2013 NFL Week 1 Picks and Predictions From WhatIfSports.com image

2013 NFL Week 1 Picks and Predictions

NFL Week 1 box scores and stats included

WhatIfSports.com
UPDATE: September 5, 2013

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 2013 NFL season.

Check out our 2013 NFL Season-to-Date page to follow our accuracy week-to-week and find Locks and Upsets of the Week.

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Game of the Week: Packers at 49ers

The NFL continues to operate under the assumption of parity, as this ideal gives every fan base hope that this year will be the year for their team. To some extent this belief holds merit, in the sense that similarity among football teams' aptitude is closer than other major sporting league. However, despite the “any given Sunday” mantra, there are truthfully only a handful of franchises that have a viable shot at holding the Lombardi Trophy at season's end.

Luckily for us, two of these rosters face off in Week 1, giving us a possible preview of the NFC Championship game. The San Francisco 49ers, looking to avenge their Super Bowl defeat in February, start their road to retaliation by welcoming the Green Bay Packers, who are seeking vengeance of their own, to Candlestick Park in the WhatIfSports.com Game of the Week.

Green Bay begins its 2013 campaign at the scene of its 2012 season's end. The Niners took the Packers to the cleaners last January, with the contest doubling as Colin Kaepernick's coming out party, as the San Fran signal caller tossed for 263 yards, added an astounding 181 yards on the ground and found the end zone four times in the 49ers' 45-31 victory. Given the memory of Aaron Rodgers is anything but ephemeral, you better believe last year's defeat is fresh in the minds of the Cheeseheads.

Yet has the Packers' high-flying offense lost a bit of luster? The departure of Greg Jennings to the rival Vikings didn't help, and the offensive line took a major hit with an injury to Bryan Bulaga. Worse, the receiving corps is also beat up, with Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson nursing ailments.

Nevertheless, as long as Mr. Rodgers is under center, the Green Bay offensive assault should be just fine. Entering his sixth season as starter, Rodgers looked efficient as ever during training camp and limited preseason play. Especially positive was an improved rapport with tight end Jermichael Finley, who had a bit of a falling out with Rodgers last season. Cobb and Nelson are expected to play despite their injuries, and James Jones proved a red-zone machine last year.

But the reason for hope in Lambeau lies in the running game. Rookie back Eddie Lacy might provide the much-needed complement to Rodgers' air attack that Green Bay has so desperately needed. With a formidable rushing attack, Green Bay's offense, in theory, could be explosive as ever.

Which will make Sunday's matchup so enticing. The Niners resistance doubles as an All-Pro lineup, and conjures images of the 1985 Bears and 2000 Ravens. Patrick Willis, NaVorro Bowman, Justin Smith and Aldon Smith lead a dynamic front seven, one that gives opposing field generals nightmares. The secondary lost a few pieces in the offseason, yet still brandishes Carlos Rodgers and Donte Whitner and added All-American Eric Reid in the draft. Hyperbole aside, with superior depth and a suffocating pass rush, this unit has the chance to better last season's mark of 17.1 points allowed per game.

When the Niners have the ball, all eyes will be on Kaepernick, as, in spite of his postseason success, the third-year arm out of Nevada is still considered an unproven entity. Not helping matters is a depleted receiving ranks, leaving Anquan Boldin and tight end Vernon Davis as the primary targets. Luckily for Kaepernick, the 49ers employ one of the best protection fronts in football, and Kaepernick has the services of a solid running game at his disposal. Though he might suffer from bouts of inconsistency, Kaepernick is more than capable of leading the Niners to the Promised Land.

So who comes out on top in this battle of NFC titans? According to the award-winning WhatIfSports.com pro football simulation engine, the 49ers grab the victory 53.5 percent of the time by an average margin of 20-19. For the rest of this week's projections, check below:

Please note: The Ravens-Broncos, Patriots-Bills, Dolphins-Browns, Falcons-Saints, Buccaneers-Jets, Chiefs-Jaguars, Packers-49ers and Texans-Chargers games were resimulated on 9/5 to account for injuries and roster updates.

NFL Week 1
MatchupWin%Avg Score
Oakland Raiders24.920Boxscore
@ Indianapolis Colts75.129Simulate Game
Philadelphia Eagles27.818Boxscore
@ Washington Redskins72.225Simulate Game
Tennessee Titans35.019Boxscore
@ Pittsburgh Steelers65.024Simulate Game
Baltimore Ravens36.821Boxscore
@ Denver Broncos63.225Simulate Game
Green Bay Packers46.519Boxscore
@ San Francisco 49ers53.520Simulate Game
New York Giants47.125Boxscore
@ Dallas Cowboys52.926Simulate Game
Minnesota Vikings47.526Boxscore
@ Detroit Lions52.528Simulate Game
Arizona Cardinals51.024Boxscore
@ St. Louis Rams49.023Simulate Game
Houston Texans57.224Boxscore
@ San Diego Chargers42.822Simulate Game
Cincinnati Bengals58.922Boxscore
@ Chicago Bears41.119Simulate Game
Kansas City Chiefs59.524Boxscore
@ Jacksonville Jaguars40.521Simulate Game
Atlanta Falcons64.132Boxscore
@ New Orleans Saints35.927Simulate Game
Seattle Seahawks65.026Boxscore
@ Carolina Panthers35.019Simulate Game
Tampa Bay Buccaneers65.926Boxscore
@ New York Jets34.121Simulate Game
Miami Dolphins66.723Boxscore
@ Cleveland Browns33.318Simulate Game
New England Patriots68.927Boxscore
@ Buffalo Bills31.119Simulate 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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