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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 NYJ 0000029030 ****
Since being left for dead in Kansas City Brady has bounced back with 653 yards and six TDs in two games. And now he gets to face the hated Jets and the league's most permissive pass defense? Yes, please.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Shane Vereen, NE NYJ 2005400000 ***
You'd like to think Vereen's fantasy prospects go up after Stevan Ridley went down, but he hasn't had double-digit carries since Week 13 of last year so a big jump in workload is iffy at best. And with his usual share, it's not a favorable enough matchup to move Vereen's fantasy needle off of "the usual".
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Brandon Bolden, NE NYJ 400000000 ***
Can the Jets make it three straight backup backs to take them for 100 yards? If Brandon Bolden truly gets Stevan Ridley's carries, there's no reason he can't follow in the footsteps of Branden Oliver (19-114-1) and Ronnie Hillman (24-100).
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Brandon LaFell, NE NYJ 004601000 ****
Has Brady found a non-Smurf wide receiver to rely upon? In two of the past three games the answer is a resounding "yes", with LaFell being that wideout. With Tom Brady rolling and the Jets' secondary reeling, you could do worse than looking to LaFell for another such outing this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Julian Edelman, NE NYJ 006600000 ****
Double-digit targets has equaled triple-digit yardage against the Jets this year, and if any Patriot is going to see double-digit targets it's Edelman.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Rob Gronkowski, NE NYJ 006802000 ****
In his past three against the Jets Gronk has two 100-yard games and two multi-touchdown efforts. New York has allowed TE TDs in four straight, including two each to Martellus Bennett, Antonio Gates, and Julius Thomas. No reason Gronk can't keep up.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Timothy Wright, NE NYJ 004400000 ***
With Tom Brady putting up bigger numbers there's room for a second tight end to post helpful fantasy digits--plus there's always the chance the Jets overcompensate for Gronk and leave Wright to ring up the big numbers Gang Green has been surrendering to tight ends.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Stephen Gostkowski, NE NYJ 3333 ***
Gostkowski has multiple field goals in five of six and double-digit points in four of his last five. He's the kind of kicker you put in your lineup and don't think twice about.

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 CLE 0000023012 ***
The Browns aren't a particularly favorable passing game matchup, and Bortles has yet to do enough in his career to warrant a fantasy plug-in here without benefit of a favorable matchup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Storm Johnson, JAC CLE 5011100000 **
The Browns are far from a shutdown matchup against the run, but nothing in Storm's 2.1 yards per carry in his first NFL start suggest you should go out of your way to get him into your fantasy lineup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Cecil Shorts, JAC CLE 005601000 **
What the heck is wrong with Joe Haden? Four of five WR1s to face the Browns have scored and racked up at least 99 yards. Shorts' 16 targets last week suggest the Jags view him as their WR1, so among Jacksonville's multiple receivers he has the best chance of putting up fantasy numbers this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Allen Robinson, JAC CLE 003400000 ***
Robinson took a back seat to Cecil Shorts last week when all of Jacksonville's receivers were (finally) healthy. As the WR2 he should get opportunities, but with no reason not to throw at Joe Haden it's not as advantageous a fantasy position as it's been in the past.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Allen Hurns, JAC CLE 003300000 ***
The Jacksonville receiver rotation is a work in progress, but with everyone healthy for the first time last week Hurns ran a distant third in both targets and productivity. This passing game doesn't offer nearly enough for you to plumb the depths of the receiving corps for fantasy help.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Clay Harbor, JAC CLE 004300000 ***
The Browns have allowed four TE TDs in the past two games, the Jags have scored two in the past three, and Harbor has housed all of the positions' looks over the past two games including last week's 3-91-1 showing. He's a sneaky fantasy helper if you're dealing with Jimmy Graham's injury or Zach Ertz's bye week.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Josh Scobee, JAC CLE 2222 ***
Scobee is averaging less than five points per outing; you can do better.

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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