The Pi-Rate Ratings

January 14, 2019

PiRate Ratings NFL Forecast for The Conference Championship Playoff Round: January 20, 2019

Sunday, January 20, 2019

NFC Championship Game

Los Angeles Rams 14-3-0 at New Orleans Saints 14-3-0

Time: 3:05 PM Eastern Standard Time

TV: Fox

Monday Line: New Orleans by 3 1/2

Total Line: 57

PiRate Ratings 

PiRate: New Orleans by 8.1

Mean: New Orleans by 7.8

Bias: New Orleans by 8.1

Total: 55 1/2

Expected Score: New Orleans 31  Los Angeles 24

 

AFC Championship Game

New England Patriots 12-5-0 at Kansas City Chiefs 13-4-0

Time: 6:40 PM Eastern Standard Time

TV: CBS

Monday Line: Kansas City by 3

Total Line: 57

PiRate Ratings 

PiRate: Kansas City by 4.4

Mean: Kansas City by 4.4

Bias: Kansas City by 4.3

Total: 53

Expected Score:  Kansas City 28  New England 24

 

60 Seasons Ago

The NFL as we know it today owes its popularity to 60 years ago at the conclusion of the 1958 regular season.  This would be the first ever live nationally televised NFL Championship Game.  Before you wonder why other games before were not shown from coast to coast, just 10 years before only a handful of cities had television stations.  In some cities, only a test pattern was shown for most or all of the day, and people would turn their sets on to see it!  So, TV was still in its adolescence in 1958.

The upstart Baltimore Colts, led by the young and talented quarterback Johnny Unitas, fullback Alan Ameche, and two incredible pass catchers in Raymond Berry and Lenny Moore won the West Division Championship with a 9-3 record, 8-1 in the games Unitas started and played.  That one loss was to the New York Giants, a team with the greatest ever combination of offensive and defensive coordinators.  Vince Lombardi directed the Giants’ offense, and Tom Landry led the Giants’ defense.

Before the Giants could host this game in Yankee Stadium, they had to play an extra game to get to the NFL Championship Game.  The Giants finished tied with Cleveland at 9-3, and even though they had swept the Browns in the regular season, in those days if teams finished tied at the top of a division race, they played again for the division title, and the NFL Championship Game was re-scheduled for a week later.

New York stopped Cleveland for a third time that year, holding the great Jim Brown to just eight yards rushing in a 10-0 shutout.  The Giants were the favorites, and Jim Lee Howell and his coaching staff were more than prepared to contain Unitas and move the ball on offense with a conservative smash-mouth style of offense.

Like I said previously, it is because of this game that the NFL became what it is today.  Overnight, sports fans throughout the country stopped talking about the New York Yankees chances of repeating as World Series champions in 1959 (they would not), or whether the great two-year old thoroughbred Sword Dancer would break the 11-year string and win the Triple Crown (2nd in the Derby and Preakness and won the Belmont).

NFL Football was at best the number three sport in America before this game.  Major League baseball was still the number one sport and the real American Pastime.  There were still just 16 teams in the big leagues, even though two had left the number one market for the West Coast.  College football was number two, and the recent champion LSU Tigers with their famous Chinese Bandits had generated a lot of the headlines that Autumn.

If by chance you do not know how the NFL Championship Game turned out and why it “made” NFL Football into the number one spectator sport in the nation, take a look at this video from NFL Films.

 

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January 8, 2019

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

NFL Divisional Playoff Round Ratings and Information

 

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Indianapolis Colts at Kansas City Chiefs

Time: 4:35 PM Eastern Standard

TV: NBC

Pirate Ratings Spreads

PiRate: Kansas City by 6.4 

Mean: Kansas City by 7.2

Bias: Kansas City by 5.7

Total: 55

Expected Score: Kansas City 31  Indianapolis 24

———————————————————————————-

Dallas Cowboys at Los Angeles Rams

Time: 8:15 PM Eastern Standard

TV: Fox 

Pirate Ratings Spreads

PiRate:  Los Angeles by 8.5

Mean: Los Angeles by 8.8

Bias: Los Angeles by 8.8

Total: 49.5

Expected Score: Los Angeles 30  Dallas 21

—————————————————————————-

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Los Angeles Chargers at New England Patriots

