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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 6
2010
*CLE at PIT *BAL at NE *SEA at CHI *IND at WAS
*NO at TB KC at HOU *OAK at SF *TEN at JAC
*MIA at GB *DET at NYG NYJ at DEN ARI, BUF
*Updated *SD at STL ATL at PHI *DAL at MIN CAR, CIN

Prediction: BAL 20, NE 24

Update: Ray Rice was held out of practice on Wednesday and was still limited on Thursday but he's just resting up and will play with no limitation.

This is an interesting one since the 4-1 Ravens have yet to allow more than 17 points in any game while the Patriots have scored less than 38 points only once. This could be a coin toss with the Ravens stingy defense but the Pats should manage to eke this one out at home even without Randy Moss. The Pats want some revenge for getting kicked out of the playoffs last year in front of their own hometown fans.

The Ravens lost 21-27 in New England last year. The Ravens later won 33-14 in the playoffs on the road again.

Baltimore Ravens (4-1)
Homefield: M&T Bank Stadium
Sport Turf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @NYJ W 10-9 10 @ATL --
2 @CIN L 10-15 11 @CAR --
3 CLE W 24-17 12 TB --
4 @PIT W 17-14 13 PIT --
5 DEN W 31-17 14 @HOU --
6 @NE -- 15 NO --
7 BUF -- 16 @CLE --
8 Bye - 17 CIN --
9 MIA --   - -
Ravens Report | Statistics | Roster
BALTIMORE at NE Rush Catch Pass
QB Joe Flacco - - 260,2
RB Ray Rice 70 20 -
TE Todd Heap - 50 -
WR Anquan Boldin - 70,1 -
WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh - 40 -
WR Derrick Mason - 60,1 -
PK Billy Cundiff 2 FG 2 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Ravens are in the driver's seat in the AFC North but that loss to the Bengals could be an issue down the road. The schedule has not been kind and is not getting better this week but then the Ravens should see even more success with a softer stretch in the second half of the year and they wind down with only two road games in their final six weeks.

QUARTERBACK: Joe Flacco chugs along but comes off his worst game of the year statistically when he only passed for 196 yards and no scores against the Broncos. That was a function of the rushing attack finally coming to life and removing the need to throw.

Flacco passed for 264 yards and two scores in the first meeting with the Pats last year and later only had four completions while the Ravens ran wild on the Patriots in the playoffs.

The Pats have been soft against the pass this year and every opponent has thrown for multiple touchdowns and very healthy yardage. The run won't work this week nearly as well and the Pats could drive up the score with a spirited fight after last January. That should spell a bigger than usual game for Flacco.

RUNNING BACKS: It may have taken five games, but Ray Rice finally turned in a big game when he rushed for 133 yards on 27 carries and scored two touchdowns on the Broncos. He also added 26 yards on four catches. There was enough left over for Willis McGahee to add a season high 67 yards on ten runs with one score as well. But Rice had been stuck with around 100 total yards and no scores in his first four games.

Rice gained 103 yards on 11 carries and had five catches for 49 yards in the first meeting with the Pats, He ran for 159 yards on 22 carries and scored twice in the second meeting. Willis McGahee also scored in that game with 62 yards on 20 carries and Le'Ron McClain added a fourth touchdown.

The Patriots have been very good against running backs this year and no one has turned in more than 79 rushing yards on them. That's mostly because the Pats have been rolling up the score and opponents have yet to produce a runner with more than 15 carries. Look for that normal day from Rice that is good but still leaves you wanting more.

WIDE RECEIVERS: No changes here other than the horrible showing by Anquan Boldin who only had one catch for eight yards last week thanks to Champ Bailey and a game that was handily won via the rushing attack. This week the wideouts face one of the weakest secondaries if only because the Pats are making opponents abandon the run. Every opponent of the Pats have produced at least one touchdown to a wide receiver and that has always been the teams #2 guy. That now has to be Derrick Mason on this team but the Patriots have not played that many good wideouts either. In week one, Ochocinco had 159 yards and a score on this defense. There will be healthy passing yards and that should benefit both the wideouts here. It may even end up giving T.J. Houshmandzadeh a decent game though that is a far bigger risk.

Mason caught seven passes for 88 yards and a score in the first meeting with the Patriots last year. No other receiver did anything in either game.

TIGHT ENDS: Todd Heap has not been a huge factor in the passing game but is consistent with around 30 or 40 yards in most games. He has yet to score and has a an excellent chance this week for at least good yards if not that score. The Pats have been soft on the position when the opponent has a decent option.

