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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 14
2010
IND at TEN *NE at CHI *TB at WAS *KC at SD
*CIN at PIT *CLE at BUF *SEA at SF DEN at ARI
ATL at CAR *NYG at MIN STL at NO PHI at DAL
*Updated GB at DET OAK at JAC MIA at NYJ *BAL at HOU

Prediction: BAL 31, HOU 20

Update: Todd Heap has been held out of practice and is not likely to play in the game. He is better but doesn't want to take a chance on re-injuring it. It looks like Owens is going to play this week but I am holding him out of the projections because he has not played in six weeks and Joel Dreessen has been more than adequate and could still be a factor. Andre Johnson was held out of practice to rest his ankle as always but is expected to play.

The Ravens come off a painful loss to the Steelers by only three points that will likely end up keeping them from winning the division. And Baltimore is only 3-3 in road games though all those were to current division leaders. The Texans are just 3-3 at home and have lost five of their last six games. This will be the Monday night game.

Baltimore Ravens (8-4)
Homefield: M&T Bank Stadium
Sport Turf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @NYJ W 10-9 10 @ATL L 21-26
2 @CIN L 10-15 11 @CAR W 37-13
3 CLE W 24-17 12 TB W 17-10
4 @PIT W 17-14 13 PIT L 10-13
5 DEN W 31-17 14 @HOU --
6 @NE L 20-23 15 NO --
7 BUF W 37-34 16 @CLE --
8 Bye - 17 CIN --
9 MIA W 26-10   - -
Ravens Report | Statistics | Roster
BALTIMORE at HOU Rush Catch Pass
QB Joe Flacco - - 290,3
RB Ray Rice 70 30 -
TE Ed Dickinson - 40 -
WR Anquan Boldin - 100,2 -
WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh - 30 -
WR Derrick Mason - 60,1 -
PK Billy Cundiff 1 FG 4 XP -

Pregame Notes: A win would have made a world of difference last week but the Ravens still have a chance for a wildcard and with four games left the Steelers could still stumble. The remaining schedule is kind here with only the Saints game as a probable road bump and one where the Ravens will not be favored. But even a loss there would be a 11-5 record and that's plenty to get to the dance in January.

I like a defensive score in this game as well.

QUARTERBACK: Joe Flacco has taken the next step as a quarterback this season with a score in every game since the opener. He has been under 250 yards only once in the last seven weeks and had multiple touchdown in half of his matchups. He gets to face the #32 defense against quarterbacks that has allowed 28 touchdowns to quarterbacks so far and five times given up three or more scores. This is where you want to work on your passing game.

Expect a nice showing here of the offense with Flacco passing for around 300 yards and at least two scores but it could end up three easily. Four of six visitors had at least three passing touchdowns.

RUNNING BACKS: Ray Rice scored in only two games this year but he has been well over 100 total yards in most of his games. He's a safe bet to figure in as a receiver this week as well as a runner. Willis McGahee has been the preferred goal line scorer but has not been a factor since week nine.

Expect a nice yardage total from Rice but a score is hard to rely on. The Texans are average at best at stopping the run.

WIDE RECEIVERS: The Texans are not only weak against the receivers, they have allowed five different wideouts to score twice when playing against them. They have allowed over 100 yards to a wide receiver eight times this season already. Anquan Boldin has been inconsistent in his production but mostly from getting depressed stats when facing a great secondary which has never existed in Houston. Boldin already has seven touchdowns on the year and four big yardage games. Expect the fifth one this week with at least one score and very possibly two. Derrick Mason also stands to benefit from facing the #29 defense against wide receivers. Even at home, the Texans have given up 11 touchdowns over six games to wide receivers.

