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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey  

Sortable Player Projections | Game Predictions Summary | Projections by Team

NYJ at DEN (thu) * CIN at BAL PHI at NYG * TEN at ATL
* ARI at SF * DAL at WAS SD at CHI KC at NE (mon)
* BUF at MIA * JAC at CLE SEA at STL Bye Week

Prediction: ARI 10, SF 24

Players to Watch: John Skelton

Update: Frank Gore has been limited in all practices this week and is listed as questionable but is still expected to play. Beanie Wells was also limited all week and will play.

The Cardinals come off their huge upset over the Eagles in Philly but are only 3-6 and now 1-4 on the road. The 49ers are 8-1 with the second best record in the NFL. The Cardinals shocked the league last week but it would be exponentially bigger to do it this week as well.

Arizona Cardinals
Homefield: University of Phoenix Stadium
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 CAR 28-21 10 @PHI 21-17
2 @WAS 21-22 11 @SF -
3 @SEA 10-13 12 @STL -
4 NYG 27-31 13 DAL -
5 @MIN 10-34 14 SF -
6 Bye - 15 CLE -
7 PIT 20-32 16 @CIN -
8 @BAL 27-30 17 SEA -
9 STL 19-13 - - -
Cardinals Report | Statistics | Roster
ARIZONA at SF Rush Catch Pass
QB John Skelton - - 210,1
RB Beanie Wells 40 10 -
WR Larry Fitzgerald - 80 -
WR Andre Roberts - 40 -
WR Early Doucet - 30,1 -
PK Jay Feely 1 FG 1 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Cardinals have won two in a row now and that brings about the big question - does Kevin Kolb get his job back when he is healthy? The reality is that barely clipping the Rams at home is no resume builder and the win in Philly has yet to define itself - was it Skelton or just yet another flop by the Eagles who apparently can't beat anyone anymore other than the Cowboys.

QUARTERBACK: Two weeks of John Skelton have not only been two wins, but he has also discovered a little known wideout on the roster named Larry Fitzgerald who has scored three times with Skelton. The win over the Rams was no shocker and he only passed for 222 yards and one score but Skelton turned in 315 yards and three scores in Philly that was truly unexpected. Let him show up big one more time and letting Kolb back in will be hard to do.

Skelton has a real test this week against one of the better defenses in the league. The 49ers are weaker in their secondary than against the run but average passing teams have not fared well there. The 49ers are not going to be taken by surprise here so expecting a moderate showing at best assumes some trash time yards and a score.

RUNNING BACKS: Beanie Wells is still limited by his knee and only gained 62 yards on 23 runs in Philly against one of the softer defenses. That follows up his ten carries for 20 yards against the Rams. But Wells is playing through the injury as evidenced by his 23 carries. Wells has said he may have to deal with the knee for the rest of the season which only harkens to last season when he was fare less effective.

The 49ers at home are outstanding against the run anyway. No player has rushed in a touchdown against them and none had gained more than 55 yards in San Francisco. Expect a meager showing by Wells this week - good knee or not.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Under Skelton's direction, the wideouts have fared better recently and Larry Fitzgerald finally had a monster game with seven catches for 146 yards and two scores mostly going against $60 million Nnamdi Asomugha in Philly. Fitzgerald also scored once against the Rams the previous game though with only 43 yards on four receptions. The fact that Fitzgerald has done anything is exciting enough since he had not scored with Kolb since week three. Even Early Doucet scored in Philly though his yardage is always marginal at best.

Any touchdown pass is almost certainly going to end up in this group. The secondary has only allowed one player to have a big game in San Francisco though and that was back in week two (Miles Austin). Otherwise there have been five scores caught by the position but never more than 83 yards attached to them. Fitzgerald is still the only player worthy of a fantasy start. I'll credit Doucet with the score since all but one score was caught by the #2 wideout but it is not that reliable.

TIGHT ENDS: No fantasy value.

Gaining Fantasy Points ARI 18 17 8 23 30 13
Preventing Fantasy Points SF 22 1 24 17 3 3
Advantage +31 to -31 ARI 4 -16 16 -6 -27 -10

San Francisco 49ers
Homefield: Monster Park
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 SEA 33-17 10 NYG 27-20
2 DAL 24-27 11 ARI -
3 @CIN 13-8 12 @BAL -
4 @PHI 24-23 13 STL -
5 TB 48-3 14 @ARI -
6 @DET 25-19 15 PIT -
7 Bye - 16 @SEA -
8 CLE 20-10 17 @STL -
9 @WAS 19-11      
49ers Report | Statistics | Roster
SAN FRANCISCO vs ARI Rush Catch Pass
QB Alex Smith - - 190,1
RB Frank Gore 80,1 10 -
RB Kendall Hunter 40,1 - -
TE Vernon Davis - 40,1 -
WR Braylon Edwards - 40 -
WR Michael Crabtree - 50 -
PK David Akers 1 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: The 49ers held off the visiting Giants to rise to a giddy 8-1 but they are getting so far ahead of the rest of the division that it begs the question - who sits late in the season? There were still be the actual chance for a #1 seed if the Packers falter though and the 49ers do have at least two more big challenges - @BAL and PIT. The defense has been outstanding though and they just learned how to win without Frank Gore.

QUARTERBACK: After scoring five times in two games, Alex Smith has returned to just being the low-error game manager who typically throws right at 200 yards and one touchdown every game. Smith has 11 scores on the year but only three interceptions. The plus is that he's been really consistent with that one passing score. The downside - four straight games of just one touchdown.

Certainly Smith could do more but he won't need to and this is not a passing offense. The standard one score game is the only thing bankable.

RUNNING BACKS: Frank Gore only had six carries for no gain last week and twisted his knee. He was pulled from the game and allowed Kendall Hunter to score once on his six runs for 40 yards. Gore insisted that he could have returned to the game but was held out to be safe and the coaches are wanting to keep him fresh for later in the year. At this point, Gore should play this week and could end up fine - he had played with sore ankles in previous weeks and still notched five straight games over 100 rushing yards. His knee was not reported to be anything significant.

Given his banged up health and the desire to keep him fresher, I'll assume he will be limited this week at least partially and that Hunter will have a more visible role this week. The Cardinals had allowed monster games to running backs and a fresh and healthy Gore could have a big game here. Expect a good showing regardless but practice reports will help to see his condition coming into the game.

WIDE RECEIVERS: There has been marginal fantasy value here all season and only three touchdowns have been caught by the position and never more than one per wideout. Michael Crabtree has been the best but that only means around 50 yards in most games and never more than 77 yards in any game. Braylon Edwards has been back for three weeks and never exceeded 47 yards or scored. No reason to expect more than nominal yardage or start either wideout this week.

The lone passing score could end up here but there is no way of knowing who would catch it. Best to expect just 50 yards at most.

TIGHT ENDS: Vernon Davis has been far less productive this year though he finally scored last week after a drought since week five. Since the third game, he has not gained more than 45 yards in any matchup. I will credit him with the score and he is marginally more likely to get it but about 40 yards is all you can really rely on for Davis lately.

Gaining Fantasy Points SF 26 11 32 4 2 5
Preventing Fantasy Points ARI 20 19 25 12 20 25
Advantage +31 to -31 SF -6 8 -7 8 18 20

NYJ at DEN (thu) CIN at BAL PHI at NYG TEN at ATL
ARI at SF DAL at WAS SD at CHI KC at NE (mon)
BUF at MIA JAC at CLE SEA at STL Bye Week

a d v e r t i s e m e n t