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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 3
2012
*NYG at CAR (THU) *DET at TEN *NE at BAL SF at MIN
*ATL at SD HOU at DEN *NYJ at MIA *STL at CHI
*BUF at CLE *JAC at IND *PHI at ARI TB at DAL
*Updated *CIN at WAS *KC at NO *PIT at OAK *GB at SEA (MON)

Prediction: DET 34, TEN 13 (Line: DET by 3)

Players to Watch: Mikel Leshoure

Players Updated: Calvin Johnson, Tony Scheffler

The Lions lost in San Francisco but made it into fight. The Titans are 0-2 and are still trying to lose by fewer than 21 points. This is exactly what the Lions need. Not so much for the Titans.

Detroit Lions
Homefield: Ford Field
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 STL 27-23 10 @MIN -----
2 @SF 19-27 11 GB -----
3 @TEN ----- 12 HOU -----
4 MIN ----- 13 IND -----
5 BYE ----- 14 @GB -----
6 @PHI ----- 15 @ARI -----
7 @CHI ----- 16 ATL -----
8 SEA ----- 17 CHI -----
9 @JAC ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Stats | Roster
DET @ TEN Rush Catch Pass
QB Matthew Stafford 260,2
PK Matt Prater 1 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: So far the Lions have outlasted a surprisingly spry Rams and lost to the 49ers and in both those high point games from 2011 have not materialized. Chances are good that should start now with the Titans and Vikings up next on the schedule.

Matthew Stafford only scored twice this year against four interceptions and the passing game that looked so good through the preseason has yet to really materialize beyond the obligatory pitch-and-catch with Calvin Johnson. Titus Young was a sleeper type to some this summer but he only has a single catch in each game and may actually be a really little guy who won't carry much of a load. Nate Burleson has been far more productive though another problem here is that no wideout has actually caught a touchdown this year.

Brandon Pettigrew has one of the scores but has not provided much in the yardage department. He started with 77 yards on five catches but dropped to only 18 yards on three receptions in San Francisco.

This week Mikel Leshoure finally starts his NFL career one torn Achilles and a marijuana-induced suspension later. Nothing he brings can hurt since Kevin Smith has not made anyone forget Barry Sanders. Most likely Leshoure just waters down what Smith and we are denied any real primary back. It is worth tracking just in case the Lions do remember how to score again.

This should be a good week. The Titans have allowed 34+ points to opponents so far and the Lions could really use a soft defense now.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DET 23 11 19 5 7 23
Preventing Fantasy Points TEN 24 26 5 32 19 19

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Matthew Stafford, DET GB 10000031031 ***
The Packers have given up 23.5 fantasy points per game in the last five weeks, which is the sixth highest average. The Lions are in a must-win situation if the Redskins win earlier in the day, so Stafford will lay it all on the line. Their Week 3 meeting resulted in 385 yards, three TDs and a pick in Green Bay.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Matt Asiata, DET GB 4002200000 ***
Despite a good matchup, Asiata remains unplayable. If he doesn't score, there is almost nothing redeeming about his production.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Zach Zenner, DET GB 4001100000 ***
Zenner flashed several times in Week 16 but wasn't able to keep up the involvement when Detroit quickly fell into a big hole. Keep him away from lineups in what may be a similar situation against the Pack.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Dwayne Washington, DET GB 3001100000 ***
Green Bay has given up receptions and yardage to a notable degree, but touchdowns haven't been easy to come by. The Lions have no commitment to the ground game, anyway.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Golden Tate, DET GB 0061001000 ***
Tate was quiet in the Week 3 battle at Lambeau, registering only four catches for 40 yards. The Packers have given up 15.2 catches (5th most) and 193 yards (4th most) per game since Week 11, allowing a TD every 10.9 completions to receivers (14th worst).
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Marvin Jones Jr., DET GB 004600000 ***
Jones went bonkers in the Week 3 matchup by posting six catches for 202 yards and two scores for a whopping 38.5 PPR points. He hasn't totaled 38.5 PPR points in his last six games combined.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Eric Ebron, DET GB 006801000 ***
The Packers have allowed a TD on the last 26 receptions faced by tight ends. Ebron hauled in five passes for 69 yards in Week 3 against Green Bay, and he was heavily involved last week as the Lions were forced into catch-up mode.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Matt Prater, DET GB 1133 ***
Green Bay has permitted all seven field goal attempts to clear the uprights, while seven of nine point-afters were good in the last five games. This is a bottom-seven matchup for Week 17.

