Each Tuesday, WhatIfSports.com’s NFL simulation engine will provide predictions, box scores and statistics for every NFL game that week. The NFL simulation engine generates detailed information including each team’s chance of winning, average score and comprehensive box score.
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.
Unlike its counterparts in the American sports landscape, football promotes itself in a team-oriented fashion. Despite this framing, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady have risen above the fray, with their rivalry doubling as one of the most celebrated bouts in all of athletics. Ring the bell for Round 16, as the two renew their tug-of-war in Foxborough on Sunday.
Historically, Manning has been on the business end of these meetings. The five-time MVP has won just five of the previous 15 encounters, including one of the past five regular-season meetings. Yet it’s Manning who emerged on top the last time these two met, tossing for 400 yards and two scores to lead the Broncos over the Patriots in the playoffs last January.
The Denver quarterback has made headlines this fall for his career achievements, yet it’s this spotlight that has somewhat overshadowed his 2014 contributions. A year after tossing a league-record 55 touchdowns, Manning is actually having a better campaign this season, flaunting 22 scores versus just three picks through seven contests. Alas, for Manning and the 6-1 Broncos, this has garnered a shoulder-shrug. Following the Super Bowl beat down, and coupled with Manning’s, ahem, "suspect" playoff history, it’s Big Game or bust for this Denver club. Anything short will be considered a failure.
Brady knows all too well of these ambitions. This almost seems unfathomable, but it’s been 10 years since the Pats held high the Lombardi Trophy. Brady owns an impressive 106-31 record during this span, including two Super Bowl appearances. Yet Father Time waits for no man, and at age 37, Brady might not have much sand left in the hour glass.
Of course, this is far from the first time Brady has been against the odds. It was only a month ago, following a fourth-quarter benching amidst a Monday night blowout, that some wondered if Brady was washed-up and that his reign as signal caller in New England was nearing an end. Since that debacle in Arrowhead, Brady has answered these critics, and answered with vigor, racking up 14 touchdowns in a four-game winning streak. Entering Week 8, Brady owns 18 scores on the year with only two picks. Not bad for a washed-up arm.
So which Hall of Famer emerges victorious in their latest clash? According to the award-winning WhatIfSports.com NFL simulation engine, the Broncos come out on top 63.3 percent of the time by an average margin of 26-21. For the rest of this week’s predictions and projections, check below: