The Pi-Rate Ratings

December 18, 2008

PiRate Ratings Week 16 NFL Previews: December 18-22, 2008

PiRate Ratings For NFL Week 16

A Preview Of The Conference Championship Games?

 

What a coincidence!  The Steelers go to Nashville, and the Panthers go to the Meadowlands in what could very well be a preview of the AFC and NFC Championship games.  Personally, I don’t think we will see either of these games replayed in the same venues in four weeks.

 

There are several other key games this week.  Indianapolis can clinch the number five playoff spot in the AFC if they defeat Jacksonville.  Baltimore and Dallas hook up in an important Saturday night game.  The loser of this game might need help in week 17. 

 

Miami faces a possible trap game at Kansas City, where the temperature is going to be well below freezing. 

 

Philadelphia and Washington play an eliminator game, where the loser can hang it up for the season. 

 

Arizona has a tough date at New England, where the Patriots are almost in a must-win situation. 

 

Atlanta and Minnesota play in the Fox second game, and the winner will be in great shape, while the loser is in trouble (especially if Chicago wins Monday night). 

 

The Jets must travel to the West Coast for the fourth time this season.  They are 0-3 so far. 

 

Denver can secure the AFC West with a win over swooning Buffalo or a San Diego loss at Tampa Bay.  The Bucs need to win against the Chargers. 

 

On Monday night, the Bears may be playing for a chance to knot the NFC North, or they could already be eliminated depending on what happens in Minneapolis.

 

The PiRate Pro Ratings (Rating)

 

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

 

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

 

The Mean Ratings (Mean)

 

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

 

The Bias Ratings (Biased)

 

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

 

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

 

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

Current NFL Standings

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFC East

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

New York

11

3

0

374

246

108.62

107.01

106.50

2

Dallas

9

5

0

332

288

102.95

103.96

105.36

2

Philadelphia

8

5

1

369

273

107.60

106.03

106.70

2

Washington

7

7

0

231

266

97.77

98.22

98.97

2

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFC North

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Minnesota

9

5

0

342

290

105.12

105.24

106.65

2

Chicago

8

6

0

331

302

103.12

101.77

101.95

2

Green Bay

5

9

0

371

339

104.35

101.02

97.85

2

Detroit

0

14

0

240

444

88.47

89.81

88.23

3

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFC South

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Carolina

11

3

0

353

264

106.47

105.55

107.58

2

Tampa Bay

9

5

0

313

251

105.19

103.84

105.78

2

Atlanta

9

5

0

336

281

104.71

103.45

103.21

2

New Orleans

7

7

0

390

353

103.29

102.62

100.96

2

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFC West

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Arizona

8

6

0

386

358

100.03

99.65

100.31

3

San Francisco

5

9

0

295

341

94.85

96.51

96.25

3

Seattle

3

11

0

260

355

91.65

93.14

92.53

3

St. Louis

2

12

0

189

417

83.33

87.70

84.98

2

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC East

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

New York

9

5

0

385

319

101.06

100.30

102.45

2

New England

9

5

0

350

302

100.33

101.54

102.55

2

Miami

9

5

0

283

269

98.18

99.21

101.65

2

Buffalo

6

8

0

306

306

96.18

95.64

95.74

3

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC North

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Pittsburgh

11

3

0

302

192

109.24

108.44

108.71

2

Baltimore

9

5

0

325

213

108.79

107.24

107.78

3

Cleveland

4

10

0

232

305

96.76

96.59

94.25

2

Cincinnati

2

11

1

174

358

91.41

92.93

91.84

2

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC South

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Tennessee

12

2

0

344

197

109.87

107.77

108.10

2

Indianapolis

10

4

0

323

274

104.76

104.55

106.44

2

Houston

7

7

0

319

343

100.27

101.56

101.34

3

Jacksonville

5

9

0

271

309

98.34

97.85

96.61

3

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC West

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Denver

8

6

0

326

366

95.50

97.62

99.00

2

San Diego

6

8

0

346

302

101.75

100.18

99.56

2

Oakland

3

11

0

205

348

89.46

90.76

89.22

2

Kansas City

2

12

0

254

386

90.65

92.31

90.97

2

 

If The Playoffs Started Today

 

NFC 1st Round

#6 Tampa Bay at #3 Minnesota

#5 Dallas at #4 Arizona

 

#1 New York Giants would host lower surviving seed

#2 Carolina would host higher surviving seed

 

Still Alive

Atlanta 9-5-0, Philadelphia 8-5-1, Chicago 8-6-0, Washington 7-7-0

 

AFC 1st Round

#6 Baltimore at #3 New York Jets

#5 Indianapolis at #4 Denver

 

#1 Tennessee would host lower surviving seed

#2 Pittsburgh would host higher surviving seed

 

Still Alive

Miami 9-5-0 leads New England 9-5-0

San Diego would beat out Denver if both finished 8-8-0

 

Note: due to the Thursday game, weather forecasts and odds are those as of Wednesday 12 Noon EST

 

You will now see multiple numbers given in the Vegas line and Ov/Un.  I am listing the range given by the different books in Vegas and offshore as of 12 Noon EST Wednesday, so you can use the one that best meets your needs.  Remember though, if you use parlays and teasers, you must use the same source.  You cannot play a parlay using the odds from different books.  What you will see in my “imaginary picks” below will show different books, but each teaser will be composed of games from the same book.  When I believe it is okay to play different spreads of the same game, I have put those numbers in parentheses.  If you don’t see different choices, then I only recommend that single spread for that game.

