The Pi-Rate Ratings

February 6, 2016

PiRate Ratings Super Bowl Preview

Filed under: Pro Football — Tags: , , , , , , — piratings @ 5:19 am

We have done something we’ve never done before for Super Bowl 50.  Normally, when we run computer simulations, we run them 100 times.  It take about .1 second to run it 100 times.  Last night, after inputting the statistical data and weather forecast, we ran the simulation 10,000 times.  It took much longer, almost .3 second.  We then ran it again subbing Brock Osweiler for Peyton Manning, simulating a Manning injury or inability to perform as acceptable levels.  To be fair, we then ran it again with Cam Newton leaving the game in the second quarter due to injury, just to see how the game was affected.

What we found out is rather obvious:  Newton is much more valuable to the Panthers than Manning is to the Broncos.  With Manning leaving the game at halftime and Osweiler entering in the second half, Denver’s percentage of winning the game fell by just 2.7%.  With Newton leaving the game and unable to play in the second half, Carolina scored an average of just 4.2 points in 10,000 simulations.  Derek Anderson, in relief, could not lead the Panthers to Paydirt against the Bronco defense.

 

Let’s take a look at the numbers.

SUPER BOWL 50

Date: Sunday, February 7, 2016

Time: 3:30 PM Pacific Standard Time (6:30 PM Eastern)

Location: Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, California

Santa Clara is about 40 miles Southeast of Downtown San Francisco in the greater San Jose area.

TV Network: CBS

Announce Team: Jim Nantz, Phil Simms, Tracy Wolfson, and Evan Washburn

Also Available: cbssports.com, live streaming for Verizon Wireless customers with Super Bowl app, Xbox One, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Chromecast, and Roku).

Canada: CTV

United Kingdom: BBC2  and on radio on BBC Radio 5 Live

Australia: Seven Network and Foxtel

Radio: Westwood One 

Announce Team: Kevin Harlan, Boomer Esiason, Dan Fouts, James Lofton, and Mark Malone.

 

Participants

AFC Champion–Denver Broncos

NFC Champion–Carolina Panthers

 

Las Vegas

Las Vegas Line: Carolina by 5 1/2

Totals: Over or Under 44 1/2

Money Line: Carolina -230, Denver +190

 

Weather Forecast: 69 degrees at kickoff with nominal winds and humidity–near perfect weather!

 

PiRate Ratings

PiRate: Carolina by 7.0

Mean: Carolina by 7.7

Bias: Carolina by 9.0

Average: Carolina by 7.9

Average Score: Carolina 26 Denver 18

 

10,000 Computer Simulations 

Carolina wins 63.47%

Denver wins 36.53%

Average Score: Carolina 24.3  Denver 17.1

Standard Deviation: 9.42

Outlier A: Carolina 41  Denver 13

Outlier B: Denver 30  Carolina 7

 

Simulation 2–Manning out for second half

Carolina wins 65.93%

Denver wins 34.07%

Average Score: Carolina 25.0  Denver 15.9

 

Simulation 3–Newton injured late in Q2

Carolina wins 43.7%

Denver wins 56.3%

Average Score: Denver 20.6  Carolina 16.2

 

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September 29, 2015

NFL Preview for Week 4: October 1-5, 2015

The Best Ever Debate
Already this season, we have heard the sports pundits ponder whether Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, or even Drew Brees is the best quarterback ever to play in the NFL. They cite touchdown passes, completion percentages, lack of interceptions, and a host of other statistics.

We are here to tell you that these pundits are only correct in whatever statistic they use. Aaron Rodgers may be the best QB at avoiding interceptions, while greats from the past, like Johnny Unitas don’t even show up in the top 20. Unitas comes in tied at 135th in this statistic, behind such current star Ryan Pickpatrick, er Fitzpatrick.

Does this mean that the greats from the past, like Unitas, Starr, Namath, Jurgensen, Van Brocklin, and others don’t measure up to today’s quarterbacks? Certainly, this is not the case. The way the game is played today compared to the way it was played 50 years ago is vastly different, and the rules today favor pass blockers compared to the rules of yesteryear. There was a time when blockers could not use any part of their hand to block. Today’s hand pushing would have been holding penalties in the 1950’s and 1960’s, and by the way, holding penalties cost a team 15 yards then.
As for interceptions, of course these numbers are lower today. When you throw half of your passes 7 yards or less downfield, many of them at or behind the line of scrimmage, interception percentages will be much lower than if you throw the ball more than 20 yards down the field.

Today, on 3rd and 20, more times than not if a QB passes the ball it will be a very short pass to a back or tight end hoping to find a hole and run to daylight. In 1965, on 3rd and 20, a QB would most assuredly throw the long bomb. An interception in this case might have actually been preferable to a punt. If a pass is thrown 50 yards downfield and intercepted with no return, it beats almost every punting situation. Rarely does a punt produce a net advantage of 50 yards.

Touchdown percentages are not usable for comparing quarterback talents either. Today, a QB is just as likely to pass at the opponent’s one yard line than for his team to run the ball. In 1965, all NFL teams used a halfback and fullback in the offensive set, and some teams still used a full-house backfield inside the opponent’s five yard line. The better teams, like Unitas’s Colts and Starr’s Packers ran the ball 85-90% of the time in the deep red zone. Of course, these greats from the past threw fewer touchdown passes than today’s QBs.

What about completion percentages? If you look at career rates, you will find Brees at the top. Just behind in the top 10 include Rodgers, Manning, Tony Romo, Phillip Rivers, Matt Ryan, and Ben Roethlisberger. To find a QB that played before 1970, you have to go all the way to 80th place and Jurgensen. Unitas is tied for 124th. Not-so-great QBs ahead of these two Hall-of-Famers include Mark Sanchez and Rex Grossman. And what about Broadway Joe Namath? He comes in at 166th.

So, obviously, current passers like Brees and Rodgers are much better passers than Unitas and Namath, correct? Not on your life, this is totally bunk, and we will show you why.

First, the QBs in the days where offensive linemen could not use their hands, passers had to throw the ball away to avoid a lot more sack opportunities. Teams like the Los Angeles Rams, Minnesota Vikings, Dallas Cowboys, and Oakland Raiders were noted for having top-flight pass rushes, where they averaged 4 to 5 sacks per game. No team today averages 4 sacks per game and few average as much as 3 per game.

Here is the key to these percentages. Let’s say Unitas and Brees both attempt 30 passes in a game. Unitas’s passes come in a 1964 game, whereas Brees’ passes come in a 2015 game. Let’s break down the types of passes each QB throws.

1. Screen passes and other passes thrown short of the line of scrimmage
2. Short passes thrown 0 to 5 yards past the line of scrimmage
3. Medium passes thrown 6 to 12 yards past the line of scrimmage
4. Intermediate passes thrown 13 to 20 yards past the line of scrimmage
5. Longer passes thrown 21 to 30 yards past the line of scrimmage
6. The Bomb thrown 31 to 60 yards past the line of scrimmage

Now, let’s show how a typical QB from 1964 and 2015 might distribute these passes.
1. Screens and other behind the LOS: Unitas 3 Brees 6
2. Short passes: Unitas 2 Brees 10
3. Medium passes: Unitas 4 Brees 8
4. Intermediate passes: Unitas 10 Brees 4
5. Longer passes: Unitas 6 Brees 1
6. The Bomb: Unitas 5 Brees 1

We really need not explain any further. Unitas’s passes might have averaged around 20 yards in length, while Brees’ passes averaged about 8 yards in length. It is quite obvious that it is much easier to complete a pass thrown 8 yards past the line of scrimmage than one thrown 20 yards past the line of scrimmage. Additionally, many of Brees’ shorter passes are 3rd & long dumps to secondary receivers thrown well short of the first down sticks, whereas in the days of Unitas, teams just did not throw short of the sticks on 3rd down.

Unitas may complete just 15 of the 30 passes in this example, while Brees completes 20 of the 30 passes. Yet, both QBs pass for 240 yards. What matters is how many yards per pass attempt each QB gained. In this example, both averaged exactly 8 yards per attempt, the line where everything better is considered exceptional.

Averaging more than 8 yards per pass attempt has been consistently brilliant, whether it took place in 1945, 1955, 1965, 1975, 1985, 1995, 2005, or 2015. Whereas all other statistics have varied over NFL (and AFL) history, this stat has been the one true correlation between success and failure.

Taken to the extreme, a Joe Namath or Daryle Lamonica type passer might complete just 45% of their passes, while a Brees or Rodgers might complete 67.5% of their passes. Namath and Lamonica might go 18 of 40 in a game, while Brees or Rodgers go 27 of 40. Namath and Lamonica might average 17.8 yards per completion thanks to multiple 40-60 yard pass completions (they didn’t call Lamonica the Mad Bomber for nothing). Brees and Rodgers might average 11.9 yards per completion. Guess what? In both instances, the total yardage gained is 320 yards or 8 yards per attempt. If you look at what 8 yards per pass attempt accomplishes throughout history, it is roughly 28 points per game, varying a little with rushing, defense, and special teams.
So, then, who is the best quarterback of all time? You guessed where we are going with this. Who ranks as having the best career yards per pass attempt?

The answer may or may not surprise you, but among the top passers in this category, there are 14 retired QBs eligible for the Hall of Fame, and 10 of these 14 are in the Hall of Fame. Of the other four, two are recently retired, and still might become a HOF member. Only Ed Brown and Earl Morrall rank in the top 20 in yards per attempt and are not in the Hall.

In Morrall’s case, he was frequently a backup to other Hall of Famers, like Y. A. Tittle, Unitas, and Bob Griese. When called on to fill in, he responded with two MVP-award seasons and an incredible won-loss percentage of 63.6%, including an outstanding 33-4-1 record when starting for a Don Shula-coached team (Baltimore and Miami). Morrall might have been a Hall of Famer had he not played behind three greats.

Brown is an interesting case worth researching. He was the quarterback of the 1951 University of San Francisco Dons football team that went 9-0 and was considered the best team on the West Coast with multiple future NFL players. Due to racist issues (USF was an integrated team), and because the available bowls of that time were all in Southern states, USF was not invited to a bowl, while inferior all-white teams received invitations. The Dons dropped football on that undefeated season.

Brown was drafted by the Bears and led Chicago to the Western Division crown one season with multiple second place finishes. He later was traded to Pittsburgh, where he led the Steelers to its best modern day season prior to the arrival of the Steel Curtain defense in the 1970’s. Brown’s career record as a starter was 55-38-5.

