The Pi-Rate Ratings

August 31, 2013

2013 NFC South Division Preview

2013 N F C South Preview

The South Division of the NFC was a one-team race last year with the Atlanta Falcons quickly separating from the pack and cruising to a six-game defeat of the other three teams.  It was expected after the New Orleans Saints entered the season with coaching suspensions.  By the time the Saints started to turn things around, it was too late.

 

2013 should be an interesting season.  The Falcons once again look like the class of the division, but of course with scheduling, they will play two other first place teams from last year, while New Orleans and Carolina face easier competition in those two games.  Tampa Bay also faces an easier schedule, but we do not believe the Buccaneers can rock the boat in the South this year.

 

Next to Green Bay, Atlanta has the best passing attack in the NFC.  Matt Ryan is quickly becoming one of the elite passers in the league, while Julio Jones, Roddy White, and the ageless wonder, tight end Tony Gonzalez, form a top-notch receiving corps.  If Steven Jackson has one more good year in his legs, the Falcons just may be ready to advance that final step to the Super Bowl.

 

New Orleans had the best offense in the NFC last year, by 25 points over the second best team.  On the other hand, the Saints gave up the most points in the NFC by 10 points.  Thus, the Saints finished 7-9.  Can new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan work magic on a defense that played like 11 matadors last year?  On top of the improvement needed, the Saints will switch from a 4-3 to a 3-4 alignment.  And, they will not get much immediate help from their draft class.

 

Carolina has enough talent now to contend for a playoff berth.  Cam Newton may not complete 60% of his passes, but he will average more per completion than average.  He will also be hard on enemy pass rushers with his ability to make them miss.  A nice defensive rush that might result in a sack on most QBs, could very well result in a 10 to 20 yard gain on a scramble.

 

The Panthers will have to get by without Jonathan Stewart for six games after he was placed on the PUP list.  DeAngelo Williams is starting to show his age, so the Panthers may struggle unless rookie Kenjon Barner can take up the slack.  The receiving corps is average at best, and the offensive line is better blocking for the run than the pass.

 

The Panthers should be improved this year because their defense looks much better, especially in the line and at linebacker.  Look for rookie tackle Star Lotulelei to be a key right away.  He won’t make 10 tackles a game, but he will command double blocks on several plays, and that will allow the linebackers to look much better.

 

Tampa Bay overachieved last year, and they still finished below .500.  The Buccaneers are average or below average at every unit on offense and defense.  Quarterback Josh Freeman won’t appear on the all-pro list, and he won’t get a lot of hype, but he can pass for 300 yards on many Sundays.  However, he tends to force passes and threw too many interceptions last year.  He will continue to stretch defenses with longer passes, because that will open up running lanes for second year star back Doug Martin, one of the biggest surprises in the league last year.  Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams make up a talented one-two punch at wideout, but the Bucs need more skill players to emerge.  The defense does not have enough talent to compete for a playoff spot this year.

 

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 NFC South.

West

Color

Red

Green

Blue

Atlanta Falcons

Black

17

28

36

 

Red

198

12

48

 

White

255

255

255

Carolina Panthers

Panther Blue

0

136

206

 

Black

17

28

36

 

Metallic Silver

133

136

139

New Orleans Saints

Old Gold

150

130

82

 

Black

17

28

36

 

White

255

255

255

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Red

167

25

48

 

Pewter

102

92

79

 

Black

17

28

36

 

 

2012 Final Standings & PiRate Ratings

NFC South

PiRate

Mean

Biased

W-L-T

Pts

Opp

Atlanta Falcons

104.7

105.6

106.3

13-3-0

419

299

New Orleans Saints

100.7

100.2

99.9

7-9-0

461

454

Carolina Panthers

99.7

100.0

101.4

7-9-0

357

363

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

98.6

97.6

96.8

7-9-0

389

394

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2013 Preseason PiRate Ratings

South

PiRate

Mean

Biased

Atlanta Falcons

103.6

106.6

103.1

New Orleans Saints

101.7

102.0

101.6

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

98.5

98.1

98.7

Carolina Panthers

98.4

97.7

98.1

 

PiRate Previews

Team

Atlanta Falcons

               
Head Coach

Mike Smith

O-Coord.

Dirk Koetter

D-Coord.

Mike Nolan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Projected Starting Lineup

Position

Player

 

Offense

Quarterback

Matt Ryan

Running Back

Steven Jackson

Fullback

Bradie Ewing

Wide Receiver

Julio Jones

Wide Receiver

Roddy White

Tight End

Tony Gonzalez

Left Tackle

Sam Baker

Left Guard

Justin Blalock

Center

Peter Konz

Right Guard

Garrett Reynolds

Right Tackle

Lamar Holmes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Defense

Left End

Kroy Biermann

Left Tackle

Jonathan Babineaux

Right Tackle

Corey Peters

Right End

Osi Umenyiora

Sam LB

Stephen Nicholas

Mike LB

Akeem Dent

Will LB

Sean Weatherspoon

Left CB

Asante Samuel

Right CB

Desmond Trufant

Strong Safety

William Moore

Free Safety

Thomas Decoud

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Special Teams

Kicker

Matt Bryant

Punter

Matt Bosher

K-Return

Jacquizz Rodgers

P-Return

Dominique Franks

 

 

Predictions

 

Record

12-4

Division

1st

 

Team

Carolina Panthers

               
Head Coach

Ron Rivera

O-Coord.

Mike Shula

D-Coord.

Sean McDermott

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Projected Starting Lineup

Position

Player

 

Offense

Quarterback

Cam Newton

Running Back

DeAngelo Williams

Fullback

Mike Tolbert

Wide Receiver

Steve Smith

Wide Receiver

Brandon LaFell

Tight End

Greg Olsen

Left Tackle

Jordan Gross

Left Guard

Amini Silatolu

Center

Ryan Kalil

Right Guard

Garry Williams

Right Tackle

Byron Bell

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Defense

Left End

Charles Johnson

Left Tackle

Dwan Edwards

Nose Tackle

Star Lotulelei

Right End

Greg Hardy

Sam LB

Thomas Davis

Mike LB

Luke Kuechly

Will LB

Jon Beason

Left CB

Drayton Florence

Right CB

Captain Munnerlyn

Strong Safety

Mike Mitchell

Free Safety

Charles Godfrey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Special Teams

Kicker

Graham Gano

Punter

Brad Nortman

K-Return

Ted Ginn

P-Return

Ted Ginn

 

 

Predictions

 

Record

8-8

Division

3rd

Team

New Orleans Saints

               
Head Coach

Sean Payton

O-Coord.

Pete Carmichael

D-Coord.

Rob Ryan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Projected Starting Lineup

Position

Player

 

Offense

Quarterback

Drew Brees

Running Back

Pierre Thomas

Fullback

Jed Collins

Wide Receiver

Lance Moore

Wide Receiver

Marques Colston

Tight End

Jimmy Graham

Left Tackle

Charles Brown

Left Guard

Ben Grubbs

Center

Brian De La Puente

Right Guard

Jahri Evans

Right Tackle

Zach Strief

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Defense

Left End

Akiem Hicks

Nose Tackle

Brodrick Bunkley

Right End

Cameron Jordan

Left OLB

Junior Galette

Left ILB

Jonathan Vilma

Right ILB

Curtis Lofton

Right OLB

Martez Wilson

Left CB

Jabari Greer

Right CB

Keenan Lewis

Strong Safety

Roman Harper

Free Safety

Malcolm Jenkins

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Special Teams

Kicker

Garrett Hartley

Punter

Thomas Morstead

K-Return

Darren Sproles

P-Return

Darren Sproles

 

 

Predictions

 

Record

9-7

Division

2nd

Team

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

               
Head Coach

Greg Schiano

O-Coord.

Mike Sullivan

D-Coord.

Bill Sheridan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Projected Starting Lineup

Position

Player

 

Offense

Quarterback

Josh Freeman

Running Back

Doug Martin

Fullback

Erik Lorig

Wide Receiver

Vincent Jackson

Wide Receiver

Mike Williams

Tight End

Luke Stocker

Left Tackle

Donald Penn

Left Guard

Carl Nicks

Center

Jeremy Zuttah

Right Guard

Davin Joseph

Right Tackle

Dernar Dotson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Defense

Left End

Da’Quan Bowers

Left Tackle

Gerald McCoy

Right Tackle

Gary Gibson

Right End

Adrian Clayborn

Sam LB

Dekoda Watson

Mike LB

Mason Foster

Will LB

Lavonte David

Left CB

Darrelle Revis

Right CB

Leonard Johnson

Strong Safety

Mark Barron

Free Safety

Dashon Goldson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Special Teams

Kicker

Lawrence Tynes

Punter

Michael Koenen

K-Return

Mike James

P-Return

Eric Page

 

 

Predictions

 

Record

6-10

Division

4th

 

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November 26, 2008

PiRate Ratings Week 13 NFL Previews: November 27-December 1, 2008

PiRate Ratings For NFL Week 13

Can It Be Giants Vs. Jets In Super Bowl XLIII

 

The two hottest teams in the NFL both call East Rutherford, New Jersey, home.  The New York Giants at 10-1 reign supreme over the NFC.  The New York Jets are 8-3, and Brett Favre and company have won five games in a row by an average score of 34-18.  Three of those wins have come against teams with winning records, and two of them came against teams likely to contend with them for the AFC Championship.

