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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: CIN 20, PIT 27 (Line: PIT by 4)

Players to Watch: Andy Dalton, Mike Wallace

This is a replay of week seven when the Steelers won 24-17 in Cincinnati. The 8-6 Bengals are 5-2 on the road this year and are currently the #6 seed wild card. The only team that is likely to challenge them for the final wildcard are the 7-7 Steelers since all other teams have a losing record in the AFC. The Steelers are only 4-2 at home but have beaten the Bengals for the last five meetings.

Cincinnati Bengals
Homefield: Paul Brown Stadium
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @BAL 13-44 10 NYG 31-13
2 CLE 34-27 11 @KC 28-6
3 @WAS 38-31 12 OAK 34-10
4 @JAC 27-10 13 @SD 20-13
5 MIA 13-17 14 DAL 19-20
6 @CLE 24-34 15 @PHI 34-13
7 PIT 17-24 16 @PIT -----
8 BYE ----- 17 BAL -----
9 DEN 23-31 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
CIN @ PIT Rush Catch Pass
QB Andy Dalton 220,2
WR A.J. Green 6-90,1

Pregame Notes: The Bengals need to win out if they are to get a wildcard and that's going to be really tough playing in Pittsburgh and then hosting the Ravens who are only 9-5 and leading the division. Their destiny is in their own hands but these last two games go against teams that have already beaten them this year. He has lost some receivers along the way but his matchups have not been that rough for the last month.

Andy Dalton only passed for 105 yards and one score in the first meeting with the Steelers and that was at home. He's doing himself no favors here at the end of the season since he has gone cold. He only passed for one touchdown in each of the last three games and not been better than 230 passing yards since week nine.

To the contrary, BenJarvus Green-Ellis has never been better. He has rushed for over 100 yards in four of the last five weeks and scored in three of those. He was held to 69 yards on 18 runs in the last meeting with the Steelers but has been on a tear for these last five weeks. After mediocre showings through week ten, he's somehow managed to turn it on and make a difference. He's playing himself into a job for 2013 which may be more than Dalton can say if he doesn't improve soon.

Not unlike the Bears or Lions, there is only one receiver that matters on this game A.J. Green went through a three game scoring drought but turned in 11th touchdown on the year last week in Philadelphia. His worst game of the year was when the Steelers showed up and he was held to just one catch for eight yards. And yet that was a touchdown in the middle of his nine game scoring streak. Andrew Hawkins helps out but is not above having no catches in a game. The same is true for Marvin Jones who was also blanked last week.

The Bengals want to see more out of Dalton but that's going to be hard in Pittsburgh where no visitor has passed for more than 200 yards all year. Green-Ellis will also face his toughest venue of the season. This is a must win game and yet is the worst place to try to secure a victory. Only A.J. Green has obvious fantasy value here and even that is likely to be marginal.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CIN 12 26 5 15 7 12
Preventing Fantasy Points PIT 1 5 5 5 17 21

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB A.J. McCarron, CIN BAL 0000027020 ***
The Ravens shut out Ben Roethlisberger last week; can they get up for another division rival, on the road this time? McCarron has single TDs and 200 yards or less in each of his two starts, so don't expect fireworks here even though the matchup appears favorable.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jeremy Hill, CIN BAL 501000000 ***
While Hill struggled in the earlier meeting (21 yards on 12 carries), the Ravens' run D has softened since that Week 3 meeting. In five of their last six games Baltimore has faced a back who got at least 15 carries; four of those five backs have scored or topped 100 yards or both. Hill has 19 carries in each of AJ McCarron's two starts, so he'll get the volume; Baltimore's track record suggests that volume is enough for a fantasy helper.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Giovani Bernard, CIN BAL 4003400000 ***
Gio can still give you some PPR help--he has four catches in each of AJ McCarron's two starts--but he has a total of 94 yards on 30 touches in those two games. He's the backseat driver to Jeremy Hill, and while the matchup is favorable on paper it's not such that Gio can be a big fantasy helper alongside Hill.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR A.J. Green, CIN BAL 0071101000 ***
Green blew up the Ravens for 10-227-2 earlier this season, and AJ McCarron knows where to find him so you can expect good things again this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Brandon LaFell, CIN BAL 004400000 ***
LaFell is hurt, just like most of the rest of the Patriots. However, unlike Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman his fantasy value isn't such that he's worth waiting for.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Tyler Eifert, CIN BAL 005501000 ***
Eifert has cleared concussion protocol, but he'll likely be eased back into the mix and is tough to trust with a fantasy start.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Mike Nugent, CIN BAL 1144 ***
Always fun to use
Ted songs in Nugent write-up
Wang Dang Sweet... you know

