The Pi-Rate Ratings

September 19, 2017

PiRate Ratings NFL Forecast For Week 3: September 21-25, 2017

This Week’s PiRate Ratings Spreads

Home Visitor PiRate Mean Bias Score
San Francisco LA Rams 3.8 3.3 3.9 41
Jacksonville (London) Baltimore -7.9 -7.8 -8.2 41
Indianapolis Cleveland 3.0 2.9 2.3 46
Chicago Pittsburgh -10.5 -10.3 -10.8 43
N. Y. Jets Miami -5.4 -6.1 -5.3 44
Buffalo Denver -4.1 -2.4 -4.4 41
New England Houston 12.0 12.1 12.4 38
Carolina New Orleans 6.0 6.0 6.4 58
Minnesota Tampa Bay -0.5 0.7 -1.1 41
Detroit Atlanta -0.7 0.5 -1.1 56
Philadelphia N. Y. Giants 4.0 2.5 5.3 36
Tennessee Seattle 2.9 2.8 3.0 43
LA Chargers Kansas City -3.5 -4.0 -3.8 48
Green Bay Cincinnati 9.1 9.5 8.7 44
Washington Oakland -2.5 -3.6 -1.9 53
Arizona Dallas -0.2 1.1 -0.2 48

 

The AFC West Could Have The Three Best Teams In The NFL
How could it be that the three best teams in the NFL might all play in the same division? Is it possible that Oakland, Kansas City, and Denver are the top three teams? You’d get a good argument from fans in New England, Atlanta, and maybe Pittsburgh and Baltimore, but through two weeks of the season, it is hard to say that any of the other teams outside of the AFC West are better than the top three.

Oakland owns a win at Tennessee, the team picked to win the AFC South by a majority of prognosticators. Kansas City won at New England, a team that many thought could go 16-0 this year. Denver blew Dallas off the field Sunday. All three teams are 2-0, and it is possible that all three teams will win double digit games this year.

Guess what? This isn’t the first time this division has been so strong. Let’s return to the golden age of yesteryear. Set the time travel clock back to 1967 and 1968. The old American Football League’s West Division had the same four teams as today’s AFC West–Broncos, Chargers, Chiefs, and Raiders (The Cincinnati Bengals would join in 1968).
Oakland had the incredible mad bomber Daryle Lamonica throwing lasers to Warren Wells and Fred Biletnikoff with bruising running backs Hewritt Dixon, Clem Daniels, and Pete Banaszak, and the Raiders’ offense was maybe one of the best of all time during that era. The Silver and Black attack topped 32 points per game in consecutive seasons. The Raider defense featured stars in all three units. Tom Keating and the inimitable Ben Davidson kept the FTD Florist company in business, as relatives of injured NFL quarterbacks frequently ordered get-well bouquets for their injured heroes. Dan Conners was one of the top middle linebackers in the game in an era where this position usually was the most important of all. The secondary was tough with stars Willie Brown and Kent McCloughan at the corners.

Kansas City played a more ball-controlled offense than Oakland, but their defense was just as dominating as the Raiders, and it made for the best rivalry in the history of organized football. The Chiefs offense was led by Len Dawson, the most accurate passer in the AFL. Dawson did not throw as many deep balls, but he had the arm and accuracy. With incredible run support from Mike Garrett, Robert Holmes, and Wendell Hayes, the Chiefs ran the ball more than the rest of the AFL during this time, and it allowed their great defense to stay on the sidelines for longer stretches. When KC’s defense took the field, it was a red storm. Tackle Buck Buchanan was the biggest defender in the league. Teams usually ran away from him, which funneled the ball carrier toward another star, end Jerry Mays.

The linebacker corps may have been the best trio of all time. Willie Lanier was the cream of the crop of middle linebackers. Bobby Bell and Jim Lynch manned the outside spots, and this group was responsible for stopping opponents from converting first downs on third and short. On the back line, Johnny Robinson was one of the top two or three safeties in the 10-year history of the AFL, if not the best. Emmitt Thomas was the equal of Oakland’s Brown on the outside.

San Diego had been the dominant AFL West team during the first half of the decade. The Chargers won the AFL West Five of the first six years. Beginning with the Chiefs-Raiders dominance in 1966 and carrying through the 1970’s, the Chargers continued to be a very good team, just not quite up to the standards of the big two. San Diego was known to get off to great starts and then fade in the last four weeks of the season. In 1966, San Diego was just a half-game behind Kansas City after eight weeks, but they finished 7-6-1 losing four of their last six. In 1967, the Chargers were 8-1-1 through 10 games, just a half-game behind Oakland at 9-1. The two teams squared off in the AFL Game of the Year in San Diego. The Chargers briefly looked like they had what it took to win that day, before Oakland wore them down and Lamonica tore the Chargers’ secondary to shreds. Oakland finished 13-1, while the Chargers lost all the rest of their games to fall to 8-5-1, good for third place. In 1968, through 10 games, the Chargers stood at 8-2, tied with Oakland and a half-game behind Kansas City, who had played 11 games and was 9-2. Once again, the Chargers crashed in December, falling to 9-5, while Oakland and Kansas City won out to finish tied at 12-2 (Oakland won in a playoff).

If we look at history in this division, two of the three current dominating teams should continue to dominate week after week, while the third team will eventually fall back. Having to play four games against the other two powers will take its toll on all three teams, and it figures that one team will have a tough time recovering from the beatings. Statistically, we could be looking at one team finishing 12-4, one team finishing 11-5, and the third team falling to 9-7. Of course, this could be totally off base, and all three teams could be on their way to finishing between 12-4 and 10-6. All three teams could easily make the playoffs, as it looks unlikely that the AFC East or AFC South will produce a wild card team this year.

Only Thrice in 62 Years!
Can you name the NFL team that has won its division only three times in the last 62 years? Obviously, 62 years back means this team has to be an original NFL team. That should make it easy for you. In the last 62 seasons, The Detroit Lions won their three Black and Blue Division titles in 1983, 1991, and 1993. They have been the bridesmaid more times than any other team during that period, finishing second 16 times through the years.

With Minnesota and Green Bay showing numerous liabilities through two weeks of the season, could this finally be the year that Matthew Stafford guides the Lions to the top of the NFC North? Might there be a playoff victory coming to Ford Field? The last time the Lions won a playoff game, it happened at the old Pontiac Silverdome. Detroit slaughtered Dallas that day in 1991 by a score of 38-6. It wasn’t the great Barry Sanders that did all the damage. Quarterback Erik Kramer had a career day against the Cowboys, throwing for 341 yards and three touchdowns, while the Lions’ defense picked off two passes and sacked Cowboy quarterback Troy Aikman three times.

The Offense Continues to Rest
Through two weeks of play, the median NFL score is just 19 points, down four points from last year’s total. You have to go back to 1993 to find less scoring for an entire season. The NFL total TV ratings are down by a huge amount this year through the first two weeks of the season. While many in the political world believe it has to do with players refusing to stand for the National Anthem, we tend to believe that the average fan doesn’t really pay attention to that factor. The game has become boring. Teams no longer pass the ball down the field vertically. Quarterbacks rarely throw the ball more than 10 yards past the line of scrimmage. When it’s 3rd and 12, they throw a five-yard pass, hoping the receiver can run for another seven. Running games have come down to three basic types–a line plunge, a stretch, and a draw. All 32 teams look identical, like they must share one playbook.

Why do we believe that the ratings are down simply due to boring games and not due to political issues? There is a very simple explanation for our beliefs. Throughout the nation, there is unrest on the university campuses from coast to coast. Riots, vandalism, assaults, and the like are on the rise, and civil unrest is more the norm than the deviant behavior. Some colleges are redefining what is free speech. The same people that would theoretically have issues with this change of sociology and would be likely to turn off college football games just like they would turn off NFL games due to similar unrest have yet to turn away. In fact, college football ratings are on the rise, gaining about as much as the NFL is losing.

Therefore, it is our belief that total football TV ratings are about on par with their historical averages. The change is that more people are now watching on Saturday than ever before, while Sunday viewing is sinking. It is obvious why this is so. College football is quite a bit more entertaining.

In the college game, you have multiple offensive philosophies. Even when multiple teams run the identical spread offense, there are many variations. Arizona’s and New Mexico’s spread offenses are basically 21st Century wishbone offenses that have evolved. Ohio State’s and Auburn’s spread offenses resemble the old single wing offenses of way back. Oklahoma’s and Clemson’s spread offenses look more like the old NFL Shotgun offenses and the really old TCU Spread of the 1950s. You also have smash-mouth T offenses with Michigan and others. You still have standard triple option offenses at Army, Navy, Air Force, Tulane, and Georgia Tech. There is variety, and on top of the varying offenses, there are numerous philosophies on how to implement these offenses.

It also doesn’t hurt the college game that the average fan can choose between four or five games at 12 PM, 3:30 PM, and 7 PM Eastern time, while the NFL does not give that option to the fans. If you live in an NFL city, you get your team’s game, and if they are at home, you get only your team’s game. CBS and Fox have to take turns getting double header games, so if your team is at home when its regular network (CBS for AFC and Fox for NFC) doesn’t have a double header, you get just one Sunday afternoon game.

The NFL has to understand that just because somebody lives in Atlanta, Charlotte, Nashville, or Jacksonville, it does not mean they have lived there their entire lives. Actually, in the rapidly expanding metropolis cities of the Sunny South, more fans have moved into this area from colder and less financially lucrative cities. Take Nashville for instance. The city gains 100 new residents every day. In the last three football seasons, 109,500 new residents have added to the Music City’s metro population. Of that 100K plus, a large number moved from New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Tampa-St. Pete, Detroit, Cincinnati, Washington DC, and Dallas. Of the football fans, many remain fans of their former city and have no ties with the Titans. Go to a local sports-themed eatery on Sunday afternoon, and you will find as many fans of other teams watching their former city’s team play than there are fans at LP Field watching the Titans.

If the NFL was smart, it would drop their holier than thou elite beliefs and realize that it might be today’s Walmart having to face the new reality that there is now a better option called Amazon, and the fans have discovered this option.

 

This Week’s NFL PiRate Ratings

A F C
East PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals
New England 106.4 107.0 106.3 106.5 24
Miami 99.6 99.8 99.3 99.6 23
Buffalo 97.5 98.2 97.7 97.8 22
N. Y. Jets 91.2 90.7 91.0 91.0 21
           
North PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals
Pittsburgh 105.9 106.1 105.8 106.0 22
Baltimore 103.4 103.5 103.7 103.5 18
Cincinnati 97.0 97.4 97.0 97.2 16
Cleveland 94.4 94.8 94.8 94.6 21
           
South PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals
Tennessee 101.0 101.1 100.5 100.9 25
Houston 97.4 97.8 96.9 97.4 14
Jacksonville 95.5 95.7 95.4 95.5 23
Indianapolis 95.4 95.7 95.0 95.4 25
           
West PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals
Oakland 105.4 106.0 105.1 105.5 28
Kansas City 105.2 105.4 105.6 105.4 22
Denver 104.6 103.6 105.1 104.4 19
LA Chargers 99.8 99.3 99.8 99.6 26
           
N F C
East PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals
Dallas 103.4 102.4 103.3 103.1 23
Philadelphia 101.3 100.1 102.2 101.2 22
Washington 99.3 98.9 99.7 99.3 25
N.Y. Giants 99.3 99.6 98.9 99.3 14
           
North PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals
Green Bay 103.2 103.9 102.7 103.3 28
Detroit 102.4 103.2 102.4 102.7 23
Minnesota 98.7 99.0 98.8 98.8 18
Chicago 92.9 93.4 92.5 92.9 21
           
South PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals
Atlanta 105.6 105.2 106.1 105.6 33
Tampa Bay 102.3 101.3 102.9 102.2 23
Carolina 101.4 100.5 101.7 101.2 25
New Orleans 98.4 97.5 98.4 98.1 33
           
West PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals
Seattle 101.2 101.3 100.5 101.0 18
Arizona 100.2 100.5 100.1 100.3 25
San Francisco 92.5 92.3 92.5 92.4 23
LA Rams 91.2 91.5 91.1 91.3 18

To estimate a game’s total points scored, add both teams’ totals.

 

 

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December 28, 2016

PiRate Ratings Money Line Parlay Picks–January 1, 2017

Due to the debut of our college basketball coverage on Thursday, we are issuing our parlay selections a day early this week.

After losing both long shot parlays last week, our profit for the season has fallen to just 9% for the season, but unless we go crazy and take too many illogical selections in the playoffs, the PiRates are guaranteed of having a second consecutive profitable year.

Once again, we are shunning the college bowl games, as there are too many intangibles in these games.  However, in Week 17 of the NFL season, you have a host of teams with nothing to gain or lose, and some teams can actually lose by winning–as their draft status could be damaged.

One team that will most likely end up with one of the worst five records, the Los Angeles Rams, actually cannot help their draft status by losing to Arizona.  The Rams gave up their first pick to the Tennessee Titans in order to move up to the top of the last draft and take Jared Goff.

Cleveland can upset Pittsburgh and then lose the top pick in the draft if Seattle beats San Francisco.  It is our opinion that Browns Analytics’ gurus, Sashi Brown and Paul DePodesta, will invest the top pick in a package to another team to receive multiple picks, as no one superstar is going to turn Cleveland around in 2017.  Cleveland needs a franchise quarterback, but there really is no clear cut prospect out there that is a sure future star.  The Browns could increase their picks to double digits like last year, and they could still pick up a potentially good Mason Rudolph or even possibly DeShaun Watson or Brad Kaaya in the last part of the first round.

