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The inputs to the 10,001 simulations of each upcoming game are based on a rigorous analysis of each team that considers strength-of-schedule-adjusted team and player ratings and then makes modifications for injuries and depth at each position.
Games of the Week: #10 Cowboys 22 @ #8 Redskins 21
Will he or won't he? This rivalry game comes down to that. On pace for over 2,000 total yards for an impressive 6-3 Washington team, a strong case can be made for Clinton Portis as the MVP of the NFL this season. Unfortunately, for the Redskins, Portis has a knee injury that actually sounds like it has worsened over the bye week. First-year head coach Jim Zorn is calling Portis "50-50" to play, but recent reports make it sound less likely than that as Portis has a second-degree MCL sprain. If he plays and is close to 100%, Washington would be a 65%+ favorite in the simulations - even with Tony Romo's likely return. If he doesn't play (and that's how we simulated it), this game gets interesting. With Ladell Betts also ailing, former NFL MVP Shaun Alexander could get the majority of carries for the Redskins. That puts quite a bit of pressure on Jason Campbell, Santana Moss and the passing game. Just less than half the time, an essentially one-dimensional Washington squad gets by a Dallas team that should be as healthy and as balanced on offense as it has been since the season started. The Cowboys, who may have simply gotten lucky to face the Redskins at the perfect time, win 53.9% of the time and by just one point, 22-21, on average.
#6 Jets 26 @ #17 Patriots 20
Interestingly, this is one of the few places where our power rankings differ greatly from others in the media. We have the Jets on the brink of the top five, while the Patriots are out side of the top 15. The Jets are about as well balanced a team as there is in the NFL outside of the top two (Tennessee and New York Giants). Drastically improved offensive and defensive lines give the Jets a running game that is out-gaining its opponents by 1.4 yards, which is tied for the best margin in the league with Minnesota. The Jets are also just one of two teams (New England the other) in the top six in both kickoff and punt return average. And then there is Brett Favre. While he may be throwing his customary interceptions, the Jets can win game through the air if needed. Favre is second in the league with what would be a career-best 68.8% completion percentage and third in the league with 5.7% of his passes going for touchdowns. New England, on the other hand, is average at best this year - and it's not just the offense. In the off-season, the Patriots lost 31% of their tackles, 58% of their interceptions and 39% of their sacks to year-ending injuries and free agency. The loss of such talented players (as well as the aging of others and learning curve for the replacements) has yielded the league's 27th-ranked pass defense and 19th-ranked rush defense. With injuries to Rodney Harrison and Adalius Thomas, those rankings will not likely go up. And then there is Tom Brady... In the simulations, the Jets win on the road on Thursday night 72.8% of the time and by an average score of 26-20. The most interesting fact about the game? It may be more for a Wild Card spot than the division. With games against the Raiders, Rams, 49ers and Chiefs on the schedule, the Miami Dolphins could win the AFC East. Based on our simulation results, the Jets and Dolphins are currently both projected to finish 10-6 and make the playoffs. Our other playoff teams are the Titans (14-2), Steelers (11-5), Colts (10-6) and Chargers (8-8) in the AFC, and the Giants (12-4), Buccaneers (11-5), Cardinals (11-5), Panthers (10-6), Redskins (10-6), and Bears (10-6) in the NFC.
Click on the Boxscores below to see detailed team and player stat projections for every game.
Week 11 Scores for Every NFL Game
|Matchup||Home Win%||Avg Score||Detroit @ Carolina||92.4||11-32||Boxscore||Oakland @ Miami||75.6||18-28||Boxscore||St. Louis @ San Francisco||74.2||19-31||Boxscore||Denver @ Atlanta||72.6||20-30||Boxscore||Minnesota @ Tampa Bay||71.2||16-26||Boxscore||San Diego @ Pittsburgh||69.1||14-23||Boxscore||Houston @ Indianapolis||66.6||17-26||Boxscore||Baltimore @ New York Giants||62.4||15-23||Boxscore||Chicago @ Green Bay||47.9||23-23||Boxscore||Dallas @ Washington||46.1||22-21||Boxscore||Cleveland @ Buffalo||42.7||26-24||Boxscore||Tennessee @ Jacksonville||28||24-18||Boxscore||New York Jets @ New England||27.8||26-20||Boxscore||New Orleans @ Kansas City||25.2||29-23||Boxscore||Arizona @ Seattle||20.2||28-19||Boxscore||Philadelphia @ Cincinnati||17.9||23-13||Boxscore|
Paul Bessire is the Senior Quantitative Analyst and Content Manager for WhatIfSports.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. With any comments, questions or topic suggestions, Paul can be reached at BtB@whatifsports.com. Thanks!