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Super Smash Bros showed us how Week 1 of the NFL season will go

Note from Rainked: Hello everyone! Rainked is back with a very special and (for once) quality article from Nevada legend TJ Sarbacker. A cultural icon and mad genius, his contribution to will essentially put this website on the map. TJ once saved a pack of sea turtles from a ferocious shark, all while nursing a torn ACL. Watch out Ringer. You might have Shea Serrano and Bill Simmons, but we have TJ Sarbacker.


Super Smash Bros showed us how Week 1 of the NFL season will go

It has never been more time for football season to return.

From Patrick Mahomes to Equanimeous St.Brown (I love that this is an actual name), football fans everywhere rejoice seeing their favorite athletes return to the iron of grid.

We also hail in the return of that one “he doesn’t even watch football” guy bringing home a fantasy football championship and in some cases your $10 entry fee as well (was going to get some Taco Bell with that, you herb).

And lastly, emerging from the depths of hell are degenerate sports gamblers like myself ready to totally, 100%, without a shadow of doubt reel in that sweet coinage like when Carson Wentz hit Richard Rodgers from 33 yards out with 12 seconds left to cover my Eagles +6.5 ticket against Seattle last year (if this means nothing to you, good).

“But guest Rainked writer, how are you going to totally, 100%, without a shadow of doubt reel in that sweet coinage?” asks you, subscribed Rainked reader.

And my answer to that would be, “did you not read the title? I’ve never been more disappointed in an individual in my life” (not really though, we love all of our readers).

In all seriousness, however, there is a guaranteed solution to this issue and it comes in the form of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate for the Nintendo Switch™.

The System

It’s time to throw those analytics out the window, dump the research in the bin and burn the stat sheets. This is the simulation system you’ll want to use for the 2021 NFL season.

So we started by looking at two resources, ESPN’s NFL Power Rankings and a Super Smash Bros. CPU Ranking List on Reddit.

Using these two lists we assigned each NFL team a character from Smash (short for Super Smash Bros. in this particular case) to represent them (excluding the Mii fighters).

CPUs in Smash can be set anywhere from level 1 to level 9 difficulty (easier to fight against at lower levels), so one could say, “so you just set them all to level 9 difficulty from there, right?” and to that I say, “au contraire,“ followed by, “sorry I need to work on my French.”

Things turn a little subjective from here as before each fight we assigned each CPU a ranking (normally from 6-9) based on a few things…1) current betting spread (basically how much the casino thinks the game will be decided by, 2) difference between teams in the ESPN Power Rankings and 3) subjective opinion and how each team matches up against one another.

For example, in week 1’s 49ers vs Lions matchup we made Sephiroth (49ers representative) a level 9 CPU and Link (Lions rep) a level 6 CPU while Cardinals vs Titans we made a battle of two level 9 CPUs.

So each battle obviously had a conclusive winner, but an additional detail that me and unnamed accomplice did was each give an individual score prediction based on how each battle went (lot of offense/defense, blowout/close game). But for the sake of simplicity we’ll take around the average of our scores to create an all-encompassing final score for each game.

By now you’re probably bored of reading how we made this work and at this point are saying, “YOU SAID YOU WERE GOING TO MAKE ME THAT BREAD, SO MAKE IT ALREADY DFJQOKDOWPXF,” and rightfully so.

So let’s see how this week shook out already.

Week 1

DISCLAIMER: Out of excitement of testing this system, these simulations were done towards the end of July so current NFL, CPU rankings and spreads might be slightly different than what were observed at time of simulation. We’ll try not to get as excited for future simulations, SORRY.

Cowboys (Isabelle, level 7) @ Buccaneers (King K. Rool, level 9)

Isabelle came out in this match swinging on K. Rool with that red squeaky hammer of hers and made this a pretty even game throughout.

K. Rool, however, was simply too much in the end, pulling out a slight victory and putting down the (under)dog for the win.

