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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
RB Steven Jackson 60,1 4-30
WR Danny Amendola 6-80
WR Brandon Gibson 3-40
WR Brandon LaFell 5-60
TE Scott Chandler 4-40,1
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 0000027020 ***
Brady stumbled against the Jets last week, but he'll get back on his horse against a Miami defense he gouged for 356 and 4 earlier this year. That's the difference between facing a top-10 pass defense (the Jets) and a bottom-10 pass defense (the Dolphins).
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB James White, NE @MIA 2015401000 **
Pass catching backs have fared well against the Phins, including Dion Lewis' 6-93-1 in the earlier meeting. Four other backs have topped 50 receiving yards in the past 10 games against Miami, and White has receiving scores in two straight and three of four so he's the favorite to take advantage.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Brandon Bolden, NE @MIA 4003300000 ***
Bolden saw more carries than Steven Jackson last week, but that's no guarantee the ratio stays the same for this far more favorable matchup. Good luck guessing Bill Belichick's intentions.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Steven Jackson, NE @MIA 400000000 **
The Patriots bludgeoned Miami with LeGarrette Blount in the earlier meeting; this time around expect Jackson to do the heavy lifting. Miami has already allowed six 100-yard rushers, including similar hammers like Alfred Morris and Chris Ivory. Jackson shook off the rust with seven carries last week; this week he splashes in a favorable matchup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Keshawn Martin, NE @MIA 003400000 ***
Martin may end up being the healthiest Patriots receiver. Last week that was good for 68 yards in a tough matchup. This week, in a far more favorable matchup, he'd actually warrant fantasy attention. We'll hopefully know more about the injury stats of all of New England's receivers later in the week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Brandon LaFell, NE @MIA 004400000 ***
LaFell is hurt, just like most of the rest of the Patriots. However, unlike Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman his fantasy value isn't such that he's worth waiting for.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Rob Gronkowski, NE @MIA 006801000 ***
Gronk has scored in three straight, four of five, and six of eight against the Dolphins. That includes 6-113-1 earlier this year. No reason to doubt him here.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Stephen Gostkowski, NE @MIA 2233 ***
Teams counting by ones
against Phins; should still be points
galore for Gosty

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
WR Leonard Hankerson 6-90,1
WR Percy Harvin 20 8-90
PK Dan Carpenter 2 FG 1 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 Tyrod Taylor, BUF NYJ 0000018010 ***
Since keeping Taylor in check (158 and 1) in the earlier meeting, the Jets inexplicably let TJ Yates go for 229 and 2 and Ryan Tannehill put up 351 and 3. Then they got focused, holding the next four QBs they've faced to a total of three TDs and an average of less than 250 yards per game. Taylor has been streaky as well, with his yardage on a downward trend and a total of three TDs in the past three games--two of them against bottom-third pass defenses. He'll salvage fantasy value with rushing yardage--199 the past three games--but there's a limit to his upside here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Karlos Williams, BUF NYJ 5002201000 **
LeSean McCoy gouged the Jets in the earlier meeting; Williams chipped in a receiving TD in the final game of his scoring streak. He was modestly successful starting against a bottom-five Dallas run D; don't expect similar against a Jets D that's given up one RB rushing score all season and an average of less than 65 RB rushing yards per game.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Mike Gillislee, BUF NYJ 3002200000 ***
Gillislee has at least a smidgen of upside as a change of pace back against a Jets defense that's given up five of its six RB touchdowns through the air.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Chris Hogan, BUF NYJ 005600000 ***
The Jets' secondary is elite once again after getting Darrell Revis back from injury. They've given up one WR TD in three games, with no wingman game better than 53 yards. That's your upside for Hogan.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Sammy Watkins, BUF NYJ 004400000 ***
Since being locked down in back-to-back weeks by the Jets and Patriots, Watkins has averaged 5-109-1 over the past five games. Since getting Darrelle Revis back from injury, the Jets have given up one WR TD in three games and no individual game greater than 70 yards. With a healthy Revis and the Jets fighting for a playoff spot, tough to trust Watkins here.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Dan Carpenter, BUF NYJ 3211 ***
Hasn't seen ten points
since last time he faced the Jets
Can lightning strike twice?

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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