Time: 1:05 PM Eastern Standard

TV: CBS

PiRate Ratings Spreads

PiRate: New England by 3.5

Mean: New England by 2.8

Bias: New England by 2.7

Total: 45.5

Expected Score: New England 24  Los Angeles 21

———————————————————————————-

Philadelphia Eagles at New Orleans Saints

Time: 4:40 PM Eastern Standard

TV: Fox

PiRate Ratings Spreads

PiRate: New Orleans by 12.8 

Mean: New Orleans by 12.5

Bias: New Orleans by 12.4

Total: 49

Expected Score: New Orleans 31  Philadelphia 17

December 25, 2018

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

This Week’s PiRate Ratings Spreads

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

 

This Week’s PiRate Ratings

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

 

The Playoff Scenarios

AFC

1.) Kansas City Chiefs

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

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

 

2.) New England Patriots

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

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

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

 

3.) Houston Texas

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

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

 

4. ) Baltimore Ravens or Pittsburgh Steelers

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

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

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

 

5.) Los Angeles Chargers

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

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

 

6.) Tennessee Titans or Indianapolis Colts

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

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

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

If Tennessee beats Indianapolis:

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

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

If Indianapolis beats Tennessee:

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

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

 

NFC

1.) New Orleans Saints

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

 

2.) Los Angeles Rams

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

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

 

3.) Chicago Bears

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

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

 

4.) Dallas Cowboys

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

 

5.) Seattle Seahawks

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

 

6.) Minnesota Vikings or Philadelphia Eagles

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

December 21, 2018

PiRate Ratings Selections for December 22-28 Bowls and NFL Week 16

The Land Sharps’ results from last week cannot be published yet, because all five have action on games being played today.

We will note that to date, the favorite has won every bowl game, something that is totally opposite of last year’s bowl season.  Not that it will continue, but if you are a money line player, you should maybe see this as a trend that maybe this year the Line originators in Nevada did a better job than last year, when over half of the games were won outright by the underdog.

Here are this week’s Land Sharp Picks for bowl games beginning, Saturday, December 22 through Friday, December 28.

 

1.) Cal Gal Tiffany

Hawaii  Pk vs.  Louisiana Tech
Washington St. -3 vs.  Iowa State
Georgia Tech  -5 vs.  Minnesota

 

2.) Stewed Meat

Troy +2 vs. Buffalo
Boise State  -2 vs. Boston College
Army -5 vs.  Houston

 

3.) Buckeye Michelle

California -1 vs. TCU
Houston +5 vs. Army
Miami (Fla.)  -3 vs.  Wisconsin

 

4.) Dean615

TCU +1 vs California
Miami (Fla.)  -3 vs.  Wisconsin
Duke +4.5 vs. Temple

 

5.) Friday Dog 13

Duke +4.5 vs. Temple
Vanderbilt -3.5 vs. Baylor
Washington St.  -3 vs. Iowa St.

 

The PiRate Ratings Picks

Our teaser plays moderated back to mediocre last week.  Let’s hope it is a bump in the road and not a new trend, because we are sticking with our teaser plays.

10-point teasers
Favorite Underdog Spread Pick
Tennessee Washington 13.5 Washington
Tampa Bay Dallas 3 Dallas
N.Y. Giants Indianapolis 1 Indianapolis
Favorite Underdog Spread Pick
Philadelphia Houston 11.5 Houston
Miami Jacksonville 14 Jacksonville
Green Bay N.Y. Jets 13 N.Y. Jets
Favorite Underdog Spread Pick
Cleveland Cincinnati 20 Cincinnati
Detroit Minnesota 4 Minnesota
New England Buffalo 3.5 New England
Team Team Total Pick
Tennessee Washington 27 OVER
L.A. Chargers Baltimore 33 OVER
Indianapolis N.Y. Giants 36.5 OVER
Team Team Total Pick
Miami Jacksonville 48.5 UNDER
N.Y. Jets Green Bay 36.5 OVER
Cincinnati Cleveland 34 OVER
Team Team Total Pick
Minnesota Detroit 32 OVER
New England Buffalo 54.5 UNDER
Atlanta Carolina 33.5 OVER
Team Team Total Pick
Chicago San Francisco 33 OVER
L.A. Rams Arizona 34 OVER
Pittsburgh New Orleans 63 UNDER
13-point teaser
Favorite Underdog Spread Pick
Baltimore L.A. Chargers 9 L.A. Chargers
Atlanta Carolina 16 Carolina
L.A. Rams Arizona 1.5 L.A. Rams
Kansas City Seattle 16 Seattle

Notice:  The Land Sharps and the PiRate Ratings publish this information for entertainment purposes only.  None of this group actually wagers real money on their picks, and we encourage you not to do so either.

