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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 Tony Romo, DAL @STL 0000022011 ****
Romo hasn't been anything special thus far this year, but the Rams have faced Matt Cassel and Josh McCown thus far so they may be caught off guard. At minimum there's upside here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB DeMarco Murray, DAL @STL 12011100000 ****
Murray has back-to-back hundos this year; the Rams just gave up 145 rushing yards to Bobby Rainey. Can you say "blank check"?
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Dez Bryant, DAL @STL 007701000 ***
While the Cowboys may have suddenly become run-heavy, Tony Romo knows where to find Dez. And while the Rams have held opposing wideouts in check... well, it's Dez.
Update: Bryant was limited in practice Thursday and Friday, but he says he's going to play and who are we to doubt him?
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Terrance Williams, DAL @STL 004500000 ****
With the Cowboys becoming more run-heavy, Williams' role in the offense is not blossoming as expected. Keep him on the back burner until a more favorable matchup presents itself.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jason Witten, DAL @STL 004300000 ***
After squelching tight ends with regularity last season the Rams have picked up where they left off this year. And Witten is riding off into the sunset while the Cowboys carve out a different path offensively. Not much to see here fantasy-wise.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Dan Bailey, DAL @STL 3322 ***
Bailey should be looking at multiple field goal attempts again this week, which bodes well for his fantasy prospects.

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 HOU 0000026012 ***
Sad to say, but Eli's 277 and two against the Cardinals last week feels like his ceiling for the season. A date with a Houston defense that's given up just one passing score in two games and an average of 265 yards certainly isn't favorable.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Rashad Jennings, NYG HOU 6014500000 ***
Jennings has 205 combo yards in two games and is easily the best thing going for the Giants' offense. Houston has allowed the likes of Darren McFadden and Darrel Young to find the end zone while giving up better than six yards per touch to opposing backs, clearing the way for another solid fantasy showing for Jennings.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Victor Cruz, NYG HOU 005701000 **
Well, the Giants heard Cruz's plea for more looks and doubled Victor's targets. But it's still not the offense that made Cruz... well, Cruz. The good news is, receivers targeted double-digit times against the Texans have been productive--combining for 19-189-1. So at least there's a chance here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Rueben Randle, NYG HOU 004500000 ***
Randle is too inconsistently targeted and the Giants' offense too moribund for him to be trusted with a fantasy start.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Larry Donnell, NYG HOU 007700000 ***
Shockingly, Donnell has been the most consistent contributor in the Giants' passing game with 12-137-1 in two games. As tight ends go, you could do worse for fantasy help.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Josh Brown, NYG HOU 1122 ***
Tacking on points for an offense that's averaging 14 points per game is not exactly fantasy fodder.

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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