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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 9
2012
KC at SD (THU) CAR at WAS *DET at JAC TB at OAK
*ARI at GB CHI at TEN *MIA at IND *PHI at NO (MON)
BAL at CLE *DAL at ATL MIN at SEA Bye:
*UPDATED *BUF at HOU DEN at CIN *PIT at NYG NE , NYJ, SF, STL

Prediction: DAL 23, ATL 27 (Line: ATL by 4.5)

Players to Watch: Tony Romo, Michael Turner, Jacquizz Rodgers

Players Updated: DeMarco Murray, Felix Jones, Philip Tanner, Dez Bryant, Kevin Ogletree

The 3-4 Cowboys come off yet another tough loss and are only 1-2 in road games. The 7-0 Falcons just put the beat on the Eagles in Philly and are at home where they have never lost and yet never won by more than six points.

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 19-14 16 NO -----
8 NYG 24-29 17 @WAS -----
9 @ATL ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
DAL @ ATL Rush Catch Pass
QB Tony Romo 10,1 260,1
QB Brandon Weeden 280,1
RB DeMarco Murray
WR Dez Bryant 4-60
TE Jason Witten 6-70,1
PK Dan Bailey 3 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The Cowboys dropped another game to the Giants and this time literally by about an inch when Dez Bryant's touchdown was ruled out. The loss sends the Cowboys back below .500 and already looking at very likely missing the playoffs again this year. The final schedule is easier and includes five home stands in the final seven weeks but then again they are only 1-2 at home anyway.

Tony Romo threw a personal best 62 passes for 437 yards against the Giants but only scored once via a pass and again as a runner. He also threw four interceptions and his first three came on each of the opening possessions that let the Giants build a 23-0 lead. Romo passes for good to great yardage every week but now twice has thrown more than three interceptions in a single game. He has only tossed six touchdowns over the last six games played.

DeMarco Murray may be back this week and the coaching staff wants him to return as soon as possible. Felix Jones has been the starter for two games now and only gained 63 yards on 28 carries including just 19 yards on 13 runs last week. Jones is banged up but his lack of production is more indicative of just what kind of runner he is. An injury risk every season, Jones is no lock to return next year.

Fantasy nirvana was accomplished last week when Jason Witten caught a franchise record 18 passes for 167 yards and somehow still did not score. That ties the #3 all-time most receptions in a game. Witten usually ends up with around six catches now that he has shaken off the rust starting in week four when he ended with 13 catches for 112 yards against the Bears. Perhaps notable is that both games were at home though they were also against two of the best defenses yet faced.

With so much passing last week both Dez Bryant (5-110) and Miles Austin (9-133) ended with big stats but Bryant still has just one game where he scored. Austin not only posted four touchdowns this year, three of those were in road efforts. Both wideouts have been more productive in recent games. Kevin Ogletree started his season with two scores and 114 yards on those Giants and now is full circle with no catches last week.

The Falcons are very good versus the pass with only seven touchdowns allowed and only once giving up more than 260 pass yards in the near trap game when the Raiders visited. But they have not faced really any top passing quarterbacks other than Peyton Manning but that was back in week two. Romo could still pass for big yardage but one score is right in line with what both teams usually have. The Falcons are decent against the run as well and the Cowboys come in with either a banged up Felix Jones or DeMarco Murray coming off his injury.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DAL 11 24 9 7 18 28
Preventing Fantasy Points ATL 12 22 3 14 2 6

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Tony Romo, DAL @STL 0000022011 ****
Romo hasn't been anything special thus far this year, but the Rams have faced Matt Cassel and Josh McCown thus far so they may be caught off guard. At minimum there's upside here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB DeMarco Murray, DAL @STL 12011100000 ****
Murray has back-to-back hundos this year; the Rams just gave up 145 rushing yards to Bobby Rainey. Can you say "blank check"?
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Dez Bryant, DAL @STL 007701000 ***
While the Cowboys may have suddenly become run-heavy, Tony Romo knows where to find Dez. And while the Rams have held opposing wideouts in check... well, it's Dez.
Update: Bryant was limited in practice Thursday and Friday, but he says he's going to play and who are we to doubt him?
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Terrance Williams, DAL @STL 004500000 ****
With the Cowboys becoming more run-heavy, Williams' role in the offense is not blossoming as expected. Keep him on the back burner until a more favorable matchup presents itself.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jason Witten, DAL @STL 004300000 ***
After squelching tight ends with regularity last season the Rams have picked up where they left off this year. And Witten is riding off into the sunset while the Cowboys carve out a different path offensively. Not much to see here fantasy-wise.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Dan Bailey, DAL @STL 3322 ***
Bailey should be looking at multiple field goal attempts again this week, which bodes well for his fantasy prospects.

Atlanta Falcons
Homefield: Georgia Dome
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @KC 40-24 10 @NO -----
2 DEN 27-21 11 ARI -----
3 @SD 27-3 12 @TB -----
4 CAR 30-28 13 NO -----
5 @WAS 24-17 14 @CAR -----
6 OAK 23-20 15 NYG -----
7 BYE ----- 16 @DET -----
8 @PHI 30-17 17 TB -----
9 DAL ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
ATL vs DAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Ryan 10 280,2
RB Jacquizz Rodgers 20 3-20
WR Devin Hester 2-30
WR Julio Jones 5-70
WR Roddy White 6-80,1
PK Matt Bryant 2 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The only undefeated team in the league will no doubt stumble at least once but looking at the schedule it is hard to see where. The Falcons will be favored in every one of the remaining games and thanks to playing in the NFC South get to feast on some of the weaker teams in the league this year. The Falcons were barely winning games before the week seven bye but in that way that they were just not as motivated against weaker opponents and playing down to their level. Coming off the bye refreshed, they mopped up the Eagles in Philly. Atlanta will host the Conference Championship this year.

