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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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DIVISION
ROUND
SATURDAY SUNDAY
Baltimore at Pittsburgh, 4:30 PM EST Seattle at Chicago, 1 PM EST
Green Bay at Atlanta, 8 PM EST NY Jets at New England 4:30 PM EST

Prediction: GB 23, ATL 20

This is a replay of week 12 when the Falcons won 20-17 against the visiting Packers when Matt Bryant kicked a 47-yard field goal with two seconds left in the game to avoid overtime. The Packers come off a 21-16 win over the Eagles in Philadelphia where not only their defense and passing game delivered, but a newly discovered rushing attack has shown up.

Green Bay Packers (10-6)
Homefield: Lambeau Field
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @PHI W 27-20 10 Bye -
2 BUF W 34-7 11 @MIN W 31-3
3 @CHI L 17-20 12 @ATL L 17-20
4 DET W 28-26 13 SF W 34-16
5 @WAS L 13-16 14 @DET L 3-7
6 MIA L 20-23 15 @NE L 27-31
7 MIN W 28-24 16 NYG W 45-17
8 @NYJ W 9-0 17 CHI W 10-3
9 DAL W 45-7 - - -
Packers Report | Statistics | Roster
GREEN BAY Rush Catch Pass
QB Aaron Rodgers - - 310,2
RB Brandon Jackson 20 10 -
RB James Starks 50 10 -
TE Andrew Quarless - 20 -
WR Greg Jennings - 90,1 -
WR Jordy Nelson - 50 -
WR Donald Driver - 30 -
WR James Jones - 60,1 -
PK Mason Crosby 3 FG 2 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Packers need to be road warriors to reach the Superbowl but last week was an impressive victory in Philly that shut down one of the most explosive offenses in the league. Defense wins championships they say and the Packers have that. Plus a big time offense with Aaron Rodgers who hit nine different receivers and scored three times last week. The Packers already came close to winning in Atlanta earlier this year and they enter this week with some momentum. Notable too that the Falcons at home lost to the Saints three weeks ago. The same Saints that lost to the 7-9 Seahawks last week.

QUARTERBACK: Aaron Rodgers passed for 344 yards and one score with no interceptions in Atlanta seven weeks ago and he was also the leading rusher with 12 runs for 51 yards and a rushing touchdown as well. Those were season high yardage totals for Rodgers both running and passing though he's been plenty productive as a quarterback in virtually all games. Rodgers recorded multiple scores in 11 of his 14 full games this year.

Aside from week two against the Cardinals, every visitor to Atlanta has passed for at least one score and half ended up with multiple scores from the quarterback. This is by far the bigger weakness of the Falcons and the area that the Packers must succeed and have in the past. If you are in playoff contests, realize that this is the only game this weekend not played outside in northern weather.

RUNNING BACKS: With a nice sense of timing, the Packers suddenly found a rushing game last week when James Starks rumbled for 123 yards on 23 carries. He had only totaled 29 runs for 101 yards during the entire regular season during the three games that he played. Back in week 12, Brandon Jackson only rushed for 26 yards on 10 runs in Atlanta where only visiting two running backs have scored this year.

The Falcons have been outstanding against the run this year and even more so at home. Starks will get more play no doubt, but he'll be less successful this week than he was against the #27 defense against running backs in Seattle.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Donald Driver has been little more than a glorified tight end this year with around 30 yards in most games and only 26 yards on two catches in the last game in Atlanta. Greg Jennings has been the star with 12 touchdowns and while he was held to just one catch last week, he turned in 119 yards on five receptions in the previous meeting with the Falcons. Jordy Nelson scored the lone receiving touchdown in that game when he caught five passes for 61 yards and James Jones ended with 44 yards on five catches. Rodgers regularly uses all four wide receivers and that is where the Falcons have allowed the most fantasy points anyway.

