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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 HOU 0000026012 ***
Sad to say, but Eli's 277 and two against the Cardinals last week feels like his ceiling for the season. A date with a Houston defense that's given up just one passing score in two games and an average of 265 yards certainly isn't favorable.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Rashad Jennings, NYG HOU 6014500000 ***
Jennings has 205 combo yards in two games and is easily the best thing going for the Giants' offense. Houston has allowed the likes of Darren McFadden and Darrel Young to find the end zone while giving up better than six yards per touch to opposing backs, clearing the way for another solid fantasy showing for Jennings.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Victor Cruz, NYG HOU 005701000 **
Well, the Giants heard Cruz's plea for more looks and doubled Victor's targets. But it's still not the offense that made Cruz... well, Cruz. The good news is, receivers targeted double-digit times against the Texans have been productive--combining for 19-189-1. So at least there's a chance here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Rueben Randle, NYG HOU 004500000 ***
Randle is too inconsistently targeted and the Giants' offense too moribund for him to be trusted with a fantasy start.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Larry Donnell, NYG HOU 007700000 ***
Shockingly, Donnell has been the most consistent contributor in the Giants' passing game with 12-137-1 in two games. As tight ends go, you could do worse for fantasy help.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Josh Brown, NYG HOU 1122 ***
Tacking on points for an offense that's averaging 14 points per game is not exactly fantasy fodder.

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 @CLE 10000024021 ***
The Browns haven't been shut-down defensively against the pass, but they haven't exactly been pushovers either. Flacco threw for two TDs the last time they met, but it was his first multiple-passing TD game against them in his last four. That 250 and 2 feels like his ceiling here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Bernard Pierce, BAL @CLE 701000000 ****
Should be a decent outing for Pierce against a Browns' defense that's giving up better than five yards a carry and has particularly struggled with power backs like Le'Veon Bell and Mark Ingram.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Justin Forsett, BAL @CLE 5004200000 ***
Given that the Browns are allowing 192 combo yards per game to opposing backs, Forsett's share of the Ravens' backfield workload should be worth a little something in fantasy circles this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Steve Smith, BAL @CLE 006600000 ***
Smith is turning "Napoleon Syndrome" and a dozen targets a game into a career rebirth in Baltimore. And while the Browns haven't erased opposing wideouts this year the prospect of Joe Haden draped all over Steve does dampen the fantasy enthusiasm a bit.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Torrey Smith, BAL @CLE 004500000 ***
Maybe the Browns tab Steve Smith as Cleveland's top threat and match him with Joe Haden. Maybe that opens up Torrey for more targets, which he could turn into a typical productive matchup against the Browns--he's scored or topped 75 yards in four straight meetings. Of course, until Steve stops hogging more than half the Ravens' WR targets it's all theory and tough to trust in a fantasy lineup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Dennis Pitta, BAL @CLE 006701000 ****
The Ravens love to force-feed their tight end, but Pitta is no Jimmy Graham. Then again, it's unlikely the Browns use Joe Haden on Pitta. Call it a wash and look for Pitta to turn his typical heavy target load into another productive fantasy outing.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Owen Daniels, BAL @CLE 003300000 ***
In PPR leagues Daniels has value, as the TE spillover in Gary Kubiak's offense is running in the 4-5 catches per game range. However, don't get used to the #TBT Kubiak unleashed on us last week with Daniels' pair of TDs; he's still TE2 in Baltimore and should be treated as such.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Justin Tucker, BAL @CLE 1133 ***
Tucker has had multiple field goal attempts in each game this season, and in every road game dating back to Week 9 of last year. The Browns have a bend-don't-break defense, which should lend itself well to more opportunities for Tucker 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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