There are a handful of games this week where one team has everything to play for while the other team has nothing to play for.  The Money Lines reflect that in their odds, so we won’t actually receive added benefits by selecting these games.  However, it figures that these teams will be trying harder to win, while the oppositions’ players may be trying to avoid injury in meaningless games.

Therefore, we go with just one parlay this week, using three teams that have everything to gain by winning playing against teams that have nothing to play for hurting their draft order.

1. NFL Parlay at +159
Atlanta over New Orleans
Washington over N. Y. Giants
Kansas City over San Diego

Atlanta will be playing for a first round bye in this early game.  The Saints have nothing to play for, and Drew Brees may see limited action in this game.

The New York Giants cannot afford to risk injuries to key players in a game in which they will be the number five seed no matter what happens.  However, the Redskins must win to get into the playoffs.

Kansas City needs to win and then root for Denver to beat Oakland in order for the Chiefs to win the AFC West and wrap up a bye.  Because Oakland plays Denver at the same time that KC will play SD, the Chiefs will begin this game knowing they have a chance.  Hopefully, if Oakland does beat Denver, it will be a game in which the outcome is not decided until long after the Chiefs have dominated the Chargers.

We are not issuing a choice in the Detroit-Green Bay game.  The winner of this game will take the NFC North and get a wildcard round game at home.  The loser will either be out of the playoffs (if Washington wins earlier in the day) or in the playoffs as the #6 seed (if Washington loses.)  Because we will not know until the conclusion of the Giants-Redskins game what impact it will have on this game, we will not use it in our selection.   Some of you that like to go for broke and make a major payday on one long shot might consider adding the red hot Packers into the selection and raising the Parlay Payout to better than +200.

Some of you also might like looking at a single play in the Houston-Tennessee game.  There is nothing on the line here, but Tennessee will be too one dimensional with its running game, as Matt Cassel cannot run like the injured Marcus Mariota.  Cassel is not the best at using the play-action pass, so the Texans’ defense will most likely limit the Titans’ running game and then win in an ugly, low-scoring game.

 

 

December 24, 2013

PiRate Ratings: NFL for Week 17–December 29, 2013

Filed under: Pro Football — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 5:47 am

The Playoff Races In Full

A F C

 

Denver

Clinches #1 Seed with home field advantage throughout the AFC Playoffs with a win or tie vs. Oakland, or

A New England loss or tie against Buffalo

Falls to #2 Seed if they lose to Oakland and New England beats Buffalo

New England

Clinches #1 Seed with home field advantage throughout the AFC Playoffs with a win over Buffalo and a Denver loss to Oakland

Clinches #2 Seed with a win or tie vs. Buffalo, or a Cincinnati loss or tie to Baltimore and an Indianapolis loss or tie against Jacksonville

Cincinnati

Clinches #2 Seed with a win over Baltimore and a loss by New England to Buffalo

 

Wins Tiebreaker over Indianapolis for #3 Seed (Head-to-Head Win)

 

Indianapolis

Clinches #2 Seed with a win over Jacksonville and a New England loss to Buffalo and a Cincinnati loss or tie to Baltimore

 

Clinches #3 Seed with a win over Jacksonville and a Cincinnati loss or tie to Baltimore, or

 

A tie over Jacksonville and a Cincinnati loss to Baltimore

 

Kansas City

Has already clinched #5 Seed

Miami

Clinches #6 Seed with a win over the NY Jets and Baltimore loss or tie to Cincinnati, or

A win over NY Jets and a San Diego win over Kansas City, or

A tie with NY Jets, and a Baltimore loss to Cincinnati, and a San Diego loss or tie vs. Kansas City, or

A tie with NY Jets, and a Baltimore tie vs. Cincinnati, and a San Diego tie vs. Kansas City

Baltimore

Clinches #6 Seed with a win over Cincinnati and a San Diego loss or tie vs. Kansas City, or

A win over Cincinnati, and a Miami loss or tie vs. NY Jets, or

A tie vs. Cincinnati, and a Miami loss to NY Jets, and a San Diego loss or tie with Kansas City, or

A tie vs. Cincinnati, and a Miami tie with NY Jets, and a San Diego loss to Kansas City, or

A Miami loss to NY Jets, and a San Diego loss to Kansas City, and a Pittsburgh loss or tie with Cleveland

San Diego

Clinches #6 Seed with win over Kansas City, and Miami loss or tie with NY Jets, and Baltimore loss or tie with Cincinnati, or

 

A tie with Kansas City, and a Miami loss to NY Jets, and Baltimore loss to Cincinnati

Pittsburgh

Clinches #6 Seed with win over Cleveland, and Miami loss to NY Jets, and Baltimore loss to Cincinnati, and San Diego loss to Kansas City

N F C

 

Seattle

Clinches #1 Seed with home field advantage throughout the NFC Playoffs with a win or tie against St. Louis, or

A San Francisco loss or tie against Arizona

Carolina

Clinches #1 Seed with a win over Atlanta and a Seattle loss to St. Louis, and a San Francisco win over Arizona

Clinches #2 Seed with a win or tie with Atlanta, or

A New Orleans loss or tie with Tampa Bay

Philadelphia

Clinches #3 Seed with win or tie with Dallas

Chicago

Clinches the NFC North Division with a win or tie with Green Bay

Clinches #3 Seed with a win over Green Bay and Dallas winning the NFC East (wins tiebreaker based on head-to-head win)

Clinches #4 Seed if Philadelphia wins the NFC East, (or if Bears tie and Dallas wins)

San Francisco

Clinches #1 Seed with home field advantage throughout the NFC Playoffs with a win over Arizona, and a Seattle loss to St. Louis, and a Carolina loss or tie with Atlanta

Clinches #2 Seed with a win over Arizona and a Seattle loss to St. Louis

Clinches #5 Seed with win over Arizona, or

A New Orleans loss to Tampa Bay (New Orleans and Carolina both hold tiebreaker based on head-to-head win)

Clinches #6 Seed if tied with either New Orleans or Carolina or both

New Orleans

Clinches #2 Seed with win over Tampa Bay and Carolina Loss to Atlanta

 

Clinches #5 Seed with win over Tampa Bay, or

A tie with Tampa Bay and an Arizona loss or tie with San Francisco, or

An Arizona loss to San Francisco

 

Clinches #6 Seed with a loss to Tampa Bay and a San Francisco win or tie over Arizona, or

A Tie with Tampa Bay and a San Francisco tie with Arizona (holds tiebreaker over Arizona based on head-to-head win)

Arizona

Clinches #6 Seed with a win over San Francisco and a New Orleans loss or tie with Tampa Bay, or

A Tie with San Francisco, and a New Orleans loss to Tampa Bay

Dallas

Clinches #3 Seed with a win over Philadelphia and a Chicago loss or tie with Green Bay

Clinches #4 Seed with a win over Philadelphia and a Chicago win over Green Bay (loses tiebreaker to Chicago based on head-to-head loss)

Green Bay

Clinches #4 Seed with a win over Chicago

This Week’s PiRate Ratings

Current NFL PiRate Ratings

N F C

East

PiRate

Mean

Biased

Philadelphia Eagles

101.8

103.0

102.1

Dallas Cowboys

97.7

97.8

96.9

New York Giants

95.6

95.7

95.3

Washington Redskins

92.2

92.2

91.6

       
North

PiRate

Mean

Biased

Detroit Lions

100.3

100.3

99.9

Chicago Bears

98.8

98.4

98.3

Green Bay Packers

98.1

97.3

97.4

Minnesota Vikings

95.5

95.2

95.1

       
South

PiRate

Mean

Biased

New Orleans Saints

105.5

106.1

106.2

Carolina Panthers

105.5

105.8

105.8

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

96.9

96.6

96.9

Atlanta Falcons

95.2

94.6

94.4

 

 

 

 

West

PiRate

Mean

Biased

San Francisco 49ers

110.0

110.6

110.4

Seattle Seahawks

109.5

109.9

109.8

Arizona Cardinals

103.9

104.9

104.3

St. Louis Rams

100.7

101.7

101.4

       

A F C

East

PiRate

Mean

Biased

New England Patriots

107.1

105.5

106.9

Miami Dolphins

100.0

99.2

99.9

Buffalo Bills

97.9

97.6

98.3

New York Jets

92.8

92.0

93.0

       
North

PiRate

Mean

Biased

Cincinnati Bengals

108.1

108.5

108.4

Baltimore Ravens

100.3

100.0

100.3

Pittsburgh Steelers

99.9

99.9

100.2

Cleveland Browns

94.3

93.7

93.8

       
South

PiRate

Mean

Biased

Indianapolis Colts

102.9

103.3

103.2

Tennessee Titans

97.4

97.5

97.4

Houston Texans

92.6

91.7

92.4

Jacksonville Jaguars

90.8

90.6

90.8

       
West

PiRate

Mean

Biased

Denver Broncos

110.0

110.5

110.4

San Diego Chargers

103.6

104.0

103.6

Kansas City Chiefs

103.4

104.1

103.7

Oakland Raiders

91.7

91.8

91.9

 

This Week’s PiRate Spreads

Home Visitor

PiRate

Mean

Bias

Atlanta Carolina

-8.3

-9.2

-9.4

Chicago Green Bay

3.7

4.1

3.9

Cincinnati Baltimore

10.8

11.5

11.1

Dallas Philadelphia

-1.1

-2.2

-2.2

Tennessee Houston

6.8

7.8

7.0

Indianapolis Jacksonville

14.1

14.7

14.4

Pittsburgh Cleveland

7.6

8.2

8.4

Miami N Y Jets

10.2

10.2

9.9

Minnesota Detroit

-2.3

-2.6

-2.3

New England Buffalo

12.2

10.9

11.6

New Orleans Tampa Bay

11.6

12.5

12.3

N Y Giants Washington

5.9

6.0

6.2

Arizona San Francisco

-3.1

-2.7

-3.1

San Diego Kansas City

3.2

2.9

2.9

Seattle St. Louis

11.3

10.7

10.9

Oakland Denver

-15.3

-15.7

-15.5

 

This Week’s PiRate 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. Carolina

3. Philadelphia

4. Chicago

5. San Francisco

6. New Orleans

 

Wildcard Round

Cincinnati over Miami

Kansas City over Indianapolis

Philadelphia over New Orleans

San Francisco over Chicago

 

Divisional Round

Denver over Kansas City

New England over Cincinnati

Seattle over San Francisco

Philadelphia over Carolina

 

Conference Championships

New England over Denver

Philadelphia over Seattle

 

Super Bowl

New England over Philadelphia

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

 

August 22, 2011

2011 Mountain West Conference Preview

2011 Mountain West Conference Preview

If only…  If only Brigham Young and Utah had chosen to stay in this conference, and TCU would not have announced their departure after 2011-12, this conference would have leap-frogged over at least one and maybe two automatic qualifying BCS leagues.

 

Imagine a league with Boise State, TCU, BYU, Utah, and Air Force as its top tier and with San Diego State and Colorado State frequently displaying enough talent to beat teams from the “Big Six” conferences.  This league would have had the potential to state its case for inclusion in the AQ conferences.  With the Big 12 on the precipice of breaking up, who knows?  Maybe the MWC could have taken in the leftovers from that league and assumed an automatic qualifying position.

 

2011 should still be an interesting season in this conference.  TCU must still play one more year here, and then the top three teams from the WAC (Nevada, Hawaii, and Fresno State) will join Boise State in this league.

 

Boise State

The Broncos dominated the WAC like no other team has dominated a conference since Alabama dominated the SEC in the 1970’s.  BSU posted a WAC record of 69-3 in their last nine seasons in their old league (Alabama went 64-4 in the SEC from 1971-1980; Oklahoma went 64-6 in the Big 8 in that same time frame).

 

Will Coach Chris Petersen’s Broncos dominate the MWC like they did the WAC?  It looks like they will in 2011.  Boise returns just enough talent to make another run toward an undefeated season.

 

Kellen Moore is a legitimate Heisman Trophy contender.  The quarterback is already the leading passer in school history.  Last year, he completed better than 71% of his passes at better than 10 yards per attempt.  His TD/Int ratio was 35/6, and there is no reason to believe he cannot duplicate or improve upon those numbers this year.  He is a bit small for the NFL’s likes, but he should still be a second day draft choice next year.  Backup Joe Southwick is more than capable of running the team should Moore go down with an injury.

 

Moore loses his top two targets from a year ago.  Titus Young and Austin Pettis were gems, as they both grabbed 71 passes and teamed for 19 touchdowns.  Both were high draft picks, so there will be a drop-off in talent at this position.  However, Boise might still have the best receiver in the league.  Tyler Shoemaker proved to be a breakaway threat when he averaged better than 18 yards per reception last year.  Tight end Kyle Efaw should see more balls thrown his way this year after grabbing 24 passes and scoring five times in 2010.

 

Another pass-catching threat is running back Doug Martin.  Martin had 28 receptions last year to go with 1,260 yards rushing and 14 total touchdowns.  He’s always a threat to break open any run or reception.

 

The offensive line returns three starters; foremost among them is tackle Nate Potter.  The former two-time 1st Team All-WAC should become a 1st Team All-MWC and contend for All-American honors as well.  Center Thomas Byrd is likely to join Potter on the all-conference squad.

 

Maybe the biggest loss on this side of the ball is offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin.  Harsin is now the OC at Texas.  Former Houston Oiler quarterback Brent Pease is the new OC after serving as the receivers’ coach here for multiple seasons.

 

We look for Boise State to continue dominating with an explosive offense this year, but we seriously doubt the Broncos will match their 2010 numbers of 45 points and 520 yards per game.  Call it about 38 points and 450 yards per game, as Moore will have to rely a little more on the short passing game.

