WhatIfSports 2014 NFL Conference Predictions

BY foxsports • January 13, 2015

Throughout the playoffs, 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 when necessary.

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

AFC Conference Championship: Colts at Patriots

Due to technological limitations that come with smartphone battery life, New England running back Jonas Gray's "Hello, NFL." breakthrough was limited to one shining moment against the Colts.

As a quick refresher, Gray rushed 37 times for 201 yards with four touchdowns in the Week 11 contest. By comparison, he's rushed 20 times for 80 yards in five appearances since the breakout. In addition to losing his place in the Patriots' pecking order, New England did ink and insert LeGarrette Blount into the mix.

However, since the Colts game, the Patriots ninth-ranked rushing game has averaged just 83 yards per game - 21 fewer rush yards per game than their season-long average. Tom Brady has completed 65 percent of his passes for 261 yards per game with 12 touchdowns and five interceptions during that same stretch. (Note: Brady did not play the entire Week 17 game against the Bills).

Andrew Luck has thrown eight interceptions in his past seven games and led the league in fumbles:fumbles lost with a 13:6 ratio during the regular season. (Note: Luck did not play the entire Week 17 game against the Titans). We only bring this up because the Patriots' defense feasts on turnovers to the tune of 110 points scored off fumbles and interceptions. Their net turnover margin of +61 ranked second in the NFL during the regular season behind the Packers.

So which team is Super Bowl-bound? According to the WhatIfSports.com simulation engine, the Patriots win 60.1 percent of the time by an average score of 26-22.

AFC Conference Championship: Colts at Patriots
Matchup Win% Avg Score WIS Interactive
Indianapolis Colts 39.9 22 Boxscore
New England Patriots 60.1 26 Simulate Game


NFC Conference Championship: Packers at Seahawks

Well, the Packers scored the most points in the NFL this season (486) and the Seahawks allowed the fewest (254). However, a modification to one major variable places the Packers at a disadvantage within WhatIfSports.com's statistically-based simulation engine. Aaron Rodgers' shredded calf may have been able to gingerly move around the pocket against the Cowboys, but don't think for a second the Seahawks front seven will provide A-Rod a comfy pocket from which to throw from Sunday.

During their first meeting, back in Week 1, well before Rodgers instructed us all to R-E-L-A-X, Packers running back Eddie Lacy finished with 34 yards on 12 carries. Since November 16 - a stretch of eight games - Lacy has averaged 95 rush yards per game with 160 extra in the passing game with eight total touchdowns.

In order for the Packers to win and to take some pressure off Rodgers, Green Bay could use a few points off turnovers - a category in which they led during the regular season. The Packers scored 109 points off turnovers or 24 more than the Seahawks. Their +67 net points off turnovers were 20 more than Seattle.

Which team will represent the NFC in the Super Bowl? According to the WhatIfSports.com simulation engine, the Seahawks will have a chance to defend their crown, winning 54.5 percent of the time by an average margin of 24-22.

NFC Conference Championship: Packers at Seahawks
Matchup Win% Avg Score WIS Interactive
Green Bay Packers 45.5 22 Boxscore
Seattle Seahawks 54.5 24 Simulate Game

For additional statistics, view our sortable weekly NFL predictions.



share story