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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January 9, 2009

PiRate Preview Of The NFL Playoffs: Divisional Round–January 10-11, 2009

PiRate Ratings For NFL Playoffs

2nd Round: January 10-11, 2009

 

We’re down to the Elite Eight of the NFL after the Colts, Dolphins, Vikings, and Falcons began their off-season last weekend.  I must say I was shocked at the Chargers beating Indianapolis.  I wasn’t shocked that San Diego was that good, but I thought the Colts were playing better football than they did when they won the Super Bowl a few years back.

 

As I mentioned in last week’s NFL preview, I pick games in the playoffs by trying to determine which teams have distinct advantages.  Let’s start by trying to figure out these distinct advantages by finding what consistently works in the NFL post-season.  In the old days, it was all about running the ball and stopping the run.  Today, it’s mostly about passing the ball and stopping the pass.  The days of winning by running it down the throats of the defense have come and gone.  When a team gets to the playoffs, they have good enough defenses to avoid getting burned for 200 rushing yards.

 

Let me clarify what I mean by passing and pass defense.  This is not merely an exercise to find which teams pass for the most yards.  The key here is to find the team that has a passing attack that cannot be stopped.  It might be a team that throws the ball 25 times a game, and it might be a team that throws the ball 40 times a game.  I dare say that if team A passes the ball 25 times and completes 15 passes for 240 yards, while their opponent passes the ball 40 times and completes 24 passes for 240 yards, then team A has enjoyed a much better day.  Team A will win most of the time in this instance.

 

Look at it this way.  If a team can complete 33% of its passes by completing one pass and then throwing two incomplete passes, and they always pick up 12 yards per completion, then they are unstoppable.  If they start at their own 28 yard line, they will score a touchdown in 16 plays.

 

Here’s another adjustment I use in figuring passing strength.  When you see a quarterback throw the ball to a back in the backfield, and the back picks up three yards, do not count that as passing yards.  The swing pass to the back who then sweeps around the perimeter and picks up or loses yardage is the 21st Century version of the old Lombardi Sweep.  It is a pass in name only.  The difference is merely in the manner the quarterback delivers the ball to the back.

 

The running game isn’t to be totally dismissed.  It’s just that I am looking for something a little different than rushing average and rushing yardage.  I’m looking for teams that can count on their running attack to get the job done on 3rd and short and when they are within three yards of pay dirt.

 

Let’s say team A averages 3.7 yards per rush, while team B averages 4.4 yards per rush.  Team B isn’t necessarily a more potent running team.  Let’s say that in 10 rushing attempts, team B rushed for 8, 6, 7, 9, 4, 5, 5, 2, 1, and -3.  If you give the ball to team B at their 20 yard line, and they ran the ball 10 consecutive times, resulting in the above order, team B would have picked up three first downs and faced 4th and 10 at other team’s 36 yard line. 

 

Now, let’s say team A with their 3.7 yard average ran the ball 10 consecutive times and picked up 3, 4, 4, 4, 4, 3, 4, 3, 4, and 4.  Starting at their 20 yard line, team A would have picked up three first downs and had the ball 2nd & 6 at the opponents’ 43 yard line.  Team A’s running attack would be considered almost impossible to stop, whereas Team B’s running attack would have been stopped.

 

It’s the teams that can pick up the bulk of their yards passing the ball down the field and counting on their running games to pick up the critical yards in short yardage situations that score in the playoffs.  Defensively, it’s the teams that can curtail the opponent’s passing games and stop the opponent’s running games in critical situations that stop teams in the playoffs.

 

Special teams, penalties, turnovers, and the like play a part in deciding playoff games.  I consider interceptions as part of the pass defense equation I described above.  I consider forced fumbles as part of both pass and run defense.  Special teams rarely decide playoff games, and penalties may determine a playoff outcome only once every 25 years.

 

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.

 

Notes

Weather forecasts and odds are those as of Friday, January 9, 2009, 12 Noon EST

 

In December, I listed multiple odds from multiple Vegas and offshore books.  For the playoffs, I have decided to list the odds from the Sports Pit at Harrah’s in Las Vegas. 

 

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

 

 

Game Previews

 

SATURDAY, JANUARY 10, 2009

 

Baltimore Ravens at Tennessee Titans

Time:           4:30 PM EST

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Cloudy, moderate winds, temperatures falling through the 40’s

 

PiRate:                Tennessee by 1              

Mean:                  Tennessee by 2

Bias:                    Tennessee by 4

 

Vegas:               Tennessee by 3

Ov/Un:               34½

Money Line: -155      +135

 

100 Sims:           Baltimore 61  Tennessee 39

Avg Sim Score:  Baltimore 22  Tennessee 16

Outlier 1a Sim:  Baltimore 27  Tennessee 7

Outlier 1b Sim:  Tennessee 13  Baltimore 0

Tennessee last finished with the best record in the NFL in 2000.  That year, they relied on a strong running game, and excellent all-around defense, and great special teams play to win 13 games.  The Titans had home field advantage, but they were upset in the divisional playoffs even though the statistics showed they dominated the game.  The opponent took advantage of four key plays; that opponent did mostly nothing all day on offense.  That opponent was Baltimore!

 

The Ravens come into this game much the same way they entered that January, 2001 game.  Things are a little different though.  This defense is still quite strong, but the 2000 defense was overpowering.  The 2000 offense was one-dimensional, but the 2008 offense can win games in a shootout if need be.

 

It is my opinion that the Ravens are now the best remaining team in the AFC.  I think lightning is going to strike twice in the Music City, and it won’t be a Music City Miracle.

 

Baltimore’s defense is going to pressure Kerry Collins into making mistakes.  The Raven pass rush will get to him, and he must make a conscious effort to avoid injury.  If Collins goes down, the Titans might as well run the single wing formation because Vince Young would be lucky to complete one downfield pass per quarter against this defense.

 

Chris Johnson may get one double-digit yard rush in this game, but don’t count on the Titans running the ball successfully in this game. 

 

Joe Flacco should be the difference maker Saturday.  He played well against Miami, and he now has playoff experience.  Watching him play against the Dolphins brought back memories of Daryle Lamonica with the Buffalo Bills and Oakland Raiders.  Flacco has a strong arm combined with quick legs.  If he stays healthy, he should become one of the game’s top quarterbacks.

 

This game should be close, because these teams will play conservatively throughout the first half.  The first time around, Tennessee won at Baltimore 13-10.  I think the scoring will be just a tad higher this time around.  Look for the Ravens to advance to the AFC Championship Game with a 17-10 win.

 

Arizona Cardinals at Carolina Panthers

Time:           8:00 PM EST

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Rain showers likely, moderate winds, temperatures holding steady around 50

 

PiRate:                Carolina by 9

Mean:                 Carolina by 9

Bias:                   Carolina by 7

 

Vegas:                Carolina by 9½          

Ov/Un:               48½

Money Line:       -450      +325

 

100 Sims:           Carolina 77  Arizona 23

Avg Sim Score:  Carolina 30  Arizona 22

Outlier 1a Sim:  Carolina 37  Arizona 10

Outlier 1b Sim:  Arizona 34  Carolina 27 (2 sims)

The Cardinals are two cities removed from their last NFL Championship.  They last won it all in 1947 when as the Chicago Cardinals, they defeated Philadelphia in a game played at Comiskey Park.

 

In the Wildcard Weekend Playoff round, Kurt Warner showed that he can still pick apart quality defenses.  The Cardinals still needed help in the form of a Falcon flop on offense.

 

Carolina’s fortunes in this game rest in the hands of Steve Smith.  He is the one player who can change the outcome of this game.  Quarterback Jake Delhomme is competent, but he is not going to win this game on his own merits.

 

I realize that the three ratings and the computer simulations heavily favor Carolina in this game, but I believe the Cardinals have close to a 50% chance of winning.  If Warner gets enough pass protection, he can move Arizona down the field consistently.    The Panthers’ pass defense is average, and an above-average passer should enjoy a successful day.

 

I believe Warner will top 250 yards passing in this game, and if he tops 300, then Arizona is in the NFC Championship Game.  I will call this game a true tossup, which means I would consider taking the Cardinals and the points.

 

 

SUNDAY, JANUARY 11, 2009

 

Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants

Time:           1:00 PM EST

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Mostly cloudy with a few flurries, moderate winds, temperatures struggling to reach 32

 

PiRate:                Giants by 2

Mean:                  Giants by 3

Bias:                    Giants by 2

 

Vegas:               Giants by 4½     

Ov/Un:               40

Money Line:       -220      +180

 

100 Sims:           Giants 52  Philadelphia 48

Avg Sim Score:  Giants 25  Philadelphia 25

Outlier 1a Sim:  Giants 38  Philadelphia 16

Outlier 1b Sim:  Philadelphia 41  Giants 17

This is my pick for best game of the weekend.  This rivalry is fast becoming something akin to the Yankees and Red Sox in baseball.  Two months ago, the Giants won an exciting and close game in Philadelphia.  Last month, the Eagles returned the favor at the Meadowlands, winning with their backs against the playoffs wall.

 

Down the stretch, Philadelphia played the best ball in the NFC.  Starting with the 28-point slaughter of the Cardinals, the Eagles outscored the opposition by an average score of 29-12.  Their 26-14 win at Minnesota last week proved they definitely deserve to be here.

 

The Giants played their best 2007 ball down the stretch and almost beat undefeated New England in the final weekend of the regular season.  They continued to play well in the postseason and knocked off Tampa Bay, Dallas, and Green Bay, all on the road to reach the Super Bowl, where Tom Coughlin and Steve Spagnuolo figured out how to stop the Patriots great offense.  This season, the Giants played their best ball early in the year.  Down the stretch, they struggled, and they enter the playoffs not firing on all cylinders.

 

I think Philadelphia has a better than 50-50 chance of pulling off the upset in this game.  The Eagles are playing much like the 2007 Giants, the 2006 Colts, and the 2005 Steelers were playing at the end of the regular season. 

 

Once again, the three computer ratings and 100 simulations fall on the other side of the argument from me personally.  I believe the Eagles will cover in this game, and I think they have a 60% chance of pulling off the upset.

 

San Diego Chargers at Pittsburgh Steelers

Time:           4:30 PM EST

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Cloudy with slight chance of snow, light winds, temperatures holding steady in the low 20’s

 

PiRate:                Pittsburgh by 7

Mean:                  Pittsburgh by 6

Bias:                    Pittsburgh by 5

 

Vegas:               Pittsburgh by 6½           

Ov/Un:               38

Money Line: -270      +210

 

100 Sims:           Pittsburgh 60  San Diego 40

Avg Sim Score:  Pittsburgh 22  San Diego 18

Outlier 1a Sim:  Pittsburgh 30  San Diego 7

Outlier 1b Sim:  San Diego 13  Pittsburgh 3

This is the toughest game to analyze.  Let’s start with the few obvious intangibles.  San Diego must travel more than 2,500 miles across three time zones to play in weather conditions for which they cannot prepare for in their home zip code.  The Chargers had to play an overtime game last week, while the Steelers had a bye.  And, possibly most importantly, the top running back in the 21st Century, LaDainian Tomlinson, is injured.  If he plays, he will be virtually useless in this game.

