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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 7
2012
SEA at SF (THU) *DAL at CAR *NYJ at NE DET at CHI (MON)
*ARI at MIN *GB at STL *PIT at CIN Bye:
BAL at HOU *JAC at OAK TEN at BUF ATL, DEN, KC,
*UPDATED *CLE at IND *NO at TB *WAS at NYG MIA, PHI, SD

Prediction: DAL 20, CAR 13 (Line: DAL by 1)

Players Updated: Dez Bryant

Players to Watch: Felix Jones

The 2-3 Cowboys were clipped by the Ravens in a game they almost had and now take their 1-2 road record to face the 1-4 Panthers who have only beaten the Saints. Neither team can afford a loss in this game but the Cowboys in particular would be crushed after nearly beating the Ravens and falling into the NFC East cellar.

Dallas Cowboys
Homefield: Cowboys Stadium
RealGrass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @NYG 24-17 10 @PHI -----
2 @SEA 7-27 11 CLE -----
3 TB 16-10 12 WAS -----
4 CHI 18-34 13 PHI -----
5 BYE ----- 14 @CIN -----
6 @BAL 29-31 15 PIT -----
7 @CAR ----- 16 NO -----
8 NYG ----- 17 @WAS -----
9 @ATL ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
vs Rush Catch Pass
RB Darren McFadden 100,1 3-20,1
RB Alfred Morris 80,1
WR Dez Bryant 7-80,1
TE Jason Witten 6-80,1
PK Dan Bailey 2 FG 2 XP
PK Mike Nugent 2 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The Cowboys got their offense back to scoring against the Ravens but were doomed by special teams, bad clock management and just the general bad mojo that usually keeps them down. Tony Romo had a solid effort with 261 yards and two scores with just one interception - quite a step down from the five he threw against the Bears in week four. Coming off their bye week with a loss hurts but at least the NFC East doesn't have any powerhouse team in it again this year.

DeMarco Murray was running strong finally but then was lost for at least the next week and maybe more with ligament damage to his foot. That means Felix Jones gets to be the free agent darling this week since his three carries from the first four games combined persuaded most owners to part ways. Jones looked better than usual against the Ravens when he gained 92 yards and a score on 18 runs though in fairness the Ravens defense was already missing players and continued to lose them. Then again the Panthers this week have an even worse rushing defense.

Jason Witten finally looks healthy and completely back on track with 13 catches against Chicago and then six receptions for 88 yards in Baltimore when Romo peppered him with five passes in the fourth quarter trying for the comeback. Witten caught the tough passes and picked up yardage after the catch.

Dez Bryant stepped up his game yet again with a career best 13 catches in Baltimore for 95 yards and two touchdowns though of course he dropped the final two point conversion that could have tied the game. Those were his first scores on the year and the third straight game with six or more catches. Romo is forcing the issue by throwing to Bryant while cutting back on Miles Austin more each week. Austin is still the receiver leader with three touchdowns but comes off a season worst two catches for 31 yards. He had not been worse than 57 yards in any game previous while scoring in three of the four. Kevin Ogletree was blanked last week, completing the decline from his week one career best effort.

The Panthers have been decent against the pass and most team just try to run against them since they are among the weakest in the NFL versus the rush. Every opponent has thrown at least one score and often high yardage but only Matt Ryan had a big game as a quarterback against this defense and that was a road game for the Panthers. The loss of Murray comes at a terrible time for his owners looking to finally cash in but will make Felix Jones finally become a factor this year.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DAL 16 18 7 12 26 30
Preventing Fantasy Points CAR 17 31 6 17 32 14