 

 

The PiRate Pro Ratings (Rating)

 

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

 

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

 

The Mean Ratings (Mean)

 

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

 

The Bias Ratings (Biased)

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Current NFL Standings & Ratings

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFC East

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

New York

10

1

0

329

199

110.19

115.97

110.53

2

Dallas

7

4

0

265

251

100.76

101.99

104.65

2

Washington

7

4

0

201

199

99.39

99.65

101.51

2

Philadelphia

5

5

1

271

229

104.14

102.50

100.63

2

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFC North

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Chicago

6

5

0

267

234

102.58

100.77

101.77

2

Minnesota

6

5

0

253

246

102.41

102.33

102.05

2

Green Bay

5

6

0

303

260

105.09

102.86

101.49

2

Detroit

0

11

0

193

346

87.33

90.06

88.18

3

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFC South

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Tampa Bay

8

3

0

257

180

105.88

104.23

105.53

2

Carolina

8

3

0

250

200

104.27

101.91

104.74

2

Atlanta

7

4

0

276

226

104.07

101.95

102.91

2

New Orleans

6

5

0

317

278

102.97

102.16

102.73

2

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFC West

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Arizona

7

4

0

318

265

103.17

102.77

104.09

3

San Francisco

3

8

0

252

310

93.22

94.58

93.86

3

Seattle

2

9

0

207

277

93.26

94.23

93.20

3

St. Louis

2

9

0

147

344

83.36

88.48

87.67

2

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC East

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

New York

8

3

0

323

234

105.83

105.68

107.01

2

New England

7

4

0

267

222

101.94

102.33

102.56

2

Buffalo

6

5

0

273

249

99.30

99.62

100.29

3

Miami

6

5

0

237

245

99.16

98.19

99.97

2

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC North

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Pittsburgh

8

3

0

236

160

107.36

104.39

105.25

2

Baltimore

7

4

0

258

187

107.39

105.27

104.24

3

Cleveland

4

7

0

207

237

97.72

97.16

96.48

2

Cincinnati

1

9

1

148

276

92.44

92.92

92.78

2

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC South

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Tennessee

10

1

0

257

165

108.61

105.77

106.38

2

Indianapolis

7

4

0

247

244

102.98

102.44

103.39

2

Jacksonville

4

7

0

224

240

98.45

98.57

96.91

3

Houston

4

7

0

252

293

96.90

98.78

97.24

3

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC West

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Denver

6

5

0

258

302

94.90

96.24

98.13

2

San Diego

4

7

0

274

252

102.15

100.47

99.83

2

Oakland

3

8

0

159

245

92.67

94.49

93.14

2

Kansas City

1

10

0

196

327

90.16

91.11

90.76

2

 

Note: due to the Thanksgiving holiday, weather forecasts and odds are those as of Wednesday 8 AM EST

 

NFL Previews-Week 13

 

Tennessee (10-1-0) at Detroit (0-11-0)

Time:           12:30 PM EST, Thursday 11/27

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Dome

 

PiRate:         Tennessee by 18                   

Mean:           Tennessee by 13

Bias:             Tennessee by 18

Vegas:        Tennessee by 11      -630/+530

Ov/Un:        44½

Strategy:     Tennessee -1 in 10-point teaser, Tennessee +2 in 13-point teaser, Tennessee -630 as part of money line parlay     

This game would have been much more interesting if the Titans had won last week, as no 11-0 team has played an 0-11 team in an NFL game.

 

Detroit is banged up quite a bit, while Tennessee has minimal injury concerns.  I would tend to pick the Titans to rebound and blow the Lions off the field by three or more touchdowns, but some gut instinct tells me this game will be closer than expected.  I actually believe the Lions will keep this one within striking distance and actually have a chance at the big upset.  I am too shy to take the Lions at +11, and I don’t even like taking them at +21 and +24 in teasers.  I do think Tennessee has a 90-95% chance of winning, so I will go with the Titans in the teasers, as well as using them as part of a money line parlay.

 

Seattle (2-9-0) at Dallas (7-4-0)

Time:           4:15 PM EST, Thursday November 27

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Chance of Showers, light wind, temperature in the upper 60’s

 

PiRate:         Dallas by 10

Mean:           Dallas by 10

Bias:             Dallas by 13

Vegas:        Dallas by 12       -710/+610 

Ov/Un:        46½

Strategy:     Dallas -2 in 10-point teaser, Dallas +1 in 13-point teaser, Seattle +22 in 10-point teaser, Seattle +25 in 13-point teaser, Dallas -710 as part of a money line parlay

Even with Felix Jones out for the year, Dallas has enough offensive weapons to outscore most of the opponents remaining on the schedule.  However, after this game, the final four opponents are all capable of beating them.  This is a must-win game for Dallas, while Seattle is just playing out the schedule. 

 

The Seahawks have been outscored 119-45 in their four road games on the East Coast.  This is their first road game in the Central Time Zone, but I expect the result to be similar. 

 

Dallas doesn’t blow opponents off the field, and Seattle has been losing by less than a dozen of late, so I like both ends in 10 and 13-point teasers.

 

Arizona (7-4-0) at Philadelphia (5-5-1)

Time:           8:15 PM EST, Thursday, November 27

TV:               NFL Network

Forecast:     Partly cloudy, light wind, temperature falling from the upper to mid 30’s

 

PiRate:         Philadelphia by 3

Mean:           Philadelphia by 2

Bias:             Arizona by 1

Vegas:        Philadelphia by 3     -145/+125   

Ov/Un:        46½  

Strategy:     Arizona +13 in 10-point teaser, Arizona +16 in 13-point teaser, Over 33½ in 13-point teaser

How do you figure Philadelphia?  Are they the team that beats Pittsburgh 15-6?  Are they the team that loses to Dallas 41-37?  Or, are they the team that ties the then 1-8 Bengals and loses to the Ravens 36-7 in their most recent games?

 

Coach Andy Reid could be on his way out and quarterback Donovan McNabb may be joining him.  They better come up with their A-games this week.

 

Arizona could probably lose all their remaining games and still win their division at 7-9.  This isn’t a must-win game for the Cardinals, but don’t expect them to lie down and play dead in the city of brotherly love this week.

 

Kurt Warner should have a 300+ passing yard day this week, and Arizona should top 24 points.  It’s all up to the Eagle offense.  They could lay another egg and lose by two touchdowns; they could play a decent game and make it a close game either way; or, they could play like they know their backs are against the wall and win by two touchdowns.  The Cardinals have a decent chance or winning, a great chance of losing by a touchdown or less, and an outstanding chance of covering at double digit points.

 

Denver (6-5-0) at New York Jets (8-3-0)

Time:           1PM EST

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Showers possible, light wind, temperature in low 40’s

 

PiRate:         Jets by 13

Mean:           Jets by 11

Bias:             Jets by 11

Vegas:        Jets by 7½  -325/+295       

Ov/Un:        47½

Strategy:     Jets +2½ in 10-point teaser, Jets +5½ in 13-point teaser, Jets -325, Under 60½ in 13-point teaser   

Denver should have the services of at least two capable running backs this week, but that isn’t going to solve the Broncos’ woes.  They are fortunate that 8-8 can win their division this year, because they may struggle to finish 8-8.  They could easily finish 1-4 to end up at 7-9 and become the first team with a losing record to make the playoffs in a non-strike-shortened season.

 

The Jets are playing as good right now as they have since Joe Namath led them to victory in Super Bowl III.  Dominating Tennessee in Nashville last week was no small task.  Add wins over New England and Buffalo, and this is a powerful team.  As of this writing, I rate the Jets as the top team in the AFC.

 

The weather could be the only intangible keeping this game close.  I see the Jets winning this one with relative ease, but a wet field could keep the margin down under the line. 

 

The New York defense has been hiding under the radar.  In the last seven games, they have surrendered less than 17 points per game (better than the Ravens and Titans over that time).

 

Miami (6-5-0) at St. Louis (2-9-0)

Time:           1PM EST

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Dome

 

PiRate:         Miami by 14

Mean:           Miami by 8

Bias:             Miami by 10

Vegas:         Miami by 7½      -325/+275  

Ov/Un:        44

Strategy:     Miami +2½ in 10-point teaser, Miami +5½ in 13-point teaser, Miami -325, Under 54 in 10-point teaser, Under 57 in 13-point teaser

Miami definitely must win this game to stay in the playoff hunt, as it might be necessary to post a 10-6 record to earn an AFC Wildcard spot.  At 6-5, there isn’t much room for error, and this is the easiest game remaining on their schedule. 

 

St. Louis may have to go without Marc Bulger.  As I write this on Wednesday, he is listed as very doubtful.  The Rams are headed nowhere, so it would be foolish for Bulger to risk permanent brain damage to play in this game.  Thus, I am of the belief that an almost washed-up Trent Green will be under center for the Rams. 

 

If Steven Jackson can play, the Rams may have a chance to keep this game close.  However, Jackson will be rusty even if he is close to 100% by game time.  Don’t expect a 20-100 rushing day out of him; look for something more like 7-25.  Miami will win, but it may be closer than their fans will like.

 

New York Giants (10-1-0) at Washington (7-4-0)

Time:           1PM EST

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Chance of rain, light wind, temperature around 40

 

PiRate:         Giants by 9

Mean:           Giants by 14

Bias:             Giants by 7

Vegas:        Giants by 3½     -190/+165  

Ov/Un:        42

Strategy:     Washington +13½ in 10-point teaser, Washington +16½ in 13-point teaser, Over 29 in 13-point teaser 

This is going to be one whale of a game.  These two opened the season in DC, and it was a real snoozer.  The Giants won 16-7, and it was assumed at that time by the so-called experts that Washington would have a tough season adjusting to new coach Jim Zorn’s offense.  Since then, the Redskins have averaged almost 20 points per game, but their defense has continued to keep them in every game.  The most they have surrendered in any game is 24 points (only Pittsburgh can say the same).

 

This is going to be a game where the outstanding running games try to plow through rather strong defenses.  Both New York’s Brandon Jacobs and Washington’s Clinton Portis enter this contest with injuries.  It is not sure whether either or both will miss this game.

 

I look for this game to stay close throughout the day, and I am going with the Redskins in the teasers.  Because there is a chance that the passing games may have to be used more than preferred, I am also teasing the Over.

 

New Orleans (6-5-0) at Tampa Bay (8-3-0)

Time:           1:00 PM EST

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Showers likely, moderate wind, temperature in the upper 70’s

 

PiRate:         Tampa Bay by 5

Mean:           Tampa Bay by 4

Bias:             Tampa Bay by 5

Vegas:        Tampa Bay by 3½    -190/+165  

Ov/Un:        47½  

Strategy:     Tampa Bay +6½ in 10-point teaser, Tampa Bay +9½ in 13-point teaser, Tampa Bay -190, Tampa Bay -3½, Over 34½ in 13-point teaser, Under 60½ in 13-point teaser

Let’s take a look at some statistical information concerning the Saints.  At home, they are 4-1 (5-1 if you count the game in London) and average 35 points to 17 for the opposition.  On the road, they are 1-4 and average 22.6 points to 29.4 for the opposition.  Their lone road win came at lowly Kansas City.

