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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 13
2012
NO at ATL (THU) *CLE at OAK *MIN at GB *SEA at CHI
*ARI at NYJ HOU at TEN NE at MIA *SF at STL
CAR at KC *IND at DET *PHI at DAL TB at DEN
*UPDATED *CIN at SD *JAC at BUF *PIT at BAL NYG at WAS (MON)

Prediction: IND 23, DET 24 (LINE: DET by 4)

Players Updated: Mikel Leshoure

Players to Watch: TY Hilton, Ryan Broyles

The 7-4 Colts are not going to win the division with the 10-1 Texans in control, but they currently have a one game lead over all other AFC teams for the #5 seed wildcard. The Colts are only 2-3 on the road though and the 4-7 Lions are also 2-3 at home and on a three game losing streak. This game could go either way very easily.

Indianapolis Colts
Homefield: Lucas Oil Stadium
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @CHI 21-41 10 @JAC 27-10
2 MIN 23-20 11 @NE 24-59
3 JAC 17-22 12 BUF 20-13
4 BYE ----- 13 @DET -----
5 GB 30-27 14 TEN -----
6 @NYJ 9-35 15 @HOU -----
7 CLE 17-13 16 @KC -----
8 @TEN 19-13 17 HOU -----
9 MIA 23-20 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
IND @ DET Rush Catch Pass
QB Josh Freeman 240,2
QB Ryan Lindley 210
QB Andrew Luck 10 240,2
RB Ahmad Bradshaw 80,1 3-20
RB Frank Gore 80,1 1-10
WR T.Y. Hilton 5-70,1
WR Andre Johnson 5-60,1
TE Dwayne Allen 3-30
PK Adam Vinatieri 2 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The 7-4 Colts have a great shot at a wildcard but two matchups with the Texans in the final three weeks are likely to impact what happens to the Colts After Manning. With any luck, the Texans will have nothing to play for in that final game and just sends the subs to Indy for the game. This year has been a rousing success already if only in what Andrew Luck has done

Andrew Luck comes off one of his worst games of the year when he only threw for 240 yards and one score against the visiting Bills and he was held to only 227 yards and no passing scores by the Jaguars though he ran in two scores in that game. He's already thrown for a record setting five 300 yards games but always seems to come up smaller in games against the easier defenses. His 13 passing touchdowns are balanced by five rushing scores.

The rushing effort has been bad all year and only scored three rushing touchdowns with no one rushing for more than 80 yards in any game. In most weeks, Donald Brown and Vick Ballard are splitting the workload and neither has much fantasy value with no scores or even more than one catch per game. This hopefully is address in the draft next year.

The passing effort has boiled down to almost entirely Reggie Wayne and his 84 catches for 1105 yards. Looking deep for either Donnie Avery or TY Hilton. The tight ends rarely figure in nor do the running backs. Luck has progressed enough that he can rely on just the wide receivers. The rookie Hilton has come on strongly in the last four games with a total of four touchdowns and two efforts that exceeded 100 yards. He was blanked in week 10 by the Jags but otherwise has been producing bug numbers for the last month. He is taking over that deep role that Avery started the season out supplying.

This will be a very good test for Luck against a banged up Lions secondary. If the Colts can't win here, the playoffs will be a one week deal if they even make it there. But win this week and the Colts turnaround from last year will have been even more remarkable.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points IND 9 28 6 22 17 26
Preventing Fantasy Points DET 13 11 13 28 25 29

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Josh Freeman, IND TEN 0000014002 *
Indy's starting quarterback in a must-win game will most likely be a guy who's been with the team less than a week. That didn't work so well for Freeman the last time he tried it--flaming out famously as a Viking on Monday Night Football--and there's no reason to think it will go any better here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Frank Gore, IND TEN 10903200000 *
With little in the way of QB options look for the Colts to pin their offensive hopes on Gore. He responded with 15-85-2 in a similar situation last week and had 14-86-2 in Tennessee earlier this season, so he's both a volume and matchup bet this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Andre Johnson, IND TEN 003300000 ***
The third wheel in a passing game that's literally dragging in quarterback candidates off the street? Pass.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR T.Y. Hilton, IND TEN 003300000 *
The Titans have allowed a 100-yard receiver in five of the last six games, but with limited options at quarterback--Indy will start either a guy who's never taken a regular season snap or one of two guys they signed off the street earlier this week--the passing game can't be banked on for productivity.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Donte Moncrief, IND TEN 002300000 *
It's not so much the matchup as it is the lack of a quarterback in Indy that has us worried about the potential of the passing game. Best look for options that don't have to wear name tags so their quarterback knows who they are.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Coby Fleener, IND TEN 002200000 *
The last time Fleener was fantasy relevant none of the Colts' current quarterbacks were even a gleam in Indy's eye. Nothing to see here.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Adam Vinatieri, IND TEN 2200 ***
TEN gives up field goals;
can Indy QB du jour
get him close enough?

