The Pi-Rate Ratings

November 13, 2008

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

PiRate Ratings For NFL Week 11

 

The PiRate Pro Ratings (Rating)

 

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

 

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

 

The Mean Ratings (Mean)

 

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

 

The Bias Ratings (Biased)

 

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

 

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

 

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

Current NFL Standings

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFC East

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

New York

8

1

0

262

160

108.73

107.66

108.18

2

Washington

6

3

0

171

168

100.32

100.91

101.54

2

Philadelphia

5

4

0

251

180

108.50

105.53

104.70

2

Dallas

5

4

0

216

219

100.33

101.20

101.60

2

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFC North

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Chicago

5

4

0

237

194

106.55

102.63

104.33

2

Minnesota

5

4

0

210

215

101.66

101.38

101.90

2

Green Bay

4

5

0

237

206

104.33

103.23

102.81

2

Detroit

0

9

0

151

277

87.31

89.90

85.94

3

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFC South

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Carolina  

7

2

0

191

133

106.84

104.19

105.90

2

Tampa Bay

6

3

0

200

147

106.08

103.46

105.01

2

Atlanta

6

3

0

211

174

104.11

102.06

104.33

2

New Orleans

4

5

0

236

229

100.49

100.32

99.06

2

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFC West

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Arizona

6

3

0

263

208

103.71

102.93

104.42

3

Seattle

2

7

0

170

231

92.76

95.33

94.11

3

San Francisco

2

7

0

195

259

92.62

93.51

91.32

3

St. Louis

2

7

0

128

282

84.47

90.05

86.60

2

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC East

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

New England

6

3

0

188

160

99.65

102.71

104.17

2

New York

6

3

0

255

190

102.62

102.12

104.04

2

Miami

5

4

0

192

182

100.60

99.58

102.53

2

Buffalo

5

4

0

192

189

97.47

97.85

99.16

3

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC North

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Pittsburgh

6

3

0

198

140

107.83

105.45

105.75

2

Baltimore

6

3

0

212

150

106.45

105.14

105.41

3

Cleveland

3

6

0

172

194

98.52

98.51

96.50

2

Cincinnati

1

8

0

125

236

91.18

92.96

92.12

2

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC South

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Tennessee

9

0

0

220

117

111.42

107.94

108.77

2

Indianapolis

5

4

0

191

197

103.05

103.17

103.14

2

Jacksonville

4

5

0

198

186

100.01

100.75

99.05

3

Houston

3

6

0

209

254

96.02

97.67

95.84

3

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC West

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Denver

5

4

0

224

251

95.51

96.94

99.19

2

San Diego

4

5

0

244

218

101.06

100.83

101.68

2

Oakland

2

7

0

113

218

88.97

91.40

89.57

2

Kansas City

1

8

0

145

243

90.94

92.67

91.42

2

 

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

 

NFL Previews-Week 11

 

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

Time:           8:15 EST Thursday 11/13

TV:               NFL Network

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

 

PiRate:         Jets by 1                  

Mean:           New England by 3

Bias:             New England by 2

Vegas:        New England by 3    -165/+155

Ov/Un:        40½  

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Time:           1PM EST

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Dome

 

PiRate:         Atlanta by 11

Mean:           Atlanta by 7

Bias:             Atlanta by 7

Vegas:        Atlanta by 6       -265/+245

Ov/Un:        50½              

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Time:           1PM EST

TV:               CBS

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

 

PiRate:         Miami by 14      

Mean:           Miami by 10

Bias:             Miami by 15

Vegas:        Miami by 10½   -500/+400   

Ov/Un:        38

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Time:           1PM EST

TV:               CBS

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

 

PiRate:         Giants by 4

Mean:           Giants by 5

Bias:             Giants by 5

Vegas:        Giants by 7        -290/+245

Ov/Un:        41½

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Time:           1PM EST

TV:               CBS

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

 

