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

Prediction: ARI 13, NE 37 (Line: NE by 14)

Players to watch: Andre Roberts, Wes Welker, Brandon Lloyd

The Cardinals come off their close win over the visiting Seahawks and hit the road where they were only 2-6 last season. The Patriots drummed the Titans in Tennessee last week and back at home they almost never lose. The only question here is how big the win will be and how many points they allow the Cardinals.

Arizona Cardinals
Homefield: University of Phoenix Stadium
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 SEA 20-16 10 BYE -----
2 @NE ----- 11 @ATL -----
3 PHI ----- 12 STL -----
4 MIA ----- 13 @NYJ -----
5 @STL ----- 14 @SEA -----
6 BUF ----- 15 DET -----
7 @MIN ----- 16 CHI -----
8 SF ----- 17 @SF -----
9 @GB ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
ARI @ NE Rush Catch Pass
QB Carson Palmer 270,2
RB Chris Johnson 40 7-50
WR Larry Fitzgerald 6-90,1
TE Jermaine Gresham 6-60,1

Pregame Notes: Nothing like having a quarterback competition and after deciding the winner between two quarterbacks that you already knew, that one gets hurt in the first game. John Skelton has an ankle sprain that is not believed to be of the "high" variety. He's hoped to only need a few weeks but regardless the start goes over to Kevin Kolb for this game. There is a decent chance that the Cardinals play musical quarterbacks for the rest of the season anyway.

Facing the Seahawks great rushing defense really put the clamps on the running backs so we don't really know what to expect this year. Beanie Wells ran seven times for only 14 yards and Ryan Williams first playing time only produced nine yards on eight carries. There was an even split between the two main backs and then LaRod Stephens-Howling actually ran in the touchdown just to make it all even worse. Ongoing this will remain the Wells and Williams show, with their split determined by game time success. The problem this week is that they face another great rushing defense what equally shut down Chris Johnson only this week the game is played in New England. Not a good thing and hold judgment about the backfield at least until home games against the Eagles and Dolphins. It is a tough schedule for the Cardinals and the impact is not something you can ignore.

Larry Fitzgerald was targeted a team high 11 times with four receptions for 63 yards but Andre Roberts is one to watch since he had nine passes directed towards him and ended with 54 yards and one score on five receptions. Early Doucet (3-37) played the #3 with the rookie Michael Floyd only thrown one pass that he failed to catch.

As with most every year, the use of the tight end is always suggested and yet rarely happens. Todd Heap only accounted for three catches and 32 yards which may be a high side for him.

The Cards face the Patriots defense that is going to shut down the run - make no mistake. How well they can defend the pass is the question and last season they were always among the worse. In Tennessee, they held the Titans to a combined 272 passing yards and one score. That bodes a bit better for the receivers..

Gaining Fantasy Points ARI 26 26 16 21 17 15
Preventing Fantasy Points NE 14 12 13 14 15 3

QB Carson Palmer, ARI @DET 0000029021 ***
Palmer's been on the plus side of 20 fantasy points in every game this season, with three 300-yard efforts and just as many multiple TD efforts. Detroit has checked Teddy Bridgewater and--surprisingly--Russell Wilson but been gutted by Philip Rivers and Peyton Manning. Let's give the edge to wily veterans and Palmer's recent track record and pencil him in for another fantasy helper.
RB Chris Johnson, ARI @DET 5002200000 ***
The Lions' run D hasn't fallen off a cliff as anticipated with the departures of Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley; they've held all backs not named Adrian Peterson to 51 yards or less, though they have allowed four TDs. Andre Ellington's expected return and David Johnson's increased snap count also cut into CJ's prospects.
RB Andre Ellington, ARI @DET 3003200000 *
What is Ellington returning to? The non-Brothers Johnson have done just fine in his absence, so best case he'll get a splinter of his former touches against a defense that's been mostly stout against the run thus far. Best look for fantasy help elsewhere.
WR Larry Fitzgerald, ARI @DET 0081001000 ***
While a multitude of wideouts have had success against Detroit, right-side guys in particular have thrived with 80-plus yards in three of four games. Guess where Fitz plays when he's not in the slot? 'Zactly. The resurgence continues this week.
WR Michael Floyd, ARI @DET 006800000 ***
Floyd's productivity jumped with a season-high seven targets, but he's still limited by Fitzgerald's resurgence and John Brown's emergence. He's a viable start with four teams on the bye, but ideally he'll make it all the way back to his former role in the Arizona receiver rotation before you bank on him for fantasy help.
WR John Brown, ARI @DET 005600000 ***
Brown actually saw more targets last week than Larry Fitzgerald, and he responded with his most productive yardage game of the season. No reason to fear him in this matchup.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Chandler Catanzaro, ARI @DET 1133 ***
Catanzaro's lowest output thus far is six points, which coincidentally is also the lowest number Detroit has allowed to opposing kickers. That's a decent floor, with plenty of upside for a guy fresh off kicking five treys last week.

