The 2018 NFL season kicks off this week and fans are excited to see how their team will perform over the next few months.
There are so many outcomes to be decided before the season culminates at Super Bowl 53 in February.
Who will win their division? Will there be any major trades throughout the year? Who will be named MVP? Will any team make a surprise run to the post-season?
Of course, no one knows what's going to happen in 2018 - we'll have to wait to see everything unfold week to week.
But, we all love to predict some of the biggest outcomes. Rather than just doing that though, GiveMeSport have taken the game one step further. Quite literally.
We set up a simulation of the 2018 season in Madden 19 - let it play out without interfering, and recorded the results it threw up come February.
And it's fair to say that our sim produced some very interesting outcomes.
So, here's how the 2018 NFL season will play out, according to Madden 19.
After simming 16 weeks ahead to the end of the regular season, the first thing to check was how each team finished in 2018, from the AFC North to the NFC South.
Browns (Y) 9-7
Jaguars (Y) 10-6
Patriots (Y) 9-7
Chiefs (Z) 11-5
Chargers (X) 10-6
Raiders (X) 9-7
Packers (Z) 12-4
Bears (X) 10-6
Falcons (Y) 10-6
Cowboys (Y) 10-6
Eagles (X) 9-7
Rams (Y) 11-5
It's fair to say that our sim has predicted a few very surprising things here. Most notably, the Cleveland Browns winning their division, with the third best record in the AFC.
A couple of other interesting results show that the Pittsburgh Steelers failed to make the playoffs and that the Dallas Cowboys bested the current Super Bowl champs in the NFC East.
So, we've made an interesting start then, but now let's look at some personal regular season stats.
Just by looking at the final division standings, you could probably guess who the NFL's top performers were in 2018 according to Madden.
In fact, one very familiar quarterback was named MVP. But just for good measure, take a look at the league's top five performers, and all of their stats.
1) Tom Brady - a record of 9-7. 50 TDs, 5 INT, 4,818 YDS. 385 COMP from 571 ATT - 67%. 116 rating.
2) Philip Rivers - a record of 10-6. 35 TDs, 12 INT, 4,402 YDS. 367 COMP from 557 ATT - 65%. 101.8 rating.
3) Todd Gurley II - record of 11-5. 14 TDs, 1 FUMB, 1,529 YDS from 297 ATT. 95.6 Rushing average per game, with a longest run of 75 YDS.
4) Deshaun Watson - a record of 8-8. 36 TDs, 12 INTs, 3,884 YDS. 326 COMP from 510 ATT - 63%. 100.8 rating.
5) Mitchell Trubisky - a record of 10-6. 33 TDs, 13 INTs, 4,143 YDS. 343 COMP from 569 ATT - 60%. 92.4 rating.
Interestingly, only one of the top five is not a quarterback. But despite finishing third, Gurley may not have actually been the NFL's top running back.
Ezekiel Elliott was notably snubbed from the list, in fact, he's not even in the top 10.
Considering he had 10 TDs, 1 fumble, 1,553 YDS and a 97.1 Rushing average per game, it's odd that he didn't make the cut.
Continuing in terms of personal, before the regular season concluded, there were a few notable trades made in the NFL. None though were bigger than Khalil Mack's move last week.
Still, they're worth mentioning.
In week one, the Bears traded MLB Nick Kwiatkoski to the Steelers for 2019 round 2 (60) and 2020 round 4 (124) draft picks.
Seven days later, there were two more deals.
The Tennessee Titans traded SS Johnathan Cyprien to the Houston Texans for 2019 round 2 (62) and 2019 round 7 (206) draft picks.
Also, the Miami Dolphins sent TE AJ Derby to the Denver Broncos for 2019 round 2 (64) and 2020 round 7 (218) draft picks.
So, Madden predicted that we'll only see a couple more trades in 2018 - but interestingly, the game revealed that we're likely to see an awful lot of retirements come February.
After his MVP season, Brady will apparently be the most notable name to hang up his cleats - which completely goes against everything he's said in the last few months.
Alongside him, Madden predicts that Frank Gore, Larry Fitzgerald, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Matt Schaub and even Head Coach Andy Reid will call it quits in 2019. Very interesting indeed.
Now we get to the really interesting stuff - breaking down the postseason and eventually, revealing which team is going to win Super Bowl 53 (according to the game).
On wildcard weekend, four games took place:
Oakland Raiders vs New England Patriots - The Patriots won and advanced.
LA Chargers vs Cleveland Browns - The Chargers won and advanced.
Philadelphia Eagles vs Atlanta Falcons - The Falcons won and advanced.
Chicago Bears vs Dallas Cowboys - The Cowboys won and advanced.
No real shocks here, although it's interesting to note that the Browns impressive year fell at the first postseason hurdle. Also, the reigning Super Bowl champs won't be retaining their crown.
Moving swiftly on to the divisional round:
Dallas Cowboys vs Green Bay Packers - The Cowboys won and advanced.
Jacksonville Jaguars vs New England Patriots - The Jaguars won and advanced.
LA Rams vs Atlanta Falcons - The Rams won and advanced.
LA Chargers vs Kansas City Chiefs - The Chargers won and advanced.
A few more surprising results here - including the two teams from Los Angeles advancing to their conference championships at the expense of Kansas City and Atlanta.
Also, it seems that the Jags got revenge on New England in a result that's the reverse of 2017 - and the Cowboys also bested the Packers in an NFC grudge match.
The Conference Championships:
LA Rams vs Dallas Cowboys -the Rams win NFC Conference Championship.
Jacksonville Jaguars v LA Chargers - the Chargers win AFC Conference Championship.
As we can see, the Super Bowl will be contested by two teams from the same city... very exciting.
SUPER BOWL 53
We simulated hundreds of games through Madden's 2018 season, but one matters so much more than the rest.
And judging by the result, our simulated Super Bowl 53 didn't disappoint.
The Rams won their second world championship (their first in LA), by beating the Chargers 35-21.
That's probably an outcome that very few people are predicting for the 2018 season, which finally kicks off for real this week.
So, who are YOU backing to do the business this year? Have YOUR say in the comments below.News Now - Sport News