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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 16
2012
ATL at DET (SAT) CLE at DEN NO at DAL *SF at SEA
BUF at MIA *IND at KC *NYG at BAL STL at TB
CHI at ARI MIN at HOU OAK at CAR *TEN at GB
*Updated CIN at PIT *NE at JAC SD at NYJ WAS at PHI

Prediction: CIN 20, PIT 27 (Line: PIT by 4)

Players to Watch: Andy Dalton, Mike Wallace

This is a replay of week seven when the Steelers won 24-17 in Cincinnati. The 8-6 Bengals are 5-2 on the road this year and are currently the #6 seed wild card. The only team that is likely to challenge them for the final wildcard are the 7-7 Steelers since all other teams have a losing record in the AFC. The Steelers are only 4-2 at home but have beaten the Bengals for the last five meetings.

Cincinnati Bengals
Homefield: Paul Brown Stadium
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @BAL 13-44 10 NYG 31-13
2 CLE 34-27 11 @KC 28-6
3 @WAS 38-31 12 OAK 34-10
4 @JAC 27-10 13 @SD 20-13
5 MIA 13-17 14 DAL 19-20
6 @CLE 24-34 15 @PHI 34-13
7 PIT 17-24 16 @PIT -----
8 BYE ----- 17 BAL -----
9 DEN 23-31 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
CIN @ PIT Rush Catch Pass
QB Andy Dalton 220,2
WR A.J. Green 6-90,1

Pregame Notes: The Bengals need to win out if they are to get a wildcard and that's going to be really tough playing in Pittsburgh and then hosting the Ravens who are only 9-5 and leading the division. Their destiny is in their own hands but these last two games go against teams that have already beaten them this year. He has lost some receivers along the way but his matchups have not been that rough for the last month.

Andy Dalton only passed for 105 yards and one score in the first meeting with the Steelers and that was at home. He's doing himself no favors here at the end of the season since he has gone cold. He only passed for one touchdown in each of the last three games and not been better than 230 passing yards since week nine.

To the contrary, BenJarvus Green-Ellis has never been better. He has rushed for over 100 yards in four of the last five weeks and scored in three of those. He was held to 69 yards on 18 runs in the last meeting with the Steelers but has been on a tear for these last five weeks. After mediocre showings through week ten, he's somehow managed to turn it on and make a difference. He's playing himself into a job for 2013 which may be more than Dalton can say if he doesn't improve soon.

Not unlike the Bears or Lions, there is only one receiver that matters on this game A.J. Green went through a three game scoring drought but turned in 11th touchdown on the year last week in Philadelphia. His worst game of the year was when the Steelers showed up and he was held to just one catch for eight yards. And yet that was a touchdown in the middle of his nine game scoring streak. Andrew Hawkins helps out but is not above having no catches in a game. The same is true for Marvin Jones who was also blanked last week.

The Bengals want to see more out of Dalton but that's going to be hard in Pittsburgh where no visitor has passed for more than 200 yards all year. Green-Ellis will also face his toughest venue of the season. This is a must win game and yet is the worst place to try to secure a victory. Only A.J. Green has obvious fantasy value here and even that is likely to be marginal.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CIN 12 26 5 15 7 12
Preventing Fantasy Points PIT 1 5 5 5 17 21

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Jeff Driskel, CIN OAK 30000020010 ***
Driskel has a limited cast of targets and is in a low-volume offense. He should remain on all waiver wires.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Joe Mixon, CIN OAK 11023200000 ***
Oakland has clamped down lately on the position, allowing the eighth-most carries but only the fifth-lowest frequency for rushing TDs since Week 9. Only two of the 10 TDs have come in the last five games, but we've seen Marlon Mack and Nick Chubb both score a pair of TDs. This is an optimistic projection, so understand he is absolutely playable but is closer to an RB2 than studly RB1 this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Tyler Boyd, CIN OAK 006801000 ***
Boyd has remained involved with Jeff Driskel at quarterback. The matchup isn't quite as good as it seems like it should be, at least for receptions and yardage. Oakland has played the wildly successful *break* but don't bend sort of defense ... you know, the one where a secondary gives up the fewest catches per game but the second-most TDs to the position. Just like it is drawn up.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR John Ross, CIN OAK 003300000 ***
Ross has emerged as a touchdown threat for the Bengals' injury-ravaged passing game. Look to him as a flier for a score in the flex spot, and even though it is not projected, a touchdown is easily within reach against the softest defense against WRs when it comes to touchdown efficiency. Oakland has allowed the second-most touchdown grabs on the fewest receptions in the league.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE C.J. Uzomah, CIN OAK 005300000 ***
If a handful of catches and virtually no realistic chance of a TD are what you're into from TEs, we have just the guy for you.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Randy Bullock, CIN OAK 2233 ***
No writeup available

