Madden NFL has an impressive record picking Super Bowl winners; it also takes an annual stab at the much less exact science of predicting the season, which a simulation says ends with Baltimore and Green Bay as conference champions.
Running a one-shot sim in Madden NFL 11's franchise mode, EA Sports returned ties for the best record in both the NFC and AFC; it predicted Green Bay and Minnesota to finish 12-4, with the Packers getting homefield advantage in the playoffs thanks to a better divisional record. The same tiebreak gave the AFC crown to Baltimore, which finished 13-3 alongside Indianapolis.
Other playoff teams spit out by Madden 11's sim included San Francisco, Dallas and New Orleans as division winners, joined by the wild card Atlanta Falcons. In the AFC, New England and San Diego were division winners, with Houston and the New York Jets getting wild card berths.
The simulation did not pick a Super Bowl winner. The Madden folks save that for later in the year.
As we usually do, we also ran some ultra-scientific Madden simulations on a Cray up here in Kotaku Tower and came up with 99.44 percent certainty that all of the following will happen this year.
- Jay Cutler miraculously rehabilitates his passing accuracy by throwing through a tire all summer. Minnesota signs the tire and starts it at defensive back.
- Al Davis buys 12.8 million coins in Madden Ultimate Team, spends it all on bronze packs.
- Ben Roethlisberger appeals his suspension. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell brings in new V.P. of discipline Punxsutawney Phil, who sees his shadow and suspends Big Ben another six weeks.
- Things get hairy for the Jets going into the final week. To make the playoffs they need a fuckin' win, and a fuckin' Miami loss or a fuckin' Denver tie. The last fuckin' berth instead goes to the fuckin' Texans.
- Darrelle Revis and Vincent Jackson, taking a page from LeBron James and Chris Bosh, announce they're joining Michael Crabtree in San Francisco, where all three hold out.
- At 2-8 in late November, Seattle Seahawks management says why wait, and locks out its players now.
- As promised, Jerry Jones delivers a Super Bowl to Dallas, which Minnesota wins, by beating Baltimore. With three interceptions, one returned for a TD, the tire is named Super Bowl MVP.