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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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CONFERENCE
CHAMPIONSHIPS
2012
SF at ATL BAL at NE

Prediction: BAL 24, NE 31 (Line: NE by 9)

This ends up to be a replay of week three when the Ravens won 31-30 in Baltimore when they scored ten points in the final four minutes including the game winning field goal as time expired. The Patriots are a big favorite here as was Denver last week. And Tom Brady is 3-0 in homefield AFC Championship games and 6-2 at home. The Ravens are only 5-4 on the road this year but apparently have replaced the Seahawks as the dark horse in this race. This is also a replay of the AFC Championship game last year when the Pats won 23-20 at home.

Baltimore Ravens
Homefield: M&T Bank Stadium
Sport Turf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 CIN 44-13 10 OAK 55-20
2 @PHI 23-24 11 @PIT 13-10
3 NE 31-30 12 @SD 16-13
4 CLE 23-16 13 PIT 20-23
5 @KC 9-6 14 @WAS 28-31
6 DAL 31-29 15 DEN 17-34
7 @HOU 13-43 16 NYG 33-14
8 BYE ----- 17 @CIN 17-23
9 @CLE 25-15 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
BALTIMORE Rush Catch Pass
QB Joe Flacco - - 270,2
RB Ray Rice 70,1 4-30 -
TE Dennis Pitta - 5-40,1 -
WR Anquan Boldin - 4-40 -
WR Jacoby Jones - 2-60 -
WR Torrey Smith - 5-90,1 -
PK Justin Tucker 1 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: Timing is everything. Joe Flacco waited until the Divisional Round to finally have a decent game away from home. He averaged only 203 yards away from home and scored just seven times in seven road games. Last week in Denver against what was a top defense, Flacco tossed three touchdowns and 331 yards. That final 70-yard touchdown with 31 seconds left did help his stats.

The only other really good game that Flacco produced all year was back in week three when these Patriots came to town and he passed for 382 yards and three touchdowns while he mounted a comeback to take the win at the final gun. Basing his projection on those two games, he should be a cinch for big yardage and three scores. It may not be that 1:1 since last week was a huge variation from what Flacco normally did on the road and the Pats have added LCB Aqib Talib who has honestly made a difference and would match on Anquan Boldin on most plays.

Flacco passed for 306 yards and two scores in New England last January.

Bernard Pierce aggravated a knee injury against the Broncos and wasn't able to finish the game. Ray Rice turned in his best rushing effort of the entire season last week when he ran for 131 yards and a score on a season high 30 carries. He ran for 101 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries in the last meeting with the Pats and added five catches for 49 yards.

Rice ran for 67 yards on 21 carries in New England last January.

The Patriots have been better against the run when at home where no runner has topped 90 yards (Arian Foster last week) and only two runners (both Foster) scored there since week 11.

In the previous meeting with the Pats, Boldin was held to only four catches for 48 yards and draws Talib this time. Jacoby Jones caught three passes for a season best 86 yards and had never scored or topped 54 yards in any successive game until last week when he caught the 70-yard score. Torrey Smith was the best receiver with six receptions for 127 yards and two scores in his best fantasy game of the entire season. Smith gained 82 yards and a score in New England in January of last year.

This time the game is played in New England and the Pats are better against the run and pass when at home. But the Ravens are the wild card in the playoffs. They should not have done what they did in Denver - but it happened. Still, Brady and Belichick at home for a AFC Championship game has always been a tough place to play and last year

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points BAL 18 10 19 10 9 14
Preventing Fantasy Points NE 30 8 26 29 7 2

 

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 28-0
9 BYE ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
NEW ENGLAND Rush Catch Pass
QB Tom Brady - - 290,3
RB Stevan Ridley 70,1 - -
RB Shane Vereen 30 30,1 -
TE Aaron Hernandez - 5-50 -
WR Brandon Lloyd - 6-90,1 -
WR Wes Welker - 8-110,1 -
PK S. Gostkowski 1 FG 4 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Patriots were the only team in the Divisional Round that did not have to struggle to win their heavily favored game. It was a high scoring weekend to be sure and the Texans did post 28 points after only scoring 14 in their previous trip there but the Pats cranked out 41 points to take the win without too much trouble. Now playing yet another home game for the Championship, this is a chance to show how they have changed from week three when they lost in Baltimore.

Tom Brady threw for 335 yards and one score in Baltimore that was split between Wes Welker (8-142) and Brandon Lloyd (9-108) in a game that did not have Aaron Hernandez. Rob Gronkowski was held to only 21 yards on two catches in that game. The Ravens also still had cover corner Lardarius Webb in that game too.

Gronkowski broke his forearm again and it was not merely rebreaking the same fracture. He'll be out for good now and Aaron Hernandez takes over the primary role for the receiving tight end. He turned in six catches for 85 yards last week.

The big news from last week was that suddenly Shane Vereen mattered. A lot. He had not scored since week 12 and never had more than 40 yards in any of those games. Last week he ran for 41 yards and a score on seven carries and caught five passes for 83 yards and two more touchdowns. He became only the third Patriot to ever score three touchdowns in a playoff game. That's pretty good considering he only had four touchdowns on the entire regular season.

Danny Woodhead only had one run for no gain and that was it last Sunday. Stevan Ridley remains the consistently player and had 82 yards on 15 runs and one score. Vereen has replaced Woodhead in the third down role since Ridley rarely ever catches a pass. But with the Pats - it could all change again. Vereen was the subject of praise from Brady and Belichick and that should buy more time this week but again - you never really know in the Pats backfield.

The Ravens will be less formidable against the pass in this iteration with Webb gone and Brady already had a big game last time. The Patriots rushing game is also better this time around and the Ravens are only average at best against running backs. The only way this game turns away from the Patriots is if Brady gets knocked from the game. Otherwise, a very balanced attack will exploit whatever the Ravens allow to be weakest.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NE 4 1 13 1 1 2
Preventing Fantasy Points BAL 7 18 17 2 29 11

CONFERENCE
CHAMPIONSHIPS
2012
SF at ATL BAL at NE

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