Matt Ryan is enjoying his best season by a big margin. He's already passed for 17 touchdowns and topped 250 pass yards in almost every game. He's only thrown six interceptions and scores at least twice in each week. With the rushing offense looking even worse than the first of the season, no reason to expect less than stellar results from future games as well. He faces literally no top secondaries the rest of the way.

Michael Turner is fading already. With only one game of more than 80 rushing yards, he already has been mostly mediocre and was even worse in recent weeks with never more than 64 total yards in a game. Sign of the times - Jacquizz Rodgers ran eight times for 60 yards and caught five passes for 20 more yards. Turner only gained 58 yards on 24 runes and is stuck at just one catch per game. Turner is not being phased out per se, but Rodgers is looking like the more productive change of pace guy likely to start filling at least an incrementally bigger role. The rushing offense is the only weakness of the Falcons. A 7-0 team generally has more than just three rushing touchdowns from the running backs after seven games.

Tony Gonzalez started the year red hot but has cooled for at least the last two games where he was held to fewer than 45 yards in each. Gonzo scored four times so far and even posted two efforts of more than 90 yards but both came in road games.

True to form, Julio Jones not only scored in Philly, but he produced his best game yet with 123 yards on five receptions and one score. That makes five touchdowns on the year with at least one in every road venue. And zero at home where he has yet to gain more than 63 yards. Roddy White, true to form, did not score last week and comes off his worst game of the year. But at home he scored four times in three games with never less than 72 yards. No scores on the road and though he does generate moderate to good yardage even away from Atlanta. The duo did the same thing last year until finally just scoring all the time at the end of the year.

Harry Douglas missed last week with ankle and knee injuries and was replaced by Drew Davis who scored in Philly during his two passes. No reason to expect fantasy value out of the fourth best receiving option in Atlanta though.

The Cowboys come in with a very good secondary that only once allowed more than one touchdown. But the Cowboys are also good against the run and that should only encourage Ryan to throw more. I like a defensive score in this game. With Tony Romo showing up, how could you not?

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points ATL 3 17 7 4 3 8
Preventing Fantasy Points DAL 2 13 4 8 20 31

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Matt Ryan, ATL TB 0000025021 ****
After facing second- and third-string QBs to start the season, the Bucs might be shocked to see Ryan. He's taken Tampa for 300 yards or multiple TDs in five of the last six meetings, including both last year; don't look for Lovie's Tampa-2 to fare much better.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Steven Jackson, ATL TB 601000000 ***
Jackson has been topping out around a dozen carries and 50 or so yards--hardly fantasy-helper numbers. You could expect an uptick against a decimated Bucs d-line that's held DeAngelo Williams and Zac Stacy to 72 and 71 yards, respectively, but you're still barely on the fringe of fantasy respectability, hoping for a pass interference call in the end zone to set you up for a one-yard fall into the end zone.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jacquizz Rodgers, ATL TB 3001100000 ***
At best Rodgers is sharing the smaller half of the Falcons' backfield pie with the likes of Antone Smith and Devonta Freeman. And while Tampa's defensive front has been hit hard with injuries that's still not enough to suggest he'll be much of a fantasy helper this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Julio Jones, ATL TB 0081101000 ***
Jones missed both ends of this season series last year, but he's scored or topped 100 yards (or both) in three of four career meetings with the Bucs and has scored or topped 100 yards in each game thus far this season. Sounds like a trend worth riding.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Roddy White, ATL TB 004500000 *
White has topped 75 yards against the Bucs just once in their past 16 meetings, and he hasn't hit that mark yet this season. He has, however, found the end zone and he scored the only time he faced Tampa Bay last season. He's clearly running as WR2 to Julio Jones, but this isn't a bad situation to be running WR2 in.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Harry Douglas, ATL TB 004400000 ***
Douglas blew up the Bucs with 6-134-1 and 7-149-1 last season, but Julio Jones missed both outings and Roddy White was available for just one. With both Falcons studs back Douglas is clearly the third wheel, so he's a fringe fantasy option at best.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Levine Toilolo, ATL TB 003200000 ****
Given Toilolo's role in this offense you'll need a TD to wring fantasy value out of him. It's something Tony Gonzalez couldn't pull off last year and it's not something you should bank on here.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Matt Bryant, ATL TB 3333 ****
Only two teams have allowed more field goal attempts thus far this year than the Bucs, so Bryant should have the opportunity to swing his leg this week.

WEEK 9
2012
KC at SD (THU) CAR at WAS *DET at JAC TB at OAK
*ARI at GB CHI at TEN *MIA at IND *PHI at NO (MON)
BAL at CLE *DAL at ATL MIN at SEA Bye:
*UPDATED *BUF at HOU DEN at CIN *PIT at NYG NE , NYJ, SF, STL

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