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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: NE 30, JAC 13 (Line: NE by 14.5)

Players Updated: Rob Gronkowski

Players to Watch: Cecil Shorts, Wes Welker

Losing to the 49ers last Sunday night dropped the 10-4 Patriots back into the #3 seed which means no bye and only one home field game. But this week they face the 2-12 Jaguars who have already packed their suitcases and are just watching the clock for for week 17 Sunday to be over. That the highest scoring offense in the NFL now faces a team that has declined to the point they do not score touchdowns could be concerning. The Pats will win of course but won't need 40 points to get the job done.

New England Patriots
Homefield: Gillette Stadium
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @TEN 34-13 10 BUF 37-31
2 ARI 18-20 11 IND 59-24
3 @BAL 30-31 12 @NYJ 49-19
4 @BUF 52-28 13 @MIA 23-16
5 DEN 31-21 14 HOU 42-14
6 @SEA 23-24 15 SF 34-41
7 NYJ 29-26 16 @JAC -----
8 @STL 45-7 17 MIA -----
9 BYE ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
NE @ JAC Rush Catch Pass
QB Tom Brady 270,2
WR Danny Amendola 8-100,1
TE Dwayne Allen 4-40
TE Martellus Bennett 5-50
TE Rob Gronkowski
PK Stephen Gostkowski 3 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The loss to the 49ers really shook up the Patriots image coming on the heels of them looking so dominant against the Texans the previous week. The reality too is that both those games came at home where the Pats are always far better and losing that #2 seed may come back to haunt them. The Pats cannot afford any more losses either since they are only one game ahead of the Ravens now who have already beaten them back in week three to own that tie breaker should it be an issue.

The Pats almost never take any game lightly no matter what the situation is and in this case, they have to win and may want to flex some muscles doing it after last week's loss.

Tom Brady on the road has been plenty prolific other than facing inter-divisional foes and the Jaguars are soft in the secondary. But the are even worse against the running backs which could end up with a depressed stat line for Brady who won't need 400 yards to compete here.

The running backs are going to be harder to call than usual - and it has been largely impossible anyway - since both Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen lost fumbles last week and then disappeared from the game plan while Danny Woodhead had a big game holding onto the ball. Ridley's faux pas ended his six game scoring streak but he's fumbled before and not carried the shame into the next week. It will always be tough to accurately predict who does what here but Ridley should end up with his job back.

What is nice too is that Aaron Hernandez is finally showing up as a major weapon for the Patriots only three months after everyone drafted him with big expectations. He's caught at least eight passes in the last two games while scoring a total of three touchdowns.

Both the Texans and 49ers schemed to take Wes Welker away with great success but Brandon Lloyd picked up the slack finally with 89 yards against the Texans and 190 yards versus the 49ers. While he won't be needed nearly so much this week, it is nice to see him finally being in the game plan and producing more than the roughly 50 yards and no score he had going the rest of the season.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NE 3 2 13 1 1 2
Preventing Fantasy Points JAC 23 32 16 8 32 19

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Tom Brady, NE @MIA 0000025020 ***
Two weeks ago, in New England, all Brady mustered was a four-TD game against the Dolphins. He threw three of them in his lone 2016 meeting with them. Over the past five games, Miami has permitted 11 touchdown passes, or one every 9.2 completions (2nd). The position has averaged a healthy 251.2 yards, combining to make this the second-best matchup of the week.

Update: Brady sat Thursday and was limited Friday. He should be fine for Monday night.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Rex Burkhead, NE @MIA 7003401000 ***
The former Bengal scored twice two games ago when tease squads met. The Patriots will be without Rob Gronkowski, which should mean a few more looks in the short-area passing game. Miami has been victimized by running backs, giving up seven offensive TDs and 151 total yards per showdown in the past five games.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Dion Lewis, NE @MIA 8011100000 ***
Lewis posted 112 rushing yards on 15 carries in the Week 12 meeting with Miami, yet he didn't find the end zone. The Dolphins rank as the third-easiest matchup in both scoring formats and have permitted RBs to score seven times over the last five games.

Update: Lewis missed Friday's session with an illness. He should be fine by Monday night.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Brandin Cooks, NE @MIA 006901000 ***
Wideouts has scored five times in as many games against the Dolphins since Week 8. The high frequency of one every 10 catches is appealing, but this is also the fourth-worst matchup simply for securing the ball as a receiver. Cooks' big-play nature should fit right in, especially without Rob Gronkowski to steal targets. The former Saint went for 83 yards and a score on his six catches in the Week 12 meeting.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Danny Amendola, NE @MIA 004400000 ***
Amendola caught one of his four targets two weeks ago versus Miami and went for 15 yards. He scored twice in the Week 2 game last season, but Tom Brady wasn't under center for that one. The Dolphins have yielded the fourth-fewest catches per game since Week 8, with one in 10 scoring -- good for the ninth-softest defense in this area.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Chris Hogan, NE @MIA 002400000 *
Hogan returned to practice Wednesday, which is an encouraging sign. Return Friday for more details on his availability.

