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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 12
2012
HOU at DET (THU) *BAL at SD *MIN at CHI *SF at NO
NE at NYJ (THU) BUF at IND *OAK at CIN *STL at ARI
WAS at DAL (THU) DEN at KC PIT at CLE TEN at JAC
*UPDATED *ATL at TB GB at NYG SEA at MIA *CAR at PHI (MON)

Prediction: CAR 24, PHI 20 (Line: PHI by 3)

Players Updated: Michael Vick, LeSean McCoy, Bryce Brown

Players to Watch: PHI QB and RB

Here's a bitter loss for one team. The 2-8 Panthers have lost six games by a touchdown or less and are 1-3 on the road. The 3-7 Eagles are on a six game losing streak and lost their last four by at least 13 points each. One team will win this and gain a temporary reprieve from being a terrible football team. One won't. This one is hard to call with the status of both Michael Vick and LeSean McCoy uncertain. What's worse is that this is the Monday night game and waiting may mean you have no alternatives.

Carolina Panthers
Homefield: Bank of America Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @TB 10-16 10 DEN 14-36
2 NO 35-27 11 TB 21-27
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 @ PHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Cam Newton 40,1 240,1
RB Jonathan Stewart 20 2-10
RB Mike Tolbert 10
WR Stephen Hill 1-20
TE Ed Dickson 4-30
TE Greg Olsen 5-50
PK Graham Gano 1 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The Panthers are hallmarks of consistency this year. No matter what - high score or low score - they are never quite good enough. It is getting to be like the older brother holding something right above the little brother's reach. Somehow the NFL's best rushing offense a few years back has evolved into one of the very worst and one that has shockingly little fantasy value.

Cam Newton hasn't really taken the next step this year and to some it appears he's gone backwards. He does score in almost every game though rarely more than once and his rushing yardage and scores are sharply off from last year. This is central to the theme - Cam is not showing any real improvement and maybe "he is what he is" already. His remarkable season last year was really on the wane later in the season anyway.

The running backs have lost all fantasy value and while Jonathan Stewart rushed in a touchdown last week, it was his first this season. No running back for the Panthers has yet topped the 69 yards gained by DeAngelo Williams back in week two. Even combined these runners do not amount to more than a very mediocre attack.

The only fantasy plays here are Newton in a big league, Greg Olsen and Steve Smith. Olsen is just a play for about 40 yards per week and he's had just one good game in the last six weeks. He is a starter value in a big league while Steve Smith still merits a WR3 start if only from his potential. Smith scored only once this year and has been held to around 60 yards ort less in most recent games. Brandon LaFell has been marginally better than Smith in recent games but has far too many clunkers to consider him viable for a start.

To their credit, the Panthers have not quit. Perhaps it was about coming into the season with far lower expectations than the Eagles, but Carolina remains competitive in most weeks because they still give it their best.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CAR 11 28 31 15 32 10
Preventing Fantasy Points PHI 20 13 13 9 27 32

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Cam Newton, CAR TB 50100027020 ***
Cam left you high and dry last week, throwing for 120 yards and three TDs less against the Falcons than he did just two weeks previous. Using the same math he'll be good for four yards and negative-one TD in this rematch with the Bucs. He should outperform that as Carolina needs a win to hang on to home field advantage and the Bucs have served up QB multiple scores in nine of the last dozen games.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Cameron Artis-Payne, CAR TB 6001100000 ***
Artis-Payne is sharing touches with Fozzy Whittaker, and there's a chance Jonathan Stewart returns to action as well. Mix in a Bucs defense that hasn't allowed a rusher to top 88 yards since Week 3--and only three RB rushing scores since then--and there's not nearly a big enough pie to feed any Panther back this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Devin Funchess, CAR TB 004601000 ***
Funchess totaled eight grabs for 87 yards in the past month before being shut out last week. Tough to trust him with a fantasy start here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Philly Brown, CAR TB 003500000 ***
Brown is the only non-Ted Ginn Panthers receiver with a fantasy helper in the past month, but it's debatable as to whether there will be enough passing game production to float more than one WR boat in Carolina this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Greg Olsen, CAR TB 007801000 ***
Carolina's top target was held to 2-28 by the Bucs in the earlier meeting. After giving up big games to Jordan Reed (11-72-2) and Jacob Tamme (10-103-1) in Weeks 7 and 8, the Bucs haven't surrendered a TE TD. Find a little upside in Olsen's typical volume and the fact that a tight end has topped 60 yards in three straight against the Bucs.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Graham Gano, CAR TB 2244 ***
Four field goals allowed
in three of the last five games
Go Gano vs. Bucs

