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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: DAL 23, WAS 24 (Line: WAS by 3)

Players to Watch: Tony Romo, Pierre Garcon, Alfred Morris

This is the late game on Sunday and it has enough intrigue to make it worth watching. The announcers get another chance at prime time to slobber over Robert Griffin III and this game decides several things. If the Cowboys win, they take the NFC East title which says more about how bad the East is this year than how good the Cowboys are. If they lose, they are out plain and simple. The Redskins can win the NFC East with a victory here but a loss could still result in a wildcard if both the Bears (@DET) and the Vikings (@GB) both lose. Since this is the final late game, both teams know exactly what the case will be before playing.

This is a replay of week 12 when the Redskins won 38-31 in Dallas.

Dallas Cowboys
Homefield: Cowboys Stadium
RealGrass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @NYG 24-17 10 @PHI 38-23
2 @SEA 7-27 11 CLE 23-20
3 TB 16-10 12 WAS 31-38
4 CHI 18-34 13 PHI 38-33
5 BYE ----- 14 @CIN 20-19
6 @BAL 29-31 15 PIT 27-24
7 @CAR 19-14 16 NO 31-34
8 NYG 24-29 17 @WAS -----
9 @ATL 13-19 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
DAL @ WAS Rush Catch Pass
QB Tony Romo 320,2
RB DeMarco Murray 50 4-30
WR Dez Bryant 6-100,1
TE Jason Witten 8-70,1
PK Dan Bailey 3 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The Cowboys are 3-1 in December which is opposite their typical results in previous years. The normal December slide was overcome in part because of a scheduling quirk that allowed them five home games in the last six weeks and both the Eagles and Steelers having fallen on hard times. The offense is scoring well and just last week Tony Romo could have had a legendary game when he brought the team back from 14 points down to overtime but once again the defense lost it for them. The loss of linebackers and safeties have been the bane of the defense.

Romo has been playing in top form lately but then again - almost all home games. Romo threw 12 touchdowns over the last four home games. He's only thrown five touchdowns over the last four road games. At home he had seven straight games over 300 yards. On the road, he had only one in the last six away venues. Romo passed for a season high 441 yards and three scores when the Skins visited in week 12.

DeMarco Murray missed six games this year and hasn't topped 100 rush yards since the season opener. He has been more involved as a receiver with four catches in each of the last four games. In week 12, Felix Jones was the starter but only ran for 14 yards on six carries and added 47 yards and one score as a receiver.

Jason Witten has already set the NFL record for tight end receptions this year and logged nine catches for 74 yards in the last meeting with the Skins.

Dez Bryant is on a seven game scoring streak and recorded eight receptions for 145 yards and two scores against the Skins this year. Miles Austin was held to no catches while Dwayne Harris (4-71) and Cole Beasley (7-68).

The Cowboys are 4-3 away from home but have a history of late season chokes. But that doesn't mean there won't be nice fantasy points along the way. This will move to the air sooner than later and the weather is not supposed to be bad other than a bit cold.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DAL 7 24 3 9 11 24
Preventing Fantasy Points WAS 29 11 30 31 19 1

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Tony Romo, DAL PHI 0000027030 ***
Romo has six 300-yard games in his last 11 against Philly and has seven TDs in two games since returning from his back injury. The Eagles have given up multiple TD tosses in every game except one this year, and this one isn't shaping up to be an exception to that trend.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB DeMarco Murray, DAL PHI 12014300000 ****
Even if Murray doesn't get to triple-digit yardage--and there's no reason he shouldn't--he can pad his number with a score against a Philly D that's allowed RB TDs in five straight games.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Dez Bryant, DAL PHI 0071102000 ***
Bryant's last four against the Eagles have resulted in 394 yards and four TDs. Coming off back-to-back two-TD efforts, he's a money play against a Philly D that's allowed nine WR TDs and five 100-yard efforts in their past five games.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Terrance Williams, DAL PHI 002300000 ***
In theory Williams should be a good start against a Philly D that's allowed nine WR TDs and five 100-yard efforts in just the past five games. However, he's playing with a busted finger and ceding looks to Cole Beasley, so there's a ceiling to his upside.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jason Witten, DAL PHI 005501000 ***
Witten roasted Philly for 12-135 the last time they visited Dallas--and 6-108 the visit before. He's scored in two straight, three of four and four of six and is a solid fantasy play against an Eagles D that's allowed two 100-yard games to TEs in the past three weeks.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Dan Bailey, DAL PHI 2244 ***
Bailey's been a consistent mid-tier point producer--never fewer than five in any game this season, a solid average of eight per game this year--and the upside of a points cornucopia with Philly on Thanksgiving makes him that much more enticing.

