2012 Week 8 Passer Rating Differential

Through Week 8 in the NFL, teams have already played 118 of 256 (46%) regular season games. A month ago – through Week 4 in the NFL – I posted team rankings based on Passer Rating Differential (PRD) – The Mother of All Stats as they call it at Cold Hard Football Facts. With another month of the 2012 season already in the books, let’s look how teams rank on PRD at almost midpoint of the season. Here’s an updated table (teams in bold would make the playoffs).

Atlanta Falcons, No.1 team through Week 4, are no longer top ranked team. They’ve been knocked down from the top by the Packers who made big move up since Week 4 rankings and are now No.1 ranked team just ahead of San Francisco 49ers by a slimmest of margins. Tampa Bay Buccaneers made the biggest jump, climbing 15 spots from 24th to 9th. The Chargers nose-dived towards the bottom half of the rankings, losing 11 spots compared to Week 4 rankings, but the biggest move down belongs to the Rams, who lost 16 spots. Kansas City Chiefs are ranked last on Offensive Passer Rating (OPR) and 29th on Defensive Passer Rating (DPR) and are still dead last on PRD through Week 8 in the NFL.

There’s still plenty of football left to be played and its way too early to talk playoffs, but if the season ended after Week 8, 9 teams from top 12 on PRD would make the playoffs, included all top 6 teams.

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2012 Week 8 NFL picks

After Week 8 in the NFL some teams ( who are yet to have a bye week ) will already be at midpoint of the season, that’s how fast time passes by. Week 8 will start on Thursday Night with a game between two teams who used to play in the same division. From 1977 to 2001, Vikings and Buccaneers were division rivals in NFC Central division. Here’s my pick for Thursday Night Football game:

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Minnesota Vikings, Thursday 8:20 PM (ET). So far Tampa Bay Buccaneers have played extremely well against the run, but they haven’t faced as dynamic running back as Vikings’ RB Adrian Peterson yet. Minnesota averages over 130 yards on the ground and will be looking to balance its offense with power running game. With each week I think the ‘short week’ disadvantage for visiting team gets more and more significant, that’s why I’m going with the Vikings.
Pick: Vikings 23-19, Result: Buccaneers 36-17
Against The Spread: Buccaneers (+6.5)

Picture: The Instant Replay ©

Carolina Panthers @ Chicago Bears, Sunday 1:00 PM (ET). In first 6 games of the season Chicago Bears allowed only 13 points per game. They won’t surrender much more with Panthers coming to town. Carolina can’t get much going on both side of the ball and the Bears look like one of the best teams in the league.
Pick: Bears 28-17, Result: Bears 23-22
Against The Spread: Bears (-7.5)

San Diego Chargers @ Cleveland Browns, Sunday 1:00 PM (ET). San Diego is coming off a bye week and will try to rebound from a tough loss to Denver in Week 6. Looks like the Browns will have rookie RB Trent Richardson for this game which will take the pressure off another rookie, QB Brandon Weeden. The Chargers are in desperate situation and must win this game in order to stay in contention for AFC West title.
Pick: Chargers 26-22, Result: Browns 7-6
Against The Spread: Chargers (-2.5)

Seattle Seahawks @ Detroit Lions, Sunday 1:00 PM (ET). In their 4 road games so far, Seahawks have averaged 13 points per game and never scored more than 16. Expect a low-scoring game as Lions too will have problems to score against the Seahawks just like they did last Monday Night against the Bears. If this game was played in Seattle I wouldn’t hesitate to pick the Seahawks. With lots of doubts, I’m going with the Lions.
Pick: Lions 19-17, Result: Lions 28-24
Against The Spread: Seahawks (+2.5)

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Green Bay Packers, Sunday 1:00 PM (ET). Packers get to play the Jaguars who will be without RB Maurice-Jones Drew. Even with MJD Jacksonville wouldn’t have realistic chances to steal this one from the Packers. Look for the Pack to get another win easily as their schedule gets lighter.
Pick: Packers 26-10, Result: Packers 24-15
Against The Spread: Packers (-13.5)

Indianapolis Colts @ Tennessee Titans, Sunday 1:00 PM (ET). Indianapolis Colts have yet to win a game on the road this season. Colts’ two away losses came against the Bears and Jets who both have more than solid defenses. I expect Colts to have success against Titans’ defense. In the end I think QB Andrew Luck and the Colts will do just enough to win one on the road.
Pick: Colts 31-28, Result: Colts 19-13 (OT)
Against The Spread: Colts (+3.5)

