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Predictions & Projections
By David M. Dorey
 
The Huddle
WEEK 3
September 17, 2003
Season Ticket
Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 4 PM Mon 9 PM
JAX at IND NYJ at NE *NYG at WAS *GB at ARZ *OAK at DEN
*KC at HOU PIT at CIN STL at SEA Sun 8:30 PM Bye Week:
*MIN at DET *TB at ATL *BAL at SD BUF at MIA CAR, CHI
*NO at TEN Times EST CLE at SF *updated DAL, PHI
   
Tampa Bay vs Atlanta Sun, Sep 21; 1 PM on FOX at Georgia Dome
  Tampa Bay Rush Catch Pass
QB Brad Johnson 0 0 270,2
RB Michael Pittman 40 20 0
RB Mike Alstott 40 0 0
TE Ken Dilger 0 20 0
WR Keyshawn Johnson 0 90,1 0
WR Karl Williams 0 30 0
WR Keenan McCardell 0 80,1 0
  Atlanta Rush Catch Pass
QB Doug Johnson 0 0 150
RB Warrick Dunn 50 30 0
RB T.J. Duckett 40 0 0
TE Alge Crumpler 0 20 0
WR Quentin McCord 0 40 0
WR Peerless Price 0 30 0
WR Jimmy Farris 0 30 0


Game Prediction: TB 20, ATL 6

Update: T.J. Duckett suffered a thigh bruise in practice and is listed as questionable though he did practice on Thursday. He is likely to play but in light of who he is playing now with a thigh bruise, I am lowering his numbers.

There is a good chance that special teams gets a little more attention in Tampa Bay this week. The Buccaneers come off a tough loss to the Panthers in a game that saw Carolina block two field goals and an extra point to force overtime which they eventually took with their fourth field goal, 12-9.

Playing against a tough Panther defense, the Buccaneers were unable to establish any rushing game last week and ended with only 60 yards on the ground with 22 carries mixed between Michael Pittman, Thomas Jones, Mike Alstott and Aaron Stecker. Take away the one 16 yard run by Pittman and it was even worse.

Brad Johnson threw for 339 yards but could not find the endzone until late in the game to force the tie when he connected with Keenan McCardell. Keyshawn Johnson provided excellent possession receiving and ended with 102 yards on nine catches. In all, Johnson hit nine receivers but could not post the points. Making matters worse was that Joe Jurevicius (4-31) tore his right MCL ligament and will be out for four to six weeks.

The Buccaneers just re-signed Charles Lee to the team as a replacement for Jurevicius along with Karl Williams who had one catch for 43 yards last week.

Brad Johnson suffered a groin strain in the game but is expected to play this week.

The Buccaneers held Jake Delhomme to only 96 yards passing but were shredded by the power running of Stephen Davis who carried 33 times for 142 yards. The smaller defensive linemen showed perhaps the only weakness of the Bucs defense when a big man comes crashing through the heart of the defense, negating the speed and pursuit strengths of the unit.

It will be interesting too when those two teams meet again in week ten since Keenan McCardell did a chop block to DE Kavika Pittman that tore his MCL and he is lost for the season.

The Falcons come off a loss to the Redskins after having led 17-0 in the second quarter. Atlanta was still ahead 24-17 at the half but lost 33-31 - the margin being provided by a safety against Doug Johnson.

Johnson started out with four of his first seven pass attempts complete but only managed 12 of 29 after that point. He threw two interceptions as well. The Falcons are unable to use their wideouts now, with Alge Crumpler (4-54) being the lead receiver for the second week in a row. Peerless Price? After complaining in week one when he had two catches for 30 yards, Price responded last week by catching two more passes for 28 yards. Those are some expensive receptions.

Warrick Dunn and T.J. Duckett have been sharing carries at the ratio of about 2:1 but that should change this week since Duckett is a better match against the Buccaneers. Duckett scored twice last week on short plunges and gained a total of 35 yards on only 7 carries.

The Atlanta defense is getting worse and yielded 356 passing yards and 125 rushing yards to the Redskins. Worse than that was the way that Atlanta withered in the second half on both sides of the ball.

This week brings the Buccaneers that beat Atlanta twice last season by margins of 14 and 24 points. That was with Michael Vick. The Buccaneers offense is nothing special but with Brad Johnson can exploit the Falcon secondary as well as Washington did. Tampa Bay also brings a better defense to town along with Jon Gruden who is not the happy camper after last week's kicking fiasco.

Look for the Falcons to use Duckett more but to fall behind by half and spend the rest of the game trying to throw into the strength of the Tampa Bay defense.

TB
ATL
2003 Averages
ATL
TB
Gains
Allows
QB's
Gains
Allows
289
312
Pass yards
213
122
1.5
1.5
Pass TDs
2
0
1
0.5
Interceptions
1.5
1.5
-1
6
Rush yards
-2
29
0
0
Rush TDs
0.5
0
---
---
RB's
---
---
77
130
Rush yards
98
93
0
1.5
Rush TDs
1
0
62
32
Receive yards
28
29
0
0
Receive TD's
0.5
0
---
---
WR's
---
---
196
271
Receive yards
107
82
1.5
1.5
Receive TD's
0.5
0
---
---
TE's
---
---
28
10
Receive yards
78
11
0
0
Receive TD's
1
0
---
---
PK's
---
---
1
0.5
Field Goals
1.5
2
1.5
3
Extra Points
3.5
0
---
---
DEF/ST
---
---
0.5
0
Fumbles
1.5
0
1.5
1.5
Interceptions
0.5
1
0
0
Touchdowns
0
0
2
2.5
Sacks
4.5
0.5
0
0.5
Safeties
0
0
Buccaneers (1-1)
Score Opp.
17-0 @PHI
9-12 CAR
Week 3 @ATL
Week 4 BYE
Week 5 IND
Week 6 @WAS
Week 7 @SF
Week 8 DAL
Week 9 NO
Week 10 @CAR
Week 11 GB
Week 12 NYG
Week 13 @JAX
Week 14 @NO
Week 15 HOU
Week 16 ATL
Week 17 @TEN
Falcons (1-1)
Score Opp.
27-13 @DAL
31-33 WAS
Week 3 TB
Week 4 @CAR
Week 5 MIN
Week 6 @STL
Week 7 NO
Week 8 BYE
Week 9 PHI
Week 10 @NYG
Week 11 @NO
Week 12 TEN
Week 13 @HOU
Week 14 CAR
Week 15 @IND
Week 16 @TB
Week 17 JAX
(Statistics are game averages from current season )