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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 Andy Dalton, CIN @CLE 10000025020 ***
Not having A.J. Green makes Dalton a tough sell any week, but the Browns offer some hope for a decent day. Only three teams have given up TDs at a more frequent clip.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jeremy Hill, CIN @CLE 10012200000 ***
Cleveland offers the seventh best matchup to exploit, with most of the damage coming via total touchdowns per touch and offensive yards per contest. The position has averaged 121.8 rushing yards since Week 8.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Rex Burkhead, CIN @CLE 5002200000 **
Burkhead isn't an ideal pass receiver out of the backfield, but the Browns have been pushed around enough by the position that he could have low-end appeal in deep leagues.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Brandon LaFell, CIN @CLE 004601000 ***
Cleveland is the fourth worst team at preventing wideouts from scoring with ease over the last five weeks. LaFell is the de factor WR1 in Cincy without A.J. Green, so he'll likely draw the mixed bag that is cornerback Joe Haden.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Tyler Boyd, CIN @CLE 006700000 ***
The Browns have allowed only 11.8 catches (22nd) for 143 yards (22nd) per game since Week 8, but giving up a touchdown every 7.8 grabs rates them as the fourth most generous defense in this category.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Tyler Eifert, CIN @CLE 006901000 ***
Eifert draws the 11th best PPR matchup for tight ends in Week 14. The Browns have allowed tight ends to score once every 7.3 catches in the last five weeks.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Mike Nugent, CIN @CLE 1133 ***
Extra points have been the fastest way to points against the Browns, but that doesn't necessarily amount to a high-scoring fantasy day. Cleveland has given up only five field goals in the last four games since scoring TDs usually is met with little resistance.

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

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 @BUF 0000026021 ***
Nine teams have permitted more fantasy points per contest in the last five weeks, but the Bills are the seventh worst team at stopping TD passes. They have limited yardage to the fourth lowest average (218.8) over that time.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Le'Veon Bell, PIT @BUF 7017500000 ***
Buffalo has surrendered the touchdowns on the ground with the sixth easiest rate, but none of the just 15 catches afforded have scored. Bell is a monster, so he should turn that around in a hurry.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Antonio Brown, PIT @BUF 0061001000 ***
AB against the sixth softest defense of wide receiver touchdowns? Christmas came early.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Eli Rogers, PIT @BUF 002400000 ***
Buffalo has given up five touchdowns on just 43 catches over the last four games to receivers. The attention will be on Antonio Brown, so Rogers has sneaky appeal for brazen owners.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Ladarius Green, PIT @BUF 005601000 ***
Buffalo has allowed a touchdown once per 10 catches in the last five weeks, rating as the 12th softest opponent in PPR scoring for Week 14.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Chris Boswell, PIT @BUF 1133 ***
Check back Friday for an update on Boswell's availability.

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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