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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 2
2012
* 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: TB 17, NYG 24 (Line: NYG by 8)

Players to watch: Doug Martin, Martellus Bennett

Players Updated: Hakeem Nicks

The Buccaneers squeaked out a win over the visiting Panthers using a shockingly good defensive effort from a unit that was among the worst in 2011. The Giants remain at home after being handed a big loss to the Cowboys in the league opener last Wednesday. The Giants had 11 days to prepare for this but after facing a surprisingly good Dallas defense, the Buccaneers show up after limiting the #1 rushing team to only ten yards on 13 carries. Be an interesting game between two teams that need more definition.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Homefield: Raymond James Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 CAR 16-10 10 SD -----
2 @NYG ----- 11 @CAR -----
3 @DAL ----- 12 ATL -----
4 WAS ----- 13 @DEN -----
5 BYE ----- 14 PHI -----
6 KC ----- 15 @NO -----
7 NO ----- 16 STL -----
8 @MIN ----- 17 @ATL -----
9 @OAK ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
vs Rush Catch Pass
RB Doug Martin 90,1 4-30
WR Vincent Jackson 6-90,1
WR Louis Murphy 2-30
WR Steve Smith 2-30
TE Brandon Myers 2-20
PK Nate Kaeding 1 FG 3 XP
PK Rian Lindell 2 FG 2 XP
PK Lawrence Tynes 1 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: Really? In 2011, the Panthers showed up in Tampa Bay during week 13 and then rushed for a collective 163 yards on 39 carries with four touchdowns. This year? No player gained more than five rushing yards IN TOTAL. And the best runner was the wideout Kealoha Pilares (1-5). Interdivisional games can always be odd and unlike the rest but it was a great start to the season for the Buccaneers defense.

Josh Freeman only passed for 138 yards and one score but had no turnovers and merely managed the game. The rookie Doug Martin was the difference maker with 95 yards on 24 carries and four receptions for 23 more yards. He was a stick mover and kept the drives alive. This will be a big test for him going to New York though they coughed up 131 yards to DeMarco Murray last week. The Buccaneers do not have the same passing game as the Cowboys so that's unlikely to happen but Martin looked good in his debut, unlike say Trent Richardson.

Vincent Jackson is the new toy for Freeman and he was thrown ten passes - the next best only had four. Jackson ended with just 47 yards on four catches but should improve as he and Freeman get more chemistry. The entire passing game grades out as incomplete so far since Freeman did not throw much last week. That will have to change against the Giants. Mike Williams only caught two short passes against the Panthers but one was the lone touchdown. If Jackson and Williams could meet their potential, the wideouts here could be above average.

Somewhat encouraging was that the lone pass to Dallas Clark went for a 33 yard gain. Clark has been back to health after two seasons getting injured and could really add a much needed dimension to the offense in the coming weeks. He's worth keeping an eye on since the Bucs have a pretty kind schedule this year.

The difference in this game will be how much of the defense was real last week and if Freeman can pass more and keep the opponent from stacking the line against Martin.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points TB 29 12 31 31 12 14
Preventing Fantasy Points NYG 30 11 32 8 9 14

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Josh McCown, TB NO 0000025011 **
Mike Glennon posted a decent 249 and 2 against the Saints back in Week 5; McCown has hit those numbers just once in the past month, but the Saints secondary hasn't been particularly good down the stretch so a repeat of those good-not-great numbers isn't hard to fathom.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Doug Martin, TB NO 5002100000 ***
There's an opportunity here against a defense that's allowed Jeremy Hill (152), Justin Forsett (182 & 2), and Jonathan Stewart (155 & 1) to run roughshod on them in the past month and a half. Martin's best effort to date is a 14-96 against the Panthers; if he hadn't laid a 10-for-17 egg last week against the Packers we'd be more inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Charles Sims, TB NO 1003300000 ***
The Saints have allowed a couple 100-yard RB receivers already this year, but Sims has yet to live up to the hype so the odds of him becoming the third are slim.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Mike Evans, TB NO 004501000 ***
The Saints missed Evans earlier in the year; they may not know what they're in for. At minimum Evans is a touchdown threat against a Saints secondary that's allowed 19 WR TDs on the year.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Vincent Jackson, TB NO 0061000000 ****
Jackson posted 8-144 against the Saints earlier this year, though Mike Evans missed that game so he was the go-to guy. he's been a yardage hound of late, with games of 117, 159, 70 and 60 over the past month. Even in Evans' shadow he's a viable performance league option, just know that he hasn't seen the end zone since Week 4.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Patrick Murray, TB NO 2211 ****
We have 15 games of evidence that Murray isn't going to provide a fantasy helper. Why start now?

