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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 10
2012
IND at JAC (THU) DEN at CAR *NYJ at SEA TEN at MIA
ATL at NO *DET at MIN OAK at BAL *KC at PIT (MON)
*BUF at NE *HOU at CHI *SD at TB Bye:
*UPDATED DAL at PHI NYG at CIN *STL at SF ARI, CLE, GB, WAS

Prediction: DEN 30, CAR 17 (Line: DEN by 4)

Players to Watch: Willis McGahee, Cam Newton

The 5-3 Broncos are on a three game winning streak but are only 2-2 on the road. The 2-6 Panthers finally broke their five game losing steak playing the Redskins last week but are only 1-3 at home. This could be a trap game since the Broncos defense is bad against the run and that's about all the Panthers know how to do. But the Broncos have never scored less than 21 points and are on a 30+ point streak. Only four teams have fewer total points than the Panthers.

Denver Broncos
Homefield: Invesco Field
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 PIT 31-19 10 @CAR -----
2 @ATL 21-27 11 SD -----
3 HOU 25-31 12 @KC -----
4 OAK 37-6 13 TB -----
5 @NE 21-31 14 @OAK -----
6 @SD 35-24 15 @BAL -----
7 BYE ----- 16 CLE -----
8 NO 34-14 17 KC -----
9 @CIN 31-23 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
DEN @ CAR Rush Catch Pass
QB Peyton Manning 280,2
RB Ronnie Hillman 10 5-30
WR Emmanuel Sanders 4-60
WR Demaryius Thomas 5-80,1
WR Wes Welker 8-100,1
TE Joel Dreessen 3-30
TE Jacob Tamme 1-10
PK Matt Prater 3 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: Peyton Manning not only has the ship sailing in the right direction, the waters look incredibly calm from here on out. Only the road trip to Baltimore in week 15 looks tricky and even them the Broncos may be favored. Peyton's getting the credit but the entire team has played better and the defense in particular has come through. Of course it all seems to work better when your Hall of Fame quarterback is roasting every opponent.

Missed it by that much...

Manning set a record when he threw four games in a row with 300 yards and three touchdowns. last week in Cincinnati, he fell all the way down to 291 yards and three scores. What a slacker. Manning already has thrown 20 touchdowns and is on a pace to score 40 on the season which would be his second best year ever. He is worth starting. Probably wish you could start him twice.

Willis McGahee has dropped off rather sharply. While he did rush for over 100 yards and scored in three different games, only one of those was on the road - week two in Atlanta. In the three road games since, McGahee never scored and hasn't rushed for more than 66 yards. His role as a receiver has dipped a bit as well when he only caught one pass in Cincy last Sunday. This would be more concerning if the Panthers weren't already weak against the run. But it does draw a reason why Manning has been throwing so many passes in the last six weeks.

Joel Dreessen caught his fourth touchdown of the year but his production is rarely over 30 yards and he was blanked against the Saints. He is a red zone target but never accounts for many catches.

The wideouts continue to be the engine that drives this offense. Eric Decker scored in each of the last five games and twice in the last two. His seven touchdowns lead the Broncos though he remains lighter on yardage with only one effort exceeding 100 yards. Demaryius Thomas scored just four times but topped 100 yards four times. Brandon Stokley adds in a score on occasion but is a definite #3 in this offense.

The Panthers rank great against wideouts but not to worry. When good quarterbacks show up, their best receivers still end up with good games even in Carolina. Most team just run against them which is why the passing is lower but McGahee has been less effective in road games.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DEN 6 19 2 4 21 3
Preventing Fantasy Points CAR 10 27 2 14 31 18

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Peyton Manning, DEN @OAK 0000033030 ****
Manning already has the touchdown record, and he'll probably stick around in this one just long enough to throw for 266 yards and break the yardage record as well. The Broncos still need to win to lock down home field advantage, so they can't sit Manning right away, but there's a very good chance he finishes this one in a baseball cap.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Montee Ball, DEN @OAK 300000000 ***
Ball's been lightening the load for Knowshon Moreno, and that plan should continue here with maybe the rookie seeing an uptick while Denver gets the veteran some well-deserved rest. Seeing as Oakland has served up 796 combo yards and 11 RB TDs the past month, there's more than enough to go around.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Demaryius Thomas, DEN @OAK 0051001000 ***
Everybody got fed the last time these squads met--Thomas 94 yards, Eric Decker 133 & 1, Wes Welker 84 & 1--and there's no reason to expect much difference this time around.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Emmanuel Sanders, DEN @OAK 003300000 *
Sanders has scored in four of the last five and is a solid option when Joe Haden has blanket coverage on Antonio Brown. UPDATE: Good news for Sanders, as he is listed as questionable but practiced in full on Friday.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Julius Thomas, DEN @OAK 004401000 ***
However you break it down, Thomas is a good play. He scored against the Raiders in the earlier meeting, he's scored in three of four (and six of eight, and nine of 12), he's scored in every road game, he caught Peyton Manning's record-setting touchdown pass... however you break it down.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Matt Prater, DEN @OAK 1144 ***
Should be points a plenty for Prater, who hit for a baker's dozen in the earlier meeting with Oakland and has the second-most kicker points in the league this year.