 

Okay, that said, I should go with the Steelers in a breeze, correct?  The short answer is, “no.”  Tomlinson wasn’t needed last week against the Colts.  Philip Rivers, Darren Sproles, and a nice corps of receivers were enough to win.  The Chargers’ defense is the key to this game.  If they can play as adequately as they played last week, they should hold Pittsburgh’s offense in check.  If that happens, then we are looking at a low-scoring game that could come down to a big play or even another overtime game.

 

There is one caveat here.  Ben Roethlisberger could prove to be a “Mr. January.”  He has enjoyed some of his better days in the month of January, and if that holds true this year, the Steelers could not only win this game, but they could win it by a large amount.

 

I tend to believe that we will get the typical Roethlisberger game, and he won’t set the field ablaze with his arm.  Thus, I am looking for this game to be decided on that big play.  I still think the Steelers are the team more likely to come up with the big play, so I am picking the home team to win by five to 14 points.  I expect the final score to be something like 24-14.

December 18, 2008

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

PiRate Ratings For NFL Week 16

A Preview Of The Conference Championship Games?

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

The PiRate Pro Ratings (Rating)

 

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

 

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

 

The Mean Ratings (Mean)

 

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

 

The Bias Ratings (Biased)

 

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

 

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

 

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

Current NFL Standings

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFC East

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

New York

11

3

0

374

246

108.62

107.01

106.50

2

Dallas

9

5

0

332

288

102.95

103.96

105.36

2

Philadelphia

8

5

1

369

273

107.60

106.03

106.70

2

Washington

7

7

0

231

266

97.77

98.22

98.97

2

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFC North

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Minnesota

9

5

0

342

290

105.12

105.24

106.65

2

Chicago

8

6

0

331

302

103.12

101.77

101.95

2

Green Bay

5

9

0

371

339

104.35

101.02

97.85

2

Detroit

0

14

0

240

444

88.47

89.81

88.23

3

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFC South

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Carolina

11

3

0

353

264

106.47

105.55

107.58

2

Tampa Bay

9

5

0

313

251

105.19

103.84

105.78

2

Atlanta

9

5

0

336

281

104.71

103.45

103.21

2

New Orleans

7

7

0

390

353

103.29

102.62

100.96

2

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFC West

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Arizona

8

6

0

386

358

100.03

99.65

100.31

3

San Francisco

5

9

0

295

341

94.85

96.51

96.25

3

Seattle

3

11

0

260

355

91.65

93.14

92.53

3

St. Louis

2

12

0

189

417

83.33

87.70

84.98

2

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC East

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

New York

9

5

0

385

319

101.06

100.30

102.45

2

New England

9

5

0

350

302

100.33

101.54

102.55

2

Miami

9

5

0

283

269

98.18

99.21

101.65

2

Buffalo

6

8

0

306

306

96.18

95.64

95.74

3

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC North

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Pittsburgh

11

3

0

302

192

109.24

108.44

108.71

2

Baltimore

9

5

0

325

213

108.79

107.24

107.78

3

Cleveland

4

10

0

232

305

96.76

96.59

94.25

2

Cincinnati

2

11

1

174

358

91.41

92.93

91.84

2

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC South

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Tennessee

12

2

0

344

197

109.87

107.77

108.10

2

Indianapolis

10

4

0

323

274

104.76

104.55

106.44

2

Houston

7

7

0

319

343

100.27

101.56

101.34

3

Jacksonville

5

9

0

271

309

98.34

97.85

96.61

3

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC West

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Denver

8

6

0

326

366

95.50

97.62

99.00

2

San Diego

6

8

0

346

302

101.75

100.18

99.56

2

Oakland

3

11

0

205

348

89.46

90.76

89.22

2

Kansas City

2

12

0

254

386

90.65

92.31

90.97

2

 

If The Playoffs Started Today

 

NFC 1st Round

#6 Tampa Bay at #3 Minnesota

#5 Dallas at #4 Arizona

 

#1 New York Giants would host lower surviving seed

#2 Carolina would host higher surviving seed

 

Still Alive

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

 

AFC 1st Round

#6 Baltimore at #3 New York Jets

#5 Indianapolis at #4 Denver

 

#1 Tennessee would host lower surviving seed

#2 Pittsburgh would host higher surviving seed

 

Still Alive

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

NFL Previews-Week 16

 

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

Time:           8:15 PM EST, Thursday

TV:               NFL Network

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

 

PiRate:                Indianapolis by 3                  

Mean:                  Indianapolis by 4

Bias:                    Indianapolis by 7

 

Vegas:               Indianapolis by 6, 6.5, 7

Ov/Un:               44, 44.5

 

100 Sims:           Indianapolis 79  Jacksonville 21

Avg Sim Score:  Indianapolis 27  Jacksonville 22

Outlier 1a Sim:  Indianapolis 38  Jacksonville 13

Outlier 1b Sim:  Jacksonville 27 Indianapolis 17

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

Time:           8:15 PM EST, Saturday

TV:               NFL

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

 

PiRate:                Baltimore by 4

Mean:                  Baltimore by 1

Bias:                    Tossup

 

Vegas:               Dallas by 4, 4.5, 5   

Ov/Un:               39, 39.5, 40

 

100 Sims:           Dallas 52  Baltimore 48

Avg Sim Score:  Dallas 19  Baltimore 18

Outlier 1a Sim:  Dallas 21  Baltimore 7

Outlier 1b Sim:  Baltimore 20  Dallas 10

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

Time:           1:00 PM EST

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Dome

 

PiRate:                New Orleans by 12

Mean:                  New Orleans by 10

Bias:                    New Orleans by 10

 

Vegas:               New Orleans by 6.5, 7, 7.5   

Ov/Un:               50, 50.5, 51, 51.5

 

100 Sims:           New Orleans 87  Detroit 13

Avg Sim Score:  New Orleans 36  Detroit 22

Outlier 1a Sim:  New Orleans 55  Detroit 20

Outlier 1b Sim:  Detroit 34  New Orleans 27

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

Time:           1PM EST

TV:               CBS

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

 

PiRate:                Cleveland by 7

Mean:                  Cleveland by 6

Bias:                    Cleveland by 4

 

Vegas:               Cleveland by 2.5, 3        

Ov/Un:               33.5, 34, 34.5

 

100 Sims:           Cleveland 63 Cincinnati 37

Avg Sim Score:  Cleveland 23 Cincinnati 19

Outlier 1a Sim:  Cleveland 40 Cincinnati 21

Outlier 1b Sim:  Cincinnati 28 Cleveland 14

 

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

 

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

 

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

Time:           1PM EST

TV:               CBS

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

 

PiRate:                Miami by 6

Mean:                  Miami by 5

Bias:                    Miami by 9

 

Vegas:                Miami by 3.5, 4

Ov/Un:               39.5, 40

 

100 Sims:           Miami 83  Kansas City 17

Avg Sim Score:  Miami 23  Kansas City 18

Outlier 1a Sim:  Miami 27  Kansas City 10

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

Time:           1PM EST

TV:               CBS

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

 

PiRate:                Tennessee by 3

Mean:                  Tennessee by 1

Bias:                    Tennessee by 1

 

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

Ov/Un:               34.5, 35

 

100 Sims:           Pittsburgh 61  Tennessee 39

Avg Sim Score:  Pittsburgh 19  Tennessee 15

Outlier 1a Sim:  Pittsburgh 24  Tennessee 10

Outlier 1b Sim:  Tennessee 16  Pittsburgh 7

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

Time:           1:00 PM EST

TV:               Fox

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

 

PiRate:                Philadelphia by 8

Mean:                  Philadelphia by 6

Bias:                    Philadelphia by 6

 

Vegas:               Philadelphia by 4.5, 5, 5.5

Ov/Un:               39, 39.5

 

100 Sims:           Philadelphia 60  Washington 40

Avg Sim Score:  Philadelphia 26  Washington 20

Outlier 1a Sim:  Philadelphia 38  Washington 16

Outlier 1b Sim:  Washington 24  Philadelphia 13

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

Time:           1:00PM EST

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Dome

 

PiRate:                San Francisco by 10

Mean:                 San Francisco by 7

Bias:                    San Francisco by 9

 

Vegas:                San Francisco by 5, 5.5

Ov/Un:               43, 43.5, 44

 

100 Sims:           San Francisco 68  St. Louis 32

Avg Sim Score:  San Francisco 25  St. Louis 17

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

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

 

Strategy:     Under 57 in 13-point teaser

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

 

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

 

 

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

Time:           1:00 PM EST

TV:               CBS

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

 

PiRate:                Tampa Bay by 5

Mean:                 Tampa Bay by 6

Bias:                    Tampa Bay by 8

 

Vegas:                Tampa Bay by 3, 3.5      

Ov/Un:               42, 42.5

 

100 Sims:           Tampa Bay 73  San Diego 27

Avg Sim Score:  Tampa Bay 29  San Diego 20

Outlier 1a Sim:  Tampa Bay 34  San Diego 13

Outlier 1b Sim:  San Diego 31  Tampa Bay 24

 

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

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

 

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

 

 

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

Time:           1:00PM EST

TV:               Fox

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

 

PiRate:                New England by 2

Mean:                  New England by 4

Bias:                    New England by 4

 

Vegas:               New England by 7.5, 8, 9

Ov/Un:               44, 44.5

 

100 Sims:           New England 57  Arizona 43

Avg Sim Score:  New England 29  Arizona 27

Outlier 1a Sim:  New England 41  Arizona 24

Outlier 1b Sim:  Arizona 45  New England 28

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

Time:           4:05PM EST

TV:               CBS

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

 

PiRate:                Houston by 9

Mean:                 Houston by 9

Bias:                   Houston by 10

 

Vegas:               Houston by 7, 7.5, 8      

Ov/Un:               44, 44.5

 

100 Sims:           Houston 77  Oakland 23

Avg Sim Score:  Houston 26  Oakland 18

Outlier 1a Sim:  Houston 33  Oakland 14

Outlier 1b Sim:  Oakland 27  Houston 23

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

Time:           4:05 PM EST

TV:               CBS

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

 

PiRate:                Jets by 7

Mean:                 Jets by 4

Bias:                   Jets by 7

 

Vegas:                Jets by 4.5, 5, 6

Ov/Un:               44, 44.5

 

100 Sims:           Jets 64  Seattle 36

Avg Sim Score:  Jets 32  Seattle 26

Outlier 1a Sim:  Jets 48  Seattle 21

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

Time:           4:05 PM EST

TV:               CBS

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

 

