2014 NFL Week 1 Picks and Predictions From WhatIfSports.com image

2014 NFL Week 1 Picks and Predictions

NFL Week 1 box scores and stats included

WhatIfSports.com
September 2, 2014

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 2014 NFL season.

Check out our 2014 NFL Season-to-Date page to follow our accuracy week-to-week and find Locks and Upsets of the Week.

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Game of the Week: 49ers at Cowboys

Historically, the Cowboys-49ers rivalry has been one of the more heated engagements in the NFL. Unfortunately, the two franchises have been on different wavelengths as of late. Under Jim Harbaugh, San Francisco has racked up 36 victories in the past three seasons, tops in the NFC during that span. Dallas...well, America's team hasn't enjoyed a winning campaign since 2009.

Not to say this duel has lost its fire. Boasting two of the league's most zealous fan bases, coupled with the excitement that's intrinsic to the NFL's opening weekend, you better believe Jerry's World will be rocking for this showdown. The Niners visit to Dallas serves as the WhatIfSports.com Game of the Week.

Though the 49ers enter 2014 as one of the more popular Super Bowl picks, the club is far from flawless. Three-time All-Pro NaVorro Bowman will likely miss the first half of the season, as the linebacker continues to recover from devastating ACL and MCL tears in the team's final playoff game last year. Also expected to miss time is the talented-but-troubled Aldon Smith, who will probably face a six-to-eight game suspension for various off-the-field incendiary matters.

Not to say the defensive cupboard is completely bare. Coordinator Vic Fangio is the best in the business, bad man Patrick Willis remains a force in the middle and Justin Smith, Ahmad Brooks and Eric Reid are Pro-Bowl playmakers. With a young, inexperienced secondary, San Francisco's resistance may be more vulnerable than in years' past, but the unit will still be a nightmare for opposing offenses.

Speaking of offenses, the Niners made some under-the-radar moves this past offseason to shore up their attack. Veterans Stevie Johnson and Brandon Lloyd have bolstered the receiving ranks. Along with Vernon Davis, Anquan Boldin and Michael Crabtree, Colin Kaepernick has five viable targets in the receiving arena, which should correlate to an uptick in the quarterback's efficiency. Also aiding things in the productivity front will be rookie running back Carlos Hyde. While Frank Gore endures as the primary ball carrier, the organization wants to monitor his touches this season to keep Gore fresh for January. As such, envision Hyde, who's turned in a remarkable performance in training camp, to be a big factor of the San Francisco offense in 2014. This dexterity on both sides of the ball is what makes the 49ers such a formidable challenger.

On the opposite side of the depth spectrum sits the Cowboys. No defense has been hit harder in the past few months than Dallas. The unit lost Jason Hatcher to free agency, DeMarcus Ware to cost-cutting measures, Sean Lee and draft pick Demarcus Lawrence to injury and Orlando Scandrick to suspension. Coordinator Rod Marinelli will have his work cut out; alas, it's an endeavor that might be too high of a hurdle.

Luckily the Cowboys have one of the more explosive offenses in the conference. Tony Romo, who tossed for 31 touchdowns and just 10 picks last season, helms an air attack that's second to none thanks to the contributions of Dez Bryant, Jason Witten and rising star Terrance Williams. If DeMarco Murray can stay healthy - concededly, a big "if" - don't be surprised if Dallas leads the NFC in scoring.

So who comes out on top in the battle of NFC titans? According to the award-winning WhatIfSports.com simulation engine, the 49ers get the W 68.9 percent of the time by an average margin of 25-19. For the rest of this week's predictions, check below:

NFL Week 1 Predictions
MatchupWin%Avg Score
Jacksonville Jaguars23.918Boxscore
@ Philadelphia Eagles76.128Simulate Game
Oakland Raiders30.016Boxscore
@ New York Jets70.023Simulate Game
Indianapolis Colts33.321Boxscore
@ Denver Broncos66.725Simulate Game
Tennessee Titans36.418Boxscore
@ Kansas City Chiefs63.623Simulate Game
Green Bay Packers38.819Boxscore
@ Seattle Seahawks61.223Simulate Game
Buffalo Bills39.722Boxscore
@ Chicago Bears60.325Simulate Game
Cincinnati Bengals42.019Boxscore
@ Baltimore Ravens58.021Simulate Game
New York Giants43.623Boxscore
@ Detroit Lions56.426Simulate Game
Minnesota Vikings43.821Boxscore
@ St. Louis Rams56.222Simulate Game
San Diego Chargers45.124Boxscore
@ Arizona Cardinals54.926Simulate Game
Cleveland Browns46.523Boxscore
@ Pittsburgh Steelers53.524Simulate Game
New Orleans Saints53.926Boxscore
@ Atlanta Falcons46.123Simulate Game
Washington Redskins63.424Boxscore
@ Houston Texans36.619Simulate Game
Carolina Panthers65.426Boxscore
@ Tampa Bay Buccaneers34.621Simulate Game
New England Patriots67.726Boxscore
@ Miami Dolphins32.319Simulate Game
San Francisco 49ers68.925Boxscore
@ Dallas Cowboys31.119Simulate Game

Joel Beall is the Assistant Content Manager for WhatIfSports.com. He can be reached at jbeall@whatifsports.com.

Jake Westrich is the Digital Content Coordinator for WhatIfSports.com. He can be reached at jwestrich@whatifsports.com.

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