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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: Packers at Bears
A Packers-Bears rendezvous hardly needs added gravitas. The Black and Blue battle is one of the most heated (God help Shea McClellin if he ever wonders into Wisconsin) and balanced (Chicago leads by a thin margin of 93-86-6) in league history.
Yet Week's 17 rendition of this rivalry holds a gridiron gratuity: whoever emerges victorious claims the NFC North division title, punching their ticket into the postseason.
It's the simplest concept in sports: win and you're in. This Windy City showdown between the Bears and Packers serves as our WhatIfSports.com Game of the Week.
Historically known for their aerial acrobatics, the Packers have been making their offensive bones on the ground this season, ranking seventh in team rushing at 131.7 yards per contest. The spark plug for this endeavor has been rookie rusher Eddie Lacy. A concussion in early September put his debut on hold, but since his return in October, few have been better in the backfield than Lacy, averaging 88.4 terrain yards per outing. Additionally, the Alabama product has been sound in the receiving arena, hauling in 33 balls for 242 yards, and has notched 10 trips to pay dirt this season. Initially viewed as a complementary piece, Lacy is proving his merit as the focal point of the Green Bay attack.
Alas, all Cheesehead eyes will be on No. 12 come Sunday, as "RODGERS WATCH" enters its eighth week. Since Chicago's McClellin fractured Aaron Rodgers' collarbone on November 4, the Packers are a feeble 2-5-1. Aside from a comeback against the Cowboys, the signal caller position has struggled mightily in Rodgers' absence. (And even the Week 15 victory could be attributed to Dallas' secondary woes.) Any hopes of a Green Bay venture into the postseason reside in a Rodgers' revival. Given his lack of recovery in Week 16, it's an aspiration that's ominous at the moment.
Chicago can sympathize with issues under center. Envisioned to progress under quarterback guru Marc Trestman this fall, Jay Cutler's performance has been prosaic. Concededly, the 30-year-old arm has wrestled with a host of injuries this campaign, but with a talented receiving arsenal, a higher level of output is expected. Seconding this sentiment was the impressive showing in relief by journeyman Josh McCown (13 touchdowns, one interception). If Cutler fails to guide the Bears to January, the petulant field general could be bidding Soldier Field adieu.
Of course, the Chicago defense's turnstile impersonation hasn't helped. "Monsters of the Midway" this unit is not, allowing 29.7 points per game (third-most in the NFL). Worse, the defensive front has been anything but, with adversaries logging a league-high 161.5 yards per appearance. Besides lighting up the scoreboard, this apathetic display against soil ventures keeps Matt Forte and the Bears offense on the sideline. For the Bears to come out on top, a semblance of push is imperative from the Chicago resistance.
So who ascends the NFC North throne? According to the award-winning WhatIfSports.com simulation engine, the Packers pull out the W 54.0 percent of the time by an average margin of 25-24. For the rest of this week's projections, check below:
Please note: The Chiefs-Chargers, Packers-Bears, 49ers-Cardinals, Panthers-Falcons, Texans-Titans, Browns-Steelers, Redskins-Giants, Lions-Vikings and Bills-Patriots games were resimulated on 12/26 to account for injuries and roster updates.
NFL Week 17
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||26.1||20||Boxscore|
|@ New Orleans Saints||73.9||29||Simulate Game|
|St. Louis Rams||29.2||17||Boxscore|
|@ Seattle Seahawks||70.8||24||Simulate Game|
|@ New England Patriots||68.0||27||Simulate Game|
|Kansas City Chiefs||36.7||19||Boxscore|
|@ San Diego Chargers||63.3||23||Simulate Game|
|@ Pittsburgh Steelers||61.1||24||Simulate Game|
|@ Indianapolis Colts||60.3||23||Simulate Game|
|@ Tennessee Titans||59.9||23||Simulate Game|
|@ New York Giants||59.0||26||Simulate Game|
|New York Jets||44.9||18||Boxscore|
|@ Miami Dolphins||55.1||19||Simulate Game|
|@ Cincinnati Bengals||52.3||20||Simulate Game|
|Green Bay Packers||54.0||25||Boxscore|
|@ Chicago Bears||46.0||24||Simulate Game|
|San Francisco 49ers||56.4||20||Boxscore|
|@ Arizona Cardinals||43.6||17||Simulate Game|
|@ Minnesota Vikings||39.1||24||Simulate Game|
|@ Atlanta Falcons||34.7||20||Simulate Game|
|@ Dallas Cowboys||31.1||23||Simulate Game|
|@ Oakland Raiders||20.7||17||Simulate Game|
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