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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 @STL 0000025011 ***
It's not a particularly favorable matchup for Eli, as the Rams haven't allowed a touchdown pass in three weeks and haven't served up multiple scoring strikes to a quarterback since Week 7. But with Rashad Jennings hobbled and the Rams stiff against the run, what other options do the Giants have?
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Andre Williams, NYG @STL 4003100000 **
Rashad Jennings pulled himself early from last week's matchup, so this week expect all Andre all the time. However, with the Rams sporting a solid run defense there may simply be nowhere for Williams to go.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Odell Beckham, NYG @STL 007901000 **
30 targets, 23 catches, 273 yards, four touchdowns. Those are totals from Beckham's last four games so, yeah, he's hot. He's also Eli Manning's go-to guy and as such a solid fantasy play, even in a matchup that looks to be a bit on the tough side.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Rueben Randle, NYG @STL 005600000 ***
Randle has battled some injury issues which have pushed him to the side in the Giants' WR depth conversation, but he's a big target that plays nicely opposite the smaller, speedier Odell Beckham Jr.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Preston Parker, NYG @STL 002300000 ***
Parker hopes to carve out some fantasy value at the bottom of the food chain, but he's too inconsistently productive to warrant a fantasy play here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Larry Donnell, NYG @STL 003300000 ***
Not a particularly favorable matchup for Donnell, as the Rams haven't allowed a Te TD since Week 7. And Donnell has been sharing looks with Daniel Fells and generally avoiding fantasy contributions, making him even less worthy of a fantasy start here.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Josh Brown, NYG @STL 2211 ***
Like clockwork, Brown returned to his usual one field goal last week on the heels of his five-trey outburst against the Rams. Which trend you gonna believe, his five-FG game or the six one- or zero-FG games that preceded it (and the one-field goal game that followed it)?

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 @HOU 0000024020 ****
Mostly "meh" trends here, as the Texans are neither a bad nor great matchup, Flacco's a little worse on the road but not awful, etc. You'll be okay starting Flacco, but at this juncture hopefully you've got some "wow" arsenal at your disposal.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Justin Forsett, BAL @HOU 9012200000 ***
The key number is 20 carries. Forsett hasn't been there for a couple games, and not coincidentally Forsett's three-game streak of 100-yard games came to an end at that juncture. The Texans have allowed only three 100-yard rushers on the year, and not coincidentally they've faced only three players who received 20 carries. Yes, the same three. If Forsett was healthy enough to get 16 carries against Jacksonville last week he should make it to 20 this weekend--with appropriate results.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Bernard Pierce, BAL @HOU 400000000 ***
No reason for Pierce to handle too many touches here, and he'll need some fortunate timing for them to carry any fantasy weight.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Steve Smith, BAL @HOU 006801000 ***
Smith likes facing the Texans: he's scored in all three career games against them while averaging a robust 108 yards per outing. More recently, the Texans have been giving up big yardage to primary receivers but letting secondary targets find the end zone. Hard to tell which Smith is which in any given week for the Ravens, but suffice it to say both have reasonably high fantasy expectations here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Torrey Smith, BAL @HOU 004601000 *
Only two teams have allowed more WR TDs than the Texans, so if Smith is healthy enough to play he's a quality fantasy start; the question is whether or not he or Steve Smith will take a turn as Joe Flacco's favorite.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Owen Daniels, BAL @HOU 002300000 ***
Daniels, fresh off returning to the end zone last week, against his former team--who just allowed a TE TD last week. Not a particularly strong trend in Daniels' favor, but who's gonna know how to get a tight end open against that defense better than Gary Kubiak?
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Justin Tucker, BAL @HOU 1144 ***
Tucker's been solid, with multiple field goals in three of his last four overall and three of his last four at home. Don't expect Houston to disrupt Tucker's flow; in fact, the Texans' QB issues might make it that much easier for the Ravens to play defense and settle for field goals.

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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