               41.5, 42

100 Sims:           Miami 57 San Francisco 43

Avg Sim Score:  Miami 22 San Francisco 20

Outlier 1a Sim:  Miami 27 San Francisco 10

Outlier 1b Sim:  San Francisco 21 Miami 13

 

Strategy:            Under 55 in 13-point teaser

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Time:           1:00 PM EST

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Dome

 

PiRate:                Seattle by 7

Mean:                  Seattle by 4

Bias:                    Seattle by 6

Vegas:               Seattle by 3

Ov/Un:               43, 43.5  

100 Sims:           Seattle 61 St. Louis 39

Avg Sim Score:  Seattle 26 St. Louis 19

Outlier 1a Sim:  Seattle 24 St. Louis 3

Outlier 1b Sim:  St. Louis 17 Seattle 10

 

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

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

 

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

 

 

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

Time:           1:00PM EST

TV:               CBS

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

 

PiRate:                Jets by 7

Mean:                 Jets by 8

Bias:                    Jets by 7

Vegas:                Jets by 7, 7.5

Ov/Un:               41

100 Sims:           Jets 73 Buffalo 27

Avg Sim Score:  Jets 32 Buffalo 24

Outlier 1a Sim:  Jets 48 Buffalo 17

Outlier 1b Sim:  Buffalo 28 Jets 20

 

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

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

 

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

 

 

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

Time:           1:00 PM EST

TV:               CBS

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

 

PiRate:                Tennessee by 8

Mean:                 Tennessee by 6

Bias:                    Tennessee by 6

Vegas:                Tennessee by 3, 3.5

Ov/Un:               44.5, 45

100 Sims:           Tennessee 66 Houston 34

Avg Sim Score:  Tennessee 29 Houston 22

Outlier 1a Sim:  Tennessee 33 Houston 14

Outlier 1b Sim:  Houston 28 Tennessee 16

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

Time:           3:15PM EST

TV:               CBS

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

 

PiRate:                Baltimore by 3

Mean:                  Baltimore by 3

Bias:                    Baltimore by 2

Vegas:               Baltimore by 1, 1.5, 2, 2.5

Ov/Un:               34, 34.5

100 Sims:           Baltimore 50 Pittsburgh 50

Avg Sim Score:  Baltimore 20 Pittsburgh 19

Outlier 1a Sim:  Baltimore 17 Pittsburgh 0

Outlier 1b Sim:  Pittsburgh 20 Baltimore 7

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Time:           4:15PM EST

TV:               CBS

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

 

PiRate:                Carolina by 11

Mean:                 Carolina by 9

Bias:                   Carolina by 8

Vegas:               Carolina by 7, 7.5, 9

Ov/Un:               47, 47.5, 48

100 Sims:           Carolina 54 Denver 46

Avg Sim Score:  Carolina 29 Denver 28

Outlier 1a Sim:  Carolina 45 Denver 24

Outlier 1b Sim:  Denver 41 Carolina 24

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

Time:           1:00 PM EST

TV:               CBS

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

 

PiRate:                San Diego by 10

Mean:                 San Diego by 7

Bias:                   San Diego by 8

Vegas:                San Diego by 4.5, 5, 5.5

Ov/Un:               45, 45.5, 46, 46.5

100 Sims:           Kansas City 52 San Diego 48

Avg Sim Score:  Kansas City 25 San Diego 24

Outlier 1a Sim:  Kansas City 28 San Diego 17

Outlier 1b Sim:  San Diego 40 Kansas City 20

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Time:           4:15 PM EST

TV:               Fox

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

 

PiRate:                Arizona by 1

Mean:                 Tossup

Bias:                   Arizona by 1

Vegas:                Arizona by 3   

Ov/Un:               47.5, 48

100 Sims:           Arizona 59 Minnesota 41

Avg Sim Score:  Arizona 33 Minnesota 24

Outlier 1a Sim:  Arizona 52 Minnesota 31

Outlier 1b Sim:  Minnesota 27 Arizona 17

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

Time:           4:15 PM EST

TV:               CBS

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

 

PiRate:                New England by 7

Mean:                  New England by 8

Bias:                    New England by 11

Vegas:               New England by 7

Ov/Un:               39,40

100 Sims:           New England 89 Oakland 11

Avg Sim Score:  New England 24 Oakland 15

Outlier 1a Sim:  New England 37 Oakland 7

Outlier 1b Sim:  Oakland 21 New England 16

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Time:           8:15PM EST

TV:               NBC

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

                    

PiRate:                Giants by 6

Mean:                  Giants by 5

Bias:                    Giants by 3

Vegas:               Dallas by 2.5, 3

Ov/Un:               44, 44.5, 45

100 Sims:           Giants 58 Dallas 42

Avg Sim Score:  Giants 23 Dallas 19

Outlier 1a Sim:  Giants 28 Dallas 12

Outlier 1b Sim:  Dallas 24 Giants 10

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Time:           8:30PM EST Monday

TV:               ESPN

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

 

PiRate:                Philadelphia by 12  

Mean:                  Philadelphia by 10

Bias:                    Philadelphia by 13

Vegas:                Philadelphia by 14, 14.5, 15

Ov/Un:               38.5, 39

100 Sims:           Philadelphia 90 Cleveland 10

Avg Sim Score:  Philadelphia 29 Cleveland 13

Outlier 1a Sim:  Philadelphia 44 Cleveland 6

Outlier 1b Sim:  Cleveland 28 Philadelphia 24

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

Hurray For A Good Week

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

ALL 5 WAGERS = 13-POINT TEASERS

 

