2010 NFL Week 11 Picks and Predictions

Jake WestrichSenior Writer INovember 16, 2010

INDIANAPOLIS - NOVEMBER 15:  Quarterback Peyton Manning #18 of the Indianapolis Colts greets Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots after the game at Lucas Oil Stadium on November 15, 2009 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  The Colts won the game 35-34.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Each Tuesday morning, Whatifsports.com's NFL simulation engine will provide you with predictions, box scores and statistics for every NFL game that week. The NFL simulation engine generates detailed information including the home team's chances of winning (Home Win Percent), average score and comprehensive box score link. If you want to share your new found NFL knowledge with friends and family, make sure to check out our NFL Widgets on the WhatIf To Go page or click on the social networking share bar located at the top and bottom of the article.

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 2010 NFL season.

Check out our 2010 NFL Season-to-Date page to follow our accuracy week-to-week and find Locks and Upsets of the Week.

Game of the Week: Colts at Patriots

New England and Indianapolis seem to be the two franchises impervious to NFL parity. In the past decade, the Patriots and Colts have combined for 227 wins and have represented the AFC six times in the Super Bowl. Quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Tom Brady are widely considered the two best signal callers in the league, and Bill Belichick and Bill Polian are second to none in evaluating talent.

It's in this regard that the almost-yearly New England and Indianapolis battles have become the NFL's greatest non-divisional rivalry of the 21st century. In their last ten meetings, the squads have split the series 5-5, although Indianapolis has won five of the past six contests (including the 2006 AFC Championship).

The Pats and Colts come into this year's skirmish will similar backdrops in 2010. Each squad avenged disappointing performances in Week 9 by securing victories in Week 10. Both lead their respective divisions (7-2 Pats are tied with New York in the East and the 6-3 Colts hold a one game advantage over Tennessee in the South) despite multiple injury and roster alterations. And the two are uncharacteristically awful on defense this season (Indianapolis is 29th in rushing while New England is 30th in passing).

For Indianapolis, the offensive equation is the same as it's been the entire Manning Era: attack through the air. Yet even by Manning's enormously high standards, the 2010 campaign has been impressive. It's not that the former Tennessee Volunteer is posting ridiculous passing figures, but how. Manning has thrown for 2,663 yards and 16 touchdowns despite the prolonged absences of Joseph Addai, security blanket Dallas Clark and wideouts Austin Collie, Pierre Garcon and Anthony Gonzalez. Put it this way: only Manning could make Jacob Tamme a fantasy commodity.

Of course, Tom Brady hasn't exactly been provided a stable of stars to work with either. After jettisoning noted discontent Randy Moss, Brady and the Pats returned to their aerial assault strategy during their Super Bowl days: mainly, to spread the ball around to multiple receivers. And the recipients of Brady's targets? The recently re-acquired Deion Branch, second-year WR Brandon Tate, rookie tight-ends Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski, and practice squad-signee Danny Woodhead. Let's just say these wideouts won't be referred to as a Murderer's Row anytime soon. Granted, former All-Pro Wes Welker has been effective as of late, but the lingering effects of the receiver's injury are still prominent.

As mentioned, both teams have struggled on defense. Although New England and Indianapolis tend to favor a "bend-but-don't-break" philosophy, injuries can be attributed to their pedestrian performance on D. The Colts have been without leader Bob Sanders and have lost safety Melvin Bullet for the season, while New England has been making due without the services of defensive clog Ty Warren and cornerback Leigh Bodden.

So who wins this clash of the AFC's elite? According to the WhatIfSports NFL simulation engine, the Colts win 57.5-percent of the time, by an average score of 22-20.