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Predictions & Projections
By David M. Dorey
 
The Huddle
WEEK 7
October 15, 2003
Season Ticket
Sun 1 PM TEN at CAR Sun 4 PM Mon 9 PM Bye Week:
*BAL at CIN *NE at MIA *WAS at BUF KC at OAK Arizona
DAL at DET *NO at ATL *CHI at SEA   Indianapolis
*DEN at MIN *PHI at NYG NYJ at HOU Times EST Jacksonville
GB at STL *SD at CLE *TB at SF *updated Pittsburgh
   
Philadelphia vs NY Giants Sun, Oct 19; 1 PM on FOX at Giants Stadium
  Philadelphia Rush Catch Pass
QB Donovan McNabb 10 0 190
RB Duce Staley 20 20 0
RB Correll Buckhalter 30,1 10 0
RB Brian Westbrook 60,1 30 0
TE Chad Lewis 0 10 0
TE L.J. Smith 0 20 0
WR James Thrash 0 40 0
WR Freddie Mitchell 0 40 0
WR Todd Pinkston Q Q Q
  New York Giants Rush Catch Pass
QB Kerry Collins 0 0 250,2
RB Tiki Barber 50 50 0
RB Delvin Joyce 10 0 0
TE Jeremy Shockey 0 70,1 0
WR Amani Toomer 0 60,1 0
WR Ike Hilliard 0 50 0
WR Tim Carter 0 10 0

Game Prediction: PHI 17, NYG 20

Philadelphia Notes

Update: Todd Pinkston's knee has kept him out of practice and listed him as questionable to play this week. He still might be able to practice on Friday and play, but I am removing him from the projections. Brian Westbrook has practiced and although he is listed as questionable with a hip pointer, he is expected to be fine on Sunday. He may not return punts and kicks.

If Pinktson cannot play, Freddie Mitchell will take his spot.

CB Bobby Taylor has practiced on Thursday and may be able to play

Quarterbacks: The woes for Donovan McNabb are getting no better. Last week he only completed 11 of 26 passes for 126 yards against the Cowboys and nine of those throws went to Todd Pinkston who never caught any of them. The only saving grace was the 52 yard touchdown catch by Duce Staley or McNabb's numbers would have been horrific.

McNabb is still bothered by the bone bruise to his thumb and cannot throw or even hold on to the ball as well as he should. He plays with some pain and for whatever reason, HC Andy Reid is adamant that McNabb is their best shot at winning. Flashback to the previous Dallas game in 2002 and McNabb threw for 287 yards and ran for 67 yards. Last Sunday he ran five times for five yards. McNabb is playing the position with the same comfort level of a guy that just missed the last tourist bus leaving downtown Baghdad.

Running backs: Brian Westbrook was having a good game last week (8-37, 1 TD) when he suffered a hip pointer and missed the second half. He is expected to be back this week. In his place, Duce Staley rushed seven times for 28 yards and Correll Buckhalter had 11 runs for 52 yards and a score. The running game is working, even if nothing else is. Considering that Staley turned in the big receiving touchdown, the running backs pretty much supplied the entire offensive effort.

Wide Receivers: When McNabb cannot complete passes, there is no hope for this crew. Todd Pinkston was the most common target and had no catches. James Thrash had 26 yards on two catches and by comparison, Freddie Mitchell is the stud since he had one catch for 39 yards.

Todd Pinkston injured his knee in the game but an MRI on Monday showed no damage. He will probably play this week though no one is sure why anymore.

Tight Ends: Though they make nice big targets, last week McNabb ignored them. Chad Lewis had one catch for nine yards and L.J. Smith had one for five yards. Just painful really.

Match against the defense: Here is a problem - the worst game by McNabb last year was against the Giants when he only threw for 137 yards. Then again, by his 2003 standards that is pretty good.

The Eagles will find some success rushing the ball since the Giants have been great against the run when there is only one runner to worry about (Ricky Williams, Marshall Faulk) but have been burned more by teams like NE and WAS that employ two or more runners. That means no one runner is great but several combined offers a good game. Knowing the Eagles woes at passing, both teams know the Eagles are going to run.

The Giants come off a game in which they held Tom Brady to only 112 yards passing so there is no great expectation that McNabb snaps back to form at Giants Stadium.

