Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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BUF at ARI *GB at HOU *NE at SEA *DEN at SD (MON)
*CIN at CLE *IND at NYJ *NYG at SF Bye:
*Updated DAL at BAL *KC at TB OAK at ATL CAR, CHI, JAC, NO

Prediction: DAL 13, BAL 24 (Line: BAL by 3.5)

Players to Watch: Joe Flacco

The Cowboys come off their bye with a 2-2 record that satisfies no one and start an even more brutal stretch of the schedule for the next five games.

Dallas Cowboys
Homefield: Cowboys Stadium
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @NYG 24-17 10 @PHI -----
2 @SEA 7-27 11 CLE -----
3 TB 16-10 12 WAS -----
4 CHI 18-34 13 PHI -----
5 BYE ----- 14 @CIN -----
6 @BAL ----- 15 PIT -----
7 @CAR ----- 16 NO -----
8 NYG ----- 17 @WAS -----
9 @ATL ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
DAL @ BAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Tony Romo 300,1
QB Brandon Weeden 240,1
RB DeMarco Murray 40 6-50
WR Dez Bryant 5-80
TE Jason Witten 6-70
PK Dan Bailey 2 FG 1 XP

Pregame Notes: Take away the season opener (and by now you really should) and the Dallas defense has been good until when it breaks late in the game. And the Dallas offense has just remained bad from kickoff to the final gun. The rushing effort has disappeared behind faulty blocking and Tony Romo has struggled since that first New York game.

In the last three games he has only thrown for two touchdowns and has seven interceptions and two lost fumbles. His five interception night against the Bears equaled a career worst. The problem was hardly all Romo. He was knocked around constantly, no one respects the run anymore and his receivers drop passes frequently.

Dez Bryant ran the wrong route and gave away an interception returned for a touchdown. The passing yardage is not that bad - always over 250 and he averages 287 per week. But the scoring just not there. Bryant did finally have a 100 yard game but it is only the second of his career and the first one was back in week 10 of 2010. Bryant has no touchdowns this year. Miles Austin leads the team with three scores and has remained consistent with around 60 yards or more. In Dallas, Austin is about as good as it gets.

Jason Witten was terrible in his first three games dropping passes and never scoring. He was the focus of Romo against the Bears and caught 13 passes for 112 yards and one touchdown. It was a vintage Witten game but was just one of four. With a stretch of four road games in the next five weeks, Witten will be relied on heavily against some very good defenses that are going to be able to cover Austin or let Bryant run the wrong route.

DeMarco Murray is a sign how bad the offensive line is in Dallas. The last three games have only produced 44 rushing yards or less though they finally used him as a receiver with seven catches for 57 yards versus the Bears. Murray has only one score on the season and 14 plays with negative gains. That's one in every four or five runs never reaching the offensive line.

Dallas needed the bye week to regroup but the first game out is a road trip to Baltimore. That's not likely to be any help at all.

The Ravens have allowed three passers to exceed 320 yards but have only given up two passing touchdowns this year. Dallas does not fare well against "bend but do not break" defenses because that allows the Cowboys to do the breaking which so far they have been pretty good at doing. The Ravens have allowed four rushing scores but DeMarco Murray has been getting worse each week.

Gaining Fantasy Points DAL 17 22 7 14 29 28
Preventing Fantasy Points BAL 8 17 19 10 20 6

RB DeMarco Murray, DAL PHI 8012100000 ***
Murray has triple-digit combo yardage in five straight, six touchdowns in the past four games, and has pretty much hoisted this offense on his back; last week, he even got more than 20 carries! With Tony Romo iffy, the offensive onus will once again be on Murray, who missed the earlier game with the Eagles. The way he's playing right now, it would be silly to bet against him.
WR Dez Bryant, DAL PHI 0081101000 **
Bryant didn't score in the earlier meeting with Philly, though he did rack up 110 yards. He's scored in five of eight since, including each of the last four, and should enjoy this matchup with an Eagles defense that's given up more fantasy points to wideouts than any other.
WR Terrance Williams, DAL PHI 003501000 **
Williams scored in the earlier meeting with Philly and was the Cowboys' most targeted secondary receiver last week so he's the most likely to take advantage of an Eagles defense that has allowed at least one secondary target to score or top 50 yards (or both) in all seven non-blizzard games since Philly and Dallas met back in Week 7.
TE Jason Witten, DAL PHI 003300000 ***
Witten did little last week and wasn't a factor in the earlier game with Philly--no surprise, given that the Eagles have allowed the fewest fantasy points to the tight end position. Witten may also be adjusting to a new quarterback, so there are plenty of reasons to be skittish about his fantasy prospects this week.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Dan Bailey, DAL PHI 2233 ****
Bailey has averaged almost four points per game more at home, a cool 10 points per game this year with nothing lower than a seven. His five spot in Philly is a bit disconcerting, but Bailey's home track record suggests he's a solid bet here.

