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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: MIA 13, NE 27 (Line: NE by 10)

Players to Watch: Reggie Bush, Stevan Ridley

The Patriots can win a first round bye with a win here AND a loss by either the Texans (@IND) or the Broncos (vs. KC). The 11-4 Patriots clinched the AFC East several weeks ago and are 5-2 at home. The 7-8 Dolphins are only 2-5 on the road but a win here would give them a .500 season.

This is a replay of week 13 when the Patriots won 23-16 in Miami.

Miami Dolphins
Homefield: Dolphins Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @HOU 10-30 10 TEN 3-37
2 OAK 35-13 11 @BUF 14-19
3 NYJ 20-23 12 SEA 24-21
4 @ARI 21-24 13 NE 16-23
5 @CIN 17-13 14 @SF 13-27
6 STL 17-14 15 JAC 24-3
7 BYE ----- 16 BUF 24-10
8 @NYJ 30-9 17 @NE -----
9 @IND 20-23 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
MIA @ NE Rush Catch Pass
QB Ryan Tannehill 30 210,1
WR Greg Jennings 4-50,1

Pregame Notes: The season winds down for first-year head coach Joe Philbin and his offensive coordinator Mike Sherman. It has been a minor success at least in the sense that the Dolphins have already bested their 6-10 season of 2011 and the defense has been better than most realize. Almost half of the games had their opponents held under 20 points. Sadly, almost half their games also only saw the Fins with 17 points or less.

The new offense held true to its word - it did not need a true #1 wideout like Brandon Marshall. At least it never had anything even close to Marshall and it would have been hard to imagine pairing him with the rookie Ryan Tannehill anyway. The Fins passing attack was never more than just a game managing attempt to dink and dunk. Tannehill has only 12 passing touchdowns on the year against 12 interceptions and three lost fumbles. Road games never saw more than one passing score if that. The yardage tended to be sub-200 as well outside of that freakish 431 yard game in Arizona.

Tannehill only passed for 186 yards in New England and scored once on a run.

Reggie Bush is now being reviewed by the Fins who are leaning towards resigning him in the offseason and prevent him from hitting free agency. Bosh comes off a three touchdown game against the Bills and he's been getting around 20 touches for the last three weeks with decent results. Bush only gained 64 yards on 15 runs in the previous Pats meeting. Lamar Miller was allowed ten carries in the big win over the Bills last week and he gained 73 yards but that was his first time over 20 yards in a game since week three.

Davone Bess only caught one pass in the last game with the Pats and is likely to miss this game with a back injury that kept him out the last two games. That leaves only Brian Hartline who had 84 yards on five catches and a couple of practice squadders as the primary receivers. Anthony Fasano did score in two of the last three games but has been little used and only caught one pass against the Pats.

The Pats already won in Miami and are in the running at least for a first round bye. Played in New England makes a huge difference here and the only reasonable fantasy play is Reggie Bush for moderate yardage. The Pats may be weak on defense, but not as weak as the offense for the Fins.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points MIA 28 5 30 31 27 25
Preventing Fantasy Points NE 30 13 27 30 11 2

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Ryan Tannehill, MIA NE 0000023011 ***
No way can the mercurial Tannehill be trusted. He threw for 300 yards in the earlier meeting with the Pats and topped that number last week but hasn't had a multiple touchdown tame since Week 12. With New England still looking to lock down home field advantage, they won't be mailing this one in; the same can't be said for the Dolphins.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jay Ajayi, MIA NE 2001100000 ***
At this juncture all Ajayi is doing is sabotaging what little fantasy value Lamar Miller brings to the table each week. Let's hope the Dolphins resolve this situation in the offseason so we don't have another year of this.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jarvis Landry, MIA NE 006801000 ***
Landry is always a PPR helper, but that's been about all you can bank on of late. Still, volume often leads to upside.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR DeVante Parker, MIA NE 005700000 ***
Parker has taken over Rishard Matthews' gig, and it was Matthews who saw the most WR targets in the earlier meeting with New England. Plus it's been bigger receivers--Brandon Marshall, Dorial Green-Beckham--who have put up the best numbers against the Patriots secondary. So there's a chance Parker falls into some fantasy relevancy this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jordan Cameron, MIA NE 003300000 ***
Cameron hasn't topped 35 yards since Week 2 and hasn't scored since Week 11. He's too lightly used to threaten the Patriots, as his earlier 2-34 against them suggests.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Andrew Franks, MIA NE 1111 ***
Multiple treys in
three of 15 games this year
thanks for nothing, Franks

