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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 15
2012
CIN at PHI (THU) *GB at CHI *MIN at STL *SF at NE
CAR at SD IND at HOU *NYG at ATL TB at NO
DEN at BAL *JAC at MIA *PIT at DAL *WAS at CLE
*Updated *DET at ARI KC at OAK *SEA at BUF *NYJ at TEN (MON)

Prediction: CIN 27, PHI 20 (Line: CIN by 3 )

Players to Watch: Nick Foles, BenJarvus Green-Ellis

This is the Thursday night game that features the 7-6 Bengals who are probably as close to a wild card as they will be this season and the Eagles fresh off their latest win that is separated from their other recent win only nine games before that. The Bengals are 4-2 in road games and the Eagles probably cannot get that lucky two weeks in a row.

Cincinnati Bengals
Homefield: Paul Brown Stadium
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @BAL 13-44 10 NYG 31-13
2 CLE 34-27 11 @KC 28-6
3 @WAS 38-31 12 OAK 34-10
4 @JAC 27-10 13 @SD 20-13
5 MIA 13-17 14 DAL 19-20
6 @CLE 24-34 15 @PHI -----
7 PIT 17-24 16 @PIT -----
8 BYE ----- 17 BAL -----
9 DEN 23-31 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
CIN @ PHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Andy Dalton 10 250,2
WR A.J. Green 5-80,1
WR Marvin Jones 3-40
TE Jermaine Gresham 5-50

Pregame Notes: Like much of the rest of the league, the Bengals were off their game last week and this was painfully obvious when A.J. Green out right dropped several passes including one sure touchdown. This week is a short one with a Thursday night game and then comes the two big games to end the season - at Pittsburgh and then home versus the Ravens. Losing last week should help keep the Bengals focused here and besides, Thursday night games are usually won by the team with the most talent since there is so little time to prepare.

Andy Dalton hasn't thrown for many yards this year and certainly not in the last five games where he has remained at 230 yards or less. Still he has scored at least once in every week since the opener and half his efforts end up with multiple touchdowns.

BenJarvus Green-Ellis has been impressive this past month with three straight games over 100 rushing yards and even last week when he was limited to just 12 carries he still gained 89 yards and caught three passes for 13 more versus the Cowboys. He should see even more work than usual this time because Cedric Peerman is nursing a sore ankle and likely won't suit up by Thursday night. With only Brian Leonard to mix in, Green-Ellis should end up with 20+ carries yet again. This is likely his final good game of the season.

Jermaine Gresham was limited in practices last week because of his hamstring but still played and produced a standard four receptions for 43 yards. While Andrew Hawkins accounted for six catches for 44 yards and the only passing score, Marvin Jones is starting to get notice in the flanker spot with three receptions for 45 yards and an end-around that covered 37 yards last week.

This is a must win for the Bengals and A.J. Green has done the unthinkable by going three games without a touchdown. The Eagles are likely still giddy about the win last week and are still without all their key players.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CIN 11 25 4 15 14 16
Preventing Fantasy Points PHI 27 10 22 15 27 32

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Andy Dalton, CIN @PIT 0000027021 ***
The Steelers have given up 300-plus passing yards in three straight games and multiple touchdown tosses in eight of the last nine. That stretch includes Dalton's 302 and 2 (with a rushing TD to boot), though in two subsequent games Andy has a total of 263 and 2. The tiebreaker is Dalton's penchant for coming up small in big games, so while there's upside in the matchup you'll likely want to find fantasy help elsewhere.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jeremy Hill, CIN @PIT 9001100000 ****
Hill averaged almost six yards a carry in limited work against the Steelers in the earlier matchup; since then he's racked up a pair of 140-yard games--still at a six-yards per carry pace. Hill is on a roll, and while Pittsburgh has been relatively solid against the run they've shown a weakness for bigger backs like Arian Foster, Mark Ingram... and, this week, Hill.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Giovani Bernard, CIN @PIT 2003200000 ***
Gio has become the complimentary guy, and in a tough matchup he's a far riskier fantasy play than the Bengals' current bell cow, Jeremy Hill.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR A.J. Green, CIN @PIT 005801000 *
Green gashed the Steelers for 11-224-1 just three weeks ago. He's banged up coming out of the win over Denver, but all indications are he'll play--and against a secondary that's allowed three 130-plus yard receivers in the past month, all indications are he'll perform well.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Mohamed Sanu, CIN @PIT 004500000 ***
It was all AJ Green the last time Cincy faced Pittsburgh, and that's become typical of the Bengals passing game as Sanu hasn't scored since Week 12 or topped 50 yards since Week 9. He's never broken 40 yards against the Steelers; no reason to believe that changes here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jermaine Gresham, CIN @PIT 005601000 ***
There's hope for Gresham this week against a Steelers defense that's allowed six TE TDs in the past eight games. Gresham has scored in two of the last three, including last week and the earlier matchup with Pittsburgh. At this juncture there's no WR2 to AJ Green, so Gresham could fill that opening.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Mike Nugent, CIN @PIT 2222 ***
The Nuge is coming off his best two-game stretch of the season; the Steelers have allowed six field goals in their last two. Almost makes you believe he's a safe bet to improve upon his three point performance in the earlier meeting with Pittsburgh in Week 14. Almost.

