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Predictions & Projections
By David M. Dorey
 
The Huddle
WEEK 9
September 3, 2003
Season Ticket
Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM Bye Week:
CAR at HOU NYG at NYJ CIN at ARZ GB at MIN Buffalo
IND at MIA OAK at DET PIT at SEA Mon 9 PM Cleveland
JAX at BAL SD at CHI PHI at ATL NE at DEN Kansas City
NO at TB WAS at DAL STL at SF *updated Tennessee
   
Philadelphia vs Atlanta Sun, Nov 2; 4 PM on FOX at Georgia Dome
  Philadelphia Rush Catch Pass
QB Donovan McNabb 10 0 180,1
RB Duce Staley 60 10 0
RB Correll Buckhalter 100,2 10 0
TE Chad Lewis 0 20 0
TE L. J. Smith 0 20 0
WR James Thrash 0 50,1 0
WR Freddie Mitchell 0 20 0
WR Todd Pinkston 0 50 0
  Atlanta Rush Catch Pass
QB Kurt Kittner 0 0 150
RB Warrick Dunn 20 30 0
RB T.J. Duckett 50 10 0
TE Alge Crumpler 0 30 0
WR Peerless Price 0 40 0
WR Brian Finneran 0 30 0

Game Prediction: PHI 27, ATL 6

Update: The Falcons have now benched their entire starting secondary which against most teams would equate to a huge passing day. The Eagles not not exactly a big passing team though and will already have luck rushing the ball. I am increasing the passing numbers because if it is there, McNabb should take advantage but when everything will likely work anyway, there will be less need to pass in the game.

Since Atlanta has the worst run defense and now are missing Brookings, expect there to be plenty of handoffs. The lone weakness of the Eagles defense will not be exploited by Kurt Kittner and the main question is how much Philly will score since Atlanta has allowed at least 36 points for the past three games.

Philadelphia Notes

The Eagles rise to 4-3 and are now only one game out of first in the NFC East after beating the Jets last week.

Quarterbacks: Donovan McNabb comes off a 141 yard effort with one touchdown and only one interception. While it was double his previous effort, it is safe to say that he is not back yet. Then again, since the Eagles have now won two in a row, he is not going to be replaced either.

Running backs: Brian Westbrook had only five carries for 25 yards before leaving the game last week with a high ankle sprain. He is doubtful to play this week. Correll Buckhalter turned in a nice 100 yard effort on only 15 runs last week and will share with Duce Staley this week. Against the Falcons, both are likely to turn in nice games.

Wide Receivers: You would think that eventually a missed tackle would lead to a wideout gaining over 40 yards in a game but that would be too much to wish.

Tight Ends: Chad Lewis and L.J. Smith continue to share in the meager yardage making neither a factor.

Match against the defense: Playing against the Falcon defense will cure what ails an offense. Now that LB Keith Brookings is gone, there is even less chance that a runner will trip over someone once they clear the line of scrimmage. Look for big games from Buckhalter and possibly even Staley as the Eagles rely on the run.

While McNabb could have a nice game here, there is little reason to expect he will take advantage of the opportunity. Let the defense and running win the game.

Atlanta Notes

The Falcons are 1-6 and should be happy they have the one opening day win. Their most recent loss was to the Saints who they will get to lose to again in week 11.

Quarterbacks: The recent shift from Doug Johnson to Kurt Kittner has mostly served to reinforce that the Falcons have nothing like Michael Vick sitting on a shelf. Against the soft secondary of the Saints, Kittner could only complete 9 of 29 passes for 115 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Vick may start practicing this week but the earliest he might play would be week 11 against the Giants. Until then, it does not appear to matter which quarterback is trying to bail the sinking ship.

Running backs: Warrick Dunn gained 82 yards and a touchdown against the Saints, but that only happened thanks to the 69 yard scoring run that he had early in the game. Otherwise, he ran five times for 13 yards. T.J. Duckett carried the ball 14 times for 42 yards and when the rushing game can only produce 55 yards (other than the one score) against the Saints, it is indicative of a meltdown.

Wide Receivers: Peerless Price came off his monster game in week five (12-168) and spent the last two weeks with a total of four catches for 46 yards. Brian Finneran had only two catches in both games after he returned from his broken hand, but one was a touchdown and the cast may be removed this week which would help his catching ability. With Finneran back, Quentin McCord is relatively invisible now.

Tight Ends: After a hot start of the season, Alge Crumpler only catches a couple of balls a game for minimal yardage and even fumbled once in the last game.

Match against the defense: While the Eagles have been soft against the pass with the injuries to the secondary, they have almost seen all the starters return so the older numbers are not indicative of their ability to stop the pass. Since Kittner only managed 115 yards against the Saints, hopes here are pretty low. Bobby Taylor may miss this week which would possibly spell a better game for Price against Lito Shepard, but there is a quarterback missing from the equation.

The Eagles have lost yet another defensive player - this time DT Hollis Thomas with a torn bicep tendon, but it is not going to matter with the defense since he was part of a rotation and not an every down player. The one feature of the Eagles that has remained stout this season is the run defense.

Team Comparisons - Current team rankings (1-32) for FF points scored or allowed by position
Rank (1-32)
QB
RB
WR
TE
PK
DEF
PHI Scores
31
5
32
26
31
19
ATL Allows
31
32
32
14
25
28
PHI AP
0
27
0
-12
-6
11
Rank (1-32)
QB
RB
WR
TE
PK
DEF
ATL Scores
28
18
29
5
28
26
PHI Allows
28
6
24
15
16
29
ATL AP
0
-12
-5
10
-12
3
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
ATL
2003 Game Averages
ATL
PHI
Gains
Allows
QB's
Gains
Allows
147
275
Pass yards
189
235
0.4
1.9
Pass TDs
1.0
1.3
1.0
0.7
Interceptions
1.9
0.7
28
4
Rush yards
0
11
-0.1
0.1
Rush TDs
0.1
0.3
---
---
RB's
---
---
96
145
Rush yards
94
79
1.3
1.6
Rush TDs
0.7
0.3
38
36
Receive yards
33
50
0.4
0.1
Receive TD's
0.1
0.0
---
---
WR's
---
---
80
208
Receive yards
101
161
0.0
1.4
Receive TD's
0.6
0.9
---
---
TE's
---
---
30
31
Receive yards
55
23
0.0
0.3
Receive TD's
0.3
0.4
---
---
PK's
---
---
1.0
1.4
Field Goals
1.1
1.6
2.0
3.7
Extra Points
1.9
2.1
---
---
DEF/ST
---
---
0.7
0.6
Fumbles
0.9
1.1
0.6
1.9
Interceptions
0.7
1.0
0.3
0.1
Touchdowns
0.0
0.3
1.7
2.6
Sacks
2.1
3.7
0.0
0.6
Safeties
0.0
0.0
Eagles (4-3)
Score Opp.
0-17 TB
10-31 NE
Week 3 BYE
23-13 @BUF
27-25 WAS
21-23 @DAL
14-10 @NYG
24-17 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
Falcons (1-6)
Score Opp.
27-13 @DAL
31-33 WAS
10-31 TB
3-23 @CAR
26-39 MIN
0-36 @STL
17-45 NO
Week 8 BYE
Week 9 PHI
Week 10 @NYG
Week 11 @NO
Week 12 TEN
Week 13 @HOU
Week 14 CAR
Week 15 @IND
Week 16 @TB
Week 17 JAX

* Fantasy point rankings calculated using standard Huddle fantasy points