Pittsburgh Steelers
Homefield: Heinz Field
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @DEN 19-31 10 KC 16-13
2 NYJ 27-10 11 BAL 10-13
3 @OAK 31-34 12 @CLE 14-20
4 BYE ----- 13 @BAL 23-20
5 PHI 16-14 14 SD 24-34
6 @TEN 23-26 15 @DAL 24-27
7 @CIN 24-17 16 CIN -----
8 WAS 27-12 17 CLE -----
9 @NYG 24-20 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
PIT vs CIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Ben Roethlisberger 250,2
RB DeAngelo Williams 80 3-30
WR Antonio Brown 5-60,1
WR Darrius Heyward-Bey 4-40
TE Heath Miller 5-60
PK Shaun Suisham 2 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The Steelers missed a great opportunity when the Ravens dropped their last three games because the Steelers lost their last two. Falling to the Chargers at home shows that a trap game can happen anywhere and then the overtime loss in Dallas was literally thrown away with the interception. At least the final two games are both at home and against teams that they have already beaten. The Steelers still need help to reach the playoffs but a win here will be all they can do to try to control their fate.

Ben Roethlisberger passed for 278 yards and one score in the meeting in Cincy back in week seven. He also lost a fumble and threw one interception. Big Ben has scored in every game that he's played this year and posted healthy yardage in most weeks.

Jonathan Dwyer remains the starting tailback and he's still sharing with Isaac Redman but only for a few carries per week. Dwyer ran for 122 yards on 17 carries in the Cincy meeting for his best effort of the season. He's only scored twice so far though and Rashard Mendenhall may even show up this week having been suspended for one game for conduct detrimental to the team.

Heath Miller comes off a 92-yard effort in Dallas with a touchdown and he caught six passes for 53 yards and a score against the Bengals last time. He;s been a solid contributor all year though more likely to have a big game on the road when the Steelers have to pass more. Antonio Brown had his best effort of 2012 when he gained 97 yards on seven receptions in Cincy while Mike Wallace ended with eight catches for 52 yards. Wallace gained over 90 yards in these last two games with Big Ben back.

The Steelers have owned the Bengals every year other than 2009. This is a must win and played in Pittsburgh should be no worse than the road win in Cincy back in week seven.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points PIT 14 22 15 5 14 28
Preventing Fantasy Points CIN 7 18 6 19 18 24

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Ben Roethlisberger, PIT @CLE 0000030020 ***
Since an Abe Lincoln (four scores) back in 2007, Big Ben has as many goose eggs (two) in Cleveland as he has multiple touchdown games. He's also never had a 300-yard performance in Cleveland. After last week's crushing disappointment in Baltimore Roethlisberger has now gone more than a calendar year--eight games, dating back to Week 14 of last season--since throwing multiple touchdowns on the road. Don't let Big Ben disappoint you again.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB DeAngelo Williams, PIT @CLE 8013200000 ***
Williams' only dog since taking over for the injured Le'Veon Bell was a 54-yard bummer against the Browns in Week 10. He's scored in five of the other six games and rushed for 100 yards in three of the six. Can he be trusted here? The Browns D has been better of late: only one RB rushing score in the past eight games, no 100-yard rushers or 30-yard receiving backs in the past seven. This isn't the layup you were hoping for.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Antonio Brown, PIT @CLE 0091101000 ***
Death, taxes, and Brown tearing up the Browns. He's topped 100 yards in three straight against Cleveland and scored double-digit points in PPR leagues in eight straight meetings--all the way back to his very first game against the Browns, when he was held to 4-52. Cleveland's injury-riddled secondary has allowed 11 WR TDs and four 100-yard efforts in the past six games; Brown is a solid candidate to boost both of those numbers.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Martavis Bryant, PIT @CLE 004601000 *
Bryant ravaged the Browns for 178 yards and a touchdown in the earlier meeting. He's playing second fiddle to Antonio Brown--and sharing those duties to some extent with Markus Wheaton--but he's still a solid fantasy bet against a Cleveland secondary that's allowed 11 WR TDs in the past six games.

Update: Bryant did not practice Wednesday or Thursday due to illness, but he returned for a full session on Friday. He's listed as questionable, but all signs point towards business as usual for him.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Markus Wheaton, PIT @CLE 004500000 ***
There wasn't much left over after Bryant and Brown accounted for 317 yards and three TDs in the earlier meeting, and given Ben Roethlisberger's road success--or lack thereof--the pie will be significantly smaller here. That said, Wheaton's role as the Steelers' third receiver has produced fantasy helpers in four of five since the bye and this matchup is certainly not to be feared.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Heath Miller, PIT @CLE 003300000 ***
Since Miller's 4-40 in the Week 10 meeting the Browns have given up one TE TD, and no tight end has hit the 50 yard mark. Miller hasn't scored against the Browns since January of 2011; no reason to think that slump ends here.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Chris Boswell, PIT @CLE 1133 ***
Streak of six straight
with double-digit points snapped;
start new streak this week

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

a d v e r t i s e m e n t