 

The Bronco defense played one poor half all season.  Unfortunately, it came against Nevada, and it ended the 24-game winning streak.  They allowed just 11 points and 232 yards per game in the other 12 contests.  Expect more of the same in 2011, as the Broncos are strong from front to back.  Their defensive line could be one of the top five in the country.

 

BSU forced 49 sacks last season, and it should be another stellar year for rushing the passer.  Three starters return to the front four, and the new starter saw considerable action last year.  We would not be surprised if all four players earned some form of post-season honors.  Tackle Billy Winn will be a high draft choice next spring.  He comes off a 2010 season that saw him make four sacks and 9 ½ total tackles for loss, while driving blockers away from the linebackers.  End Shea McClellin led the team with 9 ½ sacks and tied for the lead with 13 ½ total tackles for loss.  New starting end Tyrone Crawford finished second on the team last year with seven sacks and tied McClellin with 13 ½ total tackles for loss.  Chase Baker added 4 ½ sacks from his tackle spot.

 

The linebacker position is not quite as strong as the front four, but it is still a big plus.  Both starters from 2010 are back.  Byron Hout and Aaron Tevis combined for 80 tackles a year ago.

 

The five-man secondary returns just two starters, but the new starters will receive a lot of help from having the best pass rushers in the league up front.  The Broncos did not intercept many passes in 2010, but they made up for it with excellent coverage.

 

Another key loss to the team this year is punter/kicker Kyle Brotzman.  Brotzman may be remembered for missing the critical field goals against Nevada, but he was one of the best combo kickers in the nation.

 

The new schedule finds a couple of possible bumps in the road, but we tend to believe Boise is capable of running the table and challenging for a spot in the National Championship Game.  Once again, Boise must travel 2,000+ miles to the east for their opening season game.  This time, the Broncos face Georgia at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.  If they get by the Bulldogs, then they should be 8-0 when TCU comes to Bronco Stadium.  TCU will not be as strong this year as they have been in recent seasons, and we see Boise winning that one.  So, an opening win over Georgia would more than likely send Boise to a 12-0 season with hopes that there are not two undefeated teams from the AQ conferences.

 

T C U

13-0 and a 3rd place national finish following a Rose Bowl victory over Wisconsin is a hard act to follow.  The Horned Frogs enjoyed their best season since the 1938 squad won the national title and tiny quarterback Davey O’Brien won the Heisman Trophy.

 

2011 looks like a rebuilding year, but Coach Gary Patterson should be able to coax another winning season and bowl bid out of his troops.

 

The bigger rebuilding job must take place on the offensive side of the ball.  Quarterback Andy Dalton may wish he was still in college rather than be the starting quarterback for the most mismanaged team in the NFL.  Dalton left as the all-time leading passer in TCU history.  This position will take a major hit, because the expected starter, Casey Pachall, has an injured shoulder.  An MRI turned up negative, but a sore shoulder does not lead to a great passer.  If Pachall is not 100% ready to start the season, TCU will be in a heap of trouble.  Behind him are two untested backups.  Matt Brown and Trevone Boykin both have the potential to be excellent dual threat quarterbacks, but both are freshmen; Boykin is a true freshman.

 

Three of the top four receivers from last year have also used up their eligibility.  That leaves Josh Boyce as the only holdover from among that quartet.  Boyce caught 34 passes and averaged an eye-popping 19 yards per reception with six touchdowns.  Antoine Hicks saw limited action and caught 13 passes, but he has the potential to be a big-play receiver.

 

The backfield is the strong spot on this team, and we look for the running game to be featured more often this season.  Last year, the Horned Frogs ran the ball 64% of the time, and that number could approach 70% this year.  Ed Wesley ran for 1,078 yards and 11 touchdowns, while chief backup Matthew Tucker contributed over 700 yards and seven scores.  3rd teamer Waymon James saw enough action to rush for more than 500 yards and five scores.  All three return, as well as fourth teamer Aundre Dean, who led the team in yards per carry at 7.0.

 

The biggest problem area is the offensive line.  Only one starter returns.  Among those missing is 1st Team All-American and Rimington Award winner Jake Kirkpatrick and 1st Team All-MWC tackle Marcus Cannon.  The OL gave up just nine sacks all season.  Look for a considerable gain in this negative statistic this season.

 

TCU averaged almost 42 points per game while rushing for close to 250 yards and passing for more than 225 yards per game last year.  The Frogs won’t jump that high this season.  Look for a regression to about 28-30 points and 375-400 yards per game.

 

There is rebuilding to do on the defensive side of the ball as well, only not as much as on the offensive side.  Of course, there is nowhere to go but down after the team finished first nationally in points and yards allowed.  The definite strength of the defense is at linebacker where both starters return after garnering All-American honors last year.   Tanner Brock and Tank Carder are future NFL stars.  The duo teamed up to record 166 tackles with 15 ½ tackles for loss, while they found time to record 10 passes defended.

 

The front four is not as talented as Boise State’s great quartet, but they are better than any other MWC team.  End Stansly Maponga earned 2nd Team All-MWC accolades last year.  The other end spot may eventually go to sophomore Jon Koontz over senior Braylon Broughton.  D.J. Yendrey and Ray Burns make a capable pair of tackles.

 

The secondary shows promise, but it is not going to be up to the standards set by last year’s team.  For the second year in a row, TCU allowed fewer than half of enemy passes to be completed, but we expect that streak to end this season.  Cornerback Greg McCoy intercepted a couple of passes and knocked away six others.  New starter Jason Verrett will replace all-conference CB Jason Teague.  At Safety, only one of the three starters returns.  Tekerrein Cuba is a sure thing at one spot, but Patterson has been switching players around at the other two positions. 

 

The schedule is manageable this season.  An opener at Baylor followed by a trip to the Springs to take on Air Force in week two will be a great indicator for this team.  A 2-0 start could give TCU a chance to visit the field of blue with a 9-0 record.  Of course, this team could lose one or both of those first two games.  We believe the Horned Frogs can earn another double-digit win season, but only if Pachall stays healthy, and the new offensive line gels quickly.

 

Air Force

If Boise State had not joined the league, Air Force would have been listed as a co-favorite in the Mountain West this year.  The Falcons have a lot of experience returning from their best team since 1998.  At the military academies, 14 starters are unheard of.  In fact, it has been many years since AFA has returned that 14 starters.

 

The Falcons gave up 21 points and 350 yards per game last year, which was very respectable but nothing like what they did in 2009 (15.7 ppg/288 ypg).  The stop troops may be as good as the 2009 edition, but even so, we do not expect the Falcons to five up less than 18 points per game in 2011 with the schedule they have.

 

Eight starters and eight key reserves return to this side of the ball, so the Falcons will definitely be improved.  As you must have to succeed in this league, Coach Troy Calhoun has a dynamite secondary.  Safety Jon Davis finished second on the team with 93 tackles and tied for first with three interceptions.  Calhoun would like to see his tackles go down and his interceptions go up.  Often, he had to make tackles on running plays after backs broke through the first line of defense.  Cornerback Anthony Wright knocked down six passes and intercepted two others, as the AFA passing game gave up just 148 yards per game last year.

 

The Falcons are equally strong at the linebacker positions.  Calhoun used three and four linebacker sets last year, and he has a full stable of experienced players back this year.  Jordan Waiwaiole led the Falcons with 96 stops with 7 ½ tackles for loss.  Brady Amack added 82 tackles, while Patrick Hennessey got in on 60 stops with 10 for loss.

 

The one weak spot on this side of the ball is the defensive line.  The Falcons were too generous against the run last year, giving up more than 200 yards per game.  TCU rushed for 377 yards in a 38-7 pasting.  The Falcons have no 300-pound linemen, so they will always be vulnerable in the trenches.  Using a 3-4 defense places a large amount of pressure on the nose tackle, and at 260 pounds, Ryan Gardner is at a disadvantage.  Gardner made only 29 tackles in 10, 2010 starts.  End Zach Payne is the star of the front wall.  He came up with 6 ½ stops behind the line.

 

We are optimistic that Air Force will once again feature an exciting and efficient offense.  The main reason is the return of quarterback Tim Jefferson.  Removing sacks, Jefferson rushed for more than 800 yards and 15 touchdowns.  He passed for 1,459 yards and 10 touchdowns, averaging better than nine yards per pass attempt.

 

The running game is in great hands with running back Asher Clark joining Jefferson in the option attack.  Clark led AFA with 1,031 rushing yards.  Two fullbacks that combined for more than 1,000 yards must be replaced, but Calhoun never seems to have a lack of talent ready to plug in here.  The new fullback is Wesley Cobb, a seldom used backup the last two years.  Mike DeWitt will back him up.

 

When your leading pass receiver had 18 receptions, it’s hard to call his return a major asset.  However, Jonathan Warzeka is the perfect academy flanker/slot.  His 18 receptions went for 406 yards (22.6/rec) and three touchdowns.  Warzeka provided excellent ability to run on the perimeter when Jefferson pitched him the ball; he averaged 7.6 yards on his 41 carries.  Zack Kauth grabbed 16 passes and averaged 17+ yards per reception, so the Falcons should once again burn defenses that put eight in the box to try to stop the option attack.

 

The offensive line returns three starters, but there is some concern here with expected starting guard Jordan Eason out with a knee injury and backup center Jeffrey Benson, who was expected to slide over to guard to replace Eason, also suffered a knee injury.  Thus, Calhoun will have to do more shuffling.  One player sure to star wherever he ends up on the line is A. J. Wallerstein, a 1st Team All-MWC performer last year.

 

Air Force averaged 31 points and 425 yards per game last year.  There is no reason to believe they will not equal or better those numbers in 2011.  The schedule sets up nicely for the Falcons.  A relatively easy opener with South Dakota is followed by a visit from TCU.  If the Falcons can get revenge on a rebuilding Horned Frog team, they could be headed to their first double-digit win season this century.  If not, a repeat of last year is within their grasp.

 

San Diego State

2010 was a memorable one at Qualcomm Stadium, as the Aztecs won nine games, including a 21-point win over Navy in the Poinsettia Bowl.  It was SDSU’s first winning season since 1998 and first nine-win season since the 1977 team went 10-1-0 (Denver Broncos Head Coach John Fox was a member of that team).  However, the main force behind the turnaround has moved to the “Big House.”  Coach Brady Hoke is now pacing the sidelines at Michigan.

 

All is not lost.  Rocky Long is the new head man after serving as Hoke’s defensive guru the last two years.  Long won at New Mexico; look at what happened to the Lobos since his departure.

 

This year’s Aztec squad will not be as strong, but there is enough returning talent to send SDSU back to a bowl game.  However, Long was faced with an epidemic to one part of his offense, and it could sink the Aztecs’ bowl hopes.

 

The injury bug hit his receiver corps—big time.  Expected starters Jay Waddell and Dominique Sandifer both suffered season-ending knee injuries.  Incoming freshman Anthony Sheffield failed to qualify academically.  Then, possible replacement starter Larry Clark suffered a knee injury.  Not even Oklahoma could lose four key players at one position and not suffer.  San Diego State was already looking at having to replace their top three receivers from last year.  Now, tight end Gavin Escobar is the only returning receiver that caught at least 10 passes last year.  His backup, Hunter Hewitt, has been suspended for the start of the season, so the Aztecs have a lot of work to do disguising this weakness.  Walk-on Dylan Denso and Marcus Russell may see considerable playing time.

 

Quarterback Ryan Lindley will give the new receivers a chance to become successful.  Outside of Kellen Moore, he is the next best quarterback in the league.  Lindley will leave SDSU as the all-time leading passer if he can pass for about 160 yards per game this year.  He passed for close to 300 yards per game last year, so barring injury or just downright pitiful play at the receiver position, he should own that record by October or early November.

 

Long’s coaching style resembles Woody Hayes more than Mike Leach, so expect the Aztecs to run the ball more this season, especially with the liability at wide receiver.  Both of last year’s key backs return.  Sophomore Ronnie Hillman led the conference by a large margin with 1,532 yards and 17 touchdowns, which beat Marshall Faulk’s freshman records.  Backup Walter Kazee added 320 yards and three scores.

 

One place that the Aztecs don’t have to worry is the offensive line.  Four quality starters return from a year ago, and they should open holes for the running backs to sneak through for five yards.

 

After averaging 35 points and almost 460 yards per game last year, expect a reduction in both areas.  Long’s game plans usually seek to control the ball on extended scoring drives and not go for the quick score.  Look for about 28 points and 380-400 yards.

 

The defense has a bit of rebuilding to do.  An already raw defensive line took an extra beating when starter to be Neil Spencer was declared academically ineligible.  Larry Gibbs was expected to compete for Spencer’s end spot, but he suffered a broken foot in Spring drills.  That leaves nose tackle Jerome Long and end J. J. Autele as the only experienced holdovers from last year.  Long, an undersized nose tackle in the 3-3-5 alignment, got in on 30 tackles with 6 going for losses last year.  Autele posted 15 tackles as a backup.

 

The strength of the defense is the three-man linebacker unit.  All-conference star Miles Burris returns to the Sam linebacker position after leading the team with 80 tackles.  He led the conference with 9 ½ sacks and 20 tackles for loss. 

 

The secondary will miss free safety Brandon Davis for the first couple of games.  That will leave cornerback Leon McFadden as the lone returning starter until the third game.  McFadden was the star of last year’s secondary with 14 passes defended (led the conference).

 

The schedule presents SDSU with seven or eight win opportunities. We believe they will get to six, maybe seven wins and go bowling once again.

