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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

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 @DAL 0000027020 ***
Palmer has delivered multiple TD tosses and at least 250 yards in every game thus far. Dallas is the toughest he's faced to date, but it's still tough to see him failing to make his appointed rounds.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Andre Ellington, ARI @DAL 6006300000 ***
Not that Ellington can't score, but it's a good thing he does enough yardage wise that he doesn't usually need to to be a fantasy factor. The Cowboys have surrendered just four RB TDs all year but do give up more than 120 combo yards to opposing backs. Give Ellington a big dollop of the latter, don't sweat the former, and call it a day.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR John Brown, ARI @DAL 003601000 ***
Brown's another speed guy who could give the Cowboys fits, a la Odell Beckham and DeSean Jackson the past two weeks. He outgunned Michael Floyd last week, but Floyd is typically more targeted so it's a bit trickier to bank on Brown this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Michael Floyd, ARI @DAL 004501000 **
Lately it's been speed guys killing the Cowboys: Odell Beckham Jr. scored twice on them and DeSean Jackson went for 136 yards last week. Floyd took a back seat to both Larry Fitzgerald and John Brown last week, and it's a little tough to trust him after posting a goose egg. But it's tough to see him posting another dog here--he has yet to go more than one week without scoring or topping 100 yards--so take that leap of faith this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Larry Fitzgerald, ARI @DAL 005600000 ***
Yes, Carson Palmer knows where to find Fitz. He just doesn't do it consistently, or much at all on the road. If you're parsing Arizona wideouts this week the speed guys have an edge, which puts Fitz at the low end of the pecking order. Plan accordingly.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE John Carlson, ARI @DAL 002200000 *****
Carlson had his hands on a ball in the end zone; had he hung on it would have maybe brought the total of fantasy-relevant games by Cardinals tight ends since the Jackie Smith era to one. Look elsewhere for fantasy help.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Chandler Catanzaro, ARI @DAL 2222 ***
After a fast start Catanzaro has had back-to-back outings with just one field goal, and he's facing a Dallas team that hasn't been overly friendly to kickers this season. However, Chandler hasn't dipped below the six-point mark this season so at least his baseline isn't a killer.

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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