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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey  

Sortable Player Projections | Game Predictions Summary | Projections by Team

WEEK 12
2011
GB at DET (thu) * BUF at NYJ DEN at SD PIT at KC
MIA at DAL (thu) * CAR at IND HOU at JAC * TB at TEN
SF at BAL (thu) * CHI at OAK * MIN at ATL * WAS at SEA
* UPDATED ARI at STL * CLE at CIN * NE at PHI * NYG at NO (mon)

Prediction: CHI 17, OAK 24

Players to Watch: Caleb Hanie

Update: Denarius Moore has not practiced this week and will be a game time decision so I am removing him from the projections. Darius Heyward-Bey has been cleared to play thought he was limited in practices this week from his sore neck.

At 7-3 the Bears are a strong contender for a wild card and would be a leader in six of the other seven NFL divisions but they not only hit the road where they are just 2-2 but will do so without Jay Cutler. The Raiders are all alone at the top of the AFC West with just a 6-4 record and a 2-3 home mark.

Chicago Bears
Homefield: Soldier Field
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 ATL 30-12 10 DET 37-13
2 @NO 13-30 11 SD 31-20
3 GB 17-27 12 @OAK -
4 CAR 34-29 13 KC -
5 @DET 13-24 14 @DEN -
6 MIN 39-10 15 SEA -
7 @TB 24-18 16 @GB -
8 Bye - 17 @MIN -
9 @PHI 30-24      
Bears Report | Statistics | Roster
CHICAGO at OAK Rush Catch Pass
QB Caleb Hanie - - 180,1
RB Matt Forte 80 40 -
RB Marion Barber 20,1 - -
WR Roy Williams - 40 -
WR Devin Hester - 20 -
WR Earl Bennett - 40 -
WR Johnny Knox - 40 -
PK Robbie Gould 1 FG 2 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Bears are on a five game winning streak and had been playing great but a fractured right thumb will end the regular season for Jay Cutler and put a new spin on a complicated and yet marginally productive offense. The defense remains stout especially at home and Matt Forte should be even more heavily used but a big question mark on the passing game now exists. Fortunately, the next three games are against the AFC West.

QUARTERBACK: The fourth year Caleb Hanie is a big unknown since he has never started an NFL game and has thrown only one touchdown in his career. He was an undrafted player and smacks of "let's save some money" until he proves he can move the offense.

His presence this week makes the entire passing game off limits because of the major risk involved. The Raiders secondary is not good and allows two scores almost every week. I'll credit Hanie with a score but that is pure speculation.

RUNNING BACKS: The impact of Cutler's departure is that the Bears are going to want to run the ball more but that doesn't necessarily equate to running better since the defense keys on the run more with a green quarterback under center. Matt Forte has been very sensitive to how good the defense is. He is not yet good enough to tear up a top rushing defense but he knows how to plow all over a bad one and hence his four monster rushing yard games.

It will also be interesting to see if Hanie relies on Forte more as a receiver. He started the year with three games of 80+ receiving yards and since has declined down to only about 20 yards per week. That could be changing for the better with Hanie needing a fast outlet.

The Raiders play better at home but have been shredded a few times by running backs. Consider Forte a safe play this week for yardage and he could end up with a really big game depending on his use as a receiver and if Marion Barber continues to hawk all the short yardage scores.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Just when Earl Bennett was taking a step up, Cutler goes down. That throws this entire unit back into darkness. No wideout has had a 100 yard effort yet this year and whether Hanie settled down on any one guy remains to be seen. Until then it is hands off the receivers here who all carry far more risk than reward. I am not awarding the passing score to any one player though it should end up as a wideout if it happens. Too many unknowns at this point.

