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Each Tuesday, 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.
To account for injuries and roster moves announced late in the week, we will be re-simulating some games on Thursdays throughout the 2012 NFL season.
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Game of the Week: Cowboys at Seahawks
With an impressive win in their season opener, Dallas made headway in their enterprise to recapture the epithet of "America's Team." While beating the G-Men in Jersey is an exigent exercise, voyaging into the Emerald City is no easy endeavor, as Seattle boasts one of the league's rowdiest venues. The resulting clash should provide entertaining theater, making the NFC battle our WhatIfSports.com Game of the Week.
The Seahawks are looking to bounce back from heart-wrenching defeat in the desert, as Braylon Edwards failed to secure a last-second flight foray near the goal line. That the 'Hawks found themselves in such a situation at the end of the game was a feat in itself, as rookie Russell Wilson played, well, like a rookie. Thanks to an awe-inspiring August, the Wisconsin product overtook offseason acquisition Matt Flynn for the starting job. This preseason proficiency, along with a perceived opportune matchup against an ordinary Arizona defense, correlated to heightened expectations for the third-round pick. Alas, such a prophecy did not come to fruition in Week 1, as the neophyte field general was errant on his last five attempts of the ballgame and finished just 18-for-34 for 153 yards, one touchdown and two turnovers.
On the bright side for Seattle, Pro Bowl rusher Marshawn Lynch was able to overcome back spasms to shake off Cardinals defenders, racking up 97 totals yards and a touchdown in the losing effort. Health and off-the-field issues clouded Lynch's forecast for 2012, but if he can continually deliver similar performances this campaign, the aptitude of the Seahawks rushing game should alleviate some of the burden placed on Wilson's shoulders.
Also helping ease Wilson's assimilation process will be Seattle's stout defense. The unit, which finished with the second-best points-per-game total in the conference last year, held the Arizona offense in check on Sunday, yielding just 253 total net yards. Providing the defensive detachment replicates this artistry, Wilson will simply need to be efficient to vault the Seahawks into contention in the NFC West.
The Cowboys could not share this sentiment a season ago, as their secondary surrendered the fourth-highest QB rating in the NFC. To help shore up this depleted group, the team signed former Kansas City corner Brandon Carr and traded up in April's Draft to select Morris Claiborne, an All-American out of LSU. The revamped roster provided immediate dividends, as Dallas held Eli Manning, who averaged nearly 310 passing yards in 2011, to a pedestrian 213 yards on Wednesday night.
However, no matter the dexterity of the defense, the onus of the team's destiny will fall on Tony Romo and the offense. After succumbing to several high-profile collapses last year, Romo looked hell-bent on erasing those nightmares, submitting one of his best games in his career by hitting 22-of-29 targets for 307 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. Helping his cause were the contributions from running back DeMarco Murray (20 rushes, 131 yards) and receiver Kevin Ogletree (eight catches, 114 yards, two touchdowns), but if Romo can display comparable composure in the pocket in 2012, the sky is the limit for Dallas.
So who wins this skirmish in Seattle? According to the award-winning WhatIfSports.com engine, the Cowboys win 68.1 percent of the time by an average score of 22-16. For the rest of this week's projections, check below:
Please note: The Bears-Packers, Chiefs-Bills, Raiders-Dolphins, Saints-Panthers and Vikings-Colts games were resimulated on 9/13 to account for injuries and roster updates.
NFL Week 2
|@ New England Patriots||69.8||28||Simulate Game|
|@ San Francisco 49ers||69.3||25||Simulate Game|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||33.9||21||Boxscore|
|@ New York Giants||66.1||27||Simulate Game|
|@ Cincinnati Bengals||63.6||23||Simulate Game|
|New York Jets||42.6||19||Boxscore|
|@ Pittsburgh Steelers||57.4||21||Simulate Game|
|@ San Diego Chargers||56.2||26||Simulate Game|
|@ St. Louis Rams||56.0||23||Simulate Game|
|@ Green Bay Packers||52.0||25||Simulate Game|
|Kansas City Chiefs||48.7||22||Boxscore|
|@ Buffalo Bills||51.3||23||Simulate Game|
|@ Miami Dolphins||46.1||18||Simulate Game|
|New Orleans Saints||54.9||27||Boxscore|
|@ Carolina Panthers||45.1||25||Simulate Game|
|@ Atlanta Falcons||44.2||21||Simulate Game|
|@ Philadelphia Eagles||35.8||18||Simulate Game|
|@ Indianapolis Colts||35.6||20||Simulate Game|
|@ Seattle Seahawks||31.9||16||Simulate Game|
|@ Jacksonville Jaguars||9.3||13||Simulate Game|
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