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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.
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Game of the Week: Jets vs Bears
"Pretty" does not describe how the New York Jets or Chicago Bears play football, and it sure as hell isnít befitting of rugged-weather NFL games in December. A possible winter wonderland awaits the Jets and Bears on the frozen tundra of Soldier Field, making it the WhatIfSports Game of the Week.
The Jetsí Darrelle Revis might be one of the league's better cornerbacks, but the success of the New York defense stems from its ability to stop the run. The Jets are holding opponents to 92.7 yards on the ground, third best in the AFC. But, besides limiting the run game, New York has been effective at stripping the ball and is tied for first in the NFL in rushing fumble recoveries. This stout run defense has offset the secondary's shaky showing (21 touchdowns with just seven picks) and led to Gang Green limiting adversaries to 21.1 points per game.
Unfortunately for New York, this resistance has been a requirement, as quarterback Mark Sanchez has regressed to his rookie form. In the first five weeks of 2010, Sanchez threw eight touchdown passes without committing a turnover as the Jets jumped to a 4-1 start. In the nine games since, the Southern Cal product has thrown 12 interceptions with just eight TD passes. Fortunately for Sanchez, a rushing attack led by a refreshed LaDainian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene have bailed out the putrid passing game, averaging 141 yards per ballgame.
Bears fans understand Sanchez's plight, considering Chicago QB Jay Cutler isn't exactly a model of consistency. Although he has cut down on the amount of picks from 2009 (26 to 13, so far), Cutler has still turned the ball over 19 times this season. This issue has been offset by the reinvigoration of Matt Forte, who appears to have awakened from his season and a half slumber. Forte had a breakout rookie season in 2008 with 1,238 rushing yards and 477 receiving. His receiving stats were almost identical in 2009, but Forte's rushing production dropped to 929, mainly because of a decrease in carries. Forte started the 2010 season almost the same way, crossing the 60-yard rushing barrier just once in the first eight games. However, in Chicagoís past six contests, Forte has surpassed the 60-yard plateau five times, all Bears victories.
While the Bearsí offensive production has been a pleasant surprise, their key resource remains their dominating defense. Offseason acquisition Julius Peppers has teamed with stalwarts Lance Briggs and Brian Urlacher to form the NFC's top rushing defense, limiting opponents to 89.8 yards per contest. Yet, these Monsters of the Midway are not a one-trick pony. Unlike other run-stopping squads, the Bears have a stifling secondary, having limited quarterbacks to a 73.0 QB rating and only 12 TD passes.
So who wins in this clash of defensive titans? According to the WhatIfSports NFL simulation engine, the Chicago Bears come out on top 55.0 percent of the time by an average score of 18-17. For the rest of this week's picks, check below:
NFL Week 16
|@ Philadelphia Eagles||88.1||28||Simulate Game|
|@ Pittsburgh Steelers||82.2||25||Simulate Game|
|@ Miami Dolphins||68.3||21||Simulate Game|
|@ Tampa Bay Buccaneers||60.7||24||Simulate Game|
|New York Jets||45.0||17||Boxscore|
|@ Chicago Bears||55.0||18||Simulate Game|
|@ Oakland Raiders||53.2||20||Simulate Game|
|@ Kansas City Chiefs||51.8||22||Simulate Game|
|San Francisco 49ers||52.8||18||Boxscore|
|@ St. Louis Rams||47.2||17||Simulate Game|
|@ Cleveland Browns||43.3||17||Simulate Game|
|New Orleans Saints||60.7||23||Boxscore|
|@ Atlanta Falcons||39.3||19||Simulate Game|
|@ Jacksonville Jaguars||36.5||23||Simulate Game|
|@ Arizona Cardinals||30.1||20||Simulate Game|
|New York Giants||70.5||24||Boxscore|
|@ Green Bay Packers||29.5||16||Simulate Game|
|@ Denver Broncos||26.4||24||Simulate Game|
|New England Patriots||93.4||31||Boxscore|
|@ Buffalo Bills||6.6||12||Simulate Game|
|San Diego Chargers||93.5||30||Boxscore|
|@ Cincinnati Bengals||6.5||13||Simulate Game|
Joel Beall is a Content Writer for Whatifsports.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.