Philadelphia Eagles
Homefield: Lincoln Financial Field
Turf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @CLE 17-16 10 DAL 23-38
2 BAL 24-23 11 @WAS 6-31
3 @ARI 6-27 12 CAR -----
4 NYG 19-17 13 @DAL -----
5 @PIT 14-16 14 @TB -----
6 DET 23-26 15 CIN -----
7 BYE ----- 16 WAS -----
8 ATL 17-30 17 @NYG -----
9 @NO 13-28 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
PHI vs CAR Rush Catch Pass
QB Sam Bradford 200,1
RB Ryan Mathews 70 3-20
RB DeMarco Murray
RB Darren Sproles 10 5-30
TE Brent Celek 5-50

Pregame Notes: Well. That wasn't pretty. Michael Vick sat out last week with his concussion and watched as the fans got what they wanted - not Michael Vick. It came in the form of the rookie Nick Foles and with him optimism and a chance to turn the season around. Didn't happen. Ends up all the Eagles woes are not directly connected to Michael Vick.

Foles was only able to complete 21 of 46 passes for 204 yards and two interceptions while also being sacked four times. This came against arguably the worst secondary in the league that had doled out 300 yards and a few scores to pretty much every single opponent. Now, suddenly, it seems that Vick may be feeling better and could be ready by this week potentially.

HC Andy Reid sounds like he wants Vick back ASAP but he has not passed his baseline tests early in the week. Foles has to be considered the most likely to start but he's already not the answer either. Week 13 looms as a tough passing matchup in Dallas as well.

Making this horrific slide of the Eagles even more complete was LeSean McCoy getting a concussion at the end of the blowout loss. He too will need to pass tests this week in order to play though it prompts the question - why rush him back to play in a lost season? Bryce Brown will take his place if he cannot play which has to be the assumption until he can practice. Again - he may end up a game time decision in a Monday night affair and unless you own Brown as well it is not advisable to hope for the best and leave yourself no options.

Brown has not been given more than five carries in any game and generally they were short yardage plays. He did gain 35 yards on five runs versus the Skins last week.

There is much that could change here depending on Vick and McCoy.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points PHI 15 22 16 13 24 31
Preventing Fantasy Points CAR 13 27 10 21 32 25

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Sam Bradford, PHI @NYG 0000025012 ***
Bradford managed 280 and a touch in the earlier meeting with the Giants, and who knows how things will work sans Chip Kelly this week. Bradford's upside isn't nearly sexy enough to suggest wading through the confusion to start him this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB DeMarco Murray, PHI @NYG 5013200000 *
The good news is that Chip Kelly's departure likely lets Murray out of the doghouse in Philly. The bad news is that no one knows what the running back rotation will look like under an interim play-caller. Murray was solid (22-109-1) in the earlier meeting and scored last week, but he hasn't seen 15 touches in a game since Week 11 and is simply too volatile to trust fully even in a favorable matchup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Ryan Mathews, PHI @NYG 500000000 **
Chip Kelly's departure throws the Philly backfield into further disarray. The reward is too small to offset the risk with so many backs getting touches, so best avoid the situation--or at least Matthews, coming off a six-touch game--entirely.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jordan Matthews, PHI @NYG 005801000 ***
Matthews has become the closest thing the Eagles have to a WR1, with back-to-back 100-yard games with a touchdown. He played third fiddle with 59 yards in the earlier meeting with the Giants, but he's a much better bet to reprise or improve upon those numbers than either Riley Cooler (3-76-1 against the Giants) or Miles Austin (3-60 in that same game).
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Rueben Randle, PHI @NYG 005601000 ***
It's been a month since the Eagles allowed multiple wideouts to score in the same game, but Randle has TDs in three straight and is playing a solid wingman to Odell Beckham Jr so don't discount him here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Nelson Agholor, PHI @NYG 004500000 ***
There's some upside to the emerging Agholor against a Giants secondary that's given up a touchdown or at least 99 yards to multiple receivers in three of the past four games.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Chris Givens, PHI @NYG 002300000 ***
Givens is a home run guy, but this week he's in a pitcher's park--the Bengals have allowed only one WR TD in their past four at home--and having Ryan Mallet at quarterback is the equivalent of using a wiffle bat.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Zach Ertz, PHI @NYG 006800000 ***
Just as Ertz was living up to lofty preseason expectations with 30 targets, 21 catches, 200 yards and a touchdown the past two games... Chip Kelly gets canned. There's still plenty of fantasy upside against a Giants defense that has given up TE TDs in two straight and six 50-plus yard efforts in the past nine games--but also much more uncertainty.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Caleb Sturgis, PHI @NYG 1122 ***
Multiple field goals
in just one of last seven--
plus no Chip Kelly

WEEK 12
2012
HOU at DET (THU) *BAL at SD *MIN at CHI *SF at NO
NE at NYJ (THU) BUF at IND *OAK at CIN *STL at ARI
WAS at DAL (THU) DEN at KC PIT at CLE TEN at JAC
*UPDATED *ATL at TB GB at NYG SEA at MIA *CAR at PHI (MON)

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