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: DET 23, PHI 27 (Line: PHI by 5)

Updated Player: Titus Young

Players to Watch: Mikel Leshoure, Michael Vick

The 1-3 Lions come off their bye having last lost to the visiting Vikings in a game that signals this is no longer 2011. The Eagles are 3-2 and 2-0 at home though they have struggled to score any points and have been held to fewer than 20 in all but one game. The Lions on the road are likely to lose this one because quite simply they turned back into a pumpkin after a magical 2011 season.

Detroit Lions
Homefield: Ford Field
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 STL 27-23 10 @MIN -----
2 @SF 19-27 11 GB -----
3 @TEN 41-44 12 HOU -----
4 MIN 13-20 13 IND -----
5 BYE ----- 14 @GB -----
6 @PHI ----- 15 @ARI -----
7 @CHI ----- 16 ATL -----
8 SEA ----- 17 CHI -----
9 @JAC ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Stats | Roster
DET @ PHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Matthew Stafford 250,2
RB Joique Bell 10 5-40
WR Calvin Johnson 6-90,1
WR Golden Tate 3-40
TE Brandon Pettigrew 3-30
PK Matt Prater 1 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The Lions get the short straw this year with an early bye and now four road games in the next five weeks. There is nothing easy about the Lions schedule and the only game that might be considered soft is against the Colts who are getting better. Otherwise - this is a very tough slate of games left to play.

Matt Stafford is probably not going to throw for 5000 yards this year. Not unless they change the rules and let him play with no defense on the field. Because Stafford only has thee passing touchdowns on the year against four interceptions. Not unlike Tony Romo, he has the yardage and already topped 300 yards twice. But the scores are just not there.

All the upcoming road games are going to make the ineffective rushing attack look even worse. Kevin Smith has dropped so far that he hasn't had a touch since week two. Mikel Leshoure was great in the Titans game but only managed 26 yards on 13 runs against the Vikings. He has turned in four receptions for around 35 yards both weeks to salvage some fantasy value but this offense needs a home game against a soft defense to hope that Leshoure can play a significant role. Chances are pretty good he won't look any better by the time November rolls around.

Calvin Johnson was handled by the Vikings but otherwise he has been a stud with 90+ yards in all other games. He has just one score this year though. Nate Burleson remains just a mediocre #2 and Titus Young only has one catch per game other than the Tennessee tilt. Johnson is the only wideout that matters and he is getting little help from the others.

Brandon Pettigrew has offered moderate consistnecy with around 60 or 70 yards per week but has only scored once. Pettigrew has also been dropping passes in recent games as well.

Last year was the aberation because these Lions are back to the same problems. No passing game beyond Calvin Johnson a and a decreasing ability to score. The defense that was so surprising in 2011 has yet to hold anyone to under 20 points.

Gaining Fantasy Points DET 7 8 10 3 1 30
Preventing Fantasy Points PHI 4 12 13 6 25 30

QB Matthew Stafford, DET @GB 0000024022 ***
The Pack limited Stafford to 246 yards and zero scores in the earlier meeting; in fact, in five matchups with divisional foes Stafford has produced only one legit fantasy helper--390 and 2 at home against the Bears last month. And he's had just one fantasy game of note--330 and 3 last November--in his last five against the Lions. So keep those expectations in check this week.
RB Joique Bell, DET @GB 5002100000 ***
Bell took a back seat to Reggie Bush in the earlier meeting with the Packers, but he moved to the fore in Detroit when Reggie went down and he has yet to relinquish the role. Bell could follow in the footsteps of fellow bigger backs Mark Ingram and Marshawn Lynch, both of whom rushed for 100 yards against the Pack, though it's more likely his split workload won't result in enough touches for such a productive day.
WR Golden Tate, DET @GB 005601000 ***
Tate's as good a wingman as there is, and Green Bay's been more permissive to secondary targets of late--three Atlanta receivers found the end zone, as did two Vikings and two Eagles, all in the last six games--so he's a viable fantasy option this week.
WR Calvin Johnson, DET @GB 0071000000 ***
The Packers have yet to find an answer for Megatron; he's scored in 9 of 13 career meetings with Green Bay, producing a total of 12 TDs along with 6 100-yard games--four of them in the last five meetings. Johnson is definitely back in the mix after missing time midyear due to injury, so look for yet another big game from him.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Matt Prater, DET @GB 0022 ***
Prater has multiple field goals in eight straight outings. If his defense can keep the Packers under wraps again, counting by threes won't be a bad thing--for either the Lions or Prater and his fantasy owners.

