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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
   
Philadelphia vs Dallas Sun, Oct 12; 1 PM on FOX at Texas Stadium
  Philadelphia Rush Catch Pass
QB Donovan McNabb 40,1 0 170,1
RB Duce Staley 10 10 0
RB Brian Westbrook 40 30 0
RB Correll Buckhalter 20 0 0
TE L.J. Smith 0 20,1 0
WR James Thrash 0 40 0
WR Freddie Mitchell 0 30 0
WR Todd Pinkston 0 40 0
  Dallas Rush Catch Pass
QB Quincy Carter 10 0 260,2
RB Richie Anderson 10 20 0
RB Troy Hambrick 50 10 0
TE Dan Campbell 0 10 0
WR Joey Galloway 0 80,1 0
WR Terry Glenn 0 50 0
WR Antonio Bryant 0 60,1 0

Game Prediction: PHI 17, DAL 20

Philadelphia Notes

Quarterbacks: The Eagles have now won two in a row and Donovan McNabb has finally thrown his first passing score this season. McNabb only passed for 157 yards and also threw two interceptions against the Redskins last week but also bruised the same bone that he broke last year. He is expected to practice today and play this weekend. He continues to struggle with his accuracy though I am not, by any means, suggesting that he is overrated. I actually like tall people.

Running backs: For the second week in a row, the diminutive Brian Westbrook broke off a long score in a game, this time a 19 yard touchdown that ended up as the winning margin. Westbrook is considered too small for everydown duty but has held up well in the past two weeks and had 22 carries for 160 yards and two touchdowns over that span. He also is the kick and punt returner. Westbrook also had four catches in the game for 15 yards while Duce Staley had none. Staley rushed ten times for 36 yards last week while Correll Buckhalter only had three carries before suffering a hip contusion in the game. He is expected to be available this week in Dallas.

McNabb did finally throw a touchdown but it was to FB Jon Ritchie just to make the guessing game that much harder.

Wide Receivers: McNabb's problems in the pocket continue to ruin the fantasy value of all receivers. Freddie Mitchell led the wideouts with 39 yards.

Tight Ends: In the background of the struggling passing game, the rookie L.J. Smith is starting to blossom like a 6'3" daffodil. Smith followed up his week four game (2-16) with a nice four catch, 39 yard outing against Washington. The seven passes thrown to him were more than any other Eagle receiver had in the game.

Match against the defense: The Cowboys come off throttling the Cardinals and that Emmitt guy, but face a new test this week since they have not gone against a running quarterback. Then again, if McNabb's leg is hurt he may not be running much. The Cowboys have been giving up the passing yards to players like Kerry Collins (265, 3 TDs) but stuffing both Jeff Blake and Vinny Testaverde. The question is which McNabb shows up?

No one is scared of the PHI receivers this year, so the Cowboys will be coming after McNabb and the difference this season is that the Cowboys have been death to running backs this season. With an aggressive defense on the other side, the Eagles will have to test the run and connect on some deeper throws early or risk McNabb watching a jailbreak almost every play.

Playing in Dallas, there will be minimal running in the game though Westbrook or even Staley could benefit from dump off passes.

Dallas Notes

Quarterbacks: With Arizona keying against the run last week, Quincy Carter again put together a nice afternoon and ended with 277 yards and two touchdowns. Other than the Jets game when the Cowboys just ran, this makes three of four games played this year that Carter has thrown for over 268 yards. One big difference - he no longer runs the ball much, takes his time, throws it away when needed and above all, he listens to Bill.

Running backs: Troy Hambrick came off his big 127 yard game against the Jets and only gained 59 yards on 23 carries against the Cardinals. On the plus side it was more than Emmitt on Sunday. On the negative - more of those games and Hambrick will see the new Emmitt acquired next year. Richie Anderson has one of the scores last week and is a lock for around ten plays a game. Aveion Cason is just around to spell Hambrick three times a game.

Wide Receivers: With the big yardage from Carter, the wideouts have enjoyed a whole new prosperity in Dallas. With the "big three" receivers, a defense never knows which one will hurt them and it changes every game. Last week Terry Glenn had 104 yards and a score. He had no catches the previous week and 113 yards the week before that. Joe Galloway seems to be getting around 40 yards one game, then 100 the next this season. He just had a 40 yard game. Antonio Bryant gets catches every week, anywhere from 98 yards worth down to only 13 against the Jets though he scored on his only catch. Parcells is happy with this crew.

