Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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BUF at ARI *GB at HOU *NE at SEA *DEN at SD (MON)
*CIN at CLE *IND at NYJ *NYG at SF Bye:
*Updated DAL at BAL *KC at TB OAK at ATL CAR, CHI, JAC, NO

Prediction: NE 24, SEA 17 (Line:NE by 3.5)

Players Updated: Aaron Hernandez, Rob Gronkowski

Players to Watch: Aaron Hernandez

The 3-2 Patriots are on a two game winning streak trying to get that sub-.500 taste out of their mouths and they have been on a scoring streak these last three weeks. The 3-2 Seahawks are 2-0 at home but are getting almost nothing from their offense.

New England Patriots
Homefield: Gillette Stadium
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @TEN 34-13 10 BUF -----
2 ARI 18-20 11 IND -----
3 @BAL 30-31 12 @NYJ -----
4 @BUF 52-28 13 @MIA -----
5 DEN 31-21 14 HOU -----
6 @SEA ----- 15 SF -----
7 NYJ ----- 16 @JAC -----
8 @STL ----- 17 MIA -----
9 BYE ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
NE @ SEA Rush Catch Pass
QB Tom Brady 250,2
RB Brandon Bolden 20,1
RB Stevan Ridley 60 3
TE Rob Gronkowski 4-50,1
PK Stephen Gostkowski 1 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The Pats are generating the points but less so when they leave their own division. The early schedule has been no friend and this is the fourth road game in just the first six weeks. The schedule clears up after this week for over a month.

Tom Brady is supported by a very good rushing effort now and that makes predicting what he will do tougher. He has topped 300 pass yards in three of five games but only has eight passing touchdowns versus eight rushing touchdowns by running backs. Brady has also scored once on a short run in each of the last two games. He is still a good quarterback in fantasy terms, but is on a pace for just 25 passing touchdowns. Brady has options and that is not helping his owners who were expecting something more prolific and record setting than just "really good".

Stevan Ridley has turned it up for the last two weeks with 40 carries for 257 rushing yards and three touchdowns. His lost fumble last week is troublesome but HC Bill Belichick is not going to punish him. Ridley also gets help from Brandon Bolden though his use is far less predictable and always comes after Ridley has done his damage. Encouraging this week is that Ridley ran for over 100 yards against two of the road opponents, But the Seahawks present the toughest defense yet faced other than perhaps the Ravens who limited Ridley to only 37 yards on 13 runs in his only bad game of the year.

Rob Gronkowski is bothered by a sore hip though he did play in every offensive play last week. But his four catches for 35 yards against the Broncos was not what crafty drafters were thinking about when they nabbed him with their first or second round pick. That makes two games in the last three weeks with under 40 yards and no scores. It is as if he has turned into a tight end. Gronkowski has three scores on the year but is much less productive than 2011. Aaron Hernandez was rumored to be ready last week but was inactive as he returns from an ankle injury. There is optimism that he can play this week and getting accurate information from the Patriots is nearly impossible. Expect a likely update later in the week.

All the rushing has really depressed receiving stats for Gronkowski and Brandon Lloyd but Wes Welker is chugging along at a high pace once again. He has topped 100 yards in each of the last three games while never catching less than eight passes in every game. He finally had his first touchdown of the season just last week. Welker seemed phased out in week one. Now he has roared back with a vengeance no matter what the rushing game is doing.

The Seahawks present a very stout defense and they will be at home. They allowed Tony Romo just one score and 250 yards but that is less impressive now a month later. Aaron Rodgers only threw for 223 yards and no score but again - not as shocking as it seemed at the time. This will be a big challenge for the Pats but they bring in a balanced offense that is all working and should get Hernandez back as well.

Gaining Fantasy Points NE 8 4 12 2 3 8
Preventing Fantasy Points SEA 1 5 9 4 8 21

QB Tom Brady, NE BUF 0000026020 ****
Way back in Week 1 Brady took a rag-tag band of receivers and produced 288 yards and two TDs. Four months later Brady still has a rag-tag band of receivers, but he's managed to throw multiple touchdowns to them in four of the past five games, with 340-plus yards in four of five as well. The Bills secondary has gotten healthier--and better--over the course of the season, but with Brady hoping to upgrade the Patriots' playoff situation you don't want to bet against him.
RB Stevan Ridley, NE BUF 500000000 ***
Prior to last week's aberration against the Dolphins, the Bills allowed back-to-back 100-yard rushers. They also served up 162 rushing yards to the Patriots in the earlier meeting this season; unfortunately, after Shane Vereen (if healthy) takes his bite off the top the leftovers will be split between Ridley and LeGarrette Blount--and only Bill Belichick knows who'll get the money shots.
RB Shane Vereen, NE BUF 00000000 *
If Vereen is healthy enough to play after suffering a rib injury last week, no reason to think he can't replicate his 101 rushing yards and 58 receiving yards from the earlier Bills/Patriots meeting.
WR Julian Edelman, NE BUF 00101201000 ****
The more things change, the more they stay the same. Edelman scored twice on 7-79 in the earlier meeting with Buffalo, and after a season of ups and downs and revolving receivers he's back atop Tom Brady's priority list. Pencil him in for a solid fantasy contributor, with the upside of a PPR explosion.
WR Danny Amendola, NE BUF 005600000 ****
Amendola caught 10 balls for 104 yards in his Patriots debut, then struggled for a while before putting up a remarkably similar 10-131 in Week 15. He's a secondary target, but with the Patriots receiving corps gutted he's essentially atop the wingmen group and as such warrants fantasy attention this week.
WR Brandon LaFell, NE BUF 004500000 ***
With Steve Smith out last week you'd think LaFell or Ted Ginn would step up, but it was Domenik Hixon who scored the key touchdown against the Saints. Somebody needs to fill the role that has resulted in back-to-back 100-yard receiving games against Atlanta, but there's no real strong trend to support any of Carolina's secondary wideouts.
WR Aaron Dobson, NE BUF 002500000 ***
Dobson is getting healthy and could return to the receiver rotation this week. However, he'll be stacked behind Julian Edleman and Danny Amendola, fighting for scraps--a difficult way to carve out fantasy value.
TE Timothy Wright, NE BUF 004400000 ***
Wright wasn't even on the radar when these teams met back in Week 2. Now he's scored in two of the last three and is one of the team's top secondary targets. Three of the five TE TDs the Saints have allowed have come in the past six games, so there's at least a chance Wright makes some fantasy noise here.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Stephen Gostkowski, NE BUF 2233 ****
Gosty opened the season with a double-digit outing against the Bills; 10 double-digit efforts since, the league's top-scoring kicker should bookend his season against a Buffalo club that's allowed the sixth-most points to opposing kickers.

