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2014 NFL Season: Week 1 Predictions
The 2014 NFL season is nearly upon us, and while some teams are worse off than others right now, every team goes into Week 1 with the notion that their team can go all the way.
For many teams, it takes just a couple of weeks to dispel their hopes and dreams.
Week 1 is also one of the more unpredictable weeks, as with offseason changes and the uselessness of the preseason, nobody really knows just how good these 32 NFL teams really are, not even factoring injuries into the equation.
Even so, I will be taking a look at Week 1's matchups, using a sports simulator to come up with score predictions. I will be doing this every week, keeping tabs of these picks and the standings in this 'simulator pick' version of the 2014 season.
With that, here's the results of Week 1's simulations.
- Game of the Week - @Seattle 35, Green Bay 33: it's a close game throughout, but Seattle hangs on thanks to holding Green Bay to two FGs instead of TDs.
- New Orleans 35, @Atlanta 21: the Falcons hold a close lead going into the 4th quarter, but the Saints rattle off 21 points in the final frame to take the victory.
- Buffalo 31, @Chicago 24: A relatively quiet 10-9 Buffalo lead after three quarters, the 4th quarter become chaotic, with Buffalo coming out of it victorious.
- @Houston 38, Washington 17: Does this result surprise you? Even with their problems at QB, Houston isn't that much worse than Washington. The Texans score 21 points in the 2nd quarter to put the Redskins away.
- @Kansas City 20, Tennessee 13: A mostly uninteresting affair, Kansas City hangs on to the lead in the 4th quarter to take the win.
- New England 34, @Miami 21: After a 24-21 NE 1st half, Miami is shut out in the 2nd half.
- @NY Jets 31, Oakland 24: The Jets outscore the Raiders 21-7 in the 4th quarter in a game between two of the league's more, hm, eccentric franchises.
- @Philadelphia 35, Jacksonville 10: This could barely be considered a contest, the Eagles blow out the Jaguars from beginning to end.
- Cleveland 24, @Pittsburgh 17: The Browns mount a 4th quarter comeback, outscoring the Steelers 17-7 to earn a surprising win.
- @St. Louis 42, Minnesota 20: The Rams head into this game with two fewer Sams than most expected, but apparently still have no problems dispatching the Vikings here.
- Snore of the Week - @Baltimore 17, Cincinnati 10: The Ravens go up 14-3 at halftime, and successfully maintain the lead from there.
- San Francisco 34, @Dallas 31: in a continuing theme for Dallas in recent years, a back-and-forth shootout is ultimately lost by the Cowboys when the 49ers score the only points of the 4th quarter via a winning touchdown.
- @Tampa Bay 20, Carolina 16: Perhaps one of the more unlikely results, Tampa Bay scores 10 in the 4th quarter to complete a comeback win. Not simulated: Tampa Bay's new 80's alarm clock look.
- @Denver 35, Indianapolis 13: Now, this simulator doesn't simulate specific player stats, but I'm assuming Peyton Manning showed his former team no mercy.
- NY Giants 31, @Detroit 17: That supposedly explosive Lions offense? It gets shut out in the first half. Reminder, this isn't the same great Giants defense of the past.
- @Arizona 38, San Diego 24: Arizona scores three TDs in the 2nd quarter to put away this game.
If this simulation is 100% correct (and I'm assuming it isn't, but lets pretend it is, anyway), then:
- Every team in the NFC West won their game, while every team in the NFC North lost their game.
- The St. Louis Rams, despite likely starting Shaun Hill for Week 1, put up more points than any other team in Week 1. You could say that's more of a fault against the Vikings defense, but we'll see.
- Only one team in the AFC South won their game: the previously 2-14 Houston Texans.
- Keeping in mind the NFL's intention to crack down on defensive holding, the average points scored by teams was 25.3 per team (an average game score of 31-19). In 2013, teams scored an average of 23.4 points per game.
Not too many takeaways this week, but there'll be more in weeks to come.
In the Week 2 edition, I'll compare these picks with the actual results, and make picks for Week 2's games. I'll also post standings and stats for the simulated picks. Until then...
The picks in this hub were made using the sports simulation website Centrary. This simulator is quick to use but does not track individual player stats in its simulations, only scores. Centrary will be used for picks all season long, with its accuracy recorded and its picks used to set up a secondary "2014 NFL season" standings list, to see just how different its picks and the real NFL results are at season's end.