Now, just who has the best all-time yards per attempt mark? Did you guess Otto Graham?  Graham left a career mark of 9.0 yards per attempt. And, if you are wondering about the won-lost record for Graham, he is in a league by himself at 104-17-4 in his 10 seasons with the Cleveland Browns. In seven of those 10 seasons, Graham led the Browns to the league championship. In the other three seasons, Cleveland lost in the NFL Championship Game. Cleveland averaged 28.1 points per game in the 10 years Graham led the Browns attack. The year after Graham retired, after leading Cleveland to a 9-2-1 record plus a 38-14 pasting of the Los Angeles Rams in the NFL Championship, Cleveland fell to 5-7-0 without him.

When next you are asked who you believe is the best NFL quarterback of all time, you have your answer. Otto Graham was to football what Babe Ruth was to baseball and Wilt Chamberlain was to basketball.

Here is the entire top 20 list of quarterbacks by career yards per pass attempt.

# Quarterback Yds/Att.
1 Otto Graham 9.0
2 Sid Luckman 8.4
3 Norm Van Brocklin 8.2
4 Aaron Rodgers 8.2
5 Steve Young 8.0
6 Kurt Warner 7.9
7 Ben Roethlisberger 7.9
8 Ed Brown 7.9
9 Tony Romo 7.9
10 Phillip Rivers 7.9
11 Bart Starr 7.8
12 Johnny Unitas 7.8
13 Earl Morrall 7.7
14 Len Dawson 7.7
15 Peyton Manning 7.7
16 Roger Staubach 7.7
17 Dan Fouts 7.7
18 Sonny Jurgensen 7.6
19 Trent Green 7.6
20 Drew Brees 7.6

 

Current NFL PiRate Ratings
N F C
East PiRate Mean Bias Average W-L-T Pts Opp
Dallas 105.8 104.5 106.1 105.5 2-1-0 75 75
Philadelphia 103.2 102.6 103.4 103.1 1-2-0 58 63
N.Y. Giants 99.5 99.4 100.0 99.6 1-2-0 78 72
Washington 94.2 93.7 93.5 93.8 1-2-0 55 59
               
North PiRate Mean Bias Average W-L-T Pts Opp
Green Bay 108.6 107.9 109.0 108.5 3-0-0 96 68
Minnesota 101.2 98.8 102.5 100.8 2-1-0 60 50
Detroit 100.8 99.5 100.3 100.2 0-3-0 56 83
Chicago 92.7 91.7 92.5 92.3 0-3-0 46 105
               
South PiRate Mean Bias Average W-L-T Pts Opp
Carolina 101.1 100.8 101.2 101.0 3-0-0 71 48
Atlanta 99.5 100.0 100.7 100.1 3-0-0 89 72
New Orleans 97.2 93.3 97.3 95.9 0-3-0 60 84
Tampa Bay 91.4 92.3 91.0 91.6 1-2-0 49 80
               
West PiRate Mean Bias Average W-L-T Pts Opp
Seattle 107.1 106.6 107.2 107.0 1-2-0 74 61
Arizona 106.9 106.0 107.6 106.8 3-0-0 126 49
San Francisco 96.9 94.5 96.6 96.0 1-2-0 45 93
St. Louis 95.5 97.1 94.6 95.7 1-2-0 50 67
               
A F C
East PiRate Mean Bias Average W-L-T Pts Opp
New England 109.6 110.0 109.8 109.8 3-0-0 119 70
Buffalo 103.5 104.4 103.6 103.8 2-1-0 100 68
N. Y. Jets 100.6 100.7 100.8 100.7 2-1-0 68 41
Miami 95.6 97.4 94.8 95.9 1-2-0 51 74
               
North PiRate Mean Bias Average W-L-T Pts Opp
Cincinnati 104.1 104.9 104.3 104.4 3-0-0 85 56
Pittsburgh 104.2 104.4 104.4 104.3 2-1-0 76 52
Baltimore 103.7 102.8 104.1 103.5 0-3-0 70 84
Cleveland 93.3 91.8 92.8 92.6 1-2-0 58 72
               
South PiRate Mean Bias Average W-L-T Pts Opp
Indianapolis 101.3 101.7 100.9 101.3 1-2-0 56 80
Houston 97.3 98.6 97.1 97.7 1-2-0 56 60
Tennessee 96.1 95.8 96.8 96.2 1-2-0 89 77
Jacksonville 89.2 93.4 88.0 90.2 1-2-0 49 91
               
West PiRate Mean Bias Average W-L-T Pts Opp
Denver 107.0 106.5 107.0 106.8 3-0-0 74 49
Kansas City 100.3 101.7 100.6 100.9 2-1-0 79 89
San Diego 100.0 100.4 99.8 100.1 1-2-0 66 83
Oakland 92.5 96.7 91.6 93.6 2-1-0 77 86

 

This Week’s Games
         
Week Number: 4      
Date of Games: October 1-5      
         
Home Visitor PiRate Mean Bias
Pittsburgh Baltimore 2.5 3.6 2.3
Miami (N) NY Jets -5.0 -3.3 -6.0
Indianapolis Jacksonville 15.1 11.3 15.9
Buffalo NY Giants 6.0 7.0 5.6
Tampa Bay Carolina -7.2 -6.0 -7.7
Washington Philadelphia -7.0 -6.9 -7.9
Chicago Oakland 3.2 -2.0 3.9
Atlanta Houston 5.2 4.4 6.6
Cincinnati Kansas City 6.8 6.2 6.7
San Diego Cleveland 9.7 11.6 10.0
San Francisco Green Bay -8.7 -10.4 -9.4
Arizona St. Louis 14.4 11.9 16.0
Denver Minnesota 8.8 10.7 7.5
New Orleans Dallas -6.1 -8.7 -6.3
Seattle Detroit 9.3 10.1 9.9
         
(N) Neutral Site Game  in   London      

 

August 29, 2015

2015 AFC West Preview

For Peyton Manning, this could be his final hurrah.  Might he go out the same way his boss went out in 1999?  John Elway retired following a Super Bowl win.  The Broncos window for winning is closing fast, and this will probably be Manning’s last chance to earn a second ring.  Denver made a lot of changes after their early playoff loss in 2014.  John Fox is out as coach, and Gary Kubiak is in.  Wade Phillips, the nomad defensive guru, is the new coordinator of a defense that was tough against the run but so-so against the pass.  Seven starters are gone, most notably tight end Julius Thomas.  Denver is still the favorite in the West, but their edge is razor slim over the Chiefs and Chargers.

Kansas City almost made the playoffs last year without a wide receiver catching a touchdown pass, and with their top defensive player leaving the team after a cancer diagnosis.  The Chiefs have the potential to be better this year, perhaps even better than they were in 2013, and there will be touchdown receptions from wide receivers this year.  Jeremy Maclin, the team’s key signee, should get several.  The defense will continue to be strong, and the Chiefs are within striking distance of overtaking their rivals to the west.

Oakland went through growing pains with a rookie quarterback last year, and the Raiders suffered through a 13th consecutive season without a winning record.  This once dominant team might be in its last year in Oakland, and could once again become the Los Angeles Raiders, making the O.co Coliseum “The Ark of the Lost Raiders.”  New head coach Jack Del Rio should lead to an improved defense, and if Carr can progress as a second year player, the Raiders could be moving up.  Of course, at 3-13, there isn’t much room to move down.

San Diego, like Oakland, is in a holding pattern.  The once Los Angeles Chargers may be the future Los Angeles Chargers, and teams in this situation seldom play consistent ball all season long.  Phillip Rivers returns after speculation that he might be dealt to Tennessee (before the Titans drafted Marcus Mariota).  Rivers has a little more to play with this year, as the Chargers acquired Jacoby Jones and Stevie Johnson.  It could be an interesting season in San Diego, but chances are better than 50-50 that the bolts will fall short of the playoffs.

DENVER BRONCOS

Broncos Starting Lineup
Offense
WR Demaryius Thomas
WR Emmanuel Sanders
WR Cody Latimer
TE Owen Daniels
LT Ty Sambrailo
LG Evan Mathis
C Matt Paradis
RG Louis Vasquez
RT Ryan Harris
QB Peyton Manning
HB C. J. Anderson
FB James Casey
   
Defense
DE Derek Wolfe/Vance Walker
DT Sylvester Williams
DE Malik Jackson
LB Von Miller
LB Brandon Marshall
LB Danny Trevathan
LB DeMarcus Ware
CB Aqib Talib
S T. J. Ward
S Darian Stewart
CB Chris Harris, Jr.
N5 Bradley Roby
   
Special
Kicker Brandon McManus
Punter Britton Colquitt
KR Omar Bolden
PR Omar Bolden
Denver Broncos
Head Coach Gary Kubiak
Off. Coordinator Rick Dennison
Def. Coordinator Wade Phillips
2014 W-L-T 12-4-0
Pts 30.1
Opp 22.1
   
Ratings  
PiRate 105.6
Mean 104.8
Bias 105.0
Average 105.1
   
Grades  
Running C+
Passing A
Vs. Run B
Vs. Pass A-
Special Teams C-
Coaching + Intangibles C
   
Predicted W-L 10-6-0
Division Rank 1
Conference Rank 3
Overall Rank 6
Postseason Yes

 

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS

Chiefs Starting Lineup
Offense
WR Jeremy Maclin
WR Albert Wilson
TE Travis Kelce
TE James O’Shaughnessy
LT Eric Fisher
LG Ben Grubbs
C Mitch Morse
RG Jeff Allen
RT Donald Stephenson
QB Alex Smith
HB Jamaal Charles
FB Anthony Sherman
   
Defense
DE Mike Devito
NT Jaye Howard/Dontari Poe
DE Allen Bailey
LB Justin Houston
LB Josh Mauga
LB Derrick Johnson
LB Tamba Hali
CB Phillip Gaines
S Ron Parker
S Eric Berry
CB Seam Smith/Jamell Fleming
N5 Husain Abdullah
   
Special
Kicker Cairo Santos
Punter Dustin Colquitt
KR Knile Davis
PR De’Anthony Thomas
Kansas City Chiefs
Head Coach Andy Reid
Off. Coordinator Doug Pederson
Def. Coordinator Bob Sutton
2014 W-L-T 9-7-0
Pts 22.1
Opp 17.6
   
