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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 17
2012
ARI at SF CLE at PIT JAC at TEN OAK at SD
BAL at CIN DAL at WAS KC at DEN PHI at NYG
CAR at NO GB at MIN MIA at NE STL at SEA
  CHI at DET HOU at IND NYJ at BUF TB at ATL

Prediction: BAL 20, CIN 24 (Line: CIN by 2.5)

Players to Watch: Anyone who looks like they are trying

Ends up that this game that many thought might be for all the AFC North marbles really isn't for anything. The Ravens already own the division and the Bengals are locked into being a wild card team. That could mean either team may rest players since both will be playing in the first round. This is a replay of the season opener that the Ravens won 44-13 at home. This is a messy game to call and a good reason why week 17 is bad for fantasy football. Both coaches will say they want to win but what happens in the course of the game is very hard to call. HC Jim Harbaugh says they are going to Cincinnati to win and use all resources to accomplish that despite the fact that there is nothing to win and there is a chance these same two teams meet next week in the playoffs as well.

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 33-14
8 BYE ----- 17 @CIN -----
9 @CLE 25-15 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
BAL @ CIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Joe Flacco 230,1
RB Bernard Pierce 30 2-10
WR Steve Smith 6-90,1
WR Torrey Smith 5-70,1
TE Owen Daniels 4-40,1
TE Dennis Pitta 5-50
PK Justin Tucker 2 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The Ravens come off a solid win over the Giants and are glad to have won the division since they are only 4-3 in road games this year and play much less effectively when away from home. Going to Cincinnati would have been interesting if the division was still up for grabs but now becomes essentially a scrimmage. These two teams already know each other very well anyway.

Joe Flacco passed for 299 yards and two scores in that season opener in Cincy and he's managed to score nearly every week. The Ravens are now two weeks into the new offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell but any changes to the play calling are not that apparent other than Ray Rice getting a heavy workload in week 16.

Rice turned in 107 yards as a runner and then had six catches for 51 yards and another score in his heaviest workload of the year. He was only ran ten times in that season opener though he gained 68 yards and scored twice. The switch to Caldwell's offense will be a success if he does nothing more than to give the ball more to their best player - Ray Rice.

The only offensive scheming that may happen in this game is to get Anquan Boldin a 1000 yard season since he just needs 79 more yards to get there. He already posted four catches for 63 yards and a score in the first meeting

There is nothing more to accomplish this week aside from keeping players healthy to potentially play the same team next week in Baltimore. That puts risk on all the players regardless what Harbaugh says to the media. Why not say it is for real - nothing to lose by seeing how the Bengals prepare for them.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points BAL 18 10 18 11 7 12
Preventing Fantasy Points CIN 6 15 5 19 16 26

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Joe Flacco, BAL @CIN 0000027020 ****
Flacco threw for 345 and one in the earlier meeting. Now he rolls in with multiple TD tosses in two straight and three of four, facing a Cincy D that's allowed multiple touchdowns in three straight. What's not to like?
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Justin Forsett, BAL @CIN 4006501000 ***
Forsett racked up 84 combo yards and a TD in the season opener against Cincy; he remains a solid fantasy bet against a Bengals defense that's allowed RB TDs in four straight.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Bernard Pierce, BAL @CIN 301000000 ***
Working in Pierce's favor is that the Ravens inexplicably prefer him to Lorenzo Taliaferro, and that other sluggish backs such as Shonn Greene and Stevan Ridley have found the end zone against Cincy.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Steve Smith, BAL @CIN 0051001000 ****
Steve has hit triple digits three of the past four times he's faced the Bengals, including 118 and 1 in the season opener against Cincy. While Torrey Smith has seen an uptick in production of late, Steve remains the go-to receiver and top fantasy bet in this passing game.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Torrey Smith, BAL @CIN 004800000 ****
Torrey produced 3-50 in half the targets of Steve Smith back in the season opener against Cincy. His role in the Baltimore offense has expanded of late, so expect an improvement on those numbers this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Crockett Gillmore, BAL @CIN 003300000 **
Update: With Owen Daniels out, Gillmore gets the call as the Ravens' tight end. He's more of a blocker, though the team has thrown to him more frequently of late. Tough to bank on him for production right out of the gate, however.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Owen Daniels, BAL @CIN 00000000 *****
Daniels scored last week and is seeing plenty of targets in an offense he's intimately familiar with. That should serve him well in an extremely favorable matchup against a defense that's served up four TE TDs and let five different TEs top 50 yards in just the past three games.
Update: Daniels surprised everyone by having a knee procedure on Friday. He'll miss this week's game, leaving third-stringer Crockett Gilmore as the Ravens' tight end.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Justin Tucker, BAL @CIN 1133 ****
Cincy has surrendered almost 14 kicker points per game over the past month, while Tucker is averaging double-digit points per game for the season and has multiple field goals in every road game. He's a rock-solid fantasy kicking option again this week.

