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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: NYG 17, ATL 27 (Line: ATL by 1 )

Players Updated: Roddy White, Ahmad Bradshaw, Hakeem Nicks, David Wilson

Players to Watch: Roddy White, David Wilson, Jacquizz Rodgers

This should be one of the best games of the weekend and one with playoff implications. The 8-5 Giants come off a monster win over the Saints but are only 3-3 on the road. The 11-2 Falcons are coming off an upset loss to the Panthers but are a perfect 6-0 at home.

New York Giants
Homefield: Meadowlands Stadium
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 DAL 17-24 10 @CIN 13-31
2 TB 41-34 11 BYE -----
3 @CAR 36-7 12 GB 38-10
4 @PHI 17-19 13 @WAS 16-17
5 CLE 41-27 14 NO 52-27
6 @SF 26-3 15 @ATL -----
7 WAS 27-23 16 @BAL -----
8 @DAL 29-24 17 PHI -----
9 PIT 20-24 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
NYG @ ATL Rush Catch Pass
QB Eli Manning 280,1
RB Peyton Hillis 20 4-20
RB Rashad Jennings
WR Victor Cruz 6-80
PK Josh Brown 2 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The Giants put the whoop on the Saints last week but lost their last two road games in Washington and Cincinnati. Eli Manning comes off a season high four touchdown passes but the question about his "tired arm" are not yet all answered. Manning not only threw only one touchdown and 280 yards on the weak Redskins secondary, he's totaled only five passing touchdowns over his six road games this year. All of his big games came at home against weak teams. This week will be a big test and one that he needs to win since the Giants are only one game ahead of the Cowboys and Redskins in the NFC East. A game in Baltimore next week won't likely be much easier.

Ahmad Bradshaw is playing with a sore knee and had to leave the Saints game to have it looked at. He returned later but was little used thanks to the success of David Wilson who gained 100 yards and two scores on just 13 carries and even notched a third on a kick return touchdown. One caveat here - the Saints were on the road with one of the worst rushing defenses in the NFL. This week will be a far bigger test and Bradshaw will return to his primary role health willing. Bradshaw is a far better blocker on pass downs and the split between the two runners will be something dictated by in game situations and if Bradshaw can remain on the field. That means risk for a fantasy team.

Victor Cruz "tweaked" his shoulder last week but is not expected to be limited in any way. He is on a two game streak of 100 yard games and commands as many passes as Hakeem Nicks but does more with them. Nicks is playing with a sore knee but was able to score on the Saints. He maxes out around 70 yards and only then against soft secondaries. Nicks scored in two of the last three games but all three of his touchdowns were at home this year.

Martellus Bennett scored in each of the last two games and almost had a second touchdown against the Saints. More germane here, he was good for five catches and 82 yards with one score in the last road trip to Washington. This is the sort of game where the Giants need to bring it all together and make a step towards defending their title. Problem is that the Falcons at home are very good and the Giants on the road have been less formidable.

Nicks may get the benefit of an injured and maybe absent Asante Samuel.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NYG 20 8 9 19 1 7
Preventing Fantasy Points ATL 8 25 6 19 9 6

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Eli Manning, NYG @STL 0000025011 ***
It's not a particularly favorable matchup for Eli, as the Rams haven't allowed a touchdown pass in three weeks and haven't served up multiple scoring strikes to a quarterback since Week 7. But with Rashad Jennings hobbled and the Rams stiff against the run, what other options do the Giants have?
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Andre Williams, NYG @STL 4003100000 **
Rashad Jennings pulled himself early from last week's matchup, so this week expect all Andre all the time. However, with the Rams sporting a solid run defense there may simply be nowhere for Williams to go.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Odell Beckham, NYG @STL 007901000 **
30 targets, 23 catches, 273 yards, four touchdowns. Those are totals from Beckham's last four games so, yeah, he's hot. He's also Eli Manning's go-to guy and as such a solid fantasy play, even in a matchup that looks to be a bit on the tough side.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Rueben Randle, NYG @STL 005600000 ***
Randle has battled some injury issues which have pushed him to the side in the Giants' WR depth conversation, but he's a big target that plays nicely opposite the smaller, speedier Odell Beckham Jr.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Preston Parker, NYG @STL 002300000 ***
Parker hopes to carve out some fantasy value at the bottom of the food chain, but he's too inconsistently productive to warrant a fantasy play here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Larry Donnell, NYG @STL 003300000 ***
Not a particularly favorable matchup for Donnell, as the Rams haven't allowed a Te TD since Week 7. And Donnell has been sharing looks with Daniel Fells and generally avoiding fantasy contributions, making him even less worthy of a fantasy start here.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Josh Brown, NYG @STL 2211 ***
Like clockwork, Brown returned to his usual one field goal last week on the heels of his five-trey outburst against the Rams. Which trend you gonna believe, his five-FG game or the six one- or zero-FG games that preceded it (and the one-field goal game that followed it)?

