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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: NYG 27, CAR 24 (Line: NYG by 1)

Players to Watch: Andre Brown, David Wilson, Brandon LaFell

Players Updated: Ahmad Bradshaw, Andre Brown, David Wilson, Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks, Rueben Randle, Jonathan Stewart

The 1-1 Giants won the Superbowl but they lost to the Cowboys and had to squeak out a comeback victory over the visiting Buccaneers. The 1-1 Panthers lost to the same Buccaneers in the season opener but then took down the visiting Saints last week. The Giants are not as playing as well as a reigning champ should and the Panthers are improved but those lines do not cross quite yet.

New York Giants
Homefield: Meadowlands Stadium
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 DAL 17-24 10 @CIN -----
2 TB 41-34 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 @ CAR Rush Catch Pass
QB Eli Manning 270,2
RB Peyton Hillis 80,1 3-20
RB Chris Ogbonnaya 3-20
WR Victor Cruz 7-100,1
WR Kevin Ogletree 2-40
WR Rueben Randle 3-40

Pregame Notes: Can't say it wasn't exciting. Eli Manning engineered three touchdown drives in the fourth quarter to overtake the Buccaneers last week and in the process Eli Manning passed for 510 yards and three scores to join the 500 Club that only has 13 members. It was the eighth highest passing yardage ever recorded. Almost half of that was thrown in the fourth quarter alone. Eli may have a new interception problem this year, but no denying he can still chuck it with the best of them.

Ahmad Bradshaw jammed his neck against the Buccaneers and early expectations are that he will not have enough time to heal by the Thursday night game. That means Andre Brown would get the start which was echoed by HC Tom Coughlin in his praise for the ex-practice squad back who had his first game action and gained 71 yards and a score on just 13 runs.

David Wilson remains in the doghouse for his week one fumble and week two dropped pass. It is one thing to communicate to players that they need to adhere to a standard. It is another when you affect the confidence of a new player who is obviously an emotional player. Wilson owners can only accept the reality of Tom Coughlin's tough love. On the plus side, maybe Brown makes a mistake as well.

The huge passing stats naturally gave everyone a feast with Hakeem Nicks (10-199, TD) and Victor Cruz (11-179, TD) both having monster games. While those two have been a mainstay for Manning since last year, Martellus Bennett is adding a new dimension to the offense. In just two weeks as a Giant, Bennett has none catches for 132 yards and two touchdowns which makes him the scoring leader among receivers. Those three players make up almost the entirety of the passing game and with 510 yards last week - they are plenty enough.

The Giants have been at home both weeks and now go on the road for the first time. Short weeks usually favor the more talented team since there is limited preparation. That should be just enough to get the win for the Giants who need to try getting a lead and coasting instead of playing from behind so much of the time.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NYG 5 18 1 12 11 19
Preventing Fantasy Points CAR 12 30 3 10 21 15

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Eli Manning, NYG @STL 0000025011 ***
It's not a particularly favorable matchup for Eli, as the Rams haven't allowed a touchdown pass in three weeks and haven't served up multiple scoring strikes to a quarterback since Week 7. But with Rashad Jennings hobbled and the Rams stiff against the run, what other options do the Giants have?
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Andre Williams, NYG @STL 4003100000 **
Rashad Jennings pulled himself early from last week's matchup, so this week expect all Andre all the time. However, with the Rams sporting a solid run defense there may simply be nowhere for Williams to go.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Odell Beckham, NYG @STL 007901000 **
30 targets, 23 catches, 273 yards, four touchdowns. Those are totals from Beckham's last four games so, yeah, he's hot. He's also Eli Manning's go-to guy and as such a solid fantasy play, even in a matchup that looks to be a bit on the tough side.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Rueben Randle, NYG @STL 005600000 ***
Randle has battled some injury issues which have pushed him to the side in the Giants' WR depth conversation, but he's a big target that plays nicely opposite the smaller, speedier Odell Beckham Jr.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Preston Parker, NYG @STL 002300000 ***
Parker hopes to carve out some fantasy value at the bottom of the food chain, but he's too inconsistently productive to warrant a fantasy play here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Larry Donnell, NYG @STL 003300000 ***
Not a particularly favorable matchup for Donnell, as the Rams haven't allowed a Te TD since Week 7. And Donnell has been sharing looks with Daniel Fells and generally avoiding fantasy contributions, making him even less worthy of a fantasy start here.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Josh Brown, NYG @STL 2211 ***
Like clockwork, Brown returned to his usual one field goal last week on the heels of his five-trey outburst against the Rams. Which trend you gonna believe, his five-FG game or the six one- or zero-FG games that preceded it (and the one-field goal game that followed it)?