Tennessee Titans
Homefield: LP Field
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 NE 13-34 10 @MIA -----
2 @SD 10-38 11 BYE -----
3 DET ----- 12 @JAC -----
4 @HOU ----- 13 HOU -----
5 @MIN ----- 14 @IND -----
6 PIT ----- 15 NYJ -----
7 @BUF ----- 16 @GB -----
8 IND ----- 17 JAC -----
9 CHI ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
TEN vs DET Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Cassel 10 270,1
RB DeMarco Murray 110,1 2-20
WR Eric Decker 4-50,1
WR Harry Douglas 3-30
PK Ryan Succop 2 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: It is certainly a bad thing when your defense gives away 34 points or more each game. It is even worse when your offense cannot generate more than one touchdown per week. The coaching staff is trying to hold firmly behind Jake Locker to give him time to develop but that seasoning on the bench last year may not have been completely finished.

Locker has thrown for around 200 yards per week with one score and one interception. That is not terrible except when you consider his team was trailing by three or four touchdowns and the running effort is completely abandoned in the second half. At some point either Locker improves or the coaches make some excuse about Locker needing to "watch the game" and insert Matt Hasselbeck back into the lineup.

Chris Johnson has played do poorly that he has called out the offense in general and his blockers in particular. That is akin to insulting your bodyguards right before going to beer night at Fight Club. Johnson has 19 runs for a whopping 21 yards. By now the defense is just stopping Johnson cold and not caring what Locker does.

The meager passing has hit all the receivers and the best game by a wideout so far is only 53 yards on two catches by Nate Washington in the opener when he scored. Kendall Wright has high potential and looked great in the preseason but has only seven receptions for 61 yards and one score on the season. Until Hasselbeck gets the call, it looks like a lost season for these receivers. Even Kenny Britt returned last week to only one catch for five yards.

Problem this week is that the Lions have a decent to good defense. And average is all you need to stop the Titans this year.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points TEN 25 32 16 21 24 25
Preventing Fantasy Points DET 11 16 11 22 24 25

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Matt Cassel, TEN HOU 0000020001 **
No writeup available
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB DeMarco Murray, TEN HOU 10013200000 ***
Murray will try to cap off a brilliant season with a bang against a Houston defense that is the statistically toughest in the last five weeks. The veteran back scored twice in the first matchup, and he's a sound play once again.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Derrick Henry, TEN HOU 301000000 ***
Houston has nothing on the line in this one, so Henry is a sensible place to look for flier points. There is risk involved, but it's Week 17 and time to chance it.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Rishard Matthews, TEN HOU 005600000 *
Matthews was dynamite with Marcus Mariota, but now we have to take a leap of faith that he can get the job done with Matt Cassel for 60 minutes. The Texans provide the 12th best matchup of the week, and Matthews racked up 82 yards on only two catches in Week 4.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Tajae Sharpe, TEN HOU 004400000 *
Sharpe doesn't contribute enough consistently to consider him as anything more that a wild gamble. Houston at least offers a borderline good matchup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Delanie Walker, TEN HOU 004400000 *
Houston is a strong defense of the position, and Walker will be catching balls from Matt Cassel. Walker caught only two of eight targets for 34 yards in the last meeting with Houston.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Ryan Succop, TEN HOU 2222 ***
Houston is a bottom-three matchup for the week, and Tennessee's offense really could struggle without Marcus Mariota. This one could go either way since Matt Cassel is usually at least decent.

WEEK 3
2012
*NYG at CAR (THU) *DET at TEN *NE at BAL SF at MIN
*ATL at SD HOU at DEN *NYJ at MIA *STL at CHI
*BUF at CLE *JAC at IND *PHI at ARI TB at DAL
*Updated *CIN at WAS *KC at NO *PIT at OAK *GB at SEA (MON)

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