New England Patriots @ St.Louis Rams, Sunday 1:00 PM (ET). This is sort of a road game for both teams even tough the Rams will be home team for this year’s International Series at Wembley Stadium. The Rams will be another tough opponent for the Patriots who are 0-2 against NFC West teams this season. Rams’ defense will make this game close but it won’t be enough to surprise the Patriots.
Pick: Patriots 24-20, Result: Patriots 45-7
Against The Spread: Rams (+6.5) 

Miami Dolphins @ New York Jets, Sunday 1:00 PM (ET). Just over a month ago in Week 3 of 2012 NFL season this two teams already met in South Florida. Jets came away with a  close win decided in overtime. Since then the Dolphins have improved and will be looking to run the ball on the Jets. Could be that Jets get away with another close win and stay in the hunt for AFC East title.
Pick: Jets 24-23, Result: Dolphins 30-9
Against The Spread: Dolphins (+3.5)

Atlanta Falcons @ Philadelphia Eagles, Sunday 1:00 PM (ET). A game between two teams coming off a bye week. The Falcons are the only undefeated team in the NFL and I’m not so sure they will stay undefeated after Week 8. The Eagles made some changes, they fired defensive coordinator, but the problems seem to be elsewhere. I think the Eagles will not turn the ball as much as they did in the past which will give them a chance to win.
Pick: Eagles 30-26, Result: Falcons 30-17
Against The Spread: Eagles (-2.5)

Washington Redskins @ Pittsburgh Steelers, Sunday 1:00 PM (ET). Could be a game in which both quarterbacks shine. Redskins have one of the worst pass defenses so look for Big Ben to have big game. Rookie QB RGIII should also have a big day as he will have running game to support him which could be the difference in this game.
Pick: Redskins 26-24, Result: Steelers 27-12
Against The Spread: Redskins (+5.5)

Oakland Raiders @ Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday 4:05 PM (ET). I’ve had hard time picking the Chiefs games this season. Kansas City Chiefs play at home and are coming off a bye week so I probably should go with them in this game. The problem is the Chiefs have issues at quarterback position and the Raiders usually play good at Arrowhead Stadium.
Pick: Raiders 28-23, Result: Raiders 26-16
Against The Spread: Raiders (+1.5) 

New York Giants @ Dallas Cowboys, Sunday 4:25 PM (ET). Giants lost season-opener to the Cowboys which now seems so far away. Cowboys didn’t impress with a win on the road against Carolina and now have to face QB Eli Manning who is 26-5 in October games. Look for Manning to improve his record as the Giants beat the Cowboys this Sunday.
Pick: Giants 23-18, Result: Giants 29-24
Against The Spread: Giants (-1.5)

New Orleans Saints @ Denver Broncos, Sunday 8:20 PM (ET). Saints have little room left for any mistakes with a 2-4 record. Broncos aren’t that much better at 3-3 but they’ve faced tougher competition. I expect QB Drew Brees to keep the Saints in high-scoring game. The difference will be home field advantage and a suspect Saints’ pass defense allowing few more big plays.
Pick: Broncos 30-27, Result: Broncos 34-14
Against The Spread: Saints (+6.5) 

San Francisco 49ers @ Arizona Cardinals, Monday 8:30 PM (ET). After 4-0 start, the Cardinals have lost 3 straight. San Francisco 49ers will try to use their winning formula, pound the ground on offense, play great defense and try to make the Cardinals one-dimensional on offense. Division games are always tough to predict but I think the 49ers will win another division game, this time on the road.
Pick: 49ers 20-16, Result: 49ers 24-3
Against The Spread: Cardinals (+6.5)

Bye Week: Baltimore Ravens, Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals, Houston Texans

Week 7 record straight-up: 12-1
Overall: 67-37

Against The Spread: 9-4
Overall: 58-46


2012 Week 7 NFL picks

Last week NFC teams won 4 of 7 interconference games and improved their record against AFC teams to 19-9 this season. There won’t be any AFC versus NFC games in Week 7, but with 6 games between division rivals we can expect another exciting week in the NFL. The first out of 6 division battles will be on Thursday Night with Seahawks travelling to San Francisco for NFC West clash between two 4-2 teams. Here’s my pick for Thursday Night Football game:

Seattle Seahawks @ San Francisco 49ers, Thursday 8:20 PM (ET). Seahawks are coming to San Francisco with plenty of confidence gained last Sunday with a win against Patriots. Afer scoring 34 and 45 in previous two weeks, San Francisco scored only 3 points against the Giants last week. When 49ers don’t jump to an early lead they are in trouble. Look for the 49ers to try to control this game early with lots of running plays. It will be a close game, but I think the home team gets the win.
Pick: 49ers 23-20, Result: 49ers 13-6
Against The Spread: Seahawks (+7.5)

Picture: The Instant Replay ©

Tennessee Titans @ Buffalo Bills, Sunday 1:00 PM (ET). After two weeks spent out West, Bills are finally at home to face the Titans. Both – Bills and Titans, won last week and will try to get second straight win. I believe that Bills can come up with another win, this time in front of home crowd.
Pick: Bills 27-23, Result: Titans 35-34
Against The Spread: Bills (-3.5)

Cleveland Browns @ Indianapolis Colts, Sunday 1:00 PM (ET). In his 2 road games, rookie QB Andrew Luck posted a 52.1 passer rating. He’s been much more efficient when playing at home with a solid 85.4 mark. Colts are at home this week and they play the Browns who are ranked 17th on defensive passer rating, allowing opposing QBs to have an average 88.7 passer rating.
Pick: Colts 30-27, Result: Colts 17-13
Against The Spread: Browns (+3.5)

Green Bay Packers @ St.Louis Rams, Sunday 1:00 PM (ET). Rams probably wish they could face the Packers some other time during this season. Green Bay played its best game last week and is looking to roll on against the Rams. It will be difficult for the Packers to score 40+ points on the Rams but they’ll get a win on the road.
Pick: Packers 24-13, Result: Packers 30-20
Against The Spread: Packers (-5.5)

Arizona Cardinals @ Minnesota Vikings, Sunday 1:00 PM (ET). Due to Kolb’s injury, Cardinals will have John Skelton at QB this Sunday. It won’t make any difference if Cardinals’ O-line plans to plays as poorly as it did in recent weeks. Arizona plays great defense tough but Vikings are at home and behind RB Adrian Peterson they’ll get another win.
Pick: Vikings 23-16, Result: Vikings 21-14
Against The Spread: Vikings (-5.5)

Washington Redskins @ New York Giants, Sunday 1:00 PM (ET). Giants somehow managed to lose both games against Redskins last year and finished with 3-3 intradivision record. This year they are already 0-2 against NFC East opponents and they can’t afford to lose to Redskins and go 0-3. With QB RGIII, Redskins are more dangerous than last year. Still, Giants will stay focused and win this one at home.
Pick: Giants 31-26, Result: Giants 27-23
Against The Spread: Redskins (+6.5)

New Orleans Saints @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Sunday 1:00 PM (ET). In both games against the Saints last season, Buccaneers played good enough to win one. It’s obvious that this is an improved Buccaneers team this season, especially on defense. The same can’t be said for Saints who continue to struggle on defense. The Saints are coming off a bye week and had time to rest and prepare which could help them get a win.
Pick: Saints 24-23, Result: Saints 35-28
Against The Spread: Buccaneers (+2.5)

Dallas Cowboys @ Carolina Panthers, Sunday 1:00 PM (ET). It’s time for the Cowboys to get some wins if they want to be considered as a playoff team. If they can’t beat an average team like Carolina, even if it’s on the road, they probably won’t play January football. QB Tony Romo had an off day last week and should rebound against the Panthers.
Pick: Cowboys 28-24, Result: Cowboys 19-14
Against The Spread: Cowboys (-2.5)

Baltimore Ravens @ Houston Texans, Sunday 1:00 PM (ET). A game between two 5-1 teams who both had its share of bad luck with injuries on defense. Defensively, Ravens don’t play as good as they did last year and with fresh injuries they have a tough task ahead. They’ll have to rely on QB Joe Flacco, the problem is, Flacco doesn’t play really good on the road. Texans are at home and I think they will exploit Ravens’ weaknesses on defense.
Pick: Texans 27-22, Result: Texans 43-13
Against The Spread: Ravens (+6.5)