 

Tampa Bay has taken care of the other two NFC South teams to come to Raymond James Stadium.  They should make it a perfect three for three this week.  New Orleans will bounce some from their big Monday night win, and the Buccaneers must play back-to-back road games against Atlanta and Carolina after this game. 

 

I am going with the Bucs to win and cover the spread in this game.  I believe their defense will hold New Orleans under 24 points as well.    

 

 

Indianapolis (7-4-0) at Cleveland (4-7-0)

Time:           1:00PM EST

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Snow showers possible, light wind, temperature around 35

 

PiRate:         Indianapolis by 3

Mean:          Indianapolis by 3

Bias:             Indianapolis by 5

Vegas:         Indianapolis by 5     -220/+180

Ov/Un:        45

Strategy:     Indianapolis +8 in 13-point teaser, Under 58 in 13-point teaser

Cleveland will have to go without Brady Quinn the rest of the year.  I am almost convinced that the Browns have quit on Derek Anderson.  I also believe that Coach Romeo Crennel and General Manager Phil Savage will be leaving at the end of this year. 

 

Indianapolis keeps winning by slim margins, but they keep winning.  I see no reason why they cannot run the table and finish 12-4. 

 

The weather could play a major part in many games this week, and this is one of those games where cold and wet conditions could make for slippery footballs and slippery turf.  That could neutralize some of Indy’s advantage, but I’ll take the Colts in the teasers.  I’m looking for the Colts to win 27-13.  The loss of center Jeff Saturday could cause Manning to rush a pass or two and the newfound running game to take a small step backward.

 

San Francisco (3-8-0) at Buffalo (6-5-0)

Time:           1:00 PM EST

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Snow showers likely, moderate wind, temperature in mid 30’s

 

PiRate:         Buffalo by 9

Mean:          Buffalo by 8

Bias:             Buffalo by 9

Vegas:         Buffalo by 7 -275/+255 

Ov/Un:        42½  

Strategy:     Buffalo -7, Buffalo -275, Buffalo +3 in 10-point teaser, Buffalo +6 in 13-point teaser

San Francisco has so much going against them in this game.  To start out, no West Coast team has won on the East Coast this year, and the 49ers’ three wins have come in the Pacific Time Zone.  San Francisco is not acclimated to playing in cold, snowy weather, and they are likely to get a dose of that this week.  The 49ers have nothing to play for, while Buffalo definitely must win this game to keep their playoff hopes alive.  Their final four games are all tough ones against teams competing for a playoff spot.

 

I’m looking for a Buffalo blowout by two touchdowns or more.  I won’t pick any totals in this game, because the weather could be a bigger factor than the personnel.

 

Baltimore (7-4-0) at Cincinnati (1-9-1)

Time:           1:00PM EST

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Light rain possible, light wind, temperature around 40

 

PiRate:         Baltimore by 13

Mean:           Baltimore by 10

Bias:             Baltimore by 9

Vegas:        Baltimore by 7   -300/+250

Ov/Un:        36½

Strategy:     Baltimore +3 in 10-point teaser, Baltimore +6 in 13-point teaser, Baltimore -300 in Money Line parlay, Over 23½ in 13-point teaser

Cincinnati is a mess in both of its professional sports, and the problem is in the front office in both.  Baltimore is a mess in baseball, but their football team is rather good.  The Ravens have a great chance of finishing 11-5 and challenging for the AFC North title.  Pittsburgh has a much tougher final month of games, and the Ravens could be tied for first after this week.

 

The Bengals failed to show up in Pittsburgh a week ago, and they showed no offense the week before against Philadelphia.  I don’t see them finding the solution this week against Ray Lewis and his merry men of mayhem.

 

The two big intangible factors in this game both favor Cincinnati.  The weather should make for a closer than expected game, and the Bengals get an extra three days to prepare for this one.  Thus, I believe the margin of victory will be slimmer than expected.  Even if the field is as big of a mess as the home team, I think there will be at least 25 total points scored.

 

Carolina (8-3-0) at Green Bay (5-6-0)

Time:           1:00PM EST

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Light snow, moderate wind, temperature in the upper 20’s to near 30

 

PiRate:         Green Bay by 3

Mean:           Green Bay by 3

Bias:             Carolina by 1

Vegas:        Green Bay by 3½     -170/+150  

Ov/Un:        42

Strategy:     Under 55 in 13-point teaser, Green Bay -170

This is a tough game to diagnose.  Both teams lost games last week when their defenses suffered major letdowns, and their offenses or special teams contributed to the other side of the scoreboard. 

 

I see one excellent play in this game.  When both teams surrendered a great deal of points in their last games and it was also greater than they normally surrender, look for a regression to the mean in the next game.  Thus, I believe this game will be lower scoring than expected.  The possible inclement weather should aid us in that prediction.

 

This is a must-win game for Green Bay, as a loss will put them two games behind the Bears-Vikings winner.  The NFC North will not supply any wildcard teams this year, so at 5-7, the Packers can have the fork stuck in them.

 

Atlanta (7-4-0) at San Diego (4-7-0)

Time:           4:05 PM EST

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Sunny, very windy (will affect passes and kicks), temperature in the mid to upper 70’s

 

PiRate:         Tossup

Mean:          San Diego by 1

Bias:            Atlanta by 1

Vegas:         San Diego by 5  -205/+175

Ov/Un:        49

Strategy:     Atlanta +15 in 10-point teaser, Atlanta +18 in 13-point teaser, Over 36 in 13-point teaser, Under 62 in 13-point teaser

This game will be more of a rivalry game than your typical NFC South versus AFC West game.  Michael Turner warmed the bench in San Diego while LaDainian Tomlinson got the accolades in Chargerville.  Now, Turner is the big star, while Tomlinson waddles in mediocrity for the Chargers.  Turner has rushed for 1,088 yards and 13 touchdowns, while Tomlinson has rushed for 770 yards and five touchdowns. 

 

Matt Ryan is now the odds-on choice to win the Rookie of the Year title.  You will be hard pressed to find another first year quarterback with ratings like his.

 

This game has become a must-win contest for both teams.  I would have thought that San Diego would have been eliminated with a loss last week, but now it looks like 8-8 will win the pathetic West Division. 

 

I don’t really love any of the selections in this game, but if I had to guess, I would say it will be lower scoring than expected and a true tossup game.

 

Pittsburgh (8-3-0) at New England (7-4-0)

Time:           4:15 PM EST

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Rain likely, light wind, temperature in the upper 30’s

 

PiRate:         Pittsburgh by 3

Mean:          Tossup

Bias:            Pittsburgh by 1

Vegas:         New England by 1    -120/+100   

Ov/Un:        40

Strategy:     New England +9 in 10-point teaser, New England +12 in 13-point teaser, New England -1, New England -120, Under 53 in 13-point teaser

Pittsburgh has big injury issues headed into this game, and the fact that I have to preview this game five days in advance makes it difficult to get a good grasp on making selections.  The choices I have above are made with the assumption that Willie Parker will either miss this game or have very little affect on the outcome due to his sore knee.

 

I like New England to win this game by a couple of points in a defensive struggle.  The rain should help keep the score down as well.

 

 

Kansas City (1-10-0) at Oakland (3-8-0)

Time:           4:15 PM EST

TV:               CBS

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

 

PiRate:         Oakland by 5

Mean:           Oakland by 5

Bias:             Oakland by 4

Vegas:        Oakland by 3     -160/+140

Ov/Un:        41½

Strategy:     Oakland +7 in 10-point teaser, Oakland +10 in 13-point teaser, Oakland -160, Oakland -3, Over 28½ in 13-point teaser

In years past, this would have been the game of the week this week and possibly the game of the year.  Now it could be an exciting game just because these two teams are equally inept.

 

The Raiders defeated Kansas City at Arrowhead Stadium earlier this year.  Oakland’s other two wins strangely came against two division leaders.  What’s even stranger is that if they win this game to improve to 4-8, they could possibly move into a second place tie in the AFC West and be just two games out of first place with four games to go.  They just might have an outside chance at getting to 7-9 and backing into the division title. 

 

That above fairy tale isn’t likely to happen, but I believe the silver and black will win again this week.

 

 

Chicago (6-5-0) at Minnesota (6-5-0)

Time:           8:15PM EST

TV:               NBC

Forecast:     Dome

                    

PiRate:         Minnesota by 2

Mean:           Minnesota by 4

Bias:             Minnesota by 2

Vegas:        Minnesota by 3         -160/+150

Ov/Un:        42

Strategy:     Minnesota +7 in 10-point teaser, Minnesota +10 in 13-point teaser, Chicago +13 in 10-point teaser, Chicago +16 in 13-point teaser, Over 29 in 13-point teaser

To the winner of this game goes undisputed possession of first place in the NFC North and a possibility of having a two-game cushion over Green Bay.  This will be an interesting game between two decent teams albeit with exploitable liabilities.

 

I am going with the Over tease because it is a primetime, nationally-televised game.  I also believe it will be a close game, so I think we can play both sides on 10 and 13-point teasers.

 

Since Minnesota lost 48-41 at Chicago, they have definitely been playing better football than the Bears, but I am not about to use that as a definitive fact that Minnesota will win this game.  I still think it is close to a 50-50 tossup.  The game will probably turn on one big play.  Adrian Peterson and Devon Hester are both overdue for such antics.

 

 

Jacksonville (4-7-0) at Houston (4-7-0)

Time:           8:30PM EST Monday

TV:               ESPN

Forecast:     Partly cloudy, light wind, temperature around 65

 

PiRate:         Houston by 1    

Mean:           Houston by 3

Bias:             Houston by 3

Vegas:        Houston by 3     -175/+155

Ov/Un:        48½

Strategy:     Houston +7 in 10-point teaser, Houston +10 in 13-point teaser, Houston -175, Over 35½ in 13-point teaser

Neither team has enjoyed the success many picked them to have this season.  Houston’s malaise has been more excusable because the team was displaced earlier in the season by a hurricane.

 

Jacksonville won the first meeting in overtime two months ago.  Since then, the Jags have gone 2-5, while Houston has gone 5-3. 

 

I’ll take the hotter team playing at home with a tiny axe to grind after losing a game they should have won in the first meeting.  I’ll tease the Over just because it is a Monday night game.

 

Yuck!!!

 

It had to happen.  My picking against the spread was just too highly accurate to continue week after week. Last week’s picks finished just 2-8-1, my worst week of the year.  What made it so annoying was that most of my picks were correct, but I played nothing but teasers.  You had those handful of games that were completely out of the norm that the NFL sees happening with regularity this time of the year.  Philadelphia completely laid an egg after the tie debacle of the previous week.  Denver showed why they are not in the same league with the other division leaders by getting blown out at home to the Raiders (they also lost to the 1-10 Chiefs).  Green Bay blew up on Monday night in just three plays.  Cleveland’s offense was totally lost once Brady Quinn proved that his injured finger was getting in his way. And so on and so on.  The bank account took a major hit; you can subtract $800 from the pushka, leaving me with $1,120.  That means the for the season profit stands at just $120 after all those winning weeks.  Can I get a bailout from the NFL Reserve?

 

For the season, my picks against the spread are now 85-56-7 (60.3%).  

 

I am going with a large amount of games this week, because I have noticed that when I make cuts in the games I like, I usually cut games I would have won if I had played them.

 

Here are my wagers for week 13 (all wagered to win $100 or $100 wagered if at + odds on a parlay or money line):

 

1. Tampa Bay -3½ vs. New Orleans

2. Buffalo -7 vs. San Francisco

3. New England -1 vs. Pittsburgh

4. Oakland -3 vs. Kansas City

5. New York Jets -325 vs. Denver

6. Miami -325 vs. St. Louis

7. Tampa Bay -190 vs. New Orleans

8. Buffalo -275 vs. San Francisco

9. Green Bay -170 vs. Carolina

10. New England -120 vs. Pittsburgh

11. Oakland -160 vs. Kansas City

 

12. Money Line Parlay (+130)

Tennessee over Detroit

Dallas over Seattle

NY Jets over Denver

Baltimore over Cincinnati

 

13. Money Line Parlay (+200)

Tennessee over Detroit

Dallas over Seattle

NY Jets over Denver

Baltimore over Cincinnati

Miami over St. Louis

 

14. 10-point teaser (TURKEY SPECIAL)

Tennessee -1 vs. Detroit

Dallas -2 vs. Seattle

Arizona +13 vs. Philadelphia

 

15. 10-point teaser

NY Jets +2½ vs. Denver

Miami +2½ vs. St. Louis

Tampa Bay +6½ vs. New Orleans

 

16. 10-point teaser

Buffalo +3 vs. San Francisco

Baltimore +3 vs. Cincinnati

New England +9 vs. Pittsburgh

 

17. 13-point teaser

Tennessee +2 vs. Detroit

Dallas +1 vs. Seattle

Arizona +16 vs. Philadelphia

NY Jets +5½ vs. Denver

 

18. 13-point teaser

Miami +5½ vs. St. Louis

Tampa Bay +9½ vs. New Orleans

Indianapolis +8 vs. Cleveland

Buffalo +6 vs. San Francisco

 

19. 13-point teaser

Baltimore +6 vs. Cincinnati

New England +12 vs. Pittsburgh

Oakland +10 vs. Kansas City

Miami & St. Louis Under 57

 

20. 13-point teaser

Baltimore & Cincinnati Over 23½

Washington & NY Giants Over 29

Tampa Bay & New Orleans Over 34½

Indianapolis & Cleveland Under 58

 

21. 13-point teaser

Atlanta & San Diego Over 36

Minnesota & Chicago Over 29

Houston & Jacksonville Over 35½

Arizona & Philadelphia Over 33½        

 

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

November 6, 2008

PiRate Ratings Week 10 NFL Previews: November 6-10, 2008

PiRate Ratings For NFL Week 10

 

The PiRate Pro Ratings (Rating)

 

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

 

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

 

The Mean Ratings (Mean)

 

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

 

The Bias Ratings (Biased)

 

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

 

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

 

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

Current NFL Standings

                         
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFC East

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

New York

7

1

0

226

129

109.14

107.20

108.43

2

Washington

6

3

0

171

168

101.74

102.36

101.48

2

Philadelphia

5

3

0

220

144

110.07

106.36

107.24

2

Dallas

5

4

0

216

219

101.30

101.71

100.36

2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFC North

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Chicago

5

3

0

223

173

107.23

103.65

103.43

2

Green Bay

4

4

0

210

178

104.67

103.70

102.33

2

Minnesota

4

4

0

182

188

101.75

100.67

100.84

2

Detroit

0

8

0

137

239

89.18

90.56

90.31

3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFC South

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Carolina

6

2

0

174

127

107.60

104.89

105.56

2

Tampa Bay

6

3

0

200

147

105.89

103.85

102.61

2

Atlanta

5

3

0

177

154

102.86

101.51

102.13

2

New Orleans

4

4

0

216

195

101.57

100.90

100.55

2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFC West

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Arizona

5

3

0

234

184

104.89

103.95

104.23

3

San Francisco

2

6

0

171

230

92.37

92.64

94.36

3

Seattle

2

6

0

151

210

92.73

94.48

94.80

3

St. Louis

2

6

0

125

235

88.22

92.18

92.84

2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC East

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

New York

5

3

0

208

187

98.82

100.05

100.73

2

New England

5

3

0

168

150

97.96

101.13

100.78

2

Buffalo

5

3

0

182

169

98.19

98.80

99.16

3

Miami

4

4

0

171

163

100.66

99.80

99.85

2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC North

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Pittsburgh

6

2

0

178

116

109.21

107.03

106.91

2

Baltimore

5

3

0

171

137

104.08

103.73

103.42

3

Cleveland

3

5

0

142

160

99.50

99.87

98.13

2

Cincinnati

1

8

0

125

236

90.87

92.55

93.74

2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC South

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Tennessee

8

0

0

199

103

110.47

108.75

108.70

2

Indianapolis

4

4

0

167

177

101.55

101.48

100.66

2

Jacksonville

3

5

0

160

172

98.69

99.15

98.13

3

Houston  

3

5

0

196

213

98.14

98.36

98.46

3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC West

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Denver

4

4

0

190

221

93.84

95.57

97.04

2

San Diego

3

5

0

224

199

101.35

100.72

99.87

2

Oakland

2

6

0

107

201

86.91

91.22

90.88

2

Kansas City

1

7

0

126

223

88.42

91.10

92.06

2

 

Note: due to Thursday games for the next few weeks, weather forecasts and odds are those as of Wednesday Noon EST

 

NFL Previews-Week 10

 

Denver (4-4) at Cleveland (3-5)

Time:           8:15 EST Thursday 11/06

TV:               NFL Network

Forecast:     Clear, light winds, temperature falling from upper 50’s to lower 50’s

 

PiRate:         Cleveland by 6  

Mean:           Cleveland by 6

Bias:             Cleveland by 3

Vegas:        Cleveland by 3   -150/+170

Ov/Un:        46

Strategy:     Cleveland -3, Cleveland +7 in 10-point teaser, Cleveland +10 in 13-point teaser, Over 33 in 13-point teaser

Brady Quinn takes over at quarterback for the Browns, and I would normally penalize Cleveland some for this.  However, he will be facing a Bronco secondary that is weak and getting weaker due to injuries.  I expect Quinn to complete about 20-25 passes for 225-275 yards.  The Browns’ running attack should pick up some important yardage, even though it will be measured in quality and not quantity.

 

Jay Cutler is on pace to pass for more than 4,000 yards, but it’s starting to look like Denver’s offense will not score enough points to counter their atrocious defense.  The Broncos could very well give up close to 450 points, and no team makes the playoffs when giving up that many points.  For this game, half of the Denver starting secondary will be out, and top tackler D.J. Williams will be out as well.

 

For this reason, and also because it is a weeknight primetime affair, I like teasing the Over to start off week 10.  Because Denver is on the decline, and this is a must win game for Romero Crennel’s team (Cleveland must finish 9-7 or better or he’s gone).  I like the Browns at home, and a field goal isn’t much to cover in what should be a high scoring game.  Even with Quinn under center, I expect Cleveland to win 34-27 or something like that.  It should be quite an entertaining game for the small percentage of fans that can pick up the NFL Network.   

 

Jacksonville (3-5) at Detroit (0-8)

Time:           1PM EST

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Dome

 

PiRate:         Jacksonville by 10

Mean:           Jacksonville by 6

Bias:             Jacksonville by 6

Vegas:        Jacksonville by 6½         -260/+240

Ov/Un:        36½

Strategy:     Detroit +16½ in 10-point teaser, Detroit +19½ in 13-point teaser, Over 23½ in 13-point teaser   

Jacksonville was humiliated by the winless Bengals last week, and now the Jags get the opportunity to go double or nothing with the final winless team.  This is a Detroit team without its starting quarterback as well.  Daunte Culpepper is the likely starter for this game, and he was cast away by the lowly Dolphins and Raiders the last two years.

 

This looks like a chance for Jacksonville to right their listing ship, but I don’t expect the Jaguars to win by two touchdowns.  They should regroup and pick up the win this week, but they will have to play well for four quarters to do so, as I cannot see them blowing any opponent off the field (their three wins were by two, three, and seven points).

 

Tennessee (8-0) at Chicago (5-3)

Time:           1PM EST

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Mostly cloudy, strong wind, temperature in the upper 30’s

 

PiRate:         Chicago by 1     

Mean:           Tennessee by 3

Bias:             Tennessee by 3

Vegas:        Tennessee by 3        -150/+130  

Ov/Un:        38½

Strategy:     Chicago +13 in 10-point teaser, Chicago +16 in 13-point teaser, Under 51½ in 13-point teaser

The Titans will be facing their toughest opponent of the season this week when they head to Soldier Field.  Weather conditions will be as harsh as they have seen in a long time, and the Bears are good enough to peg a loss on the last undefeated team.