Ratings  
PiRate 100.2
Mean 102.2
Bias 100.2
Average 100.9
   
Grades  
Running B+
Passing C
Vs. Run B-
Vs. Pass B-
Special Teams A
Coaching + Intangibles A-
   
Predicted W-L 8-8-0
Division Rank 3
Conference Rank 8
Overall Rank 14
Postseason No

 

OAKLAND RAIDERS

Raiders Starting Lineup
Offense
WR Michael Crabtree
WR Amari Cooper
TE Mychal Rivera
TE Lee Smith
LT Donald Penn
LG Gabe Jackson
C Rodney Hudson
RG J’Marcus Webb
RT Menelik Watson
QB Derek Carr
HB Latavius Murray
FB Marcel Reece
   
Defense
DE Khalil Mack
DT Dan Williams
DT Justin Ellis
DE Justin Tuck
LB Ray Ray Armstrong
LB Curtis Lofton
LB Malcolm Smith
CB D. J. Hayden
S Charles Woodson
S Nate Allen
CB T. J. Carrie
N5  
   
Special
Kicker Sebastian Janikowski
Punter Marquette King
KR Trindon Holliday
PR Trindon Holliday
Oakland Raiders
Head Coach Jack Del Rio
Off. Coordinator Bill Musgrave
Def. Coordinator Ken Norton, Jr.
2014 W-L-T 3-13-0
Pts 15.8
Opp 28.3
   
Ratings  
PiRate 90.1
Mean 95.7
Bias 87.9
Average 91.2
   
Grades  
Running C
Passing B-
Vs. Run C
Vs. Pass D
Special Teams C-
Coaching + Intangibles C
   
Predicted W-L 4-12-0
Division Rank 4
Conference Rank 15
Overall Rank 31
Postseason No

 

SAN DIEGO CHARGERS

Chargers Starting Lineup
Offense
WR Keenan Allen
WR Malcolm Floyd
WR Stevie Johnson
TE Antonio Gates/Ladarius Green
LT King Dunlap
LG Orlando Franklin
C Chris Watt
RG D. J. Fluker
RT Joe Barksdale
QB Phillip Rivers
HB Melvin Gordon
FB (NONE)
   
Defense
DE Kendall Reyes
NT Sean Lissemore
DT Corey Liuget
LB Jerry Attaochu
LB Manti Te’O
LB Donald Butler
LB Melvin Ingram
CB Brandon Flowers
S Jahleel Addae
S Eric Weddle
CB Jason Verrett
N5 Jimmy Wilson
   
Special
Kicker Nick Novak
Punter Mike Scifres
KR Jacoby Jones
PR Jacoby Jones
San Diego Chargers
Head Coach Mike McCoy
Off. Coordinator Frank Reich
Def. Coordinator John Pagano
2014 W-L-T 9-7-0
Pts 21.8
Opp 21.8
   
Ratings  
PiRate 100.8
Mean 101.7
Bias 100.1
Average 100.9
   
Grades  
Running C+
Passing A-
Vs. Run C
Vs. Pass C+
Special Teams B+
Coaching + Intangibles C
   
Predicted W-L 9-7-0
Division Rank 2
Conference Rank 7
Overall Rank 13
Postseason No

 

January 31, 2014

Pirate Ratings–Super Bowl Special

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

 

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

 

Here is how our three ratings see this game.

 

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

 

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

 

When Denver has the ball:

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

When Seattle has the ball:

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Seattle—21 to 31 points

Denver—16 to 25 points

 

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

November 26, 2013

PiRate Ratings: NFL–November 28-December 2, 2013

The Division & Wildcard Races

NFC East: It is now a two-team race between Dallas and Philadelphia with the Giants and Redskins falling back out of the race.  Both teams have three home games remaining, but the important Week 17 game between the two rivals takes place at Cowboys Stadium.  This week, we favor Dallas to edge the Eagles out, and we do not project the Eagles to get in as a wildcard.

 

NFC North: Mediocrity has set in with the loss of two starting quarterbacks.  Aaron Rodgers is worth about 10-13 points per game, and his loss has turned the Packers into a poor team.  Matt Flynn is an improvement over Scott Tolzien, but the Packers will not get their star back until Week 14, by which time Green Bay could be 5-6-1 and 1 ½ games behind Detroit and possibly Chicago.  We believe that the Bears and Lions might both finish 9-7, so Rodgers would have to lead the Packers to four consecutive wins when he returns.  The Rodgers of December 8 will not be the Rodgers of September 8, and we believe the division race will be decided in Week 15 and Week 16.  In Week 15, Chicago plays at Cleveland and Detroit hosts Baltimore.  The following week, Chicago plays at Philadelphia, and Detroit hosts the Giants.  We favor Detroit by a tiny edge this week.

 

NFC South: Short of a collapse, Carolina will secure the number 5 seed with the first wildcard, while New Orleans will earn the number two seed and host a divisional round playoff game.  Or, it could be the other way around, since the two hot teams have yet to face off this season.  We believe the Saints will hold onto the two-game edge.  This week could very well be a preview of the NFC Championship Game, as New Orleans goes to Seattle on Monday Night Football.  New Orleans does have an incredibly tough December with three road games against teams with a combined 23-10 record as well as Carolina at home.

 

NFC West:  Seattle should secure home field advantage through the Conference Championship Game.  The Seahawks host the Saints this week and follow that up with a road trip to San Francisco.  At worst, if they lose both games, they should still finish 13-3.  The 49ers and Cardinals are the top two competitors for the sixth and final playoff spot.  The two square off in Phoenix in Week 17, but we believe that San Francisco will have clinched the wildcard bid before that game.  The 49ers have a schedule advantage for the next four weeks with three home games, while Arizona has three road games in the next four weeks.

 

AFC East: It is now safe to write New England’s name in ink as the official AFC East Champion.  With a three game lead against mediocre opposition, there is no chance that the Patriots will miss out on the playoffs.  A possible 12-4 record should earn the Pats a Divisional Round home game and first round bye.  The Dolphins, Bills, and Jets are all within one game of the final wildcard spot, but we do not like any of the trio’s chances.  Miami and the Jets have serious problems and appear to be heading to valleys.  Buffalo could pass both and finish in 2nd place with a 7-9 record.

 

AFC North: Cincinnati is vulnerable here.  The Bengals are not a complete team.  They are inconsistent on both sides of the ball, but the real reason is that some opponents can exploit their weaknesses, while others cannot.  What is left on their schedule?  Four teams capable of exploiting their weaknesses.  A 2-3 finish is quite possible, which would send the Bengals to a 9-7 record.  It should still be enough to win the division, but the Ravens and Steelers are both capable of finishing 9-7 as well.  Thursday night’s Baltimore-Pittsburgh game at M&T Bank Stadium will leave one of the rivals at 6-6 with an excellent chance to go 3-1 down the stretch.

 

AFC South: Indianapolis is much like Cincinnati, except the Colts are even more vulnerable to teams that have superb passing quarterbacks.  Still, the rest of this league is weaker than the three weaker AFC East teams.  At worst, the Colts will falter to finish 10-6, and that will win this league by two to four games.  Tennessee is the technical number six team as of this week, but the Titans’ next two games are on the road against Indianapolis and Denver, which will send them to a 5-8 record with three to play.  The last wildcard spot will go to a 9-7 team.

 

AFC West: The race has gotten a little interesting.  Peyton Manning once again proved his inability to play in cold weather.  The Broncos covered for him in the first half with the defense scoring or setting up the scores, but Manning had one of his poorest performances in a Broncos’ uniform.  Kansas City’s once stellar defense has been picked apart in successive weeks by division rivals.  Still, the Chiefs need only win one more game to wrap up a wildcard bid.  San Diego is the 5-6 team with the overall best chance to finish 9-7.  Phillip Rivers has seen his career resurrected with Coach Mike McCoy and offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt present.

 

This Week’s PiRate Ratings

Current NFL PiRate Ratings

N F C

East

PiRate

Mean

Biased

Dallas Cowboys

100.6

101.9

100.4

Philadelphia Eagles

98.9

100.1

99.2

New York Giants

96.3

96.1

95.5

Washington Redskins

95.0

95.0

94.7

       
North

PiRate

Mean

Biased

Chicago Bears

100.5

100.2

99.9

Detroit Lions

99.9

100.3

99.8

Green Bay Packers

98.2

97.0

97.1

Minnesota Vikings

94.6

94.0

93.8

       
South

PiRate

Mean

Biased

New Orleans Saints

107.8

109.2

108.7

Carolina Panthers

106.1

106.4

106.7

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

97.3

97.1

97.4

Atlanta Falcons

94.8

94.0

93.8

 

 

 

 

West

PiRate

Mean

Biased

San Francisco 49ers

110.1

110.8

110.6

Seattle Seahawks

107.6

107.6

107.8

Arizona Cardinals

100.9

102.2

101.5

St. Louis Rams

100.8

101.6

101.3

       

A F C

East

PiRate

Mean

Biased

New England Patriots

106.6

104.9

106.9

Miami Dolphins

98.6

98.3

98.9

Buffalo Bills

97.5

96.6

97.5

New York Jets

93.0

91.3

92.7

       
North

PiRate

Mean

Biased

Cincinnati Bengals

106.3

106.2

106.4

Baltimore Ravens

102.8

102.4

102.9

Pittsburgh Steelers

99.6

99.6

100.0

Cleveland Browns

95.8

95.5

95.4

       
South

PiRate

Mean

Biased

Indianapolis Colts

100.6

100.7

100.7

Tennessee Titans

98.0

98.1

98.2

Houston Texans

95.2

94.5

95.1

Jacksonville Jaguars

88.8

88.5

88.5

       
West

PiRate

Mean

Biased

Denver Broncos

110.6

110.9

111.0

Kansas City Chiefs

102.3

103.7

102.7

San Diego Chargers

101.3

101.9

101.2

Oakland Raiders

93.6

93.4

93.7

 

This Week’s PiRate Spreads

Home Visitor

PiRate

Mean

Bias

Detroit Green Bay

4.2

5.8

5.2

Dallas Oakland

10.0

11.5

9.7

Baltimore Pittsburgh

5.7

5.3

5.4

Carolina Tampa Bay

11.3

11.8

11.8

Cleveland Jacksonville

10.0

10.0

9.9

Indianapolis Tennessee

6.3

6.6

6.3

Kansas City Denver

-5.3

-4.2

-5.3

Minnesota Chicago

-3.4

-3.7

-3.6

N Y Jets Miami

-2.6

-4.0

-3.2

Philadelphia Arizona

1.5

1.4

1.2

Buffalo (@ Toronto) Atlanta

4.2

4.1

5.2

San Francisco St. Louis

12.3

12.2

12.3

Houston New England

-8.4

-7.4

-8.8

San Diego Cincinnati

-2.0

-1.3

-2.2

Washington N Y Giants

1.2

1.4

1.7

Seattle New Orleans

2.8

1.4

2.1

 

This Week’s PiRate Playoff Projections

A F C

1. Denver

2. New England

3. Indianapolis

4. Cincinnati

5. Kansas City

6. San Diego

 

N F C

1. Seattle

2. New Orleans

3. Dallas

4. Detroit

5. Carolina

6. San Francisco

 

Wildcard Round

San Diego over Indianapolis

Kansas City over Cincinnati

San Francisco over Dallas

Carolina over Detroit

 

Divisional Round

Denver over San Diego

Kansas City over New England

Seattle over San Francisco

New Orleans over Carolina

 

Conference Championships

Kansas City over Denver

Seattle over New Orleans

 

Super Bowl

Seattle over Kansas City

October 15, 2013

PiRate Ratings: NFL–Week 7, October 17-21, 2013

Implications Of This Week’s Games

Upon closer examination of this week’s NFL schedule, several interesting tidbits can be discussed.  Here is a sampling from the SS Buckaroo, o.k.a. PiRate Headquarters.