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Oakland Raiders, Sunday 4:25 PM (ET). Last week Raiders almost came up with an upset playing against undefeated Falcons on the road. This time they are at home and playing versus one of the worst teams in the NFL. Jacksonville Jaguars had a bye week and could cause problems to Raiders’ run defense but I don’t see them get a win.
Pick: Raiders 24-21, Result: Raiders 26-23 (OT)
Against The Spread: Jaguars (+4.5)

New York Jets @ New England Patriots, Sunday 4:25 PM (ET). After Week 6 all 4 teams from AFC East have a 3-3 record. Parity at its best, or maybe it is mediocrity? Anyway, Patriots are playing at home where they normally don’t lose to the Jets. Jets won’t go down easy as they’ll fight for division lead.
Pick: Patriots 27-19, Result: Patriots 29-26 (OT)
Against The Spread: Jets (+10.5) 

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday 8:20 PM (ET). Things could get ugly for both teams if they lose another game, especially for Pittsburgh. Games within division are always very intense and this won’t be any different. Both teams struggled recently on defensive side of the ball and I see the Steelers making more plays on Sunday Night.
Pick: Steelers 30-25, Result: Steelers 24-17
Against The Spread: Steelers (-2.5) 

Detroit Lions @ Chicago Bears, Monday 8:30 PM (ET). On Monday Night, Chicago Bears will show they are one of the best teams in the NFL, at least at this point of the season. They are rested and will be ready to beat the Lions who won’t come close enough to get a win against division rival.
Pick: Bears 28-20, Result: Bears 13-6
Against The Spread: Bears (-5.5)

Bye Week: Atlanta Falcons, Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, Miami Dolphins, Philadelphia Eagles, San Diego Chargers

Week 6 record straight-up: 8-6
Overall: 55-36

Against The Spread: 8-6
Overall: 49-42


2012 Week 6 NFL picks

In Week 5 there were 7 interconference games, with NFC winning 5 of those 7. So far in the season, NFC teams have won 15 out of 21 interconference games. This week there are another 7 interconference games on NFL schedule (Chiefs @ Buccaneers, Raiders @ Falcons, Rams @ Dolphins, Cowboys @ Ravens, Patriots @ Seahawks, Bills @ Cardinals, Packers @ Texans). Week 6 will start with a battle between two AFC teams, Steelers @ Titans on Thursday Night, here’s my pick:

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Tennessee Titans, Thursday 8:20 PM (ET). Pittsburgh has its problems with injuries on defense but with RB Rashard Mendenhall back they have a chance to win despite playing on the road on short week. Steelers have yet to win on the road and so far this season home teams are 3-1 on Thursday Night Football. Seems like Titans can’t stop anyone, and they probably won’t stop the Steelers.
Pick: Steelers 27-23, Result: Titans 26-23
Against The Spread: Titans (+5.5)

Photo: sports.yahoo.com

Oakland Raiders @ Atlanta Falcons, Sunday 1:00 PM (ET). Raiders are coming off a bye week well rested but they have to travel cross-country for the second time this season. Again they have to play 1 PM game which is 10 AM Pacific Time. Good teams can overcome that but lately Raiders haven’t played good football, Falcons win and go to 6-0.
Pick: Falcons 34-24, Result: Falcons 23-20
Against The Spread: Falcons (-8.5)

Cincinnati Bengals @ Cleveland Browns, Sunday 1:00 PM (ET). I know it’s still early in the season, but I feel like Bengals hurt their chances to make the 2012 playoffs last week with a home loss to Miami. Next for Cincinnati is division rival Cleveland. This Sunday, Browns could finally win their first game of the season.
Pick: Browns 24-23, Result: Browns: 34-24
Against The Spread: Browns (+2.5)

St.Louis Rams @ Miami Dolphins, Sunday 1:00 PM (ET). This will be another close and low-scoring game as Rams and Dolphins both play much better on defense. Actually, I think Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill might have bigger success against St.Louis and will lead his team to a home victory.
Pick: Dolphins 20-17, Result: Dolphins 17-14
Against The Spread: Rams (+3.5)

Indianapolis Colts @ New York Jets, Sunday 1:00 PM (ET). That was an emotional win for the Colts last week. Now they have to play on the road against wounded Jets who are desperate for a win to keep pace with the Patriots in AFC East division. Jets showed last Monday Night they can play defense even without star CB Darrelle Revis, but they must get something going on offense too.
Pick: Jets 26-24, Result: Jets 35-9 
Against The Spread: Colts (+3.5)