PiRate:                Denver by 1

Mean:                 Denver by 4

Bias:                   Denver by 5

 

Vegas:                Denver by 6.5, 7, 7.5   

Ov/Un:               43.5, 44

 

100 Sims:           Denver 55  Buffalo 45

Avg Sim Score:  Denver 30  Buffalo 27

Outlier 1a Sim:  Denver 41  Buffalo 23

Outlier 1b Sim:  Buffalo 28  Denver 17

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

Time:           4:15 PM EST

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Dome

 

PiRate:                Minnesota by 2

Mean:                  Minnesota by 4

Bias:                    Minnesota by 5

 

Vegas:               Minnesota by 3, 3.5

Ov/Un:               43, 43.5, 44, 44.5

 

100 Sims:           Minnesota 52  Atlanta 48

Avg Sim Score:  Minnesota 24  Atlanta 24

Outlier 1a Sim:  Minnesota 28  Atlanta 16

Outlier 1b Sim:  Atlanta 23  Minnesota 13

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Time:           8:15PM EST

TV:               NBC

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

                    

PiRate:                Giants by 4

Mean:                  Giants by 3

Bias:                    Giants by 1

 

Vegas:               Giants by 3, 3.5

Ov/Un:               37.5, 38, 38.5, 39

 

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

Avg Sim Score:  Carolina 20  Giants 19

Outlier 1a Sim:  Carolina 24  Giants 7

Outlier 1b Sim:  Giants 21  Carolina 12

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

Time:           8:30PM EST Monday

TV:               ESPN

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

 

PiRate:                Chicago by 1

Mean:                  Chicago by 3

Bias:                    Chicago by 6

 

Vegas:                Chicago by 4, 4.5

Ov/Un:               41.5, 42

 

100 Sims:           Chicago 89  Green Bay 11

Avg Sim Score:  Chicago 29  Green Bay 18

Outlier 1a Sim:  Chicago 37  Green Bay 17

Outlier 1b Sim:  Green Bay 32  Chicago 27

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 A Bad Week Follow A Good Week

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

1. Indianapolis & Jacksonville Over 44

 

2. Pittsburgh Pk vs. Tennessee

 

3. Philadelphia -4½ vs. Washington

 

4. Chicago -4 vs. Green Bay

 

5. Indianapolis -250 vs. Jacksonville

 

6. Philadelphia -215 vs. Washington

 

7. New England -335 vs. Arizona

 

8. Chicago -195 vs. Green Bay

 

9. 10-point teaser

Indianapolis +4 vs. Jacksonville

Indianapolis & Jacksonville Over 34

Baltimore +15 vs. Dallas

 

10. 10-point teaser

Detroit +17½ vs. New Orleans

Cincinnati & Cleveland Over 23½

Kansas City +14 vs. Miami

 

11. 10-point teaser

Pittsburgh +10 vs. Tennessee

Philadelphia +5½ vs. Washington

San Diego & Tampa Bay Over 32

 

12. 10-point teaser

New England +2½ vs. Arizona

New England & Arizona Over 34

Houston +3 vs. Oakland

 

13. 10-point teaser

Seattle +16 vs. New York Jets

Denver +3½ vs. Buffalo

Minnesota +7 vs. Atlanta

 

14. 10-point teaser

Carolina +13½ vs. New York Giants

Chicago +6 vs. Green Bay

Chicago & Green Bay Over 31½

 

15. 13-point teaser

Baltimore +18 vs. Dallas

Kansas City +17 vs. Miami

Pittsburgh +13 vs. Tennessee

Philadelphia +8½ vs. Washington

 

16. 13-point teaser

San Francisco & St. Louis Under 57

New England +5½ vs. Arizona

New England & Arizona Over 31

Houston +6 vs. Oakland

 

17. 13-point teaser

Seattle +19 vs. New York Jets

Minnesota +10 vs. Atlanta

Carolina +16½ vs. New York Giants

Chicago +9 vs. Green Bay

   

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

December 4, 2008

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

PiRate Ratings For NFL Week 14

Will It Be Another Topsy-Turvy Weekend?

 

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

 

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

 

 

The PiRate Pro Ratings (Rating)

 

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

 

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

 

The Mean Ratings (Mean)

 

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

 

The Bias Ratings (Biased)

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Current NFL Standings

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFC East

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

New York

11

1

0

352

206

110.99

110.26

108.82

2

Dallas

8

4

0

299

260

102.24

102.54

104.33

2

Washington

7

5

0

208

222

99.35

99.60

100.76

2

Philadelphia

6

5

1

319

249

106.51

104.08

103.69

2

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFC North

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Minnesota

7

5

0

287

260

104.10

103.89

103.77

2

Chicago

6

6

0

281

268

101.43

100.66

101.39

2

Green Bay

5

7

0

334

295

105.13

103.02

101.41

2

Detroit

0

12

0

203

393

86.33

89.17

85.28

3

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFC South

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Tampa Bay

9

3

0

280

200

106.14

104.70

106.14

2

Carolina

9

3

0

285

231

104.51

103.12

105.50

2

Atlanta

8

4

0

298

242

104.52

103.34

103.15

2

New Orleans

6

6

0

337

301

103.34

102.65

101.57

2

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFC West

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Arizona

7

5

0

338

313

100.78

101.15

101.36

3

San Francisco

4

8

0

262

313

93.72

95.48

95.81

3

Seattle

2

10

0

216

311

91.84

93.64

93.27

3

St. Louis

2

10

0

159

360

83.62

87.97

88.09

2

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC East

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

New York

8

4

0

340

268

102.78

102.82

103.29

2

New England

7

5

0

277

255

99.85

101.22

101.79

2

Miami

7

5

0

253

257

97.46

97.61

100.59

2

Buffalo

6

6

0

276

259

97.28

97.29

99.29

3

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC North

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Pittsburgh

9

3

0

269

170

108.99

106.90

107.15

2

Baltimore

8

4

0

292

190

109.14

107.58

106.12

3

Cleveland

4

8

0

213

247

98.35

97.56

95.36

2

Cincinnati

1

10

1

151

310

91.98

92.52

90.07

2

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC South

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Tennessee

11

1

0

304

175

109.77

107.45

108.02

2

Indianapolis

8

4

0

257

250

103.28

103.37

104.71

2

Houston

5

7

0

282

310

98.33

99.31

99.30

3

Jacksonville

4

8

0

241

270

97.81

97.65

97.07

3

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC West

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Denver

7

5

0

292

319

96.59

97.74

101.04

2

San Diego

4

8

0

290

274

101.44

99.65

98.79

2

Oakland

3

9

0

172

265

91.85

93.46

91.44

2

Kansas City

2

10

0

216

340

90.51

92.66

91.61

2

 

 

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

 

You will now see multiple numbers given in the Vegas line and Ov/Un.  I am listing the range given by the different books in Vegas and offshore as of 12 Noon EST Wednesday, so you can use the one that best meets your needs.  Remember though, if you use parlays and teasers, you must use the same source.  You cannot play a parlay using the odds from different books.  What you will see in my “imaginary picks” below will show different books, but each teaser will be composed of games from the same book.  I leave it to you to find out the book in question.  Generally, some of the big ones in Vegas are: Hilton, Caesar’s-Harrah’s, MGM Mirage, Stations, Leroy’s, Wynn, Bellagio, Mandalay Bay, and The Palms.  Some of the large offshore books include: BetUs, Bodog, Sportsbook, BetJamaica, and Pinnacle.

 

NFL Previews-Week 14

 

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

Time:           8:15 PM EST, Thursday

TV:               NFL Network

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

 

PiRate:                San Diego by 12                    

Mean:                  San Diego by 8

Bias:                    San Diego by 9

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

Ov/Un:               42, 42.5

100 Sims:           San Diego 83  Oakland 17

Avg Sim Score:  San Diego 29.6  Oakland 15.1

Outlier 1a Sim:  San Diego 48  Oakland 10

Outlier 1b Sim:  Oakland 24  San Diego 14

 

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

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

 

 

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

Time:           1:00 PM EST

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Dome

 

PiRate:                New Orleans by 1

Mean:                  New Orleans by 1

Bias:                    Tossup

Vegas:               New Orleans by 3    

Ov/Un:               51, 51.5, 52

100 Sims:           New Orleans 57  Atlanta 43

Avg Sim Score:  New Orleans 27.9  Atlanta 24.5

Outlier 1a Sim:  New Orleans 45  Atlanta 24

Outlier 1b Sim:  Atlanta 31  New Orleans 20

 

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

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

 

 

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

Time:           1:00 PM EST

TV:               Fox

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

 

PiRate:                Giants by 6

Mean:                  Giants by 8

Bias:                    Giants by 7

Vegas:               Giants by 6.5, 7, 7.5   

Ov/Un:               43, 43.5, 44

100 Sims:           Giants 89  Philadelphia 11

Avg Sim Score:  Giants 30.2  Philadelphia 22.6

Outlier 1a Sim:  Giants 44  Philadelphia 17

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

Time:           1PM EST

TV:               CBS

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

 

PiRate:                Chicago by 6

Mean:                  Chicago by 5

Bias:                    Chicago by 6

Vegas:               Chicago by 6.5         

Ov/Un:               39.5, 40, 40.5

100 Sims:           Chicago 79  Jacksonville 21

Avg Sim Score:  Chicago 25.3  Jacksonville 16.9

Outlier 1a Sim:  Chicago 37  Jacksonville 10

Outlier 1b Sim:  Jacksonville 24 Chicago 17

 

Strategy:            Over 26½ in 13-point teaser

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

 

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

 

 

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

Time:           1PM EST

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Dome

 

PiRate:                Minnesota by 15

Mean:                  Minnesota by 12

Bias:                    Minnesota by 15

Vegas:                Minnesota by 7.5, 8, 9  

Ov/Un:               45, 46.5

100 Sims:           Minnesota 96  Detroit 4

Avg Sim Score:  Minnesota 30.2  Detroit 14.4

Outlier 1a Sim:  Minnesota 51  Detroit 12

Outlier 1b Sim:  Detroit 24  Minnesota 20

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

Time:           1PM EST

TV:               CBS

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

 

PiRate:                Green Bay by 9

Mean:                  Green Bay by 6

Bias:                    Green Bay by 4

Vegas:               Green Bay by 6  

Ov/Un:               47, 47.5

100 Sims:           Houston 52  Green Bay 48

Avg Sim Score:  Houston 32.3  Green Bay 31.8

Outlier 1a Sim:  Houston 47  Green Bay 28

Outlier 1b Sim:  Green Bay 30  Houston 14

 

Strategy:            Over 34½ in 13-point teaser

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

 

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

 

 

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

Time:           1:00 PM EST

TV:               CBS

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

 