 

 

 

December 18, 2018

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

This Week’s PiRate Ratings Spreads

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

 

This Week’s PiRate Ratings

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

 

This Week’s Playoff Projections

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

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

 

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

 

Playoff Projections

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

 

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

 

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

 

Super Bowl LIII
L.A. Chargers over New Orleans

 

What Would Happen If…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

December 10, 2018

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

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

This Week’s PiRate Ratings Spreads

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

 

This Week’s PiRate Ratings

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

 

This Week’s Playoff Projections

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Super Bowl 53
Kansas City over L.A. Rams

 

 

 

 

 

 

December 4, 2018

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

This Week’s PiRate Ratings Spreads

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

 

This Week’s PiRate Ratings 

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

 

This Week’s PiRate Ratings Playoff Projections

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

November 26, 2018

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

This Week’s PiRate Ratings

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

 

This Week’s PiRate Ratings

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

 

If The Playoffs Began Today

AFC Seedings

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

NFC Seedings

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

 

 

Playoff Projections

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Super Bowl 53
New Orleans over New England

 

 

 

November 13, 2018

PiRate Ratings NFL Forecast For Week 11: November 15-19, 2018

This Week’s PiRate Ratings Spreads

Home Visitor PiRate Mean Bias Totals
Seattle Green Bay 5.3 4.7 6.1 46.5
Detroit Carolina -1.3 -1.1 -1.8 51
Atlanta Dallas 3.7 3.5 4.1 45
Baltimore Cincinnati 9.3 9.3 9.2 45
Chicago Minnesota 4.2 3.7 5.0 45
New Orleans Philadelphia 13.0 13.1 14.0 50
Indianapolis Tennessee 1.6 0.3 2.0 45.5
Washington Houston 0.2 -0.6 0.2 45.5
N.Y. Giants Tampa Bay 3.4 3.6 3.2 47
L.A. Chargers Denver 6.7 7.8 7.7 44
Arizona Oakland 9.0 8.3 9.5 38.5
Jacksonville Pittsburgh -5.1 -5.8 -5.6 43.5
L.A. Rams * Kansas City -0.6 -0.2 -1.2 56.5
L. A. Rams Kansas City 2.4 2.8 1.8 56.5
* This is a neutral site game to be played in Mexico City

This game has now been moved back to LA due to unplayable field conditions in Mexico City.

 

This Week’s PiRate Ratings

A F C
East PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
New England 104.5 104.9 104.6 104.7 23 7-3
N. Y. Jets 94.6 94.0 94.3 94.3 23 3-7
Miami 94.5 94.1 94.2 94.2 22 5-5
Buffalo 92.3 92.2 91.9 92.1 17 3-7
North PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
Pittsburgh 107.5 107.7 107.6 107.6 24 6-2-1
Baltimore 103.0 103.3 102.9 103.1 21 4-5
Cincinnati 96.7 97.0 96.7 96.8 24 5-4
Cleveland 95.8 96.1 96.5 96.1 24 3-6-1
South PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
Houston 101.0 101.1 101.2 101.1 24 6-3
Tennessee 100.2 100.5 100.1 100.3 19 5-4
Jacksonville 99.4 99.0 99.1 99.1 19.5 3-6
Indianapolis 98.9 97.8 99.0 98.6 26.5 4-5
West PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
Kansas City 107.7 108.0 108.1 107.9 28.5 9-1
LA Chargers 103.3 104.1 103.7 103.7 23 7-2
Denver 99.2 98.8 98.5 98.8 21 3-6
Oakland 89.8 89.8 89.3 89.6 20 1-8
N F C
East PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
Philadelphia 101.4 101.5 101.0 101.3 22 4-5
Dallas 99.9 99.8 99.3 99.7 19.5 4-5
Washington 98.7 97.9 98.9 98.5 21.5 6-3
N.Y. Giants 95.5 95.5 95.6 95.5 20.5 2-7
North PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
Chicago 104.2 104.1 105.0 104.4 23.5 6-3
Minnesota 102.6 102.8 102.5 102.6 21.5 5-3-1
Green Bay 100.2 100.8 99.9 100.3 24.5 4-4-1
Detroit 98.9 98.8 98.6 98.8 26 3-6
South PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
New Orleans 111.4 111.6 112.0 111.7 28 8-1
Carolina 102.7 102.3 102.9 102.6 25 6-3
Atlanta 101.1 100.9 100.9 100.9 25.5 4-5
Tampa Bay 94.6 94.4 94.9 94.6 26.5 3-6
West PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
LA Rams 107.1 107.7 107.0 107.3 28 9-1
Seattle 102.5 102.5 103.0 102.7 22 4-5
Arizona 96.3 95.7 96.2 96.1 18.5 2-7
San Francisco 95.0 95.2 94.9 95.0 22.5 2-8