Cincinnati Bengals
Homefield: Paul Brown Stadium
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @BAL 13-44 10 NYG 31-13
2 CLE 34-27 11 @KC 28-6
3 @WAS 38-31 12 OAK 34-10
4 @JAC 27-10 13 @SD 20-13
5 MIA 13-17 14 DAL 19-20
6 @CLE 24-34 15 @PHI 34-13
7 PIT 17-24 16 @PIT 13-10
8 BYE ----- 17 BAL -----
9 DEN 23-31 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
CIN vs BAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Andy Dalton 250,2
WR A.J. Green 6-80,1
WR Marvin Jones 4-60,1
WR Greg Little 2-20
TE Jermaine Gresham 5-50

Pregame Notes: The Bengals get into the playoffs while kicking the Steelers down the ladder last week - how great was that? They even won their last four road games as well and now can notch their tenth win if the Ravens acquiesce to reality and try to mail this one in and rest players. This has been a good season for the defense that has held six of their last seven opponents to fewer than 14 points.

Andy Dalton only passed for 221 yards and no scores in that opener but had at least one score in every successive game until last week in Pittsburgh. He's already scored 26 passing touchdowns and even added four more as a runner. His pace has been off in recent weeks though with never more than one passing touchdown in the last four weeks.

BenJarvus Green-Ellis was on a hot streak with five straight weeks of 100+ total yards but then was swamped in Pittsburgh. He ran for 91 yards and a score on 18 carries in Baltimore this year. His last six weeks probably saved his job since he was stuck around 60 yards per game prior to week ten.

Mike Nugent may be back this week since his calf has improved. In the end, you never want to rely on a fantasy kicker in a meaningless game though. Josh Brown has kicked well in relief but may be released this week or next.

Jermaine Gresham only managed three catches for 30 yards in Pittsburgh while A.J. Green settled for five receptions and 70 yards. He would start his nine game scoring streak the following week.

There are no safe plays here this week. A.J. Green and Green-Ellis are both considerations and should be good for decent yardage at least but there is nothing on the line here but the wrong things - see what you opponent looks like and stay healthy for next week in case you play the Ravens again. It is all a big risk.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CIN 12 26 7 16 10 6
Preventing Fantasy Points BAL 9 23 12 5 28 7

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Andy Dalton, CIN BAL 0000024011 ***
Dalton has but one game north of 20 fantasy points this season; the Ravens have allowed only Andrew Luck to hit that marker against them. As if it weren't a difficult enough matchup already, Dalton will likely have to make do without AJ Green once again as well. No reason to expect a significant fantasy helper here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Giovani Bernard, CIN BAL 6014300000 **
Won't be easy for Gio against a Baltimore defense that has held four straight foes without an RB TD or let a running back rack up triple-digit combo yardage since Week 2. That said, Bernard racked up 110 yards from scrimmage in the season opener against the Ravens and has found the end zone in every home game thus far this year so don't bet against him here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jeremy Hill, CIN BAL 200000000 **
There's been barely enough for one back against Baltimore; no need to reach for Cincy's second backfield option this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Mohamed Sanu, CIN BAL 005801000 **
The Ravens have allowed multiple wideouts to score and/or top 50 yards in five straight, so even if AJ Green does play Sanu should hold at least a portion of his fantasy value this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Brandon Tate, CIN BAL 002300000 ***
Update: With AJ Green doubtful Tate should get some more run this week--not necessarily enough to be a fantasy factor, but at least he'll be in the mix.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR A.J. Green, CIN BAL 002300000 *
Doesn't sound as if Green is going to go again this week, but he's productive enough when hurt that it's worth holdout out hope until he's officially ruled out.
Update: Green failed to practice all week and is listed as doubtful. Best course of action is to continue with whatever backup plan you've been using in his absence.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jermaine Gresham, CIN BAL 006500000 ***
While it's nice and all that Gresham has seen 19 targets over the past two games, he's a non-start against a Baltimore defense that's allowed only one TE TD on the year and no games north of 60 yards.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Mike Nugent, CIN BAL 2222 ***
The Nuge was shut out last week, and a Ravens' defense that's allowing less than five kicker points per game doesn't look to provide much of a bounceback opportunity.

WEEK 17
2012
ARI at SF CLE at PIT JAC at TEN OAK at SD
BAL at CIN DAL at WAS KC at DEN PHI at NYG
CAR at NO GB at MIN MIA at NE STL at SEA
  CHI at DET HOU at IND NYJ at BUF TB at ATL

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