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

 

1.    New Orleans & Chicago OVER 31½

       Green Bay & Jacksonville OVER 32

       Detroit & Indianapolis OVER 31½

       Washington & Cincinnati OVER 23½

 

2.    Tampa Bay & Atlanta OVER 31½

       San Francisco & Miami UNDER 55

       Buffalo & NY Jets OVER 28

       Tennessee & Houston UNDER 58

 

3.    Pittsburgh & Baltimore OVER 21

       Denver & Carolina OVER 34

       San Diego & Kansas City UNDER 59½

       New England & Oakland UNDER 53

 

4.    Seattle & St. Louis OVER 30

       Tennessee & Houston OVER 31½

       Minnesota & Arizona OVER 35

       NY Giants & Dallas UNDER 58

 

5.    Seattle & St. Louis UNDER 56½

       Pittsburgh & Baltimore OVER 21

       NY Giants & Dallas OVER 31

       Philadelphia & Cleveland OVER 25½   

 

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

November 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.

October 24, 2008

PiRate Ratings Week 8 NFL Previews: October 26-27, 2008

PiRate Ratings For NFL Week Eight

 

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 and Ratings

 

NFC East

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

New York

5

1

0

170

101

106.25

103.64

106.38

2

Washington

5

2

0

140

128

103.71

102.63

102.67

2

Dallas

4

3

0

189

175

102.40

101.04

101.49

2

Philadelphia

3

3

0

167

123

109.63

103.82

105.29

2

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFC North

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Chicago

4

3

0

196

150

108.85

121.83

107.54

2

Green Bay

4

3

0

194

159

103.74

102.42

103.83

2

Minnesota

3

4

0

154

167

100.81

99.70

99.10

2

Detroit

0

6

0

97

187

85.66

89.24

87.98

3

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFC South

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Tampa Bay

5

2

0

161

107

109.14

105.23

106.68

2

Carolina

5

2

0

147

104

107.82

104.20

105.01

2

Atlanta

4

2

0

139

127

102.06

99.97

101.21

2

New Orleans

3

4

0

179

163

102.32

100.35

100.14

2

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFC West

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Arizona

4

2

0

177

144

105.41

102.42

102.97

3

St. Louis

2

4

0

96

178

88.55

93.55

93.62

2

San Francisco

2

5

0

158

196

94.26

93.76

94.81

3

Seattle

1

5

0

110

171

90.36

93.22

92.72

3

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC East

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Buffalo

5

1

0

149

118

101.53

101.40

103.79

3

New England

4

2

0

130

116

98.35

101.18

101.91

2

New York

3

3

0

154

146

99.23

98.89

98.62

2

Miami

2

4

0

120

130

98.85

96.86

98.14

2

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC North

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Pittsburgh

5

1

0

141

89

108.55

105.95

107.90

2

Baltimore

3

3

0

105

100

102.40

100.85

100.25

3

Cleveland

2

4

0

92

106

99.63

98.88

98.10

2

Cincinnati

0

7

0

98

182

91.92

91.98

90.98

2

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC South

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Tennessee

6

0

0

149

66

109.91

107.60

107.30

2

Indianapolis

3

3

0

128

131

101.39

100.27

101.13

2

Jacksonville

3

3

0

124

128

100.99

100.83

102.37

3

Houston

2

4

0

140

179

94.24

96.66

96.58

3

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC West

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Denver

4

3

0

173

195

95.30

96.47

97.96

2

San Diego

3

4

0

192

162

102.88

101.48

102.87

2

Oakland

2

4

0

97

148

89.29

93.41

93.14

2

Kansas City

1

5

0

75

165

85.39

90.24

89.93

2

 

NFL Previews-Week Eight

 

San Diego (3-4) vs. New Orleans (3-4) (at London)

Time:           1PM EDT

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Light rain expected, light winds, temperature falling from the upper 50’s to the low 50’s

 

PiRate:         San Diego by 1 

Mean:           San Diego by 1

Bias:             San Diego by 3

Vegas:        San Diego by 3         -155/+145

Ov/Un:        46

Strategy:     Over 36 in 10-point teaser, Over 33 in 13-point teaser

Tally Ho!  These two teams will play in Wembley Stadium in London Sunday afternoon/evening London time.  I don’t like it when the usual tendencies for games have been altered.  Both teams have gotten out of their routines, and there isn’t enough prior history (just one year to be exact) to look back and discover patterns.  My advice is to leave this game alone, but the only thing close to safe is to look for a high scoring game with a lot of passing. 

 

LaDainian Tomlinson should be close to 100% for the Chargers, but I expect him to get fewer carries than normal in order to protect the injured toe. 

 

Drew Brees should have a 300-yard passing game, and for that reason I think these teams will combine to score more than 40 points.

