Fantasy football is played with statistics and probabilities. NFL football is played with human beings. If stats do not lie, then the Pittsburgh Steelers will be better than they were in 2012.
Shutdown Corner on Yahoo! Sports recently featured PredictionMachine.com and its annual NFL season simulation. The 'Predictalator' is the ultimate football simulator, which uses statistical probability to quantify offensive trends, injury frequency and anomalous occurrences which shift momentum from team to team during any given week. The simulation spells out every single play of the regular season and the post-season, 50,000 times.
For 2013, the San Francisco 49ers are projected to win the Super Bowl against the Denver Broncos. The 49ers made the 'big game' in 20.1 percent of the simulations run. The Broncos make it 14.6 percent of the time.
The Steelers make the playoffs per the simulation, as the sixth seed in the AFC; but lose the opening Wild Card round to the Houston Texans, who lose the following week to the New England Patriots, the team the Broncos will beat in the AFC championship game. The simulator also places the Baltimore Ravens as the AFC fifth seed, and the Cincinnati Bengals as the AFC North champs.
As Shutdown Corner points out, simulating football is not an exact science. Last year, the simulation predicted the Philadelphia Eagles would win the Super Bowl against the Patriots. The Eagles instead went 4-12 on a giveaway spree.
However, if the law of averages holds true, the Steelers will not miss the playoffs as they did last year, but through the other 49,999 simulations Pittsburgh is projected to 'struggle to get to .500'. Many human experts have predicted a similar downfall for this year's Steelers squad, although it will take football fields and not computer simulations to find out if injury trends will persist.
Perhaps had the Steelers been given 50,000 opportunities to play the 2012 season over and over, one 8-8 finish would not be the everlasting sour taste in the mouth of a disappointed fan-base.
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