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Predictions & Projections
By David M. Dorey
 
The Huddle
WEEK 6
October 8, 2003
Season Ticket
Sun 1 PM *TB at WAS Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM Bye Week:
*CAR at IND MIA at JAX *BUF at NYJ SF at SEA Cincinnati
CHI at NO *NYG at NE *PIT at DEN Mon 9 PM Detroit
HOU at TEN OAK at CLE Sun 4 PM *ATL at STL Minnesota
KC at GB PHI at DAL *BAL at ARZ *updated San Diego
   
NY Giants vs New England Sun, Oct 12; 1 PM on FOX at Gillette Stadium
  New York Giants Rush Catch Pass
QB Kerry Collins 0 0 260,2
RB Tiki Barber 80,1 20 0
RB Delvin Joyce 10 10 0
TE Jeremy Shockey 0 70,1 0
WR Amani Toomer 0 80 0
WR Ike Hilliard 0 60,1 0
WR Tim Carter 0 10 0
  New England Rush Catch Pass
QB Tom Brady 0 0 240,2
RB Kevin Faulk Q Q Q
RB Mike Cloud 40 20 0
RB Antowain Smith 30 30 0
TE Christian Fauria 0 30,1 0
WR Troy Brown 0 80,1 0
WR Bethel Johnson Q 30 Q
WR David Patten 0 20 0


Game Prediction: NYG 21, NE 23

Update: Kevin Faulk has not been practicing and is questionable to play. Deion Branch has a sprained ankle and will be a gametime decision. Daniel Graham is still questionable with a shoulder injury. I am not projecting for those players since they may not play.

Antowain Smith is listed as questionable with a shoulder injury but is practicing and is expected to play. David Patten has a knee injury which makes him questionable though he has been practicing. I am expecting that they play but may be limited. I am leaving the game score alone but this could go either way. The Patriots were no less banged up last week when they handled the visiting Titans and yet the Giants beat the Dolphins last week everywhere but on the scoreboard. A coin flip game.

New York Giants Notes

Quarterbacks: Normally throwing for 276 yards is a good thing but not for Kerry Collins last week. He had no touchdowns against three interceptions in the Miami game and is spending this week accepting blame. Collins posted three touchdowns in the previous two games and has averaged around 270 the past three weeks.

Running backs: The workload for Tiki Barber was lighter last week, but much of that had to do with the scoreboard and the fact that 20 runs had only produced 71 yards rushing though he scored once and had 29 yards on four carries. Delvin Joyce was allowed to spell Barber last week but only had three runs for six yards. Dorsey Levens was active for the game last week but saw no action while Ron Dayne spent his fourth game inactive. The Giants have taken to using FB Jim Finn as a receiver out of the backfield and he has five catches for 53 yards over the past two games.

Wide Receivers: While Amani Toomer is still the leading receiver, last week he was bottled up for only three catches and 38 yards while Ike Hilliard had seven catches for 58 yards with Hilliard actually getting 12 passes to only six for Toomer thanks to the coverage. Tim Carter still is good for about one catch a game for less than ten yards.

Tight Ends: Jeremy Shockey lead all tight ends last week with 110 yards on 11 receptions and just as important is the fact that the Collins never threw an incompletion to Shockey. He also had a 15 yard taunting penalty to balance out the good things he did.

Match against the defense: The Patriots have stopped the run this season after allowing Travis Henry 85 yards in the opener. Problem with that is so far they have not really faced a good rushing team. They held the old guys Curtis Martin (15-53) and Eddie George (15-35) but who hasn't? Otherwise they have only gone against Trung Canidate and the Eagles non-run game in week two.

The numbers suggest that the Patriots can stop the run, but Barber will be the best runner to face them yet.

The passing game for the Patriots defense has yielded mixed results. They held Patrick Ramsey to only 147 yards passing in a loss but gave up 391 yards to Steve McNair in a win. Against big name receivers, they have fared well with Eric Moulds (4-81), Lavernues Coles (5-62) and Derrick Mason (8-99) and both Moulds and Mason gained most of their numbers later in the game when their teams trailed. Toomer, Hilliard and Shockey will be challenged, but also provide the Patriots with their biggest task this season.

The Patriots defense has been rocked by injuries, but HC Bill Belichick somehow gets his team together each week. Ty Law was questionable with an ankle injury for the game against the Titans but played through it, providing the game changing interception return for a touchdown when the score was still close at 27-31

New England Notes

Quarterbacks: Tom Brady opened up the passing game down the field last week and threw to six different receivers on routes over ten yards, a change from the normal short passing. He connected for one long touchdown and by sending the receivers deeper, did more to open up the rushing game against the Titans. He ended with 219 yards and the one score.

