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Each Tuesday, 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 2011 NFL season.
Check out our 2011 NFL Season-to-Date page to follow our accuracy week-to-week and find Locks and Upsets of the Week.
Game of the Week: Cowboys at Patriots
Dallas may hold the handle of "America's Team," but with their dominance of the past decade, New England can make a rightful claim on the aforementioned designation. The two preeminent pigskin powers square off in the WhatIfSports.com Game of the Week.
At 4-1, the Patriots are accelerated by their blitzkrieg offense, which has scored 30 or more points in all five contests on the season. This onslaught is directed by 12-year veteran and reigning MVP Tom Brady. The Michigan product, in his 12th season in the league, has displayed a tranquility and poise reminiscent of a surgeon in his craft. Brady's attentiveness, awareness and understanding of the offense are unparalleled, and have propelled the Patriot passing attack to a league-leading 366.6 yards per game. This torrid assault is on pace to shatter Dan Marino's record of 5,084 yards. (That said, it's worth noting that four other quarterbacks are on track to eclipse this mark as well.) Aside from Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers, it's tough to argue another quarterback has better command than Brady.
Not that the New England signal caller is alone in this offensive pursuit. Wes Welker has been a fantasy god in 2011, leading the league in receptions (45), yards (740) and first downs (33). If Welker continues his ridiculous receiving rate, he would shatter Jerry Rice's record of 1,848 yards in a season. Rob Gronkowski (22 receptions, 327 yards, five touchdowns), Deion Branch (23 receptions, 300 yards, two touchdowns) and Aaron Hernandez (19 receptions, 221 yards, two touchdowns) have also aided Brady in the passing attack. And we'd be remiss in failing to mention the triple-headed monster of BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Danny Woodhead and Stevan Ridley that has given New England their best rushing game since the days of Corey Dillon.
Alas, the Patriots are far from infallible. Their secondary is surrendering a league-high 326.6 yards a game, and the defensive unit as a whole is conceding 23.8 points per contest. And despite their 4-1 mark, New England did suffer a defeat at the hands of divisional foe Buffalo thanks to multiple turnovers and curious play-calling. Still, the Patriots look to be the team to beat in the AFC.
Meanwhile, Big D appears far from dominant heading into Foxborough. Coming off the bye week, the Cowboys have a bad taste in their mouth from a colossal collapse against Detroit. Up 27-3 in the third quarter, the Lions went on a 31-3 run, including two touchdowns off of pick-sixes, to drop Dallas to a 2-2 record. In spite of tossing for 331 yards and three touchdowns, the much-maligned Tony Romo took the heat for the loss, as three interceptions served as a catalyst for the Detroit comeback.
But with a brigade of bruised and battered players, such as Miles Austin, Dez Bryant, Felix Jones and Romo, the off week was much needed. And although questions remain on the team's composure and ability to close, there is a lot to like about this Cowboy squad. The defense is suffocating opposing rushing attacks, holding adversaries to a league-low 61.8 yards per game. For all the uncertainty encircling Romo, he leads a passing attack that ranks second in the NFC with 331 yards per game.
So who wins this battle of gridiron powerhouses? According to the award-winning WhatIfSports.com simulation engine, the Patriots come out on top 58.4 percent of the time by an average margin of 26-23. For the rest of this week's predictions, check below:
Please note: The Dolphins/Jets, Colts/Bengals, Texans/Ravens, Panthers/Falcons, Bills/Giants and Saints/Buccaneers were resimulated on 10/13 to account for injuries, trades and roster updates.
NFL Week 6
|St. Louis Rams||13.6||14||Boxscore|
|@ Green Bay Packers||86.4||27||Simulate Game|
|@ Pittsburgh Steelers||82.9||26||Simulate Game|
|@ Baltimore Ravens||64.4||24||Simulate Game|
|@ Oakland Raiders||63.0||24||Simulate Game|
|@ Cincinnati Bengals||61.0||21||Simulate Game|
|@ New York Jets||61.2||20||Simulate Game|
|@ Chicago Bears||58.8||21||Simulate Game|
|@ New England Patriots||58.4||26||Simulate Game|
|@ Atlanta Falcons||56.5||23||Simulate Game|
|San Francisco 49ers||48.2||19||Boxscore|
|@ Detroit Lions||51.8||20||Simulate Game|
|@ Washington Redskins||51.0||23||Simulate Game|
|@ New York Giants||47.7||19||Simulate Game|
|New Orleans Saints||66.3||24||Boxscore|
|@ Tampa Bay Buccaneers||33.7||19||Simulate Game|
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