The Pi-Rate Ratings

August 31, 2015

2015 NFC West Preview

One ill-advised pass is all that apparently separates the Seattle Seahawks from trying for a three-peat at Super Bowl 50.  Maybe, Russell Wilson should have kept an air pump needle in his sleeve and deflated the football a little, and the New England Patriots would not be the defending Super Bowl Champs.

All kidding aside, the Seahawks on paper look like the class of the NFC once again.  However, their job in the NFC West is not going to be easy with maybe the second best team in the conference also playing in the division.  Arizona might have earned the overall number one seed in the NFC last year had Carson Palmer not gone down to injury after the Cardinals began the season 9-1.

The St. Louis Rams face a season on the brink this year in more than one way.  Will they pull up roots and move back to where they once belonged in Los Angeles?  Will the acquisition of Nick Foles give the offense a consistent quarterback.  Will Jeff Fisher keep his job?  It will be an interesting season in the Gateway to the West.

San Francisco is a team under the radar.  The 49ers start over with a new coach in Jim Tomsula with a different offensive philosophy than outgoing coach Jim Harbaugh, a new starting running back, a new number one receiver, and four new defensive starters.  The team with the best won-loss record over a three-year period of 2011-13 fell to 8-8 last year, and where they go this year is a mystery.  The PiRates say the team will take on water in 2015.



Cardinals Starting Lineup
WR Larry Fitzgerald
WR Michael Floyd
TE Darren Fells
TE Ifeanyi Momah
LT Jared Veldheer
LG Ted Larsen
C A. Q. Shipley
RG Jonathan Cooper
RT Bobby Massie/D. J. Humphries
QB Carson Palmer
HB Andre Ellington
DE Calais Campbell
NT Rodney Gunter
DT Frostee Rucker
LB Lorenzo Alexander
LB Kevin Minter
LB Sean Weatherspoon
LB Alex Okafor
CB Patrick Peterson
S Tony Jefferson
S Tyrann Mathieu
CB Justin Bethel
N5 Deone Bucannon
Kicker Chandler Catanzaro
Punter Dave Zastudil
KR Brittan Golden
PR Brittan Golden
Arizona Cardinals
Head Coach Bruce Arians
Off. Coordinator Harold Goodwin
Def. Coordinator James Bettcher
2014 W-L-T 11-5-0
Pts 19.4
Opp 18.7
PiRate 101.3
Mean 100.5
Bias 101.3
Average 101.0
Running C-
Passing B
Vs. Run B-
Vs. Pass B-
Special Teams C+
Coaching + Intangibles B
Predicted W-L 10-6-0
Division Rank 2
Conference Rank 6
Overall Rank 12
Postseason Yes


Rams Starting Lineup
WR Kenny Britt
WR Tavon Austin
WR Stedman Bailey/Brian Quick
TE Jared Cook
LT Greg Robinson
LG Rodger Saffold
C Barrett Jones
RG Jamon Brown
RT Rob Havenstein
QB Nick Foles
HB Tre Mason
FB/TE Lance Kendricks
DE Chris Long
DT Aaron Donald
DT Michael Brockers
DE Robert Quinn
LB Jo-Lonn Dunbar
LB James Laurinaitis
LB Alec Ogletree
CB Trumaine Johnson
S T. J. McDonald
S Rodney McLeod
CB Janoris Jenkins
N5 Lamarcus Joyner
Kicker Greg Zuerlein
Punter Johnny Hekker
KR Benny Cunningham
PR Tavon Austin
St. Louis Rams
Head Coach Jeff Fisher
Off. Coordinator Dave McGinnis
Def. Coordinator Gregg Williams
2014 W-L-T 6-10-0
Pts 20.3
Opp 22.1
PiRate 95.9
Mean 98.6
Bias 95.0
Average 96.5
Running D
Passing C+
Vs. Run A
Vs. Pass B-
Special Teams B
Coaching + Intangibles B
Predicted W-L 7-9-0
Division Rank 4
Conference Rank 12
Overall Rank 24
Postseason No


49ers Starting Lineup
WR Torrey Smith
WR Anquan Bolden
WR Quinton Patton
TE Vernon Davis
LT Joe Staley
LG Alex Boone
C Joe Looney
RG Marcus Martin
RT Erik Pears
QB Colin Kaepernick
HB Carlos Hyde
FB Bruce Miller
DT Glenn Dorsey
NT Ian Williams
DT Quinton Dial
LB Ahmad Brooks/Eli Harold
LB Nick Moody
LB NaVorro Bowman
LB Corey Lemonier
CB Tramaine Brock
S Antoine Bethea
S Eric Reid
CB Shareece Wright/Keith Reaser
N5 Dontae Johnson
Kicker Phil Dawson
Punter Bradley Pinion
KR Reggie Bush
PR Reggie Bush
San Francisco 49ers
Head Coach Jim Tomsula
Off. Coordinator Geep Chryst
Def. Coordinator Eric Mangini
2014 W-L-T 8-8-0
Pts 19.1
Opp 21.3
PiRate 99.3
Mean 96.9
Bias 99.1
Average 98.4
Running A-
Passing B
Vs. Run C+
Vs. Pass C
Special Teams C
Coaching + Intangibles D
Predicted W-L 6-10-0
Division Rank 3
Conference Rank 11
Overall Rank 21
Postseason No


Seahawks Starting Lineup
WR Doug Baldwin
WR Jermaine Kearse
WR Ricardo Lockette
TE Jimmy Graham
LT Russell Okung
LG Justin Britt
C Drew Nowak
RG J. R. Sweezy/Alvin Bailey
RT Gary Gilliam
QB Russell Wilson
HB Marshawn Lynch
FB Derrick Coleman
DE Michael Bennett
DT Ahtyba Rubin
DT Brandon Mebane
DE Cliff Avril
LB Bruce Irvin
LB Bobby Wagner
LB K. J. Wright
CB Richard Sherman
S Dion Bailey
S Earl Thomas
CB Cary Williams
N5 Tye Smith
Kicker Steven Hauschka
Punter Jon Ryan
KR Tyler Lockett
PR Tyler Lockett
Seattle Seahawks
Head Coach Pete Carroll
Off. Coordinator Darell Bevell
Def. Coordinator Kris Richard
2014 W-L-T 12-4-0
Pts 24.6
Opp 15.9
PiRate 107.8
Mean 106.9
Bias 108.0
Average 107.6
Running B+
Passing B+
Vs. Run A-
Vs. Pass A
Special Teams B+
Coaching + Intangibles A
Predicted W-L 11-5-0
Division Rank 1
Conference Rank 2
Overall Rank 3
Postseason Yes


January 31, 2014

Pirate Ratings–Super Bowl Special

The PiRates have been a little occupied in the last fortnight with familial health issues, and we were not able to go to sea to our secret island where we gain the information to find out booty.


In real terms, multiple geriatric relatives needed special TLC, so we could not get to the university computer where we have access to simulations.


Here is how our three ratings see this game.


N F C A F C PiRate Mean Bias
Seattle Denver -0.5 -0.4 -0.5


Here is how we see the game based on studying the units on both sides.


When Denver has the ball:


The Broncos’ offensive line is A+ in pass protection and B+ in creating running holes.  The Seahawks defensive line and linebackers are A+ in pass rush and A- in stopping the run.  We give a slight edge here to the Seahawks.


The Broncos’ receivers and the Seahawks’ secondary are close to even.  Denver’s receivers get a little better grade because of the A++ quarterback, but overall we will call this one a push.


Peyton Manning added to the passing attack gives Denver a slight advantage against Seattle’s pass defense.


Knowshon Moreno may not be 100%, and Montee Ball is a considerable drop in talent for the Broncos’ running game.  Seattle gets a slight advantage here.


When Seattle has the ball:


The Seahawks’ offensve line gets an A- in pass protection and a B+ in creating running holes.  Denver’s defensive line and linebackers get an A in pass rush and a B in stopping the run.  Russell Wilson may have to scramble more than average, but the Seahawks might be able to control the clock and sustain drives with key gains on the ground.


The Seahawks’ receivers are clear and away superior to the Broncos’ makeshift secondary.  Without a potent pass rush and terrific blitz package for this game, Denver will have trouble stopping Seattle from completing short passes and stretching the field horizontally.  Seattle receives the largest advantage of the game here.


Wilson may not have a field day passing, and he might have to run the ball a couple times to shake the Denver pass defense, but his job will be easier than Manning’s job.


Marshawn Lynch may not have a John Riggins type game, but if he converts a bushel of first downs in short yardage situations and breaks open just one run, it may be enough to bring a Lombardi Trophy to King County.


Special Teams: If it comes down to a field goal, nobody is better than Denver’s Matt Prater.  However, this site notoriously has swirling winds, and the wind could make kicking an interesting propostion.


Our “Expert” Opinion—Seattle and Denver were definitely the two best teams in the NFL this season, and it should be a quite memorable Super Bowl, similar to the Indianapolis-New Orleans Super Bowl.


Seattle has been credited with being a terror at home and just good on the road, but the statistics paint a different story.  The Seahawks are just plain great no matter where the game is played.


Don’t believe for a second that we think this is a mismatch.  Yes, as you can read, we have the Seahawks favored to win the game with about a 60-65% chance of the outcome.  If you are the type to throw away your hard-earned income, the smart play would be to take Seattle and the points.


Our prediction is that Seattle will win by 4-6 points, even though our three computer ratings call it a virtual tossup and favor Denver by less than a point.


Seattle—21 to 31 points

Denver—16 to 25 points


Note—Beginning next week, we will switch to college basketball coverage.  The Big Dance is just 6 weeks away.

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