 

Colorado State

The Rams have suffered through back-to-back 3-9 seasons after going bowling in 2008.  Fourth year head coach Steve Fairchild may begin to feel the heat in Fort Collins, if the green and gold go 3-9 again this season.  Fairchild has enough tools to build a winner this year, but like San Diego State, the Rams have been plagued with a rash of problems in one area.

 

That area is the offensive line.  It started when projected starting guard Connor Smith chose to take his sheepskin and enter the workforce rather than use his final year of eligibility.  Then, key reserve tackle Justin Becker was ruled academically ineligible.  To make matters worse, three more offensive linemen suffered injuries in one week of preseason drills.  The other expected starting guard Jake Gdowski had knee surgery and will more than likely miss the start of the season.  Jason Baird and Mason Hathaway are sidelined with ankle injuries.  CSU is now razor thin here, and any chance for a winning season will hinge on the success of their offense.

 

If the Rams can provide any pass protection, they have no worries at quarterback.  Sophomore Pete Thomas put up some amazing numbers as a freshman.  He completed 64.7% of his passes for 2,662 yards and 11 touchdowns last season.  He did toss 13 interceptions, but almost half of those came in September.  Thomas has the ability to pass for 3,300 to 3,500 yards this year, as the Rams move to more of a pro-style passing attack like those used by the New England Patriots.

 

The Rams have two receivers capable of topping 50 receptions this season.  Lou Greenwood and Byron Steele teamed up for 54 receptions and 787 yards last year.  The Rams have depth here with the return of five backups that registered 15 or more receptions.

 

The running back position is not what it used to be in the Sonny Lubick days.  Nobody on this roster is a threat to rush for 1,000 yards, but this offense will not need that to succeed.  If Fairchild can find a back that can consistently pick up three yards on 3rd and two and can punch it in from the two yard line, the Rams will be okay at this position.  Raymond Carter saw limited action here last year after transferring from UCLA.  Carter, at one time a 4-star recruit from Los Angeles, has never lived up to his press credentials, mostly because of multiple knee injuries.  If he can remain healthy, he is capable of rushing for 100 yards against the weaker defenses, but we have to question his durability.  He should be limited to about 15 touches a game.

 

The offense averaged a meager 16.5 points and 335 yards per game in 2010.  If the problems in the offensive line can be solved, CSU will easily surpass these numbers in 2011.  If the OL stays as it is as of mid-August, Thomas could be running for his life rather than running downfield to congratulate his receivers.

 

The defense is much healthier, but it is not as talented as the offense.  The secondary is suspect after giving up nearly 70% completions last year and finishing 3rd to last in passing efficiency defense.  Cornerbacks Elijah-Blue Smith, Momo Thomas, and Shaq Bell have the potential to be good, but only if they get a little help from the pass rush.  The trio combined for just one interception and one pass defended, which is completely unacceptable at this position.

 

The strength, if you can call it that, on this side of the ball will be at linebacker.  Mychal Sisson is a probable 1st team all-conference player after making the 2nd team two years in a row.  He finished second in the league with 15 tackles for loss and recorded 95 total tackles last year.

 

The front four is another liability, and Fairchild could use more 3-4 alignments this year trying to hide the liability and take advantage of more talented linebackers.  The Rams posted just 21 QB sacks, and the chief instigator, Guy Miller, graduated.  Ends Broderick Sargent and C. J. James combined for just 3 ½ sacks.  Davis Burl can play a hybrid position (end/lb), and he has the quickness to pursue across the field and get into the backfield.

 

The Rams were generous a year ago, giving up 35 points and 425 yards per game.  Without an improved pass rush, don’t expect much improvement this year.  However, their schedule will actually give them a chance to challenge for bowl eligibility, especially if Thomas can help the Rams outscore the opposition in 38-35 style games.

 

Games against New Mexico, Northern Colorado, Colorado, Utah State, and San Jose State could actually give the Rams a chance to start 5-0 before enjoying a week off to prepare for Boise State.  The second half of the season includes games with UTEP, UNLC, and Wyoming.  This gives CSU eight winnable games, and we believe they can win at least six of them, but only if the offensive line can protect Thomas.

 

Wyoming

Dave Christensen came to Wyoming after serving as Gary Pinkel’s offensive coordinator at Missouri.  He immediately produced big results in his first season in Laramie in 2009, winning seven games, including the New Mexico Bowl.  In year two, the Cowboys didn’t catch the breaks they caught the year before and finished 3-9.  Both years, Wyoming was outgained and outscored, so the question remains: can Christensen turn this program around and produce a consistent winner?  Wyoming has a storied history in college football, and even though it is the smallest state by population, the ability to recruit all over the Rockies gives this school a chance to succeed.  One look at the lovely campus at more than 7,100 feet in elevation is a great recruiting tool to big sky country (Disclaimer: the photo montage screen saver on the computer typing this preview includes a lovely picture of Laramie, WY, taken by our founder when he lived in the Rockies and frequently hiked in Curt Gowdy State Park just a bit to the east of Laramie).

 

Wyoming will have a new offensive coordinator and new quarterback this year after averaging just 19 points and 286 total yards per game in 2010.  Former Bowling Green coach Gregg Brandon produced some stellar passing teams, especially with Tyler Sheehan at quarterback.  Brandon finds the QB cupboard almost bare.  Austyn Carta-Samuels transferred to Vanderbilt when his former OC left for Cal.  Emory Miller was expected to compete for the starting job and given a 50-50 chance of winning it, but he quit the team.  That leaves true freshman Brett Smith as the starter.  Look for Brandon to keep things simple for Smith.  Wyoming will throw short and try to spread the field and cut down on mistakes.  Smith’s completion percentage could be over 60, but his yards per attempt could be under six.

 

The Cowboys lost their top two receivers, leaving Chris McNeill as the leading returnee.  But, he averaged just 9.2 yards per reception last year.  When UW uses a tight end, T. J. Smith can get open in the seams of zones.  He caught just eight passes last year, but he averaged nearly 22 yards per catch.  Look for him to more than double his amount of touches this season.

 

The Cowboys are just fine at the running back position.  Alvester Alexander returns after leading the team with 792 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns.  We believe he has 1,000 yard potential, and he could become an important weapon in the short passing game.  In fact, it would not surprise us to see him lead the team in rushing and in receptions.

 

The offensive line is the real strength of this offense, and it will give Smith a chance to learn without fearing continual turf poundings.  After giving up 31 sacks last year, the OL should chop that number by at least 10.  Tackles Kyle Magnuson and John Hutchins create a solar eclipse when they stand up straight.  They will protect the flank and open holes for Alexander.

 

If Smith can just have an average year as a freshman, Wyoming’s numbers will improve on this side of the ball.  We are looking for a typical stat line of 17-27 for 175 yards against an average opponent.  Throw in 150 yards rushing, and Wyoming would average about 20-25 points per game this year.  That would be an enormous improvement; UW has not averaged 20 or more points per game since 2006.

 

There is good news and bad news on the other side of the ball.  Wyoming needs more good news after giving up more than 30 points and 400 yards per game last year.  The Good news is the return of the entire starting front four from last year.  There will be improvement on the 20 sacks and 200+ rushing yards allowed.  End Josh Biezuns led the team with 6 ½ sacks, while his counterpart Gabe Knapton added four.  The healthy return of Mark Willis gives the outside quality depth.

 

Now the bad news: Wyoming must rebuild its back seven line of defense.  Only two starters return here, and the unexpected loss of middle linebacker Oliver Schober is likely to be a major factor in why the Cowboys will not improve much if any on this side of the ball.

 

Brian Hendricks is the lone holdover at linebacker.  He finished third on the team with 80 tackles, but he did not get into the backfield, nor did he cover well on passing plays.  Backup middle linebacker Devyn Harris saw considerable action in 2010, so he has a chance to partially fill the void left by Schober.

 

The secondary performed admirably last year considering there was very little pass rush, and the safeties had to make a lot of stops on running plays.  Cornerback Tashaun Gipson could vie for all-conference honors this year.  He defended a dozen passes last year, intercepting three.

 

It will be hard to hold opponents under 30 points per game this year with the weaknesses in the back seven.  The schedule offers the Cowboys a chance to top last year’s win total, but we do not see this team getting to six wins.  4-8 or 5-7 is about the peak for this season.

 

U N L V

Bobby Hauck replaced Joe Glenn at Montana and in seven seasons, guided the Grizzlies to seven conference championships.  His last team included future Pro Bowl rookie kick returner Mark Mariani. 

 

In his first season in Las Vegas, Hauck’s Rebels finished 2-11, only six fewer losses than he experienced in seven years at Montana.  Glenn left Montana to take a job in the MWC at Wyoming, but he never turned the program around and was dismissed after six seasons.  Is the Montana position a lot like the Boise State position has been?  You can win big at Montana, but don’t try to let the chips ride for bigger stakes?

 

Only time will tell, but in year two in Vegas, Hauck may wish that what happens at Sam Boyd Stadium, stays in Sam Boyd Stadium.  The Rebels will have a hard time improving on the woeful 2-11 season of last year, and they could even win 50% fewer games if they cannot defeat New Mexico.

 

Hauck comes from the three yards and a cloud of dust offense school, and he does not have the horses to make it run.  The current roster was recruited to play in the spread offense, and what talent there is was recruited for speed over girth.

 

Trying to improve on 18 points and 274 yards per game, the first order of business is finding a new quarterback.  Omar Clayton has left the building after finishing second in school history to Randall Cunningham in passing yards.  Caleb Herring should line up under center when the season opens on September 1.  He completed half of his 56 passes last year with four touchdowns and three interceptions (the latter stat too high to win in this league).

 

We expect improvement in the Rebels’ running game this year, but it would be hard to go downhill from last year’s weak results (103 rushing yards per game). Tim Cornett and Bradley Randle teamed for just 655 rushing yards and seven touchdowns, but both have looked solid so far in August drills.

 

UNLV has experienced depth at the receiver positions, but the leading receiver from 2010 will miss the start of this season.  Phillip Payne led the Rebels with 40 receptions, while proving to be the only breakaway threat on the team.  He is still recovering from a broken foot.  Payne has the potential to be an all-conference player.  Replacing him until he is ready to go will be tall and lanky Kurt Davis.  Marcus Sullivan has the potential to give the Rebels a solid one-two punch on the perimeter.

 

The offensive line is still a major liability, and expected starting tackle Allen Carroll has been a spectator in practices so far.  The transfer from Washington would be the one true talent on this line, but he has yet to suit up after being medically cleared.  Redshirt freshman Cameron Jefferson is well undersized to play tackle, but he will start at the all-important left tackle position.  Jefferson is 6-6 and only 265 pounds having been a basketball star more than a football star in high school.

 

With an inexperienced line and inexperienced quarterback, defenses may be able to choke off the running game and stop the Rebels’ offense again this season.  We are a little pessimistic on their prospects in year two of the Hauck regime.

 

The defense makes the offense look good.  UNLV had no defense last year.  The Rebels surrendered 40 points and 450 yards per game.  There was no pass rush; enemy backs enjoyed career days; and the secondary played like matadors.  Maybe having major graduation losses on this side of the ball is not such a bad thing.

 

There is one man among boys on this side of the ball.  Linebacker Princeton Jackson comes from Blinn Junior College (Cam Newton’s school) where he was a legitimate superstar in the Juco ranks.  Jackson is quick and strong, and he can make a tackle on either sideline.  He will immediately be the star on this side of the ball and team with Nate Carter and Tani Maka to give the Rebels respectability at this position.

 

You know things are not well when your leading returning sack master recorded just 1 ½ sacks.  UNLV only dumped QBs 12 times in 13 games last year.  B. J. Bell tied for the lead (with a defensive back) with just 1 ½ sacks.  The other starting end, James Dunlap, never touched a QB.  In the interior, Hauck has a couple of beefy bulldozers coming in at 300+ pounds, but there is very little experience or depth here.

 

The secondary might have been an asset this year, but the Rebels’ projected starting strong safety Chris Jones decided to quit playing the game.  The news is a little better at cornerback with the return of the top three players with starting experience.  Will Chandler and Sidney Hodge (the other player with 1 ½ sacks) combined to stop 10 passes last year with Chandler intercepting five of those.  Former starter Quinton Pointer returns after missing 2010 with a knee injury.

 

The schedule does no favors for UNLV.  The Rebels open the season with road games against Big Ten power Wisconsin and improving Washington State.  Then Hawaii comes for a visit.  Game four finds the Rebels hosting a dangerous FCS team in Southern Utah; the Thunderbirds are capable of pulling off the upset.  In conference play, UNLV faces the other two weakest teams on enemy turf, so this could be a very long season in Vegas.  The chances for an 0-12 season are there, but we believe the Rebels can find a way to win two times.

 

New Mexico

How many times have you seen something similar to this story? A publicly traded company has a history of turning a modest profit most quarters with an occasional loss but never a big loss.  The board decides the modest profit is not enough and brings in this promising assistant from one of the Dow Jones 30, and the modest quarterly profits all of a sudden became incredible losses, threatening to make the company the next Eastern Airlines.

 

New Mexico’s most influential supporters were not satisfied with Rocky Long’s typical six and seven-win seasons in a state that just does not have any recruiting base to expect anything more.  Long won nine games in 2007, and he should have been given a lifetime contract.  Instead, a rebuilding season in 2008 brought a 4-8 record and his dismissal. 

 

How do you feel about that now you influential supporters?  You traded five bowls in six years for back-to-back 1-11 seasons and with no prospects for much improvement if any. 