PiRate:                Tennessee by 13

Mean:                  Tennessee by 12

Bias:                    Tennessee by 15

Vegas:               Tennessee by 13.5, 14, 15

Ov/Un:               37.5, 38  

100 Sims:           Tennessee 88  Cleveland 12

Avg Sim Score:  Tennessee 30.7  Cleveland 19.4

Outlier 1a Sim:  Tennessee 41  Cleveland 10

Outlier 1b Sim:  Cleveland 28  Tennessee 23

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

Time:           1:00PM EST

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Roof will be closed

 

PiRate:                Indianapolis by 13

Mean:                 Indianapolis by 13

Bias:                    Indianapolis by 17

Vegas:                Indianapolis by 13.5, 14, 15

Ov/Un:               41.5, 42, 42,5

100 Sims:           Indianapolis 98  Cincinnati 2

Avg Sim Score:  Indianapolis 34.7  Cincinnati 13.8

Outlier 1a Sim:  Indianapolis 49  Cincinnati 0

Outlier 1b Sim:  Cincinnati 27  Indianapolis 24

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

Time:           4:05 PM EST

TV:               CBS

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

 

PiRate:                Denver by 8

Mean:                 Denver by 7

Bias:                    Denver by 11

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

Ov/Un:               48, 48.5, 49

100 Sims:           Denver 79  Kansas City 21

Avg Sim Score:  Denver 33.0  Kansas City 20.3

Outlier 1a Sim:  Denver 55  Kansas City 17

Outlier 1b Sim:  Kansas City 31  Denver 24

 

Strategy:            Over 35 in 13-point teaser

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

Time:           4:05PM EST

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Dome

 

PiRate:                Buffalo by 1

Mean:                  Buffalo by 1

Bias:                    Tossup

Vegas:               Buffalo by 0, 1, 1.5

Ov/Un:               42, 42.5

100 Sims:           Miami 56  Buffalo 44

Avg Sim Score:  Miami 24.7  Buffalo 22.1

Outlier 1a Sim:  Miami 38  Buffalo 17

Outlier 1b Sim:  Buffalo 27  Miami 14

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

Time:           4:05PM EST

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Partly cloudy, light wind, temperature near 60

 

PiRate:                Jets by 6

Mean:                  Jets by 4

Bias:                    Jets by 4

Vegas:               Jets by 3.5, 4      

Ov/Un:               44, 44.5

100 Sims:           Jets 62  San Francisco 38

Avg Sim Score:  Jets 25.1  San Francisco 20.4

Outlier 1a Sim:  Jets 49  San Francisco 24

Outlier 1b Sim:  San Francisco 20  Jets 14

 

Strategy:            Over 31 in 13-point teaser

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

Time:           4:05 PM EST

TV:               CBS

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

 

PiRate:                New England by 5

Mean:                 New England by 5

Bias:                   New England by 6

Vegas:                New England by 4.5, 5.5

Ov/Un:               43, 43.5

100 Sims:           New England 60  Seattle 40

Avg Sim Score:  New England 23.1  Seattle 17.7

Outlier 1a Sim:  New England 37  Seattle 16

Outlier 1b Sim:  Seattle 24  New England 13

 

Strategy:            Over 30 in 13-point teaser

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

Time:           4:15 PM EST

TV:               Fox

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

 

PiRate:                Pittsburgh by 9

Mean:                 Pittsburgh by 6

Bias:                   Pittsburgh by 5

Vegas:                Pittsburgh by 2.5, 3   

Ov/Un:               40, 40.5, 41

100 Sims:           Pittsburgh 55  Dallas 45

Avg Sim Score:  Pittsburgh 24.6  Dallas 22.8

Outlier 1a Sim:  Pittsburgh 30  Dallas 17

Outlier 1b Sim:  Dallas 28  Pittsburgh 21

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

Time:           4:15 PM EST

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Roof likely closed

 

PiRate:                Arizona by 20

Mean:                  Arizona by 16

Bias:                    Arizona by 16

Vegas:               Arizona by 14

Ov/Un:               48, 48.5

100 Sims:           Arizona 91  St. Louis 9

Avg Sim Score:  Arizona 37.6  St. Louis 17.8

Outlier 1a Sim:  Arizona 62  St. Louis 17

Outlier 1b Sim:  St. Louis 27  Arizona 24

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

Time:           8:15PM EST

TV:               NBC

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

                    

PiRate:                Baltimore by 13

Mean:                  Baltimore by 11

Bias:                    Baltimore by 8

Vegas:               Baltimore by 5, 5.5, 6

Ov/Un:               35, 35.5, 36

100 Sims:           Baltimore 63  Washington 36  1 Tie

Avg Sim Score:  Baltimore 22.9  Washington 19.4

Outlier 1a Sim:  Baltimore 27  Washington 6

Outlier 1b Sim:  Washington 20  Baltimore 13

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

Time:           8:30PM EST Monday

TV:               ESPN

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

 

PiRate:                Tossup 

Mean:                  Tossup

Bias:                    Carolina by 1

Vegas:                Carolina by 3

Ov/Un:               38, 38.5

100 Sims:           Carolina 52  Tampa Bay 48

Avg Sim Score:  Carolina 26.8  Tampa Bay 26.3

Outlier 1a Sim:  Carolina 31  Tampa Bay 14

Outlier 1b Sim:  Tampa Bay 24  Carolina 12

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

Yuck, Part 2!!!

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

1. 10-point teaser

San Diego & Oakland Over 32

Indianapolis & Cincinnati Over 31½

New York Giants & Philadelphia Over 33

 

2. 10-point teaser

New Orleans & Atlanta Over 41

Buffalo & Miami Over 32

Carolina & Tampa Bay Over 28

 

3. 13-point teaser

San Diego & Oakland Over 29

Indianapolis & Cincinnati Over 28½

Chicago & Jacksonville Over 26½

Green Bay & Houston Over 34½

 

4. 13-point teaser

Tennessee & Cleveland Over 24½

Minnesota & Detroit Over 32

Baltimore & Washington Over 22½

NY Giants & Philadelphia Over 30

 

5. 13-point teaser

New Orleans & Atlanta Over 38

NY Jets & San Francisco Over 31

Buffalo & Miami Over 29

Denver & Kansas City Over 35

 

6. 13-point teaser

Arizona & St. Louis Under 61½

Pittsburgh & Dallas Over 27

New England & Seattle Over 30

Carolina & Tampa Bay Over 25

 

7. 13-point teaser

Indianapolis -½ vs. Cincinnati

Cleveland +28 vs. Tennessee

Denver +5 vs. Kansas City

Minnesota +5½ vs. Detroit 

 

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

November 20, 2008

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

PiRate Ratings For NFL Week 12

It Was A Touchdown!

 

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

 

 

The PiRate Pro Ratings (Rating)

 

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

 

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

 

The Mean Ratings (Mean)

 

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

 

The Bias Ratings (Biased)

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Current NFL Standings

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFC East

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

New York

9

1

0

292

170

110.47

108.91

109.67

2

Dallas

6

4

0

230

229

101.05

101.25

102.66

2

Washington

6

4

0

181

182

99.96

100.17

101.02

2

Philadelphia

5

4

1

264

193

106.59

104.54

102.02

2

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFC North

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Green Bay

5

5

0

274

209

107.61

105.28

102.97

2

Chicago

5

5

0

240

231

102.83

100.74

101.11

2

Minnesota

5

5

0

223

234

101.65

101.08

100.94

2

Detroit

0

10

0

173

308

87.78

90.46

90.04

3

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFC South

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Carolina

8

2

0

222

155

105.40

103.89

105.25

2

Tampa Bay

7

3

0

219

160

106.19

104.15

104.86

2

Atlanta  

6

4

0

231

198

102.71

101.15

102.37

2

New Orleans

5

5

0

266

249

100.56

100.83

100.67

2

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFC West

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Arizona

7

3

0

289

228

103.24

103.51

104.15

3

San Francisco

3

7

0

230

275

93.76

94.33

94.41

3

Seattle

2

8

0

190

257

93.57

95.18

94.55

3

St. Louis

2

8

0

144

317

83.58

89.63

89.04

2

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC East

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

New York

7

3

0

289

221

102.69

102.65

104.46

2

New England

6

4

0

219

194

99.73

101.92

101.33

2

Miami

6

4

0

209

197

99.79

99.38

102.03

2

Buffalo

5

5

0

219

218

97.46

97.50

98.19

3

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC North

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Pittsburgh

7

3

0

209

150

107.34

105.45

104.75

2

Baltimore

6

4

0

222

180

104.99

104.23

102.24

3

Cleveland

4

6

0

201

221

99.02

99.29

99.46

2

Cincinnati

1

8

1

138

249

92.86

93.53

94.67

2

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC South

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Tennessee

10

0

0

244

131

111.29

108.54

108.56

2

Indianapolis

6

4

0

224

224

102.73

102.66

102.07

2

Jacksonville

4

6

0

212

210

100.41

100.39

98.76

3

Houston

3

7

0

236

287

96.01

97.02

96.00

3

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC West

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Denver

6

4

0

248

271

96.76

97.65

100.48

2

San Diego

4

6

0

254

229

101.55

101.00

99.71

2

Oakland

2

8

0

128

235

89.60

91.62

88.84

2

Kansas City

1

9

0

165

273

90.87

92.20

92.81

2

 

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

 

NFL Previews-Week 12

 

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

Time:           8:15 EST Thursday 11/20

TV:               NFL Network

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

 

PiRate:         Pittsburgh by 16                   

Mean:           Pittsburgh by 14

Bias:             Pittsburgh by 12

Vegas:        Pittsburgh by 10½   -600/+500

Ov/Un:        34  

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

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

 

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

 

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

Time:           1PM EST

TV:               Fox

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

 

PiRate:         Jacksonville by 2

Mean:           Jacksonville by 2

Bias:             Jacksonville by 1

Vegas:        Jacksonville by 2      -140/+120

Ov/Un:        40½              

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

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

 

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

 

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

Time:           1PM EST

TV:               Fox

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

 

PiRate:         Baltimore by 1

Mean:           Baltimore by 3

Bias:             Baltimore by 3

Vegas:        Baltimore by 1          -120/+100   

Ov/Un:        39½

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Time:           1PM EST

TV:               CBS

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

 

PiRate:         Miami by 2

Mean:           New England by 1

Bias:             Miami by 3

Vegas:        Miami by 2         -125/+105

Ov/Un:        42

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Time:           1PM EST

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Dome

 

PiRate:         Chicago by 17

Mean:           Chicago by 9

Bias:             Chicago by 10

Vegas:         Chicago by 8      -350/+320  

Ov/Un:        43

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Time:           1PM EST

TV:               CBS

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

 

