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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: NE 30, JAC 13 (Line: NE by 14.5)

Players Updated: Rob Gronkowski

Players to Watch: Cecil Shorts, Wes Welker

Losing to the 49ers last Sunday night dropped the 10-4 Patriots back into the #3 seed which means no bye and only one home field game. But this week they face the 2-12 Jaguars who have already packed their suitcases and are just watching the clock for for week 17 Sunday to be over. That the highest scoring offense in the NFL now faces a team that has declined to the point they do not score touchdowns could be concerning. The Pats will win of course but won't need 40 points to get the job done.

New England Patriots
Homefield: Gillette Stadium
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @TEN 34-13 10 BUF 37-31
2 ARI 18-20 11 IND 59-24
3 @BAL 30-31 12 @NYJ 49-19
4 @BUF 52-28 13 @MIA 23-16
5 DEN 31-21 14 HOU 42-14
6 @SEA 23-24 15 SF 34-41
7 NYJ 29-26 16 @JAC -----
8 @STL 45-7 17 MIA -----
9 BYE ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
NE @ JAC Rush Catch Pass
QB Tom Brady 270,2
RB Stevan Ridley 80,1
WR Danny Amendola 8-100,1
TE Rob Gronkowski
PK Stephen Gostkowski 3 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The loss to the 49ers really shook up the Patriots image coming on the heels of them looking so dominant against the Texans the previous week. The reality too is that both those games came at home where the Pats are always far better and losing that #2 seed may come back to haunt them. The Pats cannot afford any more losses either since they are only one game ahead of the Ravens now who have already beaten them back in week three to own that tie breaker should it be an issue.

The Pats almost never take any game lightly no matter what the situation is and in this case, they have to win and may want to flex some muscles doing it after last week's loss.

Tom Brady on the road has been plenty prolific other than facing inter-divisional foes and the Jaguars are soft in the secondary. But the are even worse against the running backs which could end up with a depressed stat line for Brady who won't need 400 yards to compete here.

The running backs are going to be harder to call than usual - and it has been largely impossible anyway - since both Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen lost fumbles last week and then disappeared from the game plan while Danny Woodhead had a big game holding onto the ball. Ridley's faux pas ended his six game scoring streak but he's fumbled before and not carried the shame into the next week. It will always be tough to accurately predict who does what here but Ridley should end up with his job back.

What is nice too is that Aaron Hernandez is finally showing up as a major weapon for the Patriots only three months after everyone drafted him with big expectations. He's caught at least eight passes in the last two games while scoring a total of three touchdowns.

Both the Texans and 49ers schemed to take Wes Welker away with great success but Brandon Lloyd picked up the slack finally with 89 yards against the Texans and 190 yards versus the 49ers. While he won't be needed nearly so much this week, it is nice to see him finally being in the game plan and producing more than the roughly 50 yards and no score he had going the rest of the season.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NE 3 2 13 1 1 2
Preventing Fantasy Points JAC 23 32 16 8 32 19

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Tom Brady, NE @GB 0000031030 ***
Brady is on a two-month tear, and a defense that just served up multiple touchdowns to Mark Sanchez and Teddy Bridgewater in back-to-back games isn't likely to cause much of an impediment.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Shane Vereen, NE @GB 2005500000 ***
Vereen is back to being a contributor rather than a feature back. He still has plenty of value in PPR scoring systems, but he's a riskier play in TD-heavy formats.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB LeGarrette Blount, NE @GB 400000000 ***
100-yard games by grinders like Mark Ingram and Marshawn Lynch point towards what Bill Belichick's likely strategy will be: heavy doses of the ground game in order to keep Aaron Rodgers on the sidelines. Sure, Belichick could go back to Jonas Gray this week but odds are he sticks with Blount for 15-20 carries, more than enough to bang out another helpful fantasy stat line.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Brandon LaFell, NE @GB 006801000 ***
LaFell is Tom Brady's biggest target among the wideouts, so he seems best suited to take advantage of a Packers defense that's allowed WR TDs in six straight, multiple WR TDs in four of six, and a consistent stream of fantasy helpers to WRs with size, from Jordan Matthews to Brandon Marshall to Kelvin Benjamin.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Julian Edelman, NE @GB 005500000 ***
Edelman is always in the mix, but unless you're in a PPR league his fantasy value is largely negligible.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Rob Gronkowski, NE @GB 0071001000 ***
Gronk is too heavily targeted not to be a major factor in this game, even against a Packers defense that's surrendered only two TE TDs all year.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Timothy Wright, NE @GB 001101000 **
Wright has scored in each of the past five games in which he's had a catch. He's clearly a red zone option for Tom Brady, and while the Packers have allowed only two TE TDs all year don't let that dissuade you from giving full consideration to Wright in TD-heavy scoring systems.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Stephen Gostkowski, NE @GB 1133 ***
Gostkowski has hit double digits in three of the last four and five of the last seven; no reason to think he won't get his kicks in Green Bay t

