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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: NE 27, NYJ 17 (Line: NE by 6)

Players to Watch: Aaron Hernandez

This is the late game on Thanksgiving. The 7-3 Patriots head to New York where the 4-6 Jets are 2-3 and have already lost to the Patriots 26-29 just four weeks ago. Apparently that close call inspired the Patriots since they have scored at least 37 points in each of the last three games and are currently the #1 scoring team in the NFL by over 50 points.

New England Patriots
Homefield: Gillette Stadium
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @TEN 34-13 10 BUF 37-31
2 ARI 18-20 11 IND 59-24
3 @BAL 30-31 12 @NYJ -----
4 @BUF 52-28 13 @MIA -----
5 DEN 31-21 14 HOU -----
6 @SEA 23-24 15 SF -----
7 NYJ 29-26 16 @JAC -----
8 @STL 45-7 17 MIA -----
9 BYE ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
NE @ NYJ Rush Catch Pass
QB Tom Brady 250,2
RB Stevan Ridley 80,1
RB Shane Vereen 30 3-20
WR Danny Amendola
WR Julian Edelman 3-30
WR Brandon LaFell 5-60
PK Stephen Gostkowski 2 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The Pats are back to their "roll up the points" mode but that may take a step back now that Rob Gronkowski is out for at least four weeks and potentially longer. The talented tight end has been the central man in the passing scheme for two seasons now and his limitation in the Superbowl may have been part of the four point loss. That and the whole "Curse of Eli" thing.

Fortunately, Aaron Hernandez is expected to return from his ankle injury that has basically robbed him of his season since week two. He returned in week six and seven but then missed the last four games. Some reports have him still limited and since this is the Patriot way, we cannot really know until we know. He's been limited in practice for a few weeks. The same was true in week six when he came back and scored once on his six catches for 30 yards.

Vishanthe Shiancoe should see an increase in snaps but not necessarily receptions. Neither he nor Michael Hoomanawanui are a true replacement and whatever Hernandez does not inherit will go to Julian Edelman, Wes Welker or even running backs.

Tom Brady passed for 259 yards and two scores when the Jets visited a month ago. The Jets played a very good game defensively that week and held the Pats to no rushing scores. Stevan Ridley gained 65 yards on 17 carries with no receptions while Shane Vereen went for 49 yards on eight runs. Danny Woodhead has six runs and four receptions for a total of 46 yards in that game but was never given a touch last week in the blow out win.

This is a prime time game on national TV. Both teams know each other very well but the absence of Gronk could make a difference. But this is the exact sort of game that Brady and company loves to really put on a show. This is a pivotal week too since the Pats need to show that losing Gronk is not going to make a big difference.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NE 5 3 11 1 2 3
Preventing Fantasy Points NYJ 7 21 4 24 19 17

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Tom Brady, NE @GB 0000031030 ***
Brady is on a two-month tear, and a defense that just served up multiple touchdowns to Mark Sanchez and Teddy Bridgewater in back-to-back games isn't likely to cause much of an impediment.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Shane Vereen, NE @GB 2005500000 ***
Vereen is back to being a contributor rather than a feature back. He still has plenty of value in PPR scoring systems, but he's a riskier play in TD-heavy formats.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB LeGarrette Blount, NE @GB 400000000 ***
100-yard games by grinders like Mark Ingram and Marshawn Lynch point towards what Bill Belichick's likely strategy will be: heavy doses of the ground game in order to keep Aaron Rodgers on the sidelines. Sure, Belichick could go back to Jonas Gray this week but odds are he sticks with Blount for 15-20 carries, more than enough to bang out another helpful fantasy stat line.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Brandon LaFell, NE @GB 006801000 ***
LaFell is Tom Brady's biggest target among the wideouts, so he seems best suited to take advantage of a Packers defense that's allowed WR TDs in six straight, multiple WR TDs in four of six, and a consistent stream of fantasy helpers to WRs with size, from Jordan Matthews to Brandon Marshall to Kelvin Benjamin.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Julian Edelman, NE @GB 005500000 ***
Edelman is always in the mix, but unless you're in a PPR league his fantasy value is largely negligible.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Rob Gronkowski, NE @GB 0071001000 ***
Gronk is too heavily targeted not to be a major factor in this game, even against a Packers defense that's surrendered only two TE TDs all year.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Timothy Wright, NE @GB 001101000 **
Wright has scored in each of the past five games in which he's had a catch. He's clearly a red zone option for Tom Brady, and while the Packers have allowed only two TE TDs all year don't let that dissuade you from giving full consideration to Wright in TD-heavy scoring systems.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Stephen Gostkowski, NE @GB 1133 ***
Gostkowski has hit double digits in three of the last four and five of the last seven; no reason to think he won't get his kicks in Green Bay t