PiRate:         Cleveland by 5

Mean:           Cleveland by 4

Bias:             Cleveland by 5

Vegas:        Cleveland by 3          -155/+135  

Ov/Un:        49½

Strategy:     Over 36½ in 13-point teaser

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

 

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

 

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

Time:           1:00 PM EST

TV:               Fox

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

 

PiRate:         Dallas by 9

Mean:           Dallas by 9

Bias:             Dallas by 10

Vegas:        Dallas by 10  

Ov/Un:        47

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

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

 

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

 

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

Time:           1:00PM EST

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Dome

 

PiRate:         Tampa Bay by 15

Mean:          Tampa Bay by 11

Bias:             Tampa Bay by 12

Vegas:         Tampa Bay by 8       -355/+325

Ov/Un:        41

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Time:           1:00 PM EST

TV:               Fox

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

 

PiRate:         Buffalo by 5

Mean:          Buffalo by 3

Bias:             Buffalo by 3

Vegas:         Buffalo by 3 -165/+145

Ov/Un:        43½

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Time:           1:00PM EST

TV:               CBS

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

 

PiRate:         Tennessee by 11

Mean:           Tennessee by 8

Bias:             Tennessee by 6

Vegas:        Tennessee by 5

Ov/Un:        40½

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Time:           4:05PM EST

TV:               CBS

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

 

PiRate:         Denver by 9

Mean:           Denver by 8

Bias:             Denver by 14

Vegas:        Denver by 9 -400/+360 

Ov/Un:        42½

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

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

 

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

 

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

Time:           4:15 PM EST

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Partly cloudy, light wind, temperature near 80

 

PiRate:         Giants by 4

Mean:          Giants by 2

Bias:            Giants by 3

Vegas:         Giants by 3

Ov/Un:        48½

Strategy:     Under 61½ in 13-point teaser

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Time:           4:15 PM EST

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Dome

 

PiRate:         Carolina by 1

Mean:          Tossup

Bias:            Carolina by 1

Vegas:         Atlanta by 1½          -125/+105   

Ov/Un:        42½

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Time:           4:15 PM EST

TV:               Fox

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

 

PiRate:         Washington by 3

Mean:           Washington by 2

Bias:             Washington by 3

Vegas:        Washington by 3½         -170/+150

Ov/Un:        40½

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Time:           8:15PM EST

TV:               NBC

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

                    

PiRate:         San Diego by 1

Mean:           San Diego by 3

Bias:             San Diego by 3

Vegas:        San Diego by 3

Ov/Un:        49½

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Time:           8:30PM EST Monday

TV:               ESPN

Forecast:     Dome

 

PiRate:         Green Bay by 5 

Mean:           Green Bay by 2

Bias:             Tossup

Vegas:        New Orleans by 2½        -135/+115

Ov/Un:        51½  

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

1. 10-point teaser

       A. Pittsburgh -½ vs. Cincinnati

       B. Miami +12 vs. Jacksonville

       C. Philadelphia +11 vs. Baltimore

 

2. 10-point teaser

       A. New England +12 vs. Miami

       B. Dallas Pk vs. San Francisco

       C. Tampa Bay +2 vs. Detroit

 

3. 10-point teaser

       A. New York Jets +15 vs. Tennessee

       B. Denver +1 vs. Oakland

       C. Seattle +13½ vs. Washington

 

4. 10-point teaser

       A. Indianapolis +13 vs. San Diego

       B. Green Bay + 12½ vs. New Orleans

       C. Pittsburgh & Cincinnati Over 24

 

5. 10-point teaser

       A. Minnesota & Jacksonville Over 30½

       B. Atlanta & Carolina Under 52½

       C. Seattle & Washington Under 50½

 

6. 13-point teaser

       A. Pittsburgh +2½ vs. Cincinnati

       B. New England +15 vs. Miami

       C. Minnesota & Jacksonville Over 27½

       D. Houston & Cleveland Over 36½

 

7. 13-point teaser

       A. Minnesota +15 vs. Jacksonville

       B. Chicago +5 vs. St. Louis

       C. Green Bay & New Orleans Over 38½

       D. Dallas & San Francisco Under 60

 

8. 13-point teaser

       A. Philadelphia +14 vs. Baltimore

       B. Dallas +3 vs. San Francisco

       C. New England & Miami Under 55

       D. Pittsburgh & Cincinnati Over 21

 

9. 13-point teaser

       A. New York Jets +18 vs. Tennessee

       B. Tampa Bay +5 vs. Detroit

       C. Denver +4 vs. Oakland

       D. Green Bay +15½ vs. New Orleans

 

10. 13-point teaser

       A. Atlanta +11½ vs. Carolina

       B. Seattle +16½ vs. Washington

       C. Indianapolis +16 vs. San Diego

       D. Buffalo & Kansas City Over 30½

 

11. 13-point teaser

       A. New York Jets & Tennessee Over 27½

       B. Philadelphia & Baltimore Over 26½

       C. Chicago & St. Louis Over 30

       D. Buffalo +10 vs. Kansas City               

     

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

November 13, 2008

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

PiRate Ratings For NFL Week 11

 

The PiRate Pro Ratings (Rating)

 

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

 

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

 

The Mean Ratings (Mean)

 

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

 

The Bias Ratings (Biased)

 

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

 

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

 

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

Current NFL Standings

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFC East

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

New York

8

1

0

262

160

108.73

107.66

108.18

2

Washington

6

3

0

171

168

100.32

100.91

101.54

2

Philadelphia

5

4

0

251

180

108.50

105.53

104.70

2

Dallas

5

4

0

216

219

100.33

101.20

101.60

2

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFC North

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Chicago

5

4

0

237

194

106.55

102.63

104.33

2

Minnesota

5

4

0

210

215

101.66

101.38

101.90

2

Green Bay

4

5

0

237

206

104.33

103.23

102.81

2

Detroit

0

9

0

151

277

87.31

89.90

85.94

3

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFC South

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Carolina  

7

2

0

191

133

106.84

104.19

105.90

2

Tampa Bay

6

3

0

200

147

106.08

103.46

105.01

2

Atlanta

6

3

0

211

174

104.11

102.06

104.33

2

New Orleans

4

5

0

236

229

100.49

100.32

99.06

2

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFC West

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Arizona

6

3

0

263

208

103.71

102.93

104.42

3

Seattle

2

7

0

170

231

92.76

95.33

94.11

3

San Francisco

2

7

0

195

259

92.62

93.51

91.32

3

St. Louis

2

7

0

128

282

84.47

90.05

86.60

2

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC East

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

New England

6

3

0

188

160

99.65

102.71

104.17

2

New York

6

3

0

255

190

102.62

102.12

104.04

2

Miami

5

4

0

192

182

100.60

99.58

102.53

2

Buffalo

5

4

0

192

189

97.47

97.85

99.16

3

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC North

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Pittsburgh

6

3

0

198

140

107.83

105.45

105.75

2

Baltimore

6

3

0

212

150

106.45

105.14

105.41

3

Cleveland

3

6

0

172

194

98.52

98.51

96.50

2

Cincinnati

1

8

0

125

236

91.18

92.96

92.12

2

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC South

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Tennessee

9

0

0

220

117

111.42

107.94

108.77

2

Indianapolis

5

4

0

191

197

103.05

103.17

103.14

2

Jacksonville

4

5

0

198

186

100.01

100.75

99.05

3

Houston

3

6

0

209

254

96.02

97.67

95.84

3

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC West

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Denver

5

4

0

224

251

95.51

96.94

99.19

2

San Diego

4

5

0

244

218

101.06

100.83

101.68

2

Oakland

2

7

0

113

218

88.97

91.40

89.57

2

Kansas City

1

8

0

145

243

90.94

92.67

91.42

2

 

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

 

NFL Previews-Week 11

 

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

Time:           8:15 EST Thursday 11/13

TV:               NFL Network

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

 

PiRate:         Jets by 1                  

Mean:           New England by 3

Bias:             New England by 2

Vegas:        New England by 3    -165/+155

Ov/Un:        40½  

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Time:           1PM EST

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Dome

 

PiRate:         Atlanta by 11

Mean:           Atlanta by 7

Bias:             Atlanta by 7

Vegas:        Atlanta by 6       -265/+245

Ov/Un:        50½              

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Time:           1PM EST

TV:               CBS

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

 

PiRate:         Miami by 14      

Mean:           Miami by 10

Bias:             Miami by 15

Vegas:        Miami by 10½   -500/+400   

Ov/Un:        38

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Time:           1PM EST

TV:               CBS

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

 

PiRate:         Giants by 4

Mean:           Giants by 5

Bias:             Giants by 5

Vegas:        Giants by 7        -290/+245

Ov/Un:        41½

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Time:           1PM EST

TV:               CBS

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

 

PiRate:         Indianapolis by 9

Mean:           Indianapolis by 8

Bias:             Indianapolis by 9

Vegas:         Indianapolis by 7½ -340/+310  

Ov/Un:        50

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Time:           1:00 PM EST

TV:               Fox

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

 

PiRate:         Tossup

Mean:          Green Bay by 3

Bias:            Tossup

Vegas:         Green Bay by 4½     -210/+180  

Ov/Un:        44½

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

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

 

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

 

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

Time:           1PM EST

TV:               Fox

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

 

PiRate:         Philadelphia by 15

Mean:           Philadelphia by 13

Bias:             Philadelphia by 11

Vegas:        Philadelphia by 9½         -385/+355  

Ov/Un:        41½

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

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

 

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

 

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

Time:           1:00 PM EST

TV:               Fox

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

 

PiRate:         New Orleans by 8

Mean:           New Orleans by 6

Bias:             New Orleans by 6

Vegas:        New Orleans by 5½        -240/+200  

Ov/Un:        49½

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Time:           1:00PM EST

TV:               Fox

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

 

PiRate:         Carolina by 22

Mean:          Carolina by 16

Bias:             Carolina by 22

Vegas:         Carolina by 14          -800/+650

Ov/Un:        39½

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Time:           1:00 PM EST

TV:               Fox

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

 

PiRate:         Tampa Bay by 6

Mean:          Tampa Bay by 4

Bias:             Tampa Bay by 5

Vegas:         Tampa Bay by 3        -185/+165

Ov/Un:        38½

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

Time:           4:05PM EST

TV:               Fox

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

 

PiRate:         San Francisco by 11

Mean:           San Francisco by 6

Bias:             San Francisco by 8

Vegas:        San Francisco by 7          -265/+245

Ov/Un:        45

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

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

 

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

Time:           4:05PM EST

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Cloudy, light wind, temperature near 55

 

PiRate:         Arizona by 8

Mean:           Arizona by 5

Bias:             Arizona by 7

Vegas:        Arizona by 3      -140/+130       

Ov/Un:        47½

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

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

 

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

 

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

Time:           4:15 PM EST

TV:               CBS

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

 

