AccuScore uses past player performance statistics to describe how players perform under different environmental, match-up, and game situation conditions. Using projected starting lineups AccuScore simulates each game of the 2009 season one play at a time. By repeating the simulation 10,000 to 20,000 times per game AccuScore calculates the precise probability that each NFC North team has of winning each game, winning their division and making the playoffs.
Prior to Tuesday's announcement that Brett Favre(notes) will suit up for the Vikings this season, AccuScore gave Sage Rosenfels(notes) the edge over Tarvaris Jackson(notes). In 10,000 season simulations, AccuScore also had Minnesota and Green Bay neck-and-neck atop the NFC North.
WITHOUT FAVRE PLAYING
However, with Favre set to play for the Vikings, AccuScore gives the edge to Minnesota to win the division.
WITH FAVRE BACK
GREEN BAY PACKERS
Favre finished the 2008 season poorly because he played games hurt in bad weather. Favre is presumably healthy and he gets to play in a dome with the only really bad weather game on the schedule likely to be Week 16 at Chicago. While Favre struggled in Minnesota early in his career in Green Bay, at this point in his career it will help him.
It also helps that Favre has a dynamic running back like Adrian Peterson and the intriguingly explosive rookie Percy Harvin(notes). Statistically speaking, AccuScore does not project Favre to have a great season, but he is out-performing the combination of Rosenfels and Jackson.
Jackson / Rosenfels
Favre is an upgrade over the current Vikings QBs for two reasons:
• Even though he throws too many interceptions, Favre is still better than Rosenfels in limiting turnovers. • He is a far more accurate a passer overall, on third down, and in the red zone over Jackson.
A third reason why Favre boosts the Vikings is his impact on the running game. When Favre is playing well opposing defenses cannot load up the box to stop the run, which will open up even more explosive runs for Peterson. When Favre is playing poorly, opposing defenses look to get interceptions which still prevent them from stacking the box with defenders. In other words, good or bad, Favre helps the running game. Thomas Jones(notes) of the Jets had just 1 TD in 2007, but improved to 13 TDs playing with Favre.
With Favre at QB, Peterson is expected to have 30 more carries and more than 100 more yards. His yards per carry may not be different, but the Vikings will get more first downs which result in more offensive plays (passing and rushing). Favre also helps the Vikings build more fourth quarter leads which results in more rushing plays to control time of possession late in the game.
Ultimately, this is a good move for Minnesota. With the exception of a great pass defense, the Vikings have a very strong team that is legit Super Bowl contender even if Favre has career low passing stats.
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