2013 NFL Week 15 Picks and Predictions From WhatIfSports.com image

2013 NFL Week 15 Picks and Predictions

NFL Week 15 box scores and stats included

UPDATE: December 12, 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.

Gridiron Dynasty - College Football Game

Game of the Week: Packers at Cowboys

"Lord save us all from a hope tree that has lost the faculty of putting out blossoms." Mark Twain.

On Sunday morning even the most zealous Cheesehead had to admit the team's playoff prospects were nominal. The Packers' last win came in October, franchise star Aaron Rodgers was on the sidelines and fourth-stringer Matt Flynn was, well, playing like you'd expect a fourth-stringer to perform. With the rival Lions nursing a 7-5 record, Green Bay seemed destined to be watching January football from home.

Unlike their football brethren in Wisconsin, those in Big D were relatively buoyant on their team's outlook. The Cowboys had won four of their last six, including a season sweep of rival New York and coming back from a 14-point deficit on Thanksgiving against the Raiders. Moreover, with DeMarco Murray seemingly healthy for the first time in 18 months, the Dallas offense appeared unstoppable.

How quickly the tables can turn. A 22-21 victory over the Falcons, coupled with a Detroit loss, has resuscitated a Packers season that was on life support. On the other end of that spectrum, a 45-28 beatdown by the Bears leaves the Cowboys on the outside looking in on the NFC East. However, both squads still harbor hope of January football, making this battle our WhatIfSports.com Game of the Week.

As of this writing, the Packers are proceeding with Flynn as the starter in Week 15, somewhat disconcerting since, you know, it's Matt Flynn. But make no mistake, all eyes are on the return of Rodgers. Set to be evaluated following Tuesday's practice, the Packers are hoping the month-long sabbatical for Rodgers has provided ample time for the Super Bowl MVP to return to full strength. The franchise has erred on the side of caution, and rightfully so with its star, a sentiment that's not always the case in the win now-now-NOW atmosphere of the NFL. (Cut to every Washington fan nodding their head.) All Green Bay can do is pray its stoicism has paid off.

No matter who is under center for the Green and Yellow, envision the Packers to rely heavily on the run. Since dealing with a concussion early in the fall, Eddie Lacy has lived up to his preeminent billing, averaging 83.6 yards per contest in his last 10 games. Even if Rodgers is able to go, it's highly unlikely he'll flaunt his celebrated aerial prowess off the bat, making the dependence on the rooking running back all the more imperative.

The Cowboys have all been blessed with ground prosperity in 2013. Struggling with various injuries in his first two seasons, many in the Dallas organization began to wonder if the third-year rusher Murray was the right man for the job after suffering further health woes in mid-October. In the face of this doubt, Murray has answered, and answered with vigor, racking up 384 yards in his last four games. Linking this effort with Tony Romo's reduction in turnovers (just seven picks this season versus 19 interceptions in 2012), the Cowboys offense has been a nightmare for defensive coordinators.

Alas, Dallas has dealt with its own defensive torment. The Cowboys ranks last in total defense, surrendering 426.8 yards per game, and its admission of 26.8 points is 26th. Worse, Jerry Jones' decision to fire Rob Ryan and bring on Monte Kiffin has been an absolute train wreck, as Ryan has rejuvenated a dormant Saints resistance while Kiffin seems utterly lost. Unless these leaky holes are fixed in a hurry, it's hard to forecast the Cowboys holding strong against Rodgers and Week 17 opponent Philadelphia's high-flying attack.

So who comes out on top in the NFC showdown? According to the award-winning WhatIfSports.com simulation engine, the Cowboys emerge victorious 64.1 percent of the time by an average margin of 28-24. For the rest of this week's projections, check below:

Please note: The Jets-Panthers, Packers-Cowboys, Bears-Browns, Redskins-Falcons, Seahawks-Giants and Chiefs-Raiders games were resimulated on 12/12 to account for injuries and roster updates.

NFL Week 15
MatchupWin%Avg Score
Green Bay Packers35.924Boxscore
@ Dallas Cowboys64.128Simulate Game
New York Jets37.117Boxscore
@ Carolina Panthers62.921Simulate Game
San Diego Chargers39.324Boxscore
@ Denver Broncos60.728Simulate Game
Houston Texans39.821Boxscore
@ Indianapolis Colts60.225Simulate Game
Washington Redskins43.526Boxscore
@ Atlanta Falcons56.528Simulate Game
Baltimore Ravens48.324Boxscore
@ Detroit Lions51.725Simulate Game
New England Patriots51.521Boxscore
@ Miami Dolphins48.520Simulate Game
Cincinnati Bengals52.123Boxscore
@ Pittsburgh Steelers47.922Simulate Game
Buffalo Bills53.723Boxscore
@ Jacksonville Jaguars46.321Simulate Game
Chicago Bears55.720Boxscore
@ Cleveland Browns44.318Simulate Game
Arizona Cardinals62.421Boxscore
@ Tennessee Titans37.616Simulate Game
Philadelphia Eagles65.028Boxscore
@ Minnesota Vikings35.022Simulate Game
San Francisco 49ers71.224Boxscore
@ Tampa Bay Buccaneers28.816Simulate Game
Kansas City Chiefs72.022Boxscore
@ Oakland Raiders28.015Simulate Game
Seattle Seahawks72.426Boxscore
@ New York Giants27.618Simulate Game
New Orleans Saints84.830Boxscore
@ St. Louis Rams15.217Simulate 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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