2010 NFL Week 3 Picks and Predictions from Whatifsports.com From WhatIfSports.com image

2010 NFL Week 3 Picks and Predictions

NFL Week 3 box scores and stats included

By Ryan Fowler and Joel Beall - Whatifsports.com
September 21st, 2010

Each Tuesday morning, 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 2010 NFL season.

Check out our 2010 NFL Season-to-Date page to follow our accuracy week-to-week and find Locks and Upsets of the Week.

<a href="http://msn.foxsports.com/video?vid=06a4e398-bf23-496b-9ab2-131111606b0a" target="_new" title="">WhatIfSports: NFL Game of the Week</a>

We encourage you to interact with our 2010 NFL SimMatchup feature (which is FREE) to simulate any of the games below as many times as you want. You also have the option of adjusting the depth charts to your liking.

Game of the Week: Falcons vs Saints

NFL fans can be a fickle bunch. Their collective mood varies week to week, quarter to quarter, possession to possession. This sentiment is amplified following a team's season-opening performance. A win correlates into a franchise's followers booking their Super Bowl accommodations; a loss spirals supporters into panic. Case in point: the New York Jets, who arrived with unparalleled hype and hoopla thanks to HBO's Hardknocks and proclamations from pompous coach Rex Ryan. Yet after suffering a defeat to the Baltimore Ravens on Monday night, seemingly the entire football world wrote off Gang Green's title aspirations. Pigskin pundits blasted New York management for cutting ties with running back Thomas Jones, signing washed-up veterans, and welcoming the distraction of a reality series into training camp. Former star Joe Namath took issue with the team, stating the current Jets needed to "shut up and play." Ryan was crucified for his game plan, whose conservative nature seemed to contradict the coach's brash attitude and assertions. Keep in mind, New York lost by just ONE POINT. But in the NFL, there's a thin line between bliss and bitterness.

The Atlanta Falcons were the recipients of similar vitriol after a Week 1 defeat to Dennis Dixon and the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Falcons were expected to bounce back from a disappointing and injury-plagued 2009, and competing against Dixon, a 3rd string quarterback, appeared to be just what the doctor ordered. Unfortunately for the Falcons, Troy Pomamalu and the Steeler defense had a different itinerary in mind, as Pittsburgh came out victorious in a 15-9 overtime slugfest. Soon after, Mike Smith's squad was showered with criticisms and condemnations. Would Matt Ryan fall short of his projected potential? Was Michael Turner's 2008 an aberration? After Roddy White, were there any viable weapons in the aerial arsenal?

Whatever questions abounded, the Falcons answered, and answered with vigor. A 41-7 drubbing of defending NFC West champion Arizona seemed to lay to rest doubts among the Dirty-Bird backers, if only for a week. Matty Ice threw for 225 yards and 3 touchdowns, with a QB rating of 117.3. The Burner rushed for 75 yards on just 9 carries before succumbing to an injury (although not feared to be serious). Receivers not named White accounted for 14 receptions on Sunday. In short, Atlanta looked like the playoff-contending team that many had forecasted.

In reality, the Falcons fate is somewhere between their two performances. The Pittsburgh D, after shutting down Chris Johnson and Vince Young in Week 2, looks to have reclaimed their tenacious tendencies that led them to a Super Bowl in 2008. Meanwhile, the Cardinals are doing their best Little Giants impersonation (well, at least the Little Giants BEFORE they were visited by John Madden). Atlanta travels to the Big Easy this week to tackle the Saints, off to a 2-0 start in their title defense. The WhatIfSports engines give the edge to New Orleans, who come out on top of 72.1% of the simulations with an average score of 28-19.

But rest assured, no matter what the outcome, one fan base will be making January playoff plans while the other will willow in its own misery. At least until next week's game.

NFL Week 3
MatchupWin%Avg Score
Detroit Lions11.812Boxscore
@ Minnesota Vikings88.229Simulate Game
Cleveland Browns25.115Boxscore
@ Baltimore Ravens74.927Simulate Game
Buffalo Bills25.713Boxscore
@ New England Patriots74.323Simulate Game
Atlanta Falcons27.919Boxscore
@ New Orleans Saints72.128Simulate Game
Oakland Raiders38.318Boxscore
@ Arizona Cardinals61.724Simulate Game
Dallas Cowboys40.523Boxscore
@ Houston Texans59.527Simulate Game
New York Jets43.314Boxscore
@ Miami Dolphins56.718Simulate Game
Pittsburgh Steelers50.318Boxscore
@ Tampa Bay Buccaneers49.717Simulate Game
Tennessee Titans50.724Boxscore
@ New York Giants49.323Simulate Game
Cincinnati Bengals54.720Boxscore
@ Carolina Panthers45.319Simulate Game
Indianapolis Colts60.522Boxscore
@ Denver Broncos39.520Simulate Game
San Francisco 49ers73.120Boxscore
@ Kansas City Chiefs26.915Simulate Game
Philadelphia Eagles74.526Boxscore
@ Jacksonville Jaguars25.519Simulate Game
Washington Redskins75.625Boxscore
@ St. Louis Rams24.418Simulate Game
Green Bay Packers75.622Boxscore
@ Chicago Bears24.415Simulate Game
San Diego Chargers83.826Boxscore
@ Seattle Seahawks16.215Simulate Game

Ryan Fowler is the Content Manager for Whatifsports.com. He can be reached at rfowler@whatifsports.com.

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