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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: Redskins at Broncos
While a matchup featuring Washington traveling to Denver may have seemed like a must-see affair during the preseason, a glance at the NFL standings seems to override this perspective. The Burgundy and Gold sit in third place in the downtrodden NFC East with a 2-4 record, while the Broncos are riding high at a 6-1 mark.
However, Washington's plight is not as problematic as it initially appears, as Mike Shanahan's club is coming off two wins in the last three weeks, and is just a 1 ½ out of first place in its division. On the other end of the spectrum, Denver, once deemed infallible, showed signs of vulnerability in its Sunday night loss to the Colts. Serving as a juncture of sorts for both teams, this Mile High matchup doubles as our WhatIfSports.com Game of the Week.
The once-a-week nature of the NFL schedule lends itself to exaggeration from the previous game's outcomes, as a win sprinkles nothing but praise and spurs hope for the rest of the season while a loss puts the rest of the fall's forecast in doubt. Keeping this sentiment in mind, the Broncos, still very much the Super Bowl favorite in the AFC, have to be questioning the merit of their defense. With the return of All-Pro linebacker Von Miller, the Denver resistance was imagined to be a wrecking ball against the Colts. Instead, Indianapolis lit up the Orange Crush for 39 points, with Andrew Luck finding the end zone four times and the Colts rushing game notching 121 yards. Worse, the revered Champ Bailey re-injured his left foot, and is expected to miss multiple weeks. Considering the Broncos rank last in the NFL in pass yards surrendered, it's not an absence they can afford.
Luckily the Broncos have the league's top-ranked offense to pacify these woes. The Broncos are averaging 42.6 points per game, an astonishing 12 points higher than the second-place Bears. Obviously the catalyst for these fireworks has been Peyton Manning and the air attack, posting a league-best 361.3 yards per outing, but the rushing game hasn't been too shabby, either. Led by the rejuvenated Knowshon Moreno, Denver has the second-most ground scores on the season, eight of which come from Moreno. Averaging 4.3 yards per attempt and proving himself a force in the receiving arena as well (23 catches, 198 yards), Moreno's presence gives Manning a viable weapon in the backfield, a much-needed complement to shoulder some of the offensive responsibility. With Ronnie Hillman's ball-security issues and Monte Ball's inexperience, envision Moreno receiving a higher allotment of opportunities going forward.
Washington also flaunts a high-octane offense, as its 415.8 yards per game are fourth-most in the NFL. This ball club has two distinct points of difference from Denver: 1) Washington is a more balanced scheme, with 274.3 pass yards and 141.5 rush yards (fourth-highest in the league) per outing and 2) Washington hasn't translated this yardage accumulation to the scoreboard, averaging 25.3 points per contest, a figure that's inflated by Week 7's 45 points against a beat-up and depleted Bears defense. On the bright side, Robert Griffin III had his first solid display since returning from knee injury, and Alfred Morris and Roy Helu are proving a devastating 1-2 punch on the terrain. Given the sorry state of the defenses in its division, Washington's offense keeps the team very much alive in the NFC East race.
Alas, we would be remiss in failing to mention Washington's own defensive woes. Washington is giving up 30.7 points per game, fourth-worst in football. Most of this damage has come on the soil, with Washington conceding a league-high nine rushing scores and 126.2 yards per game. If Shanahan holds aspirations of another playoff berth, this defensive weakness will need to be alleviated immediately.
So who comes out on top in this Rocky Mountain shootout? According to the award-winning WhatIfSports.com pro football simulation engine, the Broncos emerge victorious 71 percent of the time by an average margin of 29-23. For the rest of this week's scores, check below:
Please note: All games were resimulated on 10/24 to account for injuries and roster updates.
NFL Week 8
|@ Denver Broncos||72.3||30||Simulate Game|
|@ Kansas City Chiefs||72.2||22||Simulate Game|
|@ New Orleans Saints||60.9||27||Simulate Game|
|New York Giants||40.3||22||Boxscore|
|@ Philadelphia Eagles||59.7||25||Simulate Game|
|New York Jets||43.9||18||Boxscore|
|@ Cincinnati Bengals||56.1||20||Simulate Game|
|@ New England Patriots||55.9||24||Simulate Game|
|@ Detroit Lions||54.0||26||Simulate Game|
|@ Arizona Cardinals||47.8||24||Simulate Game|
|Green Bay Packers||58.8||27||Boxscore|
|@ Minnesota Vikings||41.2||23||Simulate Game|
|@ Oakland Raiders||32.9||17||Simulate Game|
|@ Tampa Bay Buccaneers||30.4||17||Simulate Game|
|San Francisco 49ers||80.9||26||Boxscore|
|@ Jacksonville Jaguars||19.1||14||Simulate Game|
|@ St. Louis Rams||13.4||13||Simulate Game|
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