 

I leave it to you to find out the book in question.  Generally, some of the big ones in Vegas are: Hilton, Caesar’s-Harrah’s, MGM Mirage, Stations, Leroy’s, Wynn, Bellagio, Mandalay Bay, and The Palms.  Some of the large offshore books include: BetUs, Bodog, Sportsbook, BetJamaica, and Pinnacle.

 

Average Simulation Scores for each game are now rounded to nearest whole number.

 

NFL Previews-Week 16

 

Indianapolis (10-4-0) at Jacksonville (5-9-0)

Time:           8:15 PM EST, Thursday

TV:               NFL Network

Forecast:     Clear, light wind, temperature falling from the upper to mid 60’s

 

PiRate:                Indianapolis by 3                  

Mean:                  Indianapolis by 4

Bias:                    Indianapolis by 7

 

Vegas:               Indianapolis by 6, 6.5, 7

Ov/Un:               44, 44.5

 

100 Sims:           Indianapolis 79  Jacksonville 21

Avg Sim Score:  Indianapolis 27  Jacksonville 22

Outlier 1a Sim:  Indianapolis 38  Jacksonville 13

Outlier 1b Sim:  Jacksonville 27 Indianapolis 17

 

Strategy:     Over 44, Indianapolis +4 in 10-point teaser, Indianapolis +7 in 13-point teaser, Indianapolis -250, Over 34 in 10-point teaser, Over 31 in 13-point teaser

 

Indianapolis has something to play for in this game as well as some revenge for a nasty loss in September.  Jacksonville will finish in last place in the division after being picked to win it by many pundits.

 

The Colts have won seven games straight after losing at Tennessee to fall to 3-4.  It is my belief that they will win this game and win next week against Tennessee to finish in a tie for first in the division (Titans hold the tiebreaker edge).

 

By winning this game, Indianapolis will sew up the #5 seed in the AFC Playoffs, and that means playing at Denver (San Diego) rather than the AFC East Champion.  I think they will be ready to play, and it will lead to a touchdown or more victory.  Then, watch out for Peyton Manning in the playoffs.

 

 

Baltimore (9-5-0) at Dallas (9-5-0)

Time:           8:15 PM EST, Saturday

TV:               NFL

Forecast:     Thunderstorms possible, then clearing as a cold front moves through, moderate wins, temperature at kickoff in the low to mid 60’s but dropping rapidly to the low 40’s

 

PiRate:                Baltimore by 4

Mean:                  Baltimore by 1

Bias:                    Tossup

 

Vegas:               Dallas by 4, 4.5, 5   

Ov/Un:               39, 39.5, 40

 

100 Sims:           Dallas 52  Baltimore 48

Avg Sim Score:  Dallas 19  Baltimore 18

Outlier 1a Sim:  Dallas 21  Baltimore 7

Outlier 1b Sim:  Baltimore 20  Dallas 10

 

Strategy:     Baltimore +15 in 10-point teaser, Baltimore +18 in 13-point teaser, Under 53 in 13-point teaser

 

This could be the last game ever played in Texas Stadium, as the Cowboys could only host the NFC Championship if they finish as the higher-seeded wildcard team and they play the lower-seeded wildcard team.

 

Both teams played critical games last week and should enter this game at less than full strength, if only psychologically.  Baltimore should be ready to rebound.  I am not sure about the Dallas players.  Combine the dissension with the probable bounce from beating the Giants, and I think they could play below expectations this week.

 

I believe Baltimore has the better chance of winning, but I will play it close to the vest and select the Ravens in the teasers.  While I would normally tease the Over for a primetime game, I am guessing that the Ravens’ anger will benefit their defense and not their offense.  I am looking for a 17-13 Baltimore win.  Ray Lewis is mad, and that’s worth four points.

 

 

New Orleans (7-7-0) at Detroit (0-14-0)

Time:           1:00 PM EST

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Dome

 

PiRate:                New Orleans by 12

Mean:                  New Orleans by 10

Bias:                    New Orleans by 10

 

Vegas:               New Orleans by 6.5, 7, 7.5   

Ov/Un:               50, 50.5, 51, 51.5

 

100 Sims:           New Orleans 87  Detroit 13

Avg Sim Score:  New Orleans 36  Detroit 22

Outlier 1a Sim:  New Orleans 55  Detroit 20

Outlier 1b Sim:  Detroit 34  New Orleans 27

 

Strategy:     Detroit +7½, Detroit +17½ in 10-point teaser, Detroit +20½ in 13-point teaser 

 

Detroit has two weeks left to avoid a history-making season they definitely do not want to have.  They will be playing these last two games like they are playoff games.  I think this may be their better shot.

 

New Orleans was eliminated from the playoff hunt last week, and they have nothing to play for.  Reggie Bush may not play in this game, and you beat the Lions by running the ball down their throats.

 

New Orleans’ defense is just weak enough for Dan Orlovsky to pass for 200 yards.  I don’t know if it will be enough to win, but I think the Lions can beat the spread, even if they give up 400 passing yard to Drew Brees.