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 22-30
4 NYG 19-17 13 @DAL 33-38
5 @PIT 14-16 14 @TB 23-21
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 CIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Nick Foles 230,1
QB Mark Sanchez 230,1
RB Darren Sproles 20 5-50,1
WR Riley Cooper 2-20
WR Jeremy Maclin 5-70,1

Pregame Notes: Any time a team ends an eight game losing streak, it is big news at home. Sadly the season ticket holders have not seen a win since late September and are not likely to see one here. Michael Vick and LeSean McCoy are getting better and had a limited practice but with an early Thursday night game they are not expected to play. Next week - maybe. Though Foles will continue to be the starting quarterback.

Nick Foles finally put together an impressive showing when he passed for 381 yards and two scores in Tampa Bay and even added a rushing touchdown as well. He has been much improved since his first rocky start in Washington a month ago and will get a chance to compare next week when they visiting the Eagles for the final home game of the year.

The Bryce Brown Magical Mystery Tour took a major detour last week when instead of rushing for 165+ yards and two scores like the two previous weeks, he was held to only six net yards on 12 runs in Tampa Bay. It does make it harder when they can see you coming. At least this week Brown is back to facing below average rushing defenses. Dion Lewis on takes a couple of carries per game. Brown will take almost all carries for the Eagles and get whatever is there to get each week. Once McCoy returns - assuming he does at all this year - Brown will continue to be involved in the backfield and then the offseason will have to sort this all out with a new coaching staff.

With DeSean Jackson out, Jason Avant is making good use of his extra opportunities and after posting 79 yards on four catches in Dallas, led the team with seven receptions for 133 yards in Tampa Bay. Jeremy Maclin also managed to gained 104 yards and a score in that game after being held in check for three weeks.

Foles is coming around and has already likely bought himself a starting gig next year. These next two home games will be good to sell himself to the hometown crowd.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points PHI 17 14 20 22 22 31
Preventing Fantasy Points CIN 7 23 3 22 20 24

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Mark Sanchez, PHI @NYG 0000029021 ***
Nick Foles roasted the Giants for 248 and 2 in a 27-0 win earlier this year; now it's Sanchez's turn, fresh off a 374 and 2 performance in Washington. The Giants just let Shaun Hill take them for 290 and 2, so even a fading Sanchez--playing for a spot next year, be it in Philly or otherwise--should have success against them.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB LeSean McCoy, PHI @NYG 8011100000 ***
What Chip Kelly needs to do is say, "Merry Christmas, Shady! Here's 20-plus carries!" With that, McCoy should have a field day as all four backs to see that workload against the Giants have topped 120 yards--including McCoy himself in a 22-149 effort earlier this year. Let Chris Polk have all the goal line fun; McCoy will get his via performance points.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jeremy Maclin, PHI @NYG 005601000 ***
The Giants haven't allowed many big games to wide receivers--just enough little ones, especially since losing cornerback Prince Amukamara for the season. Maclin mustered only 16 yards in the earlier meeting but has six touchdowns and five games of 90-plus yards since so mark him down for a fantasy helper here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jordan Matthews, PHI @NYG 005700000 ***
Matthews has been silent for the past month; maybe hitting the rookie wall? This matchup isn't particularly favorable, so there's no need to reach for him here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Zach Ertz, PHI @NYG 006601000 ***
Ertz scored in the earlier meeting with the Giants as Philly tight ends accounted for 118 yards and two TDs. Last week Ertz finally consolidated all those targets; the result was a 15-115 outing against the Redskins. Whether he's sharing or hoarding he's a solid fantasy play this week.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Cody Parkey, PHI @NYG 2233 ***
Parkey had nine in the earlier meeting with the Giants, though hitting the road and the possibility that Matt Barkley takes meaningful snaps make reaching that number again a little more tenuous.

WEEK 15
2012
CIN at PHI (THU) *GB at CHI *MIN at STL *SF at NE
CAR at SD IND at HOU *NYG at ATL TB at NO
DEN at BAL *JAC at MIA *PIT at DAL *WAS at CLE
*Updated *DET at ARI KC at OAK *SEA at BUF *NYJ at TEN (MON)

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