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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 DAL 0000027031 ***
Eli has multiple touchdowns in each of his past three meetings with the Cowboys, including 248 and 3 earlier this year. He's laid a couple of fantasy eggs against NFC West foes the past two weeks, but back within his division he's at least worthy of fantasy consideration.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Rashad Jennings, NYG DAL 6002100000 ***
In the three games since the Jennings-less Giants rushed for 80 yards against Dallas, the Cowboys have surrendered five RB TDs and an average of 138 combo yards to the RB position. Jennings used last week's 18-59 against the 49ers to shake off the rust; he's a solid bet for helpful fantasy numbers this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Odell Beckham, NYG DAL 007901000 ****
Performance leaguers continue to enjoy Beckham, who hasn't scored since Week 7 but does have 357 yards in the past three games. He scored twice in that Week 7 matchup with the Cowboys, so one way or another--maybe both--Beckham will carve out fantasy value this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Rueben Randle, NYG DAL 006700000 ***
Randle remains a heavily targeted option in the Giants' passing game, and though he hasn't seen the end zone since Week 5 he's a solid PPR/performance league fantasy play. He was the Giants' top wideout the last time they met Dallas; maybe this time he can up his 6-74 into something even a little more fantasy helpful.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Preston Parker, NYG DAL 002200000 ***
Parker's last five games--with one, two, one, seven, and one catch each--speak to his consistency or lack thereof. Given his position in the Giants' passing game pecking order it's a stretch for him to have even fringe fantasy value this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Larry Donnell, NYG DAL 007701000 ***
Only two teams have given up more fantasy points to the tight end position than the Cowboys, which makes this a sterling matchup for Donnell. Larry had 90 yards in the earlier meeting with Dallas but Daniel Fells stole his touchdown; since then Donnell has out-caught Fells 11-1 and outscored him 2-0, so this is clearly Donnell's gig.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Josh Brown, NYG DAL 1133 ***
Brown hasn't had a multiple field goal game in a month, and the Giants' offense isn't doing enough for him to make up the difference via PATs.

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 CLE 0000023011 ***
Ryan averages better than two TDs per game at home, as well as 40-plus yards per game more at home than on the road. With the Browns having given up multiple TD tosses in two of their last three, Ryan should deliver a solid fantasy showing in the Georgia Dome this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Steven Jackson, ATL CLE 6012100000 ****
The Browns have been gashed by the likes of Denard Robinson (22-127-1) and Alfred Blue (36-156), making Jackson a viable fantasy option with his usual 15 or so touches.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Roddy White, ATL CLE 006701000 ***
White's been the more reliable producer of late, and even though Cleveland's corners are playing better they still gave up 148 combined yards to Houston's WR duo last week and 210 & 2 two weeks prior to the Bucs. With Joe Haden likely locking up on Julio Jones, White should again be a solid fantasy contributor.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Julio Jones, ATL CLE 006600000 ***
Jones is seeing plenty of targets to offset any issues presented by being covered by Joe Haden this week. It's a tough matchup, but other WR1s have managed to find success this season and Julio remains an every-week fantasy starter.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Harry Douglas, ATL CLE 003400000 ***
It's been more than a month since a WR3 posted anything of fantasy note against the Browns, even longer since Douglas made a fantasy splash. No reason to reach for him this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Levine Toilolo, ATL CLE 002300000 ***
Toilolo hasn't done anything of fantasy note since Week 1, and a change in that MO is unlikely here.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Matt Bryant, ATL CLE 2222 ***
Coming off a pair of four-field goal games, Bryant is benefitting from an offense that's getting him close but not forcing him to settle for PATs. No weather to worry about, Bryant is a decent plug-in option this week.

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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