Each Tuesday morning, we will preview every NFL game of the upcoming week. All of our NFL content, including our most recent power rankings and weekly fantasy projections, is located here. If you want to take WhatIfSports weekly college football and NFL picks with you (to your MySpace, Facebook or personal homepage), please see the widget on our WhatIf To Go page.
The inputs to the 10,001 simulations of each upcoming game are based on a rigorous analysis of each team that considers strength-of-schedule-adjusted team and player ratings and then makes modifications for injuries and depth at each position.
Game of the Week: #19 Titans 13 @ #3 Steelers 24
The NFL season kicks off Thursday night when the defending Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers host the Tennessee Titans, the team that had the best record in the league last season. Pittsburgh returns just about everyone of significance from last year's title run. While they may not be in our projected Super Bowl (Philadelphia and New England made great improvements in the off-season), as our third-ranked team, the Steelers are definitely among the Super Bowl contenders again this year.
As can be the case with Jeff Fisher-coached teams, Tennessee out-performed its underlying numbers in 2008. What should have been a .500 team, found a way to reach 13-3. Now, with the loss of Albert Haynesworth, the focal point of a spectacular defense, the Titans regressed a bit going into the new season.
At home, celebrating another ring and kicking off the season on national television with a superior team, even a sometimes offensively-challenged Pittsburgh Steelers team should be able to win by more than a touchdown. Not too surprisingly, in the our projected boxscore of the game, kickers play a big role. Rob Bironas provides almost all of the scoring for the Titans, while Jeff Reed ranks as our top fantasy kicker for Week 1. Santonio Holmes and Rashard Mendenhall are the most likely players to score touchdowns as the Pittsburgh Steelers defeat the Tennessee Titans 76.4% of the time and by an average score of 24-13. The Steelers also cover the -4.5 spread 71.2% of the time, while the total is over the 35 point projected line 55.5% of the time.
Click on the Boxscores below to see detailed team and player stat projections for every game.
Week 1 Scores for Every NFL Game
|Matchup||Home Win%||Avg Score||Detroit @ New Orleans||78.0||21-32||Boxscore||Jacksonville @ Indianapolis||76.6||19-29||Boxscore||Tennessee @ Pittsburgh||76.4||13-24||Boxscore||Buffalo @ New England||72.0||19-29||Boxscore||Kansas City @ Baltimore||69.7||16-25||Boxscore||San Francisco @ Arizona||66.2||18-26||Boxscore||St. Louis @ Seattle||65.7||17-24||Boxscore||Denver @ Cincinnati||65.6||22-29||Boxscore||Chicago @ Green Bay||62.5||19-24||Boxscore||Washington @ New York Giants||58.2||14-18||Boxscore||New York Jets @ Houston||53.7||21-24||Boxscore||Miami @ Atlanta||37.7||25-23||Boxscore||Philadelphia @ Carolina||29.6||24-19||Boxscore||San Diego @ Oakland||29.1||27-22||Boxscore||Dallas @ Tampa Bay||25.7||27-20||Boxscore||Minnesota @ Cleveland||11.2||30-16||Boxscore|
Paul Bessire is the Product Manager of Content and Quantitative Analysis for WhatIfSports.com, a division of FOX Sports Interactive specializing in fantasy football simulation analysis and football sim games. With any comments, questions or topic suggestions, Paul can be reached at BtB@whatifsports.com. Thanks!