Accuscore NFL Playoffs First Round Analysis

The Bengals are slight favorites winning just over 50 percent of simulations and on average, the Bengals are only scoring 0.2 more points per sim than the Jets. Both teams will rely on the running game to win the game. Cedric Benson did not play Week 17. He is averaging 3.8 yards per carry with a 58 percent chance of rushing for over 75 yards on over 4.5 ypc. The Bengals have a 67 percent chance of winning if Benson plays well. Thomas Jones has 50 percent chance of averaging over 4.5 ypc and if he does the Jets are 65 percent favorites. Benson has the slightly higher chance of having success running the ball which is why the Bengals have the slight overall advantage. If both RBs have good games Bengals are still slight 50.5 percent favorites because Carson Palmer has a 54 percent chance of throwing at least 1 INT while Mark Sanchez has a 68 percent chance of throwing at least 1 INT. Rookie mistakes from Mark Sanchez is another advantage for the Bengals.

The Cowboys pass rush has sacked the opposing QB at least 3 times during their hot 3 game streak. If they can harass McNabb again this week and limit the big down field pass completions the Cowboys should win. If the Cowboys have 3 or more sacks they have a 74 percent chance of winning, but if they 2 or less the game is a virtual coin flip with Dallas having a 51 percent chance. Tony Romo has thrown just 2 INTs in his past 3 games and there is a high 45 percent chance that he throws no INTs this week. However, if Romo throws 1 or more INTs the Eagles chances increase to 42 percent. If the Eagles can also hold Marion Barber and Felix Jones to under 4.5 yards per carry while also forcing at least 1 Romo INT then Philadelphia has a 57 percent chance of winning by an average score of PHI 25, DAL 22.

The Wes Welker injury definitely hurts. While Julian Edelman is a good potential replacement Tom Brady completes over 77 percent of passes targeted to Welker in simulations vs around 70 percent for Edelman. This drop-off negatively impacts the Patriots third down conversion and Red Zone completion percentage which is one reason why the Patriots are just 54 percent favorites and not 59 percent favorites they are with Welker. The Ravens obviously need to run the ball well to upset New England, but they also need Joe Flacco to have at least 1 TD pass and no more than 1 INT. If Flacco can play well and the team averages 4.5 yards per carry the Ravens are actually 56 percent favorites. However, Flacco struggled against the Raiders pass rush last week and if he is sacked 3+ times and the Ravens defense forces under 2 Patriots turnovers then New England is the heavy 77 percent favorite winning by over 10 points per simulation.

Both teams have key injuries at CB with Charles Woodson and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie hurting. The Cardinals also have a key injury at WR with Anquan Boldin a game-time decision. The Packers are slight favorites because Aaron Rodgers only has a 43 percent chance of throwing an interception while Kurt Warner has a 72 percent chance of throwing 1+ INTs. Rodgers has only been sacked 9 times in his past 7 games. If Rodgers is sacked 2 times or less and has no more than 1 INT, the Packers are heavy 68 percent favorites. However, if the Cardinals can sack Rodgers at least 3 times Arizona can significantly increase the chance of a Rodgers turnover and they would have a 57 percent chance of winning. Ryan Grant has averaged over 4.5 ypc in each of his past 4 games and Arizona has the 28th ranked run defense based on yards per carry allowed. If Grant averages over 4.5 ypc the Packers are 57 percent favorites.

WEEK 18   UPDATED Monday, January 04, 2010
300109004 NYJ 49.8% 19.2 CIN 50.2% 19.4
300109006 PHI 33.5% 21.6 DAL 66.5% 27.5
300110017 BAL 46.3% 22.9 NE 53.7% 24.1
300110022 GB 52.3% 26.3 ARI 47.7% 25.7
*SCORE:  Average points scored by each team in 10,000 simulations