The Pi-Rate Ratings

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.

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November 6, 2008

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

PiRate Ratings For NFL Week 10

 

The PiRate Pro Ratings (Rating)

 

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

 

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

 

The Mean Ratings (Mean)

 

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

 

The Bias Ratings (Biased)

 

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

 

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

 

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

Current NFL Standings

                         
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFC East

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

New York

7

1

0

226

129

109.14

107.20

108.43

2

Washington

6

3

0

171

168

101.74

102.36

101.48

2

Philadelphia

5

3

0

220

144

110.07

106.36

107.24

2

Dallas

5

4

0

216

219

101.30

101.71

100.36

2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFC North

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Chicago

5

3

0

223

173

107.23

103.65

103.43

2

Green Bay

4

4

0

210

178

104.67

103.70

102.33

2

Minnesota

4

4

0

182

188

101.75

100.67

100.84

2

Detroit

0

8

0

137

239

89.18

90.56

90.31

3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFC South

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Carolina

6

2

0

174

127

107.60

104.89

105.56

2

Tampa Bay

6

3

0

200

147

105.89

103.85

102.61

2

Atlanta

5

3

0

177

154

102.86

101.51

102.13

2

New Orleans

4

4

0

216

195

101.57

100.90

100.55

2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFC West

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Arizona

5

3

0

234

184

104.89

103.95

104.23

3

San Francisco

2

6

0

171

230

92.37

92.64

94.36

3

Seattle

2

6

0

151

210

92.73

94.48

94.80

3

St. Louis

2

6

0

125

235

88.22

92.18

92.84

2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC East

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

New York

5

3

0

208

187

98.82

100.05

100.73

2

New England

5

3

0

168

150

97.96

101.13

100.78

2

Buffalo

5

3

0

182

169

98.19

98.80

99.16

3

Miami

4

4

0

171

163

100.66

99.80

99.85

2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC North

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Pittsburgh

6

2

0

178

116

109.21

107.03

106.91

2

Baltimore

5

3

0

171

137

104.08

103.73

103.42

3

Cleveland

3

5

0

142

160

99.50

99.87

98.13

2

Cincinnati

1

8

0

125

236

90.87

92.55

93.74

2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC South

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Tennessee

8

0

0

199

103

110.47

108.75

108.70

2

Indianapolis

4

4

0

167

177

101.55

101.48

100.66

2

Jacksonville

3

5

0

160

172

98.69

99.15

98.13

3

Houston  

3

5

0

196

213

98.14

98.36

98.46

3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC West

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Denver

4

4

0

190

221

93.84

95.57

97.04

2

San Diego

3

5

0

224

199

101.35

100.72

99.87

2

Oakland

2

6

0

107

201

86.91

91.22

90.88

2

Kansas City

1

7

0

126

223

88.42

91.10

92.06

2

 

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

 

NFL Previews-Week 10

 

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

Time:           8:15 EST Thursday 11/06

TV:               NFL Network

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

 

PiRate:         Cleveland by 6  

Mean:           Cleveland by 6

Bias:             Cleveland by 3

Vegas:        Cleveland by 3   -150/+170

Ov/Un:        46

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Time:           1PM EST

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Dome

 

PiRate:         Jacksonville by 10

Mean:           Jacksonville by 6

Bias:             Jacksonville by 6

Vegas:        Jacksonville by 6½         -260/+240

Ov/Un:        36½

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

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

 

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

 

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

Time:           1PM EST

TV:               CBS

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

 

PiRate:         Chicago by 1     

Mean:           Tennessee by 3

Bias:             Tennessee by 3

Vegas:        Tennessee by 3        -150/+130  

Ov/Un:        38½

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Time:           1PM EST

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Dome

 

PiRate:         Atlanta by 2

Mean:           Atlanta by 3

Bias:             Atlanta by 3

Vegas:        Tossup         -110/-110

Ov/Un:        50½

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

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

 

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

 

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

Time:           1PM EST

TV:               Fox

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

 

PiRate:         Jets by 10

Mean:           Jets by 10

Bias:             Jets by 9

Vegas:         Jets by 8     -335/+325

Ov/Un:        44½

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Time:           1PM EST

TV:               CBS

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

 

PiRate:         Buffalo by 1

Mean:          New England by 4

Bias:            New England by 3

Vegas:        New England by 3½ -185/+175

Ov/Un:        41½

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

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

 

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

 

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

Time:           1PM EST

TV:               CBS

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

 

PiRate:         Baltimore by 2

Mean:           Baltimore by 2

Bias:             Baltimore by 2

Vegas:        Baltimore by 1   -120/+100

Ov/Un:        42

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

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

 

