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Each Tuesday morning, 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.
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Check out our 2010 NFL Season-to-Date page to follow our accuracy week-to-week and find Locks and Upsets of the Week.
Game of the Week: Patriots at Bears
Will it simply be a rematch of Super Bowl XX? Or foreshadowing what might come to fruition in February in Dallas? The New England Patriots travel to Soldier Field on Sunday to take on the Chicago Bears in the WhatIfSports Game of the Week.
While Mike Martz's arrival dominated the offseason headlines, Chicago has rose to prominence this season behind a vaunted defense that is conceding just 16 points a contest. Behind acquisition Julius Peppers and a healthy Brian Urlacher the Bears have held opponents to an NFC-low 84.9 yards per game on the ground. The secondary has been just as stout, suffocating signal callers to a QB Rating of 71.1, second-best in the NFL.
However, unlike years' past where it acted as an Achilles' heel, the offense has held their own in 2010. Although the unit is far from explosive (averaging a mere 20.5 points and 300.3 yards per game), quarterback Jay Cutler and company have become extremely efficient in the past month. In five games since the Bye week, the offense is averaging 24 points while Cutler has thrown just three interceptions. A rejuvenated Matt Forte has also aided in Chicago's recent success. Failing to rush for 55 or more yards in six of the first seven games, the Bears back is averaging 79.2 on the ground during Chicago's five-game win streak.
We would be remiss in our Chicago discussion without mentioning the outside influences that have blessed the Bears. Chicago has reaped the benefits from generous schedule, as the Bears' victories have come against opponents with a composite record of 36-60 (.375 pct.). The Vikings have vastly underperformed thanks to the declining play of Brett Favre, and Detroit has been burdened with a carousel at the QB position thanks to injuries. Moreover, Chicago's victories haven't exactly been executed in dominant fashion, as six of their nine wins have been by seven points or less.
This sentiment is in stark contrast to the state of the New England Patriots. At 10-2 the Pats have conquered the competition, beating opponents by eight or more points on seven occasions. This includes a 45-3 thrashing of rival New York in Week 13, eliminating any doubt that New England is the prohibitive favorite in the AFC.
The catalyst for the Patriots' preeminence has been their offense, which is lighting up scoreboards with a NFL-best 31.6 points per game. More importantly, the Pats own a +14 turnover differential, good for second-best in the league. The two-headed monster of BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Danny Woodhead has given the Pats a formidable firepower that's been notably absent in the backfield since the retirement of Corey Dillon. Additionally, the return of Pro Bowl guard Logan Mankins has solidified the offensive line into one of the best pass protection units in the league.
Yet at the core of this pigskin blitzkrieg is the play of Tom Brady. With the subtraction of Randy Moss and addition of Deion Branch, Brady and the Patriots have returned to their formula of spreading the ball around rather than focusing on one or two receivers, a recipe that helped New England win three Super Bowls in four years. In the past seven games, the former Michigan Wolverine has thrown 17 TDs without tossing a pick. On the season, Brady has accumulated over 3,000 yards and ranks first in touchdowns (27) and QB Rating (109.5).
So who wins this marquee matchup of Super Bowl aspirants? According to the WhatIfSports NFL football simulation engine, the New England Patriots come out on top 62.7-percent of the time with an average score of 22-18. For the rest of this week's scores, check below:
NFL Week 14
|Kansas City Chiefs||6.8||15||Boxscore|
|@ San Diego Chargers||93.2||33||Simulate Game|
|@ Pittsburgh Steelers||85.1||24||Simulate Game|
|@ New York Jets||67.5||22||Simulate Game|
|St. Louis Rams||33.0||14||Boxscore|
|@ New Orleans Saints||67.0||20||Simulate Game|
|@ Tennessee Titans||53.5||20||Simulate Game|
|@ Houston Texans||48.3||25||Simulate Game|
|@ San Francisco 49ers||44.0||18||Simulate Game|
|@ Buffalo Bills||43.3||16||Simulate Game|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||57.6||25||Boxscore|
|@ Washington Redskins||42.4||22||Simulate Game|
|New England Patriots||62.7||22||Boxscore|
|@ Chicago Bears||37.3||18||Simulate Game|
|Green Bay Packers||66.9||22||Boxscore|
|@ Detroit Lions||33.1||17||Simulate Game|
|New York Giants||71.4||25||Boxscore|
|@ Minnesota Vikings||28.6||17||Simulate Game|
|@ Jacksonville Jaguars||27.5||21||Simulate Game|
|@ Carolina Panthers||24.6||14||Simulate Game|
|@ Arizona Cardinals||23.1||20||Simulate Game|
|@ Dallas Cowboys||14.0||17||Simulate Game|
Joel Beall is a Content Writer for Whatifsports.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.