Atlanta Falcons
Homefield: Georgia Dome
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @KC 40-24 10 @NO 27-31
2 DEN 27-21 11 ARI 23-19
3 @SD 27-3 12 @TB 24-23
4 CAR 30-28 13 NO 23-13
5 @WAS 24-17 14 @CAR 20-30
6 OAK 23-20 15 NYG -----
7 BYE ----- 16 @DET -----
8 @PHI 30-17 17 TB -----
9 DAL 19-13 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
ATL vs NYG Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Ryan 300,2
RB Steven Jackson 70,1 2-10
RB Jacquizz Rodgers 40 4-30,1
WR Julio Jones 6-90,1
WR Roddy White 5-80
PK Matt Bryant 2 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: It was all going so well too. The Falcons once again had problems with the Panthers who they beat only 30-28 at home in week four. But last week in Carolina smacked of a trap game with the Falcons and the Falcons couldn't catch up. Back at home this week against a division leading Giants and the Falcons should be plenty focused. The final two games are not that easy - at Detroit and then hosting the Buccaneers but a win here goes a long way to making at least the final week immaterial.

Aside from the loss to the Saints, Matt Ryan has thrown over 300 yards in each of his last six games but his passing scores are down with only four touchdowns over the last four games. He's solid enough thanks to the high yardage but has not been the difference maker that he was in the first half of the season thanks to a lack of scoring.

Michael Turner is on a four game scoring streak though his yardage has been almost nonexistent in road games. Turner only gets about a dozen carries per game now and almost never catches any passes. His entire fantasy worth is in those weekly short touchdown runs. Jacquizz Rodgers is mixed in as both a receiver and a runner but only offers moderate yardage at best in most weeks.

Tony Gonzalez is playing out his swan song about 60 yards per week but likes to score when the Saints show up. Otherwise he has not seen the endzone in the last two months.

This game hinges on the play of the wide receivers which fortunate since the Falcons have a great tandem and the Giants are one of the weakest teams against the position, particularly on the road. The last time they visited a team with two good wide receivers (Dallas), they gave up 100 yard games to both players. White was on a two game slide but last week posted a season best nine catches for 117 yards and a score in Carolina. Julio Jones still has not scored at home and yet has five touchdowns in away games.

If the Falcons cannot win this by a touchdown or more, they probably peaked too early in the year.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points ATL 9 16 10 4 3 14
Preventing Fantasy Points NYG 25 4 30 10 12 4

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Matt Ryan, ATL @NO 0000027030 ***
The last time Ryan saw the Saints he put up 448 yards and three TDs--and it's only the second-biggest game New Orleans has allowed to an opposing QB. In fact, four quarterbacks have topped 30 fantasy points against the Saints. Heck, the deposed Jay Cutler threw two TDs against them last week. Ryan has four straight games with multiple scoring strikes and an average of 362 and 2 in his last three trips to the Big Easy; what's not to like?
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Steven Jackson, ATL @NO 5001100000 ***
Jackson's numbers have declined in each of his three games as a Falcon, culminating with his 12-52 back in Week 1. And while the Saints have been softer of late against the run, Jackson has been delivering a steady supply of Jackson-like games--especially on the road: 16-50, 17-41, 16-81, 8-22, 13-37, 13-49, 11-46. Those are not the lotto-winning numbers to plug into your fantasy lineup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Harry Douglas, ATL @NO 006901000 ***
Douglas delivered 69 yards as a third wheel in the earlier matchup, so he's usable even if Julio Jones plays. And if Jones can't go... well, you saw last week's 10-131 for yourself.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Roddy White, ATL @NO 007801000 ***
White has taken a back seat to Julio Jones, both against the Saints and in general. However, he did score in the earlier meeting with New Orleans this year and has scored in each of the past two games. He's not quite 1A again, but he's a solid secondary option worthy of a fantasy start in a game that projects to fill plenty of fantasy mugs.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Devin Hester, ATL @NO 003401000 ***
Hester had 99 yards against the Saints in his Atlanta debut, and 85 and a score last week with Julio Jones out. Tough to bank on Atlanta going four deep at receiver again, but if Jones can't go Hester climbs onto the fantasy radar.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Julio Jones, ATL @NO 00000000 *
If Jones is deemed ready he's worth the risk against a Saints secondary that's allowed more WR TDs than all but five other teams; something about the 116 yards he had against New Orleans in the opener, or the 42 targets and 26-516-3 he posted the past three games he played.
Update: Jones didn't practice for a second straight week; last week that meant no game, and while he's listed as questionable Atlanta's top beat writer seems to think it means another week without Julio in the lineup. The plan is for him to test his hip on Saturday, so maybe we'll know a little earlier than game time regarding his availability.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Matt Bryant, ATL @NO 1133 ***
Bryant kicked his way to 13 points the last time he faced the Saints, and he's averaged better than 10 points per game over the past six. New Orleans gave up back-to-back-to-back double-digit games to kickers before encountering the feeble Bears last week. With the Vegas line set at a lofty 56 for this one, expect fireworks--and plenty of opportunities for Bryant.

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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