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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 16
2012
ATL at DET (SAT) CLE at DEN NO at DAL *SF at SEA
BUF at MIA *IND at KC *NYG at BAL STL at TB
CHI at ARI MIN at HOU OAK at CAR *TEN at GB
*Updated CIN at PIT *NE at JAC SD at NYJ WAS at PHI

Prediction: ATL 27, DET 20 (Line: ATL by 4)

Players to Watch: Calvin Johnson, Julio Jones

This is the Saturday game at 8:30 P.M. so you can wrap presents and watch Calvin Johnson. The 12-2 Falcons are 5-2 on the road and have actually lost two of their last three away games including beating the Buccaneers by one point for their only win. What should keep the Falcons honest this week is that they still have not clinched the #1 seed which can happen after this game. The Lions are on a six game losing streak and are only 2-4 at home. They are now nothing more than a vehicle to get Calvin Johnson the single season receiving yard record. But they have two games remaining and only 182 yards left to gain.

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 34-0
7 BYE ----- 16 @DET -----
8 @PHI 30-17 17 TB -----
9 DAL 19-13 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
ATL @ DET Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Ryan 300,2
QB Matt Schaub 260,2
WR Julio Jones 5-100,1
PK Matt Bryant 2 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: Just one more win - or a loss by the 49ers - should secure that #1 seed and a bye in the first round along with all-important homefield status throughout the playoffs. The Falcons crushed the Giants last week and completely reversed the thinking that maybe they weren't the cream of the NFC. The Falcons don't have to win this game but if they do they can take it easy in the final week, get a week off to rest and heal up and then play at home all the way.

The fortunate part this week is that Matt Ryan typically has the biggest games when on the road. Four of his last five road trips resulted in 340+ yards and multiple touchdowns. Just as important is that Michael Turner has been horrible on the road. He's scored in each of the last five games but his last three away games all resulted in fewer than 20 rushing yards. The score is nice but there is never any yardage attached to it. His ten touchdowns over then different games may be fine if you are in a touchdown-only league but he's fallen off the map when it comes to yardage.

Roddy White was able to play last week despite the sore knee that limited him in practices. He played well over half of the offensive snaps but only came away with two receptions for 16 yards that came on five targets. Julio Jones not only scored at home for the first time all year but did it twice and gained 74 yards on six catches with only one more target than White had. The expectation is that White will bounce back this week though he's been the under performer in road games this year.

The Lions defense has been getting worse as the season goes and allowed 32 points per opponent on average over the last six weeks. This would be a nice spot for the Falcons to give a productive effort in the passing game so they can take it easy next week but the rushing effort has never done much away from home all year.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points ATL 6 15 8 4 3 20
Preventing Fantasy Points DET 15 11 17 24 26 30

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Matt Ryan, ATL @LA 10000026021 ***
In the last five games, quarterbacks have scored nine TDs through the air and one on the ground vs. the Rams. LA has made QBs work for their points: This D ranks 30th in yards per completion and 20th in points per play.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Devonta Freeman, ATL @LA 5003300000 ***
LA has surrendered only two rushing TDs on 116 attempts in the last five weeks. The position has mustered to do damage through yardage totals, racking of the fifth most per game, to generate the fourth best matchup to exploit in PPR.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Tevin Coleman, ATL @LA 2002100000 ***
The matchup is great, but the level of utility is questionable. The Falcons may choose to assault through the air as their preferred means of attack. Coleman is no more than a fringe flex start.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Julio Jones, ATL @LA 0061001000 ***
Despite a turf toe injury, Jones vows to play. It's a tough injury and could impact his ability to get off the line. Of course, with such a good matchup, he goes from being a phenomenal play to a great play. The Rams have allowed 38.7 WR points a game in PPR the last five weeks.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Taylor Gabriel, ATL @LA 005601000 ***
Not only is the matchup great, but Julio Jones is dealing with turf toe. There could be more looks to go around. Gabriel has been a hot player in the last month, and he was still involved in last week's mild letdown effort. LA has allowed the 10th most wide receiver points per game since Week 8.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Mohamed Sanu, ATL @LA 005600000 **
Sanu always sees single coverage and is good at exploiting it. The Rams have given up the 10th most points per game in PPR scoring, including allowing six TDs by wideouts in the last five games.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Austin Hooper, ATL @LA 002200000 ***
Trusting the rookie isn't a wise idea in this all-important week of fantasy action.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Matt Bryant, ATL @LA 3322 ***
Kickers have averaged four combined kicking opportunities a game when facing the Rams over the last five weeks. Atlanta's offense could be slowed if Julio Jones' toe injury hampers him. Bryant has upside but is also risky.

