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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: CHI 27, DET 17 (Line: CHI by 3)

Players to Watch: Calvin Johnson

The Bears are still in the hunt for the final NFC wildcard though they will need some help to get there. That makes this remake of the week seven win in Detroit still have NFL meaning instead of just being a vehicle to see if Calvin Johnson can break 2,000 receiving yards for the first time in history. Nothing would make the Lions happier though they are on a seven game losing streak.

Chicago Bears
Homefield: Soldier Field
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 IND 41-21 10 HOU 6-13
2 @GB 10-23 11 @SF 7-32
3 STL 23-6 12 MIN 28-10
4 @DAL 34-18 13 SEA 17-23
5 @JAC 41-3 14 @MIN 14-21
6 BYE ----- 15 GB 13-21
7 DET 13-7 16 @ARI 28-13
8 CAR 23-22 17 @DET -----
9 @TEN 51-20 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
CHI @ DET Rush Catch Pass
QB Mark Sanchez 170
WR Kendall Wright 2-30
PK Connor Barth 1 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The Bears offense has sputtered most of the year thanks mostly to a terrible offensive line and then an injury to Jay Cutler who plays the part of a tackling dummy in most games. This is a must-win and thankfully comes against a team that the Bears have beaten in eight of the last nine meetings. The defense has struggled in recent weeks but Brian Urlacher could be back which would help. But the offense has always been about only two players - Matt Forte and Brandon Marshall.

Forte aggravated his right ankle injury last week and had to wear a walking boot. He is optimistic that he can play and since this is a gotta-win event, he'll be there if at all possible. He already rushed for 96 yards on 22 carries at home versus the Lions and added three catches for four yards. The Bears would have to rely on Kahlil Bell otherwise along with Armando Allen. Even a banged up Forte is better than those options.

Cutler passed for only 150 yards and one score in the previous meeting and was sacked the obligatory five times. Cutler has been good for a touchdown every week he played but his yardage has rarely topped 200 in recent weeks and he is not playing 100% healthy anyway.

Alshon Jeffrey is the clear #2 wideout here and yet that is still true despite the one catch he totaled over the last two weeks. Like Megatron on the other side of the field, Marshall is the beginning and end of the passing game and already stung the Lions for one touchdown on his six catches for 81 yards in week seven. He is currently on a three game scoring streak and has 11 touchdowns on the season along with seven 100+ yard games. He's already caught 113 passes for 1466 yards. This has been a remarkable year that has exceeded all expectations for Marshall even if his success comes literally at the expense of all other receivers.

This is a must win which means as heavy of a dose of Marshall and Forte as they can get away with. Outside of those two, there are no decent fantasy plays on this team.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CHI 26 16 15 32 20 1
Preventing Fantasy Points DET 19 8 23 23 24 28

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Mitchell Trubisky, CHI DET 0000019010 ***
Trubisky showed a little life last week. Detroit, though, has given up only four TD passes, while intercepting as many, in the past four games. Remove two rushing TDs and this goes from being the 12th-best matchup of the week to the 12th-worst.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jordan Howard, CHI DET 11011100000 ***
Howard takes on the Lions' porous rushing defense. This group has permitted 114 rushing yards (6th-most) and a rushing TD every 19.6 carries, which is the second-highest frequency. Through the air, backs have gone for 6.0 catches for 37.3 yards. None of the 24 catches since Week 5 have scored.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Benny Cunningham, CHI DET 1003200000 ***
Cunningham played nearly 50 percent of the snaps last week and appears to have solidly taken over for Tarik Cohen. It's somewhat interesting that Cohen's downfall began when Mitchell Trubisky took over. At any rate, Detroit is a midrange defense for receiving backs. Look elsewhere for a better reward play.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Dontrelle Inman, CHI DET 004401000 **
Inman showed progress the last two years with the Chargers but was the odd man out with the Mike Williams selection. He had not played since Week 4 of this year but returned to finish with six catches for 88 yards on eight targets vs. Green Bay. The Lions have surrendered 12.5 catches (9th most), 164.3 yards (11th) and a TD every 16.7 receptions (22nd).
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kendall Wright, CHI DET 004500000 ***
Wright has seen eight targets in each of the past two contests but hasn't managed to do anything with them. Those looks have resulted in just seven catches for 69 yards. Detroit is a borderline matchup. Play him at your own risk.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Joshua Bellamy, CHI DET 002300000 **
Bellamy was targeted seven times last week, catching two for 57 and a score. He's a wild gamble in any format. The Lions have given up top-11 figures for yardage and catches but only three WR TDs in the last four games.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Tre McBride III, CHI DET 002300000 *
McBride doesn't belong on any fantasy rosters at this time.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Adam Shaheen, CHI DET 002300000 ***
Detroit has been dominant against tight ends lately, giving up only three catches per contest since Week 5. The rookie tight end doesn't belong on anyone's radar right now.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Connor Barth, CHI DET 1122 ***
Detroit squeaks into negative territory for Week 11 kicker matchups. The position has averaged 7.3 fantasy points, mostly generated by making 3.5 PATs a game. Five of the six total field goals since Week 5 have been true.