 

Kansas City (1-5) at New York Jets (3-3)

Time:           1PM EDT

TV:               CBS

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

 

PiRate:         Jets by 16

Mean:           Jets by 11

Bias:             Jets by 11

Vegas:        Jets by 13          -610/+485

Ov/Un:        39

Strategy:     Under 52 in 13-point teaser

The Chiefs’ offense has gone into hibernation.  Until late in the fourth quarter last week, Kansas City had gone eight quarters without scoring a point.  Brodie Croyle and backup Damon Huard are now both done for the season.  Third stringer Tyler Thigpen is completing just 42% of his passes for 4.4 yards per attempt.  Now, with Larry Johnson inactive again for this game, what can the Chiefs do this week?  It’s not like their defense will bail them out.  They are the 31st-rated stop troops in the NFL with a run defense that is on pace to give up more than 3,300 yards rushing.

 

The Jets had engine failure last week in Oakland, and I don’t see that problem occurring this week.  Brett Favre may not have to raise his arm too many times if Thomas Jones is his usual self.  He rushed for 159 yards last week and could easily equal or top that this week.

 

Because Coach Eric Mangini may decide to mimic Vince Lombardi and plan for his offense to grind out 80-yard drives that take 15 plays and half a quarter to score, the Jets may actually have difficulty covering the line.  I wouldn’t fool with a 13-point spread.  Instead, I am looking at a tease of the totals.  I cannot see Kansas City scoring 17 points in this game, and I cannot see the Jets topping 35.  The final score could be as low as 24-7 and as high as 35-14.  So, I like “Under 52” as part of a 13-point teaser.

 

Atlanta (4-2) at Philadelphia (3-3)

Time:           1PM EDT

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Sunny, moderate winds, temperature near 60

 

PiRate:         Philadelphia by 10  

Mean:           Philadelphia by 6

Bias:             Philadelphia by 6

Vegas:        Philadelphia by 9½         -380/+335

Ov/Un:        45

Strategy:     Philadelphia +½ in 10-point teaser, Philadelphia +3½ in 13-point teaser, Over 35 in 10-point teaser, Over 32 in 13-point teaser, Under 58 in 13-point teaser

This should be quite an entertaining game, and the Falcons believe they can pull off the upset and move on the top half of the playoff bubble.  The Eagles have all their offensive weapons healthy, and Donovan McNabb, Brian Westbrook, and company should find success moving the ball in this game.

 

There is one big factor in this game that may not reveal itself until game time.  Falcon rookie sensation Sam Baker may not be able to play, and he is a key reason why quarterback Matt Ryan has been able to pass like he is a seasoned veteran.  In the one game where Baker was unable to go, the Falcons’ offense scored just nine points.

 

Without Baker, Atlanta cannot win this game.  With a healthy Baker, they can keep it close and have a shot at the upset.

 

Either way, I like the Eagles to win the game, so I’ll take Philly and points in the teasers.  Teasing the Totals could be iffy due to the possibility of the Falcons not being able to score without Baker in the lineup.  Without him, they could struggle to reach double digits.  If they score just 10 points, the Eagles would have to score 23 to satisfy a 13-point teaser and 26 to satisfy a 10-point teaser.  Only tease the Over if you already know Baker will start and be able to play at near 100% effectiveness.

 

I could see a 13-point tease of the Under working for us.  Under 58 would be very playable even if Baker starts.  Atlanta’s defense should hold the Eagles to 28 points or less, and their offense won’t score 30 points.

 

Buffalo (5-1) at Miami (2-4)

Time:           1PM EDT

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Rain likely, light winds, temperature near 80

 

PiRate:         Buffalo by 1

Mean:           Buffalo by 3

Bias:             Buffalo by 4

Vegas:        Buffalo by 1 -120/+100

Ov/Un:        42½

Strategy:     Miami +11 in 10-point teaser, Miami +14 in 13-point teaser, Buffalo +9 in 10-point teaser, Buffalo +12 in 13-point teaser

This is an intriguing game.  Buffalo’s 5-1 record is questionable when you consider that four of those wins came over teams buried deep in the standings.  The one lone quality win came over a mediocre Jacksonville team, and the one loss came on the road at Arizona.

 

Miami has that extraordinary win at New England when they sprung the single wing offense on an unsuspecting defense.  In the next game, a trick play pulled out the win over San Diego.  Baltimore stuffed the offense last week.  Buffalo’s defense is not in the Ravens’ class, but it is strong enough to take those pet plays away.

 

The Bills’ running game has been disappointing this year, while quarterback Trent Edwards has been a pleasant surprise.  Miami’s defense isn’t strong against the pass.  That worries me this week.  I don’t really like any of the plays in this game, as I see a huge deviation in possible outcomes.  I only list the teasers above, but I don’t heartily endorse any of them.  Miami could win by a touchdown, and the Bills could win by two touchdowns.  The score could be 28-24 or 14-10. 

 

St. Louis (2-4) at New England (4-2)

Time:           1PM EDT

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Partly cloudy, considerable wind (enough to affect game), temperature in the mid 50’s

 

PiRate:         New England by 12

Mean:           New England by 10

Bias:             New England by 10

Vegas:         New England by 7    -315/+285

Ov/Un:        43

Strategy:     New England -7, New England -315, New England +3 in 10-point teaser, New England +6 in 13-point teaser, Under 56 in 13-point teaser

Break up the Rams!  Any team that can blow out the Cowboys by 20 points must be a force to be reckoned with.  Is Jim Haslett a super genius who can turn the weakest team in 20 years into the strongest team of 2008?  In back-to-back weeks, the Rams won at Washington and destroyed the team expected to waltz to the Super Bowl.