New England Patriots
Homefield: Gillette Stadium
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @TEN 34-13 10 BUF -----
2 ARI ----- 11 IND -----
3 @BAL ----- 12 @NYJ -----
4 @BUF ----- 13 @MIA -----
5 DEN ----- 14 HOU -----
6 @SEA ----- 15 SF -----
7 NYJ ----- 16 @JAC -----
8 @STL ----- 17 MIA -----
9 BYE ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
NE vs ARI Rush Catch Pass
QB Tom Brady 330,3
WR Danny Amendola 6-70,1
WR Brandon Gibson 3-40
WR Brandon LaFell 3-50
TE Scott Chandler 4-40
TE Rob Gronkowski 6-80,1
PK Stephen Gostkowski 3 FG 4 XP

Pregame Notes: The Patriots come off a big opening win and now return home for what should be another year filled with victories for the home town stands. There's only been one game so but several interesting developments hint this could be a year of same great results only they'll get there in a different manner.

Aaron Hernandez (6-59-1) and Rob Gronkowski (6-60-1) start the year as apparent bookends so no change to the team with the most productive tight ends in the history of the NFL. These weapons are not going anywhere and there is no reason to change. But the addition of Brandon Lloyd (5-69) has made a difference in the sense he was the most targeted player with eight passes thrown his way. Wes Welker only caught three of his five throws and ended with a paltry 14 yards. For a guy who has four seasons of 110+ catches, Welker was suddenly just another receiver and not even one who had many looks. He's in his final year of his contract with the Pats and if week one means much, he's truly in his final season there. It is only one game and yes, it seems reasonable to sound an alarm. It just looked different with Lloyd there.

Another change is Stevan Ridley who gashed the Titans for 125 yards and one score on 21 carries and added two receptions for 27 yards. Brandon Bolden and Danny Woodhead combined for 11 carries but only gained 31 yards. This looked very much like the Ridley show. He'll always carry at least a little risk because of the history of the Pats backfield but he undeniably looks like an answer for them that they need not change. Ridley was effective enough that Tom Brady only passed for 236 yards and two scores.

This week should be fascinating because the Patriots generally rush better at home and Brady has lesser games because they win handily. No defense is going to load up against Ridley with Brady under center. And yet that may actually mean those 5000 yards from 2011 have little chance of repeating. The offseason was a hype machine of the Pats passing and how Brandon Lloyd might become a stud there. So far the reality is that the Pats remain a tight end machine with a really nice rushing attack.

Gaining Fantasy Points NE 14 10 30 1 14 7
Preventing Fantasy Points ARI 5 8 7 7 21 15

QB Tom Brady, NE @DAL 0000032030 ***
Brady's "Up Yours, Goodell!" tour takes its act on the road to Dallas, where he'll dazzle Greg Hardy with his wife and drop another 300-plus yard, multiple TD outing on a defense that just got taken for something similar by a lame-armed version of Drew Brees. He hasn't been to Dallas in eight years, but the last time he dropped by he left with 388 yards and five TDs. Just sayin'.
RB LeGarrette Blount, NE @DAL 701000000 ***
Blount will see the goal-line and clock-eating work--maybe not to the three-TD level he hit last week and Davonte Freeman posted on the Cowboys two weeks back, but more than enough to warrant a fantasy play.
RB Dion Lewis, NE @DAL 4005400000 ***
The Cowboys have allowed a back to amass at least 46 receiving yards in every game thus far--and two of them last week. There's your floor for Lewis, the pass-catching half of the New England backfield--though he's also seeing enough red zone work to contribute on the ground as well.
WR Julian Edelman, NE @DAL 0010901000 ***
Julio Jones is the only opposing wideout to see Edelman-level targets against the Cowboys, and he ripped them for 12-164-2. Edelman isn't Julio, obviously, but his volume will lead to another quality fantasy outing against a defense that let lesser volume slot guys Willie Snead (6-89) and Jordan Matthews (6-80-1) have solid fantasy days.
WR Danny Amendola, NE @DAL 004400000 ***
After Gronk and Edelman and Lewis and Blount all get theirs... hey, even with Tom Brady at the helm there's only so much to go around.
TE Rob Gronkowski, NE @DAL 0061002000 ****
Gronk's had 94 yards or better in every game, scored four TDs already this year, and faces a Dallas defense that just let Josh Hill find the end zone.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Stephen Gostkowski, NE @DAL 2244 ***
The Pats have increased their number of scoring drives each week, with 17 total in their past two games. And goody for Gosty, they've settled for field goals on seven of them. Still the most reliable fantasy kicker in the game.

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

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