Detroit Lions @ Philadelphia Eagles, Sunday 1:00 PM (ET). Lions are another team coming off a bye week and they have to travel to Philadelphia. Not a perfect match-up for Detroit facing Eagles team who will look to get back on track after close loss last week against Pittsburgh. As long as QB Michael Vick can protect the football Philadelphia shouldn’t have problems in this one.
Pick: Eagles 27-19, Result: Lions 26-23 (OT)
Against The Spread: Eagles (-5.5)

Kansas City Chiefs @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Sunday 1:00 PM (ET). Buccaneers too had a week off, they will be well rested and ready to play the Chiefs who will be without their starting QB Matt Cassel. I expect the Chiefs to pound the ball, Tampa Bay has to be ready to play run defense and stop the Chiefs, I think they’ll be ready.
Pick: Buccaneers 26-20, Result: Buccaneers 38-10 
Against The Spread: Buccaneers (-3.5)

Dallas Cowboys @ Baltimore Ravens, Sunday 1:00 PM (ET). Baltimore got away with an ugly win in Kansas City last week. They allowed 214 yards on the ground which doesn’t happen very often. Ravens are completely different team at home and I expect them to bounce back against Dallas. Cowboys will try to take advantage of their bye week but will fall short.
Pick: Ravens 24-17, Result: Ravens 31-29
Against The Spread: Ravens (-3.5)

Buffalo Bills @ Arizona Cardinals, Sunday 4:05 PM (ET). After a big loss to San Francisco, Buffalo Bills stayed in Arizona before the game against Cardinals. Bills have some serious problems, especially on defense and I’m not sure they could be fixed in just one week. Arizona played on Thursday Night last week and had extra time to prepare.
Pick: Cardinals 23-17, Result: Bills 19-16 (OT)
Against The Spread: Cardinals (-4.5)

New England Patriots @ Seattle Seahawks, Sunday 4:05 PM (ET). Seahawks will have home field advantage and their defense to keep them in this game against New England. Patriots won’t score many points, but 20 points may win them this game as Seattle averages only 17 points per game on offense.
Pick: Patriots 20-17, Result: Seahawks 24-23
Against The Spread: Seahawks (+3.5)

New York Giants @ San Francisco 49ers, Sunday 4:25 PM (ET). San Francisco 49ers will try to get some sort of revenge in a rematch of last year’s NFC championship game. San Francisco is one of the most balanced teams on offense this year and play especially well when they get the lead early on in the game. It will be crucial for them to score first and force the Giants to play catch up.
Pick: 49ers 28-21, Result: Giants 26-3
Against The Spread: 49ers (-5.5)

Minnesota Vikings @ Washington Redskins, Sunday 4:25 PM (ET). Redskins could be without rookie QB RGIII who suffered ‘mild’ concussion last week. If he plays Washington has a chance against Vikings even if they will take more conservative approach. Vikings are playing great on defense and if RGIII can’t go I’ll pick the Vikings, but at this point I think rookie QB plays which means Redskins win.
Pick: Redskins 26-20, Result: Redskins 38-26
Against The Spread: Redskins (-2.5)

Green Bay Packers @ Houston Texans, Sunday 8:20 PM (ET). When Packers don’t play good on offense they are in big trouble because they don’t have the defense to bail them out. Texans looked like the most complete team in the NFL, but we’ll see how they’ll play after the injury of their centerpiece on defense – LB Brian Cushing. I think they’ll do enough to get away with a win on Sunday Night.
Pick: Texans 27-25, Result: Packers 42-24
Against The Spread: Packers (+3.5)

Denver Broncos @ San Diego Chargers, Monday 8:30 PM (ET). On Monday Night Denver has a chance to catch up with the Chargers in a race for first place in AFC West division. They can’t afford to lose to San Diego and fall further behind. QB Peyton Manning will have a good game and lead his team to victory on the road.
Pick: Broncos 26-23, Result: Broncos 35-24
Against The Spread: Broncos (+2.5)

Bye Week: Carolina Panthers, Chicago Bears, Jacksonville Jaguars, New Orleans Saints

Week 5 record straight-up: 11-3
Overall: 47-30

Against The Spread: 8-6
Overall: 41-36


NFC West on Top

When Seattle Seahawks won NFC West division title 2 years ago with a 7-9 record it was crystal clear, NFC West was the worst division in pro football. Teams from the West posted a combined 25-39 regular season record – which was of course, worst in the NFL. Seattle became the only team in NFL history to win its division with a losing record and things didn’t look good for NFC West teams. Last season teams improved and recorded a combined 30-34 record, mainly thanks to San Francisco 49ers who finished regular season with a 13-3 record. Improved performances from Seattle and Arizona late in the season showed that things could get better in 2012.