Detroit Lions
Homefield: Ford Field
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 STL 27-23 10 @MIN 24-34
2 @SF 19-27 11 GB 20-24
3 @TEN 41-44 12 HOU 31-34
4 MIN 13-20 13 IND 33-35
5 BYE ----- 14 @GB 20-27
6 @PHI 26-23 15 @ARI 10-38
7 @CHI 7-13 16 ATL 18-31
8 SEA 28-24 17 CHI -----
9 @JAC 31-14 ----- ----- -----
News | Stats | Roster
DET vs CHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Matthew Stafford 320,1
WR Marvin Jones Jr. 4-60,1
WR Golden Tate 4-40
PK Matt Prater 1 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: it is fortunate that the season is winding down with Calvin Johnson setting an all-time NFL record because there would be little else worth noting. The offense has never taken off as it did in 2011 and once again suffered through not only rampant injuries but even had a receiver who somehow decided intentionally sabotaging plays was a good idea. The rushing game never saw Jahvid Best return but was able to squeeze an average year from Mikel Leshoure.

There are parts to build on for next year though Titus Young has played his last for the Lions if in the NFL at all. Nate Burleson was lost in week seven and Ryan Broyles was encouraging until he blew out his knee again. Broyles was a star in Oklahoma and should have been a lock for a nice NFL career but his knees apparently are going to stay in the way.

And yet through it all, Calvin Johnson has been amazing since the defenses all know exactly what is going to happen and yet they cannot stop him. Megatron has topped 100 yards in each of the last eight games and caught 10+ passes for the last four weeks. He gained 225 yards against the Falcons last week to break Jerry Rice's record. Now he only needs 108 yards yards to break 2,000 at home in front of all his fans in a season otherwise bleak and meaningless. And what is even better is that everyone has been happy for him and believes he deserves the accolades.

After seven straight losses and now facing a top 5 defense, the chance the Lions could pull off a trap win is hard to expect but outside of the Chicago area, this game will be watched just to see Johnson for the last time this year and likely securing what some thought could never be accomplished.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DET 8 12 6 7 6 28
Preventing Fantasy Points CHI 4 3 11 3 3 20

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Matthew Stafford, DET @CHI 10000028010 ***
Chicago has been stout vs. QBs, giving up only one TD pass in the last four games (86 completions). That is the stiffest rate in football. Four interceptions and 225.5 yards allowed later, this is the third-worst opponent of the week. Stafford averaged a modest 17 fantasy points vs. the Bears in last year's two games.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Ameer Abdullah, DET @CHI 5011100000 ***
The Bears rank as the 10th-easiest defense for gaining rushing yards and racking up rushing TDs. Abdullah could turn in a decent game, if you're willing to take the risk. This one is probably much closer to being a coin toss than a lock.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Theo Riddick, DET @CHI 1005500000 ***
Chicago's defense has granted running backs 6.5 receptions (8th) and the 17th-highest average (42.3) aerial yards. None of the 26 catches permitted since Week 5 have found the end zone.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Golden Tate, DET @CHI 005801000 ***
Tate is always the safest bet among Detroit's receiving corps. The Bears, though, won't be a friendly opponent. Since Week 5, only one time has a reception gone into the end zone. That's 42 catches worth. Chicago is the eighth-hardest opponent in PPR and seventh-worst in standard. He generated a total of just 12.8 PPR points in two games last year.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Marvin Jones Jr., DET @CHI 005700000 ***
Jones' streak of quality play game to a crashing halt last week. It may need to wait a week before getting back on course. The Bears rate as the eighth-best defense of the position and have allowed only one TD in the last four games, spanning 41 catches. He was good for 12.4 and 10.7 PPR points in the two 2016 meetings.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kenny Golladay, DET @CHI 002400000 ***
Golladay returned last week but is hard to bank on in fantasy. Consider him nothing more than a contrarian play in huge DFS contests.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Eric Ebron, DET @CHI 003300000 ***
Chicago is the second-worst matchup of the week, and Ebron might as well be the second-worst tight end of the year.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Matt Prater, DET @CHI 2222 ***
Chicago offers a midrange matchup. Fourteen of the 15 kicks have been good, and the best part is nine of them were field goals. The volume prevents this from being an elite matchup.

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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