Detroit Lions
Homefield: Ford Field
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 STL 27-23 10 @MIN 24-34
2 @SF 19-27 11 GB 20-24
3 @TEN 41-44 12 HOU 31-34
4 MIN 13-20 13 IND -----
5 BYE ----- 14 @GB -----
6 @PHI 26-23 15 @ARI -----
7 @CHI 7-13 16 ATL -----
8 SEA 28-24 17 CHI -----
9 @JAC 31-14 ----- ----- -----
News | Stats | Roster
DET vs IND Rush Catch Pass
QB Matthew Stafford 290,2
RB Joique Bell 20 5-30
WR Calvin Johnson 8-110,1
WR Lance Moore 5-80
WR Golden Tate 3-40
TE Brandon Pettigrew 4-40
PK Matt Prater 2 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: These last two losses - both by four points or less - pretty much ensure that the 4-7 Lions are going to have yet another losing season since their remaining slate contains only one team with a losing record and the Cardinals game goes off in Arizona. The defense has given up 24+ points in four of the last five games but at least the offense is scoring better. The only useful part of the remaining season is determining how much they like their current receivers and backfield for next year.

Matt Stafford comes off a season high 441 passing yards against the Texans on Thanksgiving but he's never been better than the defense this season and caught the Texans with an injured secondary. He still scores in almost every game but rarely passes for more than one score.

Mikel Leshoure is not doing much in yardage but at least he's scored in three of the last four games. He has no role as a receiver and his yardage rarely top 70 yards but he gets the bulk of all rushing carries every week. Joique Bell is losing playing time to Kevin Smith in recent weeks but still has the only other running back scores since the season opener. Only Leshoure has fantasy value and that is marginal in most weeks.

While Calvin Johnson went into a lull from weeks four through eight, he's been on fire the last four games with over 120 yards in every matchup and scoring in each of the last three. He's passed A.J. Green to reclaim his spot as the top fantasy wideout. Titus Young was held out last week for disciplinary reasons and may not play in this game as well. Ryan Broyles took his place against the Texans and gained 126 yards on six catches. It appears that Young has lost his starting job for good since Broyles was expected to gain more work by next year anyway.

The nice part of the remaining schedule? It should see the Lions behind in almost all games and needing to throw. And that is the only part of the offense that generates useful fantasy points.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DET 5 10 4 8 8 28
Preventing Fantasy Points IND 14 22 27 2 11 22

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Matthew Stafford, DET @CHI 0000026020 ***
Stafford carved up the Bears for 405 and 4 in the earlier meeting, but that was at home; he's only thrown multiple scores once in six visits to Chicago. A 242 and 2 performance in Green Bay in Week 10--his last game outdoors, by the way--provides hope, as do multiple scoring strikes in five straight.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Theo Riddick, DET @CHI 2006400000 ***
The Lions' pass-catching back was also their most productive in the earlier meeting with Chicago, and you have to like his chances against a defense that's given up more RB receiving scores (7) than rushing TDs (6).
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Ameer Abdullah, DET @CHI 3002200000 ***
Just when it looked like the Lions were going to test-drive their second-round pick as their feature back of the future, they stopped giving him carries: he hasn't seen double-digit totes since 13-67 against the Packers a month ago. Maybe it's the fumbles. Whatever the reason, Abdullah is fighting an uphill battle for relevancy in his own backfield, which makes his fantasy fight that much more difficult.

Update: Abdullah was limited in practice all week and is listed as questionable with a shoulder injury--further dimming his fantasy prospects for this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Joique Bell, DET @CHI 200000000 ***
The upside is that Bell is getting goal line looks; the downside is that the Bears have allowed only six RB rushing scores all season, so the goal line looks might be scarce.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Calvin Johnson, DET @CHI 004701000 ***
Only five WRs have scored on the Bears since three Lions wideouts--including Megatron--found the end zone against Chicago in Week 6. And none have topped 100 yards since two Lions--including Calvin--did so in that earlier meeting. But Johnson owns the Bears, having scored or topped 100 yards in five straight meetings, so business as usual here.

Update: Johnson practiced just once this week, and then on a limited basis, due to his lingering ankle injury. So weigh that against the optimism of his career history against the Bears.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Golden Tate, DET @CHI 007701000 ***
Tate sang lead vocals for a little while but Calvin Johnson is back on the mic now, relegating Tate to leftovers. Against a secondary that's allowed only six WR TDs and one 100-yard game in the past 10 weeks, that's not a very big fantasy plate.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Eric Ebron, DET @CHI 004500000 ***
Tim Wright, replacing the injured Ebron, scored in the earlier meeting with the Bears. Ebron is back in the starter's role but has just one score in the past eight games so he's a fringe fantasy helper at best.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Matt Prater, DET @CHI 1122 ***
Three points per game less
outside than in; has not kicked
outdoors since Week 10

WEEK 13
2012
NO at ATL (THU) *CLE at OAK *MIN at GB *SEA at CHI
*ARI at NYJ HOU at TEN NE at MIA *SF at STL
CAR at KC *IND at DET *PHI at DAL TB at DEN
*UPDATED *CIN at SD *JAC at BUF *PIT at BAL NYG at WAS (MON)

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