 

This Week’s NFL Playoff Projections

As we enter week 11, we add a look at current playoff standings if the season ended today.

Current Playoff Standings

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

 

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

 

Our Projections 

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

 

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

 

Wildcard Round
New England over Tennessee
Houston over Kansas City
Chicago over Minnesota
Carolina over Washington

 

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

 

Conference Championships
Pittsburgh over L.A. Chargers
New Orleans over L.A. Rams

 

Super Bowl 53
New Orleans over Pittsburgh

 

Can the New York Giants Pull Off The Nearly Impossible?

Prior to week 10, members of the New York Giants claimed to the media that they could win their final eight games and finish 9-7 and make the playoffs.  With a 1-7 record at the time of this statement, the chances of winning eight consecutive games and moving from last place to first place was so infinitesimal that the odds of winning the lottery were not much worse.

Yet, if the Giants were to win just one game in the first half of the schedule and then go undefeated in the second half of the schedule to win the division and make the playoffs, it would have precedent.  Yes, this has been done one time before in the post-merger era.

In fact, it was the first year of the merger between the NFL and former AFL.  In the AFC Central, the Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers had moved from the former NFL Century Division along with Houston and Cincinnati.  Entering the season, Cleveland was the heavy favorite to breeze to the division title and the second pick to the Baltimore Colts (Which had moved from the NFL Coastal Division to the AFC East Division, as it was ridiculous for the Colts and Rams to be in the same division).  The Browns had advanced to the NFL Championship Game in 1969 and returned the bulk of their roster.

Pittsburgh had been the worst team in the NFL in 1969, going 1-13.  Still, the Steelers were expected to contend with a mediocre Houston Oilers team for second place in the division, but nobody expected either team to contend with Cleveland or for the newly created single Wildcard spot for the AFC.

And, then there was Cincinnati.  The Bengals had been in existence for just two seasons.  They were a dismal 3-11 in 1968, but in 1969, they had one fantastic rookie quarterback.  Greg Cook, a local hero who had been a star quarterback at Chillicothe High School and the University of Cincinnati, had been the Bengals’ first round pick in the  1969 draft.  Cook immediately won the starting quarterback job in training camp.  He was a gunslinger type passer, typical of the type of quarterback that made the AFL more exciting than the conservative NFL.  The Bengals, led by legendary coach Paul Brown, rarely threw short passes.  Their strategy was to stretch the field vertically to open up running lanes for their two starting running backs, halfback Paul Robinson fullback Jess Phillips.

Cook’s debut was similar to Pat Mahomes this year with the Chiefs.  In his very first game, the Bengals beat Miami thanks to two long touchdown passes from Cook to receiver Eric Crabtree.  Nobody thought too much of the game, since the Dolphins were also an expansion team that had yet to build up a decent roster.  In week two, Cincinnati hosted a San Diego Chargers team that was a contender for the AFL West title.  The Chargers were big favorites, and Cook once again hooked up for two long touchdown passes, one to Bob Trumpy and one to future head coach Bruce Coslet.

