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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: NE 31, PHI 24

Players to Watch: Riley Cooper, Shane Vereen

Update: Michael Vick has not practiced and is not expected to play despite being listed as questionable. Jeremy Maclin also remains out. Nnamdi Asomugha is no lock to play this week with a hyperextended knee. Deion Branch (hip) and Chad Ochocinco (hamstring) are both listed as questionable and Branch was limited in practices this week but so far is not expected to miss the game.

The Patriots are 7-3 and leading the AFC East by two games thanks to the recent nosedives of the Jets and Bills. But the Pats are only 3-2 in road games. Then again the Eagles are only 4-6 and just 1-4 at home and have only beaten NFC East rivals since week two.

New England Patriots
Homefield: Gillette Stadium
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @MIA 38-24 10 @NYJ 37-16
2 SD 35-21 11 KC 34-3
3 @BUF 31-34 12 @PHI -
4 @OAK 31-19 13 IND -
5 NYJ 30-21 14 @WAS -
6 DAL 20-16 15 @DEN -
7 Bye - 16 MIA -
8 @PIT 17-25 17 BUF -
9 NYG 20-24 - - -
Patriots Report | Statistics | Roster
NEW ENGLAND at PHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Tom Brady - - 310,3
RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis 50,1 - -
TE Rob Gronkowski - 90,1 -
TE Aaron Hernandez - 40,1 -
WR Chad Ochocinco - 30 -
WR Deion Branch - 60,1 -
WR Wes Welker - 60 -
PK S. Gostkowski 1 FG 4 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Patriots still have major problems in the secondary but have managed to get around them for the last two weeks and looked dominant again on Monday against the Chiefs in the second half. The tough part of the schedule is already over and the only remaining divisional games are home stands against the Dolphins and Bills. In this season where there are no great teams in the AFC, the Pats actually remain in the fight for the #1 seed.

QUARTERBACK: Tom Brady has passed for at least two scores in all but one game this season and already has 25 touchdowns on the season. He comes off an uncharacteristic 236 yard game against the Chiefs but has been at or over 300 yards seven times for 2010. He typically passes for more scores and yards in away games where the Pats are more likely to get into shootouts.

The Eagles secondary have played inconsistently this season and mostly only against the NFC East when they look good. Brady is a must start anyway so expect your standard multiple touchdown game and high yardage.

RUNNING BACKS: It is beautiful. Against the Chiefs, the Pats went to a run heavy attack that allowed BenJarvus Green-Ellis (20-81) to have some minor fantasy value and Danny Woodhead (5-27) also played. And... and... Shane Vereen finally got his first playing time of the year and turned in eight runs for 39 yards and a touchdown making this a four man backfield now (assuming Stevan Ridley is still around somewhere). That means there is an ability to run by the Pats and absolutely no way of knowing who is going to do what. BGE gets those early carries but hasn't had a decent game since week five.

The Eagles are soft against the run but the ratios are impossible to determine here. I'll project for BGE and give him the score that could end up with any of the four players.

WIDE RECEIVERS: The Patriots have become so heavily invested in tight ends that this unit has progressively shrunk in value and production. Chad Ochocinco has never been worthy of any fantasy merit and Deion Branch has a score about every other week but rarely much yardage attached. The shocking part of this unit is that Wes Welker started the year like he was going to bury every conceivable wideout record and yet now has not scored in four games and his last five matchups have only produced over 50 receiving yards once. He still gets six catches per week but every secondary has plotted to take him out of the equation. Welker has gone from being a top wideout to producing like he was a blocking tight end. Ironically, their blocking tight end is performing better than any top wideout.

Welker carries potential each week but that has not been cashed in much lately. There is likely to be a passing score here and even though Branch may draw Nnamdi Asomugha on most plays, he's the slightly more likely to catch a touchdown. Welker is turning into a headscratcher but still has to be an every week starter.