TIGHT ENDS: Andrew Quarless never scored in a road game and has been little used during the season. He turned in 35 yards on three catches in the first meeting with the Falcons for one of his best games of the year. He's not likely to improve on those numbers this week.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points GB 2 31 2 20 15 5
Preventing Fantasy Points ATL 18 5 27 15 1 2
Advantage(+) or Disadvantage(-)   16 -26 25 -5 -14 -3


Atlanta Falcons (13-3)
Homefield: Georgia Dome
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @PIT L 9-15 10 BAL W 26-21
2 ARI W 41-7 11 @STL W 34-17
3 @NO W 27-24 12 GB W 20-17
4 SF W 16-14 13 @TB W 28-24
5 @CLE W 20-10 14 @CAR W 31-10
6 @PHI L 17-31 15 @SEA W 34-18
7 CIN W 39-32 16 NO L 14-17
8 Bye - 17 CAR W 31-10
9 TB W 27-21 - - -
Falcons Report | Statistics | Roster
ATLANTA Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Ryan - - 220,1
RB Michael Turner 80,1 - -
TE Tony Gonzalez - 70,1 -
WR Michael Jenkins - 30 -
WR Roddy White - 70 -
WR Harry Douglas - 20 -
PK Matt Bryant 2 FG 2 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Falcons cruised to the #1 seed in the NFC but since the week 12 game when they barely nipped the Packers, they went 4-1. That was by beating Tampa Bay in a close one. Beating the Seahawks with their losing record. Beating the worst record Panthers twice. And then losing to the visiting Saints in the only game against a winning record in those final five weeks. Take a week off for their bye and the only really challenging game of the last six weeks was the lost to the visiting Saints.

The Falcons have been blessed with what turned out to be a rather nice schedule facing the NFC West and AFC North. What comes into play this week is whether the home field advantage works and the Falcons play as well as they did back in week ten when they beat the visiting Ravens. The Packers have been on a roll recently and are battle-tested. The Falcons have to really step up their game after a month of soft opponents other than the one loss.

QUARTERBACK: Matt Ryan passed for 197 yards and one score against the visiting Packers in week 12 but part of that lower than normal effort was that the rushing game with Michael Turner was having success and Ryan only passed 28 times of which he completed 24 and had no interceptions. He has scored in every game since the season opener and nine of those had multiple touchdown passes.

The Packers defense has been tough in road games and even more so than when they play at home. The Packers only allowed eight passing touchdowns in away games and the only player with more than one was Tom Brady who had only two. Ryan could see a bit more yardage this time but his one score is in line with both the prior meeting and what both teams have been doing.

RUNNING BACKS: Michael Turner had a solid season with 12 touchdowns and 1329 rushing yards and he gained 110 yards on 23 runs and scored once on the visiting Packers in week 12. But Turner only scored once in the final three games and his only game over 100 yards since then was against the Panthers when he scored three times. Turner's 110 yards was the most that the Packers allowed in a road game and the only time a runner had more than 72 yards in those games. They only allowed three runners to score on them away from Green Bay.

Turner will be a focus of the Falcons and Packers and barring any big lead by the Packers, he should be a lock for well over 20 carries. Turner had a decent game last meeting with the Packers but he's more likely to do less this time around than more. The Packers defense has just been playing better.

WIDE RECEIVERS: The Packers secondary has been outstanding against wide receivers this year and have improved as the season progressed. They have only allowed three passing scores to wideouts in road games and only one over the last six games. In the previous meeting, Roddy White led all wideouts with only five catches for 49 yards. Chances are that he'll be bottled up again this game. The Packers have one of the top secondaries in the NFL.

TIGHT ENDS: Tony Gonzalez had one of his better games of the year when he caught six passes for 51 yards and one touchdown against the visiting Packers who have tight ends as their biggest positional weakness on defense - by a large margin. The Packers have allowed only three touchdowns to wideouts in road games but have given up five to tight ends. Gonzo was the best weapon last time and should be again.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points ATL 15 7 15 13 5 12
Preventing Fantasy Points GB 4 4 3 25 9 9
Advantage(+) or Disadvantage(-)   -11 -3 -12 12 4 -3

DIVISION
ROUND
SATURDAY SUNDAY
Baltimore at Pittsburgh, 4:30 PM EST Seattle at Chicago, 1 PM EST
Green Bay at Atlanta, 8 PM EST NY Jets at New England 4:30 PM EST
Other Features
Fantasy Statistics
Tuesday Injury Report
Playoff Fantasy Player Rankings
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