New England Patriots
Homefield: Gillette Stadium
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @TEN 34-13 10 BUF 37-31
2 ARI 18-20 11 IND 59-24
3 @BAL 30-31 12 @NYJ 49-19
4 @BUF 52-28 13 @MIA 23-16
5 DEN 31-21 14 HOU 42-14
6 @SEA 23-24 15 SF 34-41
7 NYJ 29-26 16 @JAC 23-16
8 @STL 45-7 17 MIA -----
9 BYE ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
NE vs MIA Rush Catch Pass
QB Tom Brady 280,2
WR Danny Amendola 5-40
WR Nate Washington 4-50
TE Martellus Bennett 4-40
PK Stephen Gostkowski 2 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The Patriots are still in the running for a first round bye but need help to get there and that's at least unlikely. But the Patriots have a history of not taking games off for any reason and with the chance for a bye - they'll all be in this game. Perhaps not Rob Gronkowski who has been out since week 11 with a broken forearm. He has been practicing on a limited basis and the Pats we'll never say more than his serial number but he's no better than a game-time decision this week.

Tom Brady actually had his least productive game of the year when he went to Miami and threw only 238 yards and one score. It was his only single touchdown game since week three. Brady has scored in every game this year but has been less productive in recent weeks because the run has worked well. Brady passed for over 300 yards only once in the last four games.

Now that Brandon Bolden is back, Shane Vereen apparently went tumbling back on the depth chart. But throw in Danny Woodhead in with the constant of Steven Ridley and the backfield is always changing from week to week at least in who relieves Ridley and takes third down duty. Ridley was on a six game scoring streak until the 49ers showed up and he bounced back in week 16 with 84 yards on 18 carries in Jacksonville.

Ridley is the only reliable part of the backfield and ran for 71 yards and a score on 19 carries in Miami this year.

Aaron Hernandez had his season best 97 yards on eight catches in the Miami game and more encouraging is that he's scored in both of the most recent home games.

Since Julian Edelman left, Brandon Lloyd has regained fantasy value with at least 60 yards in each game and a score in the home game versus the Texans. Wes Welker caught 12 passes for 103 yards and one score in Miami as he usually does when he faces his old team. The Patriots will take this game with a balanced approach but the Dolphins are likely to struggle on offense and with a lower score of the opponent, Brady and the passing effort won't have to work too hard against a decent secondary.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NE 3 2 13 1 1 2
Preventing Fantasy Points MIA 15 6 13 11 21 18

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Tom Brady, NE @MIA 0000027020 ***
Brady stumbled against the Jets last week, but he'll get back on his horse against a Miami defense he gouged for 356 and 4 earlier this year. That's the difference between facing a top-10 pass defense (the Jets) and a bottom-10 pass defense (the Dolphins).
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB James White, NE @MIA 2015401000 **
Pass catching backs have fared well against the Phins, including Dion Lewis' 6-93-1 in the earlier meeting. Four other backs have topped 50 receiving yards in the past 10 games against Miami, and White has receiving scores in two straight and three of four so he's the favorite to take advantage.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Brandon Bolden, NE @MIA 4003300000 ***
Bolden saw more carries than Steven Jackson last week, but that's no guarantee the ratio stays the same for this far more favorable matchup. Good luck guessing Bill Belichick's intentions.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Donald Brown, NE @MIA 3002100000 ***
The Broncos have given up one RB TD in the past month, and no back has topped 70 yards since Week 9. Brown's share of the workload was enough at home against the Dolphins; in Denver, not so much.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Chris Hogan, NE @MIA 005600000 ***
The Jets' secondary is elite once again after getting Darrell Revis back from injury. They've given up one WR TD in three games, with no wingman game better than 53 yards. That's your upside for Hogan.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Nate Washington, NE @MIA 004500000 ***
Washington is playing a solid wingman role, though the Jags haven't allowed multiple wideouts to score in a game since Week 12 and only twice has a wingman topped 60 yards since Cecil Shorts had 63 in DeAndre Hopkins' shadow back in Week 6. Temper expectations accordingly.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Keshawn Martin, NE @MIA 003400000 ***
Martin may end up being the healthiest Patriots receiver. Last week that was good for 68 yards in a tough matchup. This week, in a far more favorable matchup, he'd actually warrant fantasy attention. We'll hopefully know more about the injury stats of all of New England's receivers later in the week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Rob Gronkowski, NE @MIA 006801000 ***
Gronk has scored in three straight, four of five, and six of eight against the Dolphins. That includes 6-113-1 earlier this year. No reason to doubt him here.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Stephen Gostkowski, NE @MIA 2233 ***
Teams counting by ones
against Phins; should still be points
galore for Gosty

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

a d v e r t i s e m e n t