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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: CHI 17, ARI 16 (Line: CHI by 5)

Players to Watch: Brandon Marshall, Matt Forte, ARI Defense

The 8-6 Bears are on a three game losing streak and have lost five of their last six. They are 2-3 on the road and face the 5-9 Cardinals who just ended their eight game losing streak when they took down the visiting Lions after losing the previous week 0-58 in Seattle. This is a messy game because the Bears are very banged up and yet the Cardinals are just short of talent. Whatever happens here is not likely to involve a lot of points.

Chicago Bears
Homefield: Soldier Field
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 IND 41-21 10 HOU 6-13
2 @GB 10-23 11 @SF 7-32
3 STL 23-6 12 MIN 28-10
4 @DAL 34-18 13 SEA 17-23
5 @JAC 41-3 14 @MIN 14-21
6 BYE ----- 15 GB 13-21
7 DET 13-7 16 @ARI -----
8 CAR 23-22 17 @DET -----
9 @TEN 51-20 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
CHI @ ARI Rush Catch Pass
QB Jay Cutler 10 220,1
RB Matt Forte 70 5-40
RB Montell Owens 50 1-10
WR Alshon Jeffery 3-40
WR Brandon Marshall 7-80,1
WR Josh Morgan 3-40
TE Martellus Bennett 5-50
PK Jay Feely 3 FG 1 XP

Pregame Notes: The Bears have gone from the top of the division to now having a very realistic chance of missing the playoffs all together. And with the way they are playing, it would not matter much anyway if they did show up in the postseason. Worst of all is an offense that has scored more than 17 points only once in the last six weeks. The Bears drew a tough schedule to be sure but by now they are so banged up and shaken up that even this game is by no means a certain win.

Jay Cutler is playing but admits that his neck is not 100% and it showed in the Packers game. His offensive line has been horrible all year and just lost a right tackle to make it a little worse. The final two games are on the road as well which will be no help. Cutler is getting pummeled every week and it is almost a miracle he has hung on this long. Then again, playing a clearly limited Cutler shows how little faith they have in Jason Campbell.

Matt Forte has been great in fantasy terms because he's recently gone back to adding five or six catches per week. He's been topping out around 60 rushing yards every week and has not ran in a score since back in week nine. Last week Michael Bush was never given a carry and Forte was allowed goal line duty but he never scored. Bush has been hampered by his sore ribs and the Bears are considering just placing him on injured reserve.

Alshon Jeffery had no catches last week despite four targets as the Bears passing attack literally has declined to looking for Brandon Marshall on every play and throwing him 15-20 passes every week. If the ball doesn't go to him, Cutler just checks down on a back like Forte. No other wideouts caught a pass last week - just Marshall, Forte and RB Armando Allen. Earl Bennett should return from his concussion this week but has no fantasy value.

This team has lost all fantasy value outside of Marshall who is force fed passes every week and Matt Forte. As bad as the Cardinals are - and they are plenty bad - their defense has not been the main problem. The chances that Patrick Peterson tries to climb Mount Marshall every play is very, very high.

I like a defensive score in this game.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CHI 25 18 14 32 19 1
Preventing Fantasy Points ARI 3 19 10 16 15 31

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Jimmy Clausen, CHI DET 0000023022 *
Clausen hasn't thrown a touchdown pass since 2010; heck, he's only thrown nine passes total since 2010. Jay Cutler threw for 280 and 2 in Detroit; sans Brandon Marshall, it's a safe bet Clausen won't approach those numbers.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Jay Cutler, CHI DET 00000000 *****
Benched for Jimmy Clausen.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Matt Forte, CHI DET 3008700000 ***
Worry. Forte's worst game in years came in Detroit in Week 13, when he rushed for six yards on five carries. 52 receiving yards kind of salvaged the day, but with Jimmy Clausen at the helm you can expect the Lions to focus on Forte. It'll be tough to pull the trigger on a replacement, but this doesn't look particularly good for Forte this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Alshon Jeffery, CHI DET 005601000 ***
You might feel positive about this matchup after seeing Jeffery score twice in the earlier meeting, but consider what's happened since then: no Brandon Marshall to draw coverage, and the uber-rusty Jimmy Clausen throwing the ball. He's still reasonably startable, but not with nearly as much confidence.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Marquess Wilson, CHI DET 003200000 ***
Wilson scored in his first extended action in place of Brandon Marshall, but it's a significantly tougher matchup this week--not to mention a quarterback who hasn't had to progress through his reads in game action for almost four years. Temper your expectations accordingly.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Martellus Bennett, CHI DET 007601000 ***
Bennett came up large in the earlier meeting with Detroit, and tight end has been a recent Achilles' heel for the Lions as they've allowed games of 69, 109, and 78 yards and a two-TD game--all in just the past month. Bennett should be a favored target for Jimmy Clausen, but it's still a risky proposition given that Chicago's QB hasn't seen significant action in four years.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Jay Feely, CHI DET 1122 ***
It's a telling sign that in two games as a Bear Feely has more onside kick attempts (4) than total points (3). Get your fantasy kicks elsewhere.