Photo: sfgate.com

After Week 5 in the 2012 NFL season things are better, way better. NFC West division is the only division in the NFL in which all 4 teams have a winning record and their combined 14-6 record is the best in the NFL, 11-3 record if we count only games outside the division – again best in the NFL.

The main reason for teams’ success so far is outstanding performances from their defensive units and special teams. San Francisco is ranked No.1 in scoring defense allowing only 13.6 points per game, Seattle is 2nd, Arizona sits on 5th place and St. Louis Rams are 9th on the list.

On Defensive Passer Rating (DPR), which measures teams’ success in stopping the opposing passing game, all NFC West clubs are top 10 again. The Rams are leading the way, ranked 3rd among all NFL teams with a 66.59 DPR.

2012 Week 5 NFL picks

We are headed into the second month of 2012 NFL season. Week 5 will start with a division battle between two franchises who both re-located a couple of times in their NFL history, Cardinals @ Rams on Thursday Night, here’s my pick:

Arizona Cardinals @ St.Louis Rams, Thursday 8:20 PM (ET). Cardinals have a respectful 11-2 record in their last 13 regular season games. In those 13 games, 5 were decided in overtime, Arizona’s won all 5 of them. I expect another close game as the Cardinals visit division rival, could be Arizona runs out of luck this time around.
Pick: Rams 20-17, Result: Rams 17-3
Against The Spread: Rams (+1.5)

Picture: The Instant Replay ©

Miami Dolphins @ Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday 1:00 PM (ET). Another team that almost certainly won’t make the playoffs is on the menu for the Bengals. The Dolphins showed so far that they’ll be a tough opponent for any team and they’ll be in this game against Cincinnati, but it will be home team that gets the win.
Pick: Bengals 24-20, Result: Dolphins 17-13
Against The Spread: Dolphins (+4.5)

Green Bay Packers @ Indianapolis Colts, Sunday 1:00 PM (ET). Packers are getting better on offense, at least they are scoring more points. Against Colts’ defense maybe they can score 30+ for the first time this season. QB Andrew Luck will try to keep pace with Packers’ offense which is easier said than done.
Pick: Packers 31-24, Result: Colts 30-27
Against The Spread: Colts (+7.5)

Baltimore Ravens @ Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday 1:00 PM (ET). After playing on Thursday Night football last week, Ravens had a few extra days to prepare for the Chiefs. This could spell trouble for Kansas City Chiefs QB Matt Cassel. Baltimore will force turnovers which will give its offense good field position to score point.
Pick: Ravens 27-21, Result: Ravens 9-6
Against The Spread: Ravens (-4.5)

Cleveland Browns @ New York Giants, Sunday 1:00 PM (ET). After a disappointing loss to division rival Philadelphia, next for the Giants are the winless Browns. Seems like a perfect opponent for the Giants to get back on track and go above 0.500 again. Browns won’t leave MetLife Stadium without a fight, but they will fall short and will stay winless after Week 5 .
Pick: Giants 26-19, Result: Giants 41-27
Against The Spread: Browns (+9.5)

Philadelphia Eagles @ Pittsburgh Steelers, Sunday 1:00 PM (ET). Steelers had 2 weeks to prepare for this game and they are getting some key players, especially on defense, back in the lineup. Eagles on the other hand are coming off a win against the Giants and feeling pretty confident. I think home team gets a win in a close game.
Pick: Steelers 24-23, Result: Steelers 16-14
Against The Spread: Eagles (+3.5)

Atlanta Falcons @ Washington Redskins, Sunday 1:00 PM (ET). Atlanta has the weapons to exploit weak Redskins’ secondary but they also showed their own weaknesses on defense. Just like QB Cam Newton, rookie QB RGIII could have a great game against the Falcons. The feeling is, it won’t be enough as Atlanta advances to 5-0.
Pick: Falcons 30-27, Result: Falcons 24-17 
Against The Spread: Redskins (+3.5)

