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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 4
2012
CLE at BAL (THU) *MIN at DET *OAK at DEN *TEN at HOU
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: NE 30, BUF 20 (Line: NE by 3.5)

Players to Watch: BUF RB's, T.J. Graham

Players Updated: C.J. Spiller, Fred Jackson, Tashard Choice, Rob Gronkowski

The 1-2 Patriots have a losing record for the first time in ten years and chances are that has been realized by the players and coaches. This does not bode that well for the 2-1 Bills who have beaten the Chiefs and Browns. But the Pats lost 31-34 in Buffalo during week three of last year and later won 49-21 at home. Have to like the Pats here and man - a loss would just be unthinkable. The Patriots have won nine of the last ten meetings.

New England Patriots
Homefield: Gillette Stadium
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @TEN 34-13 10 BUF -----
2 ARI 18-20 11 IND -----
3 @BAL 30-31 12 @NYJ -----
4 @BUF ----- 13 @MIA -----
5 DEN ----- 14 HOU -----
6 @SEA ----- 15 SF -----
7 NYJ ----- 16 @JAC -----
8 @STL ----- 17 MIA -----
9 BYE ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
NE @ BUF Rush Catch Pass
QB Tom Brady 320,3
WR Danny Amendola 6-80
TE Martellus Bennett 6-70,1
TE Rob Gronkowski 6-80,1
PK Stephen Gostkowski 3 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The loss to the Cardinals was a big surprise and while the loss to the Ravens was hardly a shock, it still sends the Patriots forward with a losing record. That makes two games in a row that Tom Brady passed for healthy yardage and yet only one touchdown when the team needed more. The absence of Aaron Hernandez should not matter this much but twice now defenses have been surprisingly effective at holding the Patriots at bay.

Stevan Ridley opened the season like a stud but then has been far less successful. With Hernandez out, the Patriots have taken to using Danny Woodhead more and that will likely continue until the tight end returns. The Pats are not throwing to the backs more though and Ridley still has a role. Woodhead even took a short touchdown away from Ridley. For now, the backfield is back to a committee.

Julian Edelman has been playing more and scored last week but injured his hand and may not be available. As this is the Patriots, knowing his status will largely be a crap shoot by design. After Edelman left the game, Wes Welker finally had a game reminiscent of his previous seasons when he ended with eight catches for 142 yards. Welker has not scored this season and has been less productive. Edelman being out has helped more than anything though Hernandez absence also has sparked at least a bit more use. Brandon Lloyd is another starter who has yet to score a touchdown though he too finally had a big game when he ended with nine receptions for 108 yards.

Rob Gronkowski was held to a freakishly low 21 yards on two catches which was because the Ravens pass rush forced Gronk into more of a blocking role. That won't be a problem this week. Kellen Winslow and Michael Hoomanawanui both had one catch while not doing much to make anyone forget about Hernandez. Deion Branch is back but not busy enough to merit fantasy attention.

The Bills have the better record but anything short of a big win here will be a surprise.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NE 16 15 10 1 3 18
Preventing Fantasy Points BUF 20 23 27 6 9 20

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Tom Brady, NE @MIA 0000025020 ***
Two weeks ago, in New England, all Brady mustered was a four-TD game against the Dolphins. He threw three of them in his lone 2016 meeting with them. Over the past five games, Miami has permitted 11 touchdown passes, or one every 9.2 completions (2nd). The position has averaged a healthy 251.2 yards, combining to make this the second-best matchup of the week.

Update: Brady sat Thursday and was limited Friday. He should be fine for Monday night.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Rex Burkhead, NE @MIA 7003401000 ***
The former Bengal scored twice two games ago when tease squads met. The Patriots will be without Rob Gronkowski, which should mean a few more looks in the short-area passing game. Miami has been victimized by running backs, giving up seven offensive TDs and 151 total yards per showdown in the past five games.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Dion Lewis, NE @MIA 8011100000 ***
Lewis posted 112 rushing yards on 15 carries in the Week 12 meeting with Miami, yet he didn't find the end zone. The Dolphins rank as the third-easiest matchup in both scoring formats and have permitted RBs to score seven times over the last five games.

Update: Lewis missed Friday's session with an illness. He should be fine by Monday night.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Brandin Cooks, NE @MIA 006901000 ***
Wideouts has scored five times in as many games against the Dolphins since Week 8. The high frequency of one every 10 catches is appealing, but this is also the fourth-worst matchup simply for securing the ball as a receiver. Cooks' big-play nature should fit right in, especially without Rob Gronkowski to steal targets. The former Saint went for 83 yards and a score on his six catches in the Week 12 meeting.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Danny Amendola, NE @MIA 004400000 ***
Amendola caught one of his four targets two weeks ago versus Miami and went for 15 yards. He scored twice in the Week 2 game last season, but Tom Brady wasn't under center for that one. The Dolphins have yielded the fourth-fewest catches per game since Week 8, with one in 10 scoring -- good for the ninth-softest defense in this area.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Chris Hogan, NE @MIA 002400000 *
Hogan returned to practice Wednesday, which is an encouraging sign. Return Friday for more details on his availability.