NY Giants Notes

Quarterbacks: While Kerry Collins has long been better at yardage than touchdowns, he has brought that to a new level recently. In the past two weeks, Collins has 590 yards passing and no scores. He did manage four interceptions last week but in his defense, MIA and NE brought two great defenses to their games.

Running backs: Although Tiki Barber is always mentioned as needing more help and rest, he still had 22 runs for 71 yards last week and eight receptions for 48 yards. Only Ricky Williams can claim to be used on more plays per game than Barber. Both Dorsey Levens and Ron Dayne have been normally inactive for games and Delvin Joyce only carries one to three times a game. The Giants are still losing games and Barber is not going to last for the approximately 350 carries he is trending out for this year.

Wide Receivers: For all the passing yardage by Collins, it is surprising to note that neither Amani Toomer (4-40) nor Ike Hilliard (5-58) are contributing much. The duo are getting throws - 19 in all last game but continue to catch only about half. Five of the six touchdowns thrown by Collins has been to either Toomer (2) or Hilliard (3) which is a part of the scoring problem when the two are not factors.

Tight Ends: Jeremy Shockey had 8 catches for 80 yards and is happy to be part of the solution instead of being a problem. Shockey leads all NFL tight ends with 29 catches.

Match against the defense: The Eagles are slowly getting better against the pass with the return of CB Troy Vincent and possible return of Bobby Taylor. That could be a bad thing for a team that needs wideouts to produce in order to score points.

Barber had a 203 yard rushing game against Philly in the last week of the 2002 season and a 79 yard effort earlier in the year, but he will be hard pressed to replicate even the 79 yard game. Last week Troy Hambrick only gained 46 yards rushing and that was the season high the Eagle defense has allowed an individual runner. Barber will keep his value with receptions in the game though.

New York will be better served throwing the ball and trying to figure out why it is easy to throw to Shockey and Barber for yardage but almost never scores. Some of Collins success will be contingent on the return of beat up Eagle secondary and since these two teams could not combine for over 20 points last season in two games, there is little reason to expect that a touchdown avalanche is about to happen for Collins.

Game Prediction: While the Philly defense is getting healthy and improving, the same cannot be said for their passing game. McNabb is clearly not himself this season and until the thumb heals up, he may not reach expectations. For now, the Giants need a win at home for the first time since the season opener and have enough offense to get past the struggling Eagles.

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
30
5
31
27
27
27
NYG Allows
20
6
26
3
27
25
PHI AP -10 1 -5 -24 0 -2
Rank (1-32) QB RB WR TE PK DEF
NYG Scores
12
19
12
5
15
10
PHI Allows
29
3
27
15
21
27
NYG AP 17 -16 15 10 6 17
Offensive ranks - lower = gains more points, Defensive Ranks lower = allows less points
AP = Advantage Points, the net difference between a positional rank gained or allowed by the teams.
PHI NYG 2003 Game Averages NYG PHI
Gains Allows QB's Gains Allows
163
258
Pass yards
267
241
0.4
0.6
Pass TDs
1.2
1.4
1.0
0.6
Interceptions
1.8
0.8
36
10
Rush yards
0
9
0.0
0.2
Rush TDs
0.0
0.4
----
----
RB's
----
----
82
73
Rush yards
92
57
1.2
0.4
Rush TDs
0.4
0.2
44
44
Receive yards
47
52
0.4
0.0
Receive TD's
0.0
0.0
----
----
WR's
----
----
93
188
Receive yards
154
166
0.0
0.6
Receive TD's
1.0
1.0
----
----
TE's
----
----
25
26
Receive yards
66
22
0.0
0.0
Receive TD's
0.2
0.4
----
----
PK's
----
----
1.2
2.0
Field Goals
2.0
1.8
1.8
2.8
Extra Points
1.6
2.4
----
----
DEF/ST
----
----
0.4
0.6
Fumbles
1.0
1.2
0.6
2.2
Interceptions
0.4
1.0
0.2
0.4
Touchdowns
0.4
0.4
1.4
1.4
Sacks
3.4
3.6
0.0
0.0
Safeties
0.0
0.0
Eagles (2-3)
Score Opp.
0-17 TB
10-31 NE
Week 3 BYE
23-13 @BUF
27-25 WAS
21-23 @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
Giants (2-3)
Score Opp.
23-13 STL
32-35 DAL
24-21 @WAS
Week 4 BYE
10-23 MIA
6-17 @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

* Fantasy point rankings calculated using standard Huddle fantasy points