2011 NFL Playoff Projections and Super Bowl Prediction From WhatIfSports.com image

2011 NFL Playoff and Super Bowl Predictions

NFL simulation picks Chargers to win Super Bowl XLVI
By Joel Beall, WhatIfSports.com
Sept. 2, 2011

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
MatchupWin%Avg Score
New York Jets5622
@ Indianapolis Colts4420
Kansas City Chiefs4925
@ San Diego Chargers5126
Atlanta Falcons6823
@ St. Louis Rams3217
Philadelphia Eagles4720
@ Green Bay Packers5321

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
MatchupWin%Avg Score
New York Jets3817
@ Pittsburgh Steelers6221
San Diego Chargers5125
@ New England Patriots4924
Atlanta Falcons4618
@ New York Giants5419
Green Bay Packers5923
@ New Orleans Saints4121

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
MatchupWin%Avg Score
San Diego Chargers5624
@ Pittsburgh Steelers4423
Green Bay Packers4819
@ New York Giants5220

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
MatchupWin%Avg Score
San Diego Chargers5826
New York Giants4223

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 jbeall@whatifsports.com.

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