 

Seattle at Arizona

Arizona needs to come up with a Thursday night upset to stay in the NFC West and Wildcard races.  Where 7-9 won this division just a few years back, 8-8 could be the worst record in the division this year.

 

Seattle has a tricky two-game intradivisional road swing with games spaced 11 days apart.  They face the Rams in St. Louis on Monday night the following week.  Meanwhile, the rival 49ers have two very winnable games against AFC South opponents.

 

Tampa Bay at Atlanta

The Falcons still have a tiny bit of light left in their tunnel.  It is highly improbable that they can recover and make the playoffs, but it has happened before.  The 1976 Pittsburgh Steelers appeared dead in the water after five games into a then 14-game schedule.  At 1-4, the defending Super Bowl Champion appeared to be out of the playoff race.  They had just lost to the 1-3 Browns to slip into last place, three games behind two rivals.  Cincinnati and  Houston were both hot at 4-1, with the Oilers’ only loss coming by a point against Oakland (The Raiders would go 13-1 and win the Super Bowl).

 

Pittsburgh looked like the best NFL team ever in the final nine weeks of the season, winning all nine with a defense that looked like it had 15 men on the field.  They shut out five of the nine opponents and gave up a grand total of 28 points while scoring 234 (26-3 average).  Meanwhile, Houston folded losing seven games in a row, while Cincinnati lost twice to the Steelers and finished 10-4.  Pittsburgh won the division, while the Bengals missed out on the wildcard to New England by a game.

 

The Falcons have the talent to win nine games in a row, but we don’t really see history repeating itself.  9-2 is a bit more probable, and that is what Atlanta must do to get into the playoffs.  This game then becomes a definite must-win.

 

Cincinnati at Detroit

This can be called the Contender Bowl.  The winner will move to 5-2 and be in excellent shape to make the playoffs at the least as a wildcard.  The Bengals have a little more room for error, and a loss knocking them to 4-3 won’t hurt as much as it would for the Lions.  Detroit could become a Super Bowl Sleeper with an impressive showing.  The parts are there to excel on both sides of the ball.

 

Houston at Kansas City

The Texans can still turn their season around.  Nobody is going to run away and hide in this rather weak division.  A fifth consecutive loss could send fans to Gary Kubiak’s house, but this is a very tough time for the Texans to right their ship.  Kansas City’s defense is number one in the league, and their offense has done just enough to win games.  A Chief win would give the team close to a 90% chance of making the playoffs.  The second place teams in the other three divisions figure to struggle to finish better than 9-7, so at 7-0, the chances of finishing 3-6 would be quite high.  Of course, KC wants home field advantage, and a 13-3 or 14-2 record is possible.  We pity the poor team that has to come into the decibel domicile in January.

 

Buffalo at Miami

This game is more about proving the Dolphins belong in the playoff hunt, because Buffalo is a nice team going nowhere.  This is a game Miami should win by double digit points with an extra week to prepare while the Bills had to play a tough overtime game.

 

New England at N. Y. Jets

This game is the first repeat game of the year, as the Patriots bested the Jets on Thursday night in week two.  It was not pretty, and it took three Geno Smith interceptions to finally secure the game for the home-standing Pats.

 

This is a must-win game for New York if they are to have relevance this season.  At 4-3, they would be just a game behind New England.  At 3-4, the Rex Ryan watch can begin.  These are the games Ryan’s teams play their best.  This should be an interesting one to watch.

 

Dallas at Philadelphia

First place is up for grabs, and these are the two teams left in this race, as the Giants and Redskins have had forks stuck in them.  This game should be more like a Baylor-Oklahoma St. college game.  If you liked the Dallas-Denver game two weeks ago, this one should tickle your fancy.  On paper, Dallas appears to be the better team, but the Cowboys have to prove they can play with more consistency.  Don’t count out Chip Kelly to have some new wrinkle that Dallas is not expecting, even the great Monte Kiffin.

 

Chicago at Washington

They are the Deadskins once again in DC.  This team is headed nowhere fast, just hoping to finish ahead of the Giants.

 

As for Chicago, in the black and blue division, every game is vital.  10-6 could send some team home in January one game shy of the playoffs.  In essence, Chicago must win this game; they will more than likely not recover from 4-3 and pass Green Bay or Detroit.  Since it is almost a metaphysical certitude that two NFC West teams will make the playoffs, it stands to reason that just two NFC North teams will make the playoffs.  Losers to the Deadskins are not likely to be one of those two teams.

 

St. Louis at Carolina

A couple weeks ago, this game figured to offer no real reason to follow if you were not a Rams’ or Panthers’ fan.  Now, it actually can be considered a playoff elimination game.  The winner will stay alive in the playoff race, while the loser has about a 2% chance of recovering to make the playoffs.  It should be an interesting game.  Can Carolina stop the Rams’ new-found running game?  Can St. Louis slow down Cam Newton?

 

San Diego at Jacksonville

It figures that at some point this year, the Jaguars will win one game.  The team they defeat will suffer more than just one loss; it could hit them like a torpedo.

 

San Diego picked up a big win on Monday night, but now they must travel 2,000 plus miles and three time zones to play an early Sunday game.  Jacksonville’s 19-point loss at Denver, including a pick six has the Jags’ players feeling like they can compete in this league.  This is a big trap game for the Chargers, but if they can prove their mettle and come away with a nice win, then at 4-3, they will definitely be alive in the playoff race.

 

San Francisco at Tennessee

The Titans were 3-1 two weeks ago, but the loss of Jake Locker hit this team hard.  In his stead, backup Ryan Fitzpatrick has thrown four interceptions in two weeks.  No team, not even the Broncos, can defeat San Francisco and throw two interceptions.

 

The loser of this game will not be out of the playoff race.  It figures that 9-7 could win the AFC South, and it figures that the 49ers will win 11 or 12 games.  Rumor has it that Locker is trying to find a way to play in this game, but that is nonsense.  Remember what happened to RGIII last year?

 

Baltimore at Pittsburgh

What we said about Atlanta above is double true for the Steelers.  At 1-4, they are not out of this race, and a win over the Ravens Sunday could move them within two games of the lead.

 

As for Baltimore, the Ravens are missing several pieces to last year’s puzzle, but Joe Flacco is still the best vertical passer in the AFC.  Defenses have to play their secondary a little looser, and that gives the running game a chance to work.  Baltimore cannot be overlooked in this race, even with Cincinnati being the sexy pick in the AFC North and Cleveland being the darling pick.

 

Cleveland at Green Bay

The Browns have a little more reason to believe they can pull off an upset at Lambeau.  The Packers are ailing at the moment, and Aaron Rodgers does not have his usual cast of dangerous weapons.  Look for Green Bay to go to more double tight end sets and throw into the middle seams of opposing defenses.

 

Cleveland is strongest in their four-man linebacking crew.  The quartet of D’Qwell Jackson, Craig Robertson, Paul Kruger, and Jabaal Sheard can defend those middle seams, and the Browns cannot be counted out in this game.

 

The winner of this game will have four wins, which won’t mean anything yet, but the loser is going to be behind the eight ball.

 

Denver at Indianapolis

This Sunday night game speaks for itself.  Peyton Manning returns to Indianapolis.  Nothing else can trump that.  When Brett Favre returned to Green Bay, it was a big game, but this one is bigger.

 

As far as actual implications, Denver will make the playoffs no matter what happens in this game, but Indianapolis has not secured anything yet.  The Colts are now the clear-cut favorite in the AFC South, but if they lose and the Titans upset the 49ers, the race will be tied.

 

Minnesota at N. Y. Giants

There is only one way to look at this Monday night stinker.  It could be the worst Monday Night Football game ever.  We can remember two other really awful encounters, both several years back.

 

The Jets and Chargers hooked up in the mid-1970’s late in the season when they were both in last place in their divisions.  From memory, we believe San Diego was 1-11 or 1-12 and the Jets were only a game or two better.

 

The Vikings must be considered a contender for Johnny Manziel.  It figures that Teddy Bridgewater will be the first QB picked in the 2014 NFL Draft.  Manziel will be there should Minnesota have one of the top five picks, and a loss here would place them just behind Jacksonville and Tampa Bay.

