WhatIfSports 2014 NFL Week 16 Predictions

BY foxsports • December 18, 2014

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.

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

Game of the Week: Seahawks at Cardinals

That the Seattle Seahawks are on the precipice of grabbing the No. 1 seed in the NFC is no surprise. Not since the early-Aught Patriots has a Super Bowl champion entered a season as overwhelming favorites to defend the title, and rightfully so. With a young defensive corps, strong running attack and sound quarterback play, the Hawks flaunt the prototype nucleus for NFL success.

The standing of the Arizona Cardinals is a different tale. The team finished with a surprising 10-6 mark in 2013; alas, it was a record few believed the Cards could replicate. Even after a hot start, criticism abounded, especially when quarterback Carson Palmer was lost for the season in early November.

Yet here we are in Week 16, and with a victory this Sunday, Arizona can clinch home-field advantage. With Seattle nipping at its tails, this NFC West showdown serves as the WhatIfSports.comGame of the Week.

Though Arizona has already reserved a playoff invite, the club remains behind the eight ball, as backup Drew Stanton is sidelined for a month with a knee injury. Ryan Lindley now takes over the starting reins in the desert. While Lindley was serviceable in relief duties against a stout Rams defense, he'll have his work cut out this weekend. Seattle is holding opposing arms to a league-low 184 yards per contest, and its resistance against the rush (88 yards per game, fifth-best in the NFL) is just as formidable. As the Cards' backfield is also in ruins, one has to wonder if Bruce Arians' magic is running out.

Luckily for the Cards, they still have a few tricks up their sleeve. Russell Wilson is just 3-2 versus Arizona in his career, and Seattle's road woes during Wilson's tenure have been noted at length (21-2 at home, 13-10 away from the Emerald City). There's also the matter of the Cardinals' D, which has been one of the best units in the league all year. Allowing a scant 17.4 points per game and ranking second in turnover differential, the Arizona defense gives adversaries little room for error.

Wilson has just six picks on the year, albeit with nine fumbles (although zero were lost). Conversely, he's not been one to generate offense through the air, either. Most are circling Lindley against the Seattle D as the matchup that decides this affair, yet Wilson won't have a walk through the park by any means. If the Cards are able to shutdown Marshawn Lynch, Seattle could be in a world of trouble.

So who comes out on top in this battle of NFC juggernauts? According to the award-winning WhatIfSports.com NFL simulation engine, the Seahawks emerge victorious 65 percent of the time by an average margin of 23-18. For the rest of this week's projections, check below:

NFL Week 16 Predictions
Matchup Win % Avg. Score  
New York Giants 40.3 21 Boxscore
St. Louis Rams 59.7 24 Simulate Game
Kansas City Chiefs 43.6 22 Boxscore
Pittsburgh Steelers 56.4 24 Simulate Game
Atlanta Falcons 44.7 25 Boxscore
New Orleans Saints 55.3 27 Simulate Game
Minnesota Vikings 44.9 19 Boxscore
Miami Dolphins 55.1 20 Simulate Game
Tennessee Titans 48.2 24 Boxscore
Jacksonville Jaguars 51.8 25 Simulate Game
Cleveland Browns 49.9 23 Boxscore
Carolina Panthers 50.1 24 Simulate Game
San Diego Chargers 54.5 24 Boxscore
@ San Francisco 49ers 45.5 22 Simulate Game
Baltimore Ravens 55.5 22 Boxscore
@ Houston Texans 44.5 20 Simulate Game
Indianapolis Colts 57.1 27 Boxscore
@ Dallas Cowboys 42.9 24 Simulate Game
Denver Broncos 61.5 26 Boxscore
@ Cincinnati Bengals 38.5 23 Simulate Game
Seattle Seahawks 65.0 23 Boxscore
@ Arizona Cardinals 35.0 18 Simulate Game
Philadelphia Eagles 70.5 27 Boxscore
@ Washington Redskins 29.5 20 Simulate Game
New England Patriots 77.4 28 Boxscore
@ New York Jets 22.6 17 Simulate Game
Detroit Lions 79.1 28 Boxscore
@ Chicago Bears 20.9 17 Simulate Game
Buffalo Bills 79.4 26 Boxscore
@ Oakland Raiders 20.6 14 Simulate Game
Green Bay Packers 87.8 32 Boxscore
@ Tampa Bay Buccaneers 12.2 17 Simulate Game

For additional statistics, view our sortable weekly NFL predictions.

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