 

 

Cincinnati (2-11-1) at Cleveland (4-10-0)

Time:           1PM EST

TV:               CBS

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

 

PiRate:                Cleveland by 7

Mean:                  Cleveland by 6

Bias:                    Cleveland by 4

 

Vegas:               Cleveland by 2.5, 3        

Ov/Un:               33.5, 34, 34.5

 

100 Sims:           Cleveland 63 Cincinnati 37

Avg Sim Score:  Cleveland 23 Cincinnati 19

Outlier 1a Sim:  Cleveland 40 Cincinnati 21

Outlier 1b Sim:  Cincinnati 28 Cleveland 14

 

Strategy:     Over 23½ in 10-point teaser, Over 20½ in 13-point teaser      

 

This is strictly a strategy pick here.  I think the average NFL team could put their defensive players on offense and have a good chance of scoring 20 points against the Bengals.  I think the Bengals have a 65% chance of scoring 20 points against the Browns.  The weather is the only negative intangible.  If it is really windy with blowing snow, it could hold the score down.  Still, I have to believe that a 14-10 final is about as low as the scoring could be in this one.  The actual attendance for this game might rival the attendance for the Humanitarian Bowl in a couple weeks.

 

Miami (9-5-0) at Kansas City (2-12-0)

Time:           1PM EST

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Partly cloudy, strong wind, temperature in the upper teens

 

PiRate:                Miami by 6

Mean:                  Miami by 5

Bias:                    Miami by 9

 

Vegas:                Miami by 3.5, 4

Ov/Un:               39.5, 40

 

100 Sims:           Miami 83  Kansas City 17

Avg Sim Score:  Miami 23  Kansas City 18

Outlier 1a Sim:  Miami 27  Kansas City 10

Outlier 1b Sim:  Kansas City 21 Miami 16 (4 others ended in 5-point wins)

 

Strategy:     Kansas City +14 in 10-point teaser, Kansas City +17 in 13-point teaser, Under 53 in 13-point teaser

 

Again, this game is another strategy pick game.  The Dolphins cannot prepare for 15-degree weather and wind chills below zero.  Kansas City seems to be the champion of losing close games.  Six of their losses have been by a touchdown or less.

 

Miami’s offense has been sputtering the last month or so, and I think the reason for it is that defenses have figured out how to play the single wing package.  The Dolphins’ defense should still control the Chiefs’ offense for most of the day, and I look for a final score of about 17-10 in favor of Tony Sparano’s Fish.

 

 

Pittsburgh (11-3-0) at Tennessee (12-2-0)

Time:           1PM EST

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Chance of light rain, strong wind, temperature in the upper 40’s

 

PiRate:                Tennessee by 3

Mean:                  Tennessee by 1

Bias:                    Tennessee by 1

 

Vegas:               Pk, Pittsburgh by 1, 1.5, 2, 2.5  

Ov/Un:               34.5, 35

 

100 Sims:           Pittsburgh 61  Tennessee 39

Avg Sim Score:  Pittsburgh 19  Tennessee 15

Outlier 1a Sim:  Pittsburgh 24  Tennessee 10

Outlier 1b Sim:  Tennessee 16  Pittsburgh 7

 

Strategy:     Pittsburgh Pk, Pittsburgh +10 in 10-point teaser, Pittsburgh +13 in 13-point teaser, Over 24½ in 10-point teaser, Over 21½ in 13-point teaser, Pittsburgh -130 

The winner of this game will have control over home field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.  The Titans seemed to have it clinched a few weeks ago when they held a three-game lead over the field.  After losses to the Jets and Texans and with Pittsburgh on a five-game winning streak, it sets up this big game.

 

The Steelers come into this game rather healthy for Week 17.  The Titans are hurting big time.  Both Kyle Vanden Bosch and Albert Haynesworth are finished for the regular season, and the Titans cannot rely on greybeard Jevon Kearse to be his old freakish self. 

 

Neither team strikes fear in opponents with their offenses, but Ben Roethlisberger is considerably better than Kerry Collins, and the Steelers’ receiving corps is much better than that of the Titans.

 

I believe the Steelers will outmuscle the Titans in the trenches and win an ugly game that leaves both teams in even worse shape as the final week approaches.  It is highly possible Tennessee will limp into the playoffs with a three-game losing streak, while Pittsburgh enjoys a seven-game winning streak with home field advantage theirs.

 

 

Philadelphia (8-5-1) at Washington (7-7-0)

Time:           1:00 PM EST

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Rain, freezing rain, and sleet, light wind, temperature falling through the 30’s

 

PiRate:                Philadelphia by 8

Mean:                  Philadelphia by 6

Bias:                    Philadelphia by 6

 

Vegas:               Philadelphia by 4.5, 5, 5.5

Ov/Un:               39, 39.5

 

100 Sims:           Philadelphia 60  Washington 40

Avg Sim Score:  Philadelphia 26  Washington 20

Outlier 1a Sim:  Philadelphia 38  Washington 16

Outlier 1b Sim:  Washington 24  Philadelphia 13

 

Strategy:     Philadelphia -4½, Philadelphia -215, Philadelphia +5½ in 10-point teaser, Philadelphia +8½ in 13-point teaser, Over 26 in 13-point teaser

Since Thanksgiving, the Eagles have played the best ball of all the NFC teams, while the Redskins performance has been no better than St. Louis or Detroit.