 

New England is the perfect embodiment of a Jekyll and Hyde team.  They lose big to the Dolphins and blow out the Broncos.  They hold the Jets’ offense to 10 points and give up 30 to the struggling Chargers.

 

I believe the weather will play an important role in this game.  The Rams are accustomed to playing indoors, and this game is going to be played with a stiff wind and cool temperatures.  This will be no big deal for the home team.

 

New England’s offense woke up last week against Denver, and I don’t see the Monday night effect hurting them this week.  They should be able to score 24 to 30 points against St. Louis even with a renewed defensive strength since the change of coaches.

 

I see the Pats winning by double digits and holding Marc Bulger and company to 17 points or less.  A score of 28-14 is quite possible, so I like a tease of the Under as well as the Patriots straight up and giving a touchdown.   New England would have to score more than 42 points to ruin a 13-point tease if the Rams score just two touchdowns.  Even a score of 35-21 wouldn’t beat us.  I would be shocked if the Pats don’t run the ball 35 or more times in this game, so total plays should be reduced.

 

Arizona (4-2) at Carolina (5-2)

Time:           1PM EDT

TV:               Fox

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

 

PiRate:         Carolina by 4

Mean:          Carolina by 4

Bias:             Carolina by 4

Vegas:        Carolina by 4     -200/+170

Ov/Un:        43½

Strategy:     Carolina -4, Carolina -200, Carolina +6 in 10-point teaser, Carolina +9 in 13-point teaser, Over 33½ in 10-point teaser, Over 30½ in 13-point teaser, Under 58½ in 13-point teaser

This game could be an NFC playoff preview.  Arizona is in complete control in the West, while Carolina is on pace to qualify as a wildcard or possible champion of the South Division.

 

The Cardinals have lost both times they have ventured into the Eastern Time Zone.  Their defense faltered both times.  This will be the toughest opponent of the three eastern teams they will have played.

 

Carolina may have the best home field advantage so far this season.  Their average score in Bank of America Stadium is 27-8, while their average road game score is 13-24.

 

Arizona had a week off, so that makes this one a bit tougher to call.  I still think the Panthers have a decided advantage in this contest.  Their pass defense should hold Kurt Warner about 75 yards below his average, and the Cardinals’ running game is not strong enough to take up the slack.  Jake Delhomme should top 200 passing yards and lead his offense to 24 or more points.  It adds up to a touchdown or more victory, so I like Carolina straight up and giving four points.

 

Oakland (2-4) at Baltimore (3-3)

Time:           1PM EDT

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Sunny, light wind, temperature near 60

 

PiRate:         Baltimore by 16

Mean:           Baltimore by 10

Bias:             Baltimore by 10

Vegas:        Baltimore by 7          -325/+295

Ov/Un:        36

Strategy:     Baltimore -325, Baltimore +3 in 10-point teaser, Baltimore +6 in 13-point teaser, Under 49 in 13-point teaser

Is their any possibility that JaMarcus Russell can solve the Ravens’ pass defense and avoid getting clobbered by their pass rush?  Will Darren McFadden be able to play this week?  Even if he can go, I doubt he will carry the ball more than eight times.  Ray Lewis and his band of mad men will make mincemeat out of Oakland’s offense.

 

The big question mark for Baltimore is who will line up at the wideout spots this week.  Yamon Figurs, Derrick Mason, and Demetrius Williams may all miss this game.  Running back Willis McGahee should play, but he won’t be at full strength. 

 

I expect a low scoring game, and Baltimore knows how to win when they score just 10-14 points.  I could see a score as low as 13-10 and as high as 21-17.  I don’t like the spread, but I think Baltimore has better than an 80% chance of winning.  Therefore, I like the money line option as well as getting the Ravens and points in the teasers.  Obviously, teasing the Under at 49 looks inviting as well.  I just cannot see a final score of 27-23 with both teams being hit with injuries on the offensive side.

 

Washington (5-2) at Detroit (0-6)

Time:           1:00PM EDT

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Dome

 

PiRate:         Washington by 15

Mean:           Washington by 10

Bias:             Washington by 12

Vegas:        Washington by 7½         -315/+285

Ov/Un:        42

Strategy:     Detroit +7½, Detroit +17½ in 10-point teaser, Detroit +20½ in 13-point teaser, Over 29 in 13-point teaser

This is my pick as trap game of the week.  Detroit is bound to luck into at least one win this season, and this could be that week.  The Redskins have been quite fortunate to win close games every week.  They seem to play to the quality of the opposition.  Their offense has gone south the last two weeks against the Rams and Browns, two teams not noted for excellence in defense.

 

Detroit has nothing to lose except maybe the rights to Tim Tebow if they win one too many games this year.  With the loss of Roy Williams and Jon Kitna, the Lions changed their strategy last week against Houston.  Calvin Johnson was used more like Bob Hayes was used by the Cowboys in the late 1960’s.  Johnson ran deep routes, while Mike Furrey became the possession receiver.  It worked to some extent, and it opened some holes for the running game.  Dan Orlovsky’s passing line looked like one from the 1960’s AFL.