Seattle Seahawks
Homefield: Qwest Field
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @ARI 16-20 10 NYJ -----
2 DAL 27-7 11 BYE -----
3 GB 14-12 12 @MIA -----
4 @STL 13-19 13 @CHI -----
5 @CAR 16-12 14 ARI -----
6 NE ----- 15 @BUF -----
7 @SF ----- 16 SF -----
8 @DET ----- 17 STL -----
9 MIN ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
SEA vs NE Rush Catch Pass
QB Russell Wilson 10 180,1
RB Marshawn Lynch 80,1 3-20
WR Doug Baldwin 2-20
WR Percy Harvin 20 7-100,1
TE Zach Miller 4-40,1
PK Steven Hauschka 1 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The Seahawks are about to hit a much tougher stretch of the schedule and their reliance on little more than a great defense is going to be sorely tested. No opponent has scored more than 20 points on them but then again, this offense has only once had more than 16 points. Over five weeks of playing, the offense has produced just seven touchdowns and Russell Wilson has been held to fewer than 165 passing yards in all but one game. He remains mostly because the Seahawks are winning most their games but it has never been because of him. With only five passing touchdowns and an average of just 163 yards, the wins have almost been in spite of Wilson.

Until there are a few glaring losses, Matt Flynn remains safely on the sideline holding a rather costly clipboard.

Marshawn Lynch is the motor of the offense and he never rushes for less than 85 yards if only because he always gets 20+ carries. He has almost no role as a receiver though and scored just twice this year. If a team could ever shut down Lynch, the Seahawks offense would come to a complete stop. So far - no one has.

The meager passing means no receivers have any real fantasy value. Zach Miller had a surprising 59 yards on three catches in Carolina but has otherwise been devoid of any consideration. Anthony McCoy only has seven catches on the year for just 70 yards but did catch one of the precious few touchdowns.

Golden Tate scored last week which gives him three on the season for over half of all passing scores this year. But no receiver has gained more than 68 yards and even that came on the pseudo-Hail Mary against the Packers. It would be interesting to see what would happen if Matt Flynn played because the passing offense could hardly get much less effective. The Seahawks rank 31st in quarterbacks only because Blaine Gabbert was sent to earth as a celestial gift to defensive coordinators. Chugging along at under 17 points per week is going to be a problem for the next couple of weeks at the least.

Gaining Fantasy Points SEA 31 19 30 25 17 22
Preventing Fantasy Points NE 31 15 24 30 7 3

QB Russell Wilson, SEA STL 20000016010 ***
It's been a month since Wilson's last multiple touchdown outing, and he's topped out at just 206 passing yards over that span. He threw for 139 and 2 in the win in St. Louis, but with just one rushing score in his last dozen games Wilson has had to rely on his passing for fantasy numbers--and they simply haven't been there.
RB Marshawn Lynch, SEA STL 7012100000 ***
The Rams haven't allowed a 50-yard rusher since Week 12, a 100-yard rusher since Week 9, and held Lynch to a pedestrian 23 yard outing back in Week 8. Lynch hasn't had a 100-yard game since Week 9, but he has nine touchdowns in seven home games and will at minimum get you a score--with the upside of something better.
WR Doug Baldwin, SEA STL 005600000 ***
Baldwin has the Seahawks' last three WR TDs, so he's the most likely candidate to take advantage of a Rams' secondary that's allowed at least one receiver to score or top 98 yards in each of the past six games.
TE Zach Miller, SEA STL 000004301 ****
Miller scored last week, but that was against Arizona--everybody's tight end scores against Arizona. This is the Rams, a team that held Miller to 14 yards in the previous meeting and has given up just four TE TDs on the season.

BUF at ARI *GB at HOU *NE at SEA *DEN at SD (MON)
*CIN at CLE *IND at NYJ *NYG at SF Bye:
*Updated DAL at BAL *KC at TB OAK at ATL CAR, CHI, JAC, NO

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