Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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CAR at ATL *NE at BUF *SD at KC *WAS at TB
*CIN at JAC *NO at GB *SEA at STL *CHI at DAL (MON)
*Updated *MIA at ARI *NYG at PHI *SF at NYJ Bye: IND, PIT

Prediction: CHI 13, DAL 20 (Line: DAL by 3.5)

Players to Watch: Jay Cutler

Players Updated: Matt Forte, Michael Bush

Here is an interesting game. The 2-1 Bears have two big wins at home against weak opponents and then got beat big on the road in Green Bay. None of these necessarily define the Bears so far but this week should be the final piece. The Cowboys are 2-1 with only a loss in Seattle but last week against the Buccaneers was a win played in slow motion at about half speed. The defense continues to do their job for the Cowboys but the offense has flopped twice now since the opener in New York. Cowboys at home and Bears on the road should be a win for the home team. But expecting any fireworks and big points is looking optimistic.

Chicago Bears
Homefield: Soldier Field
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 IND 41-21 10 HOU -----
2 @GB 10-23 11 @SF -----
3 STL 23-6 12 MIN -----
4 @DAL ----- 13 SEA -----
5 @JAC ----- 14 @MIN -----
6 BYE ----- 15 GB -----
7 DET ----- 16 @ARI -----
8 CAR ----- 17 @DET -----
9 @TEN ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
CHI @ DAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Jay Cutler 20 180,1
RB Matt Forte 40 4-30
RB Jacquizz Rodgers 40 5-40
WR Alshon Jeffery 3-40
TE Martellus Bennett 6-70,1
PK Robbie Gould 2 FG 1 XP

Pregame Notes: Since opening against the Colts, this is no offensive machine. The absence of Matt Forte is certainly telling and he may even start practicing this week but chances are still best that he will miss this game. Originally, his prognosis was four to six weeks so getting to even limited practice after two weeks would be a very favorable sign. This is a Monday night game too so no place to turn if you want to hold out hope for Forte.

Jay Cutler is going to be the key to this entire game. He has struggled in the last two games with never more than 183 passing yards and just one score. He was intercepted four times in Green Bay and once by the visiting Rams. Worse yet, Cutler has been sacked 11 times this season and bashed far more times than that. The offensive line continues to be a major issue here and facing the Cowboys in Dallas is not going to do anything to improve the blocking. As Jay goes, so go the Bears.

Michael Bush took over for Forte and scored once but only gained 55 yards on 18 runs versus the Rams. Kahlil Bell was also allowed ten runs for a whopping 20 yards last week so Bush is not getting the full load. He merely replaces Forte and then Bell comes up as the new Bush. On the road that is not likely to produce much fantasy value unless they throw the ball more to Bush who only had two catches last week.

Alshon Jeffrey has been fairly solid for a rookie in his first three games though his lone road trip resulted in just one catch in Green Bay. Brandon Marshall also flopped in that road game with two reception but has been a big plus as long as the Bears are at home and facing weaker teams. The two starting wideouts are all that really matter here with Earl Bennett and Devin Hester rarely accounting for more than a catch or two. That is going to be a problem this week since the Cowboys have yet to allow any passing touchdown to a wide receiver or even more than 58 yards.

The Cowboys offense has been enigmatic but the defense has remained very good. That's enough to make all the Bears offensive weapons get a downgrade on Monday.

Gaining Fantasy Points CHI 30 11 21 32 14 1
Preventing Fantasy Points DAL 1 15 1 16 7 16

QB Jay Cutler, CHI @GB 0000024021 ***
Cutler's track record in Lambeau is shaky: three TDs and a dozen picks in four trips to Green Bay, averaging 210 yards per contest. Maybe the frozen tundra is losing some of its mystique, however, as the Pack has allowed back-to-back visiting quarterbacks to throw multiple touchdowns. And with Cutler playing better of late, a slight uptick over the 225 and 1 (and 1) he posted in the earlier meeting with the Packers seems probable.
RB Matt Forte, CHI @GB 7005400000 **
Sounds like Forte will be back for this one, and he's historically fared well against Green Bay--like his 141 and 1 in the earlier meeting this year. Expect Jeremy Langford to remain in the mix, but Forte should see enough work to be a viable low-end RB2/flex option.
RB Jeremy Langford, CHI @GB 2003201000 *
We have yet to see how touches will be split with Matt Forte returning, as Langford certainly earned a larger share with his play over the past month. However, between Forte's track record against Green Bay and the way the Packers D has been playing of late the leftovers aren't likely to amount to fantasy assistance.
WR Alshon Jeffery, CHI @GB 005600000 *
Jeffery should be back to his usual target levels this week, which yielded 5-78 against Green Bay in the season opener. The Packers have allowed every visiting WR1 to score or top 80 yards, so bank on Jeffery as you normally would.
WR Marquess Wilson, CHI @GB 002400000 ***
Wilson posted a solid 59 yards in the previous meeting with Green Bay. The Packers have allowed secondary receivers to score in their last two home games so one way or another Wilson should be knocking on the door of fantasy relevancy.
WR Josh Bellamy, CHI @GB 002300000 ***
Bellamy would have fantasy value if Alshon Jeffery doesn't play, but all indications are Chicago's WR1 will go in the Thanksgiving night tilt.
TE Zach Miller, CHI @GB 004501000 *
No Martellus Bennett means more looks for Miller, who has matched or outperformed the starter in three straight games. Green Bay has allowed TE TDs in three straight and four of five as well as two straight at home, so if you're stuck for a tight end Miller might be the lottery ticket you're looking for this week.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Robbie Gould, CHI @GB 1122 ***
Gould has reached double digits in half his games--including the season opener against the Packers--and been close a couple more times, with multiple field goals in eight of 10 this season. It won't be easy in Green Bay, where opposing kickers are averaging less than five points per outing, but Gould's as steady as they come.

