It all comes down to this.
The 2015 regular season comes to an end on Sunday, both for the actual Texans and the virtual ones. It's been a fun opening year here at the Madden Matchup, and we've seen our fair share of surprises (Texans over Bengals), near perfect predictions (Texans over Titans) and some big swings and misses (Texans over Patriots...not so much). Either way, since the moment YOU told me to start doing simulations, I've had a lot of fun anticipating each week's results. It has even gotten to the point that my five-year old son demands that he 'watch' the simulation to see if the Texans are going to win.
So, how did we do?
Up to this point, we've simulated 13 games (the first two we didn't do). Madden 16 has gone 8-5 in those simulations, which is pretty close to actual Texans record. If the real Texans were to finish the 2015 season 9-7, their winning percentage (.562) would be in the same range as Madden 16's total right now (.615).
But...let's not get ahead of ourselves. We (the Texans) still have a game to play, and Madden 16 has a prediction to make, which we'll get to later.
The Texans continue to hold in terms of team talent, as this is the third straight week they've checked in at an 84 according to Madden's rankings. This week they hold a significant talent advantage over the Jaguars, who Madden 16 lists as a 73 overall.
From an individual standpoint, the Texans have seven of the top nine rated players in this matchup. DeAndre Hopkins ascension continues, as he has moved up to a 96 this week. He begin the season at a 90, but 'Nuk's monster year has translated to a huge virtual progression. Ironically, the Jaguars' best players is a wide receiver as well, with second-year man Allen Robinson cracking an 89 after a solid season in his own right.
Blake Bortles, who's been on an impressive run in real life, is this game's top rated quarterback, with an 85 mark. Among second year signal callers, Bortles trails only Derek Carr (87) in ranking. The former UCF product also has a 78 speed rating, giving him more than enough speed to make plays with his feet both in the game and in real life.
Madden Matchup: Texans 17, Jaguars 14
The virtual Texans CLINCH! Behind the strength of good defense (what else is new) and a solid day by Brian Hoyer, Houston held on for a 17-14 victory. Hoyer completed 63% of his passes and connected with Nate Washington seven times. The Texans defense forced one takeaway (Kareem Jackson INT) that turned into a short field and points, which is always a recipe for success.
Will this be the case on Sunday? Let's hope so.