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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: NYG 20, BAL 24 (Line: NYG by 1)

Players Updated: Ahmad Bradshaw

Players to Watch: Eli Manning, Joe Flacco, Ray Rice

This will be an important game. The 8-6 Giants recent loss drops them into a three-way tie in the NFC East and currently there are four teams tied for two wild card spots - any loss is a bad loss now for the reigning Super Bowl champions. But the G-Men are only 3-4 away from home. The 9-5 Ravens are just one game ahead of the Bengals for the AFC North and 5-2 at home but on a three game losing skid. It's Big Boy time with no margin for error anymore.

New York Giants
Homefield: Meadowlands Stadium
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 DAL 17-24 10 @CIN 13-31
2 TB 41-34 11 BYE -----
3 @CAR 36-7 12 GB 38-10
4 @PHI 17-19 13 @WAS 16-17
5 CLE 41-27 14 NO 52-27
6 @SF 26-3 15 @ATL 0-34
7 WAS 27-23 16 @BAL -----
8 @DAL 29-24 17 PHI -----
9 PIT 20-24 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
NYG @ BAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Eli Manning 260,1
RB Peyton Hillis 20
WR Victor Cruz 6-80,1
PK Josh Brown 2 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The Giants have lost four of their last six games to fall back into the pack and now are in real danger of further sliding. There was a concern that Eli Manning had a "tired arm" since his passing was so off after week five and he even went three games without any touchdowns. He seemed to bounce back with 249 yards and three scores on the Packers and yet was back to only one touchdown versus the Redskins. Last week all was well against the Saints when he passed for four scores.

Here is the problem this week. Manning on the road has thrown a total of one touchdown over the last FOUR away games. He had five interceptions in those matchups bit only score and three of the efforts were less than 220 yards. Take away the Philly game and Manning has only thrown for two touchdowns over seven road games this year. That's going to be a factor.

Ahmad Bradshaw may be back this week according to him and yet may not according to HC Tom Coughlin who would rather Bradshaw shut up about his status. It appears most likely that he will return and share the backfield with David Wilson provided his knee remains good in practices. This will be updated through the week as the situation changes. WIlson was a dud last week as he took the start but only because he only received 12 carries in the blowout loss. He still gained 55 yards.

Hakeem Nicks follows the pattern perfectly - he only has three touchdowns on the year and those made for his best games. And all were at home. Victor Cruz was better with plenty of success in all venues through week seven and then his only two scores came in the most recent home games.

This game is harder to call since both teams are not playing as well as they did earlier in the year. But it is hard to ignore the difference in the Giants between home and away.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NYG 21 9 10 21 2 6
Preventing Fantasy Points BAL 10 25 15 4 30 8

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Eli Manning, NYG @WAS 0000024021 ***
Before you get too giddy about Eli's back to back semi-respectable fantasy efforts, consider that in 19 career outings against the Redskins he's had exactly one multiple touchdown game--and that came almost five years ago. Washington checked ordinary QBs Ryan Fitzpatrick and Chad Henne before ceding 325 and 3 to Nick Foles; Eli is much closer to the former than the latter, so plan accordingly.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Rashad Jennings, NYG @WAS 5005500000 ***
Washington's run D numbers are a bit puffy; the Jags only ran the ball seven times against them, and while they did keep Philly's dynamic duo of LeSean McCoy and Darren Sproles bottled up they had no answer for Arian Foster. Jennings is more like Foster, a bruiser that will get 20-plus carries and forge a solid fantasy outing.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Victor Cruz, NYG @WAS 005801000 **
Signs of life from Cruz last week, and the surge should continue against a Redskins defense that has struggled to cover Jeremy Maclin, DeAndre Hopkins, and even Allen Robinson. Plus, in four career meetings with Washington Cruz has averaged almost 90 yards per outing.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Rueben Randle, NYG @WAS 004400000 ***
Even with a couple improved weeks under their collective belt the Giants are still barely feeding one fantasy receiver--and right now that guy is Victor Cruz. Starting Randle here means crossing your fingers and hoping for a red zone look.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Larry Donnell, NYG @WAS 006601000 ***
Donnell is ceding touchdowns to Daniel Fells and facing a defense that, aside from one long Marcedes Lewis pass, has shut tight ends down cold. You can find a better fantasy alternative.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Josh Brown, NYG @WAS 1122 ***
Brown kicked his first field goal of the season last week, but this offense is still a work in progress and not nearly equipped to bring along a kicker fantasy-wise.

