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Predictions & Projections
By David M. Dorey
 
The Huddle
WEEK 11
November 12, 2003
Season Ticket
Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM
ARZ at CLE JAX at TEN WAS at CAR NYJ at IND DAL at NE
ATL at NO KC at CIN Sun 4 PM GB at TB Mon 9 PM
BAL at MIA NYG at PHI DET at SEA MIN at OAK PIT at SF
HOU at BUF STL at CHI SD at DEN Updated Times EST
   
Dallas vs New England Sun, Nov 16; 8:30 PM on ESPN at Gillette Stadium
  Dallas Rush Catch Pass
QB Quincy Carter 0 0 170
RB Richie Anderson 10 20 0
RB Adrian Murrell 20 10 0
RB Troy Hambrick 60 10 0
TE Dan Campbell 0 30 0
WR Joey Galloway 0 20 0
WR Terry Glenn 0 30 0
WR Antonio Bryant 0 40 0
  New England Rush Catch Pass
QB Tom Brady 0 0 230,2
RB Kevin Faulk 30 30 0
RB Antowain Smith 50 10 0
TE Daniel Graham 0 50,1 0
WR Troy Brown 0 40,1 0
WR Deion Branch 0 50 0
WR Bethel Johnson 0 30 0

Game Prediction: DAL 9, NE 17

This is an absolutely fascinating game to analyze and watch because it actually features the same team in different stages of development. Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick are frick-n-frack with these sort of franchises and considering their long association it is not surprising.

Both squads have excellent safeties and cornerbacks. Both have fast linebackers and yet are most susceptible to the run up the gut from a lack of big run stoppers as about their only weakness.

On offense you have sets of receivers that are mixed and matched differently every game, a power runner that seems to underperform (Smith and Hambrick) and quicker #2 backs (Murrell and Faulk). The big difference to this game is that Brady is much more developed than Carter and the Pats are at home.

Both teams will likely be looking for a runner and both offensive and defensive linemen in the draft.

This should be an interesting game but lower scoring from two good defenses butting heads with two similar offenses.

Dallas Notes

The Cowboys rise to 7-2 and lead the NFC East by one game over Philadelphia. They are tied for the second best record in the NFL.

Quarterbacks: Quincy Carter comes off his lowest passing total of the season - only 116 yards against the Bills with one touchdown and no interceptions. He has not exceeded 200 yards in five games after a very hot start to the season. When faced with good secondaries like the Eagles, Buccaneers and Bills, he has not exceeded 150 yards and only scored once.

Running backs: Last week provided some controversy when Parcells opted to run Adrian Murrell 16 times for 76 yards while Troy Hambrick only had 13 carries for 33 yards. Parcells was blunt about the fact that there is no change in the rushing roles. He saw Murrell doing better since he was faster and more elusive than Hambrick and stuck with him. Hambrick is still the starter and primary back, but the Cowboys will obviously use the player that is working out better in the game. In Hambrick's case, that has to hurt since Murrell has spent the last two years taking naps and watching TV while Hambrick played.

This is a committee situation and always has been but against weaker opponents, mashing Hambrick into the line has made more sense. As the opponent's begin to get tougher (NE, CAR and MIA are next), the actual game roles of Hambrick, Murrell, Anderson and Cason may change week to week.

Wide Receivers: With Carter's diminishing numbers, the wideouts have been hard hit. Joey Galloway actually led the crew with only 30 yards on two catches and Terry Glenn settled back down to only one catch for 19 yards. Facing the tough Patriot defense will keep the numbers low.

Tight Ends: Dan Campbell had the lone touchdown last week but is splitting catches with Jason Witten.

Match against the defense: Quincy Carter faces probably his toughest secondary of the season when he goes against Ty Law, Tyrone Poole and Rodney Harrison. Carter has been struggling against average secondaries and now gets to face one of the most talented and complex defenses in the league. Look for low passing numbers unless Bill Parcells has been waiting years to spring some trick play on his protégé Bill Belichick.

The running game is also going to be challenged to get on track and will likely result in using more than Hambrick in the game. The Cowboys may have better rush defense numbers, but they have not faced runners like Clinton Portis or Ricky Williams this season. Look for lower numbers for the Cowboys offense in all facets.

New England Notes

The Patriots are 7-2 and lead the AFC East by two games. They are on a five game winning streak and are 4-0 at home. They are also coming off their bye week.

Quarterbacks: Tom Brady shredded the Broncos in his last game, throwing for 350 yards and three scores. That makes three consecutive weeks he has exceeded 259 yards passing and oddly he either has no touchdowns (4) or multiple passing scores (4) in games this season with the lone exception of the Tennessee game when he had only one touchdown. His lowest efforts have always been at home, a function of leading in those games.