Carolina Panthers
Homefield: Bank of America Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @TB 10-16 10 DEN -----
2 NO 35-27 11 TB -----
3 NYG ----- 12 @PHI -----
4 @ATL ----- 13 @KC -----
5 SEA ----- 14 ATL -----
6 BYE ----- 15 @SD -----
7 DAL ----- 16 OAK -----
8 @CHI ----- 17 @NO -----
9 @WAS ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
CAR vs NYG Rush Catch Pass
QB Cam Newton 40,1 260,2
RB Jonathan Stewart 30 1-10
RB DeAngelo Williams 70
TE Greg Olsen 4-40

Pregame Notes: After a disappointing opening loss to the Buccaneers, the Panthers remain home where they just beat the Saints. After week one saw Cam Newton only rush for four yards on five carries, he turned 13 runs into 71 yards and one touchdown versus the Saints. He only has two passing scores on the year but at least has rediscovered the rushing that made him a fantasy force as a rookie.

Jonathan Stewart returned last week and that mean neatly splitting the workload with DeAngelo Williams so that their 25 runs for 120 yards were only 69 yards for Williams with one score and 51 yards for Stewart who scored one his lone catch in the game. So far the only receptions for running backs have gone to fullback Mike Tolbert just to further destroy what could have been great fantasy value. Oh yes, Tolbert also scored a one-yard touchdown. This mess is just the same as last year.

Steve Smith has opened the year with dual 100+ yard efforts though he still has not scored. Brandon LaFell is taking the next step with games of 65 and 90 yards with the only other passing score so far this season. This is a two man receiving attack and yet three guys run the ball - four if you count Newton and you really should count Newton. Not many teams tout more runners than receivers.

Greg Olsen was considered a candidate for a breakout season but so far that has not remotely happened. He gained 56 yards on six catches in the opener and then fell back to only one catch for 13 yards against the Saints. On the plus side, this team is pretty easy to project because only two guys catch the ball.

The Giants show up and bring a solid rush defense that held Doug Martin to only 66 yards last week. Chances are the Giants are getting over themselves and should show better focus in this first road trip. That will make keeping up tough for the Panthers.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CAR 7 14 14 27 29 18
Preventing Fantasy Points NYG 22 8 30 5 16 23

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Cam Newton, CAR CLE 10000025011 ***
Maybe Cam goes this week, but can you trust him to run--key to his fantasy value--with two busted bones in his back? Probably not, which leaves him to his throwing--not nearly enough to warrant a fantasy start in championship week.
Update: Cam is listed as probable and all indications are he'll start this week. Tough to see him running like usual, however, so he'll need to rely on his arm--and specifically on Kelvin Benjamin and Greg Olsen--to carve out fantasy value against a pretty solid Browns secondary.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jonathan Stewart, CAR CLE 8011100000 ***
You can run on the Brownies; see Cincy's 241 yards and three TDs last week. And with little to no DeAngelo Williams and quite likely no Cam Newton culturing, it'll be another 20-tote day for Stewart. He's produced 228 yards and a touchdown with his last two 20-carry outings; have to like him here as well.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB DeAngelo Williams, CAR CLE 200000000 ***
Williams hasn't played for two weeks and hasn't seen more than 14 carries in a year. All he's doing is harshing Jonathan Stewart's mellow.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kelvin Benjamin, CAR CLE 005600000 **
Joe Haden is not infallible. He also hasn't had a great deal of success with bigger receivers, especially tandems: Mike Evans went for 7-124-6 (or Vincent Jackson had 6-86, take your pick); DeAndre Hopkins and Andre Johnson split 148 yards; and Julio Jones scored (with 68 yards to boot) while Roddy White tallied 96. Benjamin doesn't have nearly as high-profile a running mate, but he's still a solid bet to see his usual volume of targets and provide fantasy value.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jerricho Cotchery, CAR CLE 004500000 ***
You could play the "not covered by Joe Haden" card here, but Kelvin Benjamin's dramatic size advantage over Haden likely puts that matchup in favor of the receiver, negating the need to lean any more heavily on Cotchery than usual.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Greg Olsen, CAR CLE 007801000 **
Cleveland has been pretty good against tight ends--except for Jimmy Graham, whom they misguidedly tried to defend with the much smaller Joe Haden. Unlikely that the Browns sic Haden on Olsen, which should free him up to do his usual damage.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Graham Gano, CAR CLE 3322 ***
Gano is heating up at just the right time; with multiple treys in three straight and double-digit points in back-to-back tilts, it's fortuitous that he bumps into a Browns defense that has served up multiple field goals in three straight and double-digit kicker points in three of its last five.

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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