 

Both teams technically still have a chance to reach the playoffs, but Washington’s chances are about the same as one of their players winning the mega millions lottery.

 

Philadelphia has some amends to make up for after losing by six to the Redskins in early October.  At the time, the Eagles were in a funk while Washington was coming up with a way to win every week.  Expect a completely different game this week.  I’m looking for Philadelphia to win by five or more points and wouldn’t be surprised if that “more” was something like 10-17 points, as I am looking for Donovan McNabb and Brian Westbrook to shine.  

 

 

San Francisco (5-9-0) at St. Louis (2-12-0)

Time:           1:00PM EST

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Dome

 

PiRate:                San Francisco by 10

Mean:                 San Francisco by 7

Bias:                    San Francisco by 9

 

Vegas:                San Francisco by 5, 5.5

Ov/Un:               43, 43.5, 44

 

100 Sims:           San Francisco 68  St. Louis 32

Avg Sim Score:  San Francisco 25  St. Louis 17

Outlier 1a Sim:  San Francisco 35  St. Louis 13

Outlier 1b Sim:  St. Louis 17  San Francisco 12

 

Strategy:     Under 57 in 13-point teaser

Since that crazy 34-14 upset over Dallas, St. Louis has averaged just 11.6 points per game in their last eight games.  Since Mike Singletary took over as coach, the 49ers have yielded just 18.5 points per game (10.3 in their last 3).  That doesn’t bode well for the Rams’ offense.  I would be shocked if they reach 17 points in this contest.  San Francisco is no juggernaut on offense, and they could very well score 17 points or less themselves.

 

This game should be close, and I cannot see a scenario where both teams reach 20 points.  The highest score I could see in this would be around 28-17, so I like teasing the Under in this game.

 

 

San Diego (6-8-0) at Tampa Bay (9-5-0)

Time:           1:00 PM EST

TV:               CBS

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

 

PiRate:                Tampa Bay by 5

Mean:                 Tampa Bay by 6

Bias:                    Tampa Bay by 8

 

Vegas:                Tampa Bay by 3, 3.5      

Ov/Un:               42, 42.5

 

100 Sims:           Tampa Bay 73  San Diego 27

Avg Sim Score:  Tampa Bay 29  San Diego 20

Outlier 1a Sim:  Tampa Bay 34  San Diego 13

Outlier 1b Sim:  San Diego 31  Tampa Bay 24

 

Strategy:     Over 32 in 10-point teaser, Over 29 in 13-point teaser

San Diego is so unpredictable, while Tampa Bay has been out of sync the last couple of weeks.  I won’t begin to try to figure out which team will win this “must win” game, but I will surmise that both teams will top 17 points in this strategy play.  I am hesitant to pick the Buccaneers to win at home, as they have been struggling to put together a total effort in the last month. 

 

San Diego has been involved in nine close games, in which the Chargers have gone just 2-7.  They play about the same on the road as they do at home.  It wouldn’t be much of an upset if they won this game, and it wouldn’t be surprising if they found a way to lose another close one.

 

 

Arizona (8-6-0) at New England (9-5-0)

Time:           1:00PM EST

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Light snow, moderate wind, temperature in the low 30’s

 

PiRate:                New England by 2

Mean:                  New England by 4

Bias:                    New England by 4

 

Vegas:               New England by 7.5, 8, 9

Ov/Un:               44, 44.5

 

100 Sims:           New England 57  Arizona 43

Avg Sim Score:  New England 29  Arizona 27

Outlier 1a Sim:  New England 41  Arizona 24

Outlier 1b Sim:  Arizona 45  New England 28

 

Strategy:     New England +2½ in 10-point teaser, New England +5½ in 13-point teaser, New England -335, Over 34 in 10-point teaser, Over 31 in 13-point teaser 

Arizona can do nothing to change its playoff destination.  The Cardinals will host an opening round game in the playoffs whether they finish 10-6, 9-7, or 8-8.  Yes, they could be the number three or number four seed, but it really won’t make much difference.

 

New England is still very much on the playoff bubble.  At 9-5-0, they are the eighth team in the AFC, and only six teams make the playoffs.  This game is much more important to them than it is to the Cardinals.  The snow and cold weather should help them a bit in this game.

 

Arizona is just 4-4 since their bye week.  The Cardinals have been struggling against the good teams and have fattened up on the weak teams.  Against teams with a losing record, they are 6-0.  In their last eight games against teams either in the playoffs or in the hunt for a playoff spot, they have given up 38 points per game.

 

New England is a Jekyll and Hyde team.  They have two typical offensive outputs.  Either they struggle offensively and lose 24-13 or they move the ball like they did most of last year and win 45-21.  I can see no reason not to believe that this will be one of those weeks where the Patriots have little trouble advancing the pigskin, even in inclement weather. 

 

Kurt Warner may pass for 300-350 yards, but I don’t see the Cardinals matching the Pats point for point.  I’ll go with Matt Cassel and crew to win 31-21 or thereabouts.