PiRate:         Tennessee by 8

Mean:          Tennessee by 4

Bias:            Tennessee by 7

Vegas:         Tennessee by 3        -145/+125

Ov/Un:        39½

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Time:           4:15 PM EST

TV:               CBS

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

 

PiRate:         Pittsburgh by 9

Mean:           Pittsburgh by 7

Bias:             Pittsburgh by 6

Vegas:        Pittsburgh by 4        -225/+185

Ov/Un:        43

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Time:           8:15PM EST

TV:               NBC

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

                    

PiRate:         Washington by 2

Mean:           Washington by 2

Bias:             Washington by 2

Vegas:        Tossup         -120/+110

Ov/Un:        43½

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Time:           8:30PM EST Monday

TV:               ESPN

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

 

PiRate:         Buffalo by 2

Mean:           Buffalo by 2

Bias:             Buffalo by 6

Vegas:        Buffalo 6     -225/+185

Ov/Un:        41½  

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

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

 

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

 

Another Nice Winning Week Against The Spreads

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

1. Tampa Bay -3 vs. Minnesota

2. Pittsburgh -4 vs. San Diego

3. Buffalo -225 vs. Cleveland

4. Tampa Bay -185 vs. Minnesota

5. Pittsburgh -225 vs. San Diego

 

6. Money Line Parlay (-130)

       A. Miami over Oakland

       B. Indianapolis over Houston

       C. Carolina over Detroit

 

7. Money Line Parlay (+220)

       A. Buffalo over Cleveland

       B. Tampa Bay over Minnesota

       C. Pittsburgh over San Diego

 

8. 10-point Teaser

       A. Miami -½ vs. Oakland

       B. Indianapolis +2½ vs. Houston

       C. Jacksonville +13 vs. Tennessee

 

9. 10-point Teaser

       A. Kansas City +15½ vs. New Orleans

       B. Tampa Bay +7 vs. Minnesota

       C. St. Louis +17 vs. San Francisco

 

10. 10-point Teaser

A. Pittsburgh +6 vs. San Diego

       B. Dallas +10 vs. Washington

       C. Cleveland & Buffalo Over 31½

 

11. 13-point Teaser

       A. Chicago +17½ vs. Green Bay

       B. Miami +2½ vs. Oakland

       C. Baltimore +20 vs. New York Giants

       D. Indianapolis +5½ vs. Houston

 

12. 13-point Teaser

       A. Jacksonville +16 vs. Tennessee

       B. Kansas City +18½ vs. New Orleans

       C. Carolina -1 vs. Detroit

       D. Tampa Bay +10 vs. Minnesota

 

13. 13-point Teaser

       A. St. Louis +20 vs. San Francisco

       B. Seattle +16 vs. Arizona

       C. Pittsburgh +9 vs. San Diego

       D. Dallas +13 vs. Washington

 

14. 13-point Teaser

       A. Cleveland & Buffalo Over 28½

       B. Denver & Atlanta Over 37½

       C. Miami & Oakland Over 25

       D. Jacksonville & Tennessee Over 26½

 

15. 13-point Teaser

       A. Denver & Atlanta Under 63½

       B. Carolina & Detroit Over 26½

       C. Tampa Bay & Minnesota Over 25½

       D. Dallas & Washington Over 30½           

     

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

October 31, 2008

PiRate Ratings Week 9 Previews: November 2-3, 2008

PiRate Ratings For NFL Week Nine

 

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

6

1

0

191

115

107.28

105.97

108.82

2

Washington

6

2

0

165

145

103.07

103.15

103.81

2

Dallas

5

3

0

202

184

103.45

102.51

103.76

2

Philadelphia

4

3

0

194

137

110.42

105.79

108.21

2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFC North

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Chicago

4

3

0

196

150

109.13

104.51

103.50

2

Green Bay

4

3

0

194

159

104.51

103.36

102.34

2

Minnesota

3

4

0

154

167

101.31

100.19

99.87

2

Detroit

0

7

0

114

212

87.30

89.81

87.79

3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFC South

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Carolina

6

2

0

174

127

107.66

104.87

105.07

2

Tampa Bay

5

3

0

170

120

108.19

105.13

105.83

2

Atlanta

4

3

0

153

154

101.68

99.64

101.03

2

New Orleans

4

4

0

216

195

102.11

101.54

101.50

2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFC West

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Arizona

4

3

0

200

171

104.55

103.02

103.48

3

Seattle  

2

5

0

144

184

93.30

95.96

94.42

3

St. Louis

2

5

0

113

201

89.46

94.10

93.88

2

San Francisco

2

6

0

171

230

92.04

92.52

91.08

3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC East

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Buffalo

5

2

0

165

143

99.90

100.38

101.42

3

New England

5

2

0

153

133

97.26

101.67

103.55

2

New York

4

3

0

182

170

96.97

98.49

100.46

2

Miami

3

4

0

145

146

100.01

99.10

99.39

2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC North

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Pittsburgh

5

2

0

155

110

107.61

105.24

105.74

2

Baltimore

4

3

0

134

110

103.02

102.46

101.86

3

Cleveland

3

4

0

115

123

100.42

100.79

99.21

2

Cincinnati

0

8

0

104

217

89.16

90.63

90.13

2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC South

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Tennessee

7

0

0

180

87

110.36

108.07

108.05

2

Jacksonville

3

4

0

141

151

100.30

100.30

99.09

3

Houston

3

4

0

175

185

98.07

98.98

99.58

3

Indianapolis

3

4

0

149

162

101.86

100.89

100.12

2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC West

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Denver

4

3

0

173

195

94.48

96.17

97.70

2

San Diego

3

5

0

224

199

101.39

101.39

100.12

2

Oakland

2

5

0

107

177

87.70

92.70

90.85

2

Kansas City

1

6

0

99

193

85.98

90.58

88.28

2

                         

 

NFL Previews-Week Nine

 

Green Bay (4-3) at Tennessee (7-0)

Time:           1PM EDT

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Sunny, no wind, temperature near 70

 

PiRate:         Tennessee by 8

Mean:           Tennessee by 7

Bias:             Tennessee by 8

Vegas:        Tennessee by 5½     -225/+205

Ov/Un:        41

Strategy:     Green Bay +5½, Green Bay +15½ in 10-point teaser, Green Bay +18½ in 13-point teaser, Over 31 in 10-point teaser, Over 28 in 13-point teaser    

The Titans are coming off an emotional Monday night win over the Colts, while the Packers are coming off a bye week.  If ever there was a better time to go against a 7-0 home favorite, this would be that week.

 

Tennessee, on paper, looks to be too strong for Green Bay, but I expect a less than stellar performance from the Titans.  The defense will have a harder time stopping Donald Driver and Greg Jennings than they did in stopping the Colts’ receivers.  The Titan passing game faced an old “60 defense” scheme from the Colts Monday night, and still Kerry Collins could not pass for 200 yards.  Look for Green Bay to bring an eighth player into the box and force Collins to beat the Packers through the air.  Green Bay’s secondary is better than Indy’s, and I think they will be ready to hold Tennessee to 17 points or less.

 

Aaron Rodgers should be able to pass for 200 yards in this game, but the Packer running game may be ground to a halt.  Green Bay may not score more than 14 or 17 points either, but that should be enough to cover.

 

Tampa Bay (5-3) at Kansas City (1-6)

Time:           1PM EDT

TV:               Fox

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

 

PiRate:         Tampa Bay by 20

Mean:           Tampa Bay by 13

Bias:             Tampa Bay by 16

Vegas:        Tampa Bay by 9       -400/+350

Ov/Un:        36

Strategy:     Tampa Bay +1 in 10-point teaser, Tampa Bay +4 in 13-point teaser, Over 23 in 13-point teaser

Tampa Bay’s offense came to a crushing hall last week in the Big D, but it should bounce back this week against the moribund Chiefs’ defense.  Kansas City played much better on offense last week against the Jets, and they should come close to matching that output this week.  I think the Chiefs can give the Bucs a good game, but in the end Tampa Bay should be strong enough to emerge with some type of victory.  I expect both teams to top 14 points, so I like teasing the Over, especially at 13 points.

 

Baltimore (4-3) at Cleveland (3-4)

Time:           1PM EDT

TV:               CBS

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

 

PiRate:         Baltimore by 1  

Mean:           Tossup

Bias:             Baltimore by 1

Vegas:        Cleveland by 1½      -125/+105  

Ov/Un:        36

Strategy:     Baltimore +11½ in 10-point teaser, Baltimore +14½ in 13-point teaser, Over 26 in 10-point teaser, Over 23 in 13-point teaser

The Ravens embarrassed the Browns in the first meeting between these two teams.  Cleveland was leading 10-7, and then Derek Anderson threw two touchdown passes-unfortunately to Baltimore defenders.  The Ravens went on to win 28-10.

 

Anderson had possibly his worst day as a pro that day, and he will be ready to show Baltimore he can play much better.  Still, he will have to worry about the Ravens’ pass rush, and that could mean it won’t be a stellar day on the lake.

 

I think Cleveland has a strong chance of winning this game and moving into a 2nd place tie in the AFC North at 4-4 after starting the season 0-3.  4-4 would put them in the wildcard hunt, especially in the mediocre NFL this season.

 

I cannot see the Browns winning big in this game.  The Ravens could conceivably move into a first place tie this weekend, so they will be ready for bear.  In this tossup contest, I’ll tease the underdog to get what I feel are extra points.  Even though this game won’t be an offensive assault, I think the totals line is a tad conservative, so I’ll tease the Over for the same reason I teased the Ravens.

 

Detroit (0-7) at Chicago (4-3)

Time:           1PM EDT

TV:               Fox

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

 

PiRate:         Chicago by 24

Mean:           Chicago by 17

Bias:             Chicago by 18

Vegas:        Chicago by 12½ -600/+500

Ov/Un:        43

Strategy:     Chicago -2½ in 10-point teaser, Chicago +½ in 13-point teaser, under 56 in 13-point teaser 

This was a major slaughter the first time around in the Motor City, and the Bears should be able to win big again this week.  Should doesn’t mean will, as usually the second time around after a team is blown out, they perform somewhat better.  Detroit blew a chance to pull out the upset at home last week against Washington, so I think the players will be a little down in the dumps this week.  I am almost brazen enough to take Chicago at -600 in the money line, but I cannot pull the lever on that one.  I’ll play it safe and take the Bears in a teaser.

 

I don’t see Detroit scoring more than 17 points in this game, and I don’t see the Bears winning by 30 or more, so I like playing the Under in a 13-point teaser.  A final of 35-20 still wins for us in this one.

