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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.
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Game of the Week: Giants at Seahawks
The perceived parity of professional football has been a shared sentiment of observers for years. However, even by NFL standards, the equilibrium that's currently the NFC is astounding. Eleven of the sixteen teams are leading their respective divisions or sit just a game behind in the win column. The defending champion Saints have five wins to their credit, but sit 3rd in the NFC South. The Packers look like a Super Bowl contender one week and a team that will be sitting home in January the next. And heaven help any misguided soul that undertakes the ill-advised endeavor of fathoming the NFC West.
Despite this symmetry, there is one team that appears to be a cut above as we reach the halfway point of the season. At 5-2, the New York Giants seem to have a stranglehold on the NFC. Most would quickly highlight the defense as the catalyst for this preeminence, as the Giants are holding opponents to 177.9 yards through the air and 85.4 yards on the ground (both which are tops in the conference). The G-Men are also first in sacks (24), second in fumbles (9), and stifling signal callers to a 75.5 rating.
Yet while the defensive unit has been dominant, the offense has been no slouch. Although Brandon Jacobs' discontent nearly derailed the rushing game, the Giants have subdued the volatile running back's vitriol, as Jacobs and starter Ahmad Bradshaw have averaged 145.4 yards per game, best in the NFC. The New York aerial attack has been just as efficient, as Eli Manning's 14 TDs are tied for second-best in the conference. Manning has been aided by the emergence of second-year wideout Hakeem Nicks, who has racked up eight scores in just seven games.
But all is not well in New York. The team just lost the services of sackmaster Mathias Kiwanuka for the rest of the season. Shaun O'Hara, the Pro Bowl center and heart of the offense line, is battling a foot injury. And coming out of the Bye, the team faces the arduous task of traveling to Seattle to take on the upstart Seahawks.
In just eight weeks, Pete Carroll has revitalized a franchise that ruled the wild NFC West from 2001-2007 but faulted the past two seasons. And while a 4-3 record might not signal a return to excellence, it is an indication on progress of a team that many expected to finish in the cellar of the division.
While the brand of football has been anything but pretty, the Seahawks have found success by adhering to the old adage of defending their home turf. Seattle is 3-0 on the year in the friendly confines of Qwest Field, a stadium designed to promote and enhance crowd noise. Outside of the Emerald City, the Seahawks are a meager 1-3.
Even more astonishing is who the Seahawks are employing to complete this mission. A quick glance of the Seattle roster indicates one composed of castoffs, has-beens, and rookies. The poster child for this motley crew is wide receiver Mike Williams. Yes, that Mike Williams, a former top-10 pick who fizzled in Detroit and had not registered an NFL catch since 2007. Yet through the first Seattle's first seven games, Williams is the team's top receiver, garnering 33 receptions for 375 yards and a touchdown. With departed Deion Branch now out of the picture, Williams' production should continue to prosper.
So who does the WhatIfSports engine like in this week's battle between divisional leaders? According to the simulation, the Giants come out on top 85-percent of the time, with an average score of 25-11. For the rest of this week's predictions, check below:
NFL Week 9
|@ Minnesota Vikings||71.8||25||Simulate Game|
|@ Green Bay Packers||67.8||25||Simulate Game|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||35.6||21||Boxscore|
|@ Atlanta Falcons||64.4||25||Simulate Game|
|@ Philadelphia Eagles||62.3||20||Simulate Game|
|@ Baltimore Ravens||57.9||21||Simulate Game|
|Kansas City Chiefs||58.8||23||Boxscore|
|@ Oakland Raiders||41.2||20||Simulate Game|
|New Orleans Saints||63.8||19||Boxscore|
|@ Carolina Panthers||36.2||15||Simulate Game|
|New England Patriots||78.1||25||Boxscore|
|@ Cleveland Browns||21.9||16||Simulate Game|
|New York Giants||85.0||25||Boxscore|
|@ Seattle Seahawks||15.0||11||Simulate Game|
|San Diego Chargers||85.4||34||Boxscore|
|@ Houston Texans||14.6||22||Simulate Game|
|New York Jets||85.7||25||Boxscore|
|@ Detroit Lions||14.3||12||Simulate Game|
|@ Buffalo Bills||12.5||13||Simulate Game|
|@ Cincinnati Bengals||11.7||13||Simulate Game|
Ryan Fowler is the Content Manager for Whatifsports.com. He can be reached at email@example.com.