At 2-0, the Bengals picked up a little notice, but week three was going to obviously be their week for comeuppance.  The powerful Kansas City Chiefs with the best defense in AFL history were coming to the Queen City.  Cook would have no chance against the best defensive line in all of football, the line that would lead KC to the Super Bowl title in a few months.  Because of the great start, NBC made this their nationally televised AFL Game in the early time slot, and yours truly was perched in front of the big Zenith TV watching this game in all hopes that the new phenom could become another Joe Namath and Daryle Lamonica for the much “funner” AFL.

Cook once again opened this game with brilliant passing plays to set up his running backs.  After spotting the Chiefs a couple of field goals, Cook led the Bengals on a scoring drive that ended with a scoring pass to Crabtree.  The Bengals led 7-6, but their history was about to be changed forever.  In the second quarter, Cook dropped back to pass and faced a Chiefs’ blitz by the outside linebackers.  Chiefs’ outside linebacker Jim Lynch knocked Cook to the ground, forcing all his weight on Cook’s throwing shoulder.  Cook would later say he heard his shoulder pop, and he exited the game with intense pain.

The Bengals hung on to win behind back up QB and future head coach Sam Wyche.  They were an incredible 3-0 and led the AFL West over the Chiefs and Raiders.  However, their gunslinger was out of bullets for the next three weeks.  Had doctors been able to diagnose a torn rotator cuff, they would have held Cook out for the rest of the year, but 1969 was a different time.  Cook was expected to come back and play in four weeks, maybe even less if he felt strong enough to throw.

He came back two weeks later, because the Bengals could not move the ball without him in the lineup.  They failed at San Diego and fell to 3-1.  Cook wasn’t ready to face the second best defense in the league in the New York Jets.  He could not get any strength behind his passes, and the Jets’ pass rush forced him to throw quickly in fear of further hurting his shoulder.  He didn’t last a half.  He had to leave the game in the second quarter, and the Bengals lost to the Jets by 14.  It was a mistake for him to try to play, and his shoulder hurt worse than it had after the initial injury.

Cook was held out of play the next two weeks, and the Bengals looked more like the expansion team they were.  A weak Denver team pummeled them, and then the Chiefs punished them in a revenge match at Municipal Stadium in Kansas City.  The loss dropped the Bengals to 3-4 at the halfway mark.  Cincinnati would have to win out to have any chance of making the playoffs, and they had yet to play the powerhouse team of the league, the Oakland Raiders.

Oakland had yet to lose a game in 1969.  This Raiders’ team looked as strong if not stronger than the two previous teams that went 13-1 and 12-2.  At 6-0-1, Oakland led Kansas City by a half-game.  Once again, this was the nationally televised AFL game on NBC that week, and yours truly sat in front of the ole Zenith ready to route the silver and black to an easy victory.

Cook made his last hurrah in this game.  Brown showed his genius in this game.  He used his wideouts as decoys, sending them deep, while placing his tight ends to run intermediate routes over the middle.  Cook hit Trumpy over and over across the middle, setting up third receiver Chip Myers as a surprise.  The strategy worked, and thanks to the Bengals’ defense picking off a trio of Lamonica passes in the first half, Cinti led 24-0 at the half on way to an easy 31-17 victory.  It would be Oakland’s only loss of the season, and it would be the Bengals’ last win of the season.

Cook limped through the rest of the year unable to put any zip on the ball, and the Bengals finished 4-9-1 and in last place in the AFL West.  Prospects were still high for the Bengals, because after an off-season of rest Cook would be ready to return to form in 1970.

However, things did not go according to plan.  Cook never again regained his arm strength as his rotator cuff injury did not heal itself on its own.  He would never again start a game for the Bengals or anybody else.  He appeared briefly in one game four years later, but it was obvious that he would never again be an NFL quarterback.

The Bengals entered 1970 picked to finish in last place, because Sam Wyche was not the quarterback to lead a team to victory in the new AFC.  He didn’t have the arm accuracy of Cook, and he lacked the finesse to hit shorter passes with much success.  The Bengals would have to try to win by pounding the ball with Phillips, Robinson, and new addition Essex Johnson.

In week one, the Bengals pulled off their miracle for the season, or at least that’s what most sports fans believed.  The three running backs combined for 200 rushing yards, and Wyche even contributed with his legs, scoring a rushing touchdown.  Cincinnati upset Oakland once again.