Tight Ends: The rookie Jason Whitten is starting to make his presence known and had four catches last week for 41 yards before breaking his jaw. Parcells said he may be back this week. I am counting on Dan Campbell to be the starter.

Match against the defense:

The Eagles held the Cowboys to only 16 points in two games last season but neither team is the same as 2003.

The Eagles may get injured cornerbacks Troy Vincent and Bobby Taylor back this week and facing Bryant, Glenn and Galloway it would be none too soon. FS Brian Dawkins will still be out regardless but the free ride that the Eagles allowed Bledsoe, Ramsey and Brady may be ending, at least in part.

The Eagles have not allowed a single running back to gain over 35 yards this year. This game features two defenses that are the highest ranked against running backs and as such will give Troy Hambrick a harder day. It will come down to the passing game and the return of Vincent and Taylor is critical. The absence of Dawkins at the safety may bring out the three receiver sets in Dallas and even if Vincent and Taylor do play, there is a question as to how healthy they truly are.

Game Prediction: This is a tough match to predict. The Cowboys are 3-1 but have feasted on the Cardinals, Jets and the Giants when they were not looking. They did lose to Atlanta. But they are improving.

After starting out horribly, the Eagles are on a two win streak and getting better as well though the passing game still lags. Look for minimal rushing in the game unless a speed guy like Westbrook can break one. The backs and tight ends will figure into this game for the Eagles while the Cowboys will be looking more at their wideouts. In the end, I like Dallas to eke out a win here before heading out to the tougher portion of their schedule with a solid defense and enough receivers to hurt the Eagles. It could just as easily go the other way if the Eagle corners return to form and McNabb takes the much needed next step.

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
PHI Scores
29
16
31
23
26
28
DAL Allows
16
2
13
28
19
15
PHI AP -13 -14 -18 5
-7
-13
Rank (1-32) QB RB WR TE PK DEF
DAL Scores
10
15
10
25
17
8
PHI Allows
31
3
31
23
17
27
DAL AP 21 -12 21 -2
0
19
Offensive ranks - lower = gains more points, Defensive Ranks lower = allows less points

PHI DAL 2003 Game Averages DAL PHI
Gains Allows QB's Gains Allows
172
208
Pass yards
258
265
0.3
1.5
Pass TDs
1.0
1.8
1.3
1.3
Interceptions
1.0
0.8
43
-1
Rush yards
8
4
0.0
0.3
Rush TDs
0.3
0.5
----
----
RB's
----
----
73
59
Rush yards
118
49
1.0
0.0
Rush TDs
0.5
0.0
38
31
Receive yards
41
58
0.3
0.3
Receive TD's
0.0
0.0
----
----
WR's
----
----
106
142
Receive yards
192
181
0.0
0.8
Receive TD's
0.8
1.3
----
----
TE's
----
----
28
36
Receive yards
26
25
0.0
0.5
Receive TD's
0.0
0.5
0
----
PK's
0
----
1.5
2.0
Field Goals
1.3
1.5
1.5
1.3
Extra Points
3.0
2.5
----
----
DEF/ST
----
----
0.3
0.5
Fumbles
0.8
1.3
0.8
0.8
Interceptions
1.3
1.3
0.3
0.3
Touchdowns
0.3
0.3
1.5
2.5
Sacks
1.8
3.8
0.0
0.0
Safeties
0.5
0.0
Eagles (2-2)
Score Opp.
0-17 TB
10-31 NE
Week 3 BYE
23-13 @BUF
27-25 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
Cowboys (3-1)
Score Opp.
13-27 ATL
35-32 @NYG
Week 3 BYE
17-6 @NYJ
24-7 ARZ
Week 6 PHI
Week 7 @DET
Week 8 @TB
Week 9 WAS
Week 10 BUF
Week 11 @NE
Week 12 CAR
Week 13 MIA
Week 14 @PHI
Week 15 @WAS
Week 16 NYG
Week 17 @NO

* Fantasy point rankings calculated using standard Huddle fantasy points