 

New York Jets (4-3) at Buffalo (5-2)

Time:           1PM EDT

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Partly cloudy, moderate wind, temperature in low to mid 40’s

 

PiRate:         Buffalo by 6

Mean:           Buffalo by 5

Bias:             Buffalo by 4

Vegas:         Buffalo by 5½    -220/+200

Ov/Un:        41

Strategy:     Buffalo -220, Buffalo +4½ in 10-point teaser, Buffalo +7½ in 13-point teaser, Jets +18½ in 13-point teaser, Over 31 in 10-point teaser, Over 28 in 13-point teaser  

This could be the most interesting game of the week.  A Jet win could mean a three-way tie for first come Sunday night.  A Bills win would put them in a commanding position for breaking the long playoff drought.

 

This will be the first game for both teams played in what I call winter-like weather, and when that happens, it usually means the passing game suffers some.  The team with the better running game against the opponent’s run defense usually fares better than expected.  Buffalo has the advantage in this phase, and I think that’s all they will need to emerge with a small victory margin.  I see this one ending 21-17 in favor of the home team.

 

Jacksonville (3-4) at Cincinnati (0-8)

Time:           1PM EDT

TV:               CBS

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

 

PiRate:         Jacksonville by 9

Mean:          Jacksonville by 8

Bias:            Jacksonville by 7

Vegas:        Jacksonville by 7½         -335/+305

Ov/Un:        40

Strategy:     Jacksonville +2½ in 10-point teaser, Jacksonville +5½ in 13-point teaser, Under 53 in 13-point teaser

Have the Bengals quit on the season?  Since the nine-point loss at Dallas, it looks like the team has just gone through the motions in their three most recent losses.  Scoring just six points against Houston reveals this team has hit rock bottom.  Carson Palmer will not play once again, and the striped-helmets just don’t move the ball without him under center.

 

Jacksonville is on the verge of dropping out of the playoff race.  This is a must win for the Jags, because at 3-5 they will be looking up at too many other teams.  They haven’t possessed the killer instinct.  They play up or down to the competition.  I expect them to play down some this week, and thus I cannot call for them to do to Cinti what the Jets, Steelers, and Texans did in the last three games.  Jacksonville could very well win by 10-14, but they could easily be forced to either come from behind to nip the Bengals or hold off a late rally in order to escape with a win. 

 

I’ll surmise that they will attempt to control the clock and eat up time with long drives, so I’m going to predict a final score of no more than 50 total points.  This is an iffy prediction, and I would only rely on it to fill out the last part of a four-game parlay when you don’t have any other options.

 

Houston (3-4) at Minnesota (3-4)

Time:           1PM EDT

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Dome

 

PiRate:         Minnesota by 5

Mean:           Minnesota by 3

Bias:             Minnesota by 2

Vegas:        Minnesota by 4½     -210/+180

Ov/Un:        47

Strategy:     Houston +14½ in 10-point teaser, Houston +17½ in 13-point teaser, Over 37 in 10-point teaser, Over 34 in 13-point teaser

After a horrendous 0-4 start amidst the recovery from Hurricane Ike, the Texans have won three straight games to back into a tie for second place in the AFC South.  Minnesota has sputtered like an engine needing a tune-up.  The Vikings are also 3-4, but they look more like a team headed to a 6-10 record, while Houston looks more like a team headed to a 9-7 record.

 

I am not asking the Texans to win this road game, especially since Minnesota had an extra week to prepare.  I am looking for them to keep it close and have a chance to win it in the fourth quarter.  I cannot see a two-touchdown Viking conquest. 

 

I think this could be a 35-31 type game, so I am tempted to tease the Over.  However, 34 points is still a lot even in a 13-point teaser.  Likewise, I am not confident about teasing an Under at 60 points.

 

Arizona (5-2) at St. Louis (2-5)

Time:           1:00PM EDT

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Dome

 

PiRate:         Arizona by 13

Mean:           Arizona by 7

Bias:             Arizona by 8

Vegas:        Arizona by 3      -155/+135

Ov/Un:        48

Strategy:     St. Louis +13 in 10-point teaser, St. Louis +16 in 13-point teaser, Under 61 in 13-point teaser

Not only is this the return of the former St. Louis team, it is the return of the former Ram quarterback who led the current St. Louis team to its Super Bowl Championship.

 

Both teams were in rough and tough games that went to the wire last week, and both teams enter this game with some possible injury concerns on offense.  That makes me feel comfortable about teasing the Under in this one.  I can see this game being lower scoring than expected, so I also like teasing the home underdog as well.  It wouldn’t shock me to see this one end with a final of 24-17.  If the Rams can pull off the upset, they will actually be in contention to be in contention in the NFC West.  9-7 could be good enough to win this division if St. Louis can win this game.  If the Cardinals win, then they are in great shape.

 

Miami (3-4) at Denver (4-3)

Time:           4:05PM EDT

TV:               CBS

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

 

PiRate:         Miami by 4

Mean:           Miami by 1

Bias:             Tossup

Vegas:        Denver by 3 -185/+160

Ov/Un:        50½

Strategy:     Denver +7 in 10-point teaser, Denver +10 in 13-point teaser, Miami +13 in 10-point teaser, Miami +16 in 13-point teaser

These two teams are hard to figure out; they are both Jekyll and Hyde teams.  The reason for that is they have potential but not confirmed stars in several key positions.  One week, you see the potential beginning to pay off, while the next week you see just how green these players are.

 

My thoughts on these two teams are that they could play 10 times and all 10 games would be within 10 points either way, and they would have both low and high scoring contests in those 10 tilts.  For that reason, I would stay away from the totals.

 

On the other hand, I find playing both sides on a teaser (especially the 13-point variety) enticing.  I look for this game to be decided on a couple of big plays, and either team could win (although I give Denver about a 60% chance of winning).  My guess is the Broncos could win by as much as 14 points or lose by as much as a TD. 

 

Atlanta (4-3) at Oakland (2-5)

Time:           4:15 PM EDT

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Good chance of rain, strong wind that should affect the game, temperature in the upper 50’s

 

PiRate:         Atlanta by 12

Mean:           Atlanta by 5

Bias:             Atlanta by 8

Vegas:        Atlanta by 3       -145/+125

Ov/Un:        41

Strategy:     Under 54 in 13-point teaser

This is another interesting game.  But first, I must post my annual Raiders’ tribute for their first November game.

 

The autumn wind is a pirate
Blustering in from sea
With a rollicking song he sweeps along
swaggering boisterously

His face is weather beaten
He wears a hooded sash
With his silver hat about his head
And a bristly black mustache

He growls as he storms the country
A villain big and bold
And the trees all shake and quiver and quake
As he robs them of their gold

The autumn wind is a Raider
Pillaging just for fun
He’ll knock you around and upside down
And laugh when he’s conquered and won

—Steve Sabol (NFL Films)

 

Unfortunately, the autumn wind emanating from Oakland, California, these days is nothing but a bunch of hot air.  The dirty birds from the Deep South may be the team pillaging for fun this week.  Atlanta is a strong wildcard contender, and first year head coach Mike Smith is a strong contender for Coach of the Year.

 

My guess here is that Atlanta will try to win this game with defense and ball-control and not force Matt Ryan to play like John Elway in order to win.  I don’t know if this will be successful, but I do believe it will lead to both teams scoring less than 24 points.  That makes a teasing of the Under look inviting.

 

Dallas (5-3) at New York Giants (6-1)

Time:           4:15PM EDT

TV:               Fox

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

 

 

PiRate:         Giants by 6

Mean:           Giants by 5

Bias:             Giants by 7

Vegas:        Giants by 9        -400/+325

Ov/Un:        41

Strategy:     Dallas +19 in 10-point teaser, Dallas +22 in 13-point teaser, Under 54 in 13-point teaser

 

No Tony Romo.  Maybe no Felix Jones or Jason Witten either.  Dallas would have a tough time beating the Giants at the Meadowlands with those three at full strength, so their chances of doing so with Brad Johnson at quarterback and possibly missing two key contributors doesn’t bode well for the Cowboys. 

 

The Giants are rather healthy heading into this game, and they could end remove one of their three NFC East challengers from serious contention. 

 

New York should win and push Dallas into last place in the division, but I don’t expect them to blow the Cowboys off the field.  What’s more likely to happen is that New York will get the lead in the first half and then play conservatively in the last 30 minutes.  They still have to play at Texas Stadium when Romo should be back, and they don’t need to give Dallas extra incentive in that game.

 

I expect to see the Giants win by 7-15 points this week and keep the total score under 50 points; I expect a score similar to 27-14.

 

Philadelphia (4-3) at Seattle (2-5)

Time:           4:15PM EDT

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Showers likely, light wind, temperature in the mid to upper 50’s

 

PiRate:         Philadelphia by 14

Mean:           Philadelphia by 7

Bias:             Philadelphia by 11

Vegas:        Philadelphia by 6½         -270/+250

Ov/Un:        42½

Strategy:     Seattle +16½ in 10-point teaser, Seattle +19½ in 13-point teaser, Over 29½ in 13-point teaser  

If this game were in Philly, I would have no trouble explaining how the Eagles would claw the Seahawks into the ground.  However, it’s Philly that must travel all the way across the country and take on Seattle in what could be messy field conditions.  Philadelphia has already played once on the West Coast and came away with a high-scoring win over the 49ers.  That final flurry of points was an oddity, and Seattle won’t surrender them.  Thus, I am looking for this game to be played a little more conservatively.

 

Seattle emerged from their slumber last week to annihilate San Francisco.  Returning home this week, I expect them to maintain some of that momentum.  Seneca Wallace had a breakout game as did fullback Leonard Weaver.  The Eagles will have to concentrate extra coverage to stop this combo from hooking up on any more long TD plays, and that should allow Seattle to run the ball with some success.  Weaver may be more valuable as a receiver than as a run blocker.

 

This is a must win game for both teams.  2-6 teams rarely recover in the second half to make the playoffs, so Seattle knows it has its back against the wall.  Philadelphia is in the toughest division in the NFL, and 4-4 is good enough for last place.

 

I’ll take the home team in the teasers and also tease the Over, as I expect both teams to top 17 points.

 

New England (5-2) at Indianapolis (3-4)

Time:           8:15PM EDT

TV:               NBC

Forecast:     Partly cloudy, light wind, temperature dropping from low 60’s to the low 50’s if roof is open, but it is likely to be closed

             

PiRate:         Indianapolis by 7

Mean:           Indianapolis by 1

Bias:             New England by 1

Vegas:        Indianapolis by 6     -260/+220

Ov/Un:        44

Strategy:     New England +16 in 10-point teaser, New England +19 in 13-point teaser, Over 31 in 13-point teaser

I don’t like this game.  It’s not the teams, it’s their collective health.  Between these two, you could stage a football game inside a hospital, especially on the Colts’ side of the field.

 

There is no way to know for sure (Thursday evening) which of the injured players will be available, and there are too many quality Colts on the fence as of now.  So, I cannot really make an official guess at the score for this game.  I do know that even at 100% healthy, I do not see the Colts winning by two touchdowns.  So, using the opinion that Indianapolis will be somewhat hampered with injuries, I see the Patriots either winning this game or losing by single digits.  Either way, New England should cover the spread in the teasers.