PiRate:         Indianapolis by 9

Mean:           Indianapolis by 8

Bias:             Indianapolis by 9

Vegas:         Indianapolis by 7½ -340/+310  

Ov/Un:        50

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Time:           1:00 PM EST

TV:               Fox

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

 

PiRate:         Tossup

Mean:          Green Bay by 3

Bias:            Tossup

Vegas:         Green Bay by 4½     -210/+180  

Ov/Un:        44½

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

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

 

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

 

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

Time:           1PM EST

TV:               Fox

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

 

PiRate:         Philadelphia by 15

Mean:           Philadelphia by 13

Bias:             Philadelphia by 11

Vegas:        Philadelphia by 9½         -385/+355  

Ov/Un:        41½

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

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

 

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

 

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

Time:           1:00 PM EST

TV:               Fox

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

 

PiRate:         New Orleans by 8

Mean:           New Orleans by 6

Bias:             New Orleans by 6

Vegas:        New Orleans by 5½        -240/+200  

Ov/Un:        49½

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Time:           1:00PM EST

TV:               Fox

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

 

PiRate:         Carolina by 22

Mean:          Carolina by 16

Bias:             Carolina by 22

Vegas:         Carolina by 14          -800/+650

Ov/Un:        39½

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Time:           1:00 PM EST

TV:               Fox

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

 

PiRate:         Tampa Bay by 6

Mean:          Tampa Bay by 4

Bias:             Tampa Bay by 5

Vegas:         Tampa Bay by 3        -185/+165

Ov/Un:        38½

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

Time:           4:05PM EST

TV:               Fox

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

 

PiRate:         San Francisco by 11

Mean:           San Francisco by 6

Bias:             San Francisco by 8

Vegas:        San Francisco by 7          -265/+245

Ov/Un:        45

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

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

 

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

Time:           4:05PM EST

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Cloudy, light wind, temperature near 55

 

PiRate:         Arizona by 8

Mean:           Arizona by 5

Bias:             Arizona by 7

Vegas:        Arizona by 3      -140/+130       

Ov/Un:        47½

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

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

 

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

 

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

Time:           4:15 PM EST

TV:               CBS

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

 

PiRate:         Tennessee by 8

Mean:          Tennessee by 4

Bias:            Tennessee by 7

Vegas:         Tennessee by 3        -145/+125

Ov/Un:        39½

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Time:           4:15 PM EST

TV:               CBS

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

 

PiRate:         Pittsburgh by 9

Mean:           Pittsburgh by 7

Bias:             Pittsburgh by 6

Vegas:        Pittsburgh by 4        -225/+185

Ov/Un:        43

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Time:           8:15PM EST

TV:               NBC

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

                    

PiRate:         Washington by 2

Mean:           Washington by 2

Bias:             Washington by 2

Vegas:        Tossup         -120/+110

Ov/Un:        43½

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Time:           8:30PM EST Monday

TV:               ESPN

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

 

PiRate:         Buffalo by 2

Mean:           Buffalo by 2

Bias:             Buffalo by 6

Vegas:        Buffalo 6     -225/+185

Ov/Un:        41½  

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

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

 

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

 

Another Nice Winning Week Against The Spreads

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

1. Tampa Bay -3 vs. Minnesota

2. Pittsburgh -4 vs. San Diego

3. Buffalo -225 vs. Cleveland

4. Tampa Bay -185 vs. Minnesota

5. Pittsburgh -225 vs. San Diego

 

6. Money Line Parlay (-130)

       A. Miami over Oakland

       B. Indianapolis over Houston

       C. Carolina over Detroit

 

7. Money Line Parlay (+220)

       A. Buffalo over Cleveland

       B. Tampa Bay over Minnesota

       C. Pittsburgh over San Diego

 

8. 10-point Teaser

       A. Miami -½ vs. Oakland

       B. Indianapolis +2½ vs. Houston

       C. Jacksonville +13 vs. Tennessee

 

9. 10-point Teaser

       A. Kansas City +15½ vs. New Orleans

       B. Tampa Bay +7 vs. Minnesota

       C. St. Louis +17 vs. San Francisco

 