 

New Mexico’s most recent 1-11 season was much worse than the 1-11 season the year before.  The Lobos averaged 16 points and 266 yards (last in the nation) per game while giving up 44 points and 470 total yards per game last year.  Among the losses was a second consecutive defeat to rival New Mexico State, a team that finished 2-10.

 

Third year coach Mike Locksley has appointed two new coordinators, but that is not the problem.  As a popular commercial once made popular, “Where’s the Beef?”  There are not enough FBS-caliber players on the roster, and Vince Lombardi couldn’t win six games with this team.

 

There is talent on offense, but none of it as in the line.  Two starters return to the blocking corps, and this group may be weaker than last year.  Last year’s line gave up 27 sacks and opened holes for just 108 rushing yards at less than three yards per rush.  The top lineman, tackle Darryl Johnson, missed Spring practice.

 

The Lobos went through four quarterbacks last year, and two return for more pain and suffering.  Either B. R. Holbrook or Tarean Austin will start against Colorado State in game one, but with the lack of protection, it would be no surprise if true freshman Dustin Walton is starting at some point during the season.  Holbrook and Austin combined for 1,017 passing yards with a 51% completion rate and a 4/10 TD/int ratio.

 

The top two receivers from last year are back, giving the Lobos a chance to have a little better passing yardage this year.  Ty Kirk and tight end Lucas Reed teamed for 71 receptions and 936 yards.  New wide receiver Lamaar Thomas has world class sprinter’s speed; he started his career at Ohio State, and he could become the top receiver here.

 

Kasey Carrier and James Wright both return to the backfield.  The two gained 677 yards on the ground and scored four touchdowns last year, but it could be harder for them to gain yards with the raw offensive line.

 

It looked like the defense had a chance to improve quite a bit, but major defections/injuries/suspensions have put a major crimp in the trenches of the 4-2-5 alignment.  The big loss is tackle Calvin Smith, who was a big-time recruit.  He transferred to Purdue.  End J. J. Hugine transferred as well.  End Omar Castillo was dismissed from the team, while end Johnathan Rainey broke a bone in his neck and will miss the entire season.  Two juniors who played sparingly a year ago will be counted on to lead the front line.  Joe Harris and Reggie Ellis will join Jaymar Latchison as the only experienced players in the trenches.

 

UNM has some talent at linebacker.  Carmen Messina, Joe Stoner, and Javarie Johnson, and Spencer Merritt give Locksley a decent two-deep.  Messina led the Lobos with 115 tackles with six tackles for loss.  He batted away four passes as well. 

 

The secondary returns four starters from a year ago, but unless the line develops some threat of a pass rush, it will be hard for this quintet to improve by much.  Free safety Bubba Forrest made way too many tackles last year (100).  If he records triple digit stops again this year, the Lobos will be looking up at the rest of the MWC in the standings.

 

The schedule gives UNM a chance to win four times.  Colorado State is vulnerable in the opener due to their offensive line issues.  Sam Houston State visits on September 24, and if the Lobos lose that game, Locksley could be out.  New Mexico State visits Albuquerque the following week, and the Lobos have dropped the last two games to the Aggies.  On November 12, UNM hosts UNLV in a game that could decide which team avoids the basement.

 

New Mexico has so much room to make up on the rest of the league, it is really hard to predict that they will win any of these four winnable games.  We believe that lightning will strike at least one time—again.

 

2011 Mountain West Conference Media Poll

Team

1st Place Votes

Points

Boise State

28

236

T C U

3

208

Air Force

 

176

San Diego State

 

160

Colorado State

 

104

Wyoming

 

80

U N L V

 

77

New Mexico

 

39

 

 

2011 Mountain West Conference PiRate Ratings

Team

PiRate #

Prediction

Boise St.

121.7

7-0/12-0

T C U

110.0

6-1/11-1

Air Force

106.6

5-2/8-4

S.D.State

100.3

4-3/6-6

Colo.State

92.4

3-4/6-6

Wyoming

90.4

2-5/4-8

UNLV

85.2

1-6/2-10

New Mexico

81.7

0-7/1-11

 

December 29, 2010

PiRate Ratings For NFL Football: Week 17–January 2, 2011

Did You Enjoy Your Christmas Gift?

Last week as our Christmas gift to you, we gave all our readers a free 13-point teaser parlay for you to play.  It was a winner!  Let’s take a look at it once again.

 

Pittsburgh – ½ vs. Carolina

Jacksonville +6 vs. Washington

Baltimore +9 ½ vs. Cleveland

Oakland +13 vs. Indianapolis

Thanks to an excellent QB draw by David Garrard, the Jaguars force overtime with Washington and lost on a field goal, which was okay for this parlay.  Oakland scored a late TD to prevent the Colts from threatening to ruin the parlay at the end of the day.  Pittsburgh and Baltimore were never in doubt.  Did you use this and win?

 

NFL Playoff Possibilities

NFC

East

Philadelphia

Clinched the division and will be the number three seed no matter what happens this week

 

New York Giants

Can get in as a Wildcard two ways

1. A win over Washington and Green Bay loses or ties

2. A tie with Washington and a both a Green Bay loss and Tampa Bay loss or tie

 

North

Chicago

Clinched the division and has earned a first round bye regardless of what happens this week

They can clinch home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs with a win plus an Atlanta loss and a New Orleans loss or tie

 

Green Bay 

Can earn a Wildcard spot three different ways

1. A win over the Bears automatically gives them a Wildcard

2. If they lose to the Bears, they still qualify if both the Giants and Tampa Bay also lose

3. If they tie the Bears, they qualify as a Wildcard if both the Giants and Tampa Bay lose or tie

 

South

Atlanta

Has not clinched the division, but a win or tie over Carolina clinches it 

They also would clinch with a New Orleans loss or tie 

If they win the division, they will also clinch a first-round bye. 

Can clinch home-field advantage throughout the NFC Playoffs if they win or tie or if Chicago and New Orleans both lose or tie

 

New Orleans

Has clinched a playoff spot 

If the Saints win and Atlanta loses, they would become division champions and earn home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs

 

Tampa Bay

Can still earn a Wildcard spot with a win over the Saints plus a Green Bay loss or tie and a Giants loss or tie

 

West

The winner of the St. Louis—Seattle game will clinch the division and earn the number four seed 

If they tie, the Rams win the division

 

AFC

East

New England

Has already clinched home-field advantage throughout the AFC Playoffs

 

New York Jets

Have clinched a Wildcard spot.

 

North

Pittsburgh and Baltimore have already clinched playoff spots

 

Pittsburgh

Can clinch the division and earn the other first-round bye three different ways

1. A win over Cleveland

2. A tie with Cleveland coupled with a loss or tie by Baltimore

3. A loss to Cleveland, coupled with a loss by Baltimore

 

Pittsburgh can be a #2 seed with a win, but they could fall all the way to #6 if they lose and both Baltimore and the Jets win.

 

Baltimore 

Can clinch the division and earn a first-round bye two ways

1. A win over Cincinnati coupled by a Pittsburgh loss or tie

2. A tie with Cincinnati and a Pittsburgh loss.

 

South

This division has not yet been decided 

The division winner will play in the opening week in the Wildcard Playoff round

 

Indianapolis

Clinches the division with a win or tie or a Jacksonville loss or tie 

 

The Colts would be the number three seed if they win and Kansas City loses and the number four seed if they win the division and Kansas City wins or ties

 

Jacksonville

Can clinch the division with a win over Houston and  Indianapolis loss to Tennessee 

The Jaguars would be the number four seed.

 

West

Kansas City

Has already clinched the division title and will play in the Wildcard Round of the playoffs 

If they win or tie or if Indianapolis loses or ties, the Chiefs would be the third seed 

If they lose and Indianapolis wins, the Chiefs will be the fourth seed

 

 Here is our projected Playoff bracket

NFC

#6 Green Bay at #3 Philadelphia

#5 New Orleans at #4 St. Louis

 

#2 Chicago hosts the better remaining seed that wins in the Wildcard round

 

#1 Atlanta hosts the worse remaining seed that wins in the Wildcard round

 

AFC

#6 Pittsburgh at #3 Kansas City

#5 New York Jets at #4 Indianapolis

 

#2 Baltimore hosts the better remaining seed that wins in the Wildcard round

 

#1 New England hosts the worse remaining seed that wins in the Wildcard round

 

Current NFL Standings, PiRate, Mean, and Biased Ratings
Listed By PiRate Rating                  
NFC East Won   Lost   Tied Pts Opp PiRate Mean Biased
Philadelphia  10 5 0 426 363 105.9 104.0 104.7
NY Giants 9 6 0 377 333 103.6 102.5 102.2
Dallas  5 10 0 380 423 97.9 98.4 96.6
Washington  6 9 0 288 360 94.3 97.0 97.4
 

 

                   
NFC North Won   Lost   Tied Pts Opp PiRate Mean Biased
Green Bay  9 6 0 378 237 111.2 109.2 106.8
Chicago  11 4 0 331 276 103.9 104.4 105.0
Detroit 5 10 0 342 356 98.4 100.5 100.1
Minnesota 6 9 0 268 328 97.4 98.1 99.4
                     
NFC South Won   Lost   Tied Pts Opp PiRate Mean Biased
New Orleans 11 4 0 371 284 107.0 105.3 107.0
Atlanta 12 3 0 383 278 106.6 105.7 105.8
Tampa Bay 9 6 0 318 305 100.0 100.2 101.0
Carolina 2 13 0 186 377 90.2 88.4 88.3
                     
NFC West Won   Lost   Tied Pts Opp PiRate Mean Biased
San Francisco 5 10 0 267 339 96.2 94.5 96.7
St. Louis 7 8 0 283 312 95.6 94.9 99.0
Seattle 6 9 0 294 401 92.0 91.6 94.1
Arizona 5 10 0 282 396 89.0 91.4 91.0
                     
AFC East Won   Lost   Tied Pts Opp PiRate Mean Biased
New England 13 2 0 480 306 115.3 113.2 112.0
NY Jets 10 5 0 329 297 102.7 102.9 103.9
Miami 7 8 0 266 295 99.1 99.2 98.2
Buffalo 4 11 0 276 387 95.8 96.3 95.8
                     
AFC North Won   Lost   Tied Pts Opp PiRate Mean Biased
Baltimore 11 4 0 344 263 107.0 106.2 106.0
Pittsburgh 11 4 0 334 223 105.5 105.7 106.2
Cleveland 5 10 0 262 291 99.3 98.2 94.4
Cincinnati 4 11 0 315 382 97.9 97.9 95.3
                     
AFC South Won   Lost   Tied Pts Opp PiRate Mean Biased
Indianapolis 9 6 0 412 368 102.2 102.5 103.1
Jacksonville 8 7 0 336 385 98.7 97.7 98.4
Houston 5 10 0 356 410 98.0 97.7 96.5
Tennessee 6 9 0 336 316 93.9 98.3 95.8
                     
AFC West Won   Lost   Tied Pts Opp PiRate Mean Biased
San Diego 8 7 0 408 294 104.3 105.0 102.2
Kansas City 10 5 0 356 295 100.9 101.8 102.7
Oakland 7 8 0 379 361 98.9 99.0 100.5
Denver 4 11 0 316 438 91.7 92.3 94.1

 

PiRate, Mean, and Bias Spreads
Home Team in CAPS          
Ratings Do Not Reflect Resting of Regulars by Teams That Have Nothing to Play for
Week 17: January 2, 2011          
Vegas Line as of 12:00 PM EST Wednesday          
             
Favorite Underdog PiRate Mean Bias Vegas Totals
KANSAS CITY Oakland 6.0 6.8 6.2 3 1/2 43 ½
NEW ENGLAND Miami 19.2 17.0 16.8 3    43   
INDIANAPOLIS Tennessee 11.3 7.2 10.3 9 1/2 48   
Jacksonville HOUSTON 2.7 2.0 3.9 2 1/2 49 ½
Pittsburgh CLEVELAND 2.2 3.5 7.8 6    37   
BALTIMORE Cincinnati 12.1 11.3 13.7 9 1/2 43   
DETROIT Minnesota 5.0 6.4 4.7 NL NL
WASHINGTON New York Giants 6.3 2.5 1.8 4    44 ½
GREEN BAY Chicago 10.3 7.8 4.8 NL NL
PHILADELPHIA Dallas 10.0 7.6 10.1 NL NL
NEW YORK JETS Buffalo 9.9 9.6 11.1 3    35 ½
ATLANTA Carolina 19.4 20.3 20.5 14 1/2 41   
NEW ORLEANS Tampa Bay 9.0 7.1 8.0 7 1/2 47   
SEATTLE

St. Louis 0.4 0.7 -0.9 3    41 1/2
SAN FRANCISCO Arizona 11.2 7.1 9.7 6    38 ½
San Diego DENVER 8.6 8.7 4.1 3 1/2 47   
             

 

Note to our subscription clients:  We will not issue an “official” pick for this week’s games because we do not like any of the possible parlays; too many teams have nothing to play for, but at the same time, this does not mean they will not use their regulars for four quarters.

 

 We will only issue three unofficial picks.  We advise you to take everything off the table unless you want to speculate with profits.

December 21, 2010

PiRate Ratings For NFL Football: Week 16–December 23-27, 2010

Merry Christmas to all of our PiRate readers.  We wanted to send all of you a gift this year, but we didn’t have enough boxes here on the PiRate Ship.

So, instead, we are going to issue a communal gift today.

2010 has been a very successful season for our picks, and our subscribers have pocketed a lot of PiRate booty thanks to a 69% record against the spread.

We realize that several readers to this blog are not subscribers and thus can only see our picks from the previous week after the fact.

