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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 1
2012
DAL at NYG (WED) *IND at CHI *PHI at CLE STL at DET
ATL at KC JAC at MIN *PIT at DEN WAS at NO
*BUF at NYJ *MIA at HOU *SEA at ARI *CIN at BAL (MON)
*UPDATED *CAR at TB *NE at TEN SF at GB *SD at OAK (MON)

Prediction: DAL 24, NYG 31 (Line NYG by 4)

Players to Watch: David Wilson, Martellus Bennett

The Giants swept the Cowboys in 2011, winning 31-14 at home in the final game of the season that sent the Cowboys home for the holidays while the Giants went on to win another Superbowl. The Giants also won 37-34 at Dallas as well. The Cowboys have only won once in the last four trips to New York. This is a big inter-divisional rivalry that usually goes to the Giants if only at the very end of the game.

Dallas Cowboys
Homefield: Cowboys Stadium
RealGrass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @NYG ----- 10 @PHI -----
2 @SEA ----- 11 CLE -----
3 TB ----- 12 WAS -----
4 CHI ----- 13 PHI -----
5 BYE ----- 14 @CIN -----
6 @BAL ----- 15 PIT -----
7 @CAR ----- 16 NO -----
8 NYG ----- 17 @WAS -----
9 @ATL ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster

Pregame Notes: The Cowboys need no motivation in this game anyway, but getting kicked out of the playoffs would seem like added incentive. Problem is that the Cowboys have been nursing a lot of injuries in the receiver corps. Miles Austin has been battling a bad hamstring for many weeks and is slated to play. This is a big concern for a Cowboys team that paid him big bucks at the start of the 2010 season and not seen the expected return. Last year Austin was out for six games and played poorly when he was there.

Dez Bryant spent the offseason allegedly hitting his mother but otherwise has been a model player in the preseason and may be finally poised to cash in on his potential that never seems to quite show up so far. The summer saw a major battle for the #3 position that will be handled mostly by Kevin Ogletree with some help from Dwayne Harris and Cole Beasley. After Laurent Robinson made the #3 spot payoff so well last year, many have looked for his successor without realizing how rare his performance was.

Dallas returns what should be their best backfield in many years with DeMarco Murray looking to improve on his impressive 2011 season while avoiding further injury which was one of his calling cards in college.

Jason Witten lacerated his spleen and missed the end of the preseason but needed no surgery and is a game time decision for this tilt. Hopefully all his owners have someone else to use already.

This is the same offense - though with a new coordinator in Bill Callahan. Opening against the Giants in New York is a very touch start and Dallas always has trouble winning there. The Cowboys historically have started the season good, become great by November and then nosedive for all of December. This season is bound to be different since the Cowboys play six road games in their first nine games and then only have two away venues over their final seven weeks.

This game pits Dallas against one of the weakest defenses of 2011 though they obviously improved as the year progressed towards the Superbowl and they did sweep Dallas anyway.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DAL 6 24 6 4 5 22
Preventing Fantasy Points NYG 27 18 29 29 20 10

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Kellen Moore, DAL WAS 0000019011 ***
Matt Cassel threw for 222 yards and zero TDs in the earlier meeting with Washington, and we've seen nothing from Moore to make us think things will be any better here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Darren McFadden, DAL WAS 10011100000 *
McFadden has 35 carries for 199 yards in two Kellen Moore starts and is averaging seven yards per carry with 310 rushing yards over the previous three games. The Cowboys will have to lean on him once again, moreso than the 14-53-1 he saw in Washington a month ago. Given the way he's running, he's a solid bet for more.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Alfred Morris, DAL WAS 7011100000 ***
With Matt Jones sidelined Morris has a clearer path to carries; against a Cowboys defense that's given up 426 rushing yards the past three games--at better than five yards a carry--that volume leads to fantasy opportunity.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Cole Beasley, DAL WAS 005401000 **
Beasley has the most recent TD by an active Cowboys receiver--and it came back in Week 12. He's third among active wideouts in targets from Kellen Moore, making him an afterthought in a low-octane passing game; that's a tough role to create fantasy value from.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Terrance Williams, DAL WAS 003500000 **
With no Dez Bryant it's Williams' time to shine. However, with Kellen Moore at QB it'll be tough for him to capitalize against a Washington defense that's allowed WR1s to score and top 100 yards in three straight and four of the last five--the only exception being the earlier Cowboys/Redskins tilt.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jason Witten, DAL WAS 004400000 **
Witten is averaging a shade over 30 yards per game with Kellen Moore at the helm, and he still hasn't scored since Week 1. No reason to expect that slump to end here.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Dan Bailey, DAL WAS 1111 ***
Four treys vs. Redskins
with Cassel at quarterback
You trust Kellen Moore?