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 14-19 16 OAK -----
8 @CHI 22-23 17 @NO -----
9 @WAS 21-13 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
CAR vs DEN Rush Catch Pass
QB Cam Newton 40 240,1
RB Jonathan Stewart 20 3-20
RB Michael Tolbert 10
RB DeAngelo Williams 30 2-10
TE Greg Olsen 6-60,1

Pregame Notes: The Panthers mercifully won a game to end the losing streak but it's probably just going to start all over again. This is still an offense with only one decent receiver ("Champ, this is Steve. Steve, this is Champ") and a running game that still ranks among the worst in the league. HC Ron Rivera already had his talk this week with the owner about the need to actually win games and what happens when you do not. The team needs to show "progress" in order to qualify for another Rivera year. Probably not going to happen.

Cam Newton is one reason why. The offensive rookie of the year from 2011 has fallen on hard times not unlike the offensive rookie of the year from 2010 Sam Bradford. Newton's passed for only six touchdowns this year against eight interceptions. His rushing touchdowns also stopped after week four other than last week against the Redskins who can stop no one. Newton has not thrown a touchdown in two consecutive games since week two and he just scored once on the Redskins.

That whole change to Jonathan Stewart as the primary back has meant nothing so far. He still has yet to gain more than 51 yards in any game or run in a score. He rushed more than 11 times in only one game. Basically, he ends with 40 to 50 total yards in games and that just sad for a primary back on a team that once sported one of the best rushing offenses in the NFL. DeAngelo Williams was demoted but he still gets half a dozen carries or more and scored his third rushing touchdown on the year last week. This is just a marginal unit that splits up meager production to ensure no one is really worth any fantasy consideration.

Kick returner and sometimes wideout Kealoha Pilares was placed on injured reserve this week with a shoulder injury that requires surgery. Only Steve Smith matters from the wideouts and yet his first touchdown of the year was just last week when he only gained 41 yards on three catches against the Redskins and their horrible secondary. Smith is worth a fantasy start each week but is not above having a bad game every so often and his scoring is now up to "one". The only receiver of any note remains tight end Greg Olsen who also scored only once this year and usually ends up with just 30 or 40 yards in most games.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CAR 10 27 27 19 32 7
Preventing Fantasy Points DEN 15 16 8 29 11 16

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Cam Newton, CAR @ATL 40100022010 ****
Newton threw for just 247 & 1 in the earlier meeting with Atlanta, but he mixed in a rushing score--a la E.J. Manuel, a la Colin Kaepernick last week. In fact, every quarterback but one that has faced the Falcons has recorded multiple touchdowns; why should a motivated Newton be any different?
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB DeAngelo Williams, CAR @ATL 601000000 ****
The Falcons have given up 98 and 97 yards to feature backs the past two weeks, that on the heels of four 100-yard games in the two months prior. Williams and Jonathan Stewart combined for 85 yards in the earlier meeting with Atlanta; with Williams now housing al those carries, he's a solid fantasy play this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jerricho Cotchery, CAR @ATL 004501000 ****
Cotchery has scored a surprising amount of touchdowns, but he's most definitely the third wheel in this passing game and can't be banked on for fantasy production.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Tiquan Underwood, CAR @ATL 003300000 ***
Since his 108 & 2 against Detroit in Week 12, Underwood has a four-game total of 73 yards. He can't be banked on for fantasy help.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Greg Olsen, CAR @ATL 007801000 *****
Only two teams have allowed more TE TDs than the Falcons. Olsen scored on them in the earlier matchup and is set up for another solid fantasy outing here.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Graham Gano, CAR @ATL 1133 ****
No team has given up more points to kickers than the Falcons. Graham tallied 10 in the earlier meeting, and with Carolina still in the postseason hunt he'll get plenty of opportunity to swing the leg here.

WEEK 10
2012
IND at JAC (THU) DEN at CAR *NYJ at SEA TEN at MIA
ATL at NO *DET at MIN OAK at BAL *KC at PIT (MON)
*BUF at NE *HOU at CHI *SD at TB Bye:
*UPDATED DAL at PHI NYG at CIN *STL at SF ARI, CLE, GB, WAS

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