Update: He was limited again Friday and is on track to play Monday night. The matchup is positive, yet cautious gamers may want to look another direction.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Stephen Gostkowski, NE @MIA 3333 ***
All 17 extra points against Miami have been successful. This is the fourth-highest per-game rate. Miami usually plays New England extremely tough at home, and there's no Gronk in this one, which could lead to more field goal attempts than usual for the Pats.

Buffalo Bills
Homefield: Ralph Wilson Stadium
AstroTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @NYJ 28-48 10 @NE -----
2 KC 35-17 11 MIA -----
3 @CLE 24-14 12 @IND -----
4 NE ----- 13 JAC -----
5 @SF ----- 14 STL -----
6 @ARI ----- 15 SEA -----
7 TEN ----- 16 @MIA -----
8 BYE ----- 17 NYJ -----
9 @HOU ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
vs Rush Catch Pass
RB LeSean McCoy 110,1 3-20
PK Stephen Hauschka 2 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The Bills are 2-1 thanks in no small part to playing the Chiefs and Browns but now hit a bad stretch of the schedule with facing the Pats, then hitting the road to San Francisco and Arizona. That'll knock down the 28 point average per game. Losing C.J. Spiller for this week is only going to make it harder and take away the one weapon that was actually working every week.

Ryan Fitzpatrick has thrown for at least two scores each week but has been light on the yardage in part because C.J. Spiller was shredding the Jets and Chiefs. He posted 300+ yards in both meetings with the Patriots last season and scored twice in each. This week will be a new test for him since none of his receivers have gained more than 61 yards in a game so far and the running game is not going to be very effective.

C.J. Spiller avoided a broken clavicle as first feared but will still miss this week with a sprained shoulder. There is a chance that Fred Jackson plays at least a limited role this week as he returns from a knee sprain. Jackson said he thought he could return this week so I will include him in a limited fashion and update as his status gains any clarity.

The Bills receivers have been very light on the catches and yardage but Stevie Johnson has scored every week even though he is averaging just four catches for 57 yards per game. Scott Chandler once again started his season with touchdowns in the first two games but then ended with only 22 yards on two catches against the Browns. He has been held to four catches or less each week. This is just not as effective a passing offense as we saw in early 2011 and needs the running ability of Spiller or Jackson to keep the ball moving. The rookie T.J. Graham scored for the first time last week and had three catches for 24 yards. The Bills offense needs some diversification and Donald Jones is not providing much help.

Playing at home is favorable but the Patriots are 1-2 and that has be really, really focusing for them right now. The Pats are playing better defense this year and are going to be very motivated.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points BUF 12 5 18 21 31 9
Preventing Fantasy Points NE 23 17 20 25 14 2

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Nathan Peterman, BUF IND 0000016002 ***
It would be pretty shocking if Peterman didn't start this one due to Tyrod Taylor's knee injury. The Colts have yielded only 237 yards and 1.5 TDs a game since Week 8, picking off three balls in this time.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB LeSean McCoy, BUF IND 10015400000 ***
Indy has played pretty well in the past four games -- and against several really talented backs (PIT, TEN, JAX, HOU). Running backs have averaged 85.8 rushing yards (19th), 40 receiving yards (12th) on 4.8 catches (18th) and a touchdown every 58 offensive handles (26th). McCoy, especially if Nathan Peterman starts at quarterback, could struggle to live up to these projected figures.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kelvin Benjamin, BUF IND 003500000 *
Benjamin could be nearing a return to the field after a limited practice session midweek. He is approaching three weeks from tearing knee cartilage, but the Bills may have to start Nathan Peterman again. Avoid KB even with a decent matchup against Indy.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Zay Jones, BUF IND 002300000 *
The Colts have ceded a receiving score per game by the position over the past four contests. Jones becomes the de facto WR1 with Jordan Matthews done and Kelvin Benjamin still working back from injury. The matchup is just average for Week 14, and that doesn't include rookie QB Nathan Peterman's impact on the passing game.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Charles Clay, BUF IND 002200000 *
New England has dominated tight ends in the past four games, and Clay happened to be one of them. The Bills could start Nathan Peterman at quarterback again. Find another tight end to chance it with this week.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Stephen Hauschka, BUF IND 2222 ***
Kickers have made 7-for-9 from field goal range and five of six to cap touchdowns. That combines for the ninth-fewest kicking chances against, making Indy a low-tier matchup.

WEEK 4
2012
CLE at BAL (THU) *MIN at DET *OAK at DEN *TEN at HOU
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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