For instance, we made just one selection last week.  It was a 3-game, 10-point teaser parlay, and it won.  We issued to our subscribers last week a bowl pick.  We took the three favorites (BYU, Northern Illinois, and Troy) and moved the spread by 10 points in our favor, making BYU a 2-point favorite, NIU a 9-point ‘dog, and Troy a 7-point ‘dog.  All three won outright and covered, making this a winning selection.

We are only playing one 13-point teaser this week as our official pick, but we had two good picks to select from.  We always make an odd number of selections, because if we play an even amount and win half, it is a losing proposition.

We are issuing our top choice to our subscribers, and they will receive this pick Thursday afternoon.  Today, we would like to issue our second choice pick to all of you as our gift.  We hope it is a winning one.  Additionally, we will show you a little behind our strategy.

Here it is:

We are going with a 4-game, 13-point teaser.  For those not familiar with this type of selection, you get to move the pointspreads 13 points in either direction, but you must win four different games.  If all four games win, you win the parlay.  If anything else happens, including three wins and a push, you lose.

There are two key statistics to look at when playing a 13-point teaser.  Number one, you need to let the numbers play in your favor by picking a game that might give you an extra point or two.  Let’s say a team is a ½-point underdog.  If you like the underdog to cover, then you get them at 13 ½ points.  That is not in your favor.  Winning teams often win games by 14 points.  

Now, let’s take another team that is a 4 ½-point underdog.  Adding 13 points in their favor makes them a 17 ½-point underdog.  Many games are decided by 17 points, while many fewer are decided by 18.

Another key point is to take a favorite that you feel has a great chance to win and move the spread to make them an underdog.  A 5 ½-point favorite becomes a 7 ½-point underdog.

Another great way to play teasers is to look at totals.  If the total for a game is 36 points, moving it 13 points lower and playing the OVER means you win if the final score is 14-10.

The other key statistic is to look for games where your own personal beliefs indicate you are getting extra points in the selection.  Let’s say that you believe one team is six points better than their opponent, and they are a 4 ½-point favorite.  Giving the 4 ½ points in a straight selection is much too close to your six points difference.  One simple botched field goal or one long field goal made by the weaker team would kill your selection.  However, if you move the spread by 13 points in your favor, this part of the parlay now makes your favorite an 8 ½-point underdog.  The team you think can win by six can now lose by more than a touchdown and still win this part of the parlay.

If you think two teams can play 10 times, and all 10 games will be within a narrow point range, you can even play both sides of a game.  For instance if Team A is favored by two points over Team B, and you believe that no matter which team wins, it will be by less than 10 points, you can take Team A at +11 and Team B at +15.

Here is our Christmas gift to you.

1. 13-point teaser parlay

Pittsburgh – ½ vs. Carolina

Jacksonville +6 vs. Washington

Baltimore +9 ½ vs. Cleveland

Oakland +13 vs. Indianapolis

 

Here is our reasoning for these four games.  Pittsburgh is in a must-win situation at home, and the Steelers will be mad after losing to the Jets Sunday.  Carolina won at home on Sunday and must turn around and play on Thursday night in possible snowy conditions with temperatures in the upper 20’s.  This is a perfect setup for the Steelers.  Carolina has nothing to play for in this game.  This is basically a pick when you lower the spread to a half point, as you win even if the Steelers win by one.

Jacksonville has everything to play for, while the Redskins have nothing.  Washington’s big game was last Sunday against their rival.  They will not have much left in the tank this week.  Coach Mike Shanahan has lost the respect of a handful of players, and they are not going to go all out.  The Jags lost a tough game to Indianapolis, and they must now win out to have a legitimate shot at the AFC South title.  You get six points as a bonus, but we see the Jags winning this one outright.

Baltimore is back in the race for the NFC North title.  The Steelers still hold the tiebreaker edge, but Pittsburgh has to play at Cleveland in week 17.  The Browns will be up for their rival, which means they may not be so up this week, especially after they just lost to their other big rival last week.  We believe Baltimore should win this outright, and we get 9 ½ points by taking the Ravens in this part of the parlay.  We have a slight problem with 9 ½, but we do not think Cleveland can win this by a touchdown if they play 10 times.

We love the Raiders in this West Coast game.  Indianapolis will not have the services of Austin Collie, and the Raiders will hold Peyton Manning to two TD passes.  Indy will have a hard time stopping the Raiders’ offense, and we see a high-scoring game.  Remember, Oakland is still in the AFC West race, and they finish with the Chiefs in Kansas City.  They already hold the tiebreaker over San Diego, and a win in week 17 would give them the tiebreaker over the Chiefs.  They have to win in week 16 for week 17 to matter, and then they have to hope the Chargers lose once.  We believe Oakland will win this game, but even if they lose, it should not be by more than three to seven points.

Current NFL Standings, PiRate, Mean, and Biased Ratings
                     
NFC East Won   Lost   Tied Pts Opp PiRate Mean Biased
Philadelphia 10 4 0 412 339 108.2 105.9 106.6
NY Giants 9 5 0 360 288 105.9 104.3 103.5
Dallas 5 9 0 354 396 98.7 99.2 99.8
Washington 5 9 0 268 343 93.9 96.9 95.4
Bitmap

 
                   
NFC North Won   Lost   Tied Pts Opp PiRate Mean Biased
Green Bay 8 6 0 333 220 108.9 107.2 105.2
Chicago 10 4 0 293 242 103.8 104.4 104.9
Detroit 4 10 0 308 329 97.3 99.7 97.8
Minnesota 5 9 0 244 314 95.1 95.9 94.2
                     
NFC South Won   Lost   Tied Pts Opp PiRate Mean Biased
Atlanta 12 2 0 369 261 107.7 106.1 107.2
New Orleans 10 4 0 354 270 105.9 103.8 105.2
Tampa Bay 8 6 0 280 290 98.6 98.9 100.3
Carolina 2 12 0 183 350 90.5 88.7 90.1
                     
NFC West Won   Lost   Tied Pts Opp PiRate Mean Biased
San Francisco 5 9 0 250 314 96.6 95.3 98.0
St. Louis 6 8 0 258 295 95.2 94.9 96.4
Seattle 6 8 0 279 363 93.4 93.1 95.1
Arizona 4 10 0 255 370 88.2 90.6 88.2
                     
AFC East Won   Lost   Tied Pts Opp PiRate Mean Biased
New England 12 2 0 446 303 112.8 110.6 110.9
NY Jets 10 4 0 295 259 102.8 103.3 103.8
Miami 7 7 0 239 261 100.2 100.0 99.7
Buffalo 4 10 0 273 353 98.3 98.0 97.7
                     
AFC North Won   Lost   Tied Pts Opp PiRate Mean Biased
Baltimore 10 4 0 324 253 106.7 105.4 106.2
Pittsburgh 10 4 0 307 220 105.2 105.4 106.5
Cleveland 5 9 0 252 271 99.6 98.3 95.0
Cincinnati 3 11 0 281 362 95.3 95.9 94.3
                     
AFC South Won   Lost   Tied Pts Opp PiRate Mean Biased
Indianapolis 8 6 0 381 342 101.2 102.2 101.5
Jacksonville 8 6 0 319 365 99.1 99.0 101.0
Houston 5 9 0 333 386 98.7 98.0 97.2
Tennessee 6 8 0 322 282 95.4 100.3 98.2
                     
AFC West Won   Lost   Tied Pts Opp PiRate Mean Biased
San Diego 8 6 0 388 260 106.9 106.3 105.9
Oakland 7 7 0 353 330 99.9 99.7 101.3
Kansas City 9 5 0 322 281 99.4 100.7 99.6
Denver 3 11 0 292 415 91.0 91.8 93.2

PiRate, Mean, and Bias Spreads

Home Team in CAPS (N) Denotes Neutral Site        
       
Week 15: December 16-20, 2010
Vegas Line as of 12:00 PM EDT Tuesday
Favorite Underdog PiRate Mean Bias Vegas Totals
PITTSBURGH Carolina 18.7 20.7 20.4 13.5 37
Dallas ARIZONA 7.5 5.6 8.6 6.5 45
MIAMI Detroit 4.9 2.3 3.9 3.5 41.5
PHILADELPHIA Minnesota 16.1 13 15.4 NL NL
JACKSONVILLE Washington 8.2 5.1 8.6 7 45.5
ST. LOUIS San Francisco 1.6 2.6 1.4 2.5 39.5
TAMPA BAY Seattle 7.2 7.8 7.2 6 44
New England BUFFALO 12.5 10.6 13.2 7.5 44
CHICAGO New York Jets 4 4.1 4.1 2.5 36
Baltimore CLEVELAND 4.1 4.1 8.2 3.5 38.5
KANSAS CITY Tennessee 8 4.4 5.4 5 42
OAKLAND Indianapolis 1.7 0.5 2.8 -3 47
Houston DENVER 4.7 3.2 1 3 48.5
GREEN BAY
New York Giants 6 5.9 4.7 NL NL
San Diego CINCINNATI 8.6 7.4 8.6 7.5 44
ATLANTA New Orleans 5.8 6.3 6 2.5 48.5

 

PiRate Playoff Projection

N F C

1. Atlanta 13-3

2. Philadelphia 12-4

3. Chicago 11-5

4. San Francisco 7-9

5. New Orleans 12-4

6. Green Bay 10-6

 

A F C

1. New England 14-2

2. Baltimore 12-4

3. San Diego 10-6

4. Jacksonville 10-6

5. New York Jets 11-5

6. Pittsburgh 11-5

 

Wildcard Playoff Round

Chicago over Green Bay

New Orleans over San Francisco

 

Pittsburgh over San Diego

New York Jets over Jacksonville

 

Divisional Playoff Round

Philadelphia over Chicago

Atlanta over New Orleans

 

New England over Pittsburgh

Baltimore over New York Jets

 

Conference Championships

Philadelphia over Atlanta

 

New England over Baltimore

 

Super Bowl

New England over Philadelphia

PiRate QB Passer Rating 


Player Team G AYPA Int % PiRate
Tom Brady NE 14 6.8 0.89 114.2
Michael Vick PHI 11 6.6 1.52 107.6
Matt Cassel KC 13 5.8 1.31 105.0
Ben Roethlisberger PIT 10 6 1.49 104.5
Josh Freeman TB 14 5.7 1.42 103.4
Phillip Rivers SD 14 7 2.37 102.3
Vince Young TEN 9 6.2 1.92 101.8
Joe Flacco BAL 14 5.7 1.77 100.3
Kyle Orton DEN 13 5.6 1.81 99.5
Colt McCoy CLE 6 5.7 1.97 98.6
Matt Ryan ATL 14 5.2 1.76 97.6
Matt Schaub HOU 14 5.6 2.12 96.7
Aaron Rodgers GB 13 6.1 2.44 96.7
Peyton Manning IND 14 5.6 2.46 93.7
Kevin Kolb PHI 6 4.9 2.61 88.4
Mark Sanchez NYJ 14 4.6 2.55 87.3
Tony Romo DAL 6 5.7 3.29 87.0
Jason Campbell OAK 11 5.1 3.05 85.7
Ryan Fitzpatrick BUF 12 4.9 2.97 85.3
Jon Kitna DAL 9 5.4 3.36 84.7
Drew Brees NO 14 5.2 3.33 83.8
Sam Bradford STL 14 4.1 2.71 83.1
Kerry Collins TEN 8 4.5 2.97 83.1
Donovan McNabb WAS 13 4.8 3.18 82.9
Shaun Hill DET 9 4.4 3.13 81.1
Jay Cutler CHI 13 4.9 3.53 80.4
Derek Anderson ARI 12 4.1 3.06 80.0
Chad Henne MIA 13 4.7 3.48 79.7
Alex Smith SF 9 4.4 3.36 79.1
Carson Palmer CIN 14 4.4 3.46 78.2
Jimmie Clausen CAR 11 3.1 2.88 76.0
Eli Manning NYG 14 5 4.19 75.1
David Garrard JAX 13 4.6 3.96 74.9
Matt Hasselbeck SEA 13 4.3 3.86 74.1
Bruce Gradkowski OAK 6 4 4.43 67.4
Jake Delhomme CLE 5 3.3 4.70 61.1
Brett Favre MIN 13 4 5.31 59.7
Matt Moore CAR 6 2 6.99 33.7
           
Formula: (((7 * AYPA) – (11 * Int%)) + 105) *0.8
AYPA = Air Yards Per Pass Attempt or Yards Per Attempt – Yards After Catch
AYPA can be found at advancednflstats.com

December 14, 2010

PiRate Ratings For NFL Football: Week 15–December 16-20, 2010

Current NFL Standings, PiRate, Mean, and Biased Ratings
                     
NFC East Won   Lost   Tied Pts Opp PiRate Mean Biased
NY Giants 9 4 0 329 250 107.1 105.4 105.6
Philadelphia  9 4 0 374 308 107.0 105.4 105.6
Dallas  4 9 0 321 366 99.0 99.8 99.9
Washington  5 8 0 238 310 93.6 95.8 92.6
 NFC North Won   Lost   Tied Pts Opp PiRate Mean Biased
Green Bay 8 5 0 306 189 108.6 106.7 105.0
Chicago 9 4 0 253 228 101.6 101.7 103.2
Minnesota 5 8 0 230 274 97.3 98.4 97.5
Detroit 3 10 0 285 309 96.5 98.1 94.8
                     
