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Each Tuesday morning, Whatifsports.com's NFL simulation engine will provide you with predictions, box scores and statistics for every NFL game that week. The NFL simulation engine generates detailed information including the home team's chances of winning (Home Win %), average score and comprehensive box score link. If you want to share your new found NFL knowledge with friends and family, make sure to check out our NFL Widgets on the WhatIf To Go page or click on the social networking share bar located at the top and bottom of the article.
The statistical inputs to the thousands of NFL games simulated are based on rigorous analysis of each team's roster, depth chart and statistically based player ranking. Roster modifications have been made for injuries and suspensions and those players are not part of their team's game simulation.
To account for injuries and roster moves announced late in the week, we will be re-simulating some games on Thursdays throughout the 2010 NFL season.
Check out our 2010 NFL Season-to-Date page to follow our accuracy week-to-week and find Locks and Upsets of the Week.
Game of the Week: Steelers at Dolphins
What's more impressive: finishing a season undefeated, or going 3-1 with Dennis Dixon and Charlie Batch?
That's exactly what the Steelers did in wake of the suspension of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, knocking off Atlanta, Tennessee, and Tampa Bay before succumbing to divisional rival Baltimore. With the return of the two-time Super Bowl champion Roethlisberger, many in the league prognosticate Pittsburgh as the prohibitive AFC favorite.
And why wouldn't they be? Through the team's first five games, the Steel Curtain has contained opposing offensives to a meager 12 points per contest, tops in the NFL. The return of Troy Polamalu has been the catalyst for this year's turnaround, as the Pro Bowl safety missed 11 games in 2009 due to injury. To properly illustrate Polamalu's impact: without their defensive quarterback, the Steelers surrendered 20.2 points per game last season, a fairly pedestrian figure.
However, most would assume a Pittsburgh defense to be dominant with a healthy Polamalu at helm. The apprehension in the Steel City centered on the efficiency of the offense in the absence of Roethlisberger. Luckily for the Black and Gold, Rashard Mendenhall came to the rescue. The 3rd-year back out of Illinois racked up 411 yards and 4 touchdowns with Roethlisberger on the sidelines, alleviating the pressure on Dixon and Batch. Mendenhall's performance is even more momentous when remembering opponents specifically strategized to stifle the Steeler rushing attack. The return of Roethlisberger and threat of the Pittsburgh passing attack should mollify Mendenhall's workload, and in turn, open running lanes for the bruising back.
While Roethlisberger technically returned from his league-sanctioned exile against Cleveland, this week will provide Big Ben's first test of NFL competition since 2009. (Let's face it: the Cleveland Browns are to football what Hamburger Helper is to the culinary arts.) His adversaries will be the 3-2 Miami Dolphins, fresh off an overtime victory at Lambeau Field.
Miami has been somewhat of an anomaly this season. After starting the season with wins over Buffalo and Minnesota, the 'Fins lost a heartbreaker to the hated Jets and were manhandled by the Patriots. Yet facing the daunting task of traveling to Green Bay, Tony Sparano's squad secured a much-needed W against the Pack.
The matchup to watch in this battle will be Miami wideout Brandon Marshall, coming off a 10-catch 127-yard masterpiece, and the Steeler secondary, who have only allowed 3 receiving touchdowns on the season. The duel between the Dolphin defense (yielding a measly 201.8 yards a game) and Roethlisberger should provide entertaining theater as well.
So who comes out on top in this AFC skirmish? According to the WhatIfSports simulation engine, Pittsburgh prevails 78.2-percent of the time, with an average score of 24-16.
Check out the rest of this week's simulations below:Please note: Due to numerous injuries (both pending and known) we elected to re-simulate most of the Week 7 NFL schedule to account for these roster changes.
NFL Week 7
|@ New Orleans Saints||90.0||29||Simulate Game|
|@ Kansas City Chiefs||81.6||28||Simulate Game|
|@ Denver Broncos||77.4||28||Simulate Game|
|New England Patriots||24.2||18||Boxscore|
|@ San Diego Chargers||75.8||29||Simulate Game|
|@ Seattle Seahawks||71.1||24||Simulate Game|
|@ Baltimore Ravens||70.9||23||Simulate Game|
|@ Chicago Bears||68.7||26||Simulate Game|
|San Francisco 49ers||45.3||18||Boxscore|
|@ Carolina Panthers||54.7||21||Simulate Game|
|@ Green Bay Packers||52.7||22||Simulate Game|
|@ Atlanta Falcons||46.1||21||Simulate Game|
|@ Tennessee Titans||44.5||19||Simulate Game|
|New York Giants||60.5||20||Boxscore|
|@ Dallas Cowboys||39.5||18||Simulate Game|
|St. Louis Rams||64.5||20||Boxscore|
|@ Tampa Bay Buccaneers||35.5||16||Simulate Game|
|@ Miami Dolphins||21.8||16||Simulate Game|
Ryan Fowler is the Content Manager for Whatifsports.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.