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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 Jacoby Brissett, IND CLE 0000021011 ***
Even against Cleveland, a defense that has given up four QB TD passes in two games, Brissett has no conventional fantasy worth.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Frank Gore, IND CLE 701000000 ***
Cleveland has given up 23.3 PPR points, on average, this fresh season. RBs have managed to score one TD apiece on the ground and via the air.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR T.Y. Hilton, IND CLE 005600000 ***
After facing the Steelers and Ravens, Cleveland has blanked all but Jeremy Maclin from the end zone. Hilton's disastrous 2017 should continue.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Donte Moncrief, IND CLE 002300000 ***
Moncrief is a gamble in all formats and is best left in reserve as Jacoby Brissett may struggle again. Cleveland has been strong vs. the pass so far.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jack Doyle, IND CLE 007801000 ***
The Browns are sitting as the second easiest defense to exploit in 2017. Tight ends have gone for 162 yards and two scores on 19 catches. Doyle should be fine this week.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Adam Vinatieri, IND CLE 2222 ***
Cleveland has given up only one field goal on two kicks, and most of the damage has come via extra points -- something this version of the Colts may struggle to generate.

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
vs Rush Catch Pass

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 Deshaun Watson, HOU @NE 40000015011 ***
No rookie quarterback has won in New England since head coach Bill Belichick was hired in 2000. They are 0-8 with five touchdowns, 16 interceptions and a 50.7 passer rating. Watson should struggle to get into a rhythm, even against a softer defense than we're used to seeing from the Patriots.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Lamar Miller, HOU @NE 5004200000 ***
The matchup is awesome, at least on paper. Miller should get the majority of touches, although D'Onta Foreman and Tyler Ervin are in the fold. Miller was good for 14.7 PPR points in Week 3's trip to New England last year.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB D'Onta Foreman, HOU @NE 300000000 ***
Foreman saw his workload increase from one carry to 12 last week and could carve out a regular role in the rotation. He is too dicey right now, so keep him in reserve, unless you're looking for a deep dive in DFS.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR DeAndre Hopkins, HOU @NE 007801000 **
A target monster, Hopkins has 29 looks to the rest of the team's 25 in two weeks. The Patriots present a wonderful matchup to exploit in what could be a pass-happy game.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Braxton Miller, HOU @NE 002200000 ***
Miller, still learning the position, doesn't see enough targets to have much of a chance at producing outside of a singular big play.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Ka'imi Fairbairn, HOU @NE 1111 ***
Eight extra points against two field goals later, this is a statistically favorable matchup. Don't expect friendly results for the Houston offense in this one.

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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