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Madden 12 predicts NFL division winners, predictably

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Super Bowl XLVI may look an awful lot like Super Bowl XLV, if the prognostication skills of EA's Madden series are on target this year.

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Madden 12 (EA Sports)

The football gaming franchise predicts both the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers will once again capture their divisions. And while he might be one of the league's most controversial players, Eagles QB Michael Vick will take home the MVP trophy.

Pre-season predictions are an annual ritual for the Madden series. With the first game of the 2011-2012 season kicking off Thursday, the game makers ran a full simulation to determine their 'official' guesses.

According to the simulations, the Packers will top the NFC with a 13-3 record, while the Steelers will boast the same win-loss ratio. The Philadelphia Eagles will be right on their heels, however, posting a 12-4 record and earning a first-round playoff bye thanks in part to Vick, who Madden sees throwing 29 touchdowns and passing for a career-high 4,000 yards. And that, the simulator says, will help him earn MVP honors.

The Steelers will face similar competition from the New England Patriots, who also will have a 12-4 season after a strong season from Tom Brady.

New Orleans and St. Louis will take the other NFC divisions, while the Atlanta Falcons will secure the fifth seed. And the Detroit Lions, who haven't played in the postseason in 12 years, will take the other wildcard, according to the game.

Over in the AFC, Madden expects the Indianapolis Colts and San Diego Chargers to join the Steelers and Patriots as division winners. The New York Jets and Baltimore Ravens are expected to take the wildcards.

Before you rush off to your bookie based on the game's predictions, it might be wise to do a little historical research. Last year's regular season predictions by Madden only picked two of the eight division winners and inaccurately predicted Aaron Rodgers would earn the MVP bragging rights (they went to Tom Brady instead).

It didn't have much better luck with the Super Bowl, either. On the eve of the big game, Madden confidently predicted the Pittsburgh Steelers would defeat the Green Bay Packers 24-20.

When all was said and done, though, the Packers took home the Lombardi trophy, winning by a score of 31-25.

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