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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 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 Kellen Moore, DAL WAS 0000019011 ***
Matt Cassel threw for 222 yards and zero TDs in the earlier meeting with Washington, and we've seen nothing from Moore to make us think things will be any better here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Darren McFadden, DAL WAS 10011100000 *
McFadden has 35 carries for 199 yards in two Kellen Moore starts and is averaging seven yards per carry with 310 rushing yards over the previous three games. The Cowboys will have to lean on him once again, moreso than the 14-53-1 he saw in Washington a month ago. Given the way he's running, he's a solid bet for more.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Alfred Morris, DAL WAS 7011100000 ***
With Matt Jones sidelined Morris has a clearer path to carries; against a Cowboys defense that's given up 426 rushing yards the past three games--at better than five yards a carry--that volume leads to fantasy opportunity.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Cole Beasley, DAL WAS 005401000 **
Beasley has the most recent TD by an active Cowboys receiver--and it came back in Week 12. He's third among active wideouts in targets from Kellen Moore, making him an afterthought in a low-octane passing game; that's a tough role to create fantasy value from.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Terrance Williams, DAL WAS 003500000 **
With no Dez Bryant it's Williams' time to shine. However, with Kellen Moore at QB it'll be tough for him to capitalize against a Washington defense that's allowed WR1s to score and top 100 yards in three straight and four of the last five--the only exception being the earlier Cowboys/Redskins tilt.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jason Witten, DAL WAS 004400000 **
Witten is averaging a shade over 30 yards per game with Kellen Moore at the helm, and he still hasn't scored since Week 1. No reason to expect that slump to end here.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Dan Bailey, DAL WAS 1111 ***
Four treys vs. Redskins
with Cassel at quarterback
You trust Kellen Moore?

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 Pierre Garcon 7-90,1
TE Vernon Davis 2-20
TE Logan Paulsen 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 @DAL 0000018000 *
Cousins finally shook off the road woes with last week's 365 and 4 in Philly, but the Cowboys haven't allowed a 300-yard passer since Drew Brees in Week 4--or a 300-yard passer in Dallas since Drew Brees in Week 4 of last year. Dallas has also held four of five and eight of 10 quarterbacks to one or zero TDs, so you may not like this week's Cousins nearly as much as previous versions.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jamison Crowder, WAS @DAL 004500000 ***
Whatever fantasy relevance Crowder had departed when DeSean Jackson returned to the lineup, and the Cowboys don't give up nearly enough to wideouts to dig this deep into the depth chart.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Pierre Garcon, WAS @DAL 003400000 ***
Since DJax arrived in DC Garcon has been an afterthought against the Cowboys--three games of 54 yards or less with no TDs, a far cry from his 11-144-1 in his last DJax-free meeting with the Cowboys. He's still a wingman, and wingmen have been largely quiet against Dallas.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR DeSean Jackson, WAS @DAL 002300000 *
In three games as a Redskin Jackson has produced lines of 6-80-1, 2-86-1 and 6-136 against the Cowboys. Don't expect big numbers against a Dalls defense that hasn't allowed a 100-yard receiver since Week 10 and just three WR TDs in that six-game span, but WR1s have been checking in consistently in the 70-80 yard range so there's a baseline with upside for DJax.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jordan Reed, WAS @DAL 002300000 *
Reed has been unstoppable of late, with 25 catches 333 yards and five TDs in the past three games. Prior to that run Dallas held him to 3-33, easily his worst fantasy game of the season. Can the Cowboys do it again? Only one TE has topped 50 yards against them in the past eight games and only two tight ends have scored in that span, so temper expectations accordingly.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Dustin Hopkins, WAS @DAL 2111 ***
Nothing to play for,
so settling for field goals
not such a bad thing

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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