Expect Tommy Terrific to lead some late touchdown scoring drives to lead the Bucs to a 1-0 start.

PREDICTION: Buccaneers 31, Cowboys 23

Chargers (Ness, level 9) @ Washington Football Team (Steve, level 9)

Every football fan out there LOVES a good ol’ fashioned defensive duel (dual?).

Both of these squads have pretty stout defenses and I think Smash knew this too because this match did not see much offense at all.

We nearly saw an overtime occur here (happens when the battle goes to sudden death) but somehow Minecraft Steve was able to mine AND craft his way to a week 1 win at home.

A game-winning Dustin Hopkins 42-yard field goal is in the cards here.

PREDICTION: WFT 19, Chargers 16

Eagles (Cloud, level 8) @ Falcons (Pyra/Mythra, level 9)

I didn’t have many words to say once this match came to an end.

Eagles fans, look away.

This Pyra/Mythra combo was a nightmare matchup for my man Cloud Strife and they ran away with a slaughter by four stocks (Cloud didn’t manage to take a single stock, oof).

Get ready for a Kyle Pitts coming-out party in a two-TD performance in the battle of the birds.

PREDICTION: Falcons 34, Eagles 7

Steelers (Captain Falcon, level 7) @ Bills (Byleth, level 9)

A very fitting assignment here with the team from Buffalo and Byleth.

Billeth (haha, get it) let Captain Falcon hang tough in a battle of two AFC heavyweights this year but landed some late blows in the second half to secure a late but nervy win.

I love Josh Allen, the Bills and Byleth is my Smash main and I can’t stand the Steelers so even if Byleth lost I might’ve still said the Bills won.

Anyways, Bills win this one but it won’t come easy.

PREDICTION: Bills 34, Steelers 23

Vikings (Robin, level 9) @ Bengals (Corrin, level 7)

Being a Bengals fan is tough.

I thought Corrin should’ve been a level 6 here but the spread in this game is only Vikings by 3.5 for some reason.

As much as I love (might be too strong a word) my team and want to see them succeed, this is a mismatch here and the Smash match between these Fire Emblem reps showed this as well.

I believe this was a two stock victory for Robin (it’s been a while) so give me the Vikes by at least two scores here.

PREDICTION: Vikings 37, Bengals 13

49ers (Sephiroth, level 9) @ Lions (Link, level 6)

Well, as un-confident (definitely a word) I am in the Bengals, the Lions I am much less confident in.

Sephiroth overwhelmed the Hero of the Wild in this one, although Link did put up some nice damage and took a stock or two to make this semi-respectable, I guess?

I see the Lions scoring early in the first half and sizzling out as the game goes on.

Poor Detroit.

PREDICTION: 49ers 38, Lions 17

Cardinals (Dr. Mario, level 9) @ Titans (Villager, level 9)

No one gives the dirty Doc enough respect in this game.

He would be the perfect character if only they made his side special cape attack his PhD degree instead.

This is going to be a high-scoring affair based off our simulation and could be close in the 4th quarter but we’re still seeing a double digit Cardinals victory in this one.

Hopefully Derrick Henry still does his thing though I have him on my fantasy team.

PREDICTION: Cardinals 42, Titans 27

Seahawks (Incineroar, level 9) @ Colts (Donkey Kong, level 9)

I don’t know if I’ve ever said this before in my life, but I really hope Carson Wentz plays week 1.

If he does, this sim hit this matchup directly on the head.

#ThiccBoySzn is here with these two competitors who went toe-to-toe to the very last in this matchup, both on the verge of losing until the final buzzer sounded.

In the end, it was Expand Dong pulling out the narrowest of W’s in this one, so expect LEGO master Rodrigo Blankenship playing a role late in Indy.

PREDICTION: Colts 34, Seahawks 31

Jets (Little Mac, level 9) @ Panthers (Zelda, level 9)

Okay we get it. These two teams should not both be level 9s. They should be higher than that because this is the Sam Darnold revenge game.