NFC South Won   Lost   Tied Pts Opp PiRate Mean Biased
Atlanta 11 2 0 335 243 106.9 106.1 107.5
New Orleans 10 3 0 330 240 106.3 105.0 106.6
Tampa Bay 8 5 0 260 267 99.4 99.9 101.2
Carolina 1 12 0 164 338 90.3 88.9 89.4
                     
NFC West Won   Lost   Tied Pts Opp PiRate Mean Biased
San Francisco 5 8 0 243 280 98.2 97.1 99.8
St. Louis 6 7 0 245 268 96.5 95.7 98.0
Seattle 6 7 0 261 329 94.2 93.7 96.5
Arizona 4 9 0 243 351 88.4 91.3 92.5
                     
AFC East Won   Lost   Tied Pts Opp PiRate Mean Biased
New England 11 2 0 415 276 113.1 111.8 111.1
NY Jets 9 4 0 273 242 101.6 101.1 102.5
Miami 7 6 0 225 244 101.2 101.4 101.9
Buffalo 3 10 0 256 339 97.3 97.1 96.0
                     
AFC North Won   Lost   Tied Pts Opp PiRate Mean Biased
Pittsburgh 10 3 0 290 198 106.4 106.2 107.4
Baltimore 9 4 0 294 229 106.3 104.8 105.4
Cleveland 5 8 0 235 252 99.9 99.1 96.9
Cincinnati 2 11 0 262 345 95.0 95.1 93.9
                     
AFC South Won   Lost   Tied Pts Opp PiRate Mean Biased
Indianapolis 7 6 0 347 318 100.7 101.3 101.7
Houston 5 8 0 316 355 100.2 100.0 99.0
Jacksonville 8 5 0 295 331 99.6 99.8 101.8
Tennessee 5 8 0 291 265 93.9 97.8 93.7
                     
AFC West Won   Lost   Tied Pts Opp PiRate Mean Biased
San Diego 7 6 0 354 253 105.3 105.9 104.2
Oakland 6 7 0 314 307 99.2 99.1 99.8
Kansas City 8 5 0 295 268 98.1 98.6 99.5
Denver 3 10 0 269 376 91.7 92.3 89.7

 

 

PiRate, Mean, and Bias Spreads  
Home Team in CAPS (N) Denotes Neutral Site          
               
Week 15: December 16-20, 2010            
Vegas Line as of 3:00 PM EDT Tuesday            
               
Favorite Underdog PiRate Mean Bias Vegas Totals  
SAN DIEGO San Francisco 11.1 12.8 8.4 8 1/2 44 1/2  
ST. LOUIS Kansas City 1.4 0.1 2.5 NL NL  
Houston TENNESSEE 3.3 -0.8 2.3 -1 1/2 47     
INDIANAPOLIS Jacksonville 4.1 4.5 2.9 5    48 1/2  
CAROLINA Arizona 4.9 0.6 -0.1 2 1/2 37 1/2  
Cleveland CINCINNATI 1.9 1.0 3.0 -2    40     
MIAMI Buffalo 5.9 6.3 7.9 5 1/2 41     
NEW YORK GIANTS Philadelphia 3.1 3.0 3.0 2 1/2 46     
DALLAS Washington 8.4 7.0 10.3 6    45     
TAMPA BAY Detroit 4.9 3.8 8.4 6    43     
BALTIMORE New Orleans 3.0 2.8 1.8 2    43 1/2  
Atlanta SEATTLE 8.7 8.4 7.0 6    45     
PITTSBURGH New York Jets 8.8 9.1 8.9 6    35 1/2  
OAKLAND   Denver 10.5 9.8 13.1 6 1/2 44     
NEW ENGLAND Green Bay 7.5 8.1 9.1 NL NL  
Chicago MINNESOTA 1.3 0.3 2.7 NL NL  
               
PiRate Passer # 

Player

Team G AYPA Int% PiRate #    
Tom Brady NE 13 6.9 0.94 114.4    
Michael Vick PHI 10 6.8 1.36 110.1    
Matt Cassel KC 12 5.9 1.13 107.1    
Ben Roethlisberger PIT 9 6.2 1.72 103.6    
Josh Freeman TB 13 5.6 1.54 101.8    
Vince Young TEN 9 6.2 1.92 101.8    
Phillip Rivers SD 13 6.8 2.51 100.0    
Joe Flacco BAL 13 5.7 1.86 99.6    
Kyle Orton DEN 13 5.6 1.81 99.5    
Matt Ryan ATL 13 5.3 1.68 98.9    
Matt Schaub HOU 13 5.8 2.15 97.6    
Aaron Rodgers GB 13 6.1 2.44 96.7    
Troy Smith SF 5 5.6 2.38 94.4    
Colt McCoy CLE 5 5.4 2.36 93.5    
Peyton Manning IND 13 5.6 2.63 92.2    
Jason Campbell OAK 10 5 2.54 89.6    
Kevin Kolb PHI 6 4.9 2.61 88.4    
Tony Romo DAL 6 5.7 3.29 87.0    
Mark Sanchez NYJ 13 4.6 2.72 85.8    
Sam Bradford STL 13 4.3 2.53 85.8    
Ryan Fitzpatrick BUF 11 4.8 2.91 85.3    
Drew Brees NO 13 5.3 3.43 83.5    
Kerry Collins TEN 7 4.3 2.81 83.4    
Donovan McNabb WAS 13 4.8 3.18 82.9    
Shaun Hill DET 9 4.4 3.13 81.1    
Jay Cutler CHI 12 4.9 3.49 80.7    
Alex Smith SF 8 4.6 3.35 80.3    
Derek Anderson ARI 12 4.1 3.06 80.0    
Jon Kitna DAL 8 5.1 3.83 78.8    
Matt Hasselbeck SEA 12 4.6 3.55 78.6    
Chad Henne MIA 12 4.7 3.63 78.4    
Carson Palmer CIN 13 4.2 3.62 75.6    
Eli Manning NYG 13 4.9 4.34 73.3    
David Garrard JAX 12 4.4 4.14 72.2    
Jimmie Clausen CAR 10 2.8 3.13 72.2    
Bruce Gradkowski OAK 6 4 4.43 67.4    
Brett Favre MIN 12 4.1 5.13 61.8    
Jake Delhomme CLE 5 3.3 4.70 61.1    
Matt Moore CAR 6 2 6.99 33.7    
Formula: (((7 * AYPA) – (11 * Int%) + 105) *0.8    
   
   
                           

AYPA = Air Yards Per Pass Attempt (yards per attempt minus yards after catch)

AYPA can be found at advancednflstats.com

 

NFL Playoff Projections

 

N F C

1. New Orleans

2. Philadelphia

3. Chicago

4. Seattle

5. Atlanta

6. New York Giants

 

A F C

1. New England

2. Pittsburgh

3. Jacksonville

4. San Diego

5. Baltimore

6. New York Jets

 

Wildcard Round

Chicago over New York Giants

Atlanta over Seattle

 

Jacksonville over New York Jets

San Diego over Baltimore

 

Divisional Round

New Orleans over Atlanta

Philadelphia over Chicago

 

New England over San Diego

Pittsburgh over Jacksonville

 

Conference Championships

New Orleans over Philadelphia

 

New England over Pittsburgh

 

Super Bowl

New Orleans over New England

December 7, 2010

PiRate Ratings For NFL Football: Week 14–December 9-13, 2010

PiRate Picks Against The Spread For Last Week

We had to wait a day to post our results of last week’s picks against the spread because we wanted to go with the Patriots on Monday Night Football.  Thanks to that game completing a successful parlay, our picks finished 2-1 for the week.

 

Before we review our picks, let us take this brief moment to send an advanced warning to our subscribers.  We will only make one selection this week, but this is not to infer that we consider it an iron-clad lock of the year.  With the college season over except for the Army-Navy game (which we will lay off), it leaves just NFL games until the start of the bowls.  We have five or six games we like, but we can only make one, 13-point teaser parlay.  Consider this game like all others we give to you—on equal footing. 

 

Okay, let us now review our three selections from last week.

 

1. 13-point Teaser Parlay

Minnesota +7 ½ vs. Buffalo, Cleveland +18 ½ vs. Miami, Tennessee +9 ½ vs. Jacksonville, and Denver +20 ½ vs. Kansas City

Loss

The Tennessee Titans, and their lack of offense, did us in on this parlay.  We liked all four underdogs covering against these big numbers, but the Titans lost by 11 after extending their streak of not scoring an offensive touchdown for almost 3 ½ games.

 

2. 13-point Teaser Parlay

New York Giants +5 ½ vs. Washington, Chicago +8 vs. Detroit, Green Bay +4 ½ vs. San Francisco, New Orleans +6 ½ vs. Cincinnati

WON

This is more of the same.  We went with four favorites by small amounts and moved the spread so that they were now all underdogs.

 

3. 13-point Teaser Parlay

Oakland +26 vs. San Diego, St. Louis +10 vs. Arizona, Baltimore +16 vs. Pittsburgh, and New England +9 ½ vs. New York Jets

WON

We figured San Diego could not win by more than three touchdowns, so we took the Raiders, not expecting them to pull off the upset.  We felt as if Arizona would have a tough time beating Carolina or Detroit by 10, so it was safe taking the Rams at that number.  We believed the Steelers would score less than 17 points, so we loved the Ravens in this pick.  And, we held on until Monday night so we could take the Patriots at home as almost double-digit ‘dogs. 

 

 

Current NFL Standings, PiRate, Mean, and Biased Ratings
                     
NFC East Won   Lost   Tied Pts Opp PiRate Mean Biased
Philadelphia  8 4 0 344 281 106.9 104.9 105.6
NY Giants 8 4 0 308 247 105.9 103.7 105.2
Dallas  4 8 0 294 336 99.1 99.5 100.0
Washington 5 7 0 222 293 93.7 96.5 95.3
  

NFC North

Won   Lost   Tied Pts Opp PiRate Mean Biased
Green Bay 8 4 0 303 182 110.2 108.5 106.4
Chicago 9 3 0 246 192 103.4 104.1 104.2
Minnesota 5 7 0 227 253 98.5 99.4 99.3
Detroit 2 10 0 278 306 94.9 97.0 92.7
                     
NFC South Won   Lost   Tied Pts Opp PiRate Mean Biased
Atlanta 10 2 0 304 233 106.1 105.1 106.7
New Orleans 9 3 0 299 227 105.6 103.3 105.7
Tampa Bay 7 5 0 243 251 99.3 100.1 101.4
Carolina 1 11 0 154 307 91.1 88.6 89.0
                     
NFC West Won   Lost   Tied Pts Opp PiRate Mean Biased
St. Louis 6 6 0 232 237 97.2 97.2 97.4
San Francisco 4 8 0 203 259 96.9 95.3 95.1
Seattle 6 6 0 240 289 95.5 95.4 96.7
Arizona 3 9 0 200 338 86.0 89.1 89.9
                     
AFC East Won   Lost   Tied Pts Opp PiRate Mean Biased
New England 10 2 0 379 269 111.3 108.6 110.9
NY Jets 9 3 0 267 232 102.8 102.7 104.4
Miami 6 6 0 215 238 100.0 100.3 99.1
Buffalo 2 10 0 243 333 96.3 96.0 95.1
                     
AFC North Won   Lost   Tied Pts Opp PiRate Mean Biased
Pittsburgh 9 3 0 267 191 106.2 105.6 107.4
Baltimore 8 4 0 260 201 106.2 104.8 106.1
Cleveland 5 7 0 229 239 100.9 99.7 101.6
Cincinnati 2 10 0 255 322 95.2 95.6 92.4
                     
AFC South Won   Lost   Tied Pts Opp PiRate Mean Biased
Indianapolis 6 6 0 317 290 100.6 101.3 100.1
Houston 5 7 0 288 321 100.3 99.3 99.0
Jacksonville 7 5 0 257 300 99.3 99.4 101.2
Tennessee 5 7 0 263 235 94.0 99.1 96.5
                     
AFC West Won   Lost   Tied Pts Opp PiRate Mean Biased
San Diego 6 6 0 323 353 103.7 103.5 101.1
Kansas City 8 4 0 295 237 99.7 101.8 101.2
Oakland 6 6 0 283 269 99.5 99.1 100.0
Denver 3 9 0 256 333 94.1 95.1 93.3
                     

 

 

PiRate, Mean, and Bias Spreads
Home Team in CAPS (N) Denotes Neutral Site        
             
Week 14: December 9-13, 2010          
Vegas Line as of 1:00 PM EDT Tuesday          
             
Favorite Underdog PiRate Mean Bias Vegas Totals
Indianapolis TENNESSEE 3.6 -0.8 -0.6 3    46 1/2
JACKSONVILLE Oakland 2.8 3.3 4.2 4 1/2 43   
PITTSBURGH Cincinnati 15.0 14.0 19.0 9    39 1/2
New England CHICAGO 4.9 1.5 3.7 3    41   
Cleveland BUFFALO 2.6 1.7 4.5 -1 1/2 40   
New York Giants MINNESOTA 4.4 1.3 2.9 2 1/2 44   
Green Bay DETROIT 11.3 7.5 9.7 6 1/2 47 1/2
Atlanta CAROLINA 12.0 13.5 14.7 7 1/2 42   
Tampa Bay WASHINGTON 2.6 0.6 3.1 2    41   
NEW ORLEANS St. Louis 11.4 9.1 11.3 9    47   
SAN FRANCISCO Seattle 5.4 3.9 2.4 4 1/2 41   
NEW YORK JETS Miami 6.8 6.4 9.3 5 1/2 41   
Denver ARIZONA 5.1 3.0 0.4 4    43    
SAN DIEGO  

 

Kansas City

8.0 5.7 3.9 7    46 1/2
Philadelphia DALLAS 4.8 2.4 2.6 3 1/2 50 1/2
Baltimore HOUSTON 2.9 2.5 4.1 3    45 1/2

 

 

NFL Playoff Projections

 

NFC East

When the New York Giants bring their A-game, they are the best team in the NFC.  When they don’t, they are not playoff worthy.