Pittsburgh Steelers
Homefield: Heinz Field
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @DEN 19-31 10 KC 16-13
2 NYJ 27-10 11 BAL 10-13
3 @OAK 31-34 12 @CLE 14-20
4 BYE ----- 13 @BAL 23-20
5 PHI 16-14 14 SD 24-34
6 @TEN 23-26 15 @DAL 24-27
7 @CIN 24-17 16 CIN -----
8 WAS 27-12 17 CLE -----
9 @NYG 24-20 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
PIT vs CIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Ben Roethlisberger 250,2
RB Stevan Ridley 80,1
WR Antonio Brown 5-60,1
WR Darrius Heyward-Bey 4-40

Pregame Notes: The Steelers missed a great opportunity when the Ravens dropped their last three games because the Steelers lost their last two. Falling to the Chargers at home shows that a trap game can happen anywhere and then the overtime loss in Dallas was literally thrown away with the interception. At least the final two games are both at home and against teams that they have already beaten. The Steelers still need help to reach the playoffs but a win here will be all they can do to try to control their fate.

Ben Roethlisberger passed for 278 yards and one score in the meeting in Cincy back in week seven. He also lost a fumble and threw one interception. Big Ben has scored in every game that he's played this year and posted healthy yardage in most weeks.

Jonathan Dwyer remains the starting tailback and he's still sharing with Isaac Redman but only for a few carries per week. Dwyer ran for 122 yards on 17 carries in the Cincy meeting for his best effort of the season. He's only scored twice so far though and Rashard Mendenhall may even show up this week having been suspended for one game for conduct detrimental to the team.

Heath Miller comes off a 92-yard effort in Dallas with a touchdown and he caught six passes for 53 yards and a score against the Bengals last time. He;s been a solid contributor all year though more likely to have a big game on the road when the Steelers have to pass more. Antonio Brown had his best effort of 2012 when he gained 97 yards on seven receptions in Cincy while Mike Wallace ended with eight catches for 52 yards. Wallace gained over 90 yards in these last two games with Big Ben back.

The Steelers have owned the Bengals every year other than 2009. This is a must win and played in Pittsburgh should be no worse than the road win in Cincy back in week seven.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points PIT 14 22 15 5 14 28
Preventing Fantasy Points CIN 7 18 6 19 18 24

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Ben Roethlisberger, PIT NE 20100032021 ***
Big Ben (ribs) is expected to play through injury as the Patriots come to town. The last time they met, Roethlisberger went for 281-2-1 in Week 15 of 2017. New England has given up seven passing TDs in the last four games and 242.5 (15th), on average, since Week 9. Ryan Tannehill went for 26.6 points last week, which was the most since Week 7. Roethlisberger is a strong QB1 for most scenarios.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jaylen Samuels, PIT NE 4008600000 ***
Samuels is a fringe play in deep leagues or, better yet, DFS contests. There is a chance James Conner returns from his ankle injury, but the matchup isn't great either way. The Pats have allowed four touchdowns on the ground in the last four contests (2 to Brandon Bolden). Kenyan Drake is credited with the 55-yard TD on the game-winning lateral last week, so this is really a much worse opponent to face than the recent data would indicate.

Update: Conner is questionable and unlikely to play after just one practice session, which was limited, after suffering the ankle sprain nearly three weeks ago.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Antonio Brown, PIT NE 0071201000 ***
New England has granted 15 TDs to wideouts in 13 games this year, and five of them have come in the last five weeks over 50 receptions. The overall matchup trends negative, though. Brown was basically eliminated from the game plan last year (2-24-0) and suffered an injury that kept him out until the playoffs. He didn't score in the two matchups in 2016.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, PIT NE 004701000 ***
The second-year receiver has scored four times in his last five games and has a trio of 100-plus-yard games in that window. He was good for a healthy 6-114-0 line against the Pats in Week 15 last year and should be considered a strong play in any fantasy environment.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Vance McDonald, PIT NE 003400000 ***
McDonald has only 11 grabs in his last three games and hasn't topped 40 yards in a month. He has just one TD in that four-game stretch and none in the last three weeks. The Patriots gave up big plays to the tight end last year vs. the Steelers, but Jesse James was the man. Over the course of 2018, New England has been neutral against tight ends.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Chris Boswell, PIT NE 2233 **
No writeup available

WEEK 16
2012
ATL at DET (SAT) CLE at DEN NO at DAL *SF at SEA
BUF at MIA *IND at KC *NYG at BAL STL at TB
CHI at ARI MIN at HOU OAK at CAR *TEN at GB
*Updated CIN at PIT *NE at JAC SD at NYJ WAS at PHI

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