Detroit Lions
Homefield: Ford Field
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 STL 27-23 10 @MIN 24-34
2 @SF 19-27 11 GB 20-24
3 @TEN 41-44 12 HOU 31-34
4 MIN 13-20 13 IND 33-35
5 BYE ----- 14 @GB 20-27
6 @PHI 26-23 15 @ARI 10-38
7 @CHI 7-13 16 ATL -----
8 SEA 28-24 17 CHI -----
9 @JAC 31-14 ----- ----- -----
News | Stats | Roster
DET vs ATL Rush Catch Pass
QB Matthew Stafford 270,1
RB Joique Bell 30 3-20
WR Anquan Boldin 5-70,1
WR Marvin Jones Jr. 2-20
WR Golden Tate 3-50
TE Brandon Pettigrew
PK Matt Prater 2 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The Lions are on a six game slide and while it was bad with so many close losses - getting waxed by the Cardinals was almost unimaginable. The good part is that the final two games are at home but against teams with winning records. There's a chance that the Lions could catch the Falcons on a down week following their big home win over the Giants but the Detroit defense hasn't stopped anyone.

Matt Stafford went flat last week in Arizona but he's usually much less productive in away games. At home he's typically turned in 300+ yards and multiple touchdowns. Against the Texans he threw for 441 yards and two scores and 352 yards and three touchdowns on the Seahawks so it is not so much about the quality of the defense.

Mikel Leshoure is back at home where he scored in each of the last three games there but he rarely has more than 60 rush yards and has almost no role as a receiver. He plays like Michael Turner only with fewer touchdowns and marginally better yardage.

The only thing that matters anymore is getting the record for Calvin Johnson who currently needs just 182 yards to surpass Jerry Rice's 1,848 yards set back in 1995. Breaking 2,000 remains out of reach for a wideout but Johnson has to be a lock to reach the mark with only 92 yards per game needed. He's currently on a seven game streak of 100+ yard efforts and is getting upwards of 20 targets per game. It is the only gift the Lions can give their fans and it will happen in a home game.

On the road after a blowout win at home, have to assume the Falcons defense is not going to be nearly so dominating this week. But on this team all that means is throwing 20 times to Calvin Johnson and letting Leshoure score on a short run when Megatron gets tackled inside the 5-yard line.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DET 7 13 6 6 5 27
Preventing Fantasy Points ATL 11 23 3 20 9 4

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Matthew Stafford, DET CHI 20000031020 ***
After weeks of playing the role of game manager, Stafford came out slinging in Week 13. The Bears have allowed touchdown passes at the sixth most lenient rate, but this is the second stingiest defense for yards granted in the last five weeks.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Theo Riddick, DET CHI 5005300000 ***
Riddick faces one of the worst matchups for giving up catches to running backs. Chicago has yielded just 3.8 for 32 yards a game in the last five weeks. The last time they played, he caught four balls for 27 yards.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Dwayne Washington, DET CHI 3001100000 ***
The matchup is neutral, but Washington doesn't belong in any lineup, especially with the playoffs upon us.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Golden Tate, DET CHI 007701000 ***
Tate has reemerged as Matthew Stafford's top receivers, and the he has the luxury of playing fantasy's 11th most generous matchup for scoring touchdowns. The Bears have given up the sixth highest points per play to receivers, as well, in the last four games.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Anquan Boldin, DET CHI 005601000 ***
Chicago has given up a touchdown catch every 11 receptions but otherwise rates as a negative matchup. That sounds right up Boldin's alley.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Marvin Jones Jr., DET CHI 004500000 ***
Jones was a late scratch last week and is uncertain for Week 14. Return Friday for more clarity. He was limited in Wednesday's practice, which is somewhat encouraging.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Eric Ebron, DET CHI 004500000 ***
Chicago is the second best defense at limiting TE touchdowns in the last five weeks, but this is a neutral matchup for yards and receptions in PPR scoring.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Matt Prater, DET CHI 2233 ***
This is a neutral matchup, although it leans positive for Prater. The Bears have allowed the 12th most fantasy points per game on the 14th highest number of combined kicks per contest.

WEEK 16
2012
ATL at DET (SAT) CLE at DEN NO at DAL *SF at SEA
BUF at MIA *IND at KC *NYG at BAL STL at TB
CHI at ARI MIN at HOU OAK at CAR *TEN at GB
*Updated CIN at PIT *NE at JAC SD at NYJ WAS at PHI

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