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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 5 BUF at CLE (THU) DET at GB NE at CIN SEA at IND
DEN at DAL KC at TEN SD at OAK NYJ at ATL (MON)
BAL at MIA HOU at SF NO at CHI On Bye:
*UPDATED CAR at ARI JAC at STL PHI at NYG MIN, PIT, TB, WAS

Prediction: DEN 40, DAL 24 (Line: DEN by 7)

Players of Interest: Jason Witten

PLAYER UPDATE: Miles Austin is doubtful and not expected to be active because of his hamstring, always his hamstring. Dwayne Harris was downgraded to questionable because of his hip but is still expected to be active.

This is must-see-TV. Anything with the Denver offense attached would be must-see-TV. I'd watch the mess in Washington D.C. if Peyton Manning would throw passes down the aisles of the House of Representatives. You watch football all your life and you know you are watching something special when you see the 1972 Dolphins or the 1985 Bears or the 2007 Patriots. But the 2013 Broncos make you feel like you are watching history unfold and you just know you are going to talk about this season for the rest of your life. That may seem like ridiculously high praise but every week it is just WOW. The closest win so far was by 16 points.

Oh yeah, Dallas will play in this game as well. Might as well spend all of practice running backwards and swatting at passes.

1 BAL 49-27 10 @SD -
2 @NYG 41-23 11 KC -
3 OAK 37-21 12 @NE -
4 PHI 52-20 13 @KC -
5 @DAL - 14 TEN -
6 JAC - 15 SD -
7 @IND - 16 @HOU -
8 WAS - 17 @OAK -
9 BYE WEEK ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
DEN @ DAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Peyton Manning 350,4
RB Montee Ball 30 1-10
RB Ronnie Hillman 30 1-10
WR Demaryius Thomas 7-100,1
WR Wes Welker 7-80,1
TE Julius Thomas 4-50,1

Pregame Notes: Perfect seasons are a joke to consider only four games in but the Broncos offense is mind-boggling and getting better. The fun part will be a three week span starting in week 11 when they play KC, @NE and then @KC. I'd be willing to just agree to give them automatic wins on the rest but there is way too many fantasy points at stake. Besides, if you love fantasy football, you have watch them play every week. They are averaging almost 45 points per game.

QUARTERBACKS: After a spirited debate that extended long into the night, The Huddle has come out in favor of Peyton Manning. He is setting scoring records every week so far and currently stands at 16 touchdowns on the season for a pace that would end with 64. I'd be willing to bet he falls short of that number, but I would not bet that much. Manning's worst showing so far was 307 yards and two scores when he probably took pity on his beleaguered brother.

RUNNING BACKS: It is not as kind to fantasy football but the Broncos are content with their backfield plan. Knowshon Moreno comes out and runs around a dozen times. He eventually gives way to Ronnie Hillman who then forces the defense to defend a fast slashing runner. Then eventually when the opponent cannot even count high enough to understand the score, Montee Ball comes in for some bruising runs and the eventual fumble. This unit only has moderate value with Moreno as best but they're satisfied with the plan. Hard to say it isn't working.

WIDE RECEIVERS: I picture the three starters sitting by their lockers and laying on the floor is Andre Caldwell with his chin propped up by his hands saying "tell me about the touchdown again!" He is the only receiver who is not richly rewarded for wearing a horse on their helmet. Wes Welker scores every week. Eric Decker at least throws in 80 yards or more. Demaryius Thomas has four touchdowns and a high of 161 yards in a single game. It all works. It's... it's... beautiful.

TIGHT ENDS: Last week was the first time that Julius Thomas did not score. He's been locked around 40 yards per week since the season opener but always scored until the Eagles game. Most tight ends don't have four touchdowns on the year. Thomas had that in the first three weeks.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: It may not be favorable here for the Cowboys to have already allowed Peyton's brother to throw for 450 yards and four touchdowns. the Cowboys are good against the run though and haven't allowed a rushing score so far this year or a runner who gained more than 62 rushing yards. But the Cowboys are 30th against quarterbacks and that was before he faced Manning the Greater. You're going to play them all every week and smile when you do anyway.