Baltimore Ravens
Homefield: M&T Bank Stadium
Sport Turf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 CIN 44-13 10 OAK 55-20
2 @PHI 23-24 11 @PIT 13-10
3 NE 31-30 12 @SD 16-13
4 CLE 23-16 13 PIT 20-23
5 @KC 9-6 14 @WAS 28-31
6 DAL 31-29 15 DEN 17-34
7 @HOU 13-43 16 NYG -----
8 BYE ----- 17 @CIN -----
9 @CLE 25-15 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
BAL vs NYG Rush Catch Pass
QB Joe Flacco 250,2
WR Jacoby Jones 2-30
WR Steve Smith 6-90,1
WR Torrey Smith 4-60
TE Owen Daniels 4-40
TE Dennis Pitta 5-50
PK Justin Tucker 1 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The Ravens are on a three game losing streak, dumped their offensive coordinator Cam Cameron and then lost even worse to the visiting Broncos. The offense looked no better and maybe worse last week and yet again opted to little use Ray Rice while Joe Flacco completed only 20 of 40 passes. The Ravens cannot afford any more losses and even worse is the season finale that comes in Cincinnati against the team that they are only one game up on. For a 9-5 team, it all appears as dire as it gets. The defense has allowed over 30 points in the last two weeks and the offense is most often described as "inept".

Bernard Pierce sustained a concussion during Sunday's Week 15 game against the Broncos and may not play which would yield more opportunities for Rice. While Rice was limited to 12 runs last Sunday, Pierce still took five himself before leaving injured and in most weeks has eight or nine. This has to be a big game for Rice. He has scored in five of the last six games in Baltimore and can help keep the Giants pass rush from reaching Flacco so much after he has 15 sacks over just the last five games.

Dennis Pitta stepped up the last two weeks with one or more scores in each and 125 yards on seven catches in the Broncos loss. He may be needed yet again since Torrey Smith sustained a mild concussion last week and Anquan Boldin was held to no catches by Champ Bailey. Boldin scored in both of the previous two weeks though and gets a far better matchup this week. Smith has been a nonfactor since week 12 but mostly because the defenses specifically targeted to stop him. The Giants on the road have already allowed six passing scores to wideouts over just the last three road trips.

This is an equally important game for the Ravens who catch a break in playing at home instead of New York. The passing should be easier for Flacco who needs a decent showing but Ray Rice has to help control this game.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points BAL 19 12 19 10 11 9
Preventing Fantasy Points NYG 26 10 29 15 16 7

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Joe Flacco, BAL CAR 0000024011 ***
It took 62 attempts for Flacco to approach fantasy relevancy in Week 1; he hasn't returned to either that number of throws or a significant fantasy contribution since. While Carolina has given up two TD tosses a couple times already--matching last season's total--they have yet to surrender a 20-fantasy point game to a quarterback. And after giving up multiple 100-yard rushers last week you'd think the Baltimore game plan would be run-heavy as well.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Bernard Pierce, BAL CAR 5011000000 ***
Update: Pierce is listed as probable this week, but what if any role he returns to in the crowded Baltimore backfield remains to be seen.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Lorenzo Taliaferro, BAL CAR 401000000 ***
On the heels of an 18-91-1 coming out party in Cleveland Taliaferro gets to face a Panthers defense that just got shredded for a matching set of 100-yard games by two Steelers RBs. Expect the fun to continue for the rookie.
Update: Bernard Pierce is expected back, but Gary Kubiak has always been a "hot hand" kind of guy and none of the Baltimore backs is hotter than Taliaferro. Even if Pierce gets the start, expect Taliaferro to remain in the mix--at minimum in goal-line work.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Justin Forsett, BAL CAR 5004200000 **
While Forsett is ceding touches to rookie Lorenzo Taliaferro he still has fantasy value as a change-of-pace guy; the Panthers have allowed two RB receiving scores already this season and served up 6-61 receiving to Joique Bell. Doesn't hurt that he'll likely get 10 carries as well, or that he's averaging better than six yards a tote.
Update: Whether it's Bernard Pierce or Taliaferro as the feature back, expect Forsett to maintain his change-of-pace duties. In this matchup, that's good enough to be a fantasy helper.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Steve Smith, BAL CAR 0071001000 ****
How can you not like Smith in a revenge game against the club that told him he couldn't play anymore? The Panthers haven't allowed a wideout to top 90 yards against them, but between the volume of targets Smith is seeing and the revenge multiplier there's significant fantasy upside here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Torrey Smith, BAL CAR 002300000 ***
Torrey has taken a back seat to Steve in the Panthers' passing game pecking order, and that's unlikely to change with Steve facing his former club and looking to dish out a measure of revenge.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jacoby Jones, BAL CAR 002200000 ***
Secondary receivers have found little success against the Panthers; no reason to think Jones bucks that trend on Steve Smith Revenge Day.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Owen Daniels, BAL CAR 004300000 ***
With Dennis Pitta out for the season expect Daniels to take over his familiar role in Gary Kubiak's offense. Unfortunately, he'll open with a stout matchup against a Panthers D that has yet to allow a TE TD on the year.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Justin Tucker, BAL CAR 2233 ***
Tucker's had multiple field goal attempts in each game this year and has posted back-to-back double-digit points. He's a solid fantasy option again 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

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