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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.
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Game of the Week: Falcons at Dolphins
Though the Dolphins have not had a winning season since 2008, it would be a misnomer to designate the franchise as a bottom feeder of the AFC, as Miami has won seven games in three of the past four campaigns. Unfortunately, the team has lacked a dependent individual under center, correlating to a middling performance on offense. With second-year signal caller Ryan Tannehill and coach Joe Philbin, the South Beach crew feels they can cross the precipice into playoff relevance this fall.
This endeavor is off to a good start, dispatching the Browns and Colts in the NFL's opening weeks. But can the Dolphins continue their good fortune against one of the league's best teams in the Atlanta Falcons? This clash in Sun Life Stadium serves as the perfect grounds for the WhatIfSports.com NFL Game of the Week.
While the Dolphins' state of affairs could best be classified as "no-man's land" in the NFL landscape, the Falcons have been the cream of the crop, with 56 wins in the past five years, including clinching home-field advantage in last season's playoffs. Alas, January has not been kind to the Dirty Birds, compiling just a 1-4 postseason record in this span. If the Falcons fail to make traction toward a Super Bowl this winter, coach Mike Smith, despite his success, could find himself left out in the cold.
Luckily for Smith and Atlanta fans, the club still employs Matt Ryan. Entering his sixth year in the professional ranks, Ryan had his best season in the Georgia Dome in 2012, posting career highs in touchdowns, yards and completion percentage. To take the next step, however, Ryan will need to cut down on his inconsistency through the air. In Atlanta's middle eight games last season, the Boston College product had a disconcerting 11 touchdowns to 11 interceptions, versus an 11-2 ratio in September and a 10-1 proportion in December. Armed with the best receiving corps in the league and a solid front line, Ryan has all the necessary weapons at his disposal to lead the Falcons to the Meadowlands in February. He now needs to showcase that he's the right man to pull the trigger.
Speaking of gunslingers, Miami's Tannehill is quickly inserting his name into the discussion of top field generals in the AFC. Not as heralded as his Draft counterparts like Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III or Russell Wilson, Tannehill put forth a valiant effort in his debut last autumn, throwing just one pick in his final five games in 2012. Tannehill has carried over this proficiency to 2013, owning a 65.3 completion percentage through the first two weeks with 591 yards and two touchdowns. He may not be as exciting as RG3 or post the video-game numbers of Luck, yet Tannehill's arm strength is second to none, and in Philbin's aerial-based attack, could develop into one of the game's elite talents.
Assisting Tannehill in this course is offseason acquisition Mike Wallace. After being shut down in Week 1, the former Steeler wideout bounced back against the Colts, hauling in a career-high nine receptions for 115 yards and a touchdown. Viewed as a deep threat in Pittsburgh, Wallace illustrated he can be a more complete receiver for the Dolphins, a role the team desperately needs him to fill. Brian Hartline is a serviceable possession target, and H-back Charles Clay is proving to be a reliable safety valve for Tannehill. Nevertheless, any aspirations Philibin has of replicating his Green Bay success during his tenure as Packers' offensive coordinator lay in the fruition of Wallace. Through two weeks, the outlook appears promising.
So who comes out in top in this battle of Southern-based squads? According to the award-winning WhatIfSports.com NFL simulation engine, the Falcons win 53.6 percent of the time by an average margin of 22-21. For the rest of this week's predictions, check below:
Please note: The Browns-Vikings, Colts-49ers, Bears-Steelers, Packers-Bengals and Chiefs-Eagles games were resimulated on 9/19 to account for injuries and roster updates.
NFL Week 3
|@ Denver Broncos||90.7||30||Simulate Game|
|@ Seattle Seahawks||84.8||30||Simulate Game|
|@ Minnesota Vikings||72.5||27||Simulate Game|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||35.3||23||Boxscore|
|@ New England Patriots||64.7||28||Simulate Game|
|@ San Francisco 49ers||64.0||24||Simulate Game|
|@ New Orleans Saints||58.8||28||Simulate Game|
|San Diego Chargers||42.4||21||Boxscore|
|@ Tennessee Titans||57.6||24||Simulate Game|
|St. Louis Rams||47.9||26||Boxscore|
|@ Dallas Cowboys||52.1||27||Simulate Game|
|@ Pittsburgh Steelers||49.9||19||Simulate Game|
|@ New York Jets||49.4||20||Simulate Game|
|@ Washington Redskins||48.4||25||Simulate Game|
|Green Bay Packers||52.5||22||Boxscore|
|@ Cincinnati Bengals||47.5||21||Simulate Game|
|@ Miami Dolphins||46.4||21||Simulate Game|
|Kansas City Chiefs||54.0||20||Boxscore|
|@ Philadelphia Eagles||46.0||19||Simulate Game|
|@ Baltimore Ravens||44.0||22||Simulate Game|
|New York Giants||56.0||24||Boxscore|
|@ Carolina Panthers||44.0||22||Simulate Game|
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