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Predictions & Projections
By David M. Dorey
 
The Huddle
WEEK 8
October 22, 2003
Season Ticket
Sun 1 PM *DET at CHI Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM Bye Week:
CAR at NO NYG at MIN HOU at IND BUF at KC Atlanta
*CLE at NE SEA at CIN *NYJ at PHI Mon 9 PM Green Bay
DAL at TB *STL at PIT *SF at ARZ *MIA at SD Oakland
*DEN at BAL TEN at JAX   *updated Washington
   
NY Giants vs Minnesota Sun, Oct 26; 1 PM on FOX at Metrodome
  New York Giants Rush Catch Pass
QB Kerry Collins 0 0 210,1
RB Tiki Barber 80 40 0
RB Dorsey Levens 30,1 0 0
TE Jeremy Shockey 0 50 0
WR Amani Toomer 0 50 0
WR Ike Hilliard 0 60,1 0
  Minnesota Rush Catch Pass
QB Daunte Culpepper 10 0 260,2
RB Onterrio Smith 20 0 0
RB Moe Williams 40,1 20 0
TE J. Kleinsasser 0 10,1 0
WR Randy Moss 0 120,1 0
WR Nate Burleson 0 30 0
WR Kelly Campbell 0 50 0


Game Prediction: NYG 14, MIN 24

The Giants are playing solid football this season except on two critical counts - they cannot score touchdowns and special teams kill them. Playing inside the loud Metrodome against a team that leads the league in interceptions will make the Giants want to run the ball more than they already planned. But the Vikings have an opportunistic defense and an offense that is clicking now.

NY Giants Notes

The Giants are 2-4, trail the Cowboys by three games in the NFC East and no one is saying "fuhgedda bout it". They come off a second heart wrenching loss to a divisional opponent (PHI) on yet another special teams gaffe. The Giants stumble from their first six game with four losses even though they only had two road games during that time.

Quarterbacks: Kerry Collins only threw for 174 yards against the Eagles last week, but he had only one interception and actually had a touchdown pass - something he had not done since week three. Then again, by comparison it was only three less passes than he threw in week three when he had 276 yards and three scores against the Redskins.

Running Backs: The interesting development here is that Tiki Barber is no longer alone. He gained 79 yards rushing and caught five passes for 34 yards but also gave way to Dorsey Levens who rushed 16 times for 64 yards. Levens was effective running against Philadelphia and Barber welcomed the rest. Delvin Joyce no longer is the primary backup for Barber, obviously, and Levens should see more action this season.

One concern is that the Giants lost LG Rich Seubert to a broken leg and now the offensive line will have three rookie linemen.

Wide Receivers: The decreased passing game has hit here the hardest. Amani Toomer and Ike Hilliard are now only averaging around 60 yards a game each and Hilliard actually had more passes last week than Toomer. Since the Giants are not throwing touchdowns, the wideouts are offering little more than third down work. Notable too is the statement by HC Jim Fassel that he wants to stop throwing the ball as much and concentrate on the running game more as a way to actually score touchdowns. Levens success last week showed that the Giants can do that and not need to use up Barber in the process.

Tight Ends: Jeremy Shockey has 190 yards and the only passing touchdown by the Giants in the last two weeks.

Match against the defense: Kerry Collins now gets to go to the Metrodome and face a defense that leads the league in interceptions. FS Brian Russell needs Collins to throw a pick so that he can have the NFL record of seven consecutive games with an interception. If that is not enough, consider that no visiting quarterback there has made it through the entire game. Kordell Stewart, Jeff Garcia and Steve Beuerlein all did not take every snap.

Collins is slated to do more handoffs and Barber and Levens should combine for over 100 yards as did Hearst and Barlow and Clinton Portis. The Vikings defense at home is even better and no team wants to enter a passing war there. The game favors Barber the most but even Levens could have some decent yardage if Fassel continues to use him as heavily. The passing game will be less used this week.

