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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
   
Philadelphia vs Buffalo Sun, Sep 28; 1 PM on FOX at Ralph Wilson Stadium
  Philadelphia Rush Catch Pass
QB Donovan McNabb 40 0 180,1
RB Duce Staley 30 20 0
RB Correll Buckhalter 40,1 0 0
TE Chad Lewis 0 20 0
WR James Thrash 0 60 0
WR Freddie Mitchell 0 30 0
WR Todd Pinkston 0 40,1 0
  Buffalo Rush Catch Pass
QB Drew Bledsoe 0 0 240,2
RB Travis Henry 60,1 10 0
RB Joe Burns 50 10 0
TE M. Campbell 0 10 0
WR Eric Moulds 0 80,1 0
WR Josh Reed 0 70 0
WR Bobby Shaw 0 60,1 0


Game Prediction: PHI 18, BUF 20

Update: Travis Henry has torn cartilage in his ribs and has not practiced. While Henry has valiently proclaimed he will play this weekend, I am less certain as are most outside the team. Henry may play but with bad ribs against a defense that will be taking shots, I would not expect him to play the entire game even if he does start. For that reason, I am not projecting for him and starting him will be a fantasy risk. Samy Morris would be his backup but since he is out with groin surgery, second year player Joe Burns is the most likely rusher for the Bills in this game. The Bills will be passing a lot in this matchup to take advantage of the injuries to the Eagle's secondary anyway, so I am changing the numbers for them.

The Eagles come off their bye week rested and trying to pretend that the first two weeks of the season never happened. After 120 minutes of playing time, the Eagles have exactly ten points to show while allowing 48 points. Oh yes, they were both home games as well. After two games, the Philadelphia running backs have rushed the ball a total of 21 times for a total of 65 yards with Brian Westbrook as the best running back in a single game. He had six carries for 29 yards.

Correll Buckhalter has one run for zero yards and a catch for 21 yards as the "feature back".

Duce Staley has the lion's share of carries with 12 for 29 yards.

In the space of two games, Donovan McNabb ran 11 times for 108 yards with a total of 334 passing yards, three interceptions and two fumbles to his credit. No touchdowns. The list is even worse for the defense.

HC Andy Reid has claimed it was "negligence" on his part that he forgot that Correll Buckhalter was the starting running back that could run the ball. The team drafted L.J. Smith to replace Chad Lewis and Smith has yet to make a catch (though he did drop one touchdown in his defense).

The problem with the Eagles is really threefold so far:

1. Donovan McNabb has been inaccurate with his passing in an offense predicated on putting enough mediocre receivers out on routes that someone gets open. McNabb has missed several passes that he typically would make and the receivers donate a drop or two as well.

2. The playcalling has been very questioned, instead of relying on a running game the Eagles have abandoned theirs and not even used the best rusher in Buckhalter. At all. Either the media and Buckhalter himself has been misled, or the Eagles game plan needs revision.

3. The defense has not played nearly as well as 2002 and shows that the loss of key players to free agency was felt. Losing Bobby Taylor and Brian Dawkins to foot injuries for week two explains the Patriot massacre to some extent.

This is the Eagles last chance to get back on track before playing three consecutive divisional games with two of them on the road.

The Bills finally stumbled in Miami after racking up a 69-17 point advantage in their first two games. When they left their third game of the season, they only had a net of 118 yards of offense, no offensive points and three interceptions.

Travis Henry had masked his ineffective running this season by scoring five short touchdowns but against the Dolphins he only had five carries for seven yards before leaving the game with bruised ribs. Joe Burns replaced him and gained 22 yards on his six carries. I am assuming that Henry returns this week but am considering him limited pending any further information.

Drew Bledsoe only competed 10 of 25 passes for 98 yards in the game while being sacked four times and throwing two interceptions. Naturally this led to all receivers being fantasy busts for the week.

This game needs to show a few things to teams that need to see them. Both teams are convinced that they need to run more often and more effectively and will pursue doing that in the matchup. Assuming that all players are healthy for the game, neither team will be throwing very well though later word on Taylor and Dawkins could change that. Look for a lower scoring game as teams try to run against the weakness of the opposing defense and avoid too much testing against the secondaries which are the strength of each.

PHI
BUF
2003 Averages
BUF
PHI
Gains
Allows
QB's
Gains
Allows
180
174
Pass yards
214
247
0.0
0.7
Pass TDs
1.0
2.5
1.5
2.0
Interceptions
1.3
0.5
54
9
Rush yards
3
4
0.0
0.3
Rush TDs
0.0
0.0
----
----
RB's
----
----
33
111
Rush yards
61
73
0.5
0.3
Rush TDs
1.7
0.0
51
34
Receive yards
24
63
0.0
0.0
Receive TD's
0.0
0.0
----
----
WR's
----
----
100
104
Receive yards
166
162
0.0
0.7
Receive TD's
0.7
1.5
----
----
TE's
----
----
29
34
Receive yards
23
20
0.0
0.0
Receive TD's
0.3
1.0
----
----
PK's
----
----
0.5
0.7
Field Goals
0.7
1.0
0.5
1.3
Extra Points
3.3
3.0
----
----
DEF/ST
----
----
0.0
0.3
Fumbles
0.3
2.5
0.5
1.3
Interceptions
2.0
1.5
0.0
0.0
Touchdowns
0.7
0.5
1.0
2.0
Sacks
2.0
5.0
0.0
0.0
Safeties
0.0
0.0
Eagles (0-2)
Score Opp.
0-17 TB
10-31 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
Bills (2-1)
Score Opp.
31-0 NE
38-17 @JAX
7-17 @MIA
Week 4 PHI
Week 5 CIN
Week 6 @NYJ
Week 7 WAS
Week 8 @KC
Week 9 BYE
Week 10 @DAL
Week 11 HOU
Week 12 IND
Week 13 @NYG
Week 14 NYJ
Week 15 @TEN
Week 16 MIA
Week 17 @NE
(Statistics are game averages from current season )