 

Current NFL PiRate Ratings

N F C

East

PiRate

Mean

Biased

Dallas Cowboys

102.3

104.5

103.1

Philadelphia Eagles

96.7

98.2

96.8

Washington Redskins

96.4

96.1

96.0

New York Giants

92.3

91.3

90.7

 

 

 

 

North

PiRate

Mean

Biased

Green Bay Packers

106.7

105.8

106.5

Chicago Bears

102.3

101.8

101.5

Detroit Lions

101.6

103.4

101.6

Minnesota Vikings

95.1

93.8

94.2

       
South

PiRate

Mean

Biased

New Orleans Saints

106.2

108.1

106.7

Carolina Panthers

101.7

101.5

101.7

Atlanta Falcons

100.3

99.1

99.4

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

94.1

93.0

93.4

 

 

 

 

West

PiRate

Mean

Biased

Seattle Seahawks

108.1

107.5

107.9

San Francisco 49ers

107.7

108.0

108.0

St. Louis Rams

97.1

97.9

96.9

Arizona Cardinals

96.4

98.9

97.1

       

A F C

East

PiRate

Mean

Biased

New England Patriots

106.1

103.9

106.6

Miami Dolphins

99.4

99.4

99.5

Buffalo Bills

96.6

95.7

97.1

New York Jets

95.1

92.7

95.0

       
North

PiRate

Mean

Biased

Baltimore Ravens

103.0

102.1

102.7

Cincinnati Bengals

102.9

102.5

103.3

Cleveland Browns

97.7

98.5

98.0

Pittsburgh Steelers

97.3

95.9

96.5

       
South

PiRate

Mean

Biased

Indianapolis Colts

104.5

104.5

105.2

Tennessee Titans

100.7

101.3

101.5

Houston Texans

97.4

96.0

97.0

Jacksonville Jaguars

86.2

85.4

85.8

       
West

PiRate

Mean

Biased

Denver Broncos

110.9

111.8

111.1

Kansas City Chiefs

103.9

106.9

105.2

San Diego Chargers

100.0

101.2

100.7

Oakland Raiders

93.3

93.3

93.3

 

This Week’s Games

   

 

 

 

Week Number:

7

 

 

 

Date of Games:

October 17-21

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

 

 

Home Visitor

PiRate

Mean

Bias

Arizona Seattle

-8.7

-5.6

-7.8

Atlanta Tampa Bay

9.2

9.1

9.0

Detroit Cincinnati

1.7

3.9

1.3

Kansas City Houston

9.5

13.9

11.2

Miami Buffalo

5.8

6.7

5.4

N Y Jets New England

-8.5

-8.7

-9.1

Philadelphia Dallas

-2.6

-3.3

-3.3

Washington Chicago

-2.9

-2.7

-2.5

Carolina St. Louis

7.6

6.6

7.8

Jacksonville San Diego

-10.8

-12.8

-11.9

Tennessee San Francisco

-4.0

-3.7

-3.5

Pittsburgh Baltimore

-3.2

-3.7

-3.7

Green Bay Cleveland

12.0

10.3

11.5

Indianapolis Denver

-3.4

-4.3

-2.9

N Y Giants Minnesota

0.2

0.5

-0.5

   

 

 

 

Byes: New Orleans, Oakland

 

 

 

 

Playoff Projections

 

A F C

1. Denver

2. New England

3. Cincinnati

4. Indianapolis

5. Kansas City

6. Miami

 

N F C

1. Seattle

2. New Orleans

3. Green Bay

4. Dallas

5. San Francisco

6. Detroit

 

Wildcard Round

Cincinnati over Miami

Kansas City over Indianapolis

Green Bay over Detroit

San Francisco over Dallas

 

Divisional Round

Denver over Kansas City

Cincinnati over New England

Seattle over San Francisco

New Orleans over Green Bay

 

Conference Championships

Denver over Cincinnati

Seattle over New Orleans

 

Super Bowl

Denver over Seattle

September 11, 2013

PiRate Ratings for NFL Week 2: September 15-16, 2013

Filed under: Pro Football — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 11:38 am

PiRate Ratings—NFL Week 2—September 15-16, 2013

 

It is always quite whimsical for us old geezers at the PiRate Ratings when the opening week of the season brings a good share of surprises.  It still amazes us how quickly the media and the public change their opinions so quickly.  Let’s look at a few examples:

1. Before: The New York Jets were the worst team in football since the Detroit Lions went 0-16.  They had absolutely no chance this year, and Rex Ryan would be gone before the end of September.

After the Jets beat Tampa Bay: Rex Ryan proved he still knows how to coach defense.  The Jets have their new comeback king in Geno Smith.  This team could challenge the Patriots for the AFC East Crown.

2. Before: The Hurry-up Oregon Duck offense that Chip Kelly used in college could never succeed in the NFL, because the defensive players are too quick and strong for a gimmick like the spread to work.  Michael Vick won’t last a half.

After: What can the rest of the league do to slow down this unstoppable offense?  Teams don’t rush for close to 300 yards in an NFL game unless they have O. J. Simpson slashing through the line, or they have Larry Csonka and Mercury Morris in a split backfield.  Just how long will it be before 10 other teams are running some form of this offense?  It has always been our opinion that the split backfield used for years in the NFL was still an excellent philosophy where a halfback ran mostly off-tackle, sweeps, and traps, and a fullback ran the line plunges.  The Spread is similar to a split backfield in the zone read, where the QB reads the defense like in the veer and either gives on the dive or keeps off-tackle.  It is the best of both worlds, because offenses can still keep three or even four wideouts.

3. Before: The Pittsburgh Steelers were a team to watch out for this year, because they were mad and ready to seek revenge for a so-so season.

After: The Steelers cannot score points, and they are doomed.  They were basically shut out by the lowly Tennessee Titans in week one, getting a gift safety on the opening kickoff and then scoring a mop-up touchdown late when behind 16-2 and with the Titans in a dime package and playing quarters defense allowing 20 yard passes to be completed underneath.  The Dick Lebeau defense had its moments, but it gave up too many first down conversions.

4. Before: The Raiders will definitely have the first pick in the 2014 draft.  They may win less games than the Jaguars and Jets.

After: They may not be ready to return to their glory days, but Indianapolis had to come from behind to beat the visiting silver and black.  Oakland is much better than advertised, and the Raiders could win six or seven games.

5. Before: Norv Turner was the reason San Diego lost so many games where they blew leads.

After: Mike McCoy is no better than Norv Turner, and the Chargers will continue to look great losing late.

6. Before: Dallas is never going to return to their glory days with Jerry Jones micromanaging his team.

After: The Giants have been dismissed, and this is the Cowboys’ division to win.  The two new (old) coordinators still know their stuff, and Dallas will win like it is 1966 through 1995.

7. Chicago’s offense will struggle under Mark Trestman, because Jay Cutler is not his prototypical quarterback.

After: Trestman and Cutler look like a perfect marriage.  The Bears looked fantastic in the winning touchdown drive.

We could go on and on.  The Patriots were supposed to slaughter the Bills.  The Falcons were too good for the Saints.  The 49ers had too much going on to be as good as the last two years.  About the only expected outcomes, if you count the so-called pundits expectations as valid, were:

1. The Kansas City Chiefs looked like the team they are being hyped as, but they played Jacksonville.

2. Denver looks like the strongest team since the 2007 Patriots.

3. Seattle’s defense looks even better this year, and they won on the road on the Atlantic Coast.

4. Green Bay still has the great offense, but once again, their defense is going to cost them some games.

5. The NFC West, once the weak sister of the NFL is now the king.  The Rams could win two or three other divisions, but they will be fortunate to finish third in this one.  They could still sneak into the playoffs.  The Cardinals look like a much improved team, more like the one that started 2012 than the one that ended it.

Week 2 presents some interesting games.  Here is what we have to look forward to this weekend.

1. The Jets and Patriots:  it isn’t the Red Sox and the Yankees, but it is just as intense.  Bill Belichick likes Rex Ryan about as much as Joe Girardi likes Buck Showalter.  Look for this game to be very physical and very testy.  The Patriots have just enough vulnerabilities for a defensive guru like Ryan to exploit.  Don’t think for a minute that the Jets plan to pressure Tom Brady and try to get him out of this game.

2. The Rams and Falcons: St. Louis has the talent to send Atlanta to 0-2, and if this should happen, then the NFC West just went from strong to crazy.  Because both San Francisco and Seattle cannot possibly win this week, the Rams have a chance to go one game up on one of them (remote chance to go one half game up on both).  Atlanta must consider this game a must-win already, because they cannot afford to drop two games behind Drew Brees and company.

3. The Bears and Vikings: This looks like a must-win road game for the purple and white.  A loss sends them two games behind Chicago and possibly two games behind Detroit.  A win would keep them alive in the division and possibly cause a four-way tie at 1-1.  If the Bears win, the mighty momentum could send them on the way to matching our bettering their 10-win season of 2012.

4. The Packers and Redskins:  One of these teams will be 0-2 by Sunday afternoon, and like the other possible 0-2 teams, only around 10% of these teams recover and make the playoffs.  Both teams also have intra-divisional rivals that could be 2-0.

5. The Colts and Dolphins: This game looks like an interestingly close contest.  Should Miami win, the Dolphins will have started 2-0 with both wins on the road.  Teams that begin 2-0 on the road make the playoffs 83.3% of the time in the 21st Century.  Actually in only one season has a team started 2-0 on the road and failed to make the playoffs.  Uh Oh—it was the 2010 Miami Dolphins.  This game is important for Indianapolis as well.  A come-from-behind win over Oakland is not a statement victory.  A loss to the fish might prove as a sign that this team is not going to suffer a sophomore slump.

6. The Cowboys and Chiefs:  This one has become a lot more important than it might have been had the week one outcomes been different.  All of a sudden, this looks like a game between two playoff worthy teams rather than a game between two mediocre teams.  Our three ratings show this contest to be the most competitive of the week.

7. The Eagles and Chargers:  The Chargers get one less day to prepare for this offense, and they have to travel 2,000 miles across three time zones.  NFL offenses usually perform better in the second game than in the first after working out some kinks.  Could we be looking at an Oregon-like score this week?  Is it possible that Philly could top 50?  On the other hand, can David Rivers prove he can be a star for four quarters and not two and a half?  San Diego’s passing attack could keep the hurry-up off the field just long enough for the Chargers not to have to result to developing a lot of cramps.  Isn’t it funny how theses teams’ offensive stars never develop cramps?  You would think the wide receivers and running backs would be the most likely to need help off the field.  What a strange coincidence that it is just the defensive players that can most easily be replaced that develop these cramps.

8. The Giants and Broncos: The renewal of the Manning Bowl finds Peyton as the cherry on top of the hot fudge sundae, and Eli in the bottom of the compost pile.  Peyton had three extra days to study the Giants’ run of the mill defense, and New York had to play the night game on Sunday.

9. The 49ers and Seahawks:  This one is our favorite game of the week and one of our favorites of the season.  We have this little historical vignette to tell you how we compare this game to rivalries of years gone by.

