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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 2014 NFL season.
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Game of the Week: Bengals at Browns
As of late, the Battle for Ohio has been off the national radar. And with good reason: the Browns have just two winning campaigns in the past 17 years, while the Bengals haven't notched a playoff victory since the 1990 season.
However, this rivalry has seen a renewed sense of worth in 2014, as both teams hold playoff aspirations entering Week 15. The latest clash in this Midwestern tug-of-war serves as our WhatIfSports.com NFL Game of the Week.
The first encounter of these two teams in 2014 was a one-sided affair, with the Brownies rolling 24-3 in a Thursday night soiree in Week 10. This game is best remembered as perhaps the worst performance by a quarterback in modern NFL history. Andy Dalton, the much-maligned field general of the Bengals, went 10-for-33 on the night for a meager 86 yards and three interceptions. The letdown was just the latest in a chronicle of national-spotlight meltdowns for the Red Rifle, whose no-shows during the playoffs have become infamous. Since Week 10, the Bengals have won three out of four. Alas, Dalton continues to struggle, fumbling away last week's contest against the Steelers. In a conference dominated by dependable arms like Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Andrew Luck and Ben Roethlisberger, the Bengals are fighting an uphill battle as long as Dalton remains under center.
Cleveland can relate to these signal caller woes. Since Week 10, the Brian Hoyer Express has gone off the rails, tossing eight interceptions in the past four games, three of which the Browns have lost. Hoyer's lackluster performance has spurred calls for a quarterback change, a sentiment everyone seems to agree is the prudent move except for Mike Pettine, a problem since he's the one making this decision. Assuming Johnny Manziel doesn't have the "audacity" to be seen anywhere but the film room this week, it's a switch that's likely to occur this weekend.
Across the line will be a Bengals resistance that's been feast-or-famine. Prior to Week 14's loss, the Cincinnati defense had been on a roll, allowing just two touchdowns in the previous three weeks. (Houston's lone trip to pay dirt in Week 12 came at the hands of a Dalton pick-six. Shocking, I know.) Unfortunately for Marvin Lewis, when the Bengals' D is off, it is off. The club surrendered 42 points to the Steelers last Sunday, and were torched in similar fashion by the Colts and Patriots. Worse, unit leader Vontaze Burfict may not return this season after suffering multiple injuries to his head. In one of the more hostile environments in the league, the Cincinnati D will have little room for error, making this matchup one to watch on Sunday.
Whoever takes the quarterback reins for Cleveland will be blessed with a deep arsenal of weapons. Jordan Cameron returned from a prolonged absence, and Josh Gordon has not missed a step since coming back from his suspension. Moreover, Andrew Hawkins has been one of the more sound complementary receivers in the conference this fall. The running game hasn't been the same after losing Pro Bowl center Alex Mack, and these entities will be rendered moot if Hoyer or Manziel fail to protect the ball. Nevertheless, if the quarterback position can be adequate, this Browns offense has an explosive ceiling.
So who emerges victorious? According to the award-winning WhatIfSports.com NFL simulation engine, the Bengals grab the victory 50.8 percent of the time by an average margin of 23-22. Check below for the rest of this week's projections:
Please Note: The Jaguars-Ravens, Raiders-Chiefs, Vikings-Lions, Buccaneers-Panthers, Texans-Colts, Jets-Titans and Bengals-Browns games were re-simulated on 12/11 to account for injuries and roster updates.
NFL Week 15 Predictions
|Matchup||Win %||Avg. Score|
|@ Baltimore Ravens||77.4||26||Simulate Game|
|@ Kansas City Chiefs||75.4||24||Simulate Game|
|@ Detroit Lions||68.2||24||Simulate Game|
|@ New England Patriots||66.1||23||Simulate Game|
|San Francisco 49ers||36.2||20||Boxscore|
|@ Seattle Seahawks||63.8||24||Simulate Game|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||36.8||23||Boxscore|
|@ Carolina Panthers||63.2||27||Simulate Game|
|@ Philadelphia Eagles||57.0||25||Simulate Game|
|@ Indianapolis Colts||56.7||25||Simulate Game|
|@ New York Giants||52.3||23||Simulate Game|
|@ Cleveland Browns||49.2||22||Simulate Game|
|New York Jets||51.6||24||Boxscore|
|@ Tennessee Titans||48.4||23||Simulate Game|
|New Orleans Saints||55.3||28||Boxscore|
|@ Chicago Bears||44.7||27||Simulate Game|
|@ San Diego Chargers||44.0||25||Simulate Game|
|@ St. Louis Rams||35.8||19||Simulate Game|
|@ Atlanta Falcons||35.0||20||Simulate Game|
|Green Bay Packers||68.9||26||Boxscore|
|@ Buffalo Bills||31.1||19||Simulate Game|
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