Dallas Cowboys
Homefield: Cowboys Stadium
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @NYG 24-17 10 @PHI -----
2 @SEA 7-27 11 CLE -----
3 TB 16-10 12 WAS -----
4 CHI ----- 13 PHI -----
5 BYE ----- 14 @CIN -----
6 @BAL ----- 15 PIT -----
7 @CAR ----- 16 NO -----
8 NYG ----- 17 @WAS -----
9 @ATL ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
DAL vs CHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Cassel 260,2
QB Tony Romo 270,1
RB Darren McFadden 80,1 4-40
WR Dez Bryant 6-60
TE Jason Witten 3-30
PK Dan Bailey 2 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The Cowboys are 2-1 but no one is that happy at team headquarters. The defense has been good to great each week but the offense has recently played like this is December and the annual slide to .500 has begun. Penalties and dropped passes like the Cowboys just kind of lost interest after the Giants win. I almost never happens this early in the year. It almost always does happen in December.

Last week against the visiting Buccaneers, Tony Romo only managed to throw for 283 yards, one interception and two lost fumbles. The Bucs. Visiting no less. He has been good for 250+ yards in every game but has just one touchdown over the last two weeks. This is almost the same scenario as the Bears except they beat the Colts and the Cowboys beat the reigning Superbowl champs. Since then - same same.

Even more perplexing was how DeMarco Murray only gained 38 yards on 18 carries. He opened with his first 100 yard rushing effort in a road game ever. Since then, never more than 44 rush yards in a game. And Murray was always at his best at home in the past.

Top of the list of "what is wrong with you guys" is Jason Witten who claims he is no longer hampered by his lacerated spleen and yet he only had two catches for eight yards versus the Buccaneers and that included several outright drops. Three weeks of Witten so far has netted just 76 yards and no scores.

Miles Austin is the lone receiver meeting expectations each week and he has two scores and 243 yards on the year compared to no scores and 164 yards by Dez Bryant. Kevin Ogletree continues to be more productive than Bryant.

With only a bye waiting on the other side, the Cowboys need this home win and yet will be facing a very formidable defense which has allowed only three offensive touchdowns this year. Chances are this will be more of a repeat of last week for the Cowboys only against a better defense. The Cowboys have a brutal five game stretch after their bye and losing this game puts the season at risk.

Gaining Fantasy Points DAL 20 22 6 29 30 25
Preventing Fantasy Points CHI 2 5 11 17 10 27

QB Tony Romo, DAL CAR 0000025012 ***
Romo is reasonably matchup proof, but you do need to dial back expectations against a Carolina defense that's allowed an average of 227 passing yards and one TD in four road games.
RB Darren McFadden, DAL CAR 6017600000 ***
Since displacing Joseph Randle McFadden has three 100-yard games but only one TD. The Panthers have allowed only one 100-yard rusher all season, but it came on the road--plus they've allowed RB rushing scores in three straight road games. If the Cowboys are going to keep giving McFadden 20-plus carries behind that line, and so long as he stays healthy, he's a weekly must-start regardless of matchup.
WR Terrance Williams, DAL CAR 005701000 ***
Tony Romo's return floats all boats, but Carolina has allowed only one team to have multiple wideouts top 55 yards in the same game so you likely can find better fantasy options than Cowboys secondary receivers.
WR Dez Bryant, DAL CAR 005500000 **
Carolina's secondary has been stout--only six WR TDs all year--but they're not infallible. And Dez is... well, Dez. He's matchup-proof, though temper your expectations accordingly.
WR Cole Beasley, DAL CAR 003200000 ***
Beasley has seen just four targets since Tony Romo's return, and this matchup is far too stiff for lightly targeted tertiary receivers to warrant fantasy attention.
TE Jason Witten, DAL CAR 005500000 ***
Cowboys tight ends have done virtually nothing of fantasy note since the season opener, and in recent weeks the Panthers have kept the likes of Jordan Reed and Delanie Walker in check. You should be able to find a more palatable option this week.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Dan Bailey, DAL CAR 2222 ***
Bailey's been ordinary this season, with or without Tony Romo at the helm. A stout Carolina defense won't make things any easier.

CAR at ATL *NE at BUF *SD at KC *WAS at TB
*CIN at JAC *NO at GB *SEA at STL *CHI at DAL (MON)
*Updated *MIA at ARI *NYG at PHI *SF at NYJ Bye: IND, PIT

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