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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey  

Sortable Player Projections | Game Predictions Summary | Projections by Team

WEEK 4
2011
* ATL at SEA * DET at DAL * NO at JAC * SF at PHI
BUF at CIN * MIA at SD * NYG at ARI * TEN at CLE
CAR at CHI MIN at KC NYJ at BAL * WAS at STL
* UPDATED * DEN at GB * NE at OAK PIT at HOU * IND at TB (mon)

Prediction: DET 24, DAL 27

Players to Watch: Titus Young

Update: Tony Romo is questionable but will play and is "one week" better than he was against the Redskins. Felix Jones has been practicing fully and will play without limitation. Dez Bryant is a bigger question. He suffered a setback this week with his quadriceps strain and will be a game time decision. I am lowering his projections and realize he is not a lock to play.

The Lions are tied with the Packers with a 3-0 record and while two of their wins came on the road, both were by a touchdown or less including against the winless Vikings. The Cowboys managed to cobble together a win on Monday over the Redskins and are in a three-way tie in the NFC East at 2-1. The Cowboys are decimated by injuries but at home.

The Cowboys won 35-19 when the Lions visited last year.

Detroit Lions
Homefield: Ford Field
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @TB 27-20 10 @CHI -
2 KC 48-3 11 CAR -
3 @MIN 26-23 12 GB -
4 @DAL - 13 @NO -
5 CHI - 14 MIN -
6 SF - 15 @OAK -
7 ATL - 16 SD -
8 @DEN - 17 @GB -
9 Bye -      
Lions Report | Statistics | Roster
DETROIT at DAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Matthew Stafford - - 310,3
RB

Jahvid Best

40 50 -
TE Brandon Pettigrew - 50,1 -
WR Calvin Johnson - 110,2 -
WR Titus Young - 60 -
WR Nate Burleson - 30 -
PK Jason Hanson 1 FG 3 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Vikings put up a good fight on Sunday but the Lions won and are starting their most promising season in many years. There could be a temptation to look past this week to play the Bears the following Sunday but the Lions are pretty new to being unbeaten. The answer this week is what sort of road team are the Lions? Win big here and that inspires fear but a loss only means the Lions will again struggle when they leave Detroit.

QUARTERBACK: Not only has Matthew Stafford thrown for at least two scores and 294 yards every week, he gets to face the Cowboys with their always problematic secondary. Rex Grossman struggled a bit last week but that was a divisional game on Monday night. This time Stafford gets to play because Shaun HIll was the starter in Dallas when the Lions passed for 289 yards and two scores last year.

The Cowboys have been very good against the run so expect a nice passing effort from Stafford that could end up a really big game. Even Mark Sanchez had 335 yards and two scores on the Cowboys.

RUNNING BACKS: Jahvid Best only rushed for 14 yards on 12 runs in Minnesota but he later admitted to bruising his thigh early in the game and was less effective rushing. He still turned in five catches for 74 yards and has never had less than 42 yards as a receiver.

Best will be challenged to gain much rushing yardage in Dallas since no runner has gained more than 47 yards on them, But Best does better as a receiver anyway so expect at least moderate total yardage from him this week. The Cowboys linebackers have been playing well and should prevent him from a big game even as a receiver.

The Lions only rushed for 56 yards on 18 carries in Dallas last season.

WIDE RECEIVERS: The Lions are excelling with the use of their wideouts and why not? Calvin Johnson merely has scored twice in every game so far and never had less than 88 yards in a road game. He is as close to "uncoverable" as there is in the NFL. Nate Burleson has yet to score but offers some possession catches each week. The best part of this unit is the emergence of the rookie Titus Young who has nine catches for 140 yards over the last two games. The play of Stafford has energized this unit for 2011 and going against the Cowboys should provide yet another very nice game.

Johnson caught one touchdown in Dallas when he had six catches for 46 yards and Burleson led the team with 97 yards and a score on seven receptions.