Minnesota Notes

The Vikings are - get this - 6-0 on the season and have a three and a half game lead on the Packers. The Vikings could collectively spend the next three weeks in Cancun and still be in first place in the NFC North. They come off a nice win over Denver. They are at home. They are looking pretty good.

Quarterbacks: Daunte Culpepper returned from his back injury and though he did not run, he was on his "A" game passing the ball. He completed 19 of 26 for 277 yards and two touchdowns. When he saw that a screen was covered, he rolled out and hit Kelly Campbell for a 47-yard touchdown. Just as notable is that Culpepper has yet to throw an interception this season.

Running Backs: Denver presented a tough run defense and Moe Williams only gained 42 yards on 14 carries but was in on that spectacular Moss lateral for a touchdown. Onterrio Smith carried five times for 29 yards and a score as well. They face an equally good rushing defense this week.

Wide Receivers: Randy Moss caught 10 of the 19 completions in the game, never scoring but gaining a mere 151 yards in the process. Kelly Campbell had the only other catch by a wideout and that was a touchdown. Nate Burleson was thrown two passes but had no receptions. It starts and ends with Moss except when he tosses it over his shoulder.

Tight Ends: Jim Kleinsasser - one catch for 13 yards last week. Heck of a blocker though.

Match against the defense: As noted, the rushing game against the Giants will be tough and most teams do not really try to run against them. Last week the Eagles only had 24 carries and before than, the Bills only tried 18. Those numbers rise if the run is used to finish out a game which could happen here though.

The success against the pass should be almost certain. By the numbers the Giants may seem to be getting better, but facing the Eagles, Dolphins and Bills (sans Moulds) was hardly a tough match. These Giants yielded 300 yard games to both Quincy Carter and Patrick Ramsey.

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
16
21
19
4
18
10
MIN Allows
13
23
20
11
12
3
NYG AP -3 2 1 7 -6 -7
Rank (1-32) QB RB WR TE PK DEF
MIN Scores
3
6
3
20
16
5
NYG Allows
6
7
13
2
22
29
MIN AP 3 1 10 -18 6 24
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.

NYG MIN 2003 Game Averages MIN NYG
Gains Allows QB's Gains Allows
251
243
Pass yards
247
226
1.2
1.0
Pass TDs
2.5
0.5
1.5
2.7
Interceptions
8.5
0.7
5
10
Rush yards
6
8
0.0
0.0
Rush TDs
0.3
0.0
---
---
RB's
---
---
102
89
Rush yards
110
76
0.3
0.8
Rush TDs
0.8
0.5
50
53
Receive yards
45
39
0.0
0.2
Receive TD's
0.3
0.0
---
---
WR's
---
---
143
151
Receive yards
185
158
0.8
0.8
Receive TD's
1.7
0.5
---
---
TE's
---
---
59
39
Receive yards
17
28
0.3
0.0
Receive TD's
0.3
0.0
---
---
PK's
---
---
1.8
1.5
Field Goals
1.2
1.7
1.5
1.8
Extra Points
3.7
2.7
---
---
DEF/ST
---
---
1.0
0.7
Fumbles
0.3
0.8
0.5
0.3
Interceptions
2.7
1.8
0.3
0.0
Touchdowns
0.2
0.5
3.3
2.2
Sacks
2.7
1.7
0.0
0.0
Safeties
0.3
0.0
Vikings (6-0)
Score Opp.
30-25 @GB
24-13 CHI
23-13 @DET
35-7 SF
39-26 @ATL
Week 6 BYE
28-20 DEN
Week 8 NYG
Week 9 GB
Week 10 @SD
Week 11 @OAK
Week 12 DET
Week 13 @STL
Week 14 SEA
Week 15 @CHI
Week 16 KC
Week 17 @ARZ
Giants (2-4)
Score Opp.
23-13 STL
32-35 DAL
24-21 @WAS
Week 4 BYE
10-23 MIA
6-17 @NE
10-14 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