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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
WR Domenik Hixon 3-40
WR Alshon Jeffery 3-40
WR Brandon Marshall 7-80,1
WR Josh Morgan 3-40
TE Martellus Bennett 5-50

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 Jay Cutler, CHI GB 0000026021 ****
Four straight quarterbacks have thrown for multiple touchdowns against the Packers, something Josh McCown also did back in the Week 9 meeting between these clubs. You'll have to trust Cutler to bounce back from 222 & 1 in last week's 54-11 shellacking at the hands of the Eagles, but he had multiple touchdowns in each of the four previous home games he both started and finished so it shouldn't take a great leap of faith.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Matt Forte, CHI GB 8015300000 ***
The Packers have allowed 100-yard rushers in two straight, four of five, and six of eight--a stretch that includes Forte's 125 & 1 back in Week 9. Five of those six 100-yard backs (including Forte) also scored touchdowns. No Clay Matthews, a motivated Bears team gunning for a playoff spot... it all adds up to a very nice fantasy day for Forte.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Alshon Jeffery, CHI GB 005801000 ****
Jeffery's 5-60-1 against Green Bay in the earlier meeting, coupled with Jay Cutler's slight preference for Brandon Marshall, relegate Jeffery to the WR2 role. No biggie: secondary targets have scored in three of four and six of eight against the Pack, so it's all good for Alshon.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Brandon Marshall, CHI GB 005701000 ***
Doesn't matter if Marshall is WR1 or WR2, though his 13 targets and 7-107-1 in the earlier meeting with Green Bay suggest he's still the alpha. WR1s have topped 100 yards in four of six against the Pack and either scored or topped 100 yards in six of eight. Marshall has 100 yards or a touchdown in three straight and seems to be Jay Cutler's favorite--good news for his fantasy prospects this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Martellus Bennett, CHI GB 003400000 ***
It's been a while since Bennett found the end zone, but he has 156 yards in the past two games as an alternative to Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery. And against a Packers defense that's allowed TE TDs in three straight, Bennett just might make his way back to the end zone as well.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Robbie Gould, CHI GB 2244 ***
Gould tallied nine points in his last meeting with the Packers, has hit double-digits in his last two at home, and will be kicking to get the Bears into the playoffs. Not a bad combo if you're looking for points.

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
RB Jonathan Dwyer 60,1
WR Larry Fitzgerald 4-40
PK Jay Feely 3 FG 1 XP

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 Carson Palmer, ARI SF 0000026021 ****
Palmer's 298 & 2 in the earlier meeting was the fourth-biggest game the Niners have allowed to a quarterback. However, he's had just one TD toss in each of the past three games, with declining yardage totals so he's a risky fantasy play at best.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Andre Ellington, ARI SF 4014300000 ****
Ellington scored in Arizona's earlier meeting with the Niners, but he's still playing second fiddle to Rashard Mendenhall in the touches category which makes him a risky play at best in this matchup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Rashard Mendenhall, ARI SF 500000000 ***
The Niners haven't allowed much in the way of RB TDs, but the last few (Steven Jackson, Marshawn Lynch, Jed Collins) have been the goal-line types Mendenhall has made a habit of this season. Not saying it will happen necessarily, but at least acknowledging there's a chance.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Larry Fitzgerald, ARI SF 0051001000 ****
Glimmers of hope after Larry's tough game against Richard Sherman last week. For starters, Fitz scored as part of a 6-117-1 outing the last time he faced San Francisco. Factor in the Niners giving up touchdowns to WR1s in back-to-back games and Fitz is at least back on the fantasy radar here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Michael Floyd, ARI SF 005601000 ***
The Niners have allowed just three WR TDs in the past seven games, so while Floyd scored last week and scored in the earlier meeting with San Francisco he's still a risky fantasy play given that Larry Fitzgerald still sees most of the Cardinals' WR targets.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Ted Ginn Jr., ARI SF 003500000 ***
Ginn is more of a deep threat and less likely to take over Steve Smith's role as the Panthers' go-to wideout should Smith sit this one out. That puts a limit on his upside this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Rob Housler, ARI SF 003300000 ***
If Housler weren't battling Jake Ballard and Jim Dray for looks on his own team, we'd be more optimistic about him taking advantage of a San Francisco defense that's allowed TE TDs in three straight games and a total of 228 yards to the position in that span.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Jay Feely, ARI SF 1133 ***
No team has given up fewer points to kickers than the Niners, and they held Feely to just a couple PATs in the earlier meeting. Both teams are still playing for something, but with points at a premium you'll want to get your kicks elsewhere.

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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