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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey  

Sortable Player Projections | Game Predictions Summary | Projections by Team

WEEK 8
2011
* ARI at BAL * DET at DEN * MIN at CAR * SD at KC (mon)
* CIN at SEA IND at TEN * NE at PIT Bye Week
* CLE at SF * JAC at HOU * NO at STL ATL, CHI, GB
* Updated DAL at PHI * MIA at NYG WAS at BUF NYJ, OAK, TB

Prediction: DAL 27, PHI 24

The Cowboys finally come off a win that was decisive and with no late game drama. In the process, the Cowboys discovered that their rookie running back was better than they expected. The Cowboys are 3-3 and yet only 1-2 in road games this year. The Eagles are 2-4 and 0-2 when at home. Always a close game, this is a coin flip.

These teams traded road wins in 2010 with the Cowboys winning 14-13 in Philly and the Eagles winning 30-27 in Dallas.

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 30-34 13 @ARI -
5 Bye - 14 NYG -
6 @NE 16-20 15 @TB -
7 STL 34-7 16 PHI -
8 @PHI - 17 @NYG -
9 SEA -      
Cowboys Report | Statistics | Roster
DALLAS at PHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Tony Romo - - 290,2
RB DeMarco Murray 90,1 - -
TE Jason Witten - 70,1 -
WR Laurent Robinson - 30 -
WR Dez Bryant - 70 -
WR Miles Austin - 90,1 -
PK Dan Bailey 2 FG 3 XP -
Pregame Notes: DeMarco Murray's record setting game has been the talk of Dallas and naturally so when a team starving for any running game has a player suddenly gaining 253 yards in one game. That has to be tempered with some reality but at the least it means the Cowboys can improve the one area of the offense they have lacked for many years and really since the days of Emmitt Smith.

QUARTERBACK: The monster game of Murray running meant Tony Romo had a unproductive game with only 166 passing yards and two scores on the visiting Rams. But Romo passed for 300+ yards in four of his five previous starts and scored ten times over the six games played. Romo never played against the Eagles last year because of injury.

The Eagles secondary has been surprisingly soft and allowed 11 passing touchdowns against them though never more than 291 yards. That's due in part because almost all opponents rush the ball so well against them. Assuming that Murray does not have another 253 yards in him, expect Romo to have healthy yardage and two scores in this game.

RUNNING BACKS: Felix Jones remains out with a high ankle sprain not that anyone is anxious about his return. DeMarco Murray set a franchise record when he ran for 253 yards against the Rams - second best by a rookie ever and ninth best in NFL history. Not bad for a first start though realistically it was boosted by the 91 yard scoring run that Murray started the game with and the Rams a have allowed over 100 rushing yards to all but one opponent anyway.

So Murray starts again this week and Tashard Choice is nursing a sore shoulder and may not play or at least be limited if he does. Philip Tanner would play some role if needed.

The Eagles have been weak against the run and allowed seven touchdowns to running backs this season along with five players gaining 90+ rushing yards on them. How well Murray responds on a road game is harder to gauge but this is a below average rushing defense and the Eagles cannot load the line with Romo there. Since Felix Jones won't be sharing, Murray should have a decent showing here with a shot at one score like most opposing backs. If he can break more runs - he might surprise again.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Miles Austin had a quiet game last week with only two catches for 16 yards in the blowout win over the Rams. Dez Bryant fared better with 90 yards on five catches and one score but both wideouts are equally productive overall. Austin missed a few games after opening the season with four scores and 233 yards in just his first two games and since returning for two weeks has yet to score. Bryant has received fewer targets and his 90 yards last week was a season best. Both Bryant and Austin have four touchdowns each to lead the team. Laurent Robinson is little used in the slot now.

The Eagles have faced few teams that throw well and most opponents spend the game running the ball more. That too could limit what these receivers do though so far Nnamdi Asomugha has not proven to be as "shut down" as he was in Oakland and admits he is still learning the complicated defense. Both wideouts are must starts each week from their potential and should produce at least moderate yardage with a touchdown catch for one of them. I'll award it to Austin but it could end up anywhere.

