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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: DET 27, ARI 13 (Line: DET by 6 )

Players Updated: Ryan Lindley

Players to Watch: Calvin Johnson, Megatron, WR Johnson

The 4-9 Lions are on a five game losing skid and are only 2-5 on the road this year. But the 4-9 Cardinals are on a nine game losing streak. These teams have the same record but not much else is similar. The Lions last four losses came by a touchdown or less. The Cardinals just lost by 58 points last week. That is hard to bounce back from and especially without a quarterback.

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 33-35
5 BYE ----- 14 @GB 20-27
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 @ ARI Rush Catch Pass
QB Matthew Stafford 290,2
WR Marvin Jones Jr. 3-40
WR Golden Tate 4-60
PK Matt Prater 1 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The Lions have just about perfected "not quite good enough" but have a realistic chance of winning a road game this week. The last two games come at home but go against division leaders of the Bears and Falcons which is probably not going to go well. Once again, the Lions are just playing for little more than the glory of Calvin Johnson since that is about all they have left to play for.

Johnson has already gained 1546 yards on 96 receptions with three games left to play. He is on pace to break the all-time single season record of 1848 yards set by Jerry Rice and it would be a fitting accolade to the player that has meant so much to the Lions and a positive way to end an otherwise dreary season. The Cardinals are typically good against wide receivers though this is the same team that watched Brian Hartline go off for 253 yards back in week four. Besides, it is hardly like every defense has not been plotting against Johnson every week.

Matthew Stafford tends to throw for fewer yards when he is on the road but still is good for at least one score every week if not multiples. With Ryan Broyles and Titus Young gone, the offense is devolving into little more than pitch-and-catch with Megatron anyway. Stafford has added four rushing touchdowns so far.

Mikel Leshoure snapped his three game scoring streak last week in Green Bay but did score four times in road games this year. The Cardinals defense has been good at home against the run but has allowed a 100 yard rusher in each of the last four games. Something about futility not being a great motivator. The wheels are coming off the Cardinals wagon and even the opposing running backs are having fun there.

In a fantasy sense, there is just Calvin Johnson on this team. Brandon Pettigrew is hobbled with a sore ankle and may not play this week. Tony Scheffler was due to get more work but settled for just three catches and 20 yards in Green Bay though one was his first touchdown of the year. The Lions are so thin at wideout that they called up a practice player Kris Durham from the minor league practice squad and made him a starter. His first ever start resulted in nine targets, four catches and 54 yards. There is just nothing reliable here in the passing game outside of Johnson.

Coming off a 58 point shutout means the Cards will want to have a good game here and have absolutely none of the tools to accomplish that.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DET 5 10 6 6 4 26
Preventing Fantasy Points ARI 4 9 13 4 11 30

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Matthew Stafford, DET GB 10000031031 ***
The Packers have given up 23.5 fantasy points per game in the last five weeks, which is the sixth highest average. The Lions are in a must-win situation if the Redskins win earlier in the day, so Stafford will lay it all on the line. Their Week 3 meeting resulted in 385 yards, three TDs and a pick in Green Bay.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Matt Asiata, DET GB 4002200000 ***
Despite a good matchup, Asiata remains unplayable. If he doesn't score, there is almost nothing redeeming about his production.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Zach Zenner, DET GB 4001100000 ***
Zenner flashed several times in Week 16 but wasn't able to keep up the involvement when Detroit quickly fell into a big hole. Keep him away from lineups in what may be a similar situation against the Pack.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Dwayne Washington, DET GB 3001100000 ***
Green Bay has given up receptions and yardage to a notable degree, but touchdowns haven't been easy to come by. The Lions have no commitment to the ground game, anyway.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Golden Tate, DET GB 0061001000 ***
Tate was quiet in the Week 3 battle at Lambeau, registering only four catches for 40 yards. The Packers have given up 15.2 catches (5th most) and 193 yards (4th most) per game since Week 11, allowing a TD every 10.9 completions to receivers (14th worst).
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Marvin Jones Jr., DET GB 004600000 ***
Jones went bonkers in the Week 3 matchup by posting six catches for 202 yards and two scores for a whopping 38.5 PPR points. He hasn't totaled 38.5 PPR points in his last six games combined.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Eric Ebron, DET GB 006801000 ***
The Packers have allowed a TD on the last 26 receptions faced by tight ends. Ebron hauled in five passes for 69 yards in Week 3 against Green Bay, and he was heavily involved last week as the Lions were forced into catch-up mode.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Matt Prater, DET GB 1133 ***
Green Bay has permitted all seven field goal attempts to clear the uprights, while seven of nine point-afters were good in the last five games. This is a bottom-seven matchup for Week 17.