WHAT TO WATCH: The image of Jerry Jones in his Owner's box reprising this scene from Apocalypse Now.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DEN 1 5 1 6 1 13
Preventing Fantasy Points DAL 30 20 21 26 9 5

 

1 NYG 36-31 10 @NO -
2 @KC 16-17 11 BYE WEEK
3 STL 31-7 12 @NYG -
4 @SD 21-30 13 OAK -
5 DEN - 14 @CHI -
6 WAS - 15 GB -
7 @PHI - 16 @WAS -
8 @DET - 17 PHI -
9 MIN - ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
DAL vs DEN Rush Catch Pass
QB Tony Romo 310,2
RB DeMarco Murray 50,1 3-30
WR Dez Bryant 7-100,1
WR Dwayne Harris 1-20,1
WR Terrance Williams 5-70
TE Jason Witten 6-70
PK Dan Bailey 1 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: After a feel good win over the Rams, the Cowboys left to lose their second road game and now have to go against the Broncos. The NFC East still has no winning records and at current rate may not at the end of the year. As with most seasons, the Cowboys are still taking a step forward and then another one back. it is unlikely that this week is going to be a confidence booster but at least the Redskins visit in week six.

QUARTERBACKS: Tony Romo still has not topped 300 passing yards in a game so far though he has been close. Favorable is that he has only one interception all year and eight touchdowns so roughly like Manning divided by two. Romo passed for 300 yards nine times in 2012 and the plan was to have a more balanced offense. That has happened, but more by the passing game getting worse than the running effort improving. Not turning over the ball has been one undeniable improvement.

RUNNING BACKS: DeMarco Murray must lay in bed at night and dream of playing the Rams because that is the only time he apparently becomes more than a very average runner and perpetual injury risk. He's averaged 3.9 yards per carry other than the Rams game but has added three to five catches every week. He rarely shares any carries but still doesn't do much with them. His countdown is on since he has gone four straight weeks without a significant injury.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Dez Bryant is scoring in every game since the season opener though his yardage is lagging last year. Bryant only produced one game over 100 yards and twice was under 40 yards. Miles Austin has been out with a hamstring pull (of course) but may return this week. I'll assume a limited Austin plays and update as warranted. Terrance Williams is filling in for Austin and comes off his season best 71 yards on seven catches in San Diego. There is little doubt that the Cowboys need all hands on deck for this matchup.

TIGHT ENDS: No one is talking much about it but Jason Witten is not having a good year. At all. He blew up with 70 yards and two touchdowns in the season opener but since has not scored and only averages around 40 yards per game. Witten is getting a healthy number of targets, he's just not doing that much with them.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: This is going to be a shootout but only if the Cowboys can keep up. The Broncos allow a lot of passing yards thanks to plentiful trash time but have only given up five passing touchdowns all year. Only three of those ended up with wide receivers. They have allowed a rushing touchdown every week and yet only LeSean McCoy has managed to get more than 12 carries against them because the score gets away so quickly. All the normal Cowboy starters should be used - Romo, Murray, Witten and Bryant - but the results may not be as great as would seem likely. They just don't allow a lot of points.

WHAT TO WATCH: Witten really needs to step up here thought the Broncos haven't allowed any tight ends to score yet.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DAL 19 23 12 9 12 3
Preventing Fantasy Points DEN 20 25 19 17 19 1

WEEK 5 BUF at CLE (THU) DET at GB NE at CIN SEA at IND
DEN at DAL KC at TEN SD at OAK NYJ at ATL (MON)
BAL at MIA HOU at SF NO at CHI On Bye:
*UPDATED CAR at ARI JAC at STL PHI at NYG MIN, PIT, TB, WAS


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