 

 

Houston (7-7-0) at Oakland (3-11-0)

Time:           4:05PM EST

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Mostly cloudy, light wind, temperature in the upper 40’s

 

PiRate:                Houston by 9

Mean:                 Houston by 9

Bias:                   Houston by 10

 

Vegas:               Houston by 7, 7.5, 8      

Ov/Un:               44, 44.5

 

100 Sims:           Houston 77  Oakland 23

Avg Sim Score:  Houston 26  Oakland 18

Outlier 1a Sim:  Houston 33  Oakland 14

Outlier 1b Sim:  Oakland 27  Houston 23

 

Strategy:     Houston +3 in 10-point teaser, Houston +6 in 13-point teaser

Houston could easily be in the playoff mix this season if it weren’t for all the troubles the team endured at the beginning of the season due to the hurricane.  Two close losses to Indianapolis and an overtime loss to Jacksonville keep them from owning a 10-4-0 record.  The Texans have won four in a row, and they can see a winning record in their future.  They must win this game and then beat the Bears at Reliant Stadium next week to clinch their first ever winning season.

 

Oakland would just like for this season to end.  When they lost at home to the Chiefs, the Raider defense seemed to have folded up the tent for the season.

 

I think Houston could win this game in a blowout, but the Texans are coming off an emotional high after defeating Tennessee.  So, I must caution you to be conservative in this one and consider the possibility that Houston could be a little flat this week.  They may have a hard time just winning by any amount, so go with them in the teasers.

 

 

New York Jets (9-5-0) at Seattle (3-11-0)

Time:           4:05 PM EST

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Snow, light wind, temperature in the upper 20’s

 

PiRate:                Jets by 7

Mean:                 Jets by 4

Bias:                   Jets by 7

 

Vegas:                Jets by 4.5, 5, 6

Ov/Un:               44, 44.5

 

100 Sims:           Jets 64  Seattle 36

Avg Sim Score:  Jets 32  Seattle 26

Outlier 1a Sim:  Jets 48  Seattle 21

Outlier 1b Sim:  Seattle 30  Jets 24 ot (largest spread)

 

Strategy:     Seattle +16 in 10-point teaser, Seattle +19 in 13-point teaser, Under 57½ in 13-point teaser

This will be Mike Holmgren’s last home game as coach of the Seahawks, and look who will be the opposing quarterback-the guy who wears the same Super Bowl ring he wears.

 

The Jets have made three other trips to the West Coast this year.  They lost at San Diego 48-29, at Oakland 16-13 in OT, and at San Francisco 24-14.  Seattle is no worse than Oakland and split with San Francisco, so they should have a decent chance to win this one.

 

The Jets control their own destiny.  If they win this game and then beat the Dolphins next week, they are the AFC East Champions.  If they lose this week, then they will need a New England loss and a win over Miami to get into the playoffs.

 

Brett Favre usually finds a way to win this type of game.  I think the Jets realize they are unlikely to make the playoffs if they lose.  However, I don’t expect them to win by double digits.  They will be happy to win by a field goal, so I like the home team in the teasers.

 

 

Buffalo (6-8-0) at Denver (8-6-0)

Time:           4:05 PM EST

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Partly cloudy, light wind, temperature in the upper 20’s

 

PiRate:                Denver by 1

Mean:                 Denver by 4

Bias:                   Denver by 5

 

Vegas:                Denver by 6.5, 7, 7.5   

Ov/Un:               43.5, 44

 

100 Sims:           Denver 55  Buffalo 45

Avg Sim Score:  Denver 30  Buffalo 27

Outlier 1a Sim:  Denver 41  Buffalo 23

Outlier 1b Sim:  Buffalo 28  Denver 17

 

Strategy:       Denver +3½ in 10-point teaser, Denver +6½ in 13-point teaser, Over 30½ in 13-point teaser

Two months ago, the Bills were 4-0 and the darlings of the NFL media world.  Coach Dick Jauron was a genius.  10 years go, Mike Shanahan was a genius.  Now, those same pundits believe neither coach could properly lead their teams out of paper bags.

 

The truth of the matter is that both of these teams have glaring holes on the defensive side of the ball, and both of these teams have been hurt by injuries on the attack side.

 

Trent Edwards will return to the lineup for Buffalo, and the Bills’ offense should rebound with a stellar effort.  Buffalo should top 21 points in this game.

 

Jay Cutler will go over 4,000 total passing yards in this game, as I expect him to top 275 yards against the Bills’ secondary.  Denver should top 24 points. 

 

The Broncos will win the AFC West without any help from Tampa Bay this week.  Look for the home team to win by five to eight points.    

 

 

Atlanta (9-5-0) at Minnesota (9-5-0)

Time:           4:15 PM EST

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Dome

 

PiRate:                Minnesota by 2

Mean:                  Minnesota by 4

Bias:                    Minnesota by 5

 

Vegas:               Minnesota by 3, 3.5

Ov/Un:               43, 43.5, 44, 44.5

 

100 Sims:           Minnesota 52  Atlanta 48

Avg Sim Score:  Minnesota 24  Atlanta 24

Outlier 1a Sim:  Minnesota 28  Atlanta 16

Outlier 1b Sim:  Atlanta 23  Minnesota 13

 

Strategy:     Minnesota +7 in 10-point teaser, Minnesota +10 in 13-point teaser, Over 30 in 13-point teaser

This is going to be a great game, and most of the nation will get to see it.  The Vikings will clinch the old black and blue division if they win, whereas the Falcons will likely move into the number six position in the playoff field if they win. 

 

Look at Minnesota’s resume since September.  The purple people eaters have won eight of their last 10 games.  The two losses have come on the road by seven and six points.  Gus Frerotte came off the bench to start the turnaround, but Tarvaris Jackson looked like an All-pro last week against Arizona.