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Dak Prescott, DAL PHI 40100020011 ***
Clearly, protecting Prescott has to be of higher priority. Even if Tyron Smith doesn't play, the Cowboys could be in decent shape with Byron Bell and a little extra help via chipping and playcalling. The Eagles have given up 229.3 yards and 1.5 TDs per game to QBs through the air, with an additional score coming on the ground since Week 5. Prescott really didn't play enough in Week 17 last year to include it. His Week 8 game was his best as a rookie (32.2 fantasy points).
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Alfred Morris, DAL PHI 5001100000 ***
Zeke is clearly out of the picture, paving the way for Morris to likely see the bulk of the action. Volume doesn't necessarily mean more fantasy worth, though. Not a single carry over the past 64 attempts has found the end zone. The aerial game has been friendlier, with three of the past 31 grabs going for six. Morris faces the worst team for generating rushing yardage.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Rod Smith, DAL PHI 2004200000 ***
Smith will be the change-of-pace back for Dallas in all likelihood. The Eagles have given up the fourth-most receptions on a weekly basis, and one in 10.3 has gone for six points. This is a poor matchup for ground gains, though.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Dez Bryant, DAL PHI 004500000 ***
First of all, Dez is hobbled by injury. He isn't a nuanced route-runner, and his athletic ability generally is what carries him. Then we have to consider the offensive line play from last week. It won't be that bad, but no Tyron Smith would mean a big problem against this defensive front. Philly has given up just one WR touchdown in the last 41 catches, or four games of action.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Terrance Williams, DAL PHI 003300000 ***
The Eagles present one of fantasy's toughest matchups for receivers. In the past four games, this defense has given up the fifth-fewest PPR point and fourth-lowest average of standard gains. The position has scored on time in the last four outings.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Cole Beasley, DAL PHI 003300000 ***
The offensive line protection is currently an issue. Maybe Beasley sees a few more looks in the short-range passing game, but he's a risky play in any format. The Eagles, with extra time to prepare, shouldn't have too much trouble against this passing attack.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jason Witten, DAL PHI 004501000 *
Tight ends have mustered 5.5 catches for 66.5 yards a game against the Eagles, and twice in the last four games the position found the end zone. Witten could see a larger role if Dallas continues to struggle at left tackle.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Mike Nugent, DAL PHI 2222 ***
Kickers have made eight of nine field goals and all eight PATs against the Eagles in the last four games. The matchup rating skews positive. Nugent will not kick if Dan Bailey is ready to return.

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 7-36 12 @PHI -----
4 @ATL 28-30 13 @KC -----
5 SEA 12-16 14 ATL -----
6 BYE ----- 15 @SD -----
7 DAL ----- 16 OAK -----
8 @CHI ----- 17 @NO -----
9 @WAS ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
CAR vs DAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Cam Newton 50,1 190
RB Jonathan Stewart 30 2-20
TE Greg Olsen 6-80

Pregame Notes: The Panthers come off their bye thankful for the New Orleans Saints keeping them from being 0-5. The Panthers are no longer inspiring teams to prepare to beat them as evidenced by the two and four point losses to the Falcons and Giants respectively. They still won. The biggest problem here is once again the Offensive Rookie of the Year returns to display almost none of the passing acumen that served them so well as a rookie. Sam Bradford is still trying to return to form two seasons later. Newton is different in that he has three rushing touchdowns to help prevent his fantasy value from being a complete nosedive but has only thrown four touchdowns this season and his last two home games did not produce any passing touchdowns.

Steve Smith started the year with back-to-back 100+ yard games (TB and NO) but since declined each week and only produced 40 yards on four catches in the latest game. He still has not scored. Brandon Lafell started the season looking like he had taken the next step but it was just a function of playing the Bucs and Saints. Lafell only caught four passes for 71 yards over the last three games. Hopefully the game in week nine against the Redskins will allow the Panthers to once again find their passing offense.

Greg Olsen did the opposite of the other wideouts. He had nearly nothing in the first two weeks and then posted games if 6-89 and 7-98 against the Giants and Falcons. He finally synched up with the rest of the receivers with only two catches for 37 yards against the Seahawks.

The running game is no different from last year. DeAngelo Williams has the best stats with two touchdowns and never more than 73 total yards in any game. Jonathan Stewart has been less effective with each game he plays and only scored back in week two. He has no real fantasy value in any capacity currently. The loss of center Ryan Kalil will definitely hurt the Panthers who were already struggling.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CAR 12 26 28 20 32 9
Preventing Fantasy Points DAL 4 14 1 10 11 28

WEEK 7
2012
SEA at SF (THU) *DAL at CAR *NYJ at NE DET at CHI (MON)
*ARI at MIN *GB at STL *PIT at CIN Bye:
BAL at HOU *JAC at OAK TEN at BUF ATL, DEN, KC,
*UPDATED *CLE at IND *NO at TB *WAS at NYG MIA, PHI, SD

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