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AccuScore: Shockey gives Saints edge

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AccuScore.com has run more than 10,000 simulations for Yahoo! Sports, calculating how each team's performance changes in response to game conditions, opponent's abilities, roster moves, weather and more. Each game is simulated one play at a time and the game is replayed a minimum of 10,000 times to generate forecasted winning percentages, player statistics and a variety of game-changing scenarios.

Jeremy Shockey was traded from the New York Giants to the New Orleans Saints Monday for two draft picks (second- and fifth-rounders). Prior to the trade, the Saints were in a virtual three-way deadlock for the NFC South. However, AccuScore did give defending division champ, Tampa Bay, and Carolina with Jake Delhomme back, the slight edge over the Saints.

However, acquiring Shockey gives the Saints the nod by percentage points.

Before trade Win div Playoff After trade Win div Playoffs
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 35% 46% Saints 35% 46%
Carolina Panthers 33% 42% Buccaneers 33% 45%
New Orleans Saints 31% 41% Panthers 31% 41%
Atlanta Falcons 1% 1% Falcons 1% 1%
Copyright AccuScore.com





The Saints' leading receiving tight ends in 2007 were Eric Johnson and Billy Miller. The Saints are a pass first offense and Shockey is an upgrade at this vital position for a few reasons:

1. More Sure-Handed than Billy Miller: When the Giants' Eli Manning targeted Jeremy Shockey, the team completed 67 percent of passes that were not tipped or intercepted by the defense. Eric Johnson completed 84 percent and Billy Miller 70 percent. While Shockey's percentage is lower than both of the Saints' TEs last year, this can be attributed to the fact that Drew Brees is far more accurate than Eli Manning. If you adjust for differences in accuracy, Shockey would be expected to complete 77 percent of passes playing for the Saints. In simulations, Shockey is more sure-handed than Miller which is why he is an upgrade.

2. More Big Plays than Johnson: While Shockey is not as sure-handed as Johnson in simulations, he makes more big plays (more receiving touchdowns per reception, more receptions of 20+ yards). Over the past three seasons, Shockey has 17 receiving touchdowns in 188 receptions (9 percent of receptions are TDs). Last year, Johnson had two receiving touchdowns in 48 receptions (4 percent). Shockey provides the Saints with more explosiveness at TE without sacrificing much in the area of actually catching the ball.

Losing Shockey did have a negative impact on the Giants. New York won a Super Bowl without Shockey and TE Kevin Boss was arguably better than Shockey when given a chance to play, but Manning definitely wanted Shockey back. Here's why: In updated simulations, the Giants' chances of making the playoffs are hurt by this trade. Their chances decline from 51 percent to 45 percent.