Running backs: The Patriot rushing attack is still looking for the first 100 yard game runner and Kevin Faulk has gone as high as 96 yards, but the Patriots have always been a mix-n-match offense with the tailbacks. While Faulk had 96 yards in week eight, he only had 20 yards against the Broncos in week nine.

Antowain Smith mixes in as the power back but has only one game over 56 yards rushing. Mike Cloud has not had a carry in three weeks so you can drop him from your fantasy roster now.

Wide Receivers: Only Troy Brown and Bethel Johnson have been healthy all season but David Givens and Deion Branch have joined in along the way to provide a good, if not hard to predict set of receivers. The group will be tested against the top secondary of the Cowboys.

David Patten is now on injured reserve.

Tight Ends: Daniel Graham has stepped up the last few weeks and totaled 149 yards, 11 catches and a score in the past two games. While Christian Fauria was always been a security blanket for Brady, he has not scored since week two nor had more than two catches since week four. This is now Graham's role and he is filling it nicely.

Match against the defense: The Cowboys have not allowed an opposing quarterback to throw for over 151 yards since week four. What gets a little lost in the numbers is that they have not faced great quarterbacks who needed to throw the ball to win. Brad Johnson only had 151 yards and one score but the Cowboys were shutout. When Dallas faced Kerry Collins, they gave up 265 yards and three touchdowns.

The challenge for Dallas is that while the secondary is very good, there is not just one or two receivers for New England that need to be locked down. The complicated passing scheme will prove a new challenge but one that Dallas should manage to hold to at least moderate success. Which receivers that favors is hard to predict in this matchup.

The Patriots will also be challenged to establish a run though the most successful runners (Buckhalter, Pittman and Henry) are more similar to Antowain Smith than Kevin Faulk. The Cowboys feature fast linebackers and the better bet is to bash Smith inside where the Cowboys are weakest.

Team Comparisons - Current team rankings (1-32) for FF points scored or allowed by position
Rank (1-32)
QB
RB
WR
TE
PK
DEF
DAL Scores
26
12
23
26
27
9
NE Allows
16
10
9
13
27
9
DAL AP
-10
-2
-14
-13
0
0
Rank (1-32)
QB
RB
WR
TE
PK
DEF
NE Scores
13
13
17
7
5
7
DAL Allows
1
2
1
1
1
7
NE AP
-12
-11
-16
-6
-4
0
Offensive ranks = #1 gains most points, Defensive ranks = #1 allows least points
AP = Advantage Points, the net difference between a positional rank gained or allowed by the teams.
DAL
NE
2003 Game Averages
NE
DAL
Gains
Allows
QB's
Gains
Allows
176
238
Pass yards
242
138
1.1
0.4
Pass TDs
1.1
0.7
1.0
1.4
Interceptions
0.6
0.7
12
6
Rush yards
2
3
0.0
0.3
Rush TDs
0.1
0.0
---
----- 
RB's
----- 
---
111
81
Rush yards
105
83
0.7
0.4
Rush TDs
0.6
0.3
40
45
Receive yards
45
33
0.0
0.1
Receive TD's
0.1
0.1
---
----- 
WR's
----- 
---
114
144
Receive yards
138
89
0.9
0.3
Receive TD's
0.9
0.6
---
----- 
TE's
----- 
---
22
48
Receive yards
58
16
0.1
0
Receive TD's
0.1
0.0
---
----- 
PK's
----- 
---
1.1
2.3
Field Goals
2.1
1.0
2.0
1.3
Extra Points
2.1
1.1
---
----- 
DEF/ST
----- 
---
0.9
0.7
Fumbles
0.4
0.7
0.7
0.6
Interceptions
1.3
0.9
0.3
0.1
Touchdowns
0.4
0.1
2.3
1.9
Sacks
2.3
1.6
0.3
0.1
Safeties
0
0.0
Cowboys (7-2)
Score Opp.
13-27 ATL
35-32 @NYG
Week 3 BYE
17-6 @NYJ
24-7 ARZ
23-21 PHI
38-7 @DET
0-16 @TB
21-14 WAS
10-6 BUF
Week 11 @NE
Week 12 CAR
Week 13 MIA
Week 14 @PHI
Week 15 @WAS
Week 16 NYG
Week 17 @NO
Patriots (7-2)
Score Opp.
0-31 @BUF
31-10 @PHI
23-16 NYJ
17-20 @WAS
38-30 TEN
17-6 NYG
19-13 @MIA
9-3 CLE
30-26 @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