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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: GB 24, CHI 20 (Line: GB by 3 )

Players Updated: Jordy Nelson

Players to Watch: Alex Green, Matt Forte

This is high noon in the NFC North and a win by the Packers secures the division and keeps the Packers at least in the race for a first round bye depending on the 49ers who are a half game ahead. A win by the Bears throws the division into a tie at the top with two games left to play. This is as big as a non-playoff game is going to get in the division.

The Packers already won the first meeting 23-10 in Green Bay.

Green Bay Packers
Homefield: Lambeau Field
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 SF 22-30 10 BYE -----
2 CHI 23-10 11 @DET 24-20
3 @SEA 12-14 12 @NYG 10-38
4 NO 28-27 13 MIN 23-14
5 @IND 27-30 14 DET 27-20
6 @HOU 42-24 15 @CHI -----
7 @STL 30-20 16 TEN -----
8 JAC 24-15 17 @MIN -----
9 ARI 31-17 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
GB @ CHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Aaron Rodgers 20,1 210,1
RB DuJuan Harris 20,1
WR Randall Cobb 4-50
WR Jordy Nelson
PK Mason Crosby 1 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: There is a chance of snow in this game and last week was not a banner performance for Aaron Rodgers when it snowed. He was held to only 173 passing yards at home by the Lions and the Packers went to a run heavy attack, using 27 rushes to only 24 passes. The Packers won the game and were effective rushing the ball which draws plenty of concern to fantasy owners who hold Rodgers or Packers receivers.

Rodgers only passed for 219 yards and one score in the last meeting with the Bears and this time around Brian Urlacher will not be playing which will make the run even more effective. This is the same Bears team that lost to the Vikings even though they held them to only 91 passing yards (thank you Adrian Peterson). Rodgers threw no touchdowns in a home game for the first time in 35 games at Lambeau Field.

What did work last week was Alex Green rushing 13 times to gain 69 yards and newly on the scene Dujuan Harris gaining 31 yards on seven carries. Ryan Grant even played but only was allowed one carry and gained 13 yards. The last meeting with these teams was when Cedric Benson rushed for 81 yards on 20 carries. Chicago defensive injuries will hurt their run stopping and unlike playing the Vikings, they cannot elect to ignore the passing of Aaron Rodgers.

Jordy Nelson was out with a bad hamstring last week but has not been ruled out for this game and HC Mike McCarthy was optimistic that he would play. I will project him as limited and adjust later in the week as more progress is known. The last meeting with the Bears had Tom Crabtree scoring on his only catch in the game on a fake field goal attempt while Jermichael Finley was held to just 26 yards on four catches. Donald Driver also caught a score on his only catch in that game. Randall Cobb was shut down with only one catch for 20 yards and the top receiver was Nelson with six receptions for 84 yards.

The Bears defense has taken a step back from that week two game but that doesn't mean the Packers will have an easy time and this is being played in Chicago possibly in bad weather. RCB Tim Jennings is playing injured which would help Nelson if he plays but the loss of Urlacher is the most telling.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points GB 7 30 1 14 26 19
Preventing Fantasy Points CHI 5 3 10 14 5 21

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Aaron Rodgers, GB NYJ 0000028030 ***
After a rocky start in Seattle Rodgers returns home to Lambeau, where he's topped 260 yards in four straight with at least three TD tosses in three of those four. The Jets aren't a pushover, but they did just allow Derek Carr to toss multiple touchdowns in his NFL debut so no reason to fear a fantasy-unfriendly follow-up to Rodgers' Week 1 washout.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Eddie Lacy, GB NYJ 5002100000 *
While the Raiders' backfield won't win any prizes, the Jets holding them to 26 yards on 14 carries is still impressive. Between Lacy's concussion and a stout New York run D he's not a lock for fantasy success this week; once he's cleared, then we can quibble about what he may be able to do behind an offensive line that continues to lose regulars to injury.
Update: Lacy has been cleared to play and is listed as probable. However, his offensive line looks to be down another regular and the Jets' defensive front was stout last week so keep a lid on your expectations.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jordy Nelson, GB NYJ 006902000 ****
Multiple Raiders receivers scored against the Jets last week; surely a Green Bay offense that saw two or more wideouts score and/or top 80 yards in 11 of 16 games last season--and one of one this year--can turn a similar trick. Even if not, Nelson has emerged as the WR1 and is the more reliable of the pair for fantasy productivity.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Randall Cobb, GB NYJ 006701000 ***
Cobb found the end zone against Seattle, and while he may be a tick behind Jordy Nelson in the passing game pecking order there was enough productivity for multiple wideouts to score and/or top 80 yards 11 times last season; no reason to think that trend can't continue here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jarrett Boykin, GB NYJ 003500000 ***
Green Bay's passing attack has traditionally fed three fantasy wideouts, though Boykin is most definitely at the bottom end of the pecking order. As such he's the toughest to bank on for fantasy stats, though a home matchup with a Jets' D that's wafer-thin at corner at least provides optimism.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Andrew Quarless, GB NYJ 003300000 ***
Quarless has done little to suggest he's next man up in the Packers' rich tradition of fantasy helpers at the tight end position.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Mason Crosby, GB NYJ 2233 ****
You could certainly do worse than getting your kicks at the back end of the prolific Packers offense.

Chicago Bears
Homefield: Soldier Field
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 IND 41-21 10 HOU 6-13
2 @GB 10-23 11 @SF 7-32
3 STL 23-6 12 MIN 28-10
4 @DAL 34-18 13 SEA 17-23
5 @JAC 41-3 14 @MIN 14-21
6 BYE ----- 15 GB -----
7 DET 13-7 16 @ARI -----
8 CAR 23-22 17 @DET -----
9 @TEN 51-20 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
CHI vs GB Rush Catch Pass
QB Jay Cutler 220,1
RB Matt Forte 90,1 4-20
WR Alshon Jeffery 3-40
WR Brandon Marshall 9-80,1
WR Josh Morgan 3-40,1
TE Martellus Bennett 5-50

Pregame Notes: The Bears were nearly without Jay Cutler again after he injured his neck last week. But he is expected to be able to play this week though he may miss some practices along the way. This is the biggest game of the year for the Bears who still have to finish out with two road efforts that won't be easy at least in Detroit. Losing last week to the Vikings only served to show the problems with the defense when Adrian Peterson ran wild and beat them despite the lack of passing in that game.

Cutler was only able to throw for 126 yards and one score in that previous meeting that also included four interceptions and seven sacks - all season worsts. What matters here is if LB Clay Mathews and FS Charles Woodson return this week as they are hoped to do. Playing without them have made the Packers defense far less problematic as the Giants proved last week.

Matt Forte only ran seven times for 31 yards in that first meeting and added four catches for 49 yards. He's coming off his best game in six weeks when he ran for 85 yards against the Vikings and added a season best six catches for 34 yards. Michael Bush was only ran one time last week and has become a nonfactor despite gaining 60 yards and two scores on the same Vikings only two weeks prior.

The good news is that Alshon Jeffrey is back and scored on his three receptions for 57 yards last week. Without him, the Bears are purely one-dimensional in the passing game with Brandon Marshall getting 14+ passes every week and currently on a three game streak with 10+ catches in each. Marshall already has seven games over 100 yards but had his worst game of the season back in week two when he only caught two passes for 24 yards in Green Bay.

This game is going to hinge a bit on the playing status of Woodson and especially Clay Mathews. As the season progresses and the weather turns colder, the more that Forte is going to be featured. Marshall is going to get double digit targets every week anyway but if Woodson returns it will help the Packers secondary.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CHI 26 13 16 31 12 1
Preventing Fantasy Points GB 13 19 20 8 14 7

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Jay Cutler, CHI @SF 0000029021 ***
If your league penalizes for INTs... well, you likely knew that going in so Cutler's picks won't come as a surprise. But he's also a solid bet for multiple touchdowns and decent yardage, and for as vaunted a defense as the Niners sport they've allowed 281, 407 and 348 yards in their last three regular-season tilts.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Matt Forte, CHI @SF 8007600000 ****
It wouldn't be off base to characterize Forte as a rich man's DeMarco Murry. And given that Murray carved out 143 yards from scrimmage against the Niners in the season opener, Forte's fantasy prospects are favorable once again this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Brandon Marshall, CHI @SF 006701000 *
Marshall remains the top dog in Chicago's passing game pecking order, especially if Alshon Jeffery's injury limits his availability. The Niners held Dez Bryant in relative check (4-55) in the season opener, but don't let that dissuade you from plugging Brandon into your fantasy lineup.
Update: Marshall did not practice all week and is listed as questionable for this week's game in San Francisco. With Alshon Jeffery also questionable, the Bears will take some pregame monitoring for fantasy purposes.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Alshon Jeffery, CHI @SF 004701000 *
Jeffery has some injury issues to deal with, so keep tabs on his status later in the week. Assuming he goes, he's an every week fantasy start with upside against a defense that allowed three different wideouts to top 50 yards last week in Dallas.
Update: Jeffery's only practice this week came on a limited basis Friday, and he is officially listed as questionable for this week due to the hamstring injury that knocked him out of Chicago's Week 1 loss to Buffalo. You'll likely need to wait for a game time confirmation to use Jeffery with confidence this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Santonio Holmes, CHI @SF 002300000 ***
The Niners forced Tony Romo to diversify last week, and he responded by generating three 50-yard receivers and another with 42. Holmes is clearly the third wheel in Chicago, but if San Fran takes a similar approach to defending Marshall and Jeffery he could force himself into the fantasy photo.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Martellus Bennett, CHI @SF 003300000 ***
With both Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery in and out of the lineup with various nicks and bruises last week, Bennett stepped up with 10 targets, eight catches, 70 yards and a TD. He could be in line for something similar if Jeffery's injury limits his availability; otherwise temper expectations as Bennett is clearly behind Marshall and Alshon in the passing game pecking order.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Robbie Gould, CHI @SF 2222 ***
Old Candlestick wasn't particularly kind to opposing kickers; six of the eight who visited San Fran last season left with one or zero field goals. Whether or not the new digs will be as frustrating remains to be seen; in the interim, Gould remains a decent fantasy play tacking on points for a reasonably prolific offense.

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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