2011 NFL Week 5 Picks and Predictions from WhatIfSports.com From WhatIfSports.com image

2011 NFL Week 5 Picks and Predictions

NFL Week 5 box scores and stats included

By Joel Beall and Jake Westrich - WhatIfSports.com
October 4th, 2011

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.

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<a href="http://msn.foxsports.com/video?vid=964bf7be-82ae-4b18-9632-3cb809ce94e4" target="_new" title="">WhatIfSports: Week 5 NFL picks</a>

Game of the Week: Eagles at Bills

If one were to mention in August that the Philadelphia-Buffalo matchup would feature a first-place team against a struggling squad, not a soul would have batted an eye. Yet the predetermined roles of each roster have been reversed, as the 1-3 Eagles limp into Ralph Wilson Stadium to take on a blazing Bills crew in the WhatIfSports.com NFL Game of the Week.

While Buffalo's 2-0 start put the league on notice, many contended a visit from the mighty New England Patriots would quell any misguided optimism concerning the Bills' 2011 prospects. And through the first 25 minutes of Week 3's ballgame, this forecast appeared to be coming to fruition, as Tom Brady and company held a 21-0 lead. Yet the Buffalo secondary toughened up, picking off Brady four times, while Ryan Fitzpatrick and Fred Jackson ignited the dormant offense. With time winding down, kicker Rian Lindell laid one between the pipes to give the Bills a shocking 34-31 comeback win over the rival Pats, putting Buffalo atop the AFC East with a 3-0 mark. The Bills were hit with a reality check against the Bengals in Week 4, but few expected Buffalo to be 3-1 at this juncture.

On top of the division is where the Eagles were projected to place thanks to their offseason acquirements of Nnamdi Asomugha, Jason Babin, Cullen Jenkins and others. Alas, Philadelphia has initiated their 2011 campaign with a rocky start, losing three-straight games against the Falcons, Giants and 49ers. At the heart of this vexation has been the failure to protect Michael Vick, most of which is rooted in inferior line play. With Vick missing significant time in two of the four contests, the Eagles' offense has stalled.

For the Eagles to get back on track, the team will need to reestablish their run defense. Philadelphia is surrendering 139.5 yards on the ground, third-worst in the league. And while no quick-fixes can shore up the offensive front, the Eagles must find a way to keep their versatile but vulnerable QB healthy. Luckily for Philly, LeSean McCoy has helped provide some stability in the backfield, rushing for 363 yards on just 66 carries in the early going. Also producing has been Jeremy Maclin, who missed most of the preseason with an unknown ailment.

To have a chance against the Bills, Philadelphia must contain Jackson, who has exploded onto the NFL scene with 369 yards on the ground and another 147 in the passing game. But the Buffalo offense is far from a one-dimensional attack. Fitzpatrick has been extremely effective in the first three games, hitting 63.4 percent of his throws and maintaining a 96.9 QB rating. Although the team traded away the services of veteran Lee Evans in August, the receiving corps hasn't missed a beat, with Stevie Johnson (24 receptions, 314 yards), David Nelson (22 receptions, 251 yards) and Scott Chandler (11 receptions, four touchdowns) providing the necessary targets for Fitzpatrick to operate.

So who wins in this East Coast encounter? According to the WhatIfSports.com award-winning simulation engine, the Eagles come out on top 51.4 percent of the time by an average score of 21-20. Here are the rest of this week's predictions:

NFL Week 5
MatchupWin%Avg Score
New York Jets39.517Boxscore
@ New England Patriots60.520Simulate Game
Seattle Seahawks43.617Boxscore
@ New York Giants56.420Simulate Game
Tennessee Titans47.421Boxscore
@ Pittsburgh Steelers52.622Simulate Game
Chicago Bears49.018Boxscore
@ Detroit Lions51.019Simulate Game
Philadelphia Eagles51.421Boxscore
@ Buffalo Bills48.620Simulate Game
Cincinnati Bengals52.920Boxscore
@ Jacksonville Jaguars47.119Simulate Game
Arizona Cardinals53.725Boxscore
@ Minnesota Vikings46.324Simulate Game
Oakland Raiders54.322Boxscore
@ Houston Texans45.721Simulate Game
Kansas City Chiefs62.122Boxscore
@ Indianapolis Colts37.918Simulate Game
New Orleans Saints65.726Boxscore
@ Carolina Panthers34.321Simulate Game
Tampa Bay Buccaneers65.523Boxscore
@ San Francisco 49ers34.519Simulate Game
Green Bay Packers66.125Boxscore
@ Atlanta Falcons33.920Simulate Game
San Diego Chargers66.927Boxscore
@ Denver Broncos33.121Simulate Game

Joel Beall is the Assistant Content Manager for WhatIfSports.com. He can be reached at jbeall@whatifsports.com.

Jake Westrich is the Digital Content Coordinator for WhatIfSports.com. He can be reached at jwestrich@whatifsports.com.

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