Over the next six weeks, the Bengals performed exactly like they were expected to perform–miserably.  In their first interconference game in their history, Detroit ran over them like a fleet of automobiles leaving the plant.  The passing stats were plain awful–64 yards!  Losses piled up against Houston, Cleveland, Kansas City, Washington, and Pittsburgh.

At the halfway point of the season, Cleveland led the AFC Central with a disappointing 4-3 record.  As expected, Pittsburgh and Houston fought for second place.  The Steelers were 3-4, while the Oilers were 2-4-1.  The Bengals were 1-6, and it looked like a similar second half would give Cincinnati the chance to draft at the top of the 1970 Draft, where Jim Plunkett and Archie Manning were there for the taking.

The Bengals players refused to give up.  A smart future NFL legend was on the Brown’s staff, and he came to Brown with an idea.  Insert backup Virgil Carter at quarterback for Wyche.  Carter had flamed out in Chicago, where he was best when he turned and handed the ball to Gayle Sayers.  Carter had an accurate arm and rather quick ability to read defenses, but his arm strength limited the types of passes he could throw.  Anything longer than 20 yards downfield looked like a beach ball floating to defensive backs.

This intelligent assistant was Bill Walsh.  His idea was what we know today as the West Coast Offense, but it should have been called the Ohio River offense.  Walsh went to Brown with ideas to spread the field horizontally and use all 53 plus yards from sideline to sideline, which would also create holes for the backs to run through, and better yet, more defensive players would be out of position to make tackles if they were spread wide.

Carter had actually become the starting quarterback a few weeks earlier, but it wasn’t until the Bengals went to War Memorial Stadium in Buffalo that the new strategy was implemented.  At 3-4, the Bills were going nowhere, but they had a rookie running back that had to be stopped in O.J. Simpson.  The Bengals figured the best way to stop Simpson was to keep the ball out of Simpson’s hands.  They tried their new ball-control short passing strategy.  It had only mediocre success, but the Bengals’ defense and special teams scored three touchdowns and set up another, as Cincinnati rolled to a 43-14 victory to improve to 2-6.  Cleveland lost to Oakland to fall into a first place tie with Pittsburgh at 4-4, while Houston fell to 2-5-1.  The Bengals were still in last place, but there was a glimmer of hope just two games behind the co-leaders.

In week 9, Cleveland came to Riverfront Stadium in the most important game in the Bengals’ early franchise history.  With Pittsburgh having to play the Chiefs, there was a chance that Cincinnati could finish the day just one game behind the two co-leaders.

Of course, this meant that Cincinnati had to win against their bitter enemy, the team named for their own coach.  It was a cold and windy day, and long passes were not easy to attempt.  Cleveland QB Mike Phipps saw some early success, but he could do nothing else once the winds picked up.  The Bengals shut down Leroy Kelly, and after trailing 10-0, they slowly came back with their short passing game.  The biggest threat this day came off the passing game, but it did not necessarily come from the passes themselves.  Carter noticed that the Browns’ linebackers were dropping wide into the flat zones, as Cleveland tried to take away the short hook and out patterns.  It left a gaping hole in the middle of the field, and when the Browns rushed from the outside-in, it looked to Carter like he could have driven his car in the opening.  Carter actually topped 100 yards rushing for the only time in his career, and Cincinnati upset the Browns.

Pittsburgh lost to the Chiefs, while Houston lost again.  Now, the Browns and Steelers were tied at 4-5, while Cincnnati was 3-6 and Houston was 2-6-1.  The Bengals could see their opportunity.  They were all of a sudden the only hot team in the division.  They truly believed that they would keep winning.  Better yet, the schedule got easier from this point on.

Pittsburgh came to Riverfront the next week, and the Bengals were now a short favorite to win the game.  While Cleveland put Houston out of their misery to square their record at 5-5, Cincinnati blew the Steelers off the astroturf.  Terry Bradshaw lasted long enough to toss three interceptions before getting yanked in favor of Terry Hanratty, but by then, the outcome had been decided.  Pinpoint passing by Carter, solid running by Robinson, and a solid effort by the defense led the Bengals to another blowout win.  Now, after 10 weeks, Cleveland could hear the roar of the Bengals.  The Browns still led the division at 5-5, but Cincinnati was 4-6, while Pittsburgh was also 4-6, making this an exciting race down the stretch

In week 11, Cincinnati benefited from having the worst team in the NFC come to town, and the Bengals clawed New Orleans for an easy victory.  Meanwhile, the Steelers knocked off the Browns, roughing up Phipps and forcing old veteran Bill Nelsen to finish the game.  The three teams were now tied at 5-6, and the media were starting to get on the Bengals’ bandwagon.