 

The Titans’ defense is riddled with key injuries, as Kyle Vanden Bosch and Keith Bulluck could both miss the game.  Albert Haynesworth cannot make all the plays.  On offense, Kerry Collins is not 100%, and if he has to come out of the game, I am not sure Vince Young is ready to return to the field.

 

Chicago’s defensive strength is against the run, and Tennessee’s primary offensive weapon is the running game.  I believe the Bears will hold LenDale White and Chris Johnson under 100 combined yards in this game and force the Titans to pass the ball to receivers who have not caught passes in 35-degree temperatures this year. 

 

Chicago’s offense could be what prevents them from pulling off the upset.  Starting quarterback Kyle Orton may or may not play due to an ankle injury.  If he plays, he won’t be very mobile against a defense that likes to send extra pass rushers.  If backup Rex Grossman plays, the Bears may see their offense grind to a halt like it did in the past.

 

I think this game will be decided on special teams play.  Chicago’s Devin Hester has yet to break a long punt return and only has one relatively long kick return.  Tennessee’s kick and punt coverage units are the team’s liabilities.

 

New Orleans (4-4) at Atlanta (5-3)

Time:           1PM EST

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Dome

 

PiRate:         Atlanta by 2

Mean:           Atlanta by 3

Bias:             Atlanta by 3

Vegas:        Tossup         -110/-110

Ov/Un:        50½

Strategy:     Atlanta +10 in 10-point teaser, Atlanta +13 in 13-point teaser, Under 63½ in 13-point teaser   

I would tend to pick the Falcons straight up in this game, but they are returning from a West Coast trip while New Orleans had a week off.  They may not have needed Sam Baker to protect Matt Ryan against the Oakland defense, but he will be missed some this week.

 

When two teams are relatively even as a whole, it is a rare event for the home team to lose by two touchdowns.  That is the main reason why I like Atlanta in teaser plays.  The Falcons’ defense has yet to yield 28 points in any game, and I think they will hold the Saints’ outstanding offense to 27 points or less.  I cannot see Atlanta topping 35, so I love the 13-point teaser above.

 

St. Louis (2-6) at New York Jets (5-3)

Time:           1PM EST

TV:               Fox

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

 

PiRate:         Jets by 10

Mean:           Jets by 10

Bias:             Jets by 9

Vegas:         Jets by 8     -335/+325

Ov/Un:        44½

Strategy:     Jets +2 in 10-point teaser, Jets +5 in 13-point teaser, Over 31½ in 13-point teaser

The Rams’ modest rebound with two wins and a near loss is now a recent memory.  Last week, Arizona brought St. Louis back to reality.  The Rams have several key injuries, most notably at running back where Steven Jackson and Antonio Pittman are both hurt.  Jackson may play, but he will not be all that effective if he goes.

 

The Rams had great difficulty defending the magical arm of Kurt Warner when the former Ram returned to St. Louis.  Now, they must play in the new hometown Favreorite in the Big Apple.  Brett Favre could have his best day in a Jets’ uniform.  I expect a 250-yard passing game from number four, and I believe the running game will add another 120 or more yards. 

 

St. Louis will score about 13-17 points in this game, and I expect the Jets to top 24.  Thus, playing it a little defensively, I like teasing the Over here. 

 

Buffalo (5-3) at New England (5-3)

Time:           1PM EST

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Mostly cloudy, light wind, temperature in low to mid 50’s

 

PiRate:         Buffalo by 1

Mean:          New England by 4

Bias:            New England by 3

Vegas:        New England by 3½ -185/+175

Ov/Un:        41½

Strategy:     New England -185, New England -3½, New England +6½ in 10-point teaser, New England +9½ in 13-point teaser, Under 54½ in 13-point teaser   

Buffalo has found the going a little tough once they began playing teams from their own division.  Consecutive losses at Miami and at home to the Jets have brought the Bills back to the pack.  A loss this week, and the Bills will fall out of first place and possibly into last place.

 

New England is going to prod along the second half of the season and finish with a 10-6 record (give or take a game).  They should make the playoffs, but they won’t be expected to get to the AFC Championship Game.  They lost last week at Indianapolis, and I expect them to rebound with a win this week.

 

Baltimore (5-3) at Houston (3-5)

Time:           1PM EST

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Partly cloudy, moderate wind, temperature in the upper 70’s

 

PiRate:         Baltimore by 2

Mean:           Baltimore by 2

Bias:             Baltimore by 2

Vegas:        Baltimore by 1   -120/+100

Ov/Un:        42

Strategy:     Baltimore +9 in 10-point teaser, Baltimore +12 in 13-point teaser, Houston +14 in 13-point teaser, Over 29 in 13-point teaser, Under 55 in 13-point teaser

Baltimore is an intriguing team.  If Joe Flacco can continue to play just a tad above average, this team can become a dark horse candidate for getting to the Super Bowl.  Even with Willis McGahee on the shelf, the Raven ground game excelled with the running of Ray Rice.  This Baltimore is considerably better than the Super Bowl Champion team eight years ago.  The defense is not as strong, but it is good enough for the Ravens to finish with 11 wins.

 

Houston is still in the mix at 3-5, but they have no room for error.  They will have to go at least 7-1 in the second half to make the playoffs.  I don’t see it happening.  They will be tough to beat at Reliant Stadium, but they are beatable.  I am looking to play both ends against the middle in the teasers in this one.

 

Seattle (2-6) at Miami (4-4)

Time:           1:00 PM EST

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Chance of showers, light wind, temperature in the upper 70’s

 

PiRate:         Miami by 9

Mean:           Miami by 7

Bias:             Miami by 7

Vegas:        Miami by 8½      -350/+320

Ov/Un:        43

Strategy:     Miami -350, Miami +1½ in 10-point teaser, Miami +4½ in 13-point teaser, Over 30 in 10-point teaser, Over 27 in 13-point teaser 

The Seahawks have flown to the East Coast three times this season and have an 0-3 record to show for it.  Those losses came by a combined 98-26 score against Buffalo, the Giants, and Tampa Bay.  Miami is just a small notch behind the average strength of those three teams, and I expect more of the same in this one.  It’s asking too much for the Dolphins to cover at 8½ points, but I think their chances of winning are more than good enough to look at the Money Line.  I have a new wager I am playing this week to help make that type of wager less dangerous.

 

I am looking for the Dolphins to win their third game in a row and reveal to the rest of the league that they are serious contenders for a playoff berth.  Let’s go with a Miami win in the neighborhood of 27-20.

 

Green Bay (4-4) at Minnesota (4-4)

Time:           1:00PM EST

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Dome

 

PiRate:         Green Bay by 1

Mean:           Green Bay by 1

Bias:             Tossup

Vegas:        Minnesota by 2½     -130/+120

Ov/Un:        45½

Strategy:     Green Bay +2½, Green Bay +120, Green Bay +12½ in 10-point teaser, Green Bay +15½ in 13-point teaser, Over 35½ in 10-point teaser, Over 32½ in 13-point teaser  

The first time these teams played, the teams’ two offenses had not yet put it all together.  The Vikings needed a new quarterback, and the Packers needed their new quarterback to get his feet wet.

 

This time around, both teams are considerably better on the attack side, with Gus Frerotte now the starting quarterback of the rejuvenated purple attack and Aaron Rodgers playing like a seasoned veteran.

 

This game has more meaning than just the old rivalry.  The winner will be 5-4 and on the top side of the wildcard bubble, while the loser will be 4-5 and on the bottom of the bubble.  With the Bears playing Tennessee, it gives the winner of this game a chance to be in a first place tie.

 

You might want to check Friday to see how Rodgers’ shoulder is before making a selection in this game.  Since I cannot do so due to there being a Thursday night game, I am guessing Rodgers will be just fine on Sunday.  If so, I can see the Pack pulling off the season’s sweep.

 

Carolina (6-2) at Oakland (2-6)

Time:           4:05 PM EST

TV:               Fox

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

 

PiRate:         Carolina by 18

Mean:          Carolina by 12

Bias:             Carolina by 13

Vegas:         Carolina by 9½         -400/+360

Ov/Un:        37½

Strategy:     Carolina -400, Carolina +½ in 10-point teaser, Carolina +3½ in 13-point teaser, Under 50½ in 13-point teaser

Did you see the Oakland-Atlanta game last Sunday?  If so, let me tell you how sorry I am that you had nothing better to do.  The Raiders act like they wish they could be doing anything else but playing football.  If they had punted on first down every time they had the ball in the first half last week, they would have finished with two more total yards than they actually had going to the locker room.

 

It is starting to look like JaMarcus Russell is going to be a miss.  At the least, he needs more time to study the game.  He cannot learn much running for his life 20 times a game.

 

The Panthers have won just one road game thus far, but it was at San Diego.  The Carolina players know this is a must win game, for they cannot afford to lose to the lowly Raiders and expect to win a division where 8-8 could be sole possession of last place.

 

I expect the Panthers to play it a little close to the vest and rely on superior talent match-ups to produce a plodding, but assured victory.  I see a 28-14 win in the offing.

 

Kansas City (1-7) at San Diego (3-5)

Time:           4:15PM EST

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Mostly sunny, light wind, temperature in mid to upper 60’s

 

 

PiRate:         San Diego by 17

Mean:           San Diego by 12

Bias:             San Diego by 10

Vegas:        San Diego by 15½   -1000/+700

Ov/Un:        47

Strategy:     San Diego -1000, San Diego -5½ in 10-point teaser, San Diego -2½ in 13-point teaser, Over 34 in 13-point teaser, Under 60 in 13-point teaser 

Okay, now just settle down a minute!  I am not advocating that you risk a grand to win a c-note.  I don’t care if the Chargers are playing a high school team from Kansas City; it’s never worth it to play at 1-10 odds.  You will have to read down at the bottom to see why I have this game listed as part of my strategy.

 

On the surface, the Chargers have about a 90-95% chance of winning, so the odds of playing at 1-10 are honest.  Still, I would never play with that type of risk.  However, I really don’t love taking San Diego in the teasers.  They could escape with a close win and still not meet the spread.

 

San Diego had an extra week to prepare for a weak team.  It could lead to a big slaughter, but it could also lead to complacency, as the players might believe they won’t have to play 100% to win the game. 