New York Giants
Homefield: Meadowlands Stadium
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 DAL ----- 10 @CIN -----
2 TB ----- 11 BYE -----
3 @CAR ----- 12 GB -----
4 @PHI ----- 13 @WAS -----
5 CLE ----- 14 NO -----
6 @SF ----- 15 @ATL -----
7 WAS ----- 16 @BAL -----
8 @DAL ----- 17 PHI -----
9 PIT ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster

Pregame Notes: The Giants come off a Cinderella season where they went from nearly sitting at home in January to winning the Superbowl as 2011's "team you did not see coming". It was only their final win that made then 9-7 and gave them a winning season. Timing is everything though.

Eli Manning once again won a Superbowl MVP and he'll try to keep the team from getting another championship hangover. When they defeated the Patriots in 2008, the next year they missed the playoffs with an 8-8 record. No doubt that has been pointed out by HC Tom Coughlin who still probably could not explain how the Giants went from written off to unbeatable all in one season.

The Giants return Hakeem Nicks who fractured his foot in May but rehabbed and made it into the final preseason game. The expected primary wideout last year gave way to Victor Cruz in most games. Cruz ended with an incredible season of 1536 yards and nine touchdowns. The third wideout in this scheme doesn't really matter and the Giants will start the season with a committee approach using the rookie Rueben Randle, Domenik Hixon and Jerrel Jernigan.

Martellus Bennett finally is out of the shadow of Jason Witten who never got injured to let Bennett in. Ironically his first game as a starter comes at home against the Cowboys. Bennett has always been an interesting, high-potential player so he has a chance to make a far bigger splash as a tight end than we have seen since Jeremy Shockey left.

The backfield is also very promising with Brandon Jacobs gone and the rookie David Wilson turning heads. Ahmad Bradshaw claims to be healthy again (which is smart) after two seasons of chronic feet problems. Instead of a Thunder and Lightning approach when Jacobs was there, Wilson is the same size and sort of runner that Bradshaw is. And probably faster and maybe better. This is a big thing to watch since there will be a timeshare backfield that performance will dictate who gets what. Wilson has been exciting the coaches in the preseason and now gets a chance to open with two home games.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NYG 7 6 3 21 25 10
Preventing Fantasy Points DAL 18 7 18 27 13 13

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Eli Manning, NYG PHI 0000028030 ***
Eli threw for just 189 and 1 in Philly earlier this year, but he's averaging 317 and almost three TDs per game the last six times the Eagles have come to Gotham. And after watching Philly give up 3 TDs to Tom Brady, 4 to Kirk Cousins, and 5 each to Jameis Winston and Matthew Stafford--in just the past six weeks--you have to like Eli's chances here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Rashad Jennings, NYG PHI 6002200000 ***
Now that Jennings has consolidated the Giants' backfield touches--he has at least 16 touches in each of the last three games, producing triple-digit yards from scrimmage in each--he's perfectly situated to take advantage of the Eagles. Philly has allowed at least one RB TD in six straight games and 120 or more RB combo yards in eight straight since Jennings averaged better than five yards per touch on 16 touches against the Eagles back in Week 6. With more usage that's a baseline here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Odell Beckham, NYG PHI 0071202000 ***
Josh Norman ended OBJ's run of five straight with triple-digit yardage but only a suspension could stop the scoring. Back with a vengeance and facing a Philly D that's allowed at least one WR TD in eight straight games--15 total TDs over that span--look for an upgrade over his earlier 7-61-1 against the Eagles.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Will Tye, NYG PHI 004400000 ***
Since giving up 5-51 to the combo entry of Tye and Larry Donnell back in Week 6 the Eagles have surrendered four TE TDs and six games of 40-plus, while Tye has two TDs and four games of 40-plus yards as the Giants' lone healthy tight end. It's enough to make him a viable fantasy option this week.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Josh Brown, NYG PHI 2233 ***
Expect lots of points
in game that has no meaning;
Brown should get his, too

WEEK 1
2012
DAL at NYG (WED) IND at CHI PHI at CLE STL at DET
ATL at KC JAC at MIN PIT at DEN WAS at NO
BUF at NYJ MIA at HOU SEA at ARI CIN at BAL (MON)
  CAR at TB NE at TEN SF at GB SD at OAK (MON)

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