 

Washington’s offense lives or dies with the running of Clinton Portis.  Portis could rush the ball 25 times and pick up 125 yards in this game, and the Redskins will still have to score with their passing game to win this one.

 

The numbers add up to a huge Washington win, but I believe the numbers will give away some to intangibles this week.  Call it a gut instinct, but I think Detroit will keep this one close and have a chance to win it in the final period.

 

Tampa Bay (5-2) at Dallas (4-3)

Time:           1:00PM EDT

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Sunny, light wind, temperature near 80

 

PiRate:         Tampa Bay by 5

Mean:           Tampa Bay by 2

Bias:             Tampa Bay by 3

Vegas:        Dallas by 2½     -140/+120

Ov/Un:        40½

Strategy:     Tampa Bay +12½ in 10-point teaser, Tampa Bay +15½ in 13-point teaser, Over 27½ in 13-point teaser

The Dallas defense has fallen on rough times, and head coach Wade Phillips will be calling the defensive plays this week.  I wouldn’t be surprised if he tries to lower the score of this game by complimenting his defensive play-calling with a time-consuming, conservative offensive game plan.

 

Tampa Bay is primed to take over the label of Super Bowl favorite this week.  A Buccaneer win would definitely place them at the top of the NFC pecking order, especially if the Giants lose at Pittsburgh.

 

Even if the Bucs cannot pull off the mild road upset, I see them keeping this game close.  Dallas was only able to beat Cincinnati by nine points at Texas Stadium, so there’s no reason to believe they can beat Tampa Bay by double digits without Tony Romo.

 

Tampa Bay is definitely one of the top three teams in the NFC and top six in the NFL.  I love the chance to get them and double digit points in any game at any location.  So, I’ll take Jon Gruden’s team and a boatload of points.  Also, I think both teams will at least reach 14 points, so I like teasing the Over as well.

 

Cleveland (2-4) at Jacksonville (3-3)

Time:           4:05 PM EDT

TV:               CBS

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

 

PiRate:         Jacksonville by 4

Mean:           Jacksonville by 5

Bias:             Jacksonville by 7

Vegas:        Jacksonville by 7      -315/+285

Ov/Un:        42

Strategy:     Cleveland +17 in 10-point teaser, Cleveland +20 in 13-point teaser, Under 55 in 13-point teaser

Welcome to Staphgate.  The medical news coming out of Cleveland this week has overshadowed the team’s on-the-field performance.  It could foretell a Browns’ collapse, but it could also cause the team to rally and play a fantastic 60 minutes of football.

 

Jacksonville may be the most boring team in the league unless you are an old Ohio State football fan who likes three yards and a cloud of dust football.  Not having receivers Matt Jones and Mike Walker means the Jags will run the ball even more than the norm.  Look for backs Maurice Jones-Drew and Fred Taylor to combine for 30 attempts this week.

 

Cleveland has actually been playing decent football the last couple of weeks, and they could pull off another surprise or two in the coming weeks.  The one problem this week is that Jacksonville has enjoyed an extra week of preparation.  While I see the Jags winning this game, I am not sure they will be able to win big.  Their biggest win to date is a seven point victory over Denver.

 

I like, but don’t love, taking the Browns in teasers.  Because there could be more running than normal in this game, I also like teasing the Under at 55.  I could see this game ending in a 27-20 score at a maximum.

 

Cincinnati (0-7) at Houston (2-4)

Time:           4:05PM EDT

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Partly cloudy, light winds, temperature in the low 80’s

 

 

PiRate:         Houston by 5

Mean:           Houston by 8

Bias:             Houston by 9

Vegas:        Houston by 9½        -380/+335

Ov/Un:        44½

Strategy:     Houston -380, Over 31½ in 13-point teaser

 

This game was supposed to be played the week Hurricane Ike struck the Lone Star State.  At the time, Cincinnati would have had a much better chance to win this game.  Now, Houston enters this contest on a two-game winning streak, while the Bengals have more than likely folded their hand for the season.  The Texans are almost double digit favorites.

 

The key stat for this game is the difference in the Bengals’ offense with Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback instead of Carson Palmer.  With Fitzpatrick running the team, Cincinnati has averaged 12 points per game.  In Palmer’s four games, the Bengals averaged only 15.5 points per game, but they competed in those games against the likes of Baltimore, Tennessee, the Giants, and Dallas. 

 

This will actually be the first weaker than average defense Cincinnati will face this season.  I look for Fitzpatrick to lead the orange and black north of the 20-point barrier.  However, the Bengals are hurting on the other side of the ball, and they will give up considerably more than 20 points to an improving offense.  The Texans have average about 28 points per game the last four weeks against defenses that are mostly better than Cincinnati’s.

 

I could see this game being decided late, but I think Houston will make it three straight victories.  I don’t like the line, so I recommend the money line.  I am looking at a 28-21 score here, so I believe the totals can be teased safely.

 

New York Giants (5-1) at Pittsburgh (5-1)

Time:           4:15PM EDT

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Partly cloudy, moderate winds, temperature dropping from the mid 50’s to near 50

 

 

PiRate:         Pittsburgh by 4

Mean:           Pittsburgh by 4

Bias:             Pittsburgh by 4

Vegas:        Pittsburgh by 3        -140/+130

Ov/Un:        42

Strategy:     Pittsburgh -3, Pittsburgh -140, Under 55 in 13-point teaser

This is the game of the week and could be a preview of the Super Bowl.  I tend to think the Giants will not make it through the playoffs this year, but that is beyond the point this week.