Arizona Cardinals
Homefield: University of Phoenix Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 SEA 20-16 10 BYE -----
2 @NE 20-18 11 @ATL 19-23
3 PHI 27-6 12 STL 17-31
4 MIA 24-21 13 @NYJ 6-7
5 @STL 3-17 14 @SEA 0-58
6 BUF 16-19 15 DET -----
7 @MIN 14-21 16 CHI -----
8 SF 3-24 17 @SF -----
9 @GB 17-31 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
ARI vs DET Rush Catch Pass
QB Carson Palmer 250,2
RB Chris Johnson 70,1 3-20
WR Larry Fitzgerald 5-50,1
TE Jermaine Gresham 5-50
PK Phil Dawson 2 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: What to say about a team devoid of any fantasy relevance that just lost 0-58 in one of the all-time bad beats in recent history. It was like one of those first week college games where some Div. III PoDunk Univ. somehow gets a game against Alabama. In Alabama. That loss comes at a time when the Cardinals are already on a horrific losing streak. And it wasn't like Seattle rolled the score up Patriot-style. They yanked Marshawn Lynch from the game after 11 carries because he already had three touchdowns and 128 yards. It could have been much worse.

The owner Bill Bidwell has already said that HC Ken Whisenhunt will remain through the season which is another way of saying start cold calling your coaching buddies for a assistant gig next year. With the Bears and 49ers left to play, it is not going to get any better. This is one of the worst teams in recent history and that's on more than just the head coach - the quality of players he's saddled with has been sub-standard outside of Larry Fitzgerald.

The Cardinals picked up Brian Hoyer off waivers from the Steelers but he's not expected to play until maybe next week when he has a uniform, a playbook and has met some of his new team mates. Whisenhunt has not yet named a starter but it really doesn't matter. Kevin Kolb is out and picking between John Skelton or Ryan Lindley is like deciding which hammer to use to whack yourself in the head. It's just going to hurt no matter what.

Beanie Wells is three games away from finishing an NFL season and never gaining as much as 50 yards in any game.

Larry Fitzgerald is unstartable now along with all other players in Arizona. For the next three games, they will combine to provide an excellent way to score points for the Detroit, Chicago and San Francisco defenses while no doubt allowing opponents to shine just when you need them the most. To that I say thank you Arizona.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points ARI 29 32 21 30 25 9
Preventing Fantasy Points DET 19 11 21 29 24 28

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Carson Palmer, ARI @LAR 0000026021 ***
Quarterbacks have shredded LA in the last five weeks, tossing 13 touchdown passes to only two interceptions. The Rams have surrendered the third highest per-game points figure in the league during that time. Palmer shouldn't have much trouble producing ample points for gamers.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB David Johnson, ARI @LAR 8015501000 ***
Johnson's sheer destruction of the NFL continues. He posted one of his quietest games of the year in Week 4 against the Rams, but he is playing on a different level at this point.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR J.J. Nelson, ARI @LAR 004501000 ***
Lightning fast, Nelson is a TD threat practically with every catch. He wasn't much of a factor in Week 4's meeting, but you could do much worse filling a flex spot. The Rams are the fourth most generous defense of wideouts this week when using data since Week 11.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Larry Fitzgerald, ARI @LAR 005500000 ***
Only three teams have been worse against wideouts in the past five games, so Fitz should be a strong start. The vet went for 62 yards on five catches in the Week 4 meeting, but LA was playing OK football back then.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR John Brown, ARI @LAR 002300000 *
Brown is still fighting his sickle-cell trait that weakens his legs. Avoid him in all formats.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jermaine Gresham, ARI @LAR 004400000 ***
Gresham wasn't involved in the first matchup, and he's a so-so play in PPR this time around the Rams have been sound against TEs, giving up just one score on the last 22 catches faced.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Phil Dawson, ARI @LAR 1111 ***
Seattle provides Dawson the fourth worst matchup, on paper, entering the week. While all 12 XPAs faced in the last five weeks have been good, only four of seven three-pointers connected.

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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