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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.
Check out our 2013 NFL Season-to-Date page to follow our accuracy week-to-week and find Locks and Upsets of the Week.
Game of the Week: Seahawks at Colts
Two seasons ago, the Colts and Seahawks were mired in NFL wasteland. Indianapolis, sans guidance of Peyton Manning, trudged to a league-worst 2-14 record. Faced with the ambiguity surrounding Manning's performance following neck surgery, the team cut ties with the face of its franchise, as fitting Manning's opulent contract with the upcoming No. 1 overall pick's deal was impossible. While Stanford product Andrew Luck was viewed as a can't-miss prospect, Manning's exodus seemed to jacket the upcoming fall with a second consecutive ominous forecast.
The straits of Seattle weren't as dire as those in Hoosier Land, yet it was far from sunny in the Emerald City. The team was coming off its fourth straight losing season, and with Tarvaris Jackson failing to prove his mettle as a starting field general, the Seahawks, like all teams with quarterback quandaries, stared into an uncertain future.
That April's Draft would deliver signal-calling saviors for both rosters, with the aforementioned Luck living up to his hype and Seattle finding a diamond in the rough in third-round selection Russell Wilson. The dividends were immediate, as Luck and Wilson led their respective squads to 11-5 marks and playoff appearances, and have carried over that success to 2013. Battling each other for the first time, the rendezvous between Luck and Wilson serves as our WhatIfSports.com Game of the Week.
Although Luck and Wilson will garner the spotlight, it's the defenses that have carried each club in the early going. The Seahawks are surrendering a meager 11.8 points per game, second-lowest in the NFL, and the Colts aren't far behind with an allowance of 12.8 points per contest (second-best in the AFC). Amazingly, both are utilizing the strength of their secondaries to reach this goal. Seattle's group of Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, Brandon Browner and Kam Chancellor is the more famous of the two units, and their bite lives up to the bark: a league-low 60.7 QB rating, 191 passing yards per game and a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 3/7. While they lack the name recognition of their Seahawks cohorts, the Colts have produced similar numbers: a 65.8 QB rating, 201 passing yards per game and a 2/6 score-to-pick figure. Given the pass-happy scenery of the NFL, such resistance is rare, and quite remarkable.
Nevertheless, it's the offenses that will ultimately rule the fates for the Colts and Seahawks. In this regard, most football fans believe the teams' strategies diverge. In truth, the path of sameness continues.
Wilson gets the media love, but Seattle is a run-based operation. Led by Marshawn Lynch, the Hawks average 144.3 yards per game, fifth-best in the league. Wilson and backup tailback Robert Turbin contribute on this front, yet it's the involvement of Lynch, who enters with 79 carries (fourth-most attempts in the NFL), that acts as the piston to this engine. Whatever Wilson adds in the passing game is merely icing on the cake.
Indianapolis is thought to be on the other end of this spectrum, and with good reason: Luck's 4,374 passing yards were an NFL rookie record. However, new offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton has changed the script in Indy this year, letting the ground game fuel the offensive attack. This sentiment is illustrated in the Colts' 149.5 yards per outing, right above, you guessed it, the Seahawks. As a corollary, Luck is averaging 44 yards less per contest, but his efficiency is vastly improved, hitting 64.1 percent of his intended targets (compared to last season's 54.1 figure) with just two turnovers (versus 2012's 23). It's an equation Indianapolis is hoping leads to a lengthy postseason stay.
So which team emerges victorious on Sunday? According to the award-winning WhatIfSports.com NFL simulation engine, the Seahawks come out on top 56.1 percent of the time by an average score of 21-19. For the rest of this week's scores, check below:
Please note: The Seahawks-Colts, Eagles-Giants, Lions-Packers, Jets-Falcons and Chargers-Raiders games were resimulated on 10/3 to account for injuries and roster updates.
NFL Week 5
|@ St. Louis Rams||76.3||31||Simulate Game|
|New York Jets||35.6||19||Boxscore|
|@ Atlanta Falcons||64.4||23||Simulate Game|
|@ Green Bay Packers||59.5||27||Simulate Game|
|@ Miami Dolphins||58.0||22||Simulate Game|
|@ San Francisco 49ers||52.5||18||Simulate Game|
|@ Arizona Cardinals||50.4||21||Simulate Game|
|New England Patriots||53.1||24||Boxscore|
|@ Cincinnati Bengals||46.9||23||Simulate Game|
|@ Cleveland Browns||45.5||19||Simulate Game|
|@ Indianapolis Colts||43.9||19||Simulate Game|
|New Orleans Saints||56.4||26||Boxscore|
|@ Chicago Bears||43.6||24||Simulate Game|
|Kansas City Chiefs||56.6||21||Boxscore|
|@ Tennessee Titans||43.4||19||Simulate Game|
|@ New York Giants||41.6||23||Simulate Game|
|@ Dallas Cowboys||30.5||20||Simulate Game|
|San Diego Chargers||73.1||23||Boxscore|
|@ Oakland Raiders||26.9||15||Simulate Game|
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