TIGHT ENDS: Jason Witten has been declining in yardage weekly but has also scored in each of the last three games. He should bounce back from his 35 yard effort on the Rams this week against a defense that has been burned by the few good receiving tight ends to face them.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DAL 8 14 6 6 1 13
Preventing Fantasy Points PHI 19 29 8 17 2 27


Philadelphia Eagles
Homefield: Lincoln Financial Field
Turf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @STL 31-13 10 ARI -
2 @ATL 31-35 11 @NYG -
3 NYG 16-29 12 NE -
4 SF 23-24 13 @SEA -
5 @BUF 24-31 14 @MIA -
6 @WAS 20-13 15 NYJ -
7 Bye - 16 @DAL -
8 DAL - 17 WAS -
9 CHI -      
Eagles Report | Statistics | Roster
PHILADELPHIA vs DAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Michael Vick 40 - 280,2
RB LeSean McCoy 50,1 30 -
TE Brent Celek - 30 -
WR DeSean Jackson - 80,1 -
WR Jason Avant - 60 -
WR Jeremy Maclin - 60,1 -
PK Alex Henery 1 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Eagles come off their bye after beating the Redskins and ending a four game losing streak. LT Jason Peters should be back as well as pass rusher Trent Cole. The Eagles have a stretch of three straight home games before ending the year on a tough seven game stretch. How the Eagles fare against the Cowboys this week will be key to their later fortunes. A loss here and the playoffs will look nearly impossible..

QUARTERBACK: Michael Vick remains a solid fantasy quarterback though not at the top spot. He's had two passing scores in four games and a total of just nine touchdowns on the season. That goes against eight interceptions and three lost fumbles. He has averaged 62 rushing yards per game but the big difference from last year is that he still has never scored as a runner. Those valuable rushing scores of 2010 have yet to materialize and he had a total of ten. Vick scored on the ground in eight of his final nine games then but 2011 = zero.

The Cowboys have given up two passing scores to neatly every opponent and that fits right into Vicks normal output. Look for healthy yardage.

RUNNING BACKS: And here is where all those Vick touchdowns have ended up. LeSean McCoy scored six times already and eight adding in receiving touchdowns. He has been well over 100 total yards in all but one game and rarely shares any carries. McCoy is on a pace for 280 carries for 1517 yards and 19 touchdowns along with 56 catches for 328 yards and five more touchdowns. McCoy better slow down or he is going to be setting franchise records.

The Cowboys have been outstanding against the run allowing only two rushing touchdowns all year and never more than 70 rushing yards. McCoy still has a good chance at one touchdown since he scores every week anyway but his yardage should be lower this week.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Both starting wideouts have been good and yet rarely great this season. DeSean Jackson has been more of a disappointment with three efforts of less than 50 yards and no scores while Jeremy Maclin has remained good for over 50 yards each week and has three touchdowns to only two for Jackson. Both have turned in a 170 yard game and a 100 yard game. Good - not great. The more telling problem is that they have never had a big game in the season week. One or the other takes the lead.

The Cowboys have not yet allowed any receiver to top 100 yards against them though a few have been close and four players have scored. Both Maclin and Jackson are worth starting but they aren't as likely to have a big game as it may seem and it is more troubling how they never both seem to do well in the same game.

TIGHT ENDS: Still no fantasy value though Brent Celek had a touchdown and 42 in the most recent game. Otherwise - no scores and nearly no catches. Clay Harbor has a score as well but tight ends are rarely employed in the passing scheme and never to more than a few catches.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points PHI 5 10 4 24 13 12
Preventing Fantasy Points DAL 10 3 11 31 18 24

WEEK 8
2011
ARI at BAL DET at DEN MIN at CAR SD at KC (mon)
CIN at SEA IND at TEN NE at PIT Bye Week
CLE at SF JAC at HOU NO at STL ATL, CHI, GB
  DAL at PHI MIA at NYG WAS at BUF NYJ, OAK, TB

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