2011 NFL Week 3 Picks and Predictions from WhatIfSports.com From WhatIfSports.com image

2011 NFL Week 3 Picks and Predictions

NFL Week 3 box scores and stats included

By Joel Beall and Jake Westrich - WhatIfSports.com
UPDATE: September 23, 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.

Gridiron Dynasty - College Football Game
<a href="http://msn.foxsports.com/video?vid=f1cc9663-8fc7-49dc-b54b-b980b596dfc0" target="_new" title="">WhatIfSports: Week 3 NFL picks</a>

Game of the Week: Packers at Bears

It's a battle between Black and Blue divisional foes as the Green Bay Packers travel to Solider Field to take on the Chicago Bears in the WhatIfSports.com Game of the Week.

In 2010, the Packers and Bears fought three times, meeting in the playoffs for the first time since 1941. After splitting the two regular season tilts, the NFC Championship Game served as Round 3 between these bitter rivals. While the Packers would escape with a 21-14 victory on their way to becoming Super Bowl champs, the enduring image from this contest was Chicago starting quarterback Jay Cutler relegated to the sidelines due to a knee injury. Though it was later revealed Cutler had suffered a MCL sprain, the much-criticized QB was ripped by fellow NFLers for failing to return to the game.

While Cutler was lambasted for his performance, or lack thereof, in his team's final game last season, it's nothing compared to the beating he's taken from opposing defenses in the opening weeks. Already one of the weaker units in the league, center and perennial Pro Bowler Olin Kreutz's departure to New Orleans has left a noticeable void in Chicago's offensive line. This weakness has manifested itself into a league-high 11 sacks through two games. If Chicago intends on making postseason plans, this frailty will need to be alleviated in a hurry.

Unfortunately for Chicago, the Packers can't commiserate with the Bears' woes. Despite having questions surrounding the depth of their o-line in the offseason, Green Bay has surrendered a conference-low in sacks (three) while giving Aaron Rodgers and the Packer aerial assault enough time to toss for five touchdowns and hold a 126.4 QB rating (best in the NFC). The protection has additionally been successful in the ground game, paving the way for James Starks and Ryan Grant to find the end zone three times with a combined 4.7 yards per carry.

Not that Green Bay is without their deficiencies. The Packers have yet to find a suitable replacement for Cullen Jenkins, and an already volatile secondary just lost the services of veteran Nick Collins for the season. And although it could be chalked up to the merit of their competition, the Packers' defense is last in the NFL against the pass, conceding 800 yards in their first two games.

Rodgers and Cutler may be two of the more recognizable figures in the NFL, but the keys to this matchup lie in the backfield. Despite racking up a modest 117 yards on the ground, Matt Forte has been an animal in Chicago's passing scheme, posting 15 receptions for 207 yards and a touchdown. With the porous line of Chicago equating to numerous hurries for Cutler, look for this trend to continue. Meanwhile, Starks is quickly rising up the running back ranks, owning a ridiculous 6.8 yards-per-carry figure in the early going. If Starks continues this offensive onslaught, expect Ryan Grant to be slowly phased-out of the Packer rushing game.

So who wins this encounter of NFC juggernauts? According to the WhatIfSports' award-winning simulation engine, the Packers win the game 55.2 percent of the time by an average score of 19-18. For the rest of this week's predictions, check below:

Due to numerous injuries and depth chart changes, we re-simulated all 16 Week 3 contests on September 23rd.

NFL Week 3
MatchupWin%Avg Score
Kansas City Chiefs12.717Boxscore
@ San Diego Chargers87.331Simulate Game
Denver Broncos34.019Boxscore
@ Tennessee Titans66.024Simulate Game
Houston Texans37.522Boxscore
@ New Orleans Saints62.526Simulate Game
New York Giants38.119Boxscore
@ Philadelphia Eagles61.924Simulate Game
Jacksonville Jaguars38.218Boxscore
@ Carolina Panthers61.823Simulate Game
Washington Redskins49.322Boxscore
@ Dallas Cowboys50.723Simulate Game
Miami Dolphins52.019Boxscore
@ Cleveland Browns48.018Simulate Game
Arizona Cardinals54.824Boxscore
@ Seattle Seahawks45.222Simulate Game
Green Bay Packers55.219Boxscore
@ Chicago Bears44.818Simulate Game
Detroit Lions65.521Boxscore
@ Minnesota Vikings34.517Simulate Game
Atlanta Falcons65.223Boxscore
@ Tampa Bay Buccaneers34.819Simulate Game
Baltimore Ravens67.022Boxscore
@ St. Louis Rams33.016Simulate Game
San Francisco 49ers67.321Boxscore
@ Cincinnati Bengals32.716Simulate Game
New York Jets71.925Boxscore
@ Oakland Raiders28.117Simulate Game
New England Patriots80.825Boxscore
@ Buffalo Bills19.216Simulate Game
Pittsburgh Steelers86.628Boxscore
@ Indianapolis Colts13.414Simulate 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.

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