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

 

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

Time:           1:00 PM EST

TV:               Fox

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

 

PiRate:         Miami by 9

Mean:           Miami by 7

Bias:             Miami by 7

Vegas:        Miami by 8½      -350/+320

Ov/Un:        43

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

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

 

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

 

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

Time:           1:00PM EST

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Dome

 

PiRate:         Green Bay by 1

Mean:           Green Bay by 1

Bias:             Tossup

Vegas:        Minnesota by 2½     -130/+120

Ov/Un:        45½

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Time:           4:05 PM EST

TV:               Fox

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

 

PiRate:         Carolina by 18

Mean:          Carolina by 12

Bias:             Carolina by 13

Vegas:         Carolina by 9½         -400/+360

Ov/Un:        37½

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Time:           4:15PM EST

TV:               CBS

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

 

 

PiRate:         San Diego by 17

Mean:           San Diego by 12

Bias:             San Diego by 10

Vegas:        San Diego by 15½   -1000/+700

Ov/Un:        47

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Time:           4:15PM EST

TV:               CBS

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

 

PiRate:         Pittsburgh by 8

Mean:           Pittsburgh by 8

Bias:             Pittsburgh by 8

Vegas:        No Line       

Ov/Un:        None

Strategy:     None

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

 

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

Time:           8:15PM EST

TV:               NBC

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

                    

PiRate:         Philadelphia by 5

Mean:           Philadelphia by 1

Bias:             Philadelphia by 1

Vegas:        Philadelphia by 3     -140/+130

Ov/Un:        43

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

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

 

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

 

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

Time:           8:30PM EST Monday

TV:               ESPN

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

 

PiRate:         Arizona by 16   

Mean:           Arizona by 14

Bias:             Arizona by 13

Vegas:        Arizona by 9½   -380/+350

Ov/Un:        46

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

The Imaginary Bank Account Makes A Deposit

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

1 Cleveland

-3

vs.

Denver

   

 

 

 

2 Philadelphia

-140

vs.

NY Giants

   

 

 

 

3 Arizona

-380

vs.

San Francisco

   

 

 

 

4 Money Line Parlay

 

 

 

(This 3-game parlay calculates at -130)

  Miami

-350

vs.

Seattle

  Carolina

-400

vs.

Oakland

  San Diego

-1000

vs.

Kansas City

   

 

 

 

5 10-point teaser

 

 

 

  Detroit

+16 1/2

vs.

Jacksonville

  Chicago

+13

vs.

Tennessee

  Atlanta

+10

vs.

New Orleans

   

 

 

 

6 10-point teaser

 

 

 

  NY Jets

+2

vs.

St. Louis

  Baltimore

+9

vs.

Houston

  Miami

+1 1/2

vs.

Seattle

   

 

 

 

7 10-point teaser

 

 

 

  Miami & Seattle

 

Over 30

  Green Bay

+12 1/2

vs.

Minnesota

  Carolina

+ 1/2

vs.

Oakland

   

 

 

 

8 10-point teaser

 

 

 

  Philadelphia

+7

vs.

NY Giants

  Arizona

+ 1/2

vs.

San Francisco

  San Francisco & Arizona

 

Over 36

   

 

 

 

9 13-point teaser

 

 

 

  Cleveland & Denver

 

Over 33

  Detroit

+19 1/2

vs.

Jacksonville

  Chicago

+16

vs.

Tennessee

  Atlanta

+13

vs.

New Orleans

   

 

 

 

10 13-point teaser

 

 

 

  Detroit & Jacksonville

 

Over 23 1/2

  NY Jets

+5

vs.

St. Louis

  New England

+9 1/2

vs.

Buffalo

  Baltimore

+12

vs.

Houston

   

 

 

 

11 13-point teaser

 

 

 

  NY Jets & St. Louis

 

Over 31 1/2

  New England & Buffalo

 

Under 54 1/2

  Miami

+4 1/2

vs.

Seattle

  Green Bay

+15 1/2

vs.

Minnesota

   

 

 

 

12 13-point teaser

 

 

 

  Miami & Seattle

 

Over 27

  Green Bay & Minnesota

 

Over 32 1/2

  Carolina

+3 1/2

vs.

Oakland

  Philadelphia

+10

vs.

NY Giants

   

 

 

 

13 13-point teaser

 

 

 

  Carolina & Oakland

 

Under 50 1/2

  Philadelphia & NY Giants

 

Over 30

  Arizona

+3 1/2

vs.

San Francisco

  San Francisco & Arizona

 

Over 33

     

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

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