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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 Mikel Leshoure 90,1 3-20
RB Montell Owens 60 1-10
WR Kris Durham 3-40
WR Calvin Johnson 8-120,2
WR Golden Tate 4-60
TE Brandon Pettigrew
PK David Akers 1 FG 2 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 @MIN 0000024012 ***
Stafford kicked off the season with 357 and 2 against the Vikings; since then Minnesota has allowed the most fantasy points to quarterbacks of any team in the league while Stafford has 4,430 yards and 28 touchdowns. Nothing to play for doesn't mean Stafford won't get a chance to up those numbers in a very favorable matchup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Joique Bell, DET @MIN 4012200000 **
Bell scored twice as the change of pace guy in the earlier meeting with the Vikings; he also chipped in 67 receiving yards. And last week, with Reggie Bush struggling, Bell added 154 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown. So he's a threat, especially when the matchup is favorable like this one is.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Reggie Bush, DET @MIN 5004200000 *
Bush gouged the Vikings for 90 rushing yards, 101 receiving yards, and a touchdown way back in Week 1. It's a road game but it's still a fast track and a dome, and the Vikings are still giving up big yardage to pass-catching backs. Maybe the fireworks won't be quite as big as in Detroit, but there should still be fireworks.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kris Durham, DET @MIN 003401000 **
Durham has parlayed his familiarity with Matthew Stafford into an occasional fantasy helper, and secondary receivers often have success against the Vikings. Hopefully you don't have to dig this deep into the depth chart for fantasy help this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Golden Tate, DET @MIN 005600000 ***
Tate scored twice in the earlier meeting with St. Louis, but he hasn't topped two catches in either of the Seahawks' last two games so he's a difficult fantasy play at best.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Calvin Johnson, DET @MIN 00000000 *
We'll write a proof for Einstein's theory of relativity before we figure out how the Vikings held Megatron to 4-37 back in Week 1. Over the past month Minnesota has served up 249 & 2 to Alshon Jeffery, 92 & 1 to Marlon Brown, 195 & 1 to DeSean Jackson, and 97 & 2 to A.J. Green; aside from bailing due to injury there's no logical way Megatron dogs fantasy owners again this week. UPDATE: What was that we were saying about injury? Megatron did not practice all week, and while he's listed as questionable there is talk he's played his last snap of 2013. That makes him a risky fantasy play this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Joseph Fauria, DET @MIN 003201000 ***
With Brandon Pettigrew hurt, Fauria saw a season-high seven targets last week. Good timing, as he'll now face a Vikings defense that's allowed the second-most touchdowns to the position and let Fauria find the end zone in the earlier matchup, as well as four TE TDs in the previous three games.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K David Akers, DET @MIN 2222 ***
Akers hit for double-digits in a home matchup with the Vikings back in Week 1, but he hasn't done much since--certainly not enough to be trusted with a fantasy start on the road in a meaningless game.

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 Ryan Lindley 190,1
QB Carson Palmer 250,2
RB Jonathan Dwyer 60,1 3-20
WR Larry Fitzgerald 5-50,1
WR Michael Floyd 4-50
TE Rob Housler 4-40
PK Jay Feely 2 FG 1 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 SF 0000026021 ****
Palmer's 298 & 2 in the earlier meeting was the fourth-biggest game the Niners have allowed to a quarterback. However, he's had just one TD toss in each of the past three games, with declining yardage totals so he's a risky fantasy play at best.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Andre Ellington, ARI SF 4014300000 ****
Ellington scored in Arizona's earlier meeting with the Niners, but he's still playing second fiddle to Rashard Mendenhall in the touches category which makes him a risky play at best in this matchup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Rashard Mendenhall, ARI SF 500000000 ***
The Niners haven't allowed much in the way of RB TDs, but the last few (Steven Jackson, Marshawn Lynch, Jed Collins) have been the goal-line types Mendenhall has made a habit of this season. Not saying it will happen necessarily, but at least acknowledging there's a chance.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Larry Fitzgerald, ARI SF 0051001000 ****
Glimmers of hope after Larry's tough game against Richard Sherman last week. For starters, Fitz scored as part of a 6-117-1 outing the last time he faced San Francisco. Factor in the Niners giving up touchdowns to WR1s in back-to-back games and Fitz is at least back on the fantasy radar here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Michael Floyd, ARI SF 005601000 ***
The Niners have allowed just three WR TDs in the past seven games, so while Floyd scored last week and scored in the earlier meeting with San Francisco he's still a risky fantasy play given that Larry Fitzgerald still sees most of the Cardinals' WR targets.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Ted Ginn Jr., ARI SF 003500000 ***
Ginn is more of a deep threat and less likely to take over Steve Smith's role as the Panthers' go-to wideout should Smith sit this one out. That puts a limit on his upside this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Rob Housler, ARI SF 003300000 ***
If Housler weren't battling Jake Ballard and Jim Dray for looks on his own team, we'd be more optimistic about him taking advantage of a San Francisco defense that's allowed TE TDs in three straight games and a total of 228 yards to the position in that span.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Jay Feely, ARI SF 1133 ***
No team has given up fewer points to kickers than the Niners, and they held Feely to just a couple PATs in the earlier meeting. Both teams are still playing for something, but with points at a premium you'll want to get your kicks elsewhere.

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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