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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
RB David Wilson 80,1 2-10
WR Victor Cruz 6-80
WR Mario Manningham 2-20
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 WAS 0000022021 ***
Manning continues to dribble easy matchups down his leg, so no matter that only four teams have given up more passing scores than Washington; Manning's a risky fantasy play at best.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Rashad Jennings, NYG WAS 4005300000 ***
Jennings has been far and away the most productive back on the Raiders' roster; as a thanks for salvaging their ground game following yet another Darren McFadden injury, he got a kick-in-the-teeth score vultured by McFadden last week. No reason to think he'll do anything of note against a Denver defense that's motivated to lock down the top seed.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jerrel Jernigan, NYG WAS 005701000 ***
The Redskins have allowed only two WR TDs in the past month, none to the Giants in the earlier meeting. Between Eli Manning's foibles and the underachieving, injury-depleted Giants receiving corps, the frequently targeted Jernigan might be the best/only fantasy play.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Rueben Randle, NYG WAS 00000000 ***
Randle continues to be frequently targeted, but with the Giants' passing game struggling mightily there just isn't enough here to bank on fantasy help. UPDATE: Randle did not practice Thursday and Friday and is listed as questionable. Not enough upside to offset the risk of using him in your fantasy lineup this week.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Josh Brown, NYG WAS 1133 ***
Brown has been all-or-nothing this year: four double-digit games, yet he ranks 30th in kicker scoring. He managed six points against the Redskins a month ago, no reason to expect a significant uptick here.

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
TE Tony Gonzalez 5-60
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 CAR 0000028011 ***
Ryan threw for 219 & 1 in the earlier meeting with the Panthers, but that was in Carolina. Then again, venue hasn't mattered much to the Panthers, who have allowed only one multiple passing TD game all season. Ryan just took the 49ers for 348 & 2 in San Francisco so all is not lost, but with Carolina playing for a playoff spot it's tough to see Ryan having much success here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Steven Jackson, ATL CAR 5003200000 ***
Jackson has six touchdowns in his last four games--a little late for those looking to him as a fantasy RB1 or even RB2 back on draft day, but you take what you can get. However, He mustered just 57 yards (and no TDs) on 13 carries in the earlier meeting with Carolina and is unlikely to dent a Panthers defense that's given up one RB rushing TD in the past 11 games and four RB TDs all year.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Roddy White, ATL CAR 005600000 ***
White has seen double-digit targets in three of the last four games, resulting in some old-school Roddy White numbers: 12-141-1, 8-74, 10-143. He didn't play in the earlier meeting with Carolina, but he had 100-plus yards and a score in both ends of last season's series and has scored in three straight against the Panthers. While his prognosis is less optimistic against a Carolina defense that's allowed just three WR TDs in the past 13 games, at least there's a chance.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Drew Davis, ATL CAR 002300000 ***
Davis had a brief moment when both Julio Jones and Roddy White were out of the lineup and he was wingman to Harry Douglas. Jones is back, the matchup is tough, and Davis goes back in the bargain bin.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Harry Douglas, ATL CAR 003300000 ***
Douglas had 82 yards in the earlier matchup with Carolina--a pretty good WR game against the Panthers--but he's been relatively quiet the past month while Roddy White has returned to WR1 status in Atlanta so keep your expectations in check.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Tony Gonzalez, ATL CAR 0091201000 *****
Gonzo had 6-81-1 in the earlier matchup with Carolina; now he's scored in four straight and catches the Panthers having given up 239 yards and four TDs to the position in just the past three outings. Maybe the season didn't go quite as Gonzo had hoped, but he's certainly closing his Canton-worthy career with a flourish.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Matt Bryant, ATL CAR 2211 ***
Bryant has one double-digit effort in the past three months and posted just four points in the earlier meeting with Carolina. The Panthers are playing for something, the Falcons are not; unlikely this ends well 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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