NFL Playoff Picks: Madden Simulations for Each Wild Card Game
Wild Card Weekend in the NFL starts tomorrow, as the Bengals face the Texans, and the Saints host the Lions. Then on Sunday, the Atlanta Falcons will match up against the New York Giants, as the Denver Broncos and Pittsburgh Steelers will play in Denver.
There are countless scenarios for how each game could go, and there are many people out there predicting how they think the game will go. In the spirit of making playoff predictions, I decided to create my own predictions based on something a little different: simulating each game through my favorite video game, Madden '12.
In the coming slides, I will illustrate what happened in each on my Madden simulations, from the touchdowns to the big plays to the big playmakers in each game.
Texans Survive Late Bengals Rally, Win Their First Franchise Playoff Game, 45-28
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The Bengals got the first score in this game as Andy Dalton threw a 45-yard pass to his favorite target, A.J. Green. However, they were only able to score three points on the drive as they failed to get into the end zone. Bengals up, 3-0.
However, the remainder of the first half would be dominated by y the Texans, as they put together two long scoring drives to go up 14-3. An interception by Texans cornerback Jason Allen would be returned for a touchdown, and the Texans would then go up 21-3.
The Texans would mount one more drive before halftime to find themselves up 28-6. Backup quarterback T.J. Yates was played very conservatively, as he only threw a deep ball twice in the first half, and let running back Arian Foster take over the load of the offense, rushing for over 100 yards in the first half.
In the third quarter however, the Bengals would rally, as Andy Dalton, who threw two interceptions in the first half, finally got hot and with the help of a strong rushing attack by Cedric Benson, scored 14 unanswered points in the third quarter, and all of a sudden, the Bengals were down 28-20.
Yates would throw his first interception in the fourth quarter, which the Bengals took advantage of, scoring another touchdown and tying the game with a two-point conversion. All of a sudden, the Texans' 22-point lead at the half had been squandered, and they were in danger of the Bengals taking over the game.
However, the Texans would revive their rushing attack, even without Arian Foster, who went out at the beginning of the fourth with a collarbone injury. The Texans would break the tie by scoring a field goal with nind minutes left to play.
After a Bengals three and out, the Texans would get the ball again, where they would clinch the game with two minutes left to play, scoring a touchdown and taking a 38-28 lead. And just moments later, Andy Dalton would throw his third interception of the day, which Texans running back Ben Tate would turn into more points, scoring another touchdown.
The Bengals would try once more to pull off a miracle, but Dalton threw his fourth interception as time expired, and the game was over as the Texans survive a third-quarter scare to win 45-28.
T.J. Yates: 145 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT
Andy Dalton: 249 yards, 2 TD, 4 INT
Arian Foster: 172 rushing yards
Ben Tate, 111 rushing yards, 3 TD
Cedric Benson, 173 rushing yards
Jacoby Jones: 100 yards
Andre Johnson: 27 yards, 1 TD
Kevin Walter: 6 yards, 1 TD
A.J. Green: 81 yards, 1 TD
Andre Caldwell: 62 yards, 1 TD
J.J. Watt: 3 sacks
Jonathan Joseph: 2 INTs
Jason Allen: 1 INT, 1 TD
Glover Quin, Jr: 1 INT
Nate Clements: 1 INT
Saints Move on to the Divisional Round in a 38-31 Shootout
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The Saints got off to a hot start, with Drew Brees throwing a touchdown pass just minutes into the game, and then soon after, Patrick Robinson intercepted a Matt Stafford pass.
The Saints started off 14-0, but the Lions would come back, with Stafford throwing a touchdown pass late in the second quarter to narrow the lead to 14-10. However, Brees would lead his hot offense down the field for a score at the very end of the half, and the Saints led going into halftime 21-10.
The Saints would get the ball at the beginning of the third quarter, where they would have to settle for a field goal. The Lions took advantage of the stop to come within one touchdown, trailing 24-17. However, an 80-yard Mark Ingram touchdown run would bring the Saints back to a two touchdown lead, going into the fourth quarter leading 31-17.
The Lions would rally in the fourth, scoring two touchdowns to tie the game, 31-31, but as the fourth quarter began to wind down, Brees led the Saints on another drive to give them a 38-31 advantage.
The Lions had one minute to go 80 yards to get the touchdown, but were hindered when Stafford went out with an injury. Shawn Hill took over, and while he led the Lions to mid-field, he threw a late interception that preserved the Saints win, 38-31.
Drew Brees: 274 yards, 2 TD
Matt Stafford: 234 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT
Shaun Hill: 55 yards, 1 INT
Mark Ingram: 121 yards, 3 TD
Kevin Smith: 181 yards
Marques Colston: 146 yards
Jimmy Graham: 30 yards, 1 TD
Calvin Johnson: 121 yards, 1 TD
Titus Young: 98 yards, 1 TD
Nate Burleson: 65 yards, 1 TD
Aubrayo Franklin: 2 sacks
Patrick Robinson: 1 sack, 1 INT
Roman Harper: 1 INT
Kyle Van Den Bosch: 1 sack
Falcons Take Advantage of Giant Mistakes, Win 31-24
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The Falcons started out slow in this game, down 10-3 in the first quarter, with Matt Ryan having thrown an interception. But a 85-yard kick return for a touchdown by Harry Douglas would tie the game back up, and would key a 21-point scoring run that would give the Falcons a 24-10 lead shortly after halftime.
Atlanta was up 17-10 at the beginning of the third, but an Eli Manning interception gave the Falcons perfect field position, which they quickly cashed into points. The Falcons took a 24-10 lead, forcing the Giants to chase them throughout the rest of the game. Despite scoring 14 points in the second half, the Giants were not able to do so, thanks to a Turner 80-yard touchdown run in the beginning of the fourth quarter.
Manning tried to mount another legendary comeback in the fourth quarter, but was not able to do so, falling to the Falcons 31-24.
Matt Ryan: 119 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
Eli Manning: 101 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT
Michael Turner: 129 yards, 2 TD
Ahmad Bradshaw: 137 yards, 1 TD
Tony Gonzales: 64 yards
Roddy White: 33 yards
Michael Turner: 10 yards, 1 TD
Mario Manningham: 13 yards, 1 TD
Ahmad Bradshaw: 7 yards, 1 TD
Victor Cruz: 33 yards
Corey Peters: 2 sacks
Brent Grimes: 1 INT
Antrel Rolle: 1 INT
Mewelde Moore Saves the Day for the Steelers in a 14-10 Win
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The Broncos and the Steelers played a highly physical, defensive game for the first three quarters, yielding in a 3-0 lead for Denver going into the fourth quarter.
However, in the last four minutes of the game, both offensives finally broke through, starting with a drive led by Ben Roethlisberger that ended in a touchdown and a 7-3 lead for Pittsburgh with two-and-a-half minutes left to play.
However, in the final two minutes, Tim Tebow led the Broncos on his own drive, culminating in a 4-yard touchdown run for Tebow that gave the Broncos a 10-7 lead with just one second left on the clock.
With one second left, Mewelde Moore pulled off a miracle, returning Denver's kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown as time expired, giving the Steelers a 14-10 win over Denver.
Tim Tebow: 106 yards, 1 INT
Ben Roethlisberger: 58 yards
Rashard Mendenhall: 37 yards
Tim Tebow: 21 yards, 1 TD
Doug Johnson: 2 yards, 1 TD
Demaryius Thomas: 30 yards
Hines Ward: 29 yards
Eddie Royal: 27 yards
Eric Decker: 27 yards
Lawrence Timmons: 1 INT