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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
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 HOU 30000028031 ***
Rodgers is the hottest thing going among fantasy quarterbacks right now, and Houston's once-strong pass defense has trended the wrong direction for several weeks now. QBs have averaged a TD every 11.3 completions, which ranks 10th best for exploitation.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB James Starks, GB HOU 4004300000 ***
The Texans have bent quite a bit versus RBs, but on this unit has not broken on the ground. Through the air, though, the Texans have allowed three TDs on the last 29 receptions faced. Starks is used a lot in the screen game, so there is hope for a sneaky TD. Don't bank on it, though.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Randall Cobb, GB HOU 006601000 ***
Cobb is extremely tough to play on a weekly basis, but facing a Houston defense that has allowed a touchdown per game since Week 7, he has a puncher's chance at success.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Davante Adams, GB HOU 005601000 ***
Adams has seen at least six targets in every game since Week 6, and he has found the end zone five times during that stretch. While he has been a little streaky, gamers must keep him in lineups. The Texans have regressed against receivers of late, so this is another worthy matchup for the blossoming wideout.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jordy Nelson, GB HOU 003401000 ***
Nelson's return tour rolls on with a decent enough matchup to instill a hint of confidence in the extension of his five-game string of double-digit fantasy points. He has scored a TD in four of his last five outings, and the Texans have given up one touchdown, on average, over the last five weeks.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jared Cook, GB HOU 004300000 ***
Houston has given up 23 catches and two of them found the end zone, but given Cook's erratic involvement, it's tough to justify plugging the veteran into a fantasy lineup.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Mason Crosby, GB HOU 1133 ***
Houston offers a solidly neutral matchup for Crosby. This group has given up 6.5 fantasy points per contest over the last five weeks to kickers.

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
WR Alshon Jeffery 3-40
TE Logan Paulsen 2-20
PK Connor Barth 1 FG 3 XP

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 Matt Barkley, CHI SF 0000026021 *
Barkley tossed three TDs but two INTs in his starting debut last week. The Niners offer a great matchup to exploit. Quarterbacks have averaged 28.3 fantasy points per contest since Week 7, and this has the second highest overall opportunity index rating. That means Barkley would have to really stink to not post decent fantasy stats.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jordan Howard, CHI SF 11014300000 ***
How does a home tilt with fantasy's second most vulnerable defense of running backs sound? The Niners have given up the most PPR points by a wide margin, which comes from being the fourth worst at stopping RB touchdowns and second most lenient against the production of yardage over the last five weeks.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Marquess Wilson, CHI SF 005701000 **
Wilson enjoyed a strong game last week with Matt Barkley chucking the ball, and it should continue against the 49ers' lowly pass defense. San Fran is the second best opportunity for points, which has translated to the third most PPR points scored per game since Week 7.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Cameron Meredith, CHI SF 004601000 ***
San Francisco has given up averages of the fourth most receptions (15.3), second most yards (217), and fifth most points per reception (3.1) in PPR since Week 7. Wideouts have scored once per 8.7 catches, which is the eight most efficient clip.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Daniel Brown, CHI SF 004500000 *
San Fran has been rock solid versus tight ends over the last five weeks, allowing only one touchdown on 18 grabs.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Connor Barth, CHI SF 1144 ***
San Fran has allowed the most extra points by such a margin that ranking 11th in field goal attempts still makes this the highest combined ranking for opportunities.

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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