 

Indianapolis (4-4) at Pittsburgh (6-2)

Time:           4:15PM EST

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Rain possibly mixed with snow, light wind, temperature falling from low 40’s to mid 30’s

 

PiRate:         Pittsburgh by 8

Mean:           Pittsburgh by 8

Bias:             Pittsburgh by 8

Vegas:        No Line       

Ov/Un:        None

Strategy:     None

Ben Roethlisberger may or may not play, so there is no official line for this game. I have seen an unofficial line of Pittsburgh -3.  If the line was at three, I would like the Colts in a 13-point teaser at +16. 

 

New York Giants (7-1) at Philadelphia (5-3)

Time:           8:15PM EST

TV:               NBC

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

                    

PiRate:         Philadelphia by 5

Mean:           Philadelphia by 1

Bias:             Philadelphia by 1

Vegas:        Philadelphia by 3     -140/+130

Ov/Un:        43

Strategy:     Philadelphia -3, Philadelphia -140, Philadelphia +7 in 10-point teaser, Philadelphia +10 in 13-point teaser, Over 30 in 13-point teaser

Normally, I would tend to side with the Giants in this game.  However, the defending Super Bowl Champions are playing their third consecutive tough/rivalry game.  Philadelphia has had an easier road the last month.

 

While I believe New York is the better team, I like the Eagles in this one due to several intangibles.  Throw in the fact that this is the top Sunday night game to date, and the Eagles will be ready to show the country that they are back and ready to compete for the NFC title.  I believe Philly will win by five to eight points with a final score around 24-17.

 

San Francisco (2-6) at Arizona (5-3)

Time:           8:30PM EST Monday

TV:               ESPN

Forecast:     Clear, light wind, temperature falling from the low 70’s to low 60’s

 

PiRate:         Arizona by 16   

Mean:           Arizona by 14

Bias:             Arizona by 13

Vegas:        Arizona by 9½   -380/+350

Ov/Un:        46

Strategy:     Arizona -380, Arizona +½ in 10-point teaser, Arizona +3½ in 13-point teaser,  San Francisco +19½ in 10-point teaser, San Francisco +22½ in 13-point teaser, Over 36 in 10-point teaser, Over 33 in 13-point teaser   

This may not be the biggest marquee game this week, but in my opinion, it has a great chance to be an interesting game.  The 49ers are a big bust in my opinion.  They should have been competitive this season.  Instead, they are mired in a three-way tie for second (or the cellar depending on how you look at it).  Because the Cardinals will not go 3-5 in the second half of the season, San Francisco will have to go a minimum of 7-1 to win the division title.  It will never happen.  This race is over, but the 49er players may think they still have a chance.  They have enjoyed an off week, giving them some time to get accustomed to Coach Mike Singletary’s coaching.  Mike Martz has had an extra week preparing against a Cardinal defense that doesn’t remind anybody of the Titans or Ravens.

 

Kurt Warner may once again be the best quarterback in the NFL.  He is on pace to pass for close to 4,700 yards and more than 30 touchdowns.  He doesn’t have a strong running game, but Arizona can get by averaging 3.6 yards per run as long as they run on second and three and third and one.

 

I believe this will be a game that is still to be decided in the final seven minutes.  As most Monday night games go, I am looking for an offensive shootout.  Call it a 35-28 win for the Cardinals to virtually clinch the NFC West with a four game lead.

 

 

The Imaginary Bank Account Makes A Deposit

 

Last week’s picks finished 6-3-0 adding $140 to the bank account.  For the season, my picks against the spread are now 65-38-6 (63.1%).  The account balance is $1,665.  For the year, my Return on investment is 15.3%.

 

Both the straight wager and teaser picks broke even.  The teasers made me my profit last week, as I connected on five of the seven I picked.

 

For this week, I am going to play a little defensively.  The weather could play a factor in several games, but the weather forecasts are not as reliable because they are coming a day earlier than normal.  Also, there are some quarterback issues with some teams.  Since I am not a fan of these teams, when I tell you I don’t like the changes at QB, it’s strictly because it greatly changes the norm for these teams.  It’s the norm that is our friend when we try to pick games.  We are ultimately fans of our bank account, so we don’t want change we cannot believe in.

 

Here are my wagers for week 10 (all wagered to win $100):

 

1 Cleveland

-3

vs.

Denver

   

 

 

 

2 Philadelphia

-140

vs.

NY Giants

   

 

 

 

3 Arizona

-380

vs.

San Francisco

   

 

 

 

4 Money Line Parlay

 

 

 

(This 3-game parlay calculates at -130)

  Miami

-350

vs.

Seattle

  Carolina

-400

vs.

Oakland

  San Diego

-1000

vs.

Kansas City

   

 

 

 

5 10-point teaser

 

 

 

  Detroit

+16 1/2

vs.

Jacksonville

  Chicago

+13

vs.

Tennessee

  Atlanta

+10

vs.

New Orleans

   

 

 

 

6 10-point teaser

 

 

 

  NY Jets

+2

vs.

St. Louis

  Baltimore

+9

vs.

Houston

  Miami

+1 1/2

vs.

Seattle

   

 

 

 

7 10-point teaser

 

 

 

  Miami & Seattle

 

Over 30

  Green Bay

+12 1/2

vs.

Minnesota

  Carolina

+ 1/2

vs.

Oakland

   

 

 

 

8 10-point teaser

 

 

 

  Philadelphia

+7

vs.

NY Giants

  Arizona

+ 1/2

vs.

San Francisco

  San Francisco & Arizona

 

Over 36

   

 

 

 

9 13-point teaser

 

 

 

  Cleveland & Denver

 

Over 33

  Detroit

+19 1/2

vs.

Jacksonville

  Chicago

+16

vs.

Tennessee

  Atlanta

+13

vs.

New Orleans

   

 

 

 

10 13-point teaser

 

 

 

  Detroit & Jacksonville

 

Over 23 1/2

  NY Jets

+5

vs.

St. Louis

  New England

+9 1/2

vs.

Buffalo

  Baltimore

+12

vs.

Houston

   

 

 

 

11 13-point teaser

 

 

 

  NY Jets & St. Louis

 

Over 31 1/2

  New England & Buffalo

 

Under 54 1/2

  Miami

+4 1/2

vs.

Seattle

  Green Bay

+15 1/2

vs.

Minnesota

   

 

 

 

12 13-point teaser

 

 

 

  Miami & Seattle

 

Over 27

  Green Bay & Minnesota

 

Over 32 1/2

  Carolina

+3 1/2

vs.

Oakland

  Philadelphia

+10

vs.

NY Giants

   

 

 

 

13 13-point teaser

 

 

 

  Carolina & Oakland

 

Under 50 1/2

  Philadelphia & NY Giants

 

Over 30

  Arizona

+3 1/2

vs.

San Francisco

  San Francisco & Arizona

 

Over 33

     

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

September 26, 2008

PiRate Ratings Week 4 NFL Previews–September 28-29, 2008

PiRate Ratings For NFL Week Four

(Listed Alphabetically Within Each Division)
NFC East

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

 
Dallas

3

0

0

96

63

113.56

109.11

109.08

2

 
New York

3

0

0

83

43

105.26

105.58

107.36

2

 
Philadelphia

2

1

0

90

50

110.86

107.07

108.31

2

 
Washington

2

1

0

60

57

105.74

102.17

103.37

2

 
   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
NFC North

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

 
Chicago

1

2

0

70

60

105.16

102.48

100.27

2

 
Detroit

0

3

0

59

113

86.65

90.03

89.19

3

 
Green Bay

2

1

0

88

71

106.24

103.71

104.95

2

 
Minnesota

1

2

0

54

52

104.57

101.33

99.97

2

 
   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
NFC South

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

 
Atlanta

2

1

0

81

59

96.23

97.28

97.01

2

 
Carolina

2

1

0

56

61

101.51

101.57

102.12

2

 
New Orleans

1

2

0

80

83

104.27

100.82

101.05

2

 
Tampa Bay

2

1

0

71

57

104.04

102.73

102.85

2

 
   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
NFC West

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

 
Arizona

2

1

0

71

47

103.78

101.02

102.29

3

 
St. Louis

0

3

0

29

116

76.37

86.82

84.63

2

 
San Francisco

2

1

0

67

56

94.04

96.39

97.14

3

 
Seattle

1

2

0

67

70

94.51

96.81

99.47

3

 
   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
AFC East

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

 
Buffalo

3

0

0

78

49

101.85

103.16

104.75

3

 
Miami

1

2

0

62

64

94.20

96.85

95.39

2

 
New England

2

1

0

49

58

100.19

101.62

104.35

2

 
New York

1

2

0

59

81

94.49

96.99

96.90

2

 
   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
AFC North

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

 
Baltimore

2

0

0

45

20

101.46

100.74

102.42

3

 
Cincinnati

0

3

0

40

67

95.26

96.83

95.84

2

 
Cleveland

0

3

0

26

66

89.56

94.30

91.95

2

 
Pittsburgh

2

1

0

54

38

102.78

103.38

103.62

2

 
   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
AFC South

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

 
Houston

0

2

0

29

69

89.13

96.35

93.42

3

 
Indianapolis

1

2

0

52

67

101.40

101.34

101.17

2

 
Jacksonville

1

2

0

49

58

103.10

102.42

101.84

3

 
Tennessee

3

0

0

72

29

105.98

106.64

106.51

2

 
   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
AFC West

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

 
Denver

3

0

0

114

84

104.17

103.69

104.08

2

 
Kansas City

0

2

0

32

78

82.22

90.08

88.50

2

 
Oakland

1

2

0

60

73

94.45

96.52

94.39

2

 
San Diego

1

2

0

110

94

106.59

104.07

105.92

2

 

 

 

NFL Previews-Week Four

 

Denver Broncos (3-0) at Kansas City Chiefs (0-3)

Time:           1 PM EDT

TV:               CBS

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

 

PiRate:         Denver by 20    

Mean:           Denver by 12

Bias:             Denver by 4

Vegas:        Denver by 9½

Ov/Un:        46½

Strategy:     Denver +½ in 10-point teaser, Over 36½ in 10-point teaser

On the surface, this looks like a slam-dunk game for the Broncos.  Kansas City has scored just 32 points in three games. They have already lost at home to Oakland, and Denver blew the Raiders out in Oakland.  So, why is Denver not a double-digit favorite?  The Broncos have problems on defense, and Kansas City should score a season high in points Sunday. 