 

In my opinion, the Steelers are capable of finishing 13-3 or even 14-2 and earning home field advantage throughout the playoffs.  Their defense will give up less than 250 points, and their offense will top 400 when the season ends.  Running back Willie Parker should return to the field this week.  Ben Roethlisberger is playing like an all-pro, and Hines Ward is playing with a chip on his shoulder.

 

The Giants have been relying on Brandon Jacobs to take enough heat off Eli Manning, and it has worked most weeks.  Jacobs will not run the ball for 80 yards in this game, and Manning will have to win it with a big aerial assault.  I don’t think he can pull it off.  Call it a 20-13 win for the black and gold.

 

Seattle (1-5) at San Francisco (2-5)

Time:           4:15PM EDT

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Sunny, light winds, temperature in the mid to upper 70’s

                    

PiRate:         San Francisco by 7

Mean:           San Francisco by 4

Bias:             San Francisco by 5

Vegas:        San Francisco by 5   -230/+190

Ov/Un:        40½

Strategy:     San Francisco -230, San Francisco +5 in 10-point teaser, San Francisco +8 in 13-point teaser

Here, we have the initial second meeting of the season for divisional rivals.  The 49ers won the first meeting in Seattle, but things have changed since then.  Mike Nolan was shown the door last week after San Francisco lost at the Giants.  The interim coach is former Bears’ great Mike Singletary.  Offensive coordinator Mike Martz, who directed the Rams to a Super Bowl, was passed over.  Now, take into consideration that lame-duck Seahawks’  coach Mike Holmgren has had to dispel rumors all week that he will be the new 49er coach in 2009, and it makes this game much harder to diagnose. 

 

Which of these teams will be more ready to play?  I think San Francisco will play with more emotion in the early stages of the Singletary administration.  The players will fear him if they don’t bust their butts on every play.  Martz will still have full authority on the offensive play-calling, so I think the 49ers will be an improved team, at least for the next few weeks.  It adds up to a sweep in this year’s series, but I am not ready to call for a touchdown difference.  Therefore, I am going with the money line as well as taking the home team in teasers.

 

Indianapolis (3-3) at Tennessee (6-0)

Time:           8:30PM EDT Monday

TV:               ESPN

Forecast:     Partly cloudy, moderate winds, temperature dropping from upper 40’s to lower 40’s

 

PiRate:         Tennessee by 11     

Mean:           Tennessee by 9

Bias:             Tennessee by 8

Vegas:        Tennessee by 4        -200/+170

Ov/Un:        41

Strategy:     None

Let’s look at some of the facts for this game.  It is the Monday night game, and we all know how unpredictable those games have proven to be through the years.  It is the top rivalry game in the AFC South, and the two teams play like it is the old Raiders and Chiefs series from the AFL days.  Tennessee has been running over run defenses like they have Walter Payton and Barry Sanders at running back.  Indianapolis has been a feast or famine team with their offense either looking terrific or terrible from week-to-week. 

 

The Colts could score 28 points and pick up 250-300 passing yards, but they could easily watch LenDale White and Chris Johnson combine for 250 or more rushing yards.  Indianapolis hasn’t been able to stop enemy rushing attacks this year.

 

I just don’t like any possible plays here this week.  I think Indianapolis could spoil the Titans’ perfect record if Peyton Manning plays like he did against Baltimore, but if he is not on his game and has a repeat performance of last week’s game in Green Bay, this game could be ugly.  Tennessee would like nothing more than to win by three touchdowns and make the rest of the nation respect them at 7-0. 

 

 

 

The Imaginary Bank Account Suffers First Losing Week

 

It had to happen.  I knew my luck would run out eventually, and last week I suffered my first losing week of the year.  The selections went 8-9 lowering my selections against the spread for the year to 52-28-3 (65%).  The account gave up $310, and that lowered the balance to $1,675.  For the year, my Return on investment is now 20.2%.

 

My straight selections continued to do well, as I was 3-1 on those picks.  The Teasers let me down, as there were too many odd games.  The Bears-Vikings game was a huge surprise to nearly everybody.  How about that Rams-Cowboys game-somebody forgot to tell St. Louis they are no longer the “Greatest Show on Turf.”

 

This week, I am torn between playing straight picks, where I have been quite successful this season and playing the teasers, where I have been successful over the course of several years.  It’s a tough call, but I am going to play more sides than teasers this week.  

