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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: WAS 17, DAL 27 (Line: DAL by 3)

Players to Watch: Robert Griffin III, Dez Bryant

This is the afternoon game on Thanksgiving. The 4-6 Redskins broke their three game losing streak by hosting the now wingless Eagles but are only 2-3 on the road. The Cowboys draw to .500 with a 5-5 record but are only 2-2 at home and just barely beat the Browns. This is always one of those "throw out the records" kind of games but there is no escaping that the Cowboys have the better defense and is at home on a very short week.

The Cowboys swept the Redskins last year, winning 18-16 at home and later 27-24 in Washington.

Washington Redskins
Homefield: FedEx Field
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @NO 40-32 10 BYE -----
2 @STL 28-31 11 PHI 31-6
3 CIN 31-38 12 @DAL -----
4 @TB 24-22 13 NYG -----
5 ATL 17-24 14 BAL -----
6 MIN 38-26 15 @CLE -----
7 @NYG 23-27 16 @PHI -----
8 @PIT 12-27 17 DAL -----
9 CAR 13-21 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
WAS @ DAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Robert Griffin III 50 180,2
RB Alfred Morris 60 1-10
WR Leonard Hankerson 3-40
WR DeSean Jackson 4-60
WR Santana Moss 3-50,1
WR Andre Roberts 3-40
TE Logan Paulsen 4-50,1
PK Kai Forbath 2 XP

Pregame Notes: Nice win over the Eagles made the world right for one week but doesn't erase the struggles the Redskins have had scoring points and playing defense. They have never allowed fewer than 22 points in a road game and average giving up 28 points per road opponent. This week should show whether the Philly win was about an improved Redskins or just the Eagles in a nosedive.

Robert Griffin III gets to face one of the best defenses so far this year and while he comes off his first ever four touchdown game, he still passed for just 200 yards and only had eight passing scores over the first nine games. His role as a runner remains big in most games though the only time he faced top defenses this year was when he was held under ten rushing yards against the Falcons and Steelers when he also passed for less than 200 yards in those games. This is a big week for both teams but so far RG3 has been showing up mostly against weak defenses.

Alfred Morris hasn't scored since week six and other than the Giants game when he ran for 120 yards, he's been held to under 80 rush yards for the last six weeks and has no role as a receiver. Last week Griffin threw a touchdown to Darrel Young, another running back who now has two scores on the year with only 14 total touches. This offense may be all about Morris as the runner but he's just not getting much done thanks to struggles elsewhere on the team.

Logan Paulsen comes off his first score of the year but it was on his only catch in the Panthers game. He'd been good for four or five receptions in the previous three weeks but still has no reliable fantasy value.

Throwing for four touchdowns last week was nice and all but there still wasn't any one with more than 61 receiving yards and that was on Santana Moss' only catch, Aldrick Robinson also scored - on his only catch. This offense is still mostly about Griffin with moderate passing stats taking off on a run and even then he's scored in just one of the last six games as a runner.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points WAS 2 23 20 20 13 8
Preventing Fantasy Points DAL 5 11 7 10 22 28

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Robert Griffin III, WAS DAL 0000026011 ***
RG3 threw four TDs in his first game against the Cowboys, back in November 2012; in 57 attempts he hasn't thrown one since, though he did run for one in the back end of the 2012 series. Colt McCoy couldn't crack the Cowboys for a scoring strike (though he did run one in) in the earlier meeting this season; sensing a theme here? RG3 came close to a rushing score in Week 15, but he'll need one to be a fantasy factor this week--and he hasn't had one since that 2012 Week 17 game against Dallas.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Alfred Morris, WAS DAL 701000000 ***
Alf has scored in all five of his career meetings with the Cowboys, including a TD in the earlier meeting which, at 18-73-1, was actually his least productive effort against Dallas. The Cowboys have allowed seven RB TDs in the past five games, so Alf should have ample opportunity to extend his streak here--unless Darrel Young swipes his scores again.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR DeSean Jackson, WAS DAL 0051101000 ****
Jackson dropped 136 yards on the Cowboys in the front end of this season series, but he hasn't caught a touchdown pass against them since December of 2010--and he's been in their division for years. Bank on the yardage--DJax just posted 126 on his former mates from Philadelphia last week--but don't count on a touchdown.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Andre Roberts, WAS DAL 003500000 ***
The last time Roberts had fantasy value was right after the Redskins signed him to start opposite Pierre Garcon. Much has happened since then, none of it beneficial to Roberts' fantasy value.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Pierre Garcon, WAS DAL 004500000 ***
Garcon has shown moderate signs of life, but his biggest outing came when DeSean Jackson was out of the lineup so when the Redskins are at full strength he's clearly a second banana. Look for a first banana before settling this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jordan Reed, WAS DAL 005500000 ***
Reed split 67 yards with Niles Paul in the earlier matchup with Dallas, but he's made the tight end position his own over the past month. That makes him the most likely to take advantage of a Dallas defense that's allowed 10 TE TDs on the year as well as six games of 50-plus yards.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Kai Forbath, WAS DAL 2222 ****
Forbath has actually been adequate of late, if you're into something in the eight-point neighborhood. That seems to be the ceiling, however, so you can likely do better elsewhere.

