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Predictions & Projections
By David M. Dorey
 
The Huddle
WEEK 2
September 10, 2003
Season Ticket
Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM
BUF at JAX MIA at NYJ WAS at ATL SEA at ARZ *CHI at MIN
CLE at BAL *PIT at KC Sun 4 PM *DEN at SD Mon 9 PM
*DET at GB SF at STL CAR at TB NE at PHI DAL at NYG
*HOU at NO *TEN at IND *CIN at OAK Times EST *updated
   
New England vs Philadelphia Sun, Sep 14; 4 PM on CBS at Osaka Dome
  New England Rush Catch Pass
QB Tom Brady 0 0 220,1
RB Kevin Faulk 40 30 0
RB Antowain Smith 40 10 0
TE Christian Fauria 0 20 0
WR Troy Brown 0 50 0
WR Deion Branch 0 40 0
WR David Patten 0 60,1 0
  Philadelphia Rush Catch Pass
QB Donovan McNabb 30 0 220,1
RB Duce Staley 70,1 30 0
RB Correll Buckhalter 50 0 0
TE Chad Lewis 0 20 0
WR James Thrash 0 60 0
WR Freddie Mitchell 0 30 0
WR Todd Pinkston 0 60,1 0

Game Prediction: NE 13, PHI 20

The Patriots come off a humiliating 31-0 loss to the Bills last week in a game which had everything go wrong. The cutting of Lawyer Milloy proved to be a two-edged sword that not only gave their opponent a very motivated defensive player, but deflated the morale and confidence of the Patriots. The emotional toll from the release of Milloy coupled with the devastating loss to the Bills makes this team already on the ropes just one game into the season. Heading into a wounded Eagles' stadium is not where they really want to be right now. This is a motivational challenge that would make even Tony Robbins walk away.

Tom Brady turned in his worst day in the NFL by throwing for only 123 yards and four interceptions and ending with a QB rating of only 20.4. One of his interceptions was returned for a touchdown. By a defensive lineman no less.

Troy Brown had no catches until the fourth quarter and no wideout had more than two receptions or 48 yards in the game. Deion Branch had one catch for eight yards but dropped a touchdown. David Patten dropped another probable score. Brady was off-target all afternoon and his numbers were not worse because occasionally the receivers would make good catches of bad passes. The short game was taken away by the Bills' linebackers and the long game did not exist.

Antowain Smith only had seven yards on six carries and gave way to Kevin Faulk to rushed ten times for 62 yards in the lone bright spot for the offense. Faulk also had four catches for 25 yards.

The Patriots need to turn around the ship quickly but that will have to wait at least one more week. On a weekend that saw many teams come out flat - Miami, Indianapolis and Chicago to name a few - the Patriots one upped them all by burying themselves in Buffalo.

The Eagles also were shutout last in week one, falling 17-0 to the visiting Buccaneers but they did lose one score on an unsuccessful fake field goal at the goal line and they were facing the NFL's best defense when they did it.

Donovan McNabb only had 148 yards passing and 55 yards rushing though he waited until late in the game before he began to tuck the ball and run. The Buccaneers defense was so dominating against the run that Correll Buckhalter only had one rush for no gain and then Duce Staley took over and notched a whole 14 yards on seven carries. Staley did provide a constant passing outlet for McNabb and had seven receptions for 46 yards with a few others called back on penalties. No team can completely abandon the run so early and still win, especially for an offense predicated on ball control. After the game Reid tried to explain away the decision by saying that Buckhalter has certain plays and that his formations were just not used.

James Thrash gained 47 yards on an end around and added 46 more yards on five receptions but both Todd Pinkston and Freddie Mitchell combined for only three catches for 22 yards.

It was a definite defensive victory by the Buccaneers who still have the ability to cover the second-rate receivers in Philadelphia and have time left over to keep tabs on McNabb. With the running game disabled and the receivers all covered, it left little more than pitch and catch between McNabb and Staley. Reid came under fire from the media for the playcalling since dumping the rushing game and not running McNabb more seemed to remove the two best elements of the Philadelphia offense.

The Eagles also may be without three defensive starters in this game. S Brian Dawkins, CB Bobby Taylor and DE Brandon Whiting were injured on Monday and may not be available. Dawkins and Taylor have footsprains while Whiting strained his hamstring.

This week the Eagles need the win to go into their early week three bye on a positive note.

Look for the Patriots to go against a defense that still can be physical enough to take away the short passing game yet again. When the Eagles get the lead, the plan is to use Correll Buckhalter's power running game coupled with Staley to control the ball and wait for Brady to make more mistakes. The effect of the Patriots decision to suddenly cut one of the most respected leaders on the defense is not yet over and the team that needs a confidence builder is going to the wrong place to gain that.

NE
PHI
2003 Averages
PHI
NE
Gains
Allows
QB's
Gains
Allows
154
238
Pass yards
148
230
0
2
Pass TDs
0
1
4
1
Interceptions
1
1
0
0
Rush yards
55
0
0
0
Rush TDs
0
0
---
---
RB's
---
---
105
90
Rush yards
19
104
0
0
Rush TDs
0
2
55
52
Receive yards
58
62
0
0
Receive TD's
0
0
---
---
WR's
---
---
97
163
Receive yards
68
137
0
2
Receive TD's
0
0
---
---
TE's
---
---
2
17
Receive yards
22
31
0
0
Receive TD's
0
1
---
---
PK's
---
---
0
1
Field Goals
0
1
0
2
Extra Points
0
4
---
---
DEF/ST
---
---
1
1
Fumbles
0
0
1
1
Interceptions
1
4
0
0
Touchdowns
0
1
2
3
Sacks
0
2
0
0
Safeties
0
0
Patriots (0-1)
Score Opp.
0-31 @BUF
Week 2 @PHI
Week 3 NYJ
Week 4 @WAS
Week 5 TEN
Week 6 NYG
Week 7 @MIA
Week 8 CLE
Week 9 @DEN
Week 10 BYE
Week 11 DAL
Week 12 @HOU
Week 13 @IND
Week 14 MIA
Week 15 JAX
Week 16 @NYJ
Week 17 BUF
Eagles (0-0)
Score Opp.
Week 1 TB
Week 2 NE
Week 3 BYE
Week 4 @BUF
Week 5 WAS
Week 6 @DAL
Week 7 @NYG
Week 8 NYJ
Week 9 @ATL
Week 10 @GB
Week 11 NYG
Week 12 NO
Week 13 @CAR
Week 14 DAL
Week 15 @MIA
Week 16 SF
Week 17 @WAS
(Statistics are game averages from current season )