Washington Redskins
Homefield: FedEx Field
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @NO 40-32 10 BYE -----
2 @STL 28-31 11 PHI 31-6
3 CIN 31-38 12 @DAL 38-31
4 @TB 24-22 13 NYG 17-16
5 ATL 17-24 14 BAL 31-28
6 MIN 38-26 15 @CLE 38-21
7 @NYG 23-27 16 @PHI 27-20
8 @PIT 12-27 17 DAL -----
9 CAR 13-21 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
WAS vs DAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Robert Griffin III 50 240,2
RB Alfred Morris 110,1 1-10
WR Pierre Garcon 7-90,1
WR Santana Moss 4-40,1
TE Logan Paulsen 2-20
PK Kai Forbath 1 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The Redskins are on a six game winning streak since leaving their bye - a big change from being 3-6 and just an afterthought. A win there and the Skins are the title holders of the NFC East and RG3 will have already cemented his name in Skins lore. The change has been interesting since the Skins were consistently not good enough in the early games and now have been winning all the close ones. Encouraging too is that they are winning with less rushing from Griffin and more success passing to the wide receivers.

Griffin had his best fantasy game of the year when he threw for 304 yards and four scores in Dallas. That mostly happened with a wild 28 point second quarter that included two passing scores over 58 yards each and the Cowboys lost a fumble and an interception that led to Redskin scores.

Alfred Morris also ran for 113 yards on 24 carries in that game with one touchdown. He has been good for either a touchdown or 100+ rushing yards in every game since if not both. Morris completely stepped up starting with the game in Dallas and has scored five times over these last five games.

That game was also when Pierre Garcon came roaring back and proceeded to score in the next two games as well as in Dallas where he had 86 yards on four catches. Santana Moss scored once as well on his 42 yards on four receptions. Aldrick Robinson scored on a 68 yard catch that week. That game was all about the second quarter when it all fell apart for the Cowboys who battled back and came up short while holding the Skins to 10 points in the second half compared to 28 for Dallas.

The weakness of the Cowboys defense is more up the middle so Morris should see success this week and be relied on to control the game. Griffin only threw four scores over the last three games that he has played since the Dallas meeting. This game should end up close throughout and hopefully becomes a shootout later on.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points WAS 2 15 10 26 12 10
Preventing Fantasy Points DAL 12 21 20 24 26 22

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Colt McCoy, WAS @IND 30000023011 ***
Tough to see McCoy carving out fantasy value here. Indy's not nearly as soft a touch as the Cowboys, who McCoy threw for 299 yards and added a rushing touchdown against. If that's his upside, expectations should be lowered significantly here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Alfred Morris, WAS @IND 9011100000 ***
Morris has 90-plus yards in three straight as the Redskins start to lean on him more. We've seen grinders have success against Indy--think of Jonas Gray's 37-201-4--and you have to believe the Washington game plan calls for a whole lot more Morris than it does Colt McCoy.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Roy Helu, WAS @IND 1005500000 ***
Helu is still a viable option in larger PPR leagues, but his workload clearly takes a back seat to Alfred Morris--and that makes his fantasy value tenuous at best.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR DeSean Jackson, WAS @IND 006800000 ***
Colt McCoy surprisingly kept DJax relevant during his brief tenure at the helm, so no need to write Jackson off this week just because you doubt Colt's arm.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Pierre Garcon, WAS @IND 003300000 ***
Garcon hasn't been fantasy relevant in a month and took a back seat to DeSean Jackson with Colt McCoy at the helm; we have no reason to think things will change here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Andre Roberts, WAS @IND 002300000 ***
Roberts is the third wheel on what is shaping up to be either a bicycle or maybe even a unicycle of a Washington passing game.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Niles Paul, WAS @IND 002201000 **
The Colts have allowed four TE TDs in the past four weeks, and with Jordan Reed still hobbled Paul should see the bulk of the targets. The last time Colt McCoy was under center Washington TEs saw 10 targets, so it's a definite opportunity for Paul this week.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Kai Forbath, WAS @IND 1122 ***
The Colts have allowed multiple field goal attempts just once in the last eight games and only twice all season, so Forbath isn't likely to have much of an opportunity to swing the leg this week.

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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