Philadelphia Eagles
Homefield: Lincoln Financial Field
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @CLE 17-16 10 DAL -----
2 BAL 24-23 11 @WAS -----
3 @ARI 6-27 12 CAR -----
4 NYG 19-17 13 @DAL -----
5 @PIT 14-16 14 @TB -----
6 DET ----- 15 CIN -----
7 BYE ----- 16 WAS -----
8 ATL ----- 17 @NYG -----
9 @NO ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
PHI vs DET Rush Catch Pass
QB Mark Sanchez 10 220,1
RB LeSean McCoy 80,1 5-30
WR Jeremy Maclin 4-50
TE Brent Celek 6-70,1

Pregame Notes: The Eagles have been in four games all decided by three points or less and only lost the Pittsburgh game. That is living right but a scary proposition to continue to struggle offensively. Michael Vick has not thrown an interception since the six he had in the first two weeks abut once again last week he lost two fumbles. With games that are always nailbiters each week, losing the ball a total of 11 times in five games makes the 3-2 record a surprise.

VIck has passed for at least one score in all but one game but his passing yardage has really waned. He posted two 300+ yard efforts to start the year and now he cannot get past 240 yards. Against the Steelers he only managed 175 yards. Vick is also not running much which has really hurt his fantasy value and contributuion to the team. The good news is that he has been better at home than on the road and faces a weaker team finally. It ends up going against BAL, ARI, NYG and PIT was not the easiest opening for a season.

Vick sustained a knee contusion against the Steelers but it is not expected to be a problem in this game.

LeSean McCoy was a touchdown machine last year but so far has just one rushing touchdown and another one as a reciever. Again - his best games other than in Cleveland were the two homestands versus the Ravens and Giants. McCoy is not sharing the ball and he gets whatever is there to get. But so far he is off his 2011 pace and has a glaring lack of touchdowns. McCoy's knee was swollen after the game last week but he is expected to be fine this week and the knee will not be an issue.

Brent Celek scored last week in Pittsbriugh but only turned in three catches for nine yards. He has been at his best in home games so far but only against better defenses that limit the wideouts. That is less likely this week.

Where the decline in offense is pronounced is with the wide receivers. DeSean Jackson scored only once so far and two of his last three games were under 60 yard. Jeremy Maclin has been hampered by a sore hip from back in week two and after sitting out in week three, he has been a non-factor in games. Maclin started the year with a score in both games but has returned nothing to fantasy owners since.

The Eagles at home should be able to handle the Lions without too much trouble and hopefully break their constant trend to remain within three points to all opponents. The Lions rank decent enough against the fantasy positions but have only faced STL, SF, TEN and MIN. This should be a good win.

Gaining Fantasy Points PHI 15 23 19 9 24 29
Preventing Fantasy Points DET 11 6 11 27 30 32

QB Mark Sanchez, PHI @NYG 0000029021 ***
Nick Foles roasted the Giants for 248 and 2 in a 27-0 win earlier this year; now it's Sanchez's turn, fresh off a 374 and 2 performance in Washington. The Giants just let Shaun Hill take them for 290 and 2, so even a fading Sanchez--playing for a spot next year, be it in Philly or otherwise--should have success against them.
RB LeSean McCoy, PHI @NYG 8011100000 ***
What Chip Kelly needs to do is say, "Merry Christmas, Shady! Here's 20-plus carries!" With that, McCoy should have a field day as all four backs to see that workload against the Giants have topped 120 yards--including McCoy himself in a 22-149 effort earlier this year. Let Chris Polk have all the goal line fun; McCoy will get his via performance points.
WR Jeremy Maclin, PHI @NYG 005601000 ***
The Giants haven't allowed many big games to wide receivers--just enough little ones, especially since losing cornerback Prince Amukamara for the season. Maclin mustered only 16 yards in the earlier meeting but has six touchdowns and five games of 90-plus yards since so mark him down for a fantasy helper here.
WR Jordan Matthews, PHI @NYG 005700000 ***
Matthews has been silent for the past month; maybe hitting the rookie wall? This matchup isn't particularly favorable, so there's no need to reach for him here.
TE Zach Ertz, PHI @NYG 006601000 ***
Ertz scored in the earlier meeting with the Giants as Philly tight ends accounted for 118 yards and two TDs. Last week Ertz finally consolidated all those targets; the result was a 15-115 outing against the Redskins. Whether he's sharing or hoarding he's a solid fantasy play this week.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Cody Parkey, PHI @NYG 2233 ***
Parkey had nine in the earlier meeting with the Giants, though hitting the road and the possibility that Matt Barkley takes meaningful snaps make reaching that number again a little more tenuous.

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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