 

Atlanta is a tough team in 2008.  They play like the Bears of the 1960’s and 1980’s.  Michael Turner should top the 1,500 yard rushing barrier some time during this game, and he should match Adrian Peterson yard for yard, even against the Vikings’ tough run defense.

 

The difference in this game could be Bernard Berrian.  He can take a simple pass reception and turn it into a 40 yard gain.  The Falcon secondary will have to play a little more loose to prevent Berrian from breaking a long one.  That should give Peterson just enough extra edge to have a five to six yards per carry average.  I’ll take the Vikings in a close one in the neighborhood of 24-21.

 

Carolina (11-3-0) at New York Giants (11-3-0)  

Time:           8:15PM EST

TV:               NBC

Forecast:     Rain, sleet, and snow, moderate wind, temperature falling from the mid 30’s to the mid 20’s

                    

PiRate:                Giants by 4

Mean:                  Giants by 3

Bias:                    Giants by 1

 

Vegas:               Giants by 3, 3.5

Ov/Un:               37.5, 38, 38.5, 39

 

100 Sims:           Giants 51 Carolina 48 1 Tie (8 OT games)

Avg Sim Score:  Carolina 20  Giants 19

Outlier 1a Sim:  Carolina 24  Giants 7

Outlier 1b Sim:  Giants 21  Carolina 12

 

Strategy:     Carolina +13½ in 10-point teaser, Carolina +16½ in 13-point teaser, Over 24½ in 13-point teaser

Carolina has its offense in gear, averaging 32.4 points in their last five games.  The Giants have played more like the Rams since the Plaxico Burress shooting incident.  Now, Brandon Jacobs is hurting, and even though it looks like he will play, don’t expect him to rush for 70 yards Sunday night.

 

Carolina has been quite fortunate to this point of the season.  Their defense has stayed healthy all season with nary a start being missed.  That could change this week as defensive tackle Maake Kemoeatu could miss this game with a tweaked ankle.

 

To the winner will more than likely go home field advantage for the playoffs.  I believe Carolina will pass the ball a little more than they normally do to set up the running game with their dynamic duo of James Stewart and DeAngelo Williams.  Jake Delhomme should pass for 200 yards, and the Panthers will win by about a field goal to a touchdown.

 

 

Green Bay (5-9-0) at Chicago (8-6-0)

Time:           8:30PM EST Monday

TV:               ESPN

Forecast:     Cloudy, moderate wind, temperature holding steady in the mid teens

 

PiRate:                Chicago by 1

Mean:                  Chicago by 3

Bias:                    Chicago by 6

 

Vegas:                Chicago by 4, 4.5

Ov/Un:               41.5, 42

 

100 Sims:           Chicago 89  Green Bay 11

Avg Sim Score:  Chicago 29  Green Bay 18

Outlier 1a Sim:  Chicago 37  Green Bay 17

Outlier 1b Sim:  Green Bay 32  Chicago 27

 

Strategy:     Chicago -4, Chicago -195, Chicago +6 in 10-point teaser, Chicago +9 in 13-point teaser, Over 31½ in 10-point teaser, Over 28½ in 13-point teaser

This is a tough game to analyze due to major intangible factors that won’t be known until Sunday evening.  If Minnesota beats Atlanta, then the Bears could be eliminated from the playoffs.  They will be eliminated from the NFC North race, and they will have only a tiny chance of gaining a wildcard spot.

 

Green Bay’s defense has gone south too many times this year, and that’s why the Packers are going to lose more than they win.  The offense hasn’t been as powerful since the first game against the Bears, and this game could see a near reversal of that one-but only if the Bears really have something to play for.

 

Regardless of the outcome in Minneapolis, I see Chicago winning this game by stopping the Green Bay offense and scoring just enough to be comfortably ahead as the fourth quarter starts.  Call it a 27-14 win on the Midway, as Kyle Orton passes for 250 yards against Aaron Rodgers’ 200 and a pick or two.

 

 

 A Bad Week Follow A Good Week

 

I made a mistake last week when I posted my picks for the week, and it wound up costing me two games.  Thus, I finished 1-4 when I should have gone 3-2.  Mistakes count, whether here or at a betting window, so I have to live with the consequences.  It made me quite upset when I realized it Sunday morning.

 

For the season, the record against the spread is now 95-79-7, which computes to 54.6%. 

 

I am going with a variety of picks this week, but I am not overly thrilled with the choices.  In past years, I have been more excited about the end of the season games than the early part of the schedule.  This year, I am finding it harder and harder to identify excellent plays as the season comes to the end.