Week 12 was the big one.  Cincinnati’s only really tough remaining game took them across the continent to San Diego to face a Chargers team fighting in a three-way race in the AFC West.  It was a must-win game for both teams.  San Diego would be all but eliminated with a loss, while a win and losses by the Raiders and Chiefs would give them a chance to sneak in at the end.

The game was a tough defensive struggle, and for the only time since the implementation of the short passing game, Cincinnati could not move the ball with short passes.  San Diego begged Carter to throw long, and when he did, he was off target.  The Bengals would finish with zero net passing yards this Sunday, and the running game would manage 136 yards.  Few teams win NFL games with 136 total yards, but when you have the best punt returner in football in Lemar Parrish, sometimes you win games on 83-yard punt returns, which is what Cincinnati did when they edged the Chargers by three.

Cleveland topped a breathless Oilers team, but Pittsburgh lost to Green Bay.  The Bengals and Browns stayed tied at 6-6, while Pittsburgh was still in the race at 5-7, but obviously on the verge of elimination.

Week 13 saw the NFL experts picking the obvious.  Cincinnati played at the breathless Oilers, while Cleveland was forced to play the other hot team in the league in Dallas.  The Bengals had no trouble quickly topping the Oilers, rushing for close to 200 yards, while Carter got some rest in the second half.  At the same time, Cleveland could not move the ball at all against the surging Cowboys.  They lost a defensive struggle where they could only muster a safety.  Now, with one week to play, Cincinnati led the division at 7-6, while Cleveland was 6-7.  Pittsburgh lost to Atlanta and was eliminated at 5-8.

All Cincinnati had to do to complete the miraculous turnaround from 1-6 to 8-6 was to top a weak 2-11 Boston Patriots team at Riverfront Stadium.  Cleveland had to beat Denver, as they held the tiebreaker over the Bengals should both teams finish 7-7.

It was never in doubt.  Boston was now in star franchise quarterback mode.  A loss to the Bengals would give the Patriots their choice of Plunkett or Manning.  They wanted Plunkett, and they were sure to get him.  The Patriots looked worse than the 1976 Tampa Bay Bucs would look in six years.  Cincinnati looked like the 1962 Green Bay Packers this day, as they rolled to a 45-7 victory.  Carter’s day was over early, after he went 3 for 3 for 96 yards and a TD.  Cincinnati had done the almost impossible–going from last place and 1-6 in the first half to first place and 7-0 in the second half.  The Bengals were inept against eventual Super Bowl Champion Baltimore in the first round of the playoffs when the Colts used the same tactics as the Chargers to stop the Cincinnati short passing game.  It was still an incredible year to remember in the Queen City, as a third year team won its division.

Now, can the 2018 New York Giants go from 1-7 to 9-7 and win the division?  Chances are less than the chances Cincinnati faced for multiple reasons.

First, the team at the top of the standings, Washington, is 6-3.  The Browns were never three games over .500 in 1970.  It’s possible that the Redskins could go 2-5 the rest of the way, but chances are less than 50-50 that will happen.

Second, Dallas and Philadelphia are not Pittsburgh and Houston.  You have the reigning World Champions that have yet to find their way in 2018, but they are not likely to fold.  Dallas may be an 8-8 team at best, but just one upset in the final weeks could move the Cowboys to 9-7.

Lastly, this Giants team just isn’t good enough to win eight consecutive games.  All they have done so far is beat a lowly 49ers team on Monday Night Football.  Unlike the Bengals in 1970, the 2018 Giants have a tough, almost brutal, closing schedule.  They are one-point favorites over Tampa Bay this week, but they will be underdogs in the rest of their games against the Eagles, Bears, Redskins, Titans, Colts, and Cowboys.  The more likely scenario is a 4-12 finish and not a 9-7 finish.