Update: He was limited again Friday and is on track to play Monday night. The matchup is positive, yet cautious gamers may want to look another direction.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Stephen Gostkowski, NE @MIA 3333 ***
All 17 extra points against Miami have been successful. This is the fourth-highest per-game rate. Miami usually plays New England extremely tough at home, and there's no Gronk in this one, which could lead to more field goal attempts than usual for the Pats.

Jacksonville Jaguars
Homefield: J'ville Municipal Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @MIN 23-26 ot 10 IND 10-27
2 HOU 7-27 11 @HOU 37-43
3 @IND 22-17 12 TEN 24-19
4 CIN 10-27 13 @BUF 18-34
5 CHI 3-41 14 NYJ 10-17
6 BYE ----- 15 @MIA 3-24
7 @OAK 23-26 16 NE -----
8 @GB 15-24 17 @TEN -----
9 DET 14-31 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
JAC vs NE Rush Catch Pass
QB Chad Henne 230,1
TE Marcedes Lewis 4-50

Pregame Notes: The Jaguars have won only once in the last 11 games and the offensive output that seemed to spike with Chad Henne starting has faded to where they cannot even score a touchdown anymore. This is the final home game of the year but that's hardly a reason to expect any progress.

The only difference this week is that Maurice Jones-Drew has not been ruled out yet and HC Mike Mularkey said he was "questionable" this week but closer to playing than he has been. There is really no reason to bring him back - the season was over long ago and MJD is only risking further injury for nothing. One has to expect a more earnest holdout this coming summer since the worst case just happened this year.

Cecil Shorts returned last week after missing the Jets game with a concussion and he turned in 101 yards on six catches in Miami right back to his high level of performance though it was his first time to not score a touchdown in the last five games played. Justin Blackmon has reeled in six catches in each of the last two games but has not scored since week 12. This is the last home game so it should help both receivers facing one of the weaker secondaries in the NFL.

Aqib Talib has been a great addition for the Patriots and he matches on Justin Blackmon which should depress his stats this week, not that they were that big to start with anyway. This will be the final home game for a team that has made very little progress in Mike Mularkey's first season as head coach. If MJD does play this week, it may have to do with it being the final home game but I'll project for another week of Montel Owens until a decision is made.

Sadly facing the Patriots secondary is not as much fun as it was earlier in the season.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points JAC 26 32 18 29 30 30
Preventing Fantasy Points NE 30 12 26 30 8 2

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Blake Bortles, JAC SEA 30000023011 ***
Bortles has played well in fantasy of late, albeit unconventionally. The Jags host Seattle's depleted secondary. Since Week 8, the Seahawks have permitted the 10th-most yards per game but just the seventh-lowest TD frequency.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Leonard Fournette, JAC SEA 5013200000 ***
This is the second-worst matchup for generating rushing yards but happens to be the ninth-easiest to exploit for touchdowns. The visiting Seahawks have given up four scores in the last five games, and this is a bottom-six fantasy opponent in both formats.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB T.J. Yeldon, JAC SEA 1005300000 ***
Seattle offers the 14th-best matchup for running back receptions per game, though it is the sixth worst for registering yardage. None of the 26 balls have made it into the end zone.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Marqise Lee, JAC SEA 006801000 ***
In its past five games, Seattle has left wideouts in the cold for touchdowns, permitting three in that time. This defense has bent, though, allowing the fourth-highest average for receptions and the No. 8 average for yardage gained by the position.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Keelan Cole, JAC SEA 003400000 ***
Cole isn't a fantasy-worthy consideration at this time. His role is too limited as the third target in the passing game for an offense that prefers to run the ball as much as possible.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Dede Westbrook, JAC SEA 005400000 ***
Westbrook has flashed a few times but remains a rookie still learning his way on the fly. Seattle has given up 13.4 receptions (4th) and 1742. yards (8th), but wideouts have scored only three times since Week 8 (once every 22.3 catches, 25th).
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Marcedes Lewis, JAC SEA 002200000 ***
The position has averaged 4.8 receptions for 50.6 yards a game since Week 8 vs. the Seahawks. Lewis' only meaningful contributions come via a trip to paydirt, and Seattle has allowed tight ends to do this just twice in the last five games.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Josh Lambo, JAC SEA 1133 ***
This is a bottom-10 matchup for field goal and extra point tries on a weekly basis. The only miss of the 17 attempts was one of the 10 touchdown-cappers.

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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