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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: PIT 24, NYG 30 (Line: NYG by 3.5)

Players Updated: Jonathan Dwyer, Isaac Redman, Ahmad Bradshaw

Players to Watch: Victor Cruz

The 4-3 Steelers are on a two game winning streak and pulled within one game of the Ravens. They are also just 1-3 on the road while the 6-2 Giants are on a four game winning streak and winning more with good defense and maybe a little bit of luck. This week may be the toughest game left on the Steelers schedule.

Pittsburgh Steelers
Homefield: Heinz Field
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @DEN 19-31 10 KC -----
2 NYJ 27-10 11 BAL -----
3 @OAK 31-34 12 @CLE -----
4 BYE ----- 13 @BAL -----
5 PHI 16-14 14 SD -----
6 @TEN 23-26 15 @DAL -----
7 @CIN 24-17 16 CIN -----
8 WAS 27-12 17 CLE -----
9 @NYG ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
PIT @ NYG Rush Catch Pass
QB Ben Roethlisberger 300,2
RB Felix Jones 30 1-10
RB LaRod Stephens-Howling 40 6-40
WR Antonio Brown 5-70
WR Darrius Heyward-Bey 3-50
WR Lance Moore 5-90,1
TE Heath Miller 6-60,1
PK Shaun Suisham 1 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The Steelers are only 4-3 but are in a good place for the AFC North with the Ravens reeling from defensive injuries and all but one divisional matchup left to play. The defense has been better as of late holding opponents to under 20 points in three of four games but then again, the Steelers are 4-3 and have not really played any decent teams other than opening in Denver where they lost. This week will be a good benchmark for them on the road against the reigning NFL Champs.

Ben Roethlisberger threw a touchdown in every game so far but the final four games only scored six passing touchdowns and that included the obligatory three touchdowns against the Redskins. Passing for only 222 yards on the Redskins was disappointing given that every other opponent passed for 299+ yards on them and that includes a list of guys like Sam Bradford. Big Ben throws for high yardage and few scores usually.

Rashard Mendenhall has been clear to do individual work but is likely to miss this week. Jonathan Dwyer should end up as the starter again though his quad has been an issue. Dwyer has made the most of his two games with over 100 rushing yards in each. His two games as starter dwarfs if not doubles what anyone else has done in a game. Isaac Redman may be back this week from his ankle sprain but will need to practice to show he is ready.

Heath Miller scored again last week giving him six scores on the year along with around 50 yards in every game. He's developed into a nice fantasy tight end by now who offers rare consistency.

The lack of scoring by Roethlisberger hits home with the wide receivers that still gets the yardage but not the touchdowns. Big Ben just hasn't been effective in the red zone lately and when he is, it usually ends up with a tight end. Leonard Pope scored on the Skins. Antonio Brown only has one touchdown all year and that was back in week three. He's consistent with around 80 yards in most games but the scores never end up with him. Mike Wallace started the season with a touchdown in each of the first three games but since only scored once in the last four weeks while turning in disappointing stats. The amazing part about Roethlisberger is that he can throw for as many yards as he does and yet not create a big game for any individual receiver.

The Giants at home have allowed multiple scores to every visitor and high yardage. If Roethlisberger returns to single touchdown games again, it bodes poorly for the future.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points PIT 9 14 14 2 6 30
Preventing Fantasy Points NYG 26 9 26 19 15 2

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Ben Roethlisberger, PIT CLE 0000024020 ***
The Browns have allowed multiple passing scores in 10 straight games, a stretch that includes Big Ben's 217 & 2 in Week 12. Roethlsiberger's yardage has been subdued of late, but he has multiple TD tosses in five of six and will stick around as long as it takes with the Steelers' playoff hopes still clinging to life support.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Le'Veon Bell, PIT CLE 7014300000 ***
Bell rushed for 80 yards in the earlier meeting with Cleveland. Since then the Browns have softened a bit, surrendering 100-yard outings in back-to-back games. Bell rushed for 124 yards last week in Green Bay and has scored in back-to-back games; he also has a couple 50-yard receiving games in that span as well. With the Steelers still playing for something, Bell's about as good a fantasy back bet as there is this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB LeGarrette Blount, PIT CLE 601000000 **
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 Blount and Stevan Ridley--and only Bill Belichick knows who'll get the money shots.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Antonio Brown, PIT CLE 005801000 ***
With 92 yards and a TD in Cleveland earlier this season, Brown ain't 'fraid of no Haden. He's scored in three straight and five of six and is consistently Big Ben's favorite target so don't sweat the Iron Haden.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Lance Moore, PIT CLE 002200000 ***
Moore has to battle Kenny Stills and Robert Meachem for secondary looks behind Marques Colston in an offense that throws to the tight end and running backs more than the wideouts. That's not a recipe for fantasy success.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Heath Miller, PIT CLE 003200000 ***
The Steelers have one TE TD in the past nine games, and it went to Matt Spaeth, not Miller. Heath had 5-41 in the earlier meeting with Cleveland, a game sandwiched in between outings in which the Browns gave up multiple touchdowns. So there's at least a glimmer of hope here.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Shaun Suisham, PIT CLE 2233 ***
Suisham tallied nine in Cleveland last month and has 20 points over the past two games. With the Steelers clinging to playoff hopes, Suisham will be pressed to put points on the board once again.

