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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 Jay Cutler 240,2
QB Brian Hoyer 180
WR Alshon Jeffery 4-50,1
TE Logan Paulsen 2-20
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 Matt Barkley, CHI @DET 0000024012 ***
Barkley has no place in a fantasy lineup this week. The Lions rate as the second worst matchup for quarterbacks in Week 14. This has been the stingiest defense for scoring TDs against in the last five weeks.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jordan Howard, CHI @DET 7003300000 ***
Detroit gives up a ton of catches to running backs and the 13th most offensive yards per game when using data over the last five weeks. This is a neutral-leaning matchup for non-receiving types. The Lions have allowed three touchdowns on the ground all season.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Cameron Meredith, CHI @DET 004501000 ***
Only two of the past 61 receptions faced have scored against Detroit. The Lions have allowed the sixth most receptions, though, so even if Meredith doesn't score, he has a decent shot at PPR production.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Joshua Bellamy, CHI @DET 004600000 ***
Bellamy came to life last week with four catches for 93 yards, plus a 12-yard run. Don't get overly excited, though, as the Lions have put the clamps on wideouts. This is the least likely defense to allow a touchdown in Week 14 when using data over the last five weeks.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Deonte Thompson, CHI @DET 004500000 ***
Thompson has no value, especially if Marquess Wilson and/or Eddie Royal suit up in Week 14.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Marquess Wilson, CHI @DET 00000000 *
Check back Friday for more details on Wilson's expected availability.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Eddie Royal, CHI @DET 00000000 *
Royal's status will be more apparent with Friday's injury report.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Daniel Brown, CHI @DET 003200000 ***
The matchup is great, but the risk is, too. Start him only if you must and hope for the best. This is a conservative projection.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Connor Barth, CHI @DET 2211 ***
Kickers have nailed seven of eight field goal kicks since Week 8, but Detroit has allowed only six extra point chances (four of which were good). That combines for one of the lowest ratings for combined kicking tries in the NFL.

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
RB Joique Bell 6-50
WR Anquan Boldin 7-80
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 20000031020 ***
After weeks of playing the role of game manager, Stafford came out slinging in Week 13. The Bears have allowed touchdown passes at the sixth most lenient rate, but this is the second stingiest defense for yards granted in the last five weeks.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Theo Riddick, DET CHI 5005300000 ***
Riddick faces one of the worst matchups for giving up catches to running backs. Chicago has yielded just 3.8 for 32 yards a game in the last five weeks. The last time they played, he caught four balls for 27 yards.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Dwayne Washington, DET CHI 3001100000 ***
The matchup is neutral, but Washington doesn't belong in any lineup, especially with the playoffs upon us.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Golden Tate, DET CHI 007701000 ***
Tate has reemerged as Matthew Stafford's top receivers, and the he has the luxury of playing fantasy's 11th most generous matchup for scoring touchdowns. The Bears have given up the sixth highest points per play to receivers, as well, in the last four games.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Anquan Boldin, DET CHI 005601000 ***
Chicago has given up a touchdown catch every 11 receptions but otherwise rates as a negative matchup. That sounds right up Boldin's alley.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Marvin Jones Jr., DET CHI 004500000 ***
Jones was a late scratch last week and is uncertain for Week 14. Return Friday for more clarity. He was limited in Wednesday's practice, which is somewhat encouraging.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Eric Ebron, DET CHI 004500000 ***
Chicago is the second best defense at limiting TE touchdowns in the last five weeks, but this is a neutral matchup for yards and receptions in PPR scoring.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Matt Prater, DET CHI 2233 ***
This is a neutral matchup, although it leans positive for Prater. The Bears have allowed the 12th most fantasy points per game on the 14th highest number of combined kicks per contest.

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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