We are of the age where we look back to yesteryear with fond thoughts, where everything was great.  Okay, the second half of the 1960’s were not so great, but on Sunday afternoons in the fall, we had the old American Football League, the renegade league that went head-to-head with the infallible NFL and forced a merger.  The NFL was the league of conservative, brawn over brains football.  The AFL was the gunslinger league.  In those four seasons where the AFL champion met the NFL champion, the Oakland Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs played against each other like they were fighting their own civil war.  In 1966, Kansas City was king.  Len Dawson and Mike Garrett led an unstoppable offense, and the defense was huge in that timeframe.  Buck Buchanan looked more like a 21st Century defensive lineman.  Oakland was up and coming with talent throughout.  The Raiders lacked a proven QB that could get them over the hump.  Kansas City won the AFL and played in the first Super Bowl.  However, they could not sweep the Raiders.  Oakland won by three touchdowns at KC Municipal Stadium.

In 1967, Oakland owner Al Davis picked up the backup quarterback from Buffalo and made him his starter.  Overnight, Daryle Lamonica became known as “The Mad Bomber.”  The former Notre Dame standout began making the vertical passing game the biggest offensive threat in football.  A punishing defense that pulverized enemy quarterbacks made the Raiders the best team in the history of the AFL.  In the opening week, they beat Denver 51-0, holding the Broncos to negative total yards!

Meanwhile, the rest of the AFL discovered that if they stopped the Chiefs’ running game and threw the ball to the intermediate zones, they could beat Kansas City.  Oakland swept the Chiefs and won the AFL with a 13-1 record and a 40-7 blowout of Eastern Division winner Houston.  Kansas City slumped all the way down to 9-5.

Neither team won the AFL in 1968, although both were probably better than the World Champion New York Jets.  The Chiefs recovered to tie Oakland at 12-2 in the Western Division.  KC coach Hank Stram proved just how much of a coaching genius he was when the Chiefs were forced to host Oakland with zero healthy wide receivers.  Rather than try to pick up some stiffs on the waiver wire, he secretly changed the entire offense overnight.  He installed the old full-house T-formation with three running backs and two tight ends.  Oakland could not stop the incredible ground game with both ultimate power and ultimate deception.  Quarterback Len Dawson attempted just three passes all day, all of them off play-action, and the Chiefs ran the ball as effectively as Philadelphia did on Monday night.  They beat the Raiders that day.  After that week, the Raiders were a mad group of pirates, and they did not lose again in the regular season.  They marauded opponents topping 30 points in seven of the final eight games.  Included in this 8-0 finish was a revenge win over Kansas City and the infamous “Heidi Game” win over the New York Jets.

In those days, there were no tiebreakers to determine which team won the division, so when both The Chiefs and Raiders finished tied at 12-2, they had to meet in a playoff to determine the winner.  The winner of that game would then face the 11-3 Jets, the 11-3 rested Jets, for the AFL title a week later.  The Mad Bomber became nuclear that day, as Lamonica completed three first quarter long passes into Oakland touchdowns and two other bombs for scores to total 5 passing TDs, en route to a 41-6 win over the Chiefs.  The silver and black defense intercepted Dawson four times.  It was no doubt that this Raider team had enough talent to make Super Bowl III competitive against either Baltimore over Cleveland.

Except, the Raiders didn’t get that opportunity.  A week later, Oakland was a little flat against Broadway Joe Namath and the Jets.  The Raiders started slow and spotted the Jets a touchdown and field goal early.  They fought back to tie the score at 13-13 early in the third quarter, and they even took the lead in the fourth quarter.  However, in the final seven minutes of the game, the Raiders’ defense looked spent, and Namath exploited the tired pursuit for the decisive winning touchdown drive.  It was New York and not Oakland that pulled off the great Super Bowl III upset that basically proved to fans all over the country that the two leagues were now on par.

Oakland entered 1969 with a new head coach.  John Rauch, the genius behind the vertical passing game used by Lamonica had finally experienced too much meddling from owner Davis.  He left for lowly Buffalo and never really enjoyed much success with the Bills and their new phenom O. J. Simpson.  Enter one John Madden as Raiders’ coach.  The vertical passing game was still around, but Madden preferred more high percentage passes and a little more emphasis on the power running game.  Still, Oakland looked like the best team in the league.

Kansas City still had the best defense in the league, but their offense was starting to show more holes, similar to the troubles of 1967.  Dawson nursed injuries into early December, and it was debatable if he would play again after midseason.  Numerous second, third, and fourth opinions were sought to find a physician that would state it was okay for him to play.

The Jets were still strong in the East, but they were most certainly the third best team in the league.

Oakland beat Kansas City three times in 1969, but it was not enough, because the Chiefs got a fourth chance and won when it counted.  In the final year of the AFL’s existence, the now 10-team league decided to add the two second-place finishers to the playoff after seeing how much publicity the 1968 playoff game had created for the league.

Oakland finished 12-1-1, making their three year regular season record 37-4-1, the best of all time for a three-year run.  The Chiefs finished second at 11-3.  In the East, the Jets had no real competition and fiddled to a 10-4 record.  Houston had already secured second place in the Eastern Division, but going into the final week, the Oilers were just 5-6-2.  A loss to Boston would put them in the playoffs at 5-7-2, and it almost happened.  Three fourth quarter scores allowed the Oilers to finish the regular season with a .500 record.

In the first round of the AFL Playoffs, Houston had to play at Oakland.  The Raiders were a double-digit favorite, but this game looked more like the NFL All-Stars against a first-year expansion team.  Oakland quickly scored four touchdowns in the first 12 minutes and cruised to the second largest winning playoff margin in pro football history, 56-7.

The Chiefs saw to it that there would be no repeat for the AFL title game.  Their defense completely stopped Namath, while the offense mounted one nice drive for the winning touchdown in a 13-6 victory.

Now it was one final Chiefs-Raiders game to decide the Super Bowl IV participant and close out league play.  Oakland had defeated Kansas City in the preseason and swept them in the regular season, but Kansas City had one final try.  This time, the winner would face the dominant Minnesota Vikings for the World Championship.

Once again, the Chiefs’ defense proved too tough for even the most potent offense.  Lamonica could never penetrate the Kansas City secondary, and the Chief pass rush dumped him multiple times and forced him to throw off target.  Chief defensive back Emmitt Thomas picked up a pair of passes and set up a score with a long return.

Kansas City did nothing on offense either, but their defense gave them much less field to cover to score in a 17-7 lackluster win.

The Chiefs went on to pull off an equally monumental Super Bowl upset than their brethren Jets had pulled off the year before.  They stunned the Vikings, with the defense once again shutting down the opponent.

Back to the present, we see the 49ers and Seahawks as the new 21st Century version of the Chiefs and Raiders.  There is a rivalry here that is similar to that old rivalry.  It began when then Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh and then Southern Cal coach Pete Carroll did not particularly like each other.  While at Stanford, Harbaugh took a 41-point underdog Cardinal team to Los Angeles and pulled the greatest pointspread upset in college football history, ending a 35-game home winning streak for the Trojans.  He did it with a backup quarterback starting his first game ever.  Before leaving for the NFL, Harbaugh’s Cardinal ran up the score on Carroll’s Trojans in 2009.

The 49ers now have the 1960’s persona of their cross-bay rival Oakland, while Seattle takes on the persona of the 1960’s Chiefs.  The Seahawks are the challenger, while the 49ers are the champions.  If history is to pan out, then this should be the season where Seattle scrapes by San Francisco by a game or two.  Of course with the expanded playoffs, there is a chance that the two could face off for the NFC Championship, just like 1969.  This game should be one you do not want to miss.

Now, we continue with our weekly ratings and spreads.

Current NFL PiRate Ratings

N F C

East

PiRate

Mean

Biased

New York Giants

101.3

101.2

100.2

Dallas Cowboys

100.7

102.9

100.8

Washington Redskins

97.9

96.8

96.8

Philadelphia Eagles

96.5

97.9

96.5

 

 

 

 

North

PiRate

Mean

Biased

Green Bay Packers

105.9

104.9

105.4

Chicago Bears

101.7

102.8

102.0

Detroit Lions

99.1

101.8

99.5

Minnesota Vikings

98.8

97.0

97.3

 

 

 

 

South

PiRate

Mean

Biased

Atlanta Falcons

103.2

104.8

102.5

New Orleans Saints

102.1

103.8

102.2

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

98.4

97.1

98.3

Carolina Panthers

98.3

97.6

97.9

 

 

 

 

West

PiRate

Mean

Biased

San Francisco 49ers

108.6

107.9

108.9

Seattle Seahawks

105.7

105.7

105.7

St. Louis Rams

98.5

99.7

97.8

Arizona Cardinals

95.2

97.7

94.9

 

 

 

 

A F C

East

PiRate

Mean

Biased

New England Patriots

107.8

102.1

108.2

Miami Dolphins

99.4

100.5

100.6

New York Jets

96.4

94.1

96.5

Buffalo Bills

96.1

94.4

96.7

 

 

 

 

North

PiRate

Mean

Biased

Baltimore Ravens

102.9

101.4

102.7

Cincinnati Bengals

102.3

102.0

102.2

Pittsburgh Steelers

98.9

97.6

98.5

Cleveland Browns

93.5

94.0

93.5

 

 

 

 

South

PiRate

Mean

Biased

Houston Texans

105.1

105.1

105.4

Indianapolis Colts

100.0

98.3

99.8

Tennessee Titans

99.3

98.4

100.1

Jacksonville Jaguars

90.1

89.3

90.2

 

 

 

 

West

PiRate

Mean

Biased

Denver Broncos

109.0

110.4

109.8

San Diego Chargers

98.1

99.4

98.9

Kansas City Chiefs

97.4

101.9

98.1

Oakland Raiders

91.9

91.5

91.9

This Week’s Spreads

 

Home Visitor

PiRate

Mean

Bias

New England N Y Jets

14.4

11.0

14.7

Atlanta St. Louis

7.7

8.1

7.7

Buffalo Carolina

0.8

-0.2

1.8

Chicago Minnesota

5.4

8.2

7.2

Green Bay Washington

11.0

11.1

11.6

Indianapolis Miami

3.6

0.8

2.2

Kansas City Dallas

-0.8

1.5

-0.2

Baltimore Cleveland

12.4

10.4

12.2

Houston Tennessee

8.8

9.7

8.3

Philadelphia San Diego

1.9

2.0

1.1

Arizona Detroit

-0.9

-1.1

-1.6

Tampa Bay New Orleans

-1.2

-4.2

-1.4

Oakland Jacksonville

4.8

5.2

4.7

N Y Giants Denver

-4.7

-6.2

-6.6

Seattle San Francisco

-0.4

0.3

-0.7

Cincinnati Pittsburgh

5.9

6.9

6.2

 

August 25, 2013

2013 AFC West Preview

2013 A F C West Preview

The PiRate Ratings kickoff our coverage of the National Football League with our AFC West Division preview.

