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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
vs Rush Catch Pass
RB Darren McFadden 50 3-20
RB Alfred Morris 110,1 1-10
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 Dak Prescott, DAL @PHI 0000020011 *
Prescott probably will be pulled at some point with nothing on the line for the No. 1-seeded Cowboys. Chancing just how much he plays is a risky choice to make.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Darren McFadden, DAL @PHI 701000000 ***
McFadden is a reasonable play in the upcoming week with Dallas likely to rest Ezekiel Elliott most if not all of the game. DMC faces a Philly defense that has allowed 130.6 offensive yards and the third most receptions (6.0) per game to RBs since Week 11.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Ezekiel Elliott, DAL @PHI 4001100000 *
Elliott barely saw the ball in the second half last week and may have an extremely small role in this one, if any at all.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Dez Bryant, DAL @PHI 004600000 *
Dez went for 113 and a TD on four catches in Week 8's matchup. The Eagles rate as the second easiest to exploit this go-around, but just how much Bryant will play is cause for concern.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Cole Beasley, DAL @PHI 005500000 **
The matchup is great -- the second best for PPR receivers, in fact -- but not only has Beasley been alarmingly quiet lately, he didn't fare well (4-53-0) in the first meeting. The Cowboys may choose to rest many key players, too.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Terrance Williams, DAL @PHI 002300000 ***
Williams could have a larger role this week, and while the matchup is great, starting him to find out isn't the wisest move.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jason Witten, DAL @PHI 002301000 *
Witten probably won't play much in this one. Dallas has nothing on the line as a fixed No. 1 seed. The Eagles continue to be one of the worst matchups for the position, but there's a reasonable chance Witten can find the end zone. Play him without better options.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Dan Bailey, DAL @PHI 3311 ***
The Eagles have granted the 10th largest average of extra points (2.6) and fifth most field goal tries per game (2.6). More than 92 percent of all kicks faced have scored since Week 11.

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
vs Rush Catch Pass
WR Terrelle Pryor Sr. 10,1 150
TE Vernon Davis 2-20

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 Kirk Cousins, WAS NYG 0000030021 ***
In the past five games, the Giants have allowed a five TDs while picking off as many passes. This rates as one of the 10 worst matchups for Week 17. Cousins has the slight benefit of New York probably resting some of its key players since there is nothing on the line. He passed for 296 yards and a pair of scores in Week 3.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Robert Kelley, WAS NYG 6012100000 **
"Fat Rob" may have slim pickings against the Giants this week if they don't rest starters. New York has given up only one TD in the last 144 touches to RBs. With the Giants having nothing to play for, it isn't a bad time to toss Kelley out there.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Chris Thompson, WAS NYG 2003200000 ***
Thompson isn't a reliable play and faces a tough matchup. The Giants may rest starters, but this group has allowed one offensive score to RBs in the last 144 touches faced.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Brian Quick, WAS NYG 005501000 **
Quick has fringe appeal for deep leagues. He isn't a volume receiver, and the quarterback play is sketchy. At least the matchup is worthwhile.

Update: Kenny Britt is doubtful, which makes Quick a playable option against the best matchup of the week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Terrelle Pryor Sr., WAS NYG 005500000 **
Pryor faces a tough matchup and perhaps a tougher battle with his own team's quarterback woes. He's merely a flex against Pittsburgh this week. He caught a 5-97-0 line in Week 11 versus the Steelers, so there is a little hope.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jamison Crowder, WAS NYG 004500000 **
Crowder has fallen on hard times lately, and trusting him for a huge game is a bit much. The Giants should rest some starters, so there is some hope. Otherwise, this is a tough opponent for his position.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Vernon Davis, WAS NYG 003300000 ***
Davis will split work with the ailing Jordan Reed in what isn't the best of matchups. Just one of the last 27 catches by his position has scored on the Giants. Look for help elsewhere.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jordan Reed, WAS NYG 001200000 *
Reed will gut it out once more with a playoff berth on the line. There isn't much reason to risk it. The Giants have allowed only one of the last 27 catches by tight ends to cross the stripe.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Dustin Hopkins, WAS NYG 2233 ***
This is the second lowest opportunity rating for kicking chances in Week 17. New York has provided just three opportunities for both XPA and FGA combined in the last five weeks.

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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