 

 

November 5, 2018

PiRate Ratings NFL Forecast For Week 10: November 8-12, 2018

This Week’s PiRate Ratings Spreads

Home Visitor PiRate Mean Bias
Pittsburgh Carolina 5.5 6.1 5.2
Chicago Detroit 7.3 7.0 8.1
Cincinnati New Orleans -7.6 -7.5 -8.1
Cleveland Atlanta -5.5 -5.1 -5.0
Green Bay Miami 7.2 8.2 6.8
Indianapolis Jacksonville 1.6 0.8 1.8
Kansas City Arizona 14.8 16.1 15.7
L.A. Rams Seattle 7.8 8.6 7.6
N.Y. Jets Buffalo 8.9 8.3 8.9
Oakland L.A. Chargers -11.0 -11.8 -11.9
Philadelphia Dallas 5.9 6.2 6.3
Tampa Bay Washington -0.4 0.4 0.1
Tennessee New England -4.3 -4.7 -5.0
San Francisco N.Y. Giants 3.3 4.0 3.6

 

Home Visitor Total
Pittsburgh Carolina 47
Chicago Detroit 48.5
Cincinnati New Orleans 51
Cleveland Atlanta 49.5
Green Bay Miami 46.5
Indianapolis Jacksonville 45
Kansas City Arizona 47
L.A. Rams Seattle 49
N.Y. Jets Buffalo 38.5
Oakland L.A. Chargers 44.5
Philadelphia Dallas 41.5
Tampa Bay Washington 49
Tennessee New England 42
San Francisco N.Y. Giants 43

 

This Week’s PiRate Ratings 

A F C
East PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
New England 105.8 106.3 106.1 106.1 23 7-2
N. Y. Jets 97.1 96.5 96.8 96.8 22.5 3-6
Miami 95.4 95.0 95.3 95.2 22 5-4
Buffalo 90.3 90.2 89.9 90.1 16 2-7
North PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
Pittsburgh 106.2 106.4 106.2 106.3 23 5-2-1
Baltimore 102.7 103.0 102.6 102.8 21 4-5
Cincinnati 98.5 98.8 98.5 98.6 23.5 5-3
Cleveland 94.3 94.5 94.8 94.5 24 2-6-1
South PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
Houston 100.7 100.8 100.9 100.8 24 6-3
Jacksonville 99.8 99.5 99.7 99.6 19 3-5
Tennessee 98.4 98.6 98.1 98.4 19 4-4
Indianapolis 98.5 97.3 98.4 98.1 26 3-5
West PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
Kansas City 107.9 108.4 108.5 108.3 28 8-1
LA Chargers 103.3 104.1 103.7 103.7 23.5 6-2
Denver 98.9 98.5 98.2 98.5 21 3-6
Oakland 90.3 90.3 89.8 90.1 21 1-7
N F C
East PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
Philadelphia 102.3 102.5 102.1 102.3 22 4-4
Dallas 99.5 99.3 98.7 99.2 19.5 3-5
Washington 98.1 97.2 98.1 97.8 22 5-3
N.Y. Giants 95.2 95.0 95.1 95.1 20.5 1-7
North PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
Chicago 103.9 103.7 104.6 104.1 23 5-3
Minnesota 102.3 102.5 102.2 102.3 21.5 5-3-1
Green Bay 99.6 100.2 99.1 99.6 24.5 3-4-1
Detroit 99.2 99.2 99.0 99.1 25.5 3-5
South PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
New Orleans 109.1 109.3 109.7 109.4 27.5 7-1
Carolina 103.7 103.3 104.0 103.7 24 6-2
Atlanta 102.8 102.7 102.8 102.7 25.5 4-4
Tampa Bay 95.2 95.1 95.7 95.3 27 3-5
West PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
LA Rams 107.3 108.0 107.4 107.6 27.5 8-1
Seattle 102.5 102.4 102.8 102.6 21.5 4-4
San Francisco 95.6 96.0 95.7 95.8 22.5 2-7
Arizona 96.1 95.3 95.8 95.7 19 2-6

 

This Week’s PiRate Ratings Playoff Projections

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

 

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

 

Wildcard Round
Pittsburgh over Cincinnati
L.A. Chargers over Houston
Chicago over Minnesota
Carolina over Philadelphia

 

Divisional Round
L.A. Chargers over Kansas City
Pittsburgh over New England
New Orleans over Carolina
L.A. Rams over Chicago

 

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

 

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

 

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