 

Damon Huard will start at quarterback for the Chiefs, and while he is not a star, he will perform better than Tyler Thigpen.  Look for the Chiefs to hit the 20-point mark for the first time this year, but Jay Cutler and company will score 24 to 35. 

 

Since the Bias rating doesn’t believe Denver can cover at 9½, I am sticking with the teaser plays in this one. 

 

Cleveland Browns (0-3) at Cincinnati Bengals (0-3)

Time:           1 PM EDT

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Partly Cloudy, light wind, temperature in upper 70’s

 

PiRate:        Cincinnati by 8

Mean:           Cincinnati by 5

Bias:             Cincinnati by 6

Vegas:        Cincinnati by 3½

Ov/Un:        44

Strategy:     Cincinnati -3½, Cincinnati +6½ in 10-point teaser, Over 34 in 10-point teaser             

The losing coach in this game will have to purchase asbestos pants, because his seat is going to be mighty hot come Monday morning.  One of these teams will be 0-4 and have absolutely no chance of recovery.  The winner will still be in trouble at 1-3, but they will still be in the race in this division.  If you are old enough to remember 1970, the Bengals actually began that year 1-6 before winning seven in a row to take the division by a game over the Browns.

 

Neither team has a great defense, but Cincinnati began to play a little more consistently last week in New Jersey.  Cleveland might be in last place in defense if not for playing Pittsburgh in weather more suitable to trout.  The Browns’ offense has been the top disappointment in the NFL thus far, and Derek Anderson has a pitiful 43.5 QB Rating.  If he doesn’t come out of the gate hot this week, look for Brady Quinn to become the new quarterback.  Sticking with the nostalgia theme, back in 1968, Frank Ryan began the season as the Browns’ QB but in about the fourth game, Bill Nelsen took over.  Cleveland was a different team with Nelsen, and the Browns went on a long winning streak to win their division after digging themselves a hole at the beginning.

 

In this big rivalry game, I look for the Bengals to be ready to play good, but not great defense, while the Browns’ play better than they have to date and make this a great game.  It won’t be like last year’s shootout, but this one should be decided late.  I’ll go with the home team to win, but I am not wild about the selection.  I like teasing the Over, because these teams have the potential to score points quickly.

 

 

Houston Texans (0-2) at Jacksonville Jaguars (1-2)

Time:           1 PM EDT

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Partly Cloudy, light wind, humid, temperature in upper 80’s

 

PiRate:        Jacksonville by 17

Mean:           Jacksonville by 9

Bias:             Jacksonville by 11

Vegas:        Jacksonville by 7

Ov/Un:        42½

Strategy:     Houston +17 in 10-point teaser, Jacksonville +3 in 10-point teaser, Under 52½ in 10-point teaser

Jacksonville should have some momentum after winning at Indianapolis last week.  That half-day scoring drive that consumed most of the second half was quite impressive, but it is not conducive to covering the spread when a team is favored like the Jags are this week.

 

Houston looked better than their 19-point loss to Tennessee last week.  Until a late 99-yard interception return for a touchdown, the Texans were actually threatening to cut the Titans lead to less than a touchdown with enough time to win the game.

 

I think the Texans will be a little down this week, and when you combine the high the Jaguar players will be on this week, I can only see Jacksonville winning this game.  However, as I mentioned above, the Jaguars may or may not cover the spread because of their style of play.  They could easily win 17-10.  So, I’m going with both sides as part of a 10-point teaser, and I’m teasing the Under. 

 

 

Arizona Cardinals (2-1) at New York Jets (1-2)

Time:           1 PM EDT

TV:               FOX

Forecast:     60% chance of Thundershowers could be heavy at times and affect the game, light wind, temperature around 70

 

PiRate:        Arizona by 7

Mean:           Arizona by 2

Bias:             Arizona by 3

Vegas:        New York Jets by 1

Ov/Un:        44

Strategy:     Arizona +11 in 10-point teaser, Over 34 in 10-point teaser          

If the weather turns out to be a factor, it could actually help Brett Favre and Kurt Warner.  People mistakenly believe a wet field curtails passing.  It does not; in fact, it can be a major help.  Remember, the offensive player knows where he is going and when he is going to make a cut, while the defender has to react. 

 

Both of these hard-throwing drop back passers may also benefit from a slower pass rush if the weather is lousy.  Of course, there is a two in five chance that it won’t rain, and that produces a predicament. 

 

Either way, I don’t think the Jets are capable of beating the Cardinals by double digits, so I am going with the visitors in a teaser play.  With these two gunslingers going at it, I expect this game to see its share of scoring.  Therefore, I like teasing the Over.

 

 

San Francisco 49ers (2-1) at New Orleans Saints (1-2)

Time:           1 PM EDT

TV:               FOX

Forecast:     Dome

 

PiRate:        New Orleans by 12

Mean:           New Orleans by 6

Bias:             New Orleans by 6

Vegas:        New Orleans by 5½

Ov/Un:        48

Strategy:     Over 48, Over 38 in 10-point teaser            

This game should be one of the more exciting games of the week.  J.T. O’Sullivan may be on the verge of becoming another Kurt Warner.  Having Mike Martz as his offensive coordinator means he will be throwing the ball for the 49ers a lot in the Superdome on Sunday.

 

Drew Brees deserves more credit than he is getting.  He is on pace for a 4,500 yard season, and it won’t be anything new if he gets it.  If the Saints’ running game can live up to its potential, then New Orleans may eventually have a more potent offense than Dallas.

 

If I had to pick a straight spread winner in this game, I’d go with San Francisco.  I don’t have much confidence in that pick, at least not enough to make it a selection.  I do think this game could be a 35-31 game, so I like the Over as a straight selection and love it as part of a teaser.

 

 

Atlanta Falcons (2-1) at Carolina Panthers (2-1)

Time:           1 PM EDT

TV:               FOX

Forecast:     30% chance of Thunderstorms could affect game, light wind temperature in the upper 70’s

 

PiRate:        Carolina by 7

Mean:           Carolina by 6

Bias:             Carolina by 7

Vegas:        Carolina by 6½

Ov/Un:        39½

Strategy:     Carolina +3½ in 10-point teaser, Under 49½ in 10-point teaser          

This is another game that could be affected by the weather, so I approach it with caution.

 

The Falcons have benefited from playing Detroit and Kansas City, two of the worst four teams in the NFL.  Carolina has played at San Diego, Chicago, and at Minnesota.  Their 2-1 record is more legitimate than Atlanta’s.  The one time the Falcons ventured on the road this season, they lost at Tampa Bay and didn’t really compete in that game.  I tend to believe that will happen again this week, but Atlanta will play a little tougher in this road game.

 

I am impressed with the Falcons’ defense this year and think that they will eventually beat a playoff-bound team.  I just don’t think it will happen this week.  However, I don’t see Carolina having their way in this game.  I can see a 21-17 score, so I am going to go with the Under in a teaser.

 

 

Minnesota Vikings (1-2) at Tennessee Titans (3-0)

Time:           1 PM EDT

TV:               FOX

Forecast:     Sunny, light wind, humid, temperature near 80

 

PiRate:        Tennessee by 3

Mean:           Tennessee by 7

Bias:             Tennessee by 9

Vegas:        Tennessee by 3

Ov/Un:        35½

Strategy:     Minnesota +13  in 10-point teaser, Tennessee +7  in 10-point teaser Over 25½ in 10-point teaser, Under 45½ in 10-point teaser        

These teams are eerily similar except for their records.  Both teams began the season with running quarterbacks that many sports analysts believed could not keep defenses honest with their passing skills.  Both teams began the season with very strong running attacks and doubts that they had adequate pass receivers.  Both teams had punishing defensive front sevens and improving pass defenses.  Both teams were supposed to win games by ugly scores with brute force on both sides of the ball.

 

Now, both teams find themselves being led at quarterback by an aging veteran, and both teams have discovered those pass receivers aren’t all that bad once a competent quarterback began to throw them the ball.

 

The difference in these two teams is that Kerry Collins became the Titans’ starting quarterback in the fourth quarter of game one, while Gus Frerotte took over for the Vikings in game three.  The Titans would be fortunate to win by a field goal in this one, so I cannot select them even at home against a team not prepared to play in hot and muggy weather.  I do think this game will be decided by less than a touchdown either way, so I like teasing both sides.  I also like teasing both of the Totals.  That 20-point range looks rather safe.  Collins and Frerotte might hook up in a mini-passing duel if both of the defensive lines prove that top-rated run defenses can stop top-rated runners. 

 

I tend to believe Adrian Peterson will find a modicum of success against Tennessee’s front wall and end up with about 90 yards on 25 attempts.  I believe the combo of Chris Johnson and LenDale White will combine for 30 carries and 105 rushing yards.  That means that the game will be decided by who has the hotter passing day.  It should be close.  I’ll go with a game with a score similar to 20-17 either way.

 

 

Green Bay Packers (2-1) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-1)

Time:           1 PM EDT

TV:               FOX

Forecast:     Partly cloudy, light wind, humid, temperature in the mid to upper 80’s

 

PiRate:        Pick’em

Mean:           Tampa Bay by 1

Bias:             Pick’em

Vegas:        Pick’em

Ov/Un:        42½

Strategy:     Tampa Bay +10 in 10-point teaser, Under 52½ in 10-point teaser           

I have been struggling with analyzing both of these teams thus far.  I don’t think either has found its true identity as of yet.  My three ratings and the Vegas spread are basically all the same, so I am not about to begin to pick a side in this one.  If I absolutely had to go with a winner, I’d take Tampa Bay for three reasons.  First, Green Bay’s players are going to suffer more fatigue in the second half of this game than in any other game this year due to the summer-like conditions.  Next, the Packers may be a little thin in their secondary with Al Harris out and Charles Woodson, Atari Bigby, and Aaron Rouse all ailing.  Additionally, Aaron Rodgers may be a little confused facing the multiple defenses Tampa Bay will throw at him.

