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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 2013 NFL season.
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Game of the Week: Cowboys at Giants
Rare does a mid-November matchup featuring two non-winning squads own the pizzazz or enticement to merit must-see theater. It's equally infrequent to see the NFC East, historically known as one of the more puissant divisions in football, reduced to the laughingstock of the league.
Not to say it's lacking in spirit or competiveness. As Philadelphia sits atop the standings with a 6-4 mark, even the lowly Washington ball club, they of a 3-7 record, is very much a part of the playoff conversation. This up-for-grabs environment renders this Sunday's Giants-Cowboys affair all the more important, and serves as our WhatIfSports.com NFL Game of the Week.
Along with the release of terrible Vince Vaughn movies and aimless debates over the merits of the BCS, New York heating up following a stumble out of the gates has become one of my favorite holiday traditions. This year's revival started earlier than usual, with the Giants entering as winners of their last four contests. Of course, the sooner-than-expected hot streak was needed in the worsts of ways, given the G-Men losing the first six games of the season.
Two developments have spurred this turnaround. The first involves the play of Eli Manning. The two-time Super Bowl MVP was abysmal during the six-game drought, hitting just 53.7 percent of his intended targets with 17 turnovers versus nine scores. While he hasn't been finding the end zone at an elevated rate in the past month (three touchdowns in last four games), he's at least curtailed his security issues, losing the rock only twice in this span. Combined with his improved rapport toward his receiving corps (63 completion percentage), Manning has gone from team detriment back to his normal role as leader of the offensive attack.
Also helping matters has been the defiance of the Giants' resistance. In its past four victories, the New York D has surrendered a meager 47 points. The front seven is holding the opposition to 98 yards per contest (seventh-best in the NFL) and the secondary has been just as stout, stifling passing games to 6.5 yards per attempt (fifth-lowest in the league).
This defensive aptitude will be put to the test against an explosive Cowboys strike. Under the direction of Tony Romo, the Cowboys are posting 27.4 points per game, fifth-best in the NFL. Most of these feats can be traced back to the 33-year-old arm, who's enjoying a career-year with 21 touchdowns (third-most in the NFL) with a modest six picks. Romo's excelled this year in spreading the pigskin around, as Dez Bryant, Jason Witten and Terrance Williams have each been targeted 50-plus times on the season. As the rookie Williams further assimilates into the offense, one could make the case that the aerial assault has never been better in Romo's eight-year tenure as Dallas starter.
Alas, not all is well in Jerry's World. DeMarco Murray's injury and a faulty offensive line have stalled the rushing game, with the unit ranking 28th in the league in total yards. Worse, the Cowboys defense has been anything but, surrendering a league-high 439.8 yards per contest, and enters this week's matchup following a shellacking at the hands of the Saints. For the Cowboys to contest for the division crown, both of these fallacies need to be alleviated.
So who comes out on top in the NFC East showdown? According to the award-winning WhatIfSports.com NFL simulation engine, the Cowboys emerge victorious 60.3 percent of the time by an average margin of 28-25. For the rest of this week's projections, check below:
Please note: The Jaguars-Texans, Vikings-Packers, Jets-Ravens and 49ers-Redskins games were resimulated on 11/21 to account for injuries and roster updates.
NFL Week 12
|@ Houston Texans||69.9||26||Simulate Game|
|San Diego Chargers||31.9||19||Boxscore|
|@ Kansas City Chiefs||68.1||25||Simulate Game|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||32.7||21||Boxscore|
|@ Detroit Lions||67.3||28||Simulate Game|
|@ Green Bay Packers||53.8||25||Simulate Game|
|New York Jets||47.2||17||Boxscore|
|@ Baltimore Ravens||52.8||18||Simulate Game|
|@ Cleveland Browns||50.2||22||Simulate Game|
|@ Miami Dolphins||42.8||20||Simulate Game|
|@ Oakland Raiders||42.6||18||Simulate Game|
|@ St. Louis Rams||41.6||17||Simulate Game|
|San Francisco 49ers||58.7||24||Boxscore|
|@ Washington Redskins||41.3||21||Simulate Game|
|@ New York Giants||39.7||25||Simulate Game|
|@ Arizona Cardinals||38.7||18||Simulate Game|
|@ New England Patriots||36.8||22||Simulate Game|
|New Orleans Saints||77.8||32||Boxscore|
|@ Atlanta Falcons||22.2||22||Simulate Game|
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