Arizona Cardinals
Homefield: University of Phoenix Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 SEA 20-16 10 BYE -----
2 @NE 20-18 11 @ATL 19-23
3 PHI 27-6 12 STL 17-31
4 MIA 24-21 13 @NYJ 6-7
5 @STL 3-17 14 @SEA 0-58
6 BUF 16-19 15 DET 38-10
7 @MIN 14-21 16 CHI -----
8 SF 3-24 17 @SF -----
9 @GB 17-31 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
ARI vs CHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Ryan Lindley 130
QB Carson Palmer 240,1
WR Larry Fitzgerald 4-40

Pregame Notes: Every so often you see a game score that just begs a closer look at the box score. The Cardinals beating the Lions 38-10 was one of those games. Even after looking at it, the win is still a head scratcher coming after eight straight losses and coming off a 0-58 humiliation. IT ends up that the offense is still plenty bad but the defense showed up and used four turnovers to their advantage.

When Beanie Wells scores three times in one game, it meant it went really well since he only had two scores over the first 13 games of the year. Wells rushed for 67 yards on 17 runs which was his season high on carries and yards as well. Remarkably, he had two home games since returning in week 12 and totaled all five of his touchdowns in those two efforts. He faces a solid defense this week though and at best he has to hope his defense can get him the field position again.

Ryan Lindley passed for only 104 yards on the Lions but that is his second best game of the year and he still has not actually thrown a touchdown in the NFL. This has left Larry Fitzgerald with a weekly stat line that is actually hard to stomach. He has not scored since week nine and has not been above 31 yards in any game. There is no more fantasy value in any of this offense now that Fitzgerald has been completely neutered.

This week could be when the Cards are the ones coming off a big win and play flat but by this point there is no distinguishing what "flat" and "normal" looks like in Arizona. Flat is the new normal. The defense might make it interesting and could keep the Cards in the game but the offense yet again won't have a lot to do with it.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points ARI 31 30 28 30 28 7
Preventing Fantasy Points CHI 6 4 11 9 3 20

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Ryan Lindley, ARI SEA 0000018001 *
It's been nine games since an opposing quarterback delivered a fantasy helper (two TDs and 250-plus yards) against the Seahawks. Lindley, who has yet to throw a touchdown in 181 NFL attempts, is not the next. The last time he saw the Seahawks he was on the butt end of a 58-0 thrashing in which the only highlight of his 8-17-59 performance was that he wasn't picked off.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Stepfan Taylor, ARI SEA 2004300000 ***
Taylor will get the pleasure of between-the-tackles work against the Seahawks. His share of the Arizona workload won't amount to much if any fantasy assistance.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Kerwynn Williams, ARI SEA 3001100000 ***
Williams was the slightly more effective back last week as he and Stepfan Taylor split the workload. Neither will do much this week against a Seattle defense that has allowed exactly one running back (Jamaal Charles) to top 50 yards in the past two months.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR John Brown, ARI SEA 003500000 *
Brown's 61 yards in Week 12 is the best showing by a wideout against the Seahawks in the past five games. So if 61 yards floats your boat, enjoy.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Larry Fitzgerald, ARI SEA 003400000 *
In three previous full games with Lindley at the helm, Fitzgerald has been targeted 24 times. Unfortunately only eight of those were close enough for the sure-handed Fitz to grab, and they resulted in a meager 76 yards and zero TDs. Tough to expect any of those stats to improve against Seattle's stout secondary.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE John Carlson, ARI SEA 003300000 ***
Ryan Lindley leaned heavily on tight ends (23 targets, one shy of Larry Fitzgerald over that same span) in his earlier stint as a starter, so there's that upside for Carlson. Also, Seattle's softest spot defensively this season has been tight end. Nope... can't quite muster up enough enthusiasm to warrant a fantasy play for Carlson this week.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Chandler Catanzaro, ARI SEA 1100 ***
Maybe Catanzaro does all the Cards' scoring again, but the Ryan Lindley-led offense may not even get him across midfield.

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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