 

The Eagles have continued to play at an even keel for most of the season.  We believe Philadelphia will edge the Giants for the Division title, while the Giants have to sweat it out in week 17 to see if they qualify for a Wildcard berth. 

 

Division Winner: Philadelphia

Wildcard: None

 

NFC North

The Chicago Bears have come on strong as the weather turned cold.  They have a tough closing schedule, and we believe they will fall a couple of times.

 

Green Bay has been the most consistent NFC team from week one to week 13.  We believe the Packers will catch and pass the Bears in the final five games.

 

Minnesota has virtually no chance of getting into the playoffs, even if they run the table to finish 9-7.  However, they could be a big spoiler.

 

Division Winner: Green Bay

Wildcard: Chicago

 

NFC South

Atlanta is in the cat-bird seat.  The Falcons host New Orleans, and they own a three-point overtime win over the Saints at the Superdome.  They have two games remaining with Carolina and a visit to Seattle.  They could run the table, but at the worst, they should finish 13-3 and earn home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.

 

The New Orleans offense is beginning to pick up the pace.  The Saints have scored at least 30 points in each of their last four games.  Their final three games are tough, having to play at Baltimore, at Atlanta, and hosting Tampa Bay.  We cannot see them running the table.

 

Tampa Bay is still alive, but we believe the Buccaneers will finish no better than 9-7.  11-5 could be the necessary record to qualify as a wildcard this year.

 

Division Winner: Atlanta

Wildcard: New Orleans

 

NFC West

8-8 could very well be all that is needed to win this division.  On the other hand, we could see two teams finishing 8-8.  St. Louis and Seattle remained tied at 6-6.  The Seahawks have a tougher final four games.  They host Atlanta and St. Louis, and they play at San Francisco and Tampa Bay.  They may be eliminated by the time the Rams come to Seattle in the final week.

 

Division Winner: St. Louis

Wildcard: None

 

AFC East

New England probably secured home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs with their six-touchdown win over the Jets last night.  The Patriots are ripe for an upset loss this weekend at Chicago, but we believe they have a better than 50% chance of winning.  They host the Packers the following week, and then close at Buffalo and at home against Miami.  They could run the table, but they will win at least 13 games.

 

The Jets have had trouble scoring against the playoff caliber defenses.  They still must play at Pittsburgh and at Chicago, and we believe they could lose both games.  Home games with Buffalo and Miami should allow the Jets to hang on for a playoff spot.

 

Division Winner: New England

Wildcard: New York Jets

 

AFC North

Pittsburgh holds a one game lead over Baltimore.  Both teams’ defenses are getting ready for that final drive to the finish.  Baltimore has given up 36 points in their last three games, while Pittsburgh has yielded just 29.  Both teams could run the table, but we believe Cleveland could upset Pittsburgh in a meaningless finale for the Steelers, while Baltimore could meet the same fate the week before.

 

Division Winner: Pittsburgh

Wildcard: Baltimore

 

AFC South

This division fell to pieces in a hurry.  It is now a little weaker than the AFC West.  Houston and Tennessee are headed to losing records, so it leaves Indianapolis and Jacksonville for the league crown.  Jacksonville leads by a game, but the two teams must square off again at Indy in two weeks.  This week’s contests could decide whether that game will be for all the marbles.  The Colts play at Tennessee Thursday night, while Jacksonville hosts Oakland.  Both should win those games, so a Colt win the following week could produce a tie at 8-6.  The last two games favor the Jaguars, as they host Washington and close at Houston.  Indianapolis must play at Oakland, and host Tennessee.

 

Division Winner: Jacksonville

Wildcard: None

 

AFC West

This just may be the most interesting race of all.  Kansas City leads Oakland and San Diego by two games.  The Chiefs must play at San Diego this week and then follow that up with a trip across the state to St. Louis.  It would not surprise us if they were 8-6 after week 15.  They close with Tennessee and Oakland at home.

 

San Diego’s season is done if they lost to Kansas City this week.  If they get past the Chiefs, they have a great chance to win out with games against San Francisco at home and Cincinnati and Denver on the road.  They have to run the table because they are currently 1-3 in the division and have already been swept by Oakland.

 

Oakland is still in this race at 6-6.  They swept the Chargers and hold a win over Kansas City.  Even if they lose at Jacksonville this week, wins over Denver and Indianapolis at home could make the finale at Kansas City for all the marbles.

 

Denver, with a new coach, could be a big spoiler.  The Broncos get both San Diego and Oakland.  They did split with Kansas City.

 

Division Winner: Kansas City

Wildcard: None

 

Projected Playoff Seedings

N F C

1. Atlanta

2. Green Bay

3. Philadelphia

4. St. Louis

5. New Orleans

6. Chicago

 

A F C

1. New England

2. Pittsburgh

3. Kansas City

4. Jacksonville

5. New York Jets

6. Baltimore

 

Projected Playoffs

Wildcard Round

Chicago over Philadelphia

New Orleans over St. Louis

Baltimore over Kansas City

New York Jets over Jacksonville

 

Divisional Round

Atlanta over Chicago

Green Bay over New Orleans

New England over Baltimore

Pittsburgh over New York Jets

 

Conference Championships

Green Bay over Atlanta

New England over Pittsburgh

 

Super Bowl

Green Bay over New England

 

 

November 30, 2010

PiRate Ratings For NFL Football: Week 13–December 2-6, 2010

Current NFL Standings, PiRate, Mean, and Biased Ratings
                       
NFC East Won   Lost   Tied Pts Opp PiRate Mean Biased HFA
Philadelphia 7 4 0 310 257 106.6 105.7 105.8 2
NY Giants 7 4 0 277 240 103.3 102.5 103.3 2
Dallas 3 8 0 256 301 96.8 98.9 99.5 2
Washington
5 6 0 215 262 96.3 97.1 96.1 3
                       
NFC North Won   Lost   Tied Pts Opp PiRate Mean Biased HFA 
Green Bay 7 4 0 269 166 109.9 109.9 106.8 3
Chicago 8 3 0 222 172 103.3 103.4 104.7 4
Minnesota 4 7 0 189 239 97.1 99.0 99.6 3
Detroit 2 9 0 258 282 95.0 96.7 93.9 4
                       
NFC South Won   Lost   Tied Pts Opp PiRate Mean Biased HFA
Atlanta 9 2 0 276 209 106.3 105.3 106.9 4
New Orleans 8 3 0 265 197 105.8 104.5 106.6 2
Tampa Bay 7 4 0 219 223 99.1 99.0 100.6 2
Carolina 1 10 0 140 276 92.7 90.0 90.3 2
                       
NFC West Won   Lost   Tied Pts Opp PiRate Mean Biased HFA
San Francisco 4 7 0 187 225 97.2 95.4 98.3 4
St. Louis 5 6 0 213 231 95.2 94.5 97.1 4
Seattle 5 6 0 209 275 93.9 92.5 95.3 3
Arizona 3 8 0 194 319 88.0 88.3 89.7 4
                       
AFC East Won   Lost   Tied Pts Opp PiRate Mean Biased HFA
New England 9 2 0 334 266 107.8 107.0 107.5 3
NY Jets 9 2 0 264 187 106.3 105.5 106.3 2
Miami 6 5 0 205 225 102.3 101.3 102.3 3
Buffalo 2 9 0 229 295 97.7 97.1 97.0 2
                       
AFC North Won   Lost   Tied Pts Opp PiRate Mean Biased HFA
Baltimore 8 3 0 250 188 107.4 105.9 106.1 4
Pittsburgh 8 3 0 254 181 105.0 105.7 104.9 2
Cleveland 4 7 0 216 229 98.6 99.5 98.2 4
Cincinnati 2 9 0 225 288 95.0 95.5 91.3 3
                       
AFC South Won   Lost   Tied Pts Opp PiRate Mean Biased HFA
Indianapolis 6 5 0 282 252 102.9 102.9 102.2 4
Houston 5 6 0 264 287 100.6 100.3 99.4 2
Tennessee 5 6 0 257 218 96.7 102.1 96.5 4
Jacksonville 6 5 0 240 294 96.6 96.5 98.4 3
                       
AFC West Won   Lost   Tied Pts Opp PiRate Mean Biased HFA
San Diego 6 5 0 310 225 106.9 106.2 104.2 4
Kansas City 7 4 0 285 231 100.2 100.2 101.1 4
Oakland 5 6 0 255 256 96.3 96.4 97.7 2
Denver 3 8 0 250 323 93.6 95.2 92.2 2

 

PiRate, Mean, and Bias Spreads
Home Team in CAPS (N) Denotes Neutral Site        
             
Week 13: December 2-6, 2010          
Vegas Line as of 5:00 PM EDT Tuesday          
             
Favorite Underdog PiRate Mean Bias Vegas Totals
PHILADELPHIA Houston 8.0 7.4 8.4 8 1/2 51 1/2
MINNESOTA Buffalo 2.4 4.9 5.6 6    44 1/2
MIAMI Cleveland 6.7 4.8 7.1 4 1/2 42 1/2
TENNESSEE Jacksonville 4.1 9.6 2.1 NL NL
KANSAS CITY Denver 10.6 9.0 12.9 8 1/2 45 1/2
NEW YORK GIANTS Washington 9.0 7.4 9.2 7    43   
Chicago DETROIT 4.3 2.7 6.8 3 1/2 44 1/2
GREEN BAY San Francisco 15.7 17.5 11.5 9 1/2 42   
New Orleans CINCINNATI 7.8 6.0 12.3 6 1/2 46 1/2
Atlanta TAMPA BAY 5.2 4.3 4.3 3    44 1/2
SAN DIEGO Oakland 14.6 13.8 10.5 12 1/2 45 1/2
SEATTLE Carolina 4.2 5.5 8.0 6    39 1/2
INDIANAPOLIS Dallas 10.1 8.0 6.7 5 1/2 47 1/2
St. Louis  

ARIZONA
3.2 2.2 3.4 3    43   
BALTIMORE Pittsburgh 6.4 4.2 5.2 3    40   
NEW ENGLAND New York Jets 4.5 4.5 4.2 3 1/2 46   

 

PiRate Passer Rating
Player Team AYPA Int %  #
Michael Vick Phi 6.8 0.43 118.3
Tom Brady NE 6.5 1.12 110.5
Kyle Orton Den 6.3 1.40 107.0
Matt Cassel KC 6.0 1.24 106.7
Matt Ryan Atl 5.6 1.23 104.5
Ben Roethlisberger Pit 6.4 1.82 103.8
Phillip Rivers SD 7.0 2.39 102.1
Josh Freeman TB 5.6 1.53 101.9
Vince Young Ten 6.2 1.92 101.8
Matt Shaub Hou 5.8 1.91 99.7
Aaron Rodgers GB 6.2 2.44 97.3
Seneca Wallace Cle 5.4 2.00 96.6
Joe Flacco Bal 5.7 2.19 96.6
Peyton Manning Ind 5.6 2.26 95.5
Mark Sanchez NYJ 5.2 2.20 93.8
Colt McCoy Cle 5.4 2.36 93.5
Sam Bradford Stl 4.5 2.18 90.0
Matt Hasselebeck Sea 4.9 2.56 88.9
Kevin Kolb Phi 4.9 2.61 88.4
Tony Romo Dal 5.7 3.29 87.0
Drew Brees NO 5.4 3.29 85.3
Chad Henne Mia 5.3 3.27 84.9
Ryan Fitzpatrick Buf 4.8 3.03 84.2
Kerry Collins Ten 4.2 2.80 82.8
Jay Cutler Chi 5.0 3.42 81.9
Donovan McNabb Was 4.8 3.31 81.8
Derek Anderson Ari 4.2 2.93 81.7
Shaun Hill Det 4.4 3.13 81.1
Jason Campbell Oak 4.2 3.16 79.7
Jon Kitna Dal 5.2 4.00 77.9
Carson Palmer Cin 4.3 3.47 77.5
Eli Manning NYG 5.2 4.26 75.7
Jimmy Clausen Car 3.1 3.01 74.9
Alex Smith SF 4.2 3.72 74.8
David Garrard Jax 4.3 4.42 69.2
Bruce Gradkowski Oak 4.0 4.43 67.4
Brett Favre Min 4.2 4.86 64.8
Matt Moore Car 2.0 6.99 33.7
Formula: (((7 * AYPA) – (11 * Int%) + 105) *0.8
 

AYPA is Air Yards Per Pass Attempt.  This statistic removed the receivers’ Yards After Catch.

AYPA can be found at www.advancednflstats.com

Projected NFL Playoff Seedings

NFC

1. Atlanta Falcons

2. Chicago Bears

3. Philadelphia Eagles

4. St. Louis Rams

5. Green Bay Packers

6. New Orleans Saints

AFC

1. New England Patriots

2. Pittsburgh Steelers

3. San Diego Chargers

4. Indianapolis Colts

5. New York Jets

6. Baltimore Ravens

Wildcard Round

New Orleans over Philadelphia

Green Bay over St. Louis

Baltimore over San Diego

New York Jets over Indianapolis

Divisional Round

Atlanta over New Orleans

Chicago over Green Bay

Baltimore over New England

Pittsburgh over New York Jets

Conference Championships

Chicago over Atlanta

Baltimore over Pittsburgh

SUPER BOWL

Chicago over Baltimore

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