TIGHT ENDS: No fantasy value in the offensive scheme.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CHI 23 5 17 26 4 1
Preventing Fantasy Points OAK 28 28 18 17 10 22


Oakland Raiders
Homefield: McAfee Coliseum
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @DEN 23-20 10 @SD 24-17
2 @BUF 35-38 11 @MIN 27-21
3 NYJ 34-24 12 CHI -
4 NE 19-31 13 @MIA -
5 @HOU 25-20 14 @GB -
6 CLE 24-17 15 DET -
7 KC 0-28 16 @KC -
8 Bye - 17 SD -
9 DEN 24-38      
Raiders Report | Statistics | Roster
OAKLAND vs CHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Carson Palmer - - 230,1
RB Michael Bush 100,1 40 -
TE Kevin Boss - 40 -
WR Chaz Schilens - 30 -
WR Denarius Moore - 60,1 -
WR Darius Heyward-Bey - 40,1 -
WR Houshmandzadeh - 30 -
PK Sebastian Janikowski 1 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Raiders are the favorites to end up with the AFC West this year. The remaining schedule still has a date in Green Bay and this week is no cake walk but they'll likely be favored in all but the Packers game. Carson Palmer has already brought new life to a passing offense that struggled for the past several years and even though Darren McFadden is still out, Michael Bush has kept the chains moving. This week is a new test against a very good defense but the Raiders catch another break with Jay Cutler injured last week.

I like a defensive score in this game.

QUARTERBACK: While Carson Palmer cooled off last week and only passed for 164 yards and one touchdown, he also added a rare rushing score. But he has scored in all three games and more than once. He also had his first game without an interception.

The Bears on the road have allowed two or more touchdowns to three of four opponents and all had healthy passing yardage. This game could end up with a lot of rushing by both sides but Palmer is a safe bet for at least one score and likely two back at home against a Bears team adjusting to their new quarterback.

RUNNING BACKS: Darren McFadden remains out since week seven with a foot injury that HC Hue Jackson says must be 100% healthy before he plays. Apparently that is sometime between next week and the start of next season for the slow healing McFadden. Taiwan Jones hurt his hamstring last week and is likely to miss this week as well. That leaves Michael Bush all alone to likely have his third straight game with 30 carries. The last four games have been a gold mine for Bush owners since he has totaled over 100 yards each week and scored three times. In San Diego he had a personal best of 157 rush yards and three catches for 85 yards.

The Bears have been statistically good against the run this year but less so at home and so far only one plays has rushed more than 14 times against them (LeSean McCoy 16-71, TD). It would be a shock if Bush turns in fewer than 20 to 25 carries. Add in the specter of good field position if Caleb Hanie has problems and Bush is a nice start this week.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Darrius Heyward-Bey finally showed back up in uniform and gained 43 yards on four passes but suffered a concussion and had neck and back injuries when his helmet was torn off on a tackle. I will rule him out for this week at the least. Denarius Moore went from a career best 123 yards and two scores in San Diego to only one catch for 14 yards in Minnesota and he's now had three very different games. It is feast or famine with the long baller and he'll come more into play when the Raiders bet into more shootouts. Jacoby Ford has been out with a foot injury and is considered week-to-week.

The Bears are the softest against tight ends of all defenses but the Raiders under Carson Palmer have not used Kevin Boss much so that makes passing scores likely to end up here. The faster, long ballers are the ones more likely to score on the Bears which leans toward Moore but last week was a lesson in what can happen if he doesn't catch that long pass. None of these wideouts are without more risk than reward this week.

TIGHT ENDS: The Bears may be really soft against the position but in three games, Palmer has only connected with Kevin Boss for a total of nine catches for 80 yards. Boss could certainly score this week but it would be a first with Palmer and away from their trends so far.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points OAK 19 2 18 28 14 14
Preventing Fantasy Points CHI 25 8 14 32 17 12

WEEK 12
2011
GB at DET (thu) BUF at NYJ DEN at SD PIT at KC
MIA at DAL (thu) CAR at IND HOU at JAC TB at TEN
SF at BAL (thu) CHI at OAK MIN at ATL WAS at SEA
  ARI at STL CLE at CIN NE at PHI NYG at NO (mon)

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