 

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

 

 1. New England -7 vs. St. Louis

 2. New England -315 vs. St. Louis

 3. Carolina -4 vs. Arizona

 4. Carolina -200 vs. Arizona

 5. Baltimore -325 vs. Oakland

 6. Detroit +7½ vs. Washington

 7. Houston -380 vs. Cincinnati

 8. San Francisco -230 vs. Seattle

 9. Pittsburgh -3 vs. New York Giants

10. Pittsburgh -140 vs. New York Giants

 

11. 10-point teaser parlay

       A. San Diego & New Orleans Over 36

       B. Philadelphia & Atlanta Over 35

       C. Miami +11 vs. Buffalo

 

12. 10-point teaser parlay

       A. New England +3 vs. St. Louis

       B. Carolina +6 vs. Arizona

       C. Carolina & Arizona Over 33½

 

13. 10-point teaser parlay

       A. Detroit +17½ vs. Washington

       B. Tampa Bay +12½ vs. Dallas

       C. San Francisco +5 vs. Seattle

 

14. 13-point teaser parlay

       A. Jets & Kansas City Under 52

       B. Philadelphia +3½ vs. Atlanta

       C. Miami +14 vs. Buffalo

       D. New England +6 vs. St. Louis

 

15. 13-point teaser parlay

       A. Carolina +9 vs. Arizona

       B. Carolina & Arizona Over 30½

       C. Baltimore +6 vs. Oakland

       D. Baltimore & Oakland Under 49

 

16. 13-point teaser parlay

A. Detroit +20½ vs. Washington

B. Detroit & Washington Over 29

C. Tampa Bay +15½ vs. Dallas

D. Tampa Bay & Dallas Over 27½

 

17. 13-point teaser parlay

       A. Cleveland +20 vs. Jacksonville

       B. New York Giants & Pittsburgh Under 55

       C. San Francisco +8 vs. Seattle

       D. Houston & Cincinnati Over 31½  

     

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.

September 6, 2008

AFC West Preview

AFC West Preview

 

With this preview, I will reveal the PiRate Ratings for each of the four teams in the AFC West Division.  Following those ratings are the Mean Ratings and my own biased opinion (last year’s final PiRate Rating combined with how much stronger or weaker I personally think each team is compared to last season).  That will give you three different ratings for the teams.

 

When all three ratings predict the same side to win a game against the spread, then that is a playable line.  If all three ratings agree on the winner of the game, and the Las Vegas Line is single digits, then that becomes a playable game on the Money line.  The reason for not playing any double digit spreads is that the Money line odds would be too prohibitive for a double digit favorite, where just one loss could result in a losing season.  During the season, I will also supply a list of games to be played with an imaginary bank account.

 

The predicted records are not tied to the PiRate or Mean Ratings; they are strictly from my biased ratings.

 

This is a three-tiered division.  San Diego is on the top tier; Denver is on the middle tier; Oakland and Kansas City are on the bottom tier.  The Chargers should cruise to another division title and contend for a Super Bowl berth.  Denver has an outside shot at a wildcard bid.  The Raiders could win a game or two more than last year.  As for the Chiefs, they will be lucky any week they win a game this year.

 

Denver Broncos

 

PiRate

94.3

Mean

101.5

Biased

97.6

Run Offense

C

Pass Offense

B+

Run Defense

D

Pass Defense

B

Special Teams

F

Predicted Record

8-8

Offense: Jay Cutler should show vast improvement this year following a 2007 season in which he played with an undiagnosed case of Type 1 Diabetes.  He lost 30 pounds and lacked his usual strength.  The amount he improves will be muffled to some extent if the Broncos don’t come up with a better running game.  Neither Selvin Young nor Andre Hall strike fear in opposing run defenses.  I doubt either one can play all 16 games.  When Cutler passes, he’ll have to hope his new receivers fit better in Coach Mike Shanahan’s system than they fared with their former teams.  Darrell Jackson and Keary Colbert were disappointments last year.

 

Defense: The Broncos couldn’t stop the run last year, and they haven’t improved much to indicate they will be any better against the run this season.  Tackle Marcus Thomas is the only front four defender who is a decent run stuffer.  His mate at the other tackle, Dewayne Robertson, comes over from the Jets.  He might help with the run some, but I expect the Broncos to yield about 2,250 rushing yards this season.  The pass defense is a different story.  Denver has a decent pass rush and a rather good secondary.  Of course, teams don’t have to throw the ball all that often when they can run the ball down the Broncos’ throats. 

 

Special Teams: This is the worst unit in the NFL.  To start with, Jason Elam left via free agency.  The new kicker, Matt Prater, is no Elam.  Punter Brett Kern is an untested rookie.  Rookie Eddie Royal will handle the return duties.  There just isn’t any experience in the special teams, and that is a concern.  The Broncos could lose a game or two because of this inexperience.

 

Summary: Denver might score 50 more points in 2008 than they did in 2007, but they Broncos could easily give up 50 more points.  I have a hunch that this will be Shanahan’s last season in Denver.  The Broncos last made the playoffs in 2005, and they won’t be going this year with a shoddy run defense and special teams.

 

Kansas City Chiefs

PiRate

91.9

Mean

97.2

Biased

93.3

Run Offense

B-

Pass Offense

C-

Run Defense

C-

Pass Defense

C-

Special Teams

D

Predicted Record

2-14

Offense: Any chance for Kansas City to have a successful offense this year rests in the legs of Larry Johnson.  Johnson missed half of 2007 and rushed for just 559 yards last year.  Quarterback Brodie Croyle registered a 69.9 passer rating last year, and it’s debatable whether he’ll develop into the player scouts believed he could be.  It doesn’t help that he has a mediocre set of receivers to catch his passes.  Dwayne Bowe could become a 1,000 yard receiver, but he isn’t going to win many games with his catches.  The offensive line is one of the weakest, if not the weakest, in the NFL.

