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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
RB Joique Bell 30 5-40
RB Reggie Bush 80,1 3-20
RB Montell Owens 60 1-10
WR Calvin Johnson 8-120,2
WR Golden Tate 4-60
TE Brandon Pettigrew
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 @ATL 0000025010 ***
The last time these teams threw out the Welcome Matt for each other Stafford had 443 yards while Ryan threw four touchdowns. Atlanta's defense may not be quite as soft these days, but they've given up three 300-yard outings already so even sans Calvin Johnson Stafford's a decent play here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Joique Bell, DET @ATL 9022200000 ***
The Falcons have given up a dozen RB TDs already, and with Reggie Bush and Theo Riddick both nicked Bell is housing the majority of the touches. More touches equals a larger share of the workload against this fantasy-friendly Falcons defense.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Theo Riddick, DET @ATL 2006400000 ***
Update: With Reggie Bush doubtful it's another opportunity for Riddick to shine. If you're so inclined to wake up early on Sunday and check on Reggie's status, if he can't go you'll want Riddick in your fantasy lineup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Reggie Bush, DET @ATL 00000000 ****
We'd like Reggie more this week if he were getting in full practices. Instead, we'll wait until the final injury report of the week to see if he's worth plugging into this extremely favorable fantasy matchup.
Update: Officially Reggie is listed as doubtful, and he hasn't practiced since a limited session on Wednesday. Don't bank on him for a fantasy contribution this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Golden Tate, DET @ATL 0081001000 ****
Sans Megatron it's all about the Tate. Atlanta has allowed a TD or 100-yard receiver--often both--in every game this season; Tate's a good bet to hit both ends of that daily double.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Corey Fuller, DET @ATL 002400000 ***
Fuller appears to be the receiver stepping up into the WR2 role with Calvin Johnson out. He's a sneaky fantasy play against a defense that's allowed multiple wideouts to score and/or top 50 yards in every single game this year.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jeremy Ross, DET @ATL 002300000 ***
Ross is only slightly behind Corey Fuller in Detroit's passing game pecking order, but as it stands the Falcons are more prone to giving up a couple fantasy helpers--not a squadron.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Calvin Johnson, DET @ATL 002300000 *
Update: Johnson is optimistically listed as questionable and practiced on a limited basis all three days this week. We've seen this movie before, however, and we know how it ends: Rosebud is the name of the sled, and Megatron is a mere shell of his former self.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Brandon Pettigrew, DET @ATL 003200000 ****
Pettigrew has been mostly a caddy for rookie Eric Ebron this season. With Ebron injured it's Pettigrew's opportunity to shine, but the Falcons aren't particularly soft against opposing tight ends; odds are your fantasy lineup can do better.
Update: Pettigrew is a game-time decision; let's be honest, he's not worth getting up at 6 am on the West Coast to sweat out his availability. Just make an alternative plan and get your beauty rest.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Matt Prater, DET @ATL 2133 ***
Baby steps: last week was the first time the Lions didn't miss at least one kick all season. Prater should get some opportunities against a Falcons' defense that's allowed multiple treys in four straight games, but... baby steps.

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
WR Larry Fitzgerald 5-50,1
WR Michael Floyd 4-50
TE Rob Housler 4-40

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 PHI 0000028020 ***
Palmer's been good for 250 and 2 in each of his three starts. He was even better (302 and 3) in last year's meeting with the Eagles so don't let Philly's shutout of Eli Manning prior to their Week 7 bye dissuade you from using him this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Andre Ellington, ARI PHI 8016401000 ***
Consider that in two road games the Eagles have surrendered 200 and 191 combo yards to running backs as well as three RB receiving touchdowns in those two games. Even if Stepfan Taylor is in vulture mode again this week that's more than enough yardage to make Ellington a fantasy stud.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Michael Floyd, ARI PHI 0051001000 ****
In all three games with Carson Palmer at the helm Floyd has either scored or topped 100 yards. No reason to think he can't do so again.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Larry Fitzgerald, ARI PHI 004600000 ****
Carson Palmer force-fed Fitz in his first game back from injury, but aside from that Larry has a total of 43 yards in two games. He's clearly second banana to Michael Floyd, and while that doesn't make him bench fodder--especially given the matchup--it does move him down the list of options.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR John Brown, ARI PHI 004500000 ***
Brown has yet to top 50 yards in a Carson Palmer-helmed game, so keep your expectations in check; there are other mouths to feed in this passing game.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE John Carlson, ARI PHI 003200000 ***
For some reason DMD keeps projecting stats for Arizona tight ends, which means I have to keep coming up with ways to tell you there's no fantasy value here whatsoever. How about this: from now on any time DMD projects an Arizona tight end I just say "Rosie O'Donnell". There's no fantasy value there, amiright? Okay, this week Carlson faces a Philly D that's allowed one TE TD on the year--which is one more than Arizona tight ends have scored. So... Rosie O'Donnell.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Chandler Catanzaro, ARI PHI 2233 ***
Catanzaro has been consistently around nine points per game, and aside from a couple of dates with some offensively-challenged foes the Eagles have given up roughly the same. Expect something similar this week.

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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