New York Jets
Homefield: Meadowlands Stadium
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 BUF 48-28 10 @SEA 7-28
2 @PIT 10-27 11 @STL 27-13
3 @MIA 23-20 12 NE -----
4 SF 0-34 13 ARI -----
5 HOU 17-23 14 @JAC -----
6 IND 35-9 15 @TEN -----
7 @NE 26-29 16 SD -----
8 MIA 9-30 17 @BUF -----
9 BYE ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
NYJ vs NE Rush Catch Pass
QB Michael Vick
RB Chris Ivory 30
RB Chris Johnson 100,1 4-20
RB Bilal Powell 30,1 3-20
WR Eric Decker 7-70,2
WR Percy Harvin 10 2-20
WR Jeremy Kerley 4-70,1
PK Nick Folk 1 FG 2 XP
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Michael Vick, NYJ MIA 30000017011 ***
Geno Smith will start at quarterback for the Jets this week. As if it even matters.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Chris Ivory, NYJ MIA 5002100000 ***
Ivory is no longer the Jets' clear-cut go-to back; he essentially split carries with Chris Johnson last week and doesn't fit the mold of the few backs who have found success against Miami--namely, speed guys.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Chris Johnson, NYJ MIA 3002100000 ***
Johnson has a couple solid outings against the Dolphins on his resume, though they came two and four years ago as a Texan. Given that the Dolphins just let CJ Anderson run all over them, there's a chance the Jets find a way to do the same with this CJ and/or Chris Ivory. Not a good chance, mind you, but a chance nonetheless.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Eric Decker, NYJ MIA 005501000 **
The Dolphins have given up some big WR outings; however there's a big difference between the likes of Calvin Johnson and Demaryius Thomas catching passes from Matthew Stafford and Peyton Manning... and Decker trying to catch errant tosses from Geno Smith. Subdue your expectations accordingly.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Percy Harvin, NYJ MIA 004400000 ***
The advantage Harvin has is that there are ways to get him the ball that don't involve Geno Smith's accuracy. Whether the Jets go out of their way to do that here remains to be seen.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jeremy Kerley, NYJ MIA 002300000 ***
There's barely enough passing game productivity to feed one, maybe two wide receivers in New York. Kerley is running a distant third to Eric Decker and Percy Harvin, so there's no reason to think he'll be a fantasy factor here.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Nick Folk, NYJ MIA 1111 ***
Folk has a total of 20 points over the past for games, kicking for an offense that hasn't topped 25 all year. Neither of those bode well for his fantasy prospects this week.

Pregame Notes: Winning big in St. Louis was a surprise last week since the Jets were on a three game losing streak that started against these Patriots and the next two losses were blowouts by 21 points each. If nothing else, it made the Jets look good for one week and quelled the withering fire they take from the NY media after every loss.

Mark Sanchez threw for a season best 328 yards in the last meeting with the Patriots though only one touchdown and he's scored multiple touchdowns in only two games all year. At 11 touchdowns on the year, he's been only marginally effective in any game. The Patriots have shored up their secondary in the interim as well with the addition of CB Aqib Talib who instantly became their #1 cover corner. He also returned an interception for a touchdown in his first game with the Patriots. Sanchez is less likely to see as much success passing.

Shonn Greene still slogs along with around 60 rush yards in most games and aside from his week six freak show against the Colts when he scored three times, he's been the picture of mediocrity this year. Now the Jets are taking a committee approach to the backfield and including Bilal Powell who scored his first two NFL touchdowns last week on his 11 runs for 42 yards in St. Louis. Greene rushed for 64 yards on 18 carries in that game as well. In week seven, Greene ran for 54 yards and a score on 16 runs in New England. A committee is a good thing if it finally dissuades you from giving Greene a fantasy start.

Dustin Keller caught seven passes for 93 yards and a score in New England this year but that was his only touchdown and he's settled down to much lower production. Against the Rams he caught two passes for 16 yards.

Jeremy Kerley was the best receiver in the last meeting when he gained 120 yards on seven receptions. He's failed to turn in more than 60 yards in any game since and has not scored since back in week three. None of the Jets wideouts have any reliability or fantasy value now.

This is a late game and prime time so both teams will bring their "A" games. So far that heavily favors the Patriots.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NYJ 30 24 24 24 28 9
Preventing Fantasy Points NE 31 16 27 31 6 1

INSERT THE PLAYER TABLE #2 HERE

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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