TIGHT ENDS: Rob Gronkowski has become the fastest tight end to reach 20 career touchdowns in the history of the NFL, needing only 26 and shattering Mike Ditka's 48-year-old record of 31 games. Gronk started the year red hot, spent a month cooling off and not scoring and now has five touchdowns and 310 yards in just the last three games. He gets a ridiculous amount of targets per game and yet no team has been able to cover him. Aaron Hernandez would be considered a top tight end too if he wasn't standing next to the Megatron of tight ends in Gronkowski.

Tony Gonzalez got 83 yards and two scores on this defense. Enough said.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NE 3 22 6 1 9 15
Preventing Fantasy Points PHI 15 24 17 6 3 20


Philadelphia Eagles
Homefield: Lincoln Financial Field
Turf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @STL 31-13 10 ARI 17-21
2 @ATL 31-35 11 @NYG 17-10
3 NYG 16-29 12 NE -
4 SF 23-24 13 @SEA -
5 @BUF 24-31 14 @MIA -
6 @WAS 20-13 15 NYJ -
7 Bye - 16 @DAL -
8 DAL 34-7 17 WAS -
9 CHI 24-30      
Eagles Report | Statistics | Roster
PHILADELPHIA vs NE Rush Catch Pass
QB Vince Young - - 300,2
RB LeSean McCoy 80,1 10 -
TE Brent Celek - 60 -
WR DeSean Jackson - 100,1 -
WR Jason Avant - 30 -
WR Riley Cooper - 60,1 -
PK Alex Henery 1 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Eagles remain in contention in the NFC East despite their 4-6 record but short of stringing out all wins that is unlikely to end up with playing time in January. Since week one, the Eagles have only beaten their divisional rivals and dropped all other games including to ATL, BUF, CHI and even ARI. A win here would help with the sense that it is turning around but there's nothing happening that suggests it will occur.

QUARTERBACK: Vince Young was surprisingly effective in New York when he posted 258 yards and two scores on the Giants though he added three interceptions. He actually gave DeSean Jackson his best game in five weeks and that did not even count the 50 yard play where Jackson was a knucklehead and drew a taunting penalty. The availability of Michael Vick probably won't be known until Thursday or Friday and he may end up as a game time decision all depending on his broken ribs. I will assume that he sits out this week and update as warranted. The Eagles would rather the Pats prepare to play Vick and then use Young anyway.

Five road games and every opponent has passed for 300+ yards and at least one score. Chances are Young will hide Vick's pain pills for a chance to play in this game.

RUNNING BACKS: While LeSean McCoy just broke his season long scoring streak, he still rushed for 123 yards on the Giants. His role as a receiver has been rather small all year but he has been money with touchdowns, particularly at home. The Pats have been generally good against the run though seven different running backs have scored against them. No runner has rushed for more than 83 yards on the Patriots which is more about the shootouts that games end up being and the lack of rushing that accompanies that. Only two runners have managed to get more than 14 carries against the Patriots.

Expect a score in this home game and strong yardage though probably not a big game.

WIDE RECEIVERS: DeSean Jackson is an entertaining headcase if nothing else. He comes off a decent 88 yard showing in New York but he caught an impressive 50+ yard pass and ended it with throwing the ball at a Giants coach to draw the negating flag. He wants a new contract, maybe he has no idea what to do to get it. Erasing your best play in a month is definitely not it. Jackson has not scored since week five or had a 100+ yard game since week four. With Jeremy Maclin out, Riley Cooper had his first action of the year and ended up with five catches for 75 yards and a score in New York. He had a team high 12 targets from Vince Young and now gets to face the Patriots and their toilet paper secondary.

Jackson injured his foot last week but it was only bruised and he is expected to be good to go. Steve Smith caught a score last week but it was his only catch in the game and he remains little used.

This is the week for a big game by Jackson at home against the horrible secondary no matter which quarterback plays. Even Cooper has to be considered an attractive play in only his second start of the season.

TIGHT ENDS: Even with Young as the quarterback, Brent Celek caught six passes for 60 yards which is right at what he has done in each of the last five games. There is a chance of a score but Celek only has two touchdowns on the season. He's more reliable for the yardage than any score.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points PHI 6 8 8 21 13 10
Preventing Fantasy Points NE 32 21 32 11 11 10

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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