New York Giants
Homefield: Meadowlands Stadium
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 DAL 17-24 10 @CIN -----
2 TB 41-34 11 BYE -----
3 @CAR 36-7 12 GB -----
4 @PHI 17-19 13 @WAS -----
5 CLE 41-27 14 NO -----
6 @SF 26-3 15 @ATL -----
7 WAS 27-23 16 @BAL -----
8 @DAL 29-24 17 PHI -----
9 PIT ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
NYG vs PIT Rush Catch Pass
QB Eli Manning 240,2
RB Peyton Hillis 20
RB Rashad Jennings 70,1 6-40
WR Victor Cruz 6-80,1
WR Rueben Randle 2-20
TE Kellen Davis 4-40,1

Pregame Notes: Nothing is better than living right and getting the breaks. The Giants should have lost in Dallas but were saved solely because Dez Bryant's fingers are about an inch too long. That win places the Giants two and a half games up in the NFC East with a week 11 bye looming. A 2-2 start to the season has long been forgotten by now and with a late bye to rest and heal up, the G-Men should be making another playoff run.

Eli Manning's been as good as the Giants need him to be. He turned in a season worst 192 yards in Dallas with no scores for the first time this year but it was a surreal game that opened with plenty of Dallas turnovers. Manning's thrown for high yardage in most games and gets scoring help from the running backs as well. In most weeks he is safely above 250 pass yards and already has the 510 yard game as tops in the NFL this year.

Ahmad Bradshaw fell off from his three game scoring streak but only because Andre Brown was allowed to take the short scoring run. Bradshaw looks healthy again with 22 carries last week while Brown is down to a season low of three runs. But last week Bradshaw was not used as a receiver and that wasn't the first time this year. Bradshaw is hard to call from week to week but some of that stems from how much his foot bothers him. The Giants always score a rushing touchdown at home. The question is who gets the call.

Martellus Bennett is a cog in the passing machine but it is not a major role by any means. He can still have the odd good showing like the 79 yards against the Skins but last week only posted 29 yards on four receptions playing back in his old home stadium in Dallas. He's too risky for relying on for more than mediocre yardage.

The Cowboys shut down Victor Cruz but they were the first team to do that in over a month. Cruz scored six times over the previous four games and remains the top receiver in New York by a large margin. Hakeem Nicks has been back for three games and yet not produced more than 53 yards so far. Aside from his one good game versus the Buccaneers, he's been a complete flop or out injured every week.

The Giants face a defense that is hurt with injured players but still have been playing well in most games. The venue is what helps the most this week. That and Manning doing whatever is needed to secure a win.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NYG 16 7 5 17 1 3
Preventing Fantasy Points PIT 4 5 9 16 9 4

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Eli Manning, NYG WAS 0000022021 ***
Manning continues to dribble easy matchups down his leg, so no matter that only four teams have given up more passing scores than Washington; Manning's a risky fantasy play at best.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Rashad Jennings, NYG WAS 4005300000 ***
Jennings has been far and away the most productive back on the Raiders' roster; as a thanks for salvaging their ground game following yet another Darren McFadden injury, he got a kick-in-the-teeth score vultured by McFadden last week. No reason to think he'll do anything of note against a Denver defense that's motivated to lock down the top seed.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jerrel Jernigan, NYG WAS 005701000 ***
The Redskins have allowed only two WR TDs in the past month, none to the Giants in the earlier meeting. Between Eli Manning's foibles and the underachieving, injury-depleted Giants receiving corps, the frequently targeted Jernigan might be the best/only fantasy play.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Rueben Randle, NYG WAS 00000000 ***
Randle continues to be frequently targeted, but with the Giants' passing game struggling mightily there just isn't enough here to bank on fantasy help. UPDATE: Randle did not practice Thursday and Friday and is listed as questionable. Not enough upside to offset the risk of using him in your fantasy lineup this week.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Josh Brown, NYG WAS 1133 ***
Brown has been all-or-nothing this year: four double-digit games, yet he ranks 30th in kicker scoring. He managed six points against the Redskins a month ago, no reason to expect a significant uptick here.

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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