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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 @NYJ 0000025020 ***
The Jets have fallen off the record-setting pace for allowing touchdown passes they were on, but it's still essentially the same defense Brady took for 261 and 3 back in Week 7. Brady's been plenty hot himself, with multiple scoring strikes in 10 straight; no reason to doubt him here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB LeGarrette Blount, NE @NYJ 201000000 **
Jets games have tended to bring out the pass-catching backs in New England, so temper expectations for Blount. The Jets aren't a particularly favorable matchup for running backs anyway, and you never know when Brandon Bolden and/or Jonas Gray will get carries to really snarl things up, so keep your expectations in check here.,
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jonas Gray, NE @NYJ 300000000 ***
Gray was back as the Patriots' leading rusher last week, though he was the only Patriots back who carried the ball who failed to score. He simply can't be trusted with a fantasy start here; if/when he scores, you'll know you've been Belichicked.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Shane Vereen, NE @NYJ 1003200000 ***
Vereen has a couple of solid pass-catching outings against the Patriots, 2-91-1 back in 2012 and 5-71-2 earlier this season. Vereen missed any games in between, and he's far from a sure thing, but all signs point towards him seeing enough action to be a solid PPR fantasy helper this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Julian Edelman, NE @NYJ 008901000 ***
Patriots wideouts did little against the Jets in the earlier meeting, a bit surprising since over the past month the Jets have allowed five 100-yard receivers. Edelman and Brandon LaFell remain the most targeted Patriots wideouts, and with a favorable matchup they can both be counted on for fantasy contributions this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Brandon LaFell, NE @NYJ 006700000 ***
LaFell has given Tom Brady a bigger target down the field, one whom Brady mixes and matches with diminutive Julian Edelman to full effect. Both are viable fantasy options this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Rob Gronkowski, NE @NYJ 005801000 ***
Shocking, really, that Gronk isn't among the dozen tight ends who have scored on the Jets this year; expect that to change this week. Gronkowski has topped the 100-yard mark in each of his last two trips to New York, so he should augment that score with copious yardage as well.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Stephen Gostkowski, NE @NYJ 2233 ***
The Jets are the only team to hold Gostkowski under double-digit points at home and since he's a less than 50/50 proposition to hit 10 or more on the road (three of seven games this year), don't let your expectations run wild here.

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 Geno Smith, NYJ NE 30000020011 ***
Geno hasn't been a fantasy helper all year, and with something similar to the 226 and 1 he posted on the Patriots earlier this season he's unlikely to start now.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Chris Ivory, NYJ NE 801000000 ***
The Jets are still solid against opposing running backs; they haven't allowed an RB TD since Week 9. But big backs who get carries--like Ivory himself, who put up 21-107-1 in the earlier meeting with the Jets--have tended to have success against the Jets. So we're sayin' there's a chance.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Chris Johnson, NYJ NE 5002100000 ***
CJ?K has essentially split carries with Chris Ivory over the past two weeks. New England's not a defense prone to give up much more than the minimum, but there's some opportunities for a fresh CJ?K, especially against some pretty tired-looking defenders.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Eric Decker, NYJ NE 006701000 ***
Decker is housing all the targets, what with a hurt Harvin and really no alternative. It's a nice gig if you can get it, one that certainly helps pad a college resume.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jeremy Kerley, NYJ NE 004300000 ***
Bottom line, with so little going on in the Jets' passing game there's no reason to look behind Decker and (when healthy) Amaro for fantasy contributions.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jace Amaro, NYJ NE 003200000 ***
Amaro is a big target with a ton of potential, a word that means "talented but hasn't actually done anything yet." You should have better options at your disposal.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Nick Folk, NYJ NE 1122 ***
Only occasionally does Folk kick in a fantasy contribution, though the fact he did so with 13 against the Patriots earlier this year warrants mention. As does the fact that AFC East kickers have multiple treys in three of four against the Patriots, as opposed to just half (five of 10) of non-divisional kickers.

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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