Seattle Seahawks @ Carolina Panthers, Sunday 4:05 PM (ET). Seahawks play great on defense and they’ll pack their defense along when they visit the Panthers. In order to win against Carolina they’ll have to get it going also on offense and try to pound the ground more. I think QB Cam Newton and the Panthers will find a way to score against Seattle’s defense just enough points to get a win at home.
Pick: Panthers 23-20, Result: Seahawks 16-12
Against The Spread: Seahawks (+3.5)

Chicago Bears @ Jacksonville Jaguars, Sunday 4:05 PM (ET). It’s crucial for a road team to play good on defense and  the Bears have one of the best defenses in the league. Look for them to limit the Jaguars as they’ll force Jacksonville to make mistakes on offense.
Pick: Bears 23-13, Result: Bears 41-3
Against The Spread: Bears (-5.5)

Tennessee Titans @ Minnesota Vikings, Sunday 4:25 PM (ET). Vikings find a way to win games this season. Behind reliable RB Adrian Peterson they’ll find a way to beat the Titans who have plenty of problems on defense. Titans will start QB Matt Hasselbeck on offense which also doesn’t help Tennessee going against Vikings’ solid pass rush.
Pick: Vikings 28-23, Result: Vikings 30-7
Against The Spread: Titans (+5.5)

Denver Broncos @ New England Patriots, Sunday 4:25 PM (ET). Plenty of talk about Manning vs Brady this week, Peyton Manning has lost the majority of games playing against Brady’s team and he could be on the losing side again this Sunday as Broncos defense won’t be able to stop the Patriots.
Pick: Patriots 29-26, Result: Patriots 31-21
Against The Spread: Broncos (+6.5)

Buffalo Bills @ San Francisco 49ers, Sunday 4:25 PM (ET). Remember the No Punt game back in 1992 when Bills played the 49ers in San Francisco? I think its safe to say that we won’t see anything like it Sunday at Candlestick Park. Both punters will get their share of playing time. San Francisco plays at home after 2 away games and they’ll take advantage of it.
Pick: 49ers 28-17, Result: 49ers 45-3
Against The Spread: 49ers (-9.5)

San Diego Chargers @ New Orleans Saints, Sunday 8:20 PM (ET). I picked New Orleans to win the NFC South division and it doesn’t look good for the 0-4 Saints so far. The Saints won’t go 0-16 either so this game at home might be a good opportunity to get their first win of the season.
Pick: Saints 34-29, Result: Saints 31-24
Against The Spread: Saints (-3.5)

Houston Texans @ New York Jets, Monday 8:30 PM (ET). Jets were dominated by the 49ers last week. It doesn’t get any easier for the Jets this week when they have to play Houston who is even better on defense. Houston also plays good on offense which means Jets could be dominated again. The question is how many points will they surrender against the Texans.
Pick: Texans 27-16, Result: Texans 23-17
Against The Spread: Texans (-7.5)

Bye Week: Dallas Cowboys, Detroit Lions, Oakland Raiders, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Week 4 record straight-up: 11-4
Overall: 36-27

Against The Spread: 7-8
Overall: 33-30


2012 Week 4 Passer Rating Differential

The month of September is behind us and so are the first 4 weeks in the NFL. With the exception of Indianapolis Colts and Pittsburgh Steelers, who already had a bye week, all NFL teams played 1/4 of their regular season schedule. It’s time for a first look at team stats to find out which teams are on top.

Passer Rating Differential (PRD) is one of the stats I like to use to rank teams in the NFL. It’s The Mother of All Stats as they call it at Cold Hard Football Facts who first introduced the stat before the 2009 season. Here’s a table of teams ranked based on PRD, teams in bold have a winning record.

Top 10 teams on PRD have a combined record of 28-11 (71.8%). For comparison, top 10 teams on Total Defense (yards allowed per game) are 23-16 (59.0%), teams ranked based on Total Offense (yards gained per game) have a combined record of only 18-22 (45.0%). It’s clear which stat has a better statistical value. Through Week 4 in the NFL, Atlanta Falcons are on top with +43.4 passer rating differential, they are also best ranked team on offensive passer rating (OPR), with Rams being the best on defensive passer rating (DPR).