10. 10-point Teaser

A. Pittsburgh +6 vs. San Diego

       B. Dallas +10 vs. Washington

       C. Cleveland & Buffalo Over 31½

 

11. 13-point Teaser

       A. Chicago +17½ vs. Green Bay

       B. Miami +2½ vs. Oakland

       C. Baltimore +20 vs. New York Giants

       D. Indianapolis +5½ vs. Houston

 

12. 13-point Teaser

       A. Jacksonville +16 vs. Tennessee

       B. Kansas City +18½ vs. New Orleans

       C. Carolina -1 vs. Detroit

       D. Tampa Bay +10 vs. Minnesota

 

13. 13-point Teaser

       A. St. Louis +20 vs. San Francisco

       B. Seattle +16 vs. Arizona

       C. Pittsburgh +9 vs. San Diego

       D. Dallas +13 vs. Washington

 

14. 13-point Teaser

       A. Cleveland & Buffalo Over 28½

       B. Denver & Atlanta Over 37½

       C. Miami & Oakland Over 25

       D. Jacksonville & Tennessee Over 26½

 

15. 13-point Teaser

       A. Denver & Atlanta Under 63½

       B. Carolina & Detroit Over 26½

       C. Tampa Bay & Minnesota Over 25½

       D. Dallas & Washington Over 30½           

     

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

October 31, 2008

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

PiRate Ratings For NFL Week Nine

 

The PiRate Pro Ratings (Rating)

 

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

 

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

 

The Mean Ratings (Mean)

 

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

 

The Bias Ratings (Biased)

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Current NFL Standings and Ratings

 

NFC East

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

New York

6

1

0

191

115

107.28

105.97

108.82

2

Washington

6

2

0

165

145

103.07

103.15

103.81

2

Dallas

5

3

0

202

184

103.45

102.51

103.76

2

Philadelphia

4

3

0

194

137

110.42

105.79

108.21

2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFC North

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Chicago

4

3

0

196

150

109.13

104.51

103.50

2

Green Bay

4

3

0

194

159

104.51

103.36

102.34

2

Minnesota

3

4

0

154

167

101.31

100.19

99.87

2

Detroit

0

7

0

114

212

87.30

89.81

87.79

3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFC South

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Carolina

6

2

0

174

127

107.66

104.87

105.07

2

Tampa Bay

5

3

0

170

120

108.19

105.13

105.83

2

Atlanta

4

3

0

153

154

101.68

99.64

101.03

2

New Orleans

4

4

0

216

195

102.11

101.54

101.50

2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFC West

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Arizona

4

3

0

200

171

104.55

103.02

103.48

3

Seattle  

2

5

0

144

184

93.30

95.96

94.42

3

St. Louis

2

5

0

113

201

89.46

94.10

93.88

2

San Francisco

2

6

0

171

230

92.04

92.52

91.08

3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC East

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Buffalo

5

2

0

165

143

99.90

100.38

101.42

3

New England

5

2

0

153

133

97.26

101.67

103.55

2

New York

4

3

0

182

170

96.97

98.49

100.46

2

Miami

3

4

0

145

146

100.01

99.10

99.39

2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC North

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Pittsburgh

5

2

0

155

110

107.61

105.24

105.74

2

Baltimore

4

3

0

134

110

103.02

102.46

101.86

3

Cleveland

3

4

0

115

123

100.42

100.79

99.21

2

Cincinnati

0

8

0

104

217

89.16

90.63

90.13

2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC South

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Tennessee

7

0

0

180

87

110.36

108.07

108.05

2

Jacksonville

3

4

0

141

151

100.30

100.30

99.09

3

Houston

3

4

0

175

185

98.07

98.98

99.58

3

Indianapolis

3

4

0

149

162

101.86

100.89

100.12

2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC West

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Denver

4

3

0

173

195

94.48

96.17

97.70

2

San Diego

3

5

0

224

199

101.39

101.39

100.12

2

Oakland

2

5

0

107

177

87.70

92.70

90.85

2

Kansas City

1

6

0

99

193

85.98

90.58

88.28

2

                         