We have added a new wrinkle to our coverage this year.  In the past, friends of ours have asked us if we knew how to recreate the exact colors of their favorite team so that they could print those colors on their computer.  We have found this information from multiple sites in the last couple of months, and we are going to show you the RGB numbers so you can replicate those colors.  These can be used in graphics programs, but it can easily be used in MS-Word and MS-Excel.

Here are the official colors for the AFC West

West

Color

Red

Green

Blue

Denver Broncos

Navy

0

33

71

 

Orange

255

99

25

Kansas City Chiefs

Red

198

12

48

 

Gold

255

182

18

Oakland Raiders

Silver

133

136

139

 

Black

17

28

36

San Diego Chargers

Navy

0

34

68

 

Gold

255

182

18

2012 Final Standings & PiRate Ratings

AFC West PiRate Mean Biased

WLT

Pts

Opp

Denver Broncos

111.0

110.6

110.3

13-3-0

481

289

San Diego Chargers

98.4

99.1

99.5

7-9-0

350

350

Oakland Raiders

90.9

92.2

93.0

4-12-0

290

443

Kansas City Chiefs

87.6

87.8

87.9

2-14-0

211

425

 

2013 Preseason PiRate Ratings

West

PiRate

Mean

Biased

Denver Broncos

106.9

107.6

107.2

San Diego Chargers

97.8

98.8

98.3

Kansas City Chiefs

95.6

99.2

96.0

Oakland Raiders

90.6

89.3

90.2

Division Means

97.7

98.7

97.9

PiRate Previews

 

Team

Denver Broncos

             
Head Coach

John Fox

O-Coord.

Adam Gase

D-Coord.

Jack Del Rio

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Projected Starting Lineup

Position

Player

 

Offense

Quarterback

Peyton Manning

Running Back

Ronnie Hillman

Wide Receiver

Wes Welker

Wide Receiver

Eric Decker

Wide Receiver

Demaryius Thomas

Tight End

Joel Dreessen

Left Tackle

Ryan Clady

Left Guard

Zane Beadles

Center

Manny Ramirez

Right Guard

Louis Vasquez

Right Tackle

Orlando Franklin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Defense

Left End

Derek Wolfe

Tackle

Kevin Vickerson

Nose Tackle

Terrance Knighton

Right End

Robert Ayers

Sam LB

Shaun Phillips (Von Miller after game 6)

Mike LB

Nate Irving

Will LB

Wesley Woodyard

Left CB

Champ Bailey

Right CB

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie

Strong Safety

Mike Adams

Free Safety

Rahim Moore

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Special Teams

Kicker

Matt Prater

Punter

Britton Colquitt

K-Return

Trindon Holliday

P-Return

Trindon Holliday

 

 

Predictions

 

Record

12-4

Division

1st

 

 

Team

Kansas City Chiefs

             
Head Coach

Andy Reid

O-Coord.

Doug Pederson

D-Coord.

Bob Sutton

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Projected Starting Lineup

Position

Player

 

Offense

Quarterback

Alex Smith

Running Back

Jamaal Charles

Fullback

Anthony Sherman

Wide Receiver

Donnie Avery

Wide Receiver

Dwayne Bowe

Tight End

Anthony Fasano

Left Tackle

Branden Albert

Left Guard

Jeff Allen

Center

Rodney Hudson

Right Guard

Jon Asamoah

Right Tackle

Eric Fisher

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Defense

Left End

Tyson Jackson

Nose Tackle

Dontari Poe

Right End

Mike DeVito

Left OLB

Justin Houston

Left ILB

Akeem Jordan

Right ILB

Derrick Johnson

Right OLB

Tamba Hali

Left CB

Brandon Flowers

Right CB

Sean Smith

Strong Safety

Eric Berry

Free Safety

Kendrick Lewis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Special Teams

Kicker

Ryan Succop

Punter

Dustin Colquitt

K-Return

Dexter McCluster

P-Return

Dexter McCluster

 

 

Predictions

 

Record

7-9

Division

2nd

 

 

Team

Oakland Raiders

             
Head Coach

Dennis Allen

O-Coord.

Greg Olson

D-Coord.

Jason Tarver

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Projected Starting Lineup

Position

Player

 

Offense

Quarterback

Terrell Pryor/Matt Flynn

Running Back

Darren McFadden

Fullback

Marcel Reece

Wide Receiver

Denarius Moore

Wide Receiver

Rod Streater

Tight End

Richard Gordon

Left Tackle

Jared Veldheer

Left Guard

Lucas Nix

Center

Stefan Wisniewski

Right Guard

Mike Brisiel

Right Tackle

Khalif Barnes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Defense

Left End

Jason Hunter

Nose Tackle

Pat Sims

Right Tackle

Vance Walker

Right End

Lamarr Houston

Sam LB

Sio Moore

Mike LB

Nick Roach

Will LB

Kevin Burnett

Left CB

Mike Jenkins

Right CB

Tracy Porter

Strong Safety

Tyvon Branch

Free Safety

Charles Woodson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Special Teams

Kicker

Chris Kluwe

Punter

Sebastian Janikowski

K-Return

Jacoby Ford

P-Return

Phillip Adams

 

 

Predictions

 

Record

5-11

Division

4th

 

 

Team

San Diego Chargers

             
Head Coach

Mike McCoy

O-Coord.

Ken Whisenhunt

D-Coord.

John Pagano

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Projected Starting Lineup

Position

Player

 

Offense

Quarterback

Phillip Rivers

Running Back

Ryan Matthews

Fullback

LeRon McClain

Wide Receiver

Malcom Floyd

Wide Receiver

Vincent Brown

Tight End

Antonio Gates

Left Tackle

King Dunlap

Left Guard

Chad Rinehart

Center

Nick Hardwick

Right Guard

Jeromey Clary

Right Tackle

D. J. Fluker

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Defense

Left End

Kendall Reyes

Nose Tackle

Cam Thomas

Right End

Cory Liuget

Left OLB

Jarret Johnson

Left ILB

Manti Te’o

Right ILB

Donald Butler

Right OLB

Dwight Freeney

Left CB

Derek Cox

Right CB

Shareece Wright

Strong Safety

Marcus Gilchrist

Free Safety

Eric Weddie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Special Teams

Kicker

Nick Novack

Punter

Mike Scifres

K-Return

Richard Goodman

P-Return

Eddie Royal

 

 

Predictions

 

Record

6-10

Division

3rd

 

January 9, 2013

PiRate Ratings NFL Divisional Playoff Round Preview–January 11-12, 2013

The PiRate Simulator raked in the booty in the Wildcard Round finishing with a 7-1 record in its selections.  The Divisional Round offers fewer opportunities to pinch the Las Vegans, so we will be more selective this week.

 

Saturday, January 12, 2013

 

Baltimore Ravens (11-6-0) at Denver Broncos (12-4-0)

Time: 4:30 PM EST

TV: CBS

Sports Authority Field at Mile High Forecast: Partly Cloudy with Temperature falling from upper teens to lower teens

 

PiRate: Denver by 11.5

PiRate Mean: Denver by 10.8

PiRate Bias: Denver by 10.0

PiRate Vintage: Denver by 9.0

 

Vegas Line: Denver by 9

Totals: 46

Money Line:  Denver -450  Baltimore +350

 

100 Computer Simulations: Denver 85  Baltimore 15

Average Score: Denver 27.8  Baltimore 19.3

Standard Deviation: 9.9

Outlier Home: Denver 42  Baltimore 16

Outlier Visitor: Baltimore 31  Denver 16

Outlier High: 61 points

Outlier Low: 31 points

 

PiRate Captain Says: Our computer simulator says that Denver is the overwhelming choice to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl, but the simulation for this game does not give us a wagering option on its own.  The simulated spread average is 8.5, while the Vegas Line is 9.  The simulated totals average is 47.1 while the Vegas Total is 46.  We believe the simulator showing Peyton Manning and Company to have an 85% chance of winning.  Weather could be a factor.  With temperatures in the teens and dropping, the game could become more defensive than expected.  However, Denver cold is very dry and does not feel as cold as the Northeast.

 

 

Green Bay Packers (12-5-0) at San Francisco 49ers (11-4-1)

Time: 8:00 PM EST

TV: Fox

Candlestick Park Forecast: Slight Chance of Rain Showers with Temperature in Mid-40’s

 

PiRate: San Francisco by 3.9

PiRate Mean: San Francisco by 3.4

PiRate Bias: San Francisco by 3.0

PiRate Vintage: San Francisco by 2.5

 

Vegas Line: San Francisco by 3

Totals: 45

Money Line:  San Francisco -150  Green Bay +130

 

100 Computer Simulations: Green Bay 53  San Francisco 47

Average Score: Green Bay 26.1  San Francisco 25.1

Standard Deviation: 9.0

Outlier Home: San Francisco 42  Green Bay 12

Outlier Visitor: Green Bay 34  San Francisco 16

Outlier High: 72 Points

Outlier Low:  27 Points

 

PiRate Captain Says: We were quite surprised with this simulation, as we expected the 49ers to be heavy favorites.  When Green Bay came up with the majority of the wins as well as the winning mean, it tripped a play we rarely ever consider, taking the Money Line underdog.  It is an option if you want to try to make $1.30 on every $1 you invest.  We will not make than an official selection, but we will take the Packers and the points.

 

1. Green Bay +3

2. OVER 45

 

 

Sunday, January 13. 2013

 

Seattle Seahawks (12-5-0) at Atlanta Falcons (13-3-0)

Time: 1:00 PM EST

TV: Fox

Georgia Dome Forecast: Indoors

 

PiRate: Seattle by 5.2

PiRate Mean: Seattle by 3.1

PiRate Bias: Seattle by 1.5

PiRate Vintage: Tossup

 

Vegas Line: Atlanta by 2 ½

Totals: 46

Money Line:  Atlanta -135  Seattle +115

 

100 Computer Simulations:  Seattle 52  Atlanta 48

Average Score: Seattle 21.3  Atlanta 20.0

Standard Deviation: 10.8

Outlier Home: Atlanta 33  Seattle 10

Outlier Visitor: Seattle 37  Atlanta 16 (+2 other 21-point spreads)

Outlier High: 66 Points

Outlier Low:  22 Points

 

PiRate Captain Says: It has been three years since the NFC number one seed advanced to the Super Bowl.  Atlanta earned that honor two seasons ago and fell to Green Bay in this same Divisional Round.  That Green Bay team had an unstoppable offense at the end of the season.  Seattle appears to be the 2010 Green Bay of 2012.  The Seahawks’ offense was slowed against Washington but not stopped.

