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2011 NFC Preview and Projected Standings
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Break out a fresh can of WD-40, the WhatIfSports.com NFL simulation engine is back for the 2011 season. Prepare for a weekly buffet of simulation predictions, fantasy projections and power rankings.
Thanks, in part, to the NFL lockout, our season long previews, simulated standings, and fantasy projections are a little late in hitting the web. We do apologize to any fantasy owners and hard core NFL fans for the inconvenience this delay may have caused.
As always, all of our simulated NFL content is based on the statistical DNA of the league's 32 teams. The simulation process takes into account: team depth charts, injuries, passing yards, rushing yards, receiving yards, turnovers, rush defense, pass defense, offensive philosophy (pass versus rush), and minutia your brain can't handle at this time.
Using our NFL simulation engine, we have "played" the entire 2011 NFL playoffs. The rosters and depth charts used were up-to-date and accurate as of August 29th, 2011.
NFL Wild Card Simulations
|New York Jets||56||22|
|@ Indianapolis Colts||44||20|
|Kansas City Chiefs||49||25|
|@ San Diego Chargers||51||26|
|@ St. Louis Rams||32||17|
|@ Green Bay Packers||53||21|
In the AFC, Rex Ryanís Jets proved yet again they have no issues playing on the road, as Peyton Manning and the Colts see a repeat of last seasonís early exit with a 22-20 loss to New York. Gang Greenís stout secondary and unflappable rushing attack paved the way for entry into the Divisional Round. Out west, the combo of Matt Cassel and Jamaal Charles was not enough to thwart the aerial awesomeness of Philip Rivers and Co. as the Chargers defended home turf by squeaking out a hard-fought victory over rival Kansas City, 26-25.
For all their offseason roster adjustments, the Eagles went quietly into the playoff night, losing in Lambeau to the defending champions, 21-20. Try as it might, a revamped Philly defense could not keep the explosive attack of Aaron Rodgers and the Packer offense off the scoreboard. Also securing a W in the Wild Card round were the Atlanta Falcons, who ended Sam Bradfordís surprising season by marching into St. Louis and defeating the Rams, 23-17.
NFL Divisional Playoffs Simulations
|New York Jets||38||17|
|@ Pittsburgh Steelers||62||21|
|San Diego Chargers||51||25|
|@ New England Patriots||49||24|
|@ New York Giants||54||19|
|Green Bay Packers||59||23|
|@ New Orleans Saints||41||21|
The New York Jets return to the scene of their 2010 playoff exit, hoping to avenge last seasonís heartache. Alas, the ending remains the same, as the Steelers send Mark Sanchez and the Jets home with a 21-17 victory. The Jets may find consolation in that fact that their hated AFC East adversaries, the Patriots, suffered the same fate, albeit at home. The Chargers stun New England in Foxborough, upending the Patriots, 25-24.
The Packers continue their title defense, knocking off Drew Brees and the Saints in the Superdome with a 23-21 victory. The victory earns Green Bay a trip to the Meadowlands, as the G-Men took care of the Falcons, 19-18. The Giantsí defense, which has been scrutinized thanks to its depleted secondary, stepped up to halt Matt Ryan and the Falcon offense.
NFL Conference Championships Simulations
|San Diego Chargers||56||24|
|@ Pittsburgh Steelers||44||23|
|Green Bay Packers||48||19|
|@ New York Giants||52||20|
After years of playoff disappoint, the Chargers knocked the monkey off their back by going into the Steel City and escaping with a 24-23 win, earning a trip to Indianapolis. Rivers was able to overcome the tenacious defense of Pittsburgh, with the San Diego D containing Ben Roethlisberger and the Steeler running game.
Their opponent? The Giants of New York, who ended the Green Bay reign with a 20-19 victory. Rodgers and the running game were finally grounded, and the rushing attack of Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw gave the G-Men all the offense they needed.
Super Bowl XLVI Simulations
|San Diego Chargers||58||26|
|New York Giants||42||23|
The Chargers find themselves in the Super Bowl for the first time since 1995, while the Giants return for the second time in five seasons. Unfortunately for Eli Manning, there was no Helmet Catch to save the day, as San Diego prevails, 26-23. Ryan Mathews and Mike Tolbert manage to find holes in the G-Menís defense, while Rivers and Vincent Jackson take advantage of New Yorkís weakened secondary.
Throughout the 2011 NFL season, WhatIfSports.com will provide FOXSports.com its game predictions and fantasy projections on a weekly basis.
Joel Beall is the Assistant Content Manager for WhatIfSports.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.