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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
WR Calvin Johnson 6-90,1
TE Kellen Davis 2-20
TE Brandon Pettigrew 6-80,1
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 0000024022 ***
The Pack limited Stafford to 246 yards and zero scores in the earlier meeting; in fact, in five matchups with divisional foes Stafford has produced only one legit fantasy helper--390 and 2 at home against the Bears last month. And he's had just one fantasy game of note--330 and 3 last November--in his last five against the Lions. So keep those expectations in check this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Joique Bell, DET @GB 5002100000 ***
Bell took a back seat to Reggie Bush in the earlier meeting with the Packers, but he moved to the fore in Detroit when Reggie went down and he has yet to relinquish the role. Bell could follow in the footsteps of fellow bigger backs Mark Ingram and Marshawn Lynch, both of whom rushed for 100 yards against the Pack, though it's more likely his split workload won't result in enough touches for such a productive day.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Golden Tate, DET @GB 005601000 ***
Tate's as good a wingman as there is, and Green Bay's been more permissive to secondary targets of late--three Atlanta receivers found the end zone, as did two Vikings and two Eagles, all in the last six games--so he's a viable fantasy option this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Calvin Johnson, DET @GB 0071000000 ***
The Packers have yet to find an answer for Megatron; he's scored in 9 of 13 career meetings with Green Bay, producing a total of 12 TDs along with 6 100-yard games--four of them in the last five meetings. Johnson is definitely back in the mix after missing time midyear due to injury, so look for yet another big game from him.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Matt Prater, DET @GB 0022 ***
Prater has multiple field goals in eight straight outings. If his defense can keep the Packers under wraps again, counting by threes won't be a bad thing--for either the Lions or Prater and his fantasy owners.

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 Jake Locker 20 240,1
RB Shonn Greene 40
RB Dexter McCluster 5-50
WR Nate Washington 3-40
WR Kendall Wright 3-40
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 Charlie Whitehurst, TEN IND 0000020011 ***
Whitehurst saw plenty of action in the earlier game with Indy, throwing for 177 yards and a touchdown. That's actually a pretty typical game for him; no reason to set your expectations differently.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Bishop Sankey, TEN IND 5011100000 **
Sankey scored in the earlier meeting with Indy, and at this juncture there's really no reason to give anyone else carries; the Titans need to find out what their second-round pick is capable of going forward. With greater volume comes greater responsibility--like, he'll need to turn 14 carries into more than 44 yards, like he did against Jacksonville last week, if he wants to become the feature back in Tennessee.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Nate Washington, TEN IND 004500000 ***
Washington had his moment in the sun with 6-102 against a bad Jets' secondary; now he's just taking up roster space.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kendall Wright, TEN IND 004500000 ***
Wright is playing through a hand injury; despite that he led all Titans receivers with 4-73 last week against Jacksonville and is the best bet to post something similar against an Indy team he took for 5-55 (also team-leading) in the earlier meeting.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Delanie Walker, TEN IND 005601000 ***
Walker scored against Indy in the earlier meeting--hardly surprising, seeing as the Colts have given up 10 TE TDs on the year. They've also allowed six games of 80 yards or more, including Walker's 84 earlier in the year. Given how heavily targeted Walker is, and how bad the rest of Tennessee's receiving corps is, a similar stat line feels like a starting point for Walker this week.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Ryan Succop, TEN IND 1122 ***
The Colts have allowed one multiple-field goal outing in the past 10 games. No reason to think the Titans suddenly find one between the couch cushions this week.

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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