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Predictions & Projections
By David M. Dorey
 
The Huddle
WEEK 13
November 26, 2003
Season Ticket
Thu 12:30 Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM
GB at DET ARZ at CHI MIN at STL CLE at SEA TB at JAX
Thu 4:05 ATL at HOU NE at IND NO at WAS Mon 9 PM
MIA at DAL BUF at NYG PHI at CAR DEN at OAK TEN at NYJ
*updated CIN at PIT SF at BAL KC at SD Times EST
   
Atlanta vs Houston Sun, Nov 30; 1 PM on FOX at Reliant Stadium
  Atlanta Rush Catch Pass
QB Doug Johnson 0 0 220,1
RB Warrick Dunn D D D
RB T.J. Duckett 60 10 0
TE Alge Crumpler 0 30 0
WR Peerless Price 0 80,1 0
WR Brian Finneran 0 70 0
  Houston Rush Catch Pass
QB Tony Banks 0 0 170,2
RB Domanick Davis 110,1 10 0
TE Billy Miller 0 30,1 0
WR Corey Bradford 0 40 0
WR Andre Johnson 0 60,1 0
WR Jabar Gaffney 0 20 0

Game Prediction: ATL 13, HOU 24

The loss of Dunn comes as a major blow to the Falcons since his long gainers provided the bulk of the offensive production. The Texans will not take anyone lightly, much less the Falcons who have squandered surprise early leads the last two weeks.

Atlanta Notes

The Falcons slide to 2-9 after letting a 21-0 lead fall to the Titans.

Quarterbacks:: Michael Vick is doubtful to play this Sunday since he sprained his bad ankle in practice last week. Doug Johnson is expected to take the start again after a nice 276 yard, two touchdown effort against the Titans. His passing stats were greatly aided by the nine catches for 129 yards by Warrick Dunn who will miss this week.

Running Backs: The worst of all injuries appears to have happened to the Falcons offense when Warrick Dunn injured his left foot and may be lost for the season. Dunn had been the lone spark to the offense during the dark days of 2003 and provided not only the best rushing yards, but was an integral part of the passing offense. This is a very tough blow to a team that has to be getting used to them by now.

T. J. Duckett has scored a touchdown in each of the past four games but has not had over 55 yards in a game since week five. He will need to pick up the slack left by Dunn and as a power runner instead of a speed guy, he will have a tough time matching Dunn's production.

Receivers: Peerless Price finally caught his second score of the season and totaled 87 yards on five catches last week. No other wideout had a catch - there's a bad sign.

Match against the Defense: The Texans have a defense that can be beaten by either the run or pass, but the Falcons come to town with out either now. Since Dunn is out, Duckett should turn in at least moderate numbers from his volume of carries unless the Texans can get a big score early enough to force the Falcons to not pass well.

The Texans come off an absolute shredding by the Patriots but back at home they have been largely keeping opposing quarterbacks to under 200 yards because other teams like to run on Houston instead. But Johnson can find some success here, particularly since CB Aaron Glenn is unlikely to play Sunday due to a nagging groin injury that has bothered him for almost two months.

Brian Finneran gets Glenn's replacement, so he has a better chance to actually have a catch this week unlike last Sunday but Price is the most likely candidate for a score here since he gets the biggest share of passes from Johnson.

Houston Notes

The Texans fall to 4-7 with their overtime loss to New England.

Quarterbacks:: Tony Banks was limited to only 10 of 25 for 93 yards last week but he did manage two touchdowns against only one interception. David Carr was out last week with a bad shoulder but may return this Sunday. Until confirmation, the assumption is that Banks takes one more start. Carr still has soreness in his shoulder.

Running Backs: Domanick Davis only managed 69 yards on 24 carries last week and after being a big part of the passing game at one time, he now has gone the last four games with only six total catches.

Receivers: With only 93 yards to divide up, there were no stars here other than Andre Johnson who had one touchdown catch and barely missed another. Jabar Gaffney only had one throw last week and did not make a catch. The wideout crew will enjoy Atlanta much more than they did the Patriots.

It is notable that Banks only threw once to Billy Miller but it resulted in a 16 yard touchdown. It is even more notable that while Miller has only had three touchdowns this season, two of them came from the three games that Banks has played.

Match against the Defense: There is no reason why Davis should not have a big game here. The Falcons give up tons of rushing yards to all opponents and now that Dunn appears to be out, the Texans should have an easier time getting and maintaining a lead.

Banks will be able to throw thanks to a rushing game that will work but while he may get a score or two, he will not likely get big yards. In his favor, SS Bryan Scott has a sprained left knee that will require surgery and Scott was one of the surprise good players for Atlanta. But Banks will mainly be handing off and occasionally looking for Andre Johnson.

Team Comparisons - Current team rankings (1-32) for FF points scored or allowed by position
Rank (1-32)
QB
RB
WR
TE
PK
DEF
ATL Scores
32
5
31
23
24
11
HOU Allows
17
21
28
8
18
23
ATL AP
-15
16
-3
-15
-6
12
Rank (1-32)
QB
RB
WR
TE
PK
DEF
HOU Scores
18
18
17
14
31
31
ATL Allows
29
32
24
30
31
31
HOU AP
11
14
7
16
0
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.
ATL
HOU
2003 Game Averages
HOU
ATL
Gains
Allows
QB's
Gains
Allows
165
234
Pass yards
195
251
0.7
1.3
Pass TDs
1.3
1.6
1.6
0.9
Interceptions
0.9
0.9
2
6
Rush yards
10
9
0.0
0.0
Rush TDs
0.1
0.1
---
---
RB's
---
---
110
114
Rush yards
99
143
1.0
0.7
Rush TDs
0.8
1.4
40
41
Receive yards
37
41
0.1
0.0
Receive TD's
0.0
0.1
---
---
WR's
---
---
91
167
Receive yards
128
159
0.4
1.1
Receive TD's
1.0
1.0
---
---
TE's
---
---
34
26
Receive yards
30
50
0.0
0.2
Receive TD's
0.3
0.4
---
---
PK's
---
---
1.2
1.6
Field Goals
0.9
1.8
1.9
2.4
Extra Points
2.2
3.3
---
---
DEF/ST
---
---
0.9
0.7
Fumbles
0.7
0.8
0.9
1.1
Interceptions
1.0
1.6
0.2
0.3
Touchdowns
0.0
0.3
2.1
1.8
Sacks
1.3
2.1
0.0
0.2
Safeties
0.0
0.3
Falcons (2-9)
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
16-23 PHI
27-7 @NYG
20-23 @NO
31-38 TEN
Week 13 @HOU
Week 14 CAR
Week 15 @IND
Week 16 @TB
Week 17 JAX
Texans (4-7)
Score Opp.
21-20 @MIA
10-31 @NO
14-42 KC
24-20 JAX
Week 5 BYE
17-38 @TEN
14-19 NYJ
21-30 @IND
14-10 CAR
27-34 @CIN
12-10 @BUF
20-23 NE
Week 13 ATL
Week 14 @JAX
Week 15 @TB
Week 16 TEN
Week 17 IND

* Fantasy point rankings calculated using standard Huddle fantasy points