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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
   
New England vs Indianapolis Sun, Nov 30; 1 PM on CBS at RCA Dome
  New England Rush Catch Pass
QB Tom Brady 0 0 220,2
RB Kevin Faulk 70 20 0
RB Antowain Smith 20 0 0
TE Daniel Graham 0 50,1 0
WR Troy Brown Q Q Q
WR Deion Branch 0 70,1 0
WR Bethel Johnson 0 40 0
  Indianapolis Rush Catch Pass
QB Peyton Manning 0 0 240,2
RB Edgerrin James 70,1 20 0
TE Marcus Pollard Q Q Q
TE Dallas Clark 0 20 0
WR Aaron Moorehead 0 40,1 0
WR Marvin Harrison 0 80,1 0
WR Reggie Wayne 0 60 0

Game Prediction: NE 20, IND 27

Update: Peyton Manning felt pain in his throwing elbow but a MRI did not show any damage. He is expected to play this week.

Marcus Pollard and Troy Walters have both returned to practice but are still considered questionable. They may be able to play on Sunday but I am not including them in the projections. Clark was upgraded to probable and is expected to play.

This is a had game to call since both teams have a tendency to play up or down to their level of competition. So does that mean the IND offense makes a high game score or that the NE defense means a low game score?

Played inside a dome between two 9-2 teams with everything on the line, I like the higher scoring versions of these teams. IND can score and NE may dominate bad offenses but against TEN they gave up 30 points. The Colts defense is becoming legendary for making the offense work harder and with Harrison back to health, there is no reason why this team cannot post points even against the vaunted Pats.

New England Notes

The Patriots squeak out a win over the Texans and rise to 9-2 and lead Miami by two games in the AFC East.

Quarterbacks:: The Patriots went into last week worried about the injuries to starters Troy Brown and Deion Branch (who played) and left with Tom Brady as the most productive passer for the week. He ended with 368 yards passing with two touchdowns against two interceptions. It was his second 300 yard game of the year and the sixth week that he followed up a no touchdown game with a multiple score effort.

Running Backs: Kevin Faulk combined for 188 rushing and receiving yards Sunday to lead the offense while Antowain Smith only managed ten yards on eight carries. While Faulk had eight receptions, Smith never had a pass.

Receivers: With Troy Brown out and Deion Branch questionable, the offense moved along well with nine different receivers catching passes. Branch still managed to post 52 yards on five catches and the rookie Bethel Johnson had five receptions for 65 yards and his first NFL touchdown.

Throw in Daniel Graham (4-53, 1 TD) and no one misses Troy Brown. At least not against Houston.

Match against the Defense: The Colts played good defense last week but had given up passing scores in the six previous games. Brady should be able to get a score here but almost all opponents top out at around 200 yards passing. Which receiver that favors not only changes game to game, but pretty much quarter to quarter with the complex short game of New England. One reason to increase expectations a little is that Pennington runs a similar offense and he had three scores in Indianapolis only two weeks ago.

Faulk could also have a decent showing here since similar "fast backs" like Domanick Davis and Fred Taylor turned in 100 yard games with two scores each.

Indianapolis Notes

The Colts rise to 9-2 and remain tied with Tennessee in the AFC South.

Quarterbacks:: Peyton Manning threw for 229 yards but no scores last week in his lowest output since week two of the season. It appeared more of a "get the job" done sort of game that the Bills allow.

Running Backs: Edgerrin James comes off his second straight 100 yard effort and combined with the previous week against the Jets, he has 235 yards and five touchdowns in only two games. Oh look - here comes his third AFC East opponent.

Receivers: Since Marvin Harrison had not worked out in two weeks, he was less "crisp" last week but still managed to pull down six receptions for 47 yards. Reggie Wayne only had four catches for 39 yards but bruised his forehead and face during the game which made him sit out for a time. He returned to the game later.

A nice surprise was that rookie Aaron Moorehead led the way with five catches for 71 yards and he is a nice fill-in for Troy Walters who is out with a hamstring strain.

Dallas Clark had a lower back strain in the second half last week and will be questionable to play against the Patriots. Marcus Pollard is still out with a sprained knee ligament.

Match against the Defense: The Patriots bring a top ten defense in almost every category and will provide a challenge for the Colts. Clinton Portis was the only runner this season that had over 100 yards and there have only been three rushing scores in the past eight games against the Patriots. James is likely to dip back under the 100 yard mark, at least by rushing yards alone.

Manning has a knack for punishing even the best secondaries and that is what he will be facing this week. Over the past five games, no opponent quarterback has exceeded 230 yards passing and no receiver this season has gone over 100 yards in a game. Last week Andre Johnson had the first receiving touchdown against the Patriots since week seven.

Still, with Manning and Harrison all things are possible.

Team Comparisons - Current team rankings (1-32) for FF points scored or allowed by position
Rank (1-32)
QB
RB
WR
TE
PK
DEF
NE Scores
10
14
16
7
5
8
IND Allows
16
23
14
13
5
2
NE AP
6
9
-2
6
0
-6
Rank (1-32)
QB
RB
WR
TE
PK
DEF
IND Scores
2
9
2
4
2
24
NE Allows
9
6
4
15
19
11
IND AP
7
-3
2
11
17
-13
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.
NE
IND
2003 Game Averages
IND
NE
Gains
Allows
QB's
Gains
Allows
253
196
Pass yards
304
219
1.1
1.3
Pass TDs
2.0
0.6
0.7
0.8
Interceptions
0.7
1.6
4
5
Rush yards
0
9
0.1
0.2
Rush TDs
0.0
0.2
---
---
RB's
---
---
101
123
Rush yards
92
76
0.6
0.9
Rush TDs
1.1
0.3
52
37
Receive yards
37
48
0.1
0.0
Receive TD's
0.2
0.1
---
---
WR's
---
---
148
119
Receive yards
202
130
0.8
1.2
Receive TD's
1.4
0.3
---
---
TE's
---
---
52
39
Receive yards
65
41
0.2
0.1
Receive TD's
0.3
0.1
---
---
PK's
---
---
2.2
1.0
Field Goals
2.1
2.0
2.0
2.8
Extra Points
3.3
1.2
---
---
DEF/ST
---
---
0.4
0.7
Fumbles
0.8
0.8
1.4
0.6
Interceptions
0.4
0.7
0.3
0.0
Touchdowns
0.1
0.1
2.2
0.9
Sacks
2.0
2.1
0.0
0.0
Safeties
0.0
0.1
Patriots (9-2)
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
12-0 DAL
23-20 @HOU
Week 13 @IND
Week 14 MIA
Week 15 JAX
Week 16 @NYJ
Week 17 BUF
Colts (9-2)
Score Opp.
9-6 @CLE
33-7 TEN
23-13 JAX
55-21 @NO
38-35 @TB
20-23 CAR
Week 7 BYE
30-21 HOU
23-17 @MIA
23-28 @JAX
38-31 NYJ
17-14 @BUF
Week 13 NE
Week 14 @TEN
Week 15 ATL
Week 16 DEN
Week 17 @HOU

* Fantasy point rankings calculated using standard Huddