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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: IND 20, HOU 27 (Line: HOU by 9)

Players to Watch: Andrew Luck, Arian Foster

The Texans come off an embarrassing trashing by the Patriots that pretty much screamed "you are not there yet". But at 11-2 they still remain the best record in the AFC and one game ahead of those pesky Patriots. The 9-4 Colts have won their last three games but are only 3-3 on the road. This is one of those odd situations where these teams play this week and then again in the season finale' in week 17.

Indianapolis Colts
Homefield: Lucas Oil Stadium
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @CHI 21-41 10 @JAC 27-10
2 MIN 23-20 11 @NE 24-59
3 JAC 17-22 12 BUF 20-13
4 BYE ----- 13 @DET 35-33
5 GB 30-27 14 TEN 27-23
6 @NYJ 9-35 15 @HOU -----
7 CLE 17-13 16 @KC -----
8 @TEN 19-13 17 HOU -----
9 MIA 23-20 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
IND @ HOU Rush Catch Pass
QB Andrew Luck 270,2
RB Frank Gore 70,1 3-20
WR T.Y. Hilton 2-30
PK Adam Vinatieri 2 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The Colts are just one win away from locking down a playoff spot and if nothing else, week 16 in Kansas City should get that done. This will be the toughest game left on the schedule since it is played in Houston and the Texans won't be in a jovial mood after Monday night's disaster. This week gets to see just how much better the Colts have become

Andrew Luck comes off one of his worst efforts with only 196 yards and one score on the Titans and the record setting rookie is showing a few chinks in his armor. He's thrown nine interceptions over the last four games and only once all year threw more than two touchdown passes. He still has an NFL best six 300 yard games as a rookie but he best games recently have been on the road and not at home.

Donald Brown was placed on injured reserve because of his ankle and Delone Carter is not certain to play this week either because of his own ankle injury. The Colts resigned both Deji Karim and Mewelde Moore for depth but they are getting comfortable with Vick Ballard as the starter. He responded well with 19 runs for 94 yards in the Titans game. Delone Carter was given the short score though and Ballard has only one rushing touchdown on the year. But he has done well enough to likely keep the Colts out of the running back line early in the 2013 NFL draft.

This week will be key in several ways. It not only has playoff implications for both teams but this is the first of likely many future meetings between the new Colts and the Texans. For years the Texans have wished for a different Colts team to face twice every season.

Be careful what you wish for. the Texans new difficulty in stopping the pass goes to the heart of the Colts offensive success this season. Vick Ballard is due for a down game against the #1 rushing defense though.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points IND 3 28 3 18 19 27
Preventing Fantasy Points HOU 17 1 24 25 4 3

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Andrew Luck, IND JAC 0000024020 ***
In the last five games, Jacksonville has given up only four TD passes and 218.6 yards a contest to QBs. Luck posted a 234-2-1 line in Week 4 against this defense. Only Brian Hoyer as an individual passer has thrown for more than 300 yards in 2016 versus the Jaguars.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Frank Gore, IND JAC 8013300000 ***
Jacksonville is an overall midrange matchup, but this group has allowed a rushing TD per game in the last five weeks. Gore scored once and finished with 20.5 PPR points in their Week 4 meeting.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Christine Michael, IND JAC 300000000 ***
Michael doesn't figure to have a prominent enough role without an injury or a blowout. Keep him out of fantasy lineups.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR T.Y. Hilton, IND JAC 007801000 ***
Back in Week 3, Hilton caught seven passes for 42 yards and a score against the Jags. Only two of the last 57 catches granted have found the end zone versus this defense, however.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Phillip Dorsett, IND JAC 003400000 ***
Dorsett shouldn't be trusted if you have anything major at stake, like a Week 17 title. He has fleeting appeal only if Donte Moncrief sits out. Jacksonville is a tough matchup for receivers.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jack Doyle, IND JAC 002301000 ***
Houston has allowed a TD in the last 21 receptions to tight ends. Doyle is a high-risk play at this point, but there is some upside. He went for a line of 4-53-1 in the first meeting.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Adam Vinatieri, IND JAC 2233 ***
Since Week 11, kickers have made all 11 FGAs and eight of 10 XPAs against the Jags. Vinatieri made both of his field goal kicks and all three extra points in the Week 4 meeting.

Houston Texans
Homefield: Reliant Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 MIA 30-10 10 @CHI 13-6
2 @JAC 27-7 11 JAC 43-37
3 @DEN 31-25 12 @DET 34-31
4 TEN 38-14 13 @TEN 24-10
5 @NYJ 23-17 14 @NE 14-42
6 GB 24-42 15 IND -----
7 BAL 43-13 16 MIN -----
8 BYE ----- 17 @IND -----
9 BUF 21-9 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
HOU vs IND Rush Catch Pass
QB Brandon Weeden 250,1
PK Nick Novak 3 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The debacle on last Monday night was a beat down from the start and the Texans never got into the game. It was clear enough that is was just not going to happen and by the end of the game, even the most diehard fans needed a game program to figure out who was who. No matter though - the Texans are still one game in the lead for the #1 seed and just lost their margin of error since the #2 team of the Patriots just picked up an important tie breaker of head to head.

Fortunately, that means the Texans have to win out and they get two home games and then end in Indianapolis. Winning this week is not only important, but sets the stage for the final game of the year that too must be a win.

Breaking down last week is meaningless since it was just one of those games and the Texans threw in the towel eventually. Matt Schaub has been solid to spectacular in home games this year and returns to Houston for the first time since week 11 when he jacked up the Jaguars with 527 pass yards and five touchdowns. This week is finally a home game to regroup and get back on track against one of the weaker secondaries in the league.

Arian Foster also needs to get back on track. He's scored a touchdown in all but one game this year but for the last two weeks he's been held under 50 rushing yards in both games. He's also been limited to 15 or less carries in those games instead of the 20+ he normally receives. At least Ben Tate looked good against the Patriots when he rushed for 46 yards on eight carries though in fairness, he did that once the Texans were already hopelessly behind and letting Tate run was the least of the Patriots concerns. Tate offers more than Justin Forsett but has struggled to stay healthy this year.

Andre Johnson should see a decent game here since his home venues have always been better including the 273 yards he posted on the visiting Jags in the most recent home stand. Johnson remains good for at least 70 yards whenever they play at home. Lestar Jean offers marginal help and Kevin Walter doesn't even catch passes in every game anymore.

The Texans need a game to get back on track and this should provide just that though not without the Colts making a game of it.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points HOU 16 1 26 2 5 4
Preventing Fantasy Points IND 15 24 28 9 19 23

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Tom Savage, HOU @TEN 0000023011 *
Savage will start in Week 17 even though Houston has nothing to play for against the Titans. Tennessee is a top-12 matchup, as this defense has given up the sixth most yards per game in the last five weeks. Starting Savage could brutalize your chances of winning.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Alfred Blue, HOU @TEN 4003200000 ***
Blue will again shoulder the load if Lamar Miller cannot go, and Houston would be foolish to chance it without anything to gain. Tennessee is the third strongest opponent of RBs entering Week 17.

Update: Miller has been ruled out of Week 17.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Braxton Miller, HOU @TEN 002301000 **
Tennessee has given up a TD per game to wideouts since Week 11. This is the third best overall matchup for PPR scoring, but Miller is nothing more than a wild flier.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR DeAndre Hopkins, HOU @TEN 004500000 *
Tennessee provides a brilliant matchup, but Hopkins may not play a lot since Houston has nothing on the line. The Titans have provided the third most points per game since Week 11 in PPR scoring. Nuk caught only one pass for four yards in Week 4 with Brock Osweiler under center.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Will Fuller, HOU @TEN 004400000 *
Fuller had a nice game in Week 4 versus the Titans, going for 81 yards on seven catches, including a score. That was with Brock Osweiler, and the Texans have obviously moved on. Fuller is a barely viable play in deep setups for flex spots.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE C.J. Fiedorowicz, HOU @TEN 005400000 **
CJF contributed a 4-48-1 line in the Week 4 game against Tennessee. The Titans have put the clamps on his position of late, so this one probably could go either way.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Nick Novak, HOU @TEN 3311 ***
Novak has made all 13 of his field goal tries in the past five weeks, but Houston has afforded him only six touchdown-capping kicks (four made). Tennessee is a neutral matchup for the position.

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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