 

NFL Previews-Week Nine

 

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

Time:           1PM EDT

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Sunny, no wind, temperature near 70

 

PiRate:         Tennessee by 8

Mean:           Tennessee by 7

Bias:             Tennessee by 8

Vegas:        Tennessee by 5½     -225/+205

Ov/Un:        41

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Time:           1PM EDT

TV:               Fox

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

 

PiRate:         Tampa Bay by 20

Mean:           Tampa Bay by 13

Bias:             Tampa Bay by 16

Vegas:        Tampa Bay by 9       -400/+350

Ov/Un:        36

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

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

 

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

Time:           1PM EDT

TV:               CBS

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

 

PiRate:         Baltimore by 1  

Mean:           Tossup

Bias:             Baltimore by 1

Vegas:        Cleveland by 1½      -125/+105  

Ov/Un:        36

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Time:           1PM EDT

TV:               Fox

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

 

PiRate:         Chicago by 24

Mean:           Chicago by 17

Bias:             Chicago by 18

Vegas:        Chicago by 12½ -600/+500

Ov/Un:        43

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

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

 

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

 

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

Time:           1PM EDT

TV:               CBS

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

 

PiRate:         Buffalo by 6

Mean:           Buffalo by 5

Bias:             Buffalo by 4

Vegas:         Buffalo by 5½    -220/+200

Ov/Un:        41

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

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

 

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

 

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

Time:           1PM EDT

TV:               CBS

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

 

PiRate:         Jacksonville by 9

Mean:          Jacksonville by 8

Bias:            Jacksonville by 7

Vegas:        Jacksonville by 7½         -335/+305

Ov/Un:        40

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Time:           1PM EDT

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Dome

 

PiRate:         Minnesota by 5

Mean:           Minnesota by 3

Bias:             Minnesota by 2

Vegas:        Minnesota by 4½     -210/+180

Ov/Un:        47

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Time:           1:00PM EDT

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Dome

 

PiRate:         Arizona by 13

Mean:           Arizona by 7

Bias:             Arizona by 8

Vegas:        Arizona by 3      -155/+135

Ov/Un:        48

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

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

 

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

 

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

Time:           4:05PM EDT

TV:               CBS

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

 

PiRate:         Miami by 4

Mean:           Miami by 1

Bias:             Tossup

Vegas:        Denver by 3 -185/+160

Ov/Un:        50½

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Time:           4:15 PM EDT

TV:               Fox

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

 

PiRate:         Atlanta by 12

Mean:           Atlanta by 5

Bias:             Atlanta by 8

Vegas:        Atlanta by 3       -145/+125

Ov/Un:        41

Strategy:     Under 54 in 13-point teaser

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

 

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

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

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

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

—Steve Sabol (NFL Films)

 

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

 

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

 

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

Time:           4:15PM EDT

TV:               Fox

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

 

 

PiRate:         Giants by 6

Mean:           Giants by 5

Bias:             Giants by 7

Vegas:        Giants by 9        -400/+325

Ov/Un:        41

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Time:           4:15PM EDT

TV:               Fox

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

 

PiRate:         Philadelphia by 14

Mean:           Philadelphia by 7

Bias:             Philadelphia by 11

Vegas:        Philadelphia by 6½         -270/+250

Ov/Un:        42½

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Time:           8:15PM EDT

TV:               NBC

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

             

PiRate:         Indianapolis by 7

Mean:           Indianapolis by 1

Bias:             New England by 1

Vegas:        Indianapolis by 6     -260/+220

Ov/Un:        44

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Time:           8:30PM EDT Monday

TV:               ESPN

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

 

PiRate:         Pittsburgh by 3

Mean:           Tossup

Bias:             Tossup

Vegas:        Washington by 1½         -125/+105

Ov/Un:        36½

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

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

         

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

 

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

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