 

Peyton Manning should be able to lead his team to 21 or more points win or lose, so I like teasing the Over as well.

 

Pittsburgh (5-2) at Washington (5-2)

Time:           8:30PM EDT Monday

TV:               ESPN

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

 

PiRate:         Pittsburgh by 3

Mean:           Tossup

Bias:             Tossup

Vegas:        Washington by 1½         -125/+105

Ov/Un:        36½

Strategy:     Washington +8½ in 10-point teaser, Washington +11½ in 13-point teaser, Over 23½ in 13-point teaser 

Every Monday night game has been high scoring this season, and I cannot find any reason to expect anything different this week.  Both teams should score in excess of 17 points in this game, so the relatively low Over/Under line makes this one appealing as an Over tease. 

 

I like the home team as a touchdown plus underdog as well, so teasing the Redskins is another option.

 

 

The Imaginary Bank Account Loses A Little On A Break-Even Week

 

Last week’s picks finished 7-7-3.  Of course, when you go .500 picking games, it is a losing week.  The picks lost $150.  For the season, my picks are now 59-35-6 (62.8%).  The account balance is $1,525.  For the year, my Return on investment is down to 15.3%, or about half of what it was two weeks ago.

 

Both the straight wager and teaser picks broke even.  The straight picks finished 4-4-2 and the teasers finished 3-3-1.

 

This week, I am going to play fewer games and try to find the games that I feel strongest about in my chances to be correct.

 

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

 

  • 1. Green Bay +5½ vs. Tennessee
  • 2. Buffalo -220 vs. New York Jets

 

  • 3. 10-point Teaser
  • A. Green Bay & Tennessee Over 31
  • B. Tampa Bay +1 vs. Kansas City
  • C. Baltimore +11½ vs. Cleveland

 

  • 4. 10-point Teaser
  • A. Chicago -2½ vs. Detroit
  • B. Buffalo + 4½ vs. New York Jets
  • C. Houston +14½ vs. Minnesota

 

  • 5. 10-point Teaser
  • A. New York Jets & Buffalo Over 31
  • B. Denver +7 vs. Miami
  • C. Seattle +16½ vs. Philadelphia

 

  • 6. 13-point Teaser
  • A. Green Bay +18½ vs. Tennessee
  • B. Tampa Bay +4 vs. Kansas City
  • C. Baltimore +14½ vs. Cleveland
  • D. Chicago +½ vs. Detroit

 

  • 7. 13-point Teaser
  • A. Green Bay & Tennessee Over 28
  • B. Tampa Bay & Kansas City Over 23
  • C. Chicago & Detroit Under 56
  • D. New York Jets & Buffalo Over 28

 

  • 8. 13-point Teaser
  • A. Houston +17½ vs. Minnesota
  • B. St. Louis & Arizona Under 61
  • C. Denver +10 vs. Miami
  • D. Dallas +22 vs. New York Giants

 

  • 9. 13-point Teaser
  • A. Seattle +19½ vs. Philadelphia
  • B. New England +19 vs. Indianapolis
  • C. New England & Indianapolis Over 31
  • D. Washington & Pittsburgh Over 23½

         

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.

 

NOTE: Due to the scheduling of Thursday games for the next few weeks, expect this column to run on Thursday afternoons during that time.

September 26, 2008

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

PiRate Ratings For NFL Week Four

(Listed Alphabetically Within Each Division)
NFC East

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

 
Dallas

3

0

0

96

63

113.56

109.11

109.08

2

 
New York

3

0

0

83

43

105.26

105.58

107.36

2

 
Philadelphia

2

1

0

90

50

110.86

107.07

108.31

2

 
Washington

2

1

0

60

57

105.74

102.17

103.37

2

 
   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
NFC North

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

 
Chicago

1

2

0

70

60

105.16

102.48

100.27

2

 
Detroit

0

3

0

59

113

86.65

90.03

89.19

3

 
Green Bay

2

1

0

88

71

106.24

103.71

104.95

2

 
Minnesota

1

2

0

54

52

104.57

101.33

99.97

2

 
   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
NFC South

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

 
Atlanta

2

1

0

81

59

96.23

97.28

97.01

2

 
Carolina

2

1

0

56

61

101.51

101.57

102.12

2

 
New Orleans

1

2

0

80

83

104.27

100.82

101.05

2

 
Tampa Bay

2

1

0

71

57

104.04

102.73

102.85

2

 
   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
NFC West

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

 
Arizona

2

1

0

71

47

103.78

101.02

102.29

3

 
St. Louis

0

3

0

29

116

76.37

86.82

84.63

2

 
San Francisco

2

1

0

67

56

94.04

96.39

97.14

3

 
Seattle

1

2

0

67

70

94.51

96.81

99.47

3

 
   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
AFC East

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

 
Buffalo

3

0

0

78

49

101.85

103.16

104.75

3

 
Miami

1

2

0

62

64

94.20

96.85

95.39

2

 
New England

2

1

0

49

58

100.19

101.62

104.35

2

 
New York

1

2

0

59

81

94.49

96.99

96.90

2

 
   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
AFC North

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

 
Baltimore

2

0

0

45

20

101.46

100.74

102.42

3

 
Cincinnati

0

3

0

40

67

95.26

96.83

95.84

2

 
Cleveland

0

3

0

26

66

89.56

94.30

91.95

2

 
Pittsburgh

2

1

0

54

38

102.78

103.38

103.62

2

 
   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
AFC South

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

 
Houston

0

2

0

29

69

89.13

96.35

93.42

3

 
Indianapolis

1

2

0

52

67

101.40

101.34

101.17

2

 
Jacksonville

1

2

0

49

58

103.10

102.42

101.84

3

 
Tennessee

3

0

0

72

29

105.98

106.64

106.51

2

 
   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
AFC West

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

 
Denver

3

0

0

114

84

104.17

103.69

104.08

2

 
Kansas City

0

2

0

32

78

82.22

90.08

88.50

2

 
Oakland

1

2

0

60

73

94.45

96.52

94.39

2

 
San Diego

1

2

0

110

94

106.59

104.07

105.92

2

 

 

 

NFL Previews-Week Four

 

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

Time:           1 PM EDT

TV:               CBS

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

 

PiRate:         Denver by 20    

Mean:           Denver by 12

Bias:             Denver by 4

Vegas:        Denver by 9½

Ov/Un:        46½

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Time:           1 PM EDT

TV:               CBS

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

 

PiRate:        Cincinnati by 8

Mean:           Cincinnati by 5

Bias:             Cincinnati by 6

Vegas:        Cincinnati by 3½

Ov/Un:        44

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

Time:           1 PM EDT

TV:               CBS

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

 

PiRate:        Jacksonville by 17

Mean:           Jacksonville by 9

Bias:             Jacksonville by 11

Vegas:        Jacksonville by 7

Ov/Un:        42½

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

Time:           1 PM EDT

TV:               FOX

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

 

PiRate:        Arizona by 7

Mean:           Arizona by 2

Bias:             Arizona by 3

Vegas:        New York Jets by 1

Ov/Un:        44

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

Time:           1 PM EDT

TV:               FOX

Forecast:     Dome

 

PiRate:        New Orleans by 12

Mean:           New Orleans by 6

Bias:             New Orleans by 6

Vegas:        New Orleans by 5½

Ov/Un:        48

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

Time:           1 PM EDT

TV:               FOX

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

 

PiRate:        Carolina by 7

Mean:           Carolina by 6

Bias:             Carolina by 7

Vegas:        Carolina by 6½

Ov/Un:        39½

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

Time:           1 PM EDT

TV:               FOX

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

 

PiRate:        Tennessee by 3

Mean:           Tennessee by 7

Bias:             Tennessee by 9

Vegas:        Tennessee by 3

Ov/Un:        35½

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

Time:           1 PM EDT

TV:               FOX

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

 

PiRate:        Pick’em

Mean:           Tampa Bay by 1

Bias:             Pick’em

Vegas:        Pick’em

Ov/Un:        42½

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

Time:           4:05 PM EDT

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Dome

 

PiRate:        Buffalo by 23

Mean:           Buffalo by 14

Bias:             Buffalo by 18

Vegas:        Buffalo by 8

Ov/Un:        42

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

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

 

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

 

 

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

Time:           4:05 PM EDT

TV:               CBS

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

 

PiRate:        San Diego by 10

Mean:           San Diego by 6

Bias:             San Diego by 10

Vegas:        San Diego by 7½

Ov/Un:        45½

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Time:           4:15 PM EDT

TV:               FOX

Forecast:     Sunny, light wind, temperature near 90

 

PiRate:        Dallas by 10

Mean:           Dallas by 9

Bias:             Dallas by 8

Vegas:        Dallas by 11

Ov/Un:        46½

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

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

 

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

 

 

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

Time:           8:15 PM EDT

TV:               NBC

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

 

PiRate:        Philadelphia by 4

Mean:           Philadelphia by 3

Bias:             Philadelphia by 6

Vegas:        Philadelphia by 3

Ov/Un:        40½

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Time:           8:30 PM EDT Monday

TV:               ESPN

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

 

PiRate:        Pittsburgh by 3

Mean:           Pittsburgh by 5

Bias:             Pittsburgh by 3

Vegas:        Pittsburgh by 5

Ov/Un:        34½

Strategy:     Pittsburgh +5 in 10-point teaser 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

The Imaginary Bank Account Increases Again In Week Three

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

 

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

 

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

 

1. Jacksonville -300 Money Line

 

2. Pittsburgh -230 Money Line

 

3. New Orleans and San Francisco Over 48

 

4. 10-Point Teaser

       a. Denver & Kansas City Over 36½

       b. Houston +17 vs. Jacksonville

       c. Houston & Jacksonville Under 52½

 

5. 10-Point Teaser

       a. Jacksonville +3 vs. Houston

       b. Arizona +11 vs. New York Jets

       c. Arizona & New York Jets Over 34

 

6. 10-Point Teaser

       a. San Francisco and New Orleans Over 38

       b. Carolina + 3½ vs. Atlanta

       c. Minnesota +13 vs. Tennessee

 

7. 10-Point Teaser

       a. Tennessee +7 vs. Minnesota

       b. Tampa Bay +10 vs. Green Bay

       c. Buffalo +2 vs. St. Louis

 

8. 10-Point Teaser

       a. Buffalo & St. Louis Over 32

       b. San Diego +2½ vs. Oakland

       c. San Diego & Oakland Over 35½

 

9. 10-Point Teaser

       a. Oakland + 17½ vs. San Diego

       b. Washington +22 vs. Dallas

       c. Philadelphia +7 vs. Chicago      

 

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

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