Running backs: The Patriots were able to open up a nice running game last week, using Antowain Smith on 16 runs for 80 yards and one score before leaving with a shoulder injury. His replacement, the previously suspended Mike Cloud, had 73 yards on seven carries for two more touchdowns. All this against one of the stouter rushing defenses in the NFL. The Patriots had not scored on the ground in the first four games and waited to face their toughest opponent before gaining six yards a carry.

Kevin Faulk missed the game with a leg injury but I am assuming he will be back this week. With the nice running of Mike Cloud last week, this could become a three-headed monster until one clearly shows to be superior.

Wide Receivers: For the first time all season, the Patriots only used three wideouts instead of four in the game last week. Deion Branch (5-68) led the crew with Troy Brown (2-64, 1 TD) and David Patten (1-13) adding little more than the one long score by Brown. If the running game can continue, Branch and Brown will benefit the most.

Tight Ends: While Daniel Graham looked good two weeks ago, Christian Fauria remains the only consistent option and had the only tight end catches for his standard 33 yards. Fauria remains between 20 and 50 yards each Sunday,

Match against the defense: Forget the fact that the Giants held Miami to only 167 yards passing last week, this is the same unit that surrendered over 300 yards passing in all other games this season. That was Kurt Warner, Quincy Carter and Patrick Ramsey.

The biggest consideration is that the Giants have done exceptionally well against the run and forced their opponents to the air. Ricky Williams only had 39 yards on 22 carries. Troy Hambrick had 60 yards on 23 carries. Marshall Faulk had 28 yards on nine carries and he was healthy then.

So the Patriots, undoubtedly, will be forced to the air and should give Troy Brown and Deion Branch good afternoons since in four games there have been five receivers with over 98 yards receiving. What will change is that the newly discovered rushing game last week likely will not be repeated and the Patriots will need a big game from Brady and company, along with collecting a turnover or two, to win the game. At the worst there should be trashtime passing yardage.

Game Prediction: The Patriots come off a big win over the Titans and the Giants come off a disappointing loss to the Dolphins. Neither team can afford a loss and the result is always hard to reach since the Patriots manage creative use of both their offense and defense to win games while the Giants are more consistent. This is actually a pretty evenly matched game in most ways and although the Giants have the better offense, the Patriots have the better defense, even if no one can figure out how.

Look for Brady to use Brown and Branch more and possibly even bring in speedster Bethel Johnson for a stretch pattern as well. The Giants will be able to run better against the Patriots than many teams but in the end it will be a shoot-out in the air with the Patriots defense to credit, along with an odd inability for the Giants to keep a healthy kicker for more than a few weeks at a time.

Team Comparisons - Current team rankings (1-32) by position for FF points scored or allowed by position
Rank (1-32) QB RB WR TE PK DEF
NYG Scores
12
22
11
3
9
5
NE Allows
22
21
8
13
28
20
NYG AP 10 1 -3 10
19
-15
Rank (1-32) QB RB WR TE PK DEF
NE Scores
19
10
24
4
19
3
NYG Allows
28
6
30
8
31
18
NE AP 9 -4 6 4
12
15
Offensive ranks - lower = gains more points, Defensive Ranks lower = allows less points

NYG NE 2003 Game Averages NE NYG
Gains Allows QB's Gains Allows
255
249
Pass yards
220
295
1.5
0.4
Pass TDs
1.2
0.8
1.3
1.0
Interceptions
1.4
0.8
-1
17
Rush yards
2
12
0.0
0.4
Rush TDs
0.2
0.3
----
----
RB's
----
----
97
72
Rush yards
110
64
0.5
1.0
Rush TDs
0.6
0.3
34
52
Receive yards
52
53
0.0
0.0
Receive TD's
0.2
0.0
----
----
WR's
----
----
159
167
Receive yards
122
209
1.3
0.2
Receive TD's
0.6
0.8
----
----
TE's
----
----
62
29
Receive yards
46
33
0.3
0.2
Receive TD's
0.4
0.0
0
----
PK's
0
----
2.0
2.4
Field Goals
1.4
2.3
2.0
2.0
Extra Points
2.4
3.0
----
----
DEF/ST
----
----
1.3
0.4
Fumbles
1.2
0.5
0.5
1.4
Interceptions
0.8
1.8
0.5
0.2
Touchdowns
0.6
0.3
3.8
2.6
Sacks
3.6
1.3
0.0
0.0
Safeties
0.0
0.0
Giants (2-2)
Score Opp.
23-13 STL
32-35 DAL
24-21 @WAS
Week 4 BYE
10-23 MIA
Week 6 @NE
Week 7 PHI
Week 8 @MIN
Week 9 @NYJ
Week 10 ATL
Week 11 @PHI
Week 12 @TB
Week 13 BUF
Week 14 WAS
Week 15 @NO
Week 16 @DAL
Week 17 CAR
Patriots (3-2)
Score Opp.
0-31 @BUF
31-10 @PHI
23-16 NYJ
17-20 @WAS
38-30 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

* Fantasy point rankings calculated using standard Huddle fantasy points