The only person standing in his way is the unbeaten in preseason New York Jets.

We might not have seen that much offense in this fight, but trust us when we say this is the game you’ll want to tune in to on Sunday afternoon.

PREDICTION: Panthers 27, Jets 20

Jaguars (Richter, level 7) @ Texans (Min-Min, level 7)

Trevor Lawrence probably gives the Jaguars plus 4 levels alone if we’re being honest.

This battle was so forgettable even I forgot (go figure) what happened here.

It’s almost like that’s exactly what this game is going to be like. Smash simulator already undefeated just because of that.

Hopefully Lawrence scrambles in the pocket for 5+ seconds to complete an 8-yard pass to give NFL’s twitter something to post about.

PREDICTION: Texans 24, Jaguars 21

Broncos (Simon, level 9) @ Giants (Olimar, level 9)

So real talk, sure these two teams might not have earned level 9 rankings but they could both have the sauce this year.

Broncos with a promising young core that includes Teddy Bridgewater and the Giants play their annual 6 games against NFC East teams.

But the Broncos aren’t an NFC East team and that’s a major problem.

Smash continues to know exactly what it’s doing with this one.

PREDICTION: Broncos 30, Giants 17

Dolphins (Piranha Plant, level 9) @ Patriots (Ganondorf, level 9)

Oh it is so extraordinarily fitting that the Patriots and Bill Belichick got matched up with Ganondorf.

The dark lord returns in his 128th year coaching and opens up against the Dolphins.

There’s no way this game will be decided by one possession and Smash concurs with that notion (not that it had to in order to be correct).

Tua time is coming for the evil emperor.

PREDICTION: Dolphins 38, Patriots 31

Browns (King Dedede, level 8) @ Chiefs (Kazuya, level 9)

I’m never going to question the Smash simulator at all this season, but this one left me floored to say the least.

Kazuya has been famed as one of the hardest top level CPUs in any fighting game ever, but that did not matter to this #King.

Dedede was down to his last breath and down multiple stocks and somehow found a way to beat this Kazuya CPU.

All signs point to this being Baker Mayfield’s year (I squirmed typing this).

PREDICTION: Browns 38, Chiefs 35

Packers (Hero, level 8) @ Saints (Terry, level 8)

So Aaron Rodgers return might have thwarted the system on this one (through no fault of its own) because of the timing of the simulation.

I’m holding out to say the system still knows something that we don’t however.

These two fighters know what they’re doing and kept it neck and neck right down to the finish line.

Personally, it makes sense since these two teams always figure to put on a show when they meet.

In the end, Terry snuck out the sudden death win and I’ll say right now that I think I’ll cry if Jameis leads a game-winning overtime drive to beat that bad man.

PREDICTION: Saints 33, Packers 27 (OT)

Bears (Ridley, level 6) @ Rams (Bowser, level 9)

Ridley and the Bears are very similar in many ways.

They’ve both got their fair share of flashiness in certain ways but it is so hard seeing them trying to make substantial progress in the heat of battle.

Bowser didn’t even have to really try in order to pull this one out.

Maybe Ridley really was too big for Smash after all.

PREDICTION: Rams 30, Bears 13

Ravens (Banjo & Kazooie, level 9) @ Raiders (Kirby, level 8)

Vegas is going to be bumping for this Monday night game against Lamar “Big Truss” Jackson and the Ravens.

Even without J.K. Dobbins, this Ravens team is a force to be reckoned with this year (just like when Banjo was released for Smash).

Kirby had a chance to pull off something special here but allow the math major to tell you that 2 will always be greater than 1.

PREDICTION: Ravens 31, Raiders 20

(Editorial Note from Rainked: This part of the simulation must be rigged because the Raiders are going 17-0)

If you’ve made it this far I’d like to thank you so much for reading this nonsense. I can’t remember the last time I’ve put this much effort into writing anything.

I’m going to bed now.

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