TIGHT ENDS: When the Lions could not establish the run last week, they turned to Brandon Pettigrew for 11 catches and 112 yards for a career best. He still has yet to score though since Tony Scheffler has twice scored on his only receptions in the first two weeks. Pettigrew should factor in this week against a defense that has allowed two scores to the position already and the rushing game should again be challenged to do much.

Pettigrew turned in eight catches for 75 yards in Dallas last year.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DET 4 10 4 7 2 10
Preventing Fantasy Points DAL 17 8 8 28 23 19


Dallas Cowboys
Homefield: Cowboys Stadium
RealGrass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @NYJ 24-27 10 BUF -
2 @SF 27-24 11 @WAS -
3 WAS 18-16 12 MIA -
4 DET - 13 @ARI -
5 Bye - 14 NYG -
6 @NE - 15 @TB -
7 STL - 16 PHI -
8 @PHI - 17 @NYG -
9 SEA -      
Cowboys Report | Statistics | Roster
DALLAS vs DET Rush Catch Pass
QB Tony Romo - - 230,2
RB Felix Jones 70 30 -
TE Jason Witten - 70,1 -
WR Kevin Ogletree - 40 -
WR Dez Bryant - 50 -
WR Laurent Robinson - 40,1 -
PK Dan Bailey 2 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Cowboys have yet to be in a game decided by more than three points and could end up there again if the defense can slow down the passing of the Lions. The Cowboys are very banged up in almost every position but most players are hanging on for the week five bye to heal up. WIth two of the next three games being road trips to New England and Philadelphia, a injury decimated squad has little chance. The outlook on this game could change throughout the week with so many injuries to track.

I like a defensive score.

QUARTERBACK: The good news was that Tony Romo did not suffer any further damage to his ribs or lung against the Redskins though he was obviously hampered and threw for only 255 yards and no touchdowns. Romo opened the year with back-to-back 340 yard games with two scores and gets a week more to heal up before this matchup. With so many new receivers, the Cowboys looked like they were playing sandlot football on Monday night.

Jon Kitna passed for 147 yards and three touchdowns on the visiting Lions last season.

The Lions has only allowed two passing scores but have only faced TB, MIN and KC. Even an injured Romo should manage 250 yards with a chance for at least one touchdown if not two.

RUNNING BACKS: Felix Jones re-aggravated his shoulder sprain against the Redskins but still ended with a career best 115 yards on 14 carries and even added 40 yards on three receptions. There is a chance that Jones misses this week but I will update as warranted. Figure on some help from DeMarco Murray and Tashard Choice anyway.

The Cowboys only gained 94 yards on 26 carries on the Lions last time. This year the Lions are even better against the run and have allowed just one rushing score to Adrian Peterson in Minny. Expect a return to mediocrity for Jones who will be nursing a shoulder sprain in the best case.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Miles Austin remains out with a hamstring issue that should extend into the bye week. Dez Bryant was questionable with his quad injury but played and had four catches for 63 yards. He should be even healthier this week and won't be going against CB DeAngelo Hall. Newly signed Laurent Robinsonwas a surprise with his three catches for 49 yards in place of Austin and he out shined Kevin Ogletree who lost a fumble, dropped several passes and ended with only 19 yards on three receptions. Jesse Holley was never used because they went with the more veteran Robinson.

Both Bryant and Austin (2) scored on the Lions last year but neither had much yardage. The Lions are statistically great against wideouts so far but TB. KC and MIN are hardly passing mecca's and even Dwayne Bowe posted 101 yards on them and Mike Williams scored once.

TIGHT ENDS: Jason Witten played with a sore rib last week but still posted six catches for 60 yards and will again be relied on heavily this week. The Lions have faced only one receiving tight end so far and that was Kellen Winslow who gained 66 yards on six catches in the opener. Start Witten with confidence.


RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DAL 9 26 7 12 3 14
Preventing Fantasy Points DET 4 5 6 7 16 10

WEEK 4
2011
ATL at SEA DET at DAL NO at JAC SF at PHI
BUF at CIN MIA at SD NYG at ARI TEN at CLE
CAR at CHI MIN at KC NYJ at BAL WAS at STL
  DEN at GB NE at OAK PIT at HOU IND at TB (mon)

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