Dallas Cowboys
Homefield: Cowboys Stadium
RealGrass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @NYG 24-17 10 @PHI 38-23
2 @SEA 7-27 11 CLE 23-20
3 TB 16-10 12 WAS -----
4 CHI 18-34 13 PHI -----
5 BYE ----- 14 @CIN -----
6 @BAL 29-31 15 PIT -----
7 @CAR 19-14 16 NO -----
8 NYG 24-29 17 @WAS -----
9 @ATL 13-19 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
DAL vs WAS Rush Catch Pass
QB Tony Romo 330,3
QB Brandon Weeden 220,1
RB Lance Dunbar 30
RB DeMarco Murray
WR Dez Bryant 8-120,1
TE Jason Witten 8-80,1
PK Dan Bailey 2 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The Cowboys squeaked past the Browns last week and needed overtime to get there. It was a week filled with underdogs getting a lead and then losing at the end of their game and it had the markings of a trap game if you can somehow ignore the fact the Cowboys have zero margin for error anymore. Dallas gets the benefit of a home game in a very short week and then takes off for ten days before hosting the now terrible Eagles. This three game home stretch was supposed to be the easiest time of the year but as of last week it's just a continuing struggle.

Tony Romo has been plenty good with yardage every week but his scoring is where he falls short. He's scored in all but one game this year but six other times ended with just one passing touchdown. In four home games, he's never been worse than 283 passing yards and yet only threw three touchdowns total over those games. Never more than one. He's faced some good defenses along the way. He's faced some less than stellar ones. Same thing - high yardage and one score. Maybe two. Never more than two since the season opener.

Felix Jones hurt his knee last week but remained in the Browns game and ended with 43 yards on 14 carries and one touchdown. Jones totaled 90+ yards in the previous two games before slowing down last week with the rest of the Dallas squad. DeMarco Murray is still questionable to play and was ruled out early last week. Barring great news from practice, it appears likely that he'll miss yet another week with a foot that just won't heal. Lance Dunbar needed a minor surgery on his knee after the Browns game and may not play on Thursday. Philip Tanner would take his place if needed. Jones is shaping up to be a game time decision because of his knees and missed practices Monday and Tuesday.

Jason Witten continues to be the most consistent player in the offense with another seven catches last week which has been the least he does for the last month. Witten only scored once all year but has been huge in reception point leagues. He is on a pace to end with well over 100 catches this year.

Kevin Ogletree sustained a head injury last week but says he passed a concussion test. That makes him questionable this week against what should be a pretty bad secondary. There might not be much left over for him anyway. It is evident that the Cowboys are under a directive to get the ball to Dez Bryant who comes off a career best yardage game. Bryant was targeted 15 times for 12 receptions and 145 yards with one score last week. Miles Austin was thrown to 12 times for six receptions and 58 yards but the Cowboys are doing what they can to make Bryant a star.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DAL 14 21 7 5 14 23
Preventing Fantasy Points WAS 29 12 28 32 21 2

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Tony Romo, DAL @WAS 0000024020 **
The Redskins have given up multiple touchdown passes in four straight, with two of those quarterbacks topping 370 passing yards. Romo was knocked out of the earlier meeting with Washington; if he doesn't finish this time it will be because the Cowboys have already clinched their fate--likely due to a solid fantasy helper from Romo.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB DeMarco Murray, DAL @WAS 601000000 *
Murray dominated the Redskins like no other back in the earlier meeting, with 221 yards from scrimmage. He won't likely see enough touches to match that performance as the Cowboys rest their feature back (and specifically his busted hand) for the playoffs, and he was ineffective with a reduced workload against Indy last week. He's still starter-worthy, but your expectations need to be lowered dramatically.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Joseph Randle, DAL @WAS 3002200000 ***
Randle saw his biggest workload last week (13 carries) and did little with it (37 yards). With a tougher matchup this week there's no reason to expect those numbers to trend upwards, even if Randle ends up with a larger share of the touches.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Dez Bryant, DAL @WAS 004601000 ****
Dez has scored in his last two against the Redskins; he's also scored 10 TDs in his last eight games, a streak that started with a subdued 3-30-1 against Washington. With DeMarco Murray dinged the offensive onus is on the passing game, and in turn Tony Romo leans on Dez. Start him with confidence here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Terrance Williams, DAL @WAS 003400000 ***
Williams returned to the end zone--twice--last week as the Dallas passing game picked up the slack left by the injury to DeMarco Murray. However, secondary targets rarely fare well against the Redskins--and when they do it tends to be at the expense of the primary guy. Since it's unlikely that Dez Bryant falters here, don't look for big things for Williams this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jason Witten, DAL @WAS 005501000 ***
Witten scored in the earlier meeting with Washington, and after watching the Redskins give up 15-115 to Zach Ertz last week---and 4-61-2 to Jared Cook two weeks prior to that, and 4-127-2 to Coby Fleener the week before that--you have to like Witten's chances of another big outing.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Dan Bailey, DAL @WAS 1133 ***
Bailey has been counting by ones instead of threes, with just one multiple field goal game in the past two and a half months. On the bright side, he's had at least four PATs in five of the last six games so even though the ceiling isn't high the floor isn't that low.

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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