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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey  

Sortable Player Projections | Game Predictions Summary | Projections by Team

WEEK 15
2011
JAC at ATL (thu) * CIN at STL * MIA at BUF SEA at CHI
DAL at TB (sat) * CLE at ARI NE at DEN * TEN at IND
BAL at SD * DET at OAK * NO at MIN WAS at NYG
* UPDATED CAR at HOU GB at KC * NYJ at PHI * PIT at SF (mon)

Prediction: NE 27, DEN 24

What a game this shall be. Tom Terrific has the Pats at 10-3 and about to clinch the AFC East with one more win while also being tied for the #1 seed. The Patriots are 5-2 on the road and have scored over 30 points for the last five games - all of them wins. Tim Tebow has the Broncos 8-5 on a six game winning streak that defies convention, explanation or even understanding in this our mortal realm. Pats either stop scoring 30 points and lose to a force greater than all of us or the Broncos get waxed and suddenly we are all back in Kansas after the Tebow Tornado has passed.

In the words of Flounder from the movie Animal House, "Oh boy, this is going to be great!"

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 38-20
4 @OAK 31-19 13 IND 31-24
5 NYJ 30-21 14 @WAS 34-27
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 DEN Rush Catch Pass
QB Tom Brady - - 300,3
RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis 40 - -
TE Rob Gronkowski - 70,1 -
TE Aaron Hernandez - 60,1 -
WR Chad Ochocinco - 20 -
WR Deion Branch - 40 -
WR Wes Welker - 80,1 -
PK S. Gostkowski 2 FG 3 XP -
Pregame Notes: This is the final stepping stone for the Pats since only two home games against the Fins and Bills remain which should be easy wins. And staying in contention for the #1 seed is all-important but also is staying healthy and the Broncos are going to be bringing the heat against Brady. Everything on paper says this will be a big win by the Patriots but nothing goes to plan in Denver anymore... at least not "our" plan.

QUARTERBACK: Tom Brady remains one of the BIG THREE passers this year and so 300 yards and three scores is a standard. And the Broncos have allowed as much on four different occasions including just two weeks ago in Minnesota when a rookie quarterback passed for 381 yards and three touchdowns. So short of getting injured, which would be pretty weird if it happened, Brady should have a very good game here despite the trends of recent weeks.

RUNNING BACKS: There is precious little consistency with the Pats rushing game and even though BenJarvus Green-Ellis is the "primary" back, he is not above turning in a ridiculously bad game. The Broncos are about average in most respects against the run but have only allowed two rushing scores at home. Best bet is to not consider a Patriots back this week. The last thing the Patriots want is a slow developing game that plays into the hands of the Broncos.

WIDE RECEIVERS: By now there really is only one wideout - Wes Welker. He has returned to his productive ways with 7+ catches per week and a total of nine touchdowns with seven efforts over 100 yards. No one else really matters. Deion Branch has declined so much that he had no catches in Washington last week. Aside from his 125 yards in Philly, Branch is what tight ends look like on other teams. Chad Ochocinco was only on the field for four plays last week.

Here is one subplot - can the Broncos keep Champ Bailey on Welker the entire game? Almost no team has been able to and they move Welker around expressly to avoid that. Welker is a must start every week - even Deion Branch is too risky to warrant a try this week.

TIGHT ENDS: And sub-plot #2. Can anyone cover Rob Gronkowski? Maybe a defensive rookie of the year? So far Gronk has not only been unstoppable, he has caught two touchdown passes in four of the last five games and trust me - the defenses had already prepared to stop him. Both tight ends are must starts and Gronk has become the single greatest scorer in the league over the last five weeks. The Broncos have not allowed more than 40 yards to any visiting tight end and just one has scored on them. Granted - they were not Gronkowski caliber.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NE 4 23 7 1 6 11
Preventing Fantasy Points DEN 26 20 25 4 28 21


Denver Broncos
Homefield: Invesco Field
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 OAK 20-23 10 @KC 17-10
2 CIN 24-22 11 NYJ 17-13
3 @TEN 14-17 12 @SD 16-13
4 @GB 23-49 13 @MIN 35-32
5 SD 24-29 14 CHI 13-10
6 Bye - 15 NE -
7 @MIA 18-15 16 @BUF -
8 DET 10-45 17 KC -
9 @OAK 38-24      
Broncos Report | Statistics | Roster
DENVER vs NE Rush Catch Pass
QB Tim Tebow 50 - 250,2
RB Willis McGahee 60 - -
WR Eric Decker - 70,1 -
WR Eddie Royal - 50 -
WR Demaryius Thomas - 100,1 -
PK Matt Prater 1 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: The string of wins by Tebow has secured his job for next year if only because now the Bronco's draft slot is not going to allow them access to a top quarterback. Every win has been just a bit more unbelievable than the one before it and it is all starting to smack of a professional wrestling scenario where maybe people know ahead of time what is going to happen. If the Broncos can pull this one off, call in sick to work on Monday if you work with a Denver fan because you are not going to want to hear about it all day.

I like a defensive score in this game. For some reason I love it.

QUARTERBACK: So far Tim Tebow has come to life at the end of every game, snatching away a victory with an amazing change from an errant passer with receivers who drop balls to a mobile and yet pinpoint thrower that is unstoppable on a final drive. Tebow has never passed for more than 236 yards this season or more than two scores. But he did post 308 yards against the visiting Texans last season so it is possible. And this week he faces down the Pats who have never allowed fewer than 250 passing yards to a road opponent and everyone scores once or twice.

The Pats have not faced a running quarterback this year but Tebow has not been running as much recently.

RUNNING BACKS: Willis McGahee is still nursing a knee injury and was held to only 34 yards on 17 carries by the Bears last week. He was on a nice streak of games before the injury and now goes against the stout Patriots defense. Roy Helu just ran for over 100 yards on them but no other runner has and most fail to top 60 yards. McGahee is still not 100% and no doubt the Pats will be watching the line because of Tebow. McGahee should have just a moderate game here and likely no score.

WIDE RECEIVERS: This is where all the fun has been when playing the Patriots. Eric Decker was on a roll with a score in four of five games but has been oddly quiet for two weeks now while Demaryius Thomas has taken off. Thomas has scored three times over these last two games and posted at least 78 yards in both. Matt Willis was effective with 75 yards on four catches against the Bears but will take a step back since Eddie Royal is expected back from his concussion this week. Thomas has been taking Royal's spot and been more effective than Royal has been so the expectation is that the two will rotate when there are just two wideouts on the field.

The Patriots secondary is literally converting third string wide outs to play nickel corners. Both Decker and Thomas are risks to use, and yet have undeniable upside this week against the softest secondary that the Broncos will have faced.

TIGHT ENDS: No fantasy value.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DEN 13 19 28 29 25 9
Preventing Fantasy Points NE 32 18 32 6 8 6

WEEK 15
2011
JAC at ATL (thu) CIN at STL MIA at BUF SEA at CHI
DAL at TB (sat) CLE at ARI NE at DEN TEN at IND
BAL at SD DET at OAK NO at MIN WAS at NYG
  CAR at HOU GB at KC NYJ at PHI PIT at SF (mon)

a d v e r t i s e m e n t