Heap ended with 46 yards on four receptions versus the Pats last year.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points BAL 22 14 16 23 28 32
Preventing Fantasy Points NE 30 19 29 24 19 8
Advantage(+) or Disadvantage(-) BAL 8 5 13 1 -9 -24


New England Patriots (3-1)
Homefield: Gillette Stadium
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 CIN W 38-24 10 @PIT --
2 @NYJ L 14-28 11 IND --
3 BUF W 38-30 12 @DET --
4 @MIA W 41-14 13 NYJ --
5 Bye - 14 @CHI --
6 BAL -- 15 GB --
7 @SD -- 16 @BUF --
8 MIN -- 17 MIA --
9 @CLE -- - - -
Patriots Report | Statistics | Roster
NEW ENGLAND vs BAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Tom Brady - - 250,2
RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis 50,1 - -
TE Aaron Hernandez - 50,1 -
WR Brandon Tate - 50,1 -
WR Wes Welker - 80 -
WR Deion Branch - 30 -
WR Julian Edelman - 20 -
PK Stephen Gostkowski 1 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Patriots are now relying on Deion Branch and Brandon Tate instead of Randy Moss and there is no proof that the locker room fight ever happened between Moss and Tom Brady. The one that Brady supposedly told Moss to shave his beard (who offers grooming tips during a fight?) and Moss countered by referring to Brady's long flowing locks as "girl hair" (though in fairness...). The Pats are emphasizing "THE TEAM" again according to HC Bill Belichick which is his way of saying the only individual that matters is him.

QUARTERBACK: Goldilocks Tom Brady has been consistent this year and the loss of Moss should be compensated for between Branch, Brandon Tate and Aaron Hernandez. Brady has thrown for right at 250 yards and three scores in both of the previous home games this year.

Brady passed for 258 yards and a score in the first meeting with the Ravens and later ended with 154 yards and two scores.

The Ravens have been outstanding against the pass but faced mostly weaker passing teams. Last week, the Broncos threw for 314 yards and two scores in Baltimore so look for at least a decent game here by Brady. There will be some minor success running the ball but mostly Brady will have to win this game.

RUNNING BACKS: Fred Taylor may return to practice this week after missing two games with a turf toe injury. In his place BenJarvus Green-Ellis has scored in each of the last two games with moderate yardage and the little ex-Jet Danny Woodhead has even posted a touchdown in both those games as well. Kevin Faulk remains out but Sammy Morris still has a minor role. Once Taylor returns, it will make this backfield completely unpredictable but Green-Ellis should see the bulk of work for at least this week.

No New England runner had more than 52 yards versus the Ravens last season.

The Ravens have been mostly good against the run though Rashard Mendenhall posted two scores on them and Peyton Hillis had 144 yards the previous week. That makes Green-Ellis a marginal play this week but with some upside.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Big changes here. Randy Moss is gone and the Pats acquired Deion Branch from the Seahawks for a 2011 fourth-round pick. The Pats felt good enough about Aaron Hernandez and Brandon Tate to make the trade with the Vikings to dump Moss for only a third round pick. Branch is as much depth as anything. How this may affect Wes Welker remains to be seen because now the secondary will be considering him as the main guy to cover. Welker has been perhaps the most dangerous slot receiver of all time but that was working in the shadow of Randy Moss. Now Welker becomes the #1 and it isn't like he could possibly be thrown any more passes. What changes come to Welker is the question to start answering this weekend.

Randy Moss had around 50 yards in both meeting with the Ravens in 2009 and scored in the first one. Welker was limited to 48 yards in the first game and missed the playoffs matchup. Julian Edelman caught six passes for 44 yards and two scores in relief for him.

It is hard to project for Branch since he just got on the team. He'll no doubt play some this week but should pick it all up in short order having played there before in the past.

The Ravens have only allowed one wideout to score against them but that was Brandon Lloyd who last week had 135 yards and two scores. Otherwise most opponents were held in check and - again - the Ravens faced no decent passing attacks prior to the Broncos last week. The loss of Moss makes predicting this unit even more difficult but the newness of this group could actually work out in their favor.

TIGHT ENDS: Aaron Hernandez has become a trusted outlet for Tom Brady and while he has yet to score this year, he's been good for around five or six catches per week. I am crediting him with a score but it could end up with Rob Gronkowski just as easily as it has twice already this year.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NE 9 11 12 4 15 2
Preventing Fantasy Points BAL 1 5 5 3 21 6
Advantage(+) or Disadvantage(-) NE -8 -6 -7 -1 6 4

WEEK 6
2010
CLE at PIT BAL at NE SEA at CHI IND at WAS
NO at TB KC at HOU OAK at SF TEN at JAC
MIA at GB DET at NYG NYJ at DEN ARI, BUF
  SD at STL ATL at PHI DAL at MIN CAR, CIN
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