TIGHT ENDS: Todd Heap has a pulled hamstring from last week and is probably not going to play for at least this week. That give the rookie Ed Dickinson a chance to start against the worst defense at stopping tight ends. Dickinson had been used for only one catch per game but when Heap left last week he stepped up to three catches for 21 yards against the Steelers. But the Texans have only allowed two tight ends to score in Houston, so better yardage would be as far as the benefit goes for Dickinson.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points BAL 13 14 14 13 16 28
Preventing Fantasy Points HOU 32 18 29 32 23 6
Advantage(+) or Disadvantage(-) BAL 19 4 15 19 7 -22


Houston Texans (5-7)
Homefield: Reliant Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 IND W 34-24 10 @JAC L 24-31
2 @WAS W 30-27 11 @NYJ L 27-30
3 DAL L 13-27 12 TEN W 20-0
4 @OAK W 31-24 13 @PHI L 24-34
5 NYG L 10-34 14 BAL --
6 KC W 35-31 15 @TEN --
7 Bye - 16 @DEN --
8 @IND L 17-30 17 JAC --
9 SD L 23-29   - -
Texans Report | Statistics | Roster
HOUSTON vs BAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Schaub - - 230,1
RB Arian Foster 90,1 50 -
WR Andre' Johnson - 90,1 -
WR Kevin Walter - 30 -
WR Jacoby Jones - 30 -
PK Neil Rackers 2 FG 2 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Texans were 4-2 heading into their bye week but only 1-5 since they returned. The shutout over the stumbling Titans was great but the defense has allowed 29 points or more in the other seven most recent games and the Texans can hardly keep pace with that. The Texans still have a shot at more wins but until the defense can stop the pass, this franchise will not see a winning record.

QUARTERBACK: Matt Schaub has not been as prolific as he was in 2009 but he still has 17 touchdowns and 3089 yards already - that's at least above average and he has thrown over 300 yards four times including last week in Philly. He has only passed for one interception in the last four games as well. The rushing attack of Arian Foster has changed the dynamics on these offense so that Schaub is less likely to have those big games.

The Ravens are ranked #3 against quarterbacks and only allowed 14 scores to the position this year though the yardage is higher than in past seasons. They have already allowed four quarterbacks to throw for over 300 yards.

This is the strength of the defense and the Texans would prefer to hold the score down and do more running anyway. Look for Schaub to most likely end with moderate yardage and one score as he did against the Colts and Jets.

RUNNING BACKS: No doubt that Arian Foster was the magic pick in the drafts last year. Foster i s currently the NFL leader with 1230 rushing yards and 479 receiving yards. He ranks #1 with 13 rushing touchdowns and 17 overall scores. He is on a pace for 1640 rush yards, 639 receiving yards and 23 total touchdowns. Been a good year. Been a very good year.

Foster faces one of the best defenses against the run but he has been the best of the best. The Ravens have allowed six different running backs to score on them and two have broken 100 rushing yards. Foster is a must start every week anyway and the Ravens will prevent him from having a monster game but at home Foster should be money for total yards and likely one score.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Andre' Johnson is still bothered by his ankle and is dealing with the pain and swelling. He'll miss much of practice this week but is still expected to play on Monday and he gained 149 yards last week with the injury. If needed, Johnson will take a pain injection on Monday night. He has been almost the entirety of the passing game and has five touchdowns and five 100+ yard games oddly enough almost exclusively in road games - only once did he have a big game at home because Foster usually rules when the team is in Houston.

The one passing score is always most likely to end up with Andre Johnson who should always be started regardless of matchup. I will credit him with it but it could go anywhere. The most common player in almost every case to catch a score against the Ravens has been the #1 wideout of the opponent.

TIGHT ENDS: Owen Daniels is expected back this week and it is his first practices since injuring himself back in week eight. His hamstring has improved enough to get him into practice but a month out and Daniels is a risky play this week. Daniels just makes Dreessen a bigger risk to use and the Ravens are already one of the best at defending the position. They have only allowed two tight end touchdowns all year. I am not forecasting for either tight end because of the risk and tough matchup.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points HOU 17 1 20 14 8 32
Preventing Fantasy Points BAL 3 6 13 2 21 7
Advantage(+) or Disadvantage(-) HOU -14 5 -7 -12 13 -25

WEEK 14
2010
IND at TEN NE at CHI TB at WAS KC at SD
CIN at PIT CLE at BUF SEA at SF DEN at ARI
ATL at CAR NYG at MIN STL at NO PHI at DAL
  GB at DET OAK at JAC MIA at NYJ BAL at HOU
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