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Predictions & Projections
By David M. Dorey
 
The Huddle
WEEK 4
September 24, 2003
Season Ticket
Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM Bye Week:
ARZ at STL KC at BAL ATL at CAR *IND at NO Miami
TEN at PIT *NE at WAS DAL at NYJ Mon 9 PM NY Giants
CIN at CLE *PHI at BUF *DET at DEN *GB at CHI Seattle
JAX at HOU *SF at MIN *SD at OAK *updated Tampa Bay
   
New England vs Washington Sun, Sep 28; 1 PM on CBS at FedEx Field
  New England Rush Catch Pass
QB Tom Brady 0 0 220,2
RB Kevin Faulk 40 50 0
RB Antowain Smith 30 0 0
TE Christian Fauria 0 20,1 0
WR Troy Brown 0 50 0
WR Deion Branch 0 60,1 0
WR David Patten Q Q Q
  Washington Rush Catch Pass
QB Patrick Ramsey 10 0 240,1
RB Trung Canidate 70 0 0
RB Ladell Betts 60,1 20 0
TE Robert Royal 0 20,1 0
WR Lavernues Coles 0 80 0
WR Rod Gardner 0 65 0
WR Darnerian McCants 0 45 0


Game Prediction: NE 17, WAS 20

Update: David Patten has a sprained knee and is questionable to play. I am removing him from the projections though there is a small chance he can go. Tom Brady also injured his elbow but is expected to play with no effects.

The Patriots come off a much needed win over the division rival Jets, 23-16, in a game that saw only more misfortune befall the New England injury list. The defense already has lost ILB Ted Johnson (broken foot), OLB Roosevelt Colvin (broken hip) and now NT Ted Washington has a broken leg. The trainers should hand out calcium supplements to the remaining healthy players. OLB Mike Vrabel also has an injured arm. Even Tom Brady has a bad elbow. The impressive feat is that the defense has played well even in spite of the injuries since the disastrous week one fiasco. Then again, the Jets and Eagles have not been an offensive force this season either.

The good news out of the win was that Kevin Faulk came within three yards of his best career rushing effort though the bad news is that he only ran for 79 yards. Combined with Antowain Smith (13-55), the Patriots produced their best rushing effort of the season but there is little hope that either Smith or Faulk will become a featured runner.

Christian Fauria (3-49) continues to be the safety net for Brady but Daniel Graham (2-37) finally had one nice 31-yard reception which tied his career longest. In this complex passing offense, the team still hopes Graham will develop into the tight end of the future but Fauria will still remain one of the most reliable targets in the endzone.

The changes to the offensive line due to injuries shows in the pass protection. Tom Brady only threw for 181 yards last week and was sacked five times though he did rush in one score. After the big game in week two for Deion Branch, he returned to mediocrity with only two catches for 25 yards. He should receive more playing time if the injury to David Patten keeps him out this week. In fantasy terms, this offense produces no reliable wide receivers since only Branch has had more than three catches in a game and he only did that once. Until further word, I am assuming that Patten is able to play but it will be updated later if needed. This is not an attractive offense for fantasy football and even Tom Brady has fallen off thanks to a bad elbow and poor pass blocking.

The Redskins are making a habit of falling behind at halftime with bad game stats and then coming on strong in the second half. Last week they ran out of luck and lost to the Giants in overtime after scoring 11 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to tie the game. Washington trailed 21-3 at halftime.

Falling behind has been good for Patrick Ramsey since he currently leads the NFL in passing yardage. Last week Ramsey started out slowly and by the end of the game had his second 300 yard game of the season. After enjoying the Jets, Falcons and Giants, Ramsey will find a bigger challenge maintaining those lofty numbers as he faces secondaries of New England, Philadelphia, Tampa Bay and Buffalo next.

Lavernues Coles is breaking the rules about receivers in their first year with a new team. Coles currently leads the NFL with 391 yards receiving and last week (7-105) he notched his third 100 yard effort in as many games. Rod Gardner (3-25, 1 TD) is up and down in production compared to Coles while #3 receiver Darnerian McCants (4-67, 1 TD) had more looks last week than the first two games.

The Redskins abandoned the running game in light of the big deficit on the scoreboard and Trung Canidate (15-89) and Ladell Betts (8-39) had nice yards per carry with the defense concerned more with the pass, but the 23 carries were not enough from the duo to make either a a difference in the game though their total yardage looked more impressive than it should.

CB Fred Smoot was blasted unconscious in practice last week but managed to play. Evidently his mild concussion was not entirely gone since he gave up seven catches for 58 yards and two touchdowns to Ike Hilliard as the Giants picked on Smoot the entire game.

The Redskins host the Patriots and the defensive injuries to the linebacking corps should be more apparent this week. Look for the Redskins to use the run more often as the Patriots come off a three game stretch against the Bills, Eagles and Jets that have not presented much trouble to any other team either. The difference in this game will be the Redskin ability to defend the run versus the Patriots inability to keep defenders out of the backfield on passing plays. Both offenses feature multiple receiver sets and while that decreases the effect of great cornerbacks, the Redskins will be playing aggressively on pass defense and going after Brady.

With CB Ty Law and Tyrone Poole dedicated to stopping Coles and Gardner, the interior of the Patriots defense will miss Ted Washington which will open up the inside/outside game of Betts/Canidate.

NE
WAS
2003 Averages
WAS
NE
Gains
Allows
QB's
Gains
Allows
197
193
Pass yards
296
235
1.0
1.7
Pass TDs
1.7
0.7
1.3
0.7
Interceptions
0.7
1.3
2
-1
Rush yards
15
20
0.3
0.0
Rush TDs
0.0
0.0
----
----
RB's
----
----
103
93
Rush yards
121
69
0.0
1.0
Rush TDs
0.7
1.0
54
29
Receive yards
47
63
0.0
0.0
Receive TD's
0.0
0.0
----
----
WR's
----
----
106
108
Receive yards
237
137
0.3
1.3
Receive TD's
1.7
0.3
----
----
TE's
----
----
37
55
Receive yards
12
35
0.7
0.3
Receive TD's
0.0
0.3
----
----
PK's
----
----
1.7
1.3
Field Goals
2.0
1.7
1.7
2.7
Extra Points
2.3
2.0
----
----
DEF/ST
----
----
2.0
1.0
Fumbles
0.0
0.3
1.0
0.7
Interceptions
0.7
1.3
0.7
0.0
Touchdowns
0.0
0.3
4.7
4.3
Sacks
1.7
3.0
0.0
0.0
Safeties
0.3
0.0
Patriots (2-1)
Score Opp.
0-31 @BUF
31-10 @PHI
23-16 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
Redskins (2-1)
Score Opp.
16-13 NYJ
33-31 @ATL
21-24 NYG
Week 4 NE
Week 5 @PHI
Week 6 TB
Week 7 @BUF
Week 8 BYE
Week 9 @DAL
Week 10 SEA
Week 11 @CAR
Week 12 @MIA
Week 13 NO
Week 14 @NYG
Week 15 DAL
Week 16 @CHI
Week 17 PHI
(Statistics are game averages from current season )