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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey  

Sortable Player Projections | Game Predictions Summary | Projections by Team

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

Prediction: CAR 17, HOU 31

The Panthers have been scoring big points for the last month but are still only 4-9 on the year and 2-4 in road games. The Texans have clinched their first ever playoff game and at 10-3 are in the running for a first round bye. This week is when the Panthers weakness against the run should really show up.

Carolina Panthers
Homefield: Bank of America Stadium
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @ARI 21-28 10 TEN 3-30
2 GB 23-30 11 @DET 35-49
3 JAC 16-10 12 @IND 27-19
4 @CHI 29-34 13 @TB 38-19
5 NO 27-30 14 ATL 23-31
6 @ATL 17-31 15 @HOU -
7 WAS 33-20 16 TB -
8 MIN 21-24 17 @NO -
9 Bye -      
Panthers Report | Statistics | Roster
CAROLINA at HOU Rush Catch Pass
QB Cam Newton 40,1 - 210,1
RB DeAngelo Williams 40 - -
RB Jonathan Stewart 30 20 -
TE Greg Olsen - 40 -
TE Jeremy Shockey - 20 -
WR Brandon LaFell - 30 -
WR Steve Smith - 60,1 -
WR Legedu Naanee - 40 -
PK Olindo Mare 1 FG 2 XP -
Pregame Notes: This has been a season of great surprise at quarterback and yet not as much the rest of the team as Cam Newton's success has come at the expense of Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams who were already cutting everything in half as it was. In the end, it is the defense that still needs great work in the offseason but a final home stand against the Buccaneers will offer one more good shot at a win.

QUARTERBACK: For all of his great playing - and he will be the Offensive Rookie of the Year - the reality is that Cam Newton had been less effective as a passer in road games and has just three passing scores over the last five away venues. But he has supplied plenty of rushing scores and has already broken the all-time record for a quarterback with 13 touchdowns as a runner. Only LeSean McCoy (14) has more rushing scores than Newton.

This week is a tough matchup against what will be the best defense that he has yet faced. Newton always throws for less on the road but even his rushing stats should be lower than normal in this game.

RUNNING BACKS: DeAngelo Williams ran for a 74-yard touchdown last week and yet still was only given a total of seven runs in the game while Jonathan Stewart ended up with eight. The reality is that the running game gets the sloppy seconds from Cam Newton who drains almost all the short rushing touchdowns for himself and the rushing effort gets neatly split into two each week rendering both backs as fantasy duds unless they can break a freak long play.

The Texans at home have been dominate against the run allowing only two scores and never more than 63 rushing yards to any visitor. Short of the one long breakaway run, it is not likely either runner will put up much fantasy value this week.

WIDE RECEIVERS: The Texans secondary is their weaker point but it is still better than most. The Texans have allowed six receiving touchdowns to visiting wideouts this year and the Panthers really only have one of any note - Steve Smith who already gained 1217 receiving yards this year. Smith scored in four games this year but his yardage has waned in the recent month, particularly in road efforts with only one of the last five matchups topping 70 yards. Legedu Naanee and Brandon LaFell combined have only scored once in the last six games and neither had more than 75 yards in any game this year.

The passing score is likely to come here even though the Panthers have just one wideout worth covering. Smith is a must start every week.

TIGHT ENDS: Both Jeremy Shockey and Greg Olsen figure in each week for a few catches and Olsen is the more likely to turn in yardage of any note. Olsen has five scores on the year including one just last week but the Texans have not allowed any scores to the position to a visitor. Assume moderate yardage for Olsen.

Gaining Fantasy Points CAR 2 22 17 6 19 28
Preventing Fantasy Points HOU 4 3 9 3 9 1

Houston Texans
Homefield: Reliant Stadium
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 IND 34-7 10 @TB 37-9
2 @MIA 23-13 11 Bye -
3 @NO 33-40 12 @JAC 20-13
4 PIT 17-10 13 ATL 17-10
5 OAK 20-25 14 @CIN 20-19
6 @BAL 14-29 15 CAR -
7 @TEN 41-7 16 @IND -
8 JAC 24-14 17 TEN -
9 CLE 30-12      
Texans Report | Statistics | Roster
HOUSTON vs CAR Rush Catch Pass
QB Taylor Yates 20 - 190,1
RB Arian Foster 120,2 30 -
RB Ben Tate 50,1 - -
TE Joel Dreesen - 10,1 -
TE Owen Daniels - 30 -
WR Andre' Johnson - 40 -
WR Kevin Walter - 40 -
WR Jacoby Jones - 30 -
PK Neil Rackers 1 FG 4 XP -

Pregame Notes: The win in Cincy was huge since the remaining schedule should be all wins and deliver the Texans to the playoffs with a 13-3 record. The defense and rushing effort has been so dominating that losing Andre Johnson on and off and even Matt Schaub have proven to be little more than blips on the radar. Reaching the playoffs is a monumental step for the Texans but it may not be the final one they take this year. This team can compete.

QUARTERBACK: Taylor Yates has been encouraging so far with starts against the Falcons (188, TD) and in Cincinnati (300, 2 TD) with just one interception. He's already had his first 300 yard game and yet did not have Andre Johnson there to help. Yates is far from a fantasy starter but for the Texans - he's been good enough and that helps the running game keep churning out yards and scores.

Have to like one passing score and some yardage here but going against the #31 defense against the run means tons of Arian Foster and Ben Tate.

RUNNING BACKS: While Arian Foster lost his six game scoring streak last week when he ended with only 74 total yards against the Bengals, this week he faces the Panthers. In fact, the Panthers on the road. This game should be tailor-made for a monster showing by Foster and one that even Ben Tate should make a showing. Five running backs have already gouged the Panthers for 120+ rushing yards this year.

No reason to over think this early Christmas present. Long as Foster didn't get you kicked out of the playoffs last week, he'll deliver the goods in this game. Ben Tate is even a tempting flex play.

WIDE RECEIVERS: The Texans waived Derrick Mason and with that likely ended his career. Andre' Johnson is not a lock to play this week because of his hamstring and it would seem more reasonable to allow it to heal fully for the playoffs. I will assume he plays a limited role. None of the wideouts are an attractive play given that the Panthers have a decent secondary and almost no ability to stop the run. Until the Texans end up in a more competitive game and have Johnson, there is no reason to look here for a fantasy starter.

TIGHT ENDS: So far, Yates has used his tight ends in both games. Owen Daniels comes off an actual 100 yard game last week and is the yardage player while Joel Dreesen rarely has much yardage and yet scored in both of the games started by Yates. No reason to expect different this week.

Gaining Fantasy Points HOU 16 1 31 3 7 7
Preventing Fantasy Points CAR 21 31 14 17 29 19

JAC at ATL (thu) CIN at STL MIA at BUF SEA at CHI
DAL at TB (sat) CLE at ARI NE at DEN TEN at IND
  CAR at HOU GB at KC NYJ at PHI PIT at SF (mon)

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