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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.
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Game of the Week: Saints at Patriots
Historically, a Saints-Patriots match-up would be a fireworks affair. Tom Brady and Drew Brees have commanded some of the highest-scoring offenses in NFL history, and though each squad’s resistance could have been described as “opportunistic” at varying points, generally the units’ ranked in the bottom third in total defense.
This fall has been a different tale. New England is surrendering 14 points per game, second-best in the NFL. New Orleans, under new coordinator Rob Ryan, is not far behind, relinquishing just 14.6 points per contest. Such suffocation makes it easy to see why each roster enters atop its respective division.
Alas, not all is well in Foxborough, as the Patriots offense is averaging just 19 points per outing. Brady’s bid to turn around his fortunes against a revitalized Saints club make this soiree our WhatIfSports.com NFL Game of the Week.
New England’s scoring woes are not derivate of Brady’s play. If anything, his performance in the face of a depleted and inexperienced supporting cast further highlighted his excellence. Unfortunately, a lack of weapons finally reared its ugly head in Cincinnati last Sunday, as the Patriots managed a meager six points. Granted, it was the first time in 53 games that Brady failed to throw a touchdown pass, and the Bengals do employ one of the best defenses in the AFC. Nevertheless, his non-existent backfield and still-building rapport with his receivers was on full display in Week 5, showcasing New England is far from a formidable Super Bowl contender.
Luckily for the Pats, Rob Gronkowski is rumored to return this Sunday, Danny Amendola is back after missing three games with a groin injury and LeGarrette Blount is slowly proving his merit as reliable contributor in New England’s running game. Yet it’s the stature of the Pats defense that will ultimately decide this squad’s fruition during the offense’s renovation. Although the group suffered a blow with the season-ending loss of Vince Wilfork, the defense still has playmakers like Jerod Mayo and Aqib Talib that have translated to 10 turnovers (fourth-best in the AFC) and a bend-but-don’t-break pass shield (228.6 yards per game). Continuance of this play is vital in providing the offense enough time to find its’ identity.
New England’s defense will face quite the test when Brees and company enter town. Following a campaign that was stuck in stall thanks to “Bountygate” ramifications, the Saints have come out firing with vengeance during their 5-0 start. New Orleans is averaging over 405 yards per game, fourth-highest in the league, spurred by the NFL’s second-best passing attack (326.8 yards per contest). At 34, the venerable Brees is exhibiting no signs of wear, flaunting a career-best 8.57 yards per completion. Moreover, his rapport with Jimmy Graham, who’s leading the league in receptions, yards and touchdowns, is the most unstoppable connection the league has seen in years.
While Brees and Graham are garnering their share of praise, it’s Ryan’s defense that has opened eyes in the Big Easy. A season removed from giving up a league-high 440.1 yards per game, the Saints have slashed that numbered to a more reasonable 330.4 yards per game, and their 11 turnovers, coupled with the ball security of Brees and the offense, have translated to a plus-six turnover differential, second-best in the NFC. Though the unit is likely to regress a tad, with studs like Curtis Lofton and rookie Kenny Vaccaro, there’s nothing aberrational about the defense’s feats.
So who emerges from this showdown victorious? According to the award-winning WhatIfSports.com simulation engine, the Patriots edge out the Saints 53.4 percent of the time by an average margin of 26-24. For the rest of this week’s scores, check below:
Please note: The Packers-Ravens, Raiders-Chiefs, Saints-Patriots, Steelers-Jets, Colts-Chargers and Eagles-Buccaneers games were resimulated on 10/10 to account for injuries and roster updates.
NFL Week 6
|@ Denver Broncos||91.4||33||Simulate Game|
|@ Kansas City Chiefs||76.0||22||Simulate Game|
|@ Seattle Seahawks||69.6||25||Simulate Game|
|New York Giants||32.9||19||Boxscore|
|@ Chicago Bears||67.1||25||Simulate Game|
|St. Louis Rams||38.8||21||Boxscore|
|@ Houston Texans||61.2||25||Simulate Game|
|@ Dallas Cowboys||60.1||27||Simulate Game|
|@ New York Jets||56.3||21||Simulate Game|
|@ San Francisco 49ers||55.8||17||Simulate Game|
|New Orleans Saints||46.6||24||Boxscore|
|@ New England Patriots||53.4||26||Simulate Game|
|@ Buffalo Bills||45.9||20||Simulate Game|
|@ Minnesota Vikings||44.0||21||Simulate Game|
|Green Bay Packers||57.8||26||Boxscore|
|@ Baltimore Ravens||42.2||24||Simulate Game|
|@ San Diego Chargers||39.5||20||Simulate Game|
|@ Cleveland Browns||39.1||19||Simulate Game|
|@ Tampa Bay Buccaneers||37.4||23||Simulate Game|
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