Jacksonville Jaguars
Homefield: J'ville Municipal Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @MIN 23-26 ot 10 IND 10-27
2 HOU 7-27 11 @HOU 37-43
3 @IND 22-17 12 TEN 24-19
4 CIN 10-27 13 @BUF 18-34
5 CHI 3-41 14 NYJ 10-17
6 BYE ----- 15 @MIA 3-24
7 @OAK 23-26 16 NE -----
8 @GB 15-24 17 @TEN -----
9 DET 14-31 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
JAC vs NE Rush Catch Pass
QB Chad Henne 230,1
WR Cecil Shorts 5-90,1
TE Marcedes Lewis 4-50
PK Josh Scobee 2 FG 1 XP

Pregame Notes: The Jaguars have won only once in the last 11 games and the offensive output that seemed to spike with Chad Henne starting has faded to where they cannot even score a touchdown anymore. This is the final home game of the year but that's hardly a reason to expect any progress.

The only difference this week is that Maurice Jones-Drew has not been ruled out yet and HC Mike Mularkey said he was "questionable" this week but closer to playing than he has been. There is really no reason to bring him back - the season was over long ago and MJD is only risking further injury for nothing. One has to expect a more earnest holdout this coming summer since the worst case just happened this year.

Cecil Shorts returned last week after missing the Jets game with a concussion and he turned in 101 yards on six catches in Miami right back to his high level of performance though it was his first time to not score a touchdown in the last five games played. Justin Blackmon has reeled in six catches in each of the last two games but has not scored since week 12. This is the last home game so it should help both receivers facing one of the weaker secondaries in the NFL.

Aqib Talib has been a great addition for the Patriots and he matches on Justin Blackmon which should depress his stats this week, not that they were that big to start with anyway. This will be the final home game for a team that has made very little progress in Mike Mularkey's first season as head coach. If MJD does play this week, it may have to do with it being the final home game but I'll project for another week of Montel Owens until a decision is made.

Sadly facing the Patriots secondary is not as much fun as it was earlier in the season.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points JAC 26 32 18 29 30 30
Preventing Fantasy Points NE 30 12 26 30 8 2

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Blake Bortles, JAC NYG 0000026012 ***
It's potentially a favorable matchup, as the Giants have allowed multiple TDs in four of their last six; just don't tell Russell Wilson or Colin Kaepernick, who failed to turn the trick. Bottles hasn't thrown a single TD in two games, so he makes it even more difficult to trust him with a fantasy play here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Denard Robinson, JAC NYG 8012100000 ***
Robinson has scored and/or topped 100 yards in all three home games since taking over the starting job. The Giants have allowed three straight 100-yard games on the road and an RB TD and/or 100-plus rusher in every road game this season so Robinson makes a solid fantasy option here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Allen Hurns, JAC NYG 005501000 **
Not much you can count on in the Jacksonville passing game. Hurns has maybe the most fantasy upside given his big-play ability, but it would be a stretch to consider him anything more than a fringe fantasy contributor.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Cecil Shorts, JAC NYG 006900000 ***
Shorts can be the volume guy in Jacksonville's passing game, but for the most part the volume has been turned down so there's no need to reach for Cecil's fantasy assistance here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Marcedes Lewis, JAC NYG 003300000 **
Lewis returned from an extended injury absence, announcing his presence with authority--and negative five receiving yards. The Giants are a softish mark for opposing tight ends, having given up seven TE TDs in the past six games, but banking on Lewis for a fantasy contribution would be a risky move at best.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Josh Scobee, JAC NYG 1122 ***
Scobee's numbers make it easy to look elsewhere for fantasy help.

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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