 

On the other hand, I am not convinced that Tampa Bay’s offense can exploit the secondary liabilities of the Packers.  Brian Griese is not the type of passer who can sting defenses with a bevy of long passes.  He’s more of the dink and doink quarterback who picks on the short zones.  On top of that, Griese is not 100% healthy this week.

 

For the reasons mentioned above, I like teasing the Under.  I can see this one ending in the range of 24-20.  I’m going with the Bucs in a teaser play as well, but I will hold off on playing the other side of that teaser.

 

 

Buffalo Bills (3-0) at St. Louis Rams (0-3)

Time:           4:05 PM EDT

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Dome

 

PiRate:        Buffalo by 23

Mean:           Buffalo by 14

Bias:             Buffalo by 18

Vegas:        Buffalo by 8

Ov/Un:        42

Strategy:     Buffalo +2 in 10-point teaser, Over 32 in 10-point teaser     

The Rams have looked like the worst NFL team in two decades so far this season, while the Bills have shot out to the lead in the AFC East.  Still, this game scares me.  This is St. Louis’s final game before their bye week.  If they lose this game in another blowout, Coach Scott Linehan will more than likely not see game five in two weeks.  Linehan has made numerous changes this week including naming Trent Green the starting quarterback over Marc Bulger.  Bulger has come out publicly in the media and said he will not play another game for Linehan.  Star running back Steven Jackson endorsed Bulger and openly opposed his benching. 

 

One of two things will happen this week.  Either the Rams’ players will get behind their coach and show a major improvement, or this team will begin to resemble the 1952 Dallas Texans.  Either way, I think Buffalo has a great chance to win outright, but since I like to play conservatively, I’d much rather get Buffalo and points than have to worry about them covering by more than a touchdown.  I like teasing the Over because the Rams have given up more than 32 points in every game, and two of those opponents have weaker offenses than the Bills do right now.

 

 

San Diego Chargers (1-2) at Oakland Raiders (1-2)

Time:           4:05 PM EDT

TV:               CBS

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

 

PiRate:        San Diego by 10

Mean:           San Diego by 6

Bias:             San Diego by 10

Vegas:        San Diego by 7½

Ov/Un:        45½

Strategy:     San Diego +2½ in 10-point teaser, Oakland +17½ in 10-point teaser, Over 35½ in 10-point teaser             

Did you hear what Raiders’ owner Al Davis decided to do when he was invited to a costume party?  He went as former Cleveland Cavaliers owner Ted Stepien (if you don’t know who Stepien was, Google his name).  After stepping down as head coach of the team in 1965, he hired John Rauch.  Rauch quickly made Oakland the dominant team of the old AFL.  From 1967 to 1969, the Raiders went 37-4-1 with Rauch at quarterback, but Davis couldn’t resist telling Rauch what he needed to be doing, as if 90.2% success wasn’t acceptable.  Rauch fled Oakland for the then moribund Bills.  So, the meddling isn’t anything new.  It just gets a lot more press coverage in the 24/7 media world of the 21st Century.

 

The latest episode in the gridiron serial is called, “Is he or isn’t he?”  Coach Lane Kiffin, who actually is beginning to receive more and more accolades as a young man who knows what he is doing, has been like the condemned prisoner who keeps getting a reprieve from the Governor as he is being strapped into the chair.  We all know that eventually Kiffin’s appeals will run out, and he will no longer be the head coach.

 

Until then, Kiffin and his team simply have to deal with all the distractions including having a defensive coordinator who does not get along with the head coach and does not have any loyalty to him.

 

Somehow in all this mess, the Raiders have been competitive after looking terrible on the opening week of the season.  If not for a late collapse last week, this team could be 2-1. 

 

The Raiders’ opponent this week is also 1-2, but they are the best NFL team with a losing record.  San Diego could easily be 3-0 today, and they legitimately should be 2-1.  The Chargers are a team with huge chips on the shoulders of its players and coaches.  That is a good thing, because this team knows it is in a bit of a hole being two games behind Denver.

 

The biggest concern to me in this game is the nasty spread.  I don’t like 7½-point spreads in any game unless I think it is off by five points or more.  The Chargers should be able to outscore Oakland, but it’s iffy whether they can win by eight or more.   I like teasing both sides, although I would advise against picking the Raiders in any play right now.

 

Washington Redskins (2-1) at Dallas Cowboys (3-0)

Time:           4:15 PM EDT

TV:               FOX

Forecast:     Sunny, light wind, temperature near 90

 

PiRate:        Dallas by 10

Mean:           Dallas by 9

Bias:             Dallas by 8

Vegas:        Dallas by 11

Ov/Un:        46½

Strategy:     Washington +22 in 10-point teaser, Under 56½ in 10-point teaser

The old movies where the cowboys and Indians fought it out always provided great entertainment to young and old alike back in the 1950’s and 1960’s.  Today, that type of movie would be considered politically incorrect, but we still have this epic arch-rivalry game between two franchises who like nothing more than to beat their nemesis.

 

Dallas has the upper hand these days, but Washington is improving and capable of winning in their last scheduled visit to Texas Stadium.  I see one of the best plays here this week.  I am going with the underdog in a teaser.  When you get 22 points with a decent team, it makes it quite difficult for the other team to beat you.  Dallas is coming off an emotional Sunday night game at Green Bay, and they may have just enough of a bounce to allow the Redskins to stay in the game.  Washington’s defense and ball control offense should keep this game lower scoring than normal, so I like teasing the Totals line as well.

 

 

Philadelphia Eagles (2-1) at Chicago Bears (1-2)

Time:           8:15 PM EDT

TV:               NBC

Forecast:     Partly cloudy, 20% chance of rain, light wind, temperatures falling from the mid 60’s to upper 50’s

 

PiRate:        Philadelphia by 4

Mean:           Philadelphia by 3

Bias:             Philadelphia by 6

Vegas:        Philadelphia by 3

Ov/Un:        40½

Strategy:     Chicago +13 in 10-point teaser, Philadelphia +7 in 10-point teaser, Over 30½ in 10-point teaser

If you consider that Dallas has a home field advantage of about three points, then Philadelphia must be about as powerful as the Cowboys right now.  However, not many football fans would agree with the Cowboys being a three-point pick over the Bears.  The spread would be more like seven to nine points if Dallas were venturing to Soldier Field this week.

 

Both teams have major injury concerns for this game.  The Bears top receiver, Brandon Lloyd, has a sore hip.  He did not practice today (Thursday) and is questionable for Sunday.  Devin Hester is still suffering from sore ribs, and he has been limited in practice.  He too is listed as questionable.  Without one or both of these stars, the Bears become a much easier team to defend.

 

Philadelphia has some question marks as well.  Quarterback Donovan McNabb will play with a sore chest, while running back Brian Westbrook has an ankle injury and will be a game-time decision. 

 

Factoring all the injuries into the equation as well as the possibility that there could be some rain in this game, I look for it to be a close decision.  I think Philadelphia is the better team, but Chicago may be the hungrier team.  Therefore, I am playing both sides in a teaser here.  If the Bears win, I expect it to be by one to five points, and if the Eagles win, I cannot see it being by more than seven or eight points.

 

Baltimore Ravens (2-0) at Pittsburgh Steelers (2-1)

Time:           8:30 PM EDT Monday

TV:               ESPN

Forecast:     Partly cloudy, 20% chance of rain, light wind, temperatures falling from the mid 60’s to upper 50’s

 

PiRate:        Pittsburgh by 3

Mean:           Pittsburgh by 5

Bias:             Pittsburgh by 3

Vegas:        Pittsburgh by 5

Ov/Un:        34½

Strategy:     Pittsburgh +5 in 10-point teaser 

Are the Ravens for real this year?  Could it be that last year was just a fluke?  How about the Steelers?  Can they score enough points to win this game after doing nothing on the attack side the prior two games?

 

Of all the games on this week’s schedule, this is the most intriguing to me.  I don’t like playing the Under in Monday Night Football games, because they tend to become more of a theatrical event with a high number of points scored.  If this game were a 1 PM game on Sunday, I would be playing Under 44½ in a teaser, because I would be picking this game to be a 14-13 affair.  I cannot recommend a play here. 

 

Baltimore will be without the services of leading tackler Dawan Landry after Jamal Lewis steamrollered over him last week.  Additionally, cornerback Samari Rolle could miss the game.  Pittsburgh will not have starting running back Willie Parker available for this game, and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will play with multiple injuries.   

 

 

The Imaginary Bank Account Increases Again In Week Three

It wasn’t as beautiful as the first two weeks, but I maintained my perfect record of having a winning week in week three.  I finished 6-4-1, with a profit of $95.  For the year, that makes me 22-10-1 (68.8%) with a profit of $1,005.  For the year, I now have a return on investment of 30.5%.

 

As week four begins, I feel the urge to play a little conservatively and protect my investment.  I like teasing the totals lines when I believe the folks in Las Vegas have struggled with either lowering or raising it too much.  Moving that line by 10 points in our advantage gives me the sense that we are getting 15 points when it appears that the totals line has been moved more toward the average.

 

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

 

1. Jacksonville -300 Money Line

 

2. Pittsburgh -230 Money Line

 

3. New Orleans and San Francisco Over 48

 

4. 10-Point Teaser

       a. Denver & Kansas City Over 36½

       b. Houston +17 vs. Jacksonville

       c. Houston & Jacksonville Under 52½

 

5. 10-Point Teaser

       a. Jacksonville +3 vs. Houston

       b. Arizona +11 vs. New York Jets

       c. Arizona & New York Jets Over 34

 

6. 10-Point Teaser

       a. San Francisco and New Orleans Over 38

       b. Carolina + 3½ vs. Atlanta

       c. Minnesota +13 vs. Tennessee

 

7. 10-Point Teaser

       a. Tennessee +7 vs. Minnesota

       b. Tampa Bay +10 vs. Green Bay

       c. Buffalo +2 vs. St. Louis

 

8. 10-Point Teaser

       a. Buffalo & St. Louis Over 32

       b. San Diego +2½ vs. Oakland

       c. San Diego & Oakland Over 35½

 

9. 10-Point Teaser

       a. Oakland + 17½ vs. San Diego

       b. Washington +22 vs. Dallas

       c. Philadelphia +7 vs. Chicago      

 

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

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