As it does every year, EA Sports simulated the upcoming football season on Madden NFL 10 and determined that, yes, New England is a great team, and the AFC and NFC West remain as weak as a free casino drink.
Hardly takes Nate Silver to make such grandiose calls, but EA's sim gave us the Patriots with the best overall record at 14-2. Other division winners predicted: Steelers, Titans and Chargers in the AFC; Eagles, Falcons, Cardinals and Bears (because someone has to finish first in that bunch) in the NFC.
The Colts, Ravens, Panthers and Giants get wild card bids. This means that, yet again, the phrase "West Division Champion" is the NFL equivalent of a "My Kid is a Terrific Kid" bumper sticker.
Really, these are such generic calls, they hardly show off the super realism of the Madden engine. Last night I ran my own simulations, regressions and distributions and came up with the following high-likelihood occurrences during the 2009-2010 season.
• Raiders owner Al Davis trades Jeff Garcia for the Bengals Stormtrooper; he joins an offense comprised of Johnny Lee Higgins, a chair, two BART cops and Gene Shalit.
• Delaware's sports betting operation looks awful suspicious in week 12 when the Eagles beat Washington by 4 1/2.
• Terrell Owens manages to recruit Trent Edwards into his plot to undermine Bills QB Trent Edwards.
• Cincinnati sets single-game attendance record with its most popular giveaway ever: Bail.
• Sports media go wall-to-wall with Brett Favre coverage when it's discovered he buys the "Not Done Yet" DLC in Madden 10's franchise mode.
• Michael Vick goes unsigned the entire season. That's because he's not on the retail copy's roster. (It'll be intriguing to see if and exactly when he goes in the free agent pool with a roster update, though.)
• The most compelling professional football story west of the Mississippi continues to be the University of Southern California.