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Simulation Saturday: 49ers vs. Panthers in Madden 18

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Simulations are back! It’s Saturday and you know what that means.

Welcome to our third year of Saturday football simulations. If you’re new to the program, we (try) to have a simulation of every game for us to look at and see if there’s anything Madden video games may correctly predict. Last year, Madden didn’t think we’d win many games, and it was right.

For those of you who have been here since the beginning, we’re doing things a bit differently this year. I won’t be simulating one game for Saturdays, instead, I’ll be simulating three. I’ll simulate other games as well, but won’t be taking down as many notes (it will be more just to see a pattern). It will be less of me watching polygons and refs on ice skates and more of me collecting numbers. From those five, I’ll post some relevant data and averages and see if I can find any patterns in the data Madden 18 gives me.

This week we have the Carolina Panthers.

Notable inactives for 49ers: Jimmie Ward

Notable inactives for Panthers: Vernon Butler

Average Score: 30-8, Panthers

Yep, the 49ers offense still isn’t much improved. In Game 1, they managed to keep things going until late into the second half when Carolina managed two touchdowns with 2:15 left in the half.

They managed to stay in the second game, losing to Carolina 20-12, but only being down by a point most of the game. Game 3 was just atrocious with the Panthers running all over the 49ers and Brian Hoyer coughing up fumbles.

Brian Hoyer’s average completion percentage: 48%

Hoyer won’t be keeping that starting job in real life if Madden keeps shoving these scores down. He managed to crack 50 percent in Game 2, but had an ugly, ugly 38.4 completion percentage in Game 3. The fact he would fumble on average twice in a game doesn’t help his stock.

By comparison, Cam Newton went 74 percent in Game 1, but came back to earth, hovering around 62 percent in the other two games I simulated. Oh and no interceptions. Though Navarro Bowman was good at batting away passes.

Hoyer failed to crack 200 yards in any game. He had a few nice plays, including a 60 yard pass to Pierre Garcon, but this inconsistency doesn’t look good.

The top gets blown off in the second quarter:

The second game notwithstanding, both the games the 49ers got picked apart in began in the 2nd quarter, towards the end of the half. I ran a few extra simulations and in all of them, the Panthers found themselves up on the 49ers by about 17 points before half. Needless to say, the offense couldn’t come up with anything.

Graham Gano isn’t good at extra points

While 49ers kicker Robbie Gould missed an extra point, Gano consistently missed those once-gimmie plays in every game I had. Given the point margins the 49ers lost by, this probably won’t be a deciding factor at all. This seems more like a Madden glitch than anything else. Despite the distance of extra points increasing, they aren’t missed that much.

Final Thoughts:

I don’t expect the 49ers to win this, and I certainly don’t expect them to be in a close margin with this game either. I do believe Kyle Shanahan’s playcalling is going to give them a few more points than the simulations have indicated, field goals or otherwise. 30-8 seems like too much of a margin. I’d say the 49ers could push themselves into a 30-17 loss and that seems believable.