Baltimore Ravens
Homefield: M&T Bank Stadium
Sport Turf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 CIN 44-13 10 OAK -----
2 @PHI 23-24 11 @PIT -----
3 NE 31-30 12 @SD -----
4 CLE 23-16 13 PIT -----
5 @KC 9-6 14 @WAS -----
6 DAL ----- 15 DEN -----
7 @HOU ----- 16 NYG -----
8 BYE ----- 17 @CIN -----
9 @CLE ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
BAL vs DAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Joe Flacco 240,2
RB Justin Forsett 20
RB Ray Rice 80,1 5-50
WR Jacoby Jones 2-20
WR Torrey Smith 5-100,1
TE Owen Daniels 6-80,1
TE Dennis Pitta 3-20,1
PK Justin Tucker 1 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: Pretty rare when you win despite never scoring any touchdowns but the Ravens made it three in a row thanks to an even worse offense by the Chiefs that smacked of a trap game the Ravens barely escaped from. Back at home this week against the Cowboys should help get the motivation up.

Like every season, Joe Flacco flirts with fantasy relevance and just when you think you can rely on him, he lays an egg. After two games of over 350 passing yards and at least two scores in each, Flacco only threw for 187 yards in Kansas City and had no touchdowns. On the year, he has seven touchdowns against four interceptions. He is generally good, occasionally great and not above a flop every now and then. It all totals to a mostly mediocre fantasy starter.

Ray Rice is the lone consistent player on this team. He produces around 100 total yards in almost every game if not rushes for that much and scored in two of the three home match-ups. Last week was a rare time he only had one catch. In most weeks he has at least five and up to eight. Rice also doesn't share the ball more than a time or two each week. There were good reasons why Rice was drafted #1 or #2 in almost every league. Those reasons still exist if not are even stronger.

The Dennis Pitta show has been placed on hiatus apparently. After opening the season with three efforts over five receptions each and totaling two scores, he has turned into yet another pumpkin. After being blanked by the Browns, Pitta only handed in 22 yards on three catches versus the Chiefs. He's only getting a few targets in games now and one more week of this means that mini-spree of catches is over for good.

The positive about Torrey Smith this year is that at least he has a big game when at home. Both efforts came in the wake of his brother's death but the defense was not being kind when it allowed him to post 127 yards and then 97 yards over the last two home stands. His three scores all came in those two games. Anquan Boldin is the one receiver who has surprisingly been the most effective over the last two weeks with 131 yards and 82 yards though he has not scored since the season opener.

The Cowboys rushing defense has been very good other than when on the road against a top back like this game. No quarterback has thrown for more than 275 yards on them and most remain well under 220 yards with only one score each. This is not likely to be a monster passing game for Flacco who rarely has them anyway.

Gaining Fantasy Points BAL 14 7 14 16 11 5
Preventing Fantasy Points DAL 5 10 2 15 10 29

QB Joe Flacco, BAL @CIN 0000022012 ****
Flacco has just one multiple touchdown outing in his past six games, or since he threw for 140 & 2 against the Bengals back in Week 10. Cincy has allowed only one multiple touchdown since then as well, plus they've surrendered only eight passing scores in seven home games. Last year Flacco came through in the clutch; this season, expectations are diminished.
RB Ray Rice, BAL @CIN 3006300000 ****
The Bengals have allowed exactly one RB TD in Cincinnati this year, and Rice isn't having the kind of season where he would be a good bet to buck that trend. He's essentially splitting carries with Bernard Pierce and only posting helpful fantasy numbers when an easy matchup is at hand. This is not that matchup.
RB Bernard Pierce, BAL @CIN 200000000 ***
Pierce is seeing a larger share of the workload, but neither he nor Ray Rice are doing anything with those touches--and the matchup isn't particularly favorable, either.
WR Torrey Smith, BAL @CIN 004501000 ***
Smith scored in the earlier matchup with Cincy, though it took 15 targets for him to do so. The Bengals have allowed five WR TDs in the subsequent five games, and with Smith still the top-targeted Raven wideout he's the best bet of the passing game to score.
WR Jacoby Jones, BAL @CIN 004500000 ****
Jones and Marlon Brown continue to alternate adequate showings as Baltimore's secondary target. That has some fantasy value in a favorable matchup, but this isn't a favorable matchup.
WR Marlon Brown, BAL @CIN 003400000 ***
Brown and Jacoby Jones continue to alternate adequate showings as Baltimore's secondary target. That has some fantasy value in a favorable matchup, but this isn't a favorable matchup.
TE Dennis Pitta, BAL @CIN 004300000 ***
Pitta is still splitting looks with Ed Dickson; against a Bengals defense that's shut out three straight tight ends, there's just not enough to go around here.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Justin Tucker, BAL @CIN 3311 ***
Tucker has been feast or famine of late: three triple-digit games, wrapped around a couple minuscule single-digit efforts. He posted eight points in the previous meeting with Cincy, and this one is likely to play out in a similar fashion as the two teams battle for playoff spots.

BUF at ARI *GB at HOU *NE at SEA *DEN at SD (MON)
*CIN at CLE *IND at NYJ *NYG at SF Bye:
*Updated DAL at BAL *KC at TB OAK at ATL CAR, CHI, JAC, NO

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