 

Here are my wagers for week 17 (all wagered to win $100 or $100 wagered if at + odds on a parlay or money line):

 

1. Indianapolis & Jacksonville Over 44

 

2. Pittsburgh Pk vs. Tennessee

 

3. Philadelphia -4½ vs. Washington

 

4. Chicago -4 vs. Green Bay

 

5. Indianapolis -250 vs. Jacksonville

 

6. Philadelphia -215 vs. Washington

 

7. New England -335 vs. Arizona

 

8. Chicago -195 vs. Green Bay

 

9. 10-point teaser

Indianapolis +4 vs. Jacksonville

Indianapolis & Jacksonville Over 34

Baltimore +15 vs. Dallas

 

10. 10-point teaser

Detroit +17½ vs. New Orleans

Cincinnati & Cleveland Over 23½

Kansas City +14 vs. Miami

 

11. 10-point teaser

Pittsburgh +10 vs. Tennessee

Philadelphia +5½ vs. Washington

San Diego & Tampa Bay Over 32

 

12. 10-point teaser

New England +2½ vs. Arizona

New England & Arizona Over 34

Houston +3 vs. Oakland

 

13. 10-point teaser

Seattle +16 vs. New York Jets

Denver +3½ vs. Buffalo

Minnesota +7 vs. Atlanta

 

14. 10-point teaser

Carolina +13½ vs. New York Giants

Chicago +6 vs. Green Bay

Chicago & Green Bay Over 31½

 

15. 13-point teaser

Baltimore +18 vs. Dallas

Kansas City +17 vs. Miami

Pittsburgh +13 vs. Tennessee

Philadelphia +8½ vs. Washington

 

16. 13-point teaser

San Francisco & St. Louis Under 57

New England +5½ vs. Arizona

New England & Arizona Over 31

Houston +6 vs. Oakland

 

17. 13-point teaser

Seattle +19 vs. New York Jets

Minnesota +10 vs. Atlanta

Carolina +16½ vs. New York Giants

Chicago +9 vs. Green Bay

   

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

November 13, 2008

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

PiRate Ratings For NFL Week 11

 

The PiRate Pro Ratings (Rating)

 

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

 

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

 

The Mean Ratings (Mean)

 

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

 

The Bias Ratings (Biased)

 

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

 

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

 

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

Current NFL Standings

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFC East

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

New York

8

1

0

262

160

108.73

107.66

108.18

2

Washington

6

3

0

171

168

100.32

100.91

101.54

2

Philadelphia

5

4

0

251

180

108.50

105.53

104.70

2

Dallas

5

4

0

216

219

100.33

101.20

101.60

2

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFC North

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Chicago

5

4

0

237

194

106.55

102.63

104.33

2

Minnesota

5

4

0

210

215

101.66

101.38

101.90

2

Green Bay

4

5

0

237

206

104.33

103.23

102.81

2

Detroit

0

9

0

151

277

87.31

89.90

85.94

3

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFC South

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Carolina  

7

2

0

191

133

106.84

104.19

105.90

2

Tampa Bay

6

3

0

200

147

106.08

103.46

105.01

2

Atlanta

6

3

0

211

174

104.11

102.06

104.33

2

New Orleans

4

5

0

236

229

100.49

100.32

99.06

2

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFC West

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Arizona

6

3

0

263

208

103.71

102.93

104.42

3

Seattle

2

7

0

170

231

92.76

95.33

94.11

3

San Francisco

2

7

0

195

259

92.62

93.51

91.32

3

St. Louis

2

7

0

128

282

84.47

90.05

86.60

2

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC East

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

New England

6

3

0

188

160

99.65

102.71

104.17

2

New York

6

3

0

255

190

102.62

102.12

104.04

2

Miami

5

4

0

192

182

100.60

99.58

102.53

2

Buffalo

5

4

0

192

189

97.47

97.85

99.16

3

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC North

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Pittsburgh

6

3

0

198

140

107.83

105.45

105.75

2

Baltimore

6

3

0

212

150

106.45

105.14

105.41

3

Cleveland

3

6

0

172

194

98.52

98.51

96.50

2

Cincinnati

1

8

0

125

236

91.18

92.96

92.12

2

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC South

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Tennessee

9

0

0

220

117

111.42

107.94

108.77

2

Indianapolis

5

4

0

191

197

103.05

103.17

103.14

2

Jacksonville

4

5

0

198

186

100.01

100.75

99.05

3

Houston

3

6

0

209

254

96.02

97.67

95.84

3

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC West

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

Rating

Mean

Biased

HTA

Denver

5

4

0

224

251

95.51

96.94

99.19

2

San Diego

4

5

0

244

218

101.06

100.83

101.68

2

Oakland

2

7

0

113

218

88.97

91.40

89.57

2

Kansas City

1

8

0

145

243

90.94

92.67

91.42

2

 

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

 

NFL Previews-Week 11

 

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

Time:           8:15 EST Thursday 11/13

TV:               NFL Network

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

 

PiRate:         Jets by 1                  

Mean:           New England by 3

Bias:             New England by 2

Vegas:        New England by 3    -165/+155

Ov/Un:        40½  

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Time:           1PM EST

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Dome

 

PiRate:         Atlanta by 11

Mean:           Atlanta by 7

Bias:             Atlanta by 7

Vegas:        Atlanta by 6       -265/+245

Ov/Un:        50½              

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Time:           1PM EST

TV:               CBS

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

 

PiRate:         Miami by 14      

Mean:           Miami by 10

Bias:             Miami by 15

Vegas:        Miami by 10½   -500/+400   

Ov/Un:        38

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Time:           1PM EST

TV:               CBS

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

 

PiRate:         Giants by 4

Mean:           Giants by 5

Bias:             Giants by 5

Vegas:        Giants by 7        -290/+245

Ov/Un:        41½

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Time:           1PM EST

TV:               CBS

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

 