 

Defense: Kansas City’s defense was rather decent last year, but it’s going to head south this year; the weaker offense is going to force the stop troops to stay on the field much longer as well.  Losing Jared Allen makes the pass rush go from being a plus to a minus.  Allen led the NFL with 15½ sacks, but he is now a Viking.  With a weaker pass rush, the secondary will give up at least 30 and maybe as much as 70 more passing yards this year.  It’s going to get ugly at Arrowhead Stadium.

 

Special Teams: As weak as the offense and defense are, special teams are even worse.  Kicker Nick Novak isn’t going to win games with his leg, and he is a candidate for getting cut during the season.  Punter Dustin Colquitt may lead the league in total number of punts, but his net average is going to drop due to punt coverage weaknesses.  B.J. Sams gets first crack as the return specialist.  He was decent with the Ravens last year.

 

Summary: This is the start of a long rebuilding project in Kansas City this year.  The Chiefs only won four times last year, and they don’t have as much talent this year.  They should contend with their cross-state rivals for the first pick in the 2009 draft.  It could give them the rights to Tim Tebow or Jim Laurinaitis.

 

Oakland Raiders

 

PiRate

94.3

Mean

91.6

Biased

94.3

Run Offense

A-

Pass Offense

C

Run Defense

C+

Pass Defense

B+

Special Teams

C+

Predicted Record

6-10

Offense: Justin Fargas, Darren McFadden, and Michael Bush make up a terrific trio of running backs.  Fullback Justin Griffith is one of the better run blockers, and he can catch the ball coming out of the backfield.  JaMarcus Russell will take his lumps in his first full season under center, but he will have some games where he shows he belongs here.  The once excellent pass catchers are no longer wearing the silver and black.  Javon Walker is not the speedster he once was, and injuries will limit his ability to play every down.

 

Defense: Head coach Lane Kiffin planned on firing defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, but owner Al Davis stepped in and prohibited the action.  Now, there is speculation that Kiffin could be the former Raider head coach as early as the end of September if the team begins the year poorly.  Kiffin knew what he was getting into when he agreed to coach this laughingstock franchise.  The Raiders have a problem stopping the run, and that’s not a good thing when you must play San Diego and Kansas City twice each.  With a little better pass rush, the Raiders could have a fairly good defense against the pass.  Losing Warren Sapp to retirement will be tough, but Oakland brings in two new secondary starters in DeAngelo Hall and Gibril Wilson.  Hall and Wilson improve the back line and give the Raiders a chance to hold the opposition well under 200 passing yards per game.

 

Special Teams: The two Oakland kickers probably have the strongest combined leg strength of any unit in the NFL.  Punter Shane Lechler almost averaged 50 yards per boot last year, but he outkicked his coverage many times.  Kicker Sebastian Janikowski reaches the end zone with his kickoffs more than any other kicker in the league, but he doesn’t have the best accuracy, and that hurts the Raiders in field goal situations.  The return game stunk last year and will have new players manning those spots this year.

 

Summary:  Al Davis meddles with his team more than George Steinbrenner meddled with the Yankees.  While Davis actually used to coach the Raiders, this is neither a healthy atmosphere nor a winning one.  Oakland will struggle once again but should play a little better than last season.  Look for a game or two improvement. Whether that’s enough to save Kiffin’s job is up for debate.

 

San Diego Chargers

PiRate

108.1

Mean

106.1

Biased

103.1

Run Offense

A+

Pass Offense

B+

Run Defense

A-

Pass Defense

B+

Special Teams

B+

Predicted Record

12-4

Offense: The only thing keeping LaDainian Tomlinson from being a perennial 2,000 yard rusher is a passing game that is too strong to give LT enough carries.  It is a nice predicament to have.  Quarterback Phillip Rivers earned the respect of the football world last year when he played on a torn ACL.  Whether he can return to form following another injury is the key to the season.  If Rivers is healthy enough to pass for more than 3,000 yards again, then the Bolts could still be playing in February this season.  Chris Chambers, Vincent Jackson, and Antonio Gates make a first-rate receiving corps, and they will force defenses not to jam the box.  That will allow LT to break a bevy of long runs.

 

Defense: The Chargers have allowed less than 20 points per game each of the last four years, and there’s no reason to think they won’t do so once again.  With an offense that should average about 26 points per game, the defense will allow Coach Norv Turner to sleep easily at night.  The strength of the stop side is an excellent secondary corps.  Cornerbacks Antonio Cromartie and Quentin Jammer rank up near the top in the NFL.  Safety Eric Weddle has Pro Bowl potential.  Helping this unit is a brilliant pass rush.  Outside linebacker Shawn Merriman is a pass rushing beast, but he begins the season not 100% healthy.  Once he’s back to normal, expect the Chargers to make life miserable for enemy passers.  Shaun Phillips on the opposite side of Merriman could record double digit sacks this year, so it’s not a one-man show. 

 

Special Teams: Nate Kaeding played last year with a ligament injury in his non-kicking leg, yet the kicker had a rather good year.  Expect better numbers from him this year.  Punter Mike Scifres isn’t far behind Lechler at Oakland.  Return specialist Darren Sproles scored on both a kick and punt return last year.  This is a strong unit.

 

Summary: I expect San Diego to win seven of their eight intradivisional games, and that should be good enough for the Chargers to win this division by at least four games and possibly as much as six games.  The pieces are there for San Diego to go all the way.

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