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: 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
  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
TE Brandon Myers 2-20

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.

Gaining Fantasy Points TB 29 12 31 31 12 14
Preventing Fantasy Points NYG 30 11 32 8 9 14

QB Josh McCown, TB @CHI 10000027021 ***
McCown has been fantasy relevant in both of his starts since replacing Mike Glennon, and now he gets a revenge game against the Bears. Why not?
RB Charles Sims, TB @CHI 4004200000 ***
Sims has done nothing of fantasy note in his two NFL games, and a change in that plan is unlikely in Chicago this week.
Update: Sims is listed as questionable after closing the week with a couple of limited practice sessions. Like he needs further dings to his fantasy prospectus.
RB Bobby Rainey, TB @CHI 1002200000 ***
Rainey is playing understudy to Charles Sims, and neither has been particularly effective. It's not a favorable matchup, so no reason to reach for him here.
WR Mike Evans, TB @CHI 0071101000 ***
Evans is smoking hot right now, with three straight 100-yard games and five touchdowns in that span. No reason to think Chicago has an answer the Redskins, Falcons, and Browns did not.
WR Vincent Jackson, TB @CHI 006900000 ***
The Packers are the only team to produce multiple productive fantasy receivers against Chicago, and Jackson has definitely fallen off to wingman duties in Tampa Bay. He's a fringe fantasy contributor at best this week.
TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TB @CHI 004401000 ***
The Bears have surrendered eight TE TDs in just the past four games, and with Seferian-Jenkins taking over as the go-to tight end in Tampa he's definitely a fantasy option this week.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Patrick Murray, TB @CHI 1122 ***
It's about as favorable a matchup as you'll find--the Bears have given up multiple field goals in five straight and eight of 10 on the year--but Murray has yet to tally a double-digit points game so even with the matchup he's a stretch of a fantasy start.

New York Giants
Homefield: Meadowlands Stadium
  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 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.

Gaining Fantasy Points NYG 24 20 25 12 25 24
Preventing Fantasy Points TB 13 2 25 15 4 5

QB Eli Manning, NYG DAL 0000027031 ***
Eli has multiple touchdowns in each of his past three meetings with the Cowboys, including 248 and 3 earlier this year. He's laid a couple of fantasy eggs against NFC West foes the past two weeks, but back within his division he's at least worthy of fantasy consideration.
RB Rashad Jennings, NYG DAL 6002100000 ***
In the three games since the Jennings-less Giants rushed for 80 yards against Dallas, the Cowboys have surrendered five RB TDs and an average of 138 combo yards to the RB position. Jennings used last week's 18-59 against the 49ers to shake off the rust; he's a solid bet for helpful fantasy numbers this week.
WR Odell Beckham, NYG DAL 007901000 ****
Performance leaguers continue to enjoy Beckham, who hasn't scored since Week 7 but does have 357 yards in the past three games. He scored twice in that Week 7 matchup with the Cowboys, so one way or another--maybe both--Beckham will carve out fantasy value this week.
WR Rueben Randle, NYG DAL 006700000 ***
Randle remains a heavily targeted option in the Giants' passing game, and though he hasn't seen the end zone since Week 5 he's a solid PPR/performance league fantasy play. He was the Giants' top wideout the last time they met Dallas; maybe this time he can up his 6-74 into something even a little more fantasy helpful.
WR Preston Parker, NYG DAL 002200000 ***
Parker's last five games--with one, two, one, seven, and one catch each--speak to his consistency or lack thereof. Given his position in the Giants' passing game pecking order it's a stretch for him to have even fringe fantasy value this week.
TE Larry Donnell, NYG DAL 007701000 ***
Only two teams have given up more fantasy points to the tight end position than the Cowboys, which makes this a sterling matchup for Donnell. Larry had 90 yards in the earlier meeting with Dallas but Daniel Fells stole his touchdown; since then Donnell has out-caught Fells 11-1 and outscored him 2-0, so this is clearly Donnell's gig.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Josh Brown, NYG DAL 1133 ***
Brown hasn't had a multiple field goal game in a month, and the Giants' offense isn't doing enough for him to make up the difference via PATs.

* 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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