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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 @WAS 0000024020 **
The Redskins have given up multiple touchdown passes in four straight, with two of those quarterbacks topping 370 passing yards. Romo was knocked out of the earlier meeting with Washington; if he doesn't finish this time it will be because the Cowboys have already clinched their fate--likely due to a solid fantasy helper from Romo.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB DeMarco Murray, DAL @WAS 601000000 *
Murray dominated the Redskins like no other back in the earlier meeting, with 221 yards from scrimmage. He won't likely see enough touches to match that performance as the Cowboys rest their feature back (and specifically his busted hand) for the playoffs, and he was ineffective with a reduced workload against Indy last week. He's still starter-worthy, but your expectations need to be lowered dramatically.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Joseph Randle, DAL @WAS 3002200000 ***
Randle saw his biggest workload last week (13 carries) and did little with it (37 yards). With a tougher matchup this week there's no reason to expect those numbers to trend upwards, even if Randle ends up with a larger share of the touches.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Dez Bryant, DAL @WAS 004601000 ****
Dez has scored in his last two against the Redskins; he's also scored 10 TDs in his last eight games, a streak that started with a subdued 3-30-1 against Washington. With DeMarco Murray dinged the offensive onus is on the passing game, and in turn Tony Romo leans on Dez. Start him with confidence here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Terrance Williams, DAL @WAS 003400000 ***
Williams returned to the end zone--twice--last week as the Dallas passing game picked up the slack left by the injury to DeMarco Murray. However, secondary targets rarely fare well against the Redskins--and when they do it tends to be at the expense of the primary guy. Since it's unlikely that Dez Bryant falters here, don't look for big things for Williams this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jason Witten, DAL @WAS 005501000 ***
Witten scored in the earlier meeting with Washington, and after watching the Redskins give up 15-115 to Zach Ertz last week---and 4-61-2 to Jared Cook two weeks prior to that, and 4-127-2 to Coby Fleener the week before that--you have to like Witten's chances of another big outing.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Dan Bailey, DAL @WAS 1133 ***
Bailey has been counting by ones instead of threes, with just one multiple field goal game in the past two and a half months. On the bright side, he's had at least four PATs in five of the last six games so even though the ceiling isn't high the floor isn't that low.

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 Robert Griffin III, WAS DAL 0000026011 ***
RG3 threw four TDs in his first game against the Cowboys, back in November 2012; in 57 attempts he hasn't thrown one since, though he did run for one in the back end of the 2012 series. Colt McCoy couldn't crack the Cowboys for a scoring strike (though he did run one in) in the earlier meeting this season; sensing a theme here? RG3 came close to a rushing score in Week 15, but he'll need one to be a fantasy factor this week--and he hasn't had one since that 2012 Week 17 game against Dallas.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Alfred Morris, WAS DAL 701000000 ***
Alf has scored in all five of his career meetings with the Cowboys, including a TD in the earlier meeting which, at 18-73-1, was actually his least productive effort against Dallas. The Cowboys have allowed seven RB TDs in the past five games, so Alf should have ample opportunity to extend his streak here--unless Darrel Young swipes his scores again.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR DeSean Jackson, WAS DAL 0051101000 ****
Jackson dropped 136 yards on the Cowboys in the front end of this season series, but he hasn't caught a touchdown pass against them since December of 2010--and he's been in their division for years. Bank on the yardage--DJax just posted 126 on his former mates from Philadelphia last week--but don't count on a touchdown.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Andre Roberts, WAS DAL 003500000 ***
The last time Roberts had fantasy value was right after the Redskins signed him to start opposite Pierre Garcon. Much has happened since then, none of it beneficial to Roberts' fantasy value.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Pierre Garcon, WAS DAL 004500000 ***
Garcon has shown moderate signs of life, but his biggest outing came when DeSean Jackson was out of the lineup so when the Redskins are at full strength he's clearly a second banana. Look for a first banana before settling this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jordan Reed, WAS DAL 005500000 ***
Reed split 67 yards with Niles Paul in the earlier matchup with Dallas, but he's made the tight end position his own over the past month. That makes him the most likely to take advantage of a Dallas defense that's allowed 10 TE TDs on the year as well as six games of 50-plus yards.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Kai Forbath, WAS DAL 2222 ****
Forbath has actually been adequate of late, if you're into something in the eight-point neighborhood. That seems to be the ceiling, however, so you can likely do better elsewhere.

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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