PiRate:         Indianapolis by 9

Mean:           Indianapolis by 8

Bias:             Indianapolis by 9

Vegas:         Indianapolis by 7½ -340/+310  

Ov/Un:        50

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Time:           1:00 PM EST

TV:               Fox

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

 

PiRate:         Tossup

Mean:          Green Bay by 3

Bias:            Tossup

Vegas:         Green Bay by 4½     -210/+180  

Ov/Un:        44½

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

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

 

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

 

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

Time:           1PM EST

TV:               Fox

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

 

PiRate:         Philadelphia by 15

Mean:           Philadelphia by 13

Bias:             Philadelphia by 11

Vegas:        Philadelphia by 9½         -385/+355  

Ov/Un:        41½

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

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

 

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

 

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

Time:           1:00 PM EST

TV:               Fox

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

 

PiRate:         New Orleans by 8

Mean:           New Orleans by 6

Bias:             New Orleans by 6

Vegas:        New Orleans by 5½        -240/+200  

Ov/Un:        49½

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Time:           1:00PM EST

TV:               Fox

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

 

PiRate:         Carolina by 22

Mean:          Carolina by 16

Bias:             Carolina by 22

Vegas:         Carolina by 14          -800/+650

Ov/Un:        39½

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Time:           1:00 PM EST

TV:               Fox

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

 

PiRate:         Tampa Bay by 6

Mean:          Tampa Bay by 4

Bias:             Tampa Bay by 5

Vegas:         Tampa Bay by 3        -185/+165

Ov/Un:        38½

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

Time:           4:05PM EST

TV:               Fox

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

 

PiRate:         San Francisco by 11

Mean:           San Francisco by 6

Bias:             San Francisco by 8

Vegas:        San Francisco by 7          -265/+245

Ov/Un:        45

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

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

 

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

Time:           4:05PM EST

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Cloudy, light wind, temperature near 55

 

PiRate:         Arizona by 8

Mean:           Arizona by 5

Bias:             Arizona by 7

Vegas:        Arizona by 3      -140/+130       

Ov/Un:        47½

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

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

 

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

 

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

Time:           4:15 PM EST

TV:               CBS

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

 

PiRate:         Tennessee by 8

Mean:          Tennessee by 4

Bias:            Tennessee by 7

Vegas:         Tennessee by 3        -145/+125

Ov/Un:        39½

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Time:           4:15 PM EST

TV:               CBS

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

 

PiRate:         Pittsburgh by 9

Mean:           Pittsburgh by 7

Bias:             Pittsburgh by 6

Vegas:        Pittsburgh by 4        -225/+185

Ov/Un:        43

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Time:           8:15PM EST

TV:               NBC

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

                    

PiRate:         Washington by 2

Mean:           Washington by 2

Bias:             Washington by 2

Vegas:        Tossup         -120/+110

Ov/Un:        43½

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Time:           8:30PM EST Monday

TV:               ESPN

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

 

PiRate:         Buffalo by 2

Mean:           Buffalo by 2

Bias:             Buffalo by 6

Vegas:        Buffalo 6     -225/+185

Ov/Un:        41½  

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

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

 

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

 

Another Nice Winning Week Against The Spreads

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

1. Tampa Bay -3 vs. Minnesota

2. Pittsburgh -4 vs. San Diego

3. Buffalo -225 vs. Cleveland

4. Tampa Bay -185 vs. Minnesota

5. Pittsburgh -225 vs. San Diego

 

6. Money Line Parlay (-130)

       A. Miami over Oakland

       B. Indianapolis over Houston

       C. Carolina over Detroit

 

7. Money Line Parlay (+220)

       A. Buffalo over Cleveland

       B. Tampa Bay over Minnesota

       C. Pittsburgh over San Diego

 

8. 10-point Teaser

       A. Miami -½ vs. Oakland

       B. Indianapolis +2½ vs. Houston

       C. Jacksonville +13 vs. Tennessee

 

9. 10-point Teaser

       A. Kansas City +15½ vs. New Orleans

       B. Tampa Bay +7 vs. Minnesota

       C. St. Louis +17 vs. San Francisco

 

10. 10-point Teaser

A. Pittsburgh +6 vs. San Diego

       B. Dallas +10 vs. Washington

       C. Cleveland & Buffalo Over 31½

 

11. 13-point Teaser

       A. Chicago +17½ vs. Green Bay

       B. Miami +2½ vs. Oakland

       C. Baltimore +20 vs. New York Giants

       D. Indianapolis +5½ vs. Houston

 

12. 13-point Teaser

       A. Jacksonville +16 vs. Tennessee

       B. Kansas City +18½ vs. New Orleans

       C. Carolina -1 vs. Detroit

       D. Tampa Bay +10 vs. Minnesota

 

13. 13-point Teaser

       A. St. Louis +20 vs. San Francisco

       B. Seattle +16 vs. Arizona

       C. Pittsburgh +9 vs. San Diego

       D. Dallas +13 vs. Washington

 

14. 13-point Teaser

       A. Cleveland & Buffalo Over 28½

       B. Denver & Atlanta Over 37½

       C. Miami & Oakland Over 25

       D. Jacksonville & Tennessee Over 26½

 

15. 13-point Teaser

       A. Denver & Atlanta Under 63½

       B. Carolina & Detroit Over 26½

       C. Tampa Bay & Minnesota Over 25½

       D. Dallas & Washington Over 30½           

     

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

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