 

3. Seattle +2 ½

4. UNDER 46

 

 

Houston Texans (13-4-0) at New England Patriots (12-4-0)

Time: 4:30 PM EST

TV: CBS

Gillette Stadium Forecast: Mostly Cloudy with Temperature in Upper 40’s

 

PiRate: New England by 11.5

PiRate Mean: New England by 9.4

PiRate Bias: New England by 8.0

PiRate Vintage: New England by 6.0

 

Vegas Line: New England by 9 ½

Totals: 47 ½

Money Line:  New England -450  Houston +350

 

100 Computer Simulations: New England 82  Houston 18

Average Score: New England 27.0  Houston 20.8

Standard Deviation: 8.3

Outlier Home: New England 42  Houston 13

Outlier Visitor: Houston 28  New England 17

Outlier High: 63 Points

Outlier Low:  30 Points

 

PiRate Captain Says: Like the other AFC playoff game, the simulation averages and the spreads are much too close.  We can only include this game as part of a parlay.

 

5. 10-point Teaser

Denver +1 vs. Baltimore

Seattle +12 ½ vs. Atlanta

New England + ½ vs. Houston

December 4, 2012

PiRate Ratings and Spreads For NFL Week 14: December 6-10, 2012

Playoff Scenarios

 

A F C East

New England has secured the AFC East title and has a chance to earn home field advantage throughout the playoffs if they can run the table, and Houston loses to somebody else besides the Patriots.

 

The other three teams have mathematical chances of sneaking in as wildcards, but to say they are slim is still overstating those chances by a large margin.  Buffalo could rebound to finish 8-8.

 

A F C North

This race became much more interesting with the Steelers upsetting the Ravens in Baltimore.  Now, the Ravens lead is two games and is no longer infallible.  We see the second place teams Cincinnati and Pittsburgh both winning their next two games, and they should both be 9-5-0 when they face off at Heinz Stadium in week 16.  The winner of that game will be playoff bound, while the loser will need help or be out of the picture.

 

The winner of that week 16 game could finish tied with Baltimore, but the Ravens hold the tiebreaker edge over both teams.

 

A F C South

Houston can secure home field advantage for the playoffs if the Texans win at New England and don’t crumble afterwards.  We see the Texans losing this week and possibly in week 17 at Indianapolis.

 

Speaking of the Colts, Andrew Luck and company are in excellent shape in the wildcard race, and with games remaining with Tennessee and Kansas City, we see this team winning at least 10 games.  They must face Houston twice in the final three weeks, but we believe they will split those games to lock up a wildcard spot.  If they could somehow sweep the Texans, Indy could still emerge as division champs.

 

A F C West

Denver essentially took over command in this division when they came from behind to beat San Diego.  The Chargers collapsed, and the Broncos have run away with the division.  We are a bit concerned about their game at Oakland, because the Raiders always have their A-game against the Broncos.  If they can top the Raiders, the Broncos can run the table and possibly squeeze into the number two spot or even the top spot in the conference.

 

N F C East

Hail to the Redskins!  Washington has bested its two key division rivals in back-to-back games, and now RGIII and his Capital Punishers look to grab a division title.  We think the Redskins and Giants will finished tied for the division lead at 9-7, and if that is so, Washington will win the tiebreaker based on better division record.

 

The Giants can never be counted out, but they are not hitting on all cylinders.  With Atlanta and Baltimore still on the schedule, Eli Manning may not be able to win three more games to clinch a playoff bid.

 

Dallas looks like a stereotypical 8-8 team.  Only if the Giants and Redskins totally collapse will the Cowboys sneak into the playoffs.

 

N F C North

This division has begun to fade rather than improve as the northern chill takes over in the old Black and Blue Division.  Green Bay and Chicago will decide who is the division champ and who is the wildcard when they face off at Lambeau Field in two weeks.

 

Minnesota still has a remote chance to be a wildcard, but at 6-6, the Vikings must win out.  Their final four games include tough road games against Houston and St. Louis, as well as home games against the Bears and Packers.  It’s not happening this year.

 

N F C South

Atlanta almost has home field advantage wrapped up to the Super Bowl.  The Falcons own a 2 ½ game lead over San Francisco and could secure the number one seed in two weeks.  That would leave Atlanta with two meaningless games, but that week 17 game could be very important.

 

The Falcons’ week 17 game comes against Tampa Bay, and the Buccaneers are fighting for a wildcard spot.  The Bucs have a shot at entering that game at 9-6, and then that finale becomes very important.  Tampa Bay almost has to be 10-6 to make it as a wildcard.

 

N F C West

San Francisco may be the best team in the NFC, but the St. Louis Rams believe otherwise.  At 8-3-1, the 49ers are almost a lock to win the division, but they cannot be considered an overwhelming favorite to advance to the Super Bowl.

 

Seattle proved they can win on the road with a key victory in Soldier Field over the Bears.  The Seahawks have three remaining home games and a road game against Buffalo.  The opportunity is there for Pete Carroll’s team to run the table and possibly steal the division title away from San Francisco, but we believe the Seahawks will lose at least one time and have to settle for the wildcard.

 

PiRate Playoff Projection

 

A F C

1. New England

2. Houston

3. Denver

4. Baltimore

5. Pittsburgh

6. Indianapolis

 

N F C

1. Atlanta

2. San Francisco

3. Green Bay

4. Washington

5. Seattle

6. Chicago

 

Wildcard Round

Indianapolis at Denver

Pittsburgh at Baltimore

Chicago at Green Bay

Seattle at Washington

 

Divisional Round

Pittsburgh at New England

Denver at Houston

Seattle at Atlanta

Green Bay at San Francisco

 

Conference Championship

Denver at New England

San Francisco at Atlanta

 

Super Bowl

New England vs. Atlanta

 

New England wins Super Bowl

 

Here are this week’s PiRate Ratings

NFC East PiRate Mean Biased Vintage HFA
New York Giants 105.9 104.7 104.1 103.5 3
Washington Redskins 100.5 101.1 101.4 102.0 2
Dallas Cowboys 98.8 99.3 99.5 100.0 1.5
Philadelphia Eagles 93.6 92.5 92.0 91.5 3.5
           
NFC North PiRate Mean Biased Vintage HFA
Chicago Bears 106.2 104.6 103.7 103.0 2.5
Green Bay Packers 105.4 103.9 101.8 102.5 2.5
Detroit Lions 98.5 97.5 98.5 96.5 2.5
Minnesota Vikings 96.7 97.7 98.1 99.0 3.5
           
NFC South PiRate Mean Biased Vintage HFA
Atlanta Falcons 105.6 106.8 106.6 108.5 2
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 102.2 101.5 99.7 101.0 2.5
New Orleans Saints 101.5 100.9 100.8 100.5 2.5
Carolina Panthers 94.5 94.2 96.2 94.0 1.5
           
NFC West PiRate Mean Biased Vintage HFA
San Francisco 49ers 108.3 107.1 104.2 106.0 2.5
Seattle Seahawks 104.4 104.3 104.3 104.5 5
St. Louis Rams 97.8 98.5 98.8 99.5 3.5
Arizona Cardinals 96.6 94.6 95.9 92.5 2
           
AFC East PiRate Mean Biased Vintage HFA
New England Patriots 111.2 109.4 106.0 107.5 1.5
Miami Dolphins 98.9 98.8 98.6 99.0 1.5
New York Jets 97.9 96.9 96.2 96.0 2
Buffalo Bills 96.7 97.7 101.0 99.0 3.5
           
AFC North PiRate Mean Biased Vintage HFA
Baltimore Ravens 103.6 104.4 104.8 105.5 4.5
Cincinnati Bengals 102.6 103.1 103.2 104.0 3
Pittsburgh Steelers 101.7 103.1 102.6 105.0 4
Cleveland Browns 95.6 96.1 97.8 97.0 2
           
AFC South PiRate Mean Biased Vintage HFA
Houston Texans 107.8 108.3 108.5 109.0 3
Indianapolis Colts 95.6 99.4 101.3 104.0 4.5
Tennessee Titans 93.5 93.9 94.0 94.5 2.5
Jacksonville Jaguars 91.2 91.7 91.9 92.5 0.5
           
AFC West PiRate Mean Biased Vintage HFA
Denver Broncos 108.3 108.1 105.9 108.0 3
San Diego Chargers 98.0 97.4 99.2 97.0 2.5
Kansas City Chiefs 90.8 91.0 91.1 91.5 2.5
Oakland Raiders 90.0 91.5 92.3 93.5 3.5

 

Here are this week’s PiRate spreads

Favorite Underdog PiRate Mean Bias Vintage Vegas Totals
Denver OAKLAND 14.8 13.1 10.1 11.0 10 1/2 49 1/2
Baltimore WASHINGTON 1.1 1.3 1.4 1.5 -2 1/2 47   
CLEVELAND Kansas City 6.8 7.1 8.7 7.5 5 1/2 37 1/2
PITTSBURGH
San Diego
7.7 9.7 7.4 12.0 NL NL
INDIANAPOLIS Tennessee 6.6 10.0 11.8 14.0 5 1/2 48   
New York Jets JACKSONVILLE 6.2 4.7 3.8 3.0 2 1/2 38 1/2
Chicago MINNESOTA 6.0 3.4 2.1 0.5 3    39 1/2
Atlanta CAROLINA 9.6 11.1 8.9 13.0 3 1/2 47 1/2
TAMPA BAY Philadelphia 11.1 11.5 10.2 12.0 7    47   
BUFFALO St. Louis 2.4 2.7 5.7 3.0 3    42   
CINCINNATI Dallas 6.8 6.8 6.7 7.0 3    45 1/2
SAN FRANCISCO Miami 11.9 10.8 8.1 9.5 10    39   
NEW YORK GIANTS
New Orleans
7.4 6.8 6.3 6.0 5    53 1/2
SEATTLE
Arizona
12.8 14.7 13.4 17.0 10 1/2 34 1/2
GREEN BAY Detroit 9.4 8.9 5.8 8.5 6 1/2 52   
NEW ENGLAND Houston 4.9 2.6 -1.0 0.0 3 1/2 51 1/2

 

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