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.

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.

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