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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 15 SD at DEN (THU) CIN at PIT NE at MIA SEA at NYG
ARI at TEN GB at DAL NO at STL SF at TB
BUF at JAC HOU at IND NYJ at CAR WAS at ATL
*UPDATED CHI at CLE KC at OAK PHI at MIN BAL at DET (MON)

Prediction: CIN 24, PIT 27 (Line: CIN by 3)

The 9-4 Bengals have a two game lead on the Ravens but lost to them earlier so they need the divisional win here. The 5-8 Steelers come off an upset loss to the Dolphins but are only 3-3 in home games. This is a replay of week two when the Bengals won 20-10 in Cincinnati.

1 @CHI 21-24 10 @BAL 17-20
2 PIT 20-10 11 CLE 41-20
3 GB 34-30 12 BYE WEEK
4 @CLE 6-17 13 @SD 17-10
5 NE 13-6 14 IND 42-28
6 @BUF 27-24 15 @PIT -
7 @DET 27-24 16 MIN -
8 NYJ 49-9 17 BAL -
9 @MIA 20-22 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
CIN @ PIT Rush Catch Pass
QB Jason Campbell 30 280,2
QB Andy Dalton 240,2
RB Giovani Bernard 50 6-40,1
WR A.J. Green 5-50
WR Marvin Jones 3-40,1
WR Greg Little 3-40
WR Mohamed Sanu 4-40
TE Jermaine Gresham 3-30
PK Mike Nugent 2 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The Bengals are only one game back of the Patriots and have the first tie-breaker should the Pats lose a game and the Bengals win out ( or end up tied however). With the loss of Gronkowski, it makes it even more possible that the Bengals can catch up to the Pats and take the #2 seed again. The final two games are at home against the Vikes and Ravens. This week is the critical and most challenging matchup left on the schedule.

QUARTERBACKS: Andy Dalton remains no worse than solid in most games though he's consistently better at home than on the road. Dalton already threw for 280 yards and one score in the first meeting. He's turned in multiple scores in six of the last eight weeks.

RUNNING BACKS: Giovani Bernard ran for a career best 99 yards on 12 carries last week and also gained a season best 49 yards on four catches at home against the Colts. Bernard is a lock for around 50 rush yards per week and then typically higher receptions when in road games. Bernard ran for 38 yards and one score against the Steelers last time and added a 27-yard catch for a second score.

BenJarvus Green-Ellis ran for 75 yards on 22 runs in that first meeting and remains a solid part of the game plan each week. He's scored three times in just the last two games.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Excluding when he was blanketed by Joe Haden in week 11, A.J. Green has been red hot this year with six 100 yard games and eight touchdowns. His second worst game of the year was when he only managed six receptions for 41 yards against the Steelers. None of the wideouts were productive that week while the running backs won the game.

TIGHT ENDS: Tyler Eifert remains well below the fantasy radar and while Jermaine Gresham rarely gains much yardage, he has scored in three of the last five games. He also turned in six catches for 66 yards in the previous meeting with Steelers.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Steelers vaunted pass defense has declined this year and allowed five touchdowns at home in just the last two games - Matt Stafford (362 yards, 2 TDs) and Ryan Tannehill (200 yards, 3 TDs). Now that a few months have passed since the last meeting, this should be a better game for the passing for Dalton and Johnson. The Steelers have also softened against the run and allowed five touchdowns over the six home games. This should be higher scoring than the first meeting and Dalton makes a moderate play. Green is still a marginal play given that #1 wideouts have not been successful against them. Bernard already had one great showing against them and is positioned for at least a decent game if not a big one.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CIN 15 17 7 15 26 6
Preventing Fantasy Points PIT 8 18 13 7 26 12

 

1 TEN 9-16 10 BUF 23-10
2 @CIN 10-20 11 DET 37-27
3 CHI 23-40 12 @CLE 27-11
4 @MIN 27-34 13 @BAL 20-22
5 BYE WEEK 14 MIA 28-34
6 @NYJ 19-6 15 CIN -
7 BAL 19-16 16 @GB -
8 @OAK 18-21 17 CLE -
9 @NE 31-55 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
PIT vs CIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Ben Roethlisberger 320,3
RB Le'Veon Bell 50 5-30
RB LeGarrette Blount 30
WR Antonio Brown 7-120,2
TE Heath Miller 5-60
PK Shaun Suisham 1 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: By now the Steelers are just playing for price though losing the last two weeks suggests that they are not playing that well. The offense remains as good as any pas season but the defense has declined this year with age and injuries taking a toll. The season finale should be a win over the Browns and while this week would be a very sweet victory, the two teams are headed in different directions now.

QUARTERBACKS: The losses may be mounting and the defense is not as good. But Ben Roethlisberger is on a roll here at the end of the year with 16 touchdowns over just the last six games. After spending the first half of the year with single score games, Big Ben is posting points now and gaining high yardage in about half of the matchups. He passed for 251 yards and one score in the first meeting with the Bengals.

RUNNING BACKS: Le'Veon Bell remains a solid part of the offense and usually churns out 100 yards thanks to his role as a receiver. Bell still has not notched a 100 yard rushing effort but he usually catches four or five passes and has yet to have a bad game. Bell did not play in that first meeting with the Bengals and the Steelers only managed to get 37 rushing yards from Felix Jones that week.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Antonio Brown is the main reason why Roethlisberger is throwing for so many more yards and scores in the second half of the season. He topped 90 yards in four of the last five weeks and scored four times over that span. His last three home games all resulted in at least one score and over 100 yards. Jerricho Cotchery never gets much yardage and he was blanked in the Cleveland game but he also scored seven times over the last six games as a favorite end zone target for Roethlisberger. Even Emmanuel Sanders has improved with a score in each of the last three weeks.

TIGHT ENDS: Heath Miller figures in for catches and yards in most games and he is on a four week streak of 40+ yard efforts but he scored just once this year and is not consistent enough to merit a fantasy start unless it is a big league with reception points.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Bengals will be without LCB Terrance Newman and RCB Leon Hall has already been out with an Achilles injury. That should be a green flag for Brown and Sanders to enjoy another good game and have a far easier time than they did back in week two. Expect a moderate game from Bell but the Bengals have only allowed two runners to score all year and none since week three.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points PIT 14 27 2 27 9 29
Preventing Fantasy Points CIN 7 6 11 12 10 23

WEEK 15 SD at DEN (THU) CIN at PIT NE at MIA SEA at NYG
ARI at TEN GB at DAL NO at STL SF at TB
BUF at JAC HOU at IND NYJ at CAR WAS at ATL
*UPDATED CHI at CLE KC at OAK PHI at MIN BAL at DET (MON)


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