New York Giants
Homefield: Meadowlands Stadium
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 DAL 17-24 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
NYG vs TB Rush Catch Pass
QB Josh Freeman 10 240,1
QB Eli Manning 280,2
RB Peyton Hillis 30,1 2-10
RB Rashad Jennings
WR Victor Cruz 6-90,1
WR Kevin Ogletree 4-40

Pregame Notes: It wasn't that the Giants had a horrible game when they lost to the Cowboys. It was that all those big plays and Cowboy mistakes and good mojo just never happened. Eli Manning has historically owned the Cowboys but only managed 213 yards and one score. The wideouts were limited by the corner play of the Cowboys and so this week we need to see how much of the loss was just an improved Cowboys and how much was the natural malaise of winning yet another Super Bowl.

Ahmad Bradshaw ran for 78 yards on 17 carries and scored once. He looked vintage good, particularly once David Wilson lost a fumble on his second carry and was yanked from the gameplan. Yes, Wilson appeared to be crying on the sideline but he deeply cares about his job and knows just how much of his contract was incentive based. You fumble? You sit. Fortunately Tiki Barber was a fumbler until HC Tom Coughlin cured him with the "high and tight" method. Wilson has to learn since he was a fumbler in college and once you cough it up, everyone just tackles the ball instead of the player.

How well Bradshaw does will be interesting because the incredible job the Bucs did shutting down the Panthers run game last week. Chances are good that was more about being at home in the opener against a familiar opponent who had been a problem all last year. Bradshaw remains a must start.

This game should be an improvement for both Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz who were swallowed up by the Cowboys new cornerbacks. Cruz was held to six catches for 58 yards while Nicks only produced 38 yards on four receptions. That has to change and should with the Buccaneers allowing Steve Smith to gain 106 yards on seven catches. Bradshaw may be slightly risky facing the Bucs but the wideouts should turn it on and win the game.

Martellus Bennett was also a bigger part of the game plan with six targets for four catches and one touchdown against his old employer. It's worth keeping an eye to see if Bennett remains a target equal with the two main wide receivers this week as well.

Giants win this game because they must. A loss here slants the entire season in a bad direction.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NYG 24 20 25 12 25 24
Preventing Fantasy Points TB 13 2 25 15 4 5

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Eli Manning, NYG PHI 0000026021 ***
The last time Manning saw the Eagles it didn't go so well. In fact, he hasn't thrown a touchdown against Philly in either of his two previous meetings. With nothing for either team to play for except pride, expect Manning to have a game more in line with his last two home dates with the Eagles: 334 and 2, 208 and 5.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Andre Williams, NYG PHI 5011100000 ***
No reason for the Giants to risk the banged-up Rashad Jennings here, and Williams is coming off an impressive 26-110 showing against the Rams last week. He handled the load the last time the Giants met Philly, rushing for 58 yards on 16 carries; expect an uptick against a defense that's allowed at least 80 to three straight feature backs.
Update: Turns out Williams is also banged up, as he was limited in practice all week by a shoulder injury. If he can't go, the Giants may just throw all game--or give meaningful carries to Orleans Darkwa.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Odell Beckham, NYG PHI 00101202000 ***
Beckham's lone dog during his remarkable rookie season came in Philly back in Week 6. Now he's sporting a three-game streak of 100-yard games, an eight-game streak of 90-yard games, and a three-game scoring streak with six TDs in that span. You gotta think he'll bounce back against an Eagles secondary that's given up more fantasy points to wide receivers than any other team in the league.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Rueben Randle, NYG PHI 003500000 ***
Not since the Packers in Week 11 have multiple receivers posted fantasy helpers against the Eagles; it's been pretty much one guy each week doing the bulk of the damage. And in New York, that one guy is Odell Beckham Jr.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Preston Parker, NYG PHI 003300000 ***
Parker's the third wheel in a Giants' passing game that's somewhere between unicycle and one of those old-fashioned bicycles with the hugh front tire and the much smaller rear tire. In other words, look for fantasy help elsewhere.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Larry Donnell, NYG PHI 003200000 ***
Giants tight ends amassed 75 yards in the earlier meeting with Philly, but only six of them went to Donnell. Also working against Larry this week: the Eagles have allowed only one TE TD all year, none in their past 13 games. You're bound to find more favorable trends elsewhere.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Josh Brown, NYG PHI 1133 ***
Brown didn't even swing the leg in the earlier meeting with Philly, and he has just two field goals in five NFC East contests this season. Get your fantasy kicks elsewhere.

WEEK 2
2012
* 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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