As we’ve discussed before, our friends at AccuScore predict results based on a composite of 10,000 computer simulations of a given game or season. It is one of many ways to gauge relative strengths and weaknesses, but I think this week’s effort is particularly interesting as it relates to the Green Bay Packers’ season opener against the New Orleans Saints.
The biggest variable in these simulations, Jon Anik notes in the video, is whether Saints quarterback Drew Brees throws an interception. Brees averaged 1.4 interceptions per simulation, which uses digital "players" whose profiles are built from past performances. AccuScore suggests the Saints' best approach will be to focus on their running game and, surprisingly considering Brees' reputation, limit Brees' chances for a mistake. The Saints won 68 percent of their simulations when they ran for more than 100 yards and Brees went without an interception.
The interception issue is quite relevant considering the Packers finished last season with the NFL's second-most interceptions (24). Packers opponents also had the worst passer rating of any NFL team (67.8).
AccuScore's simulations are obviously weighed heavily by Brees' career-high 22 interceptions last season. Every year is a new year, and so we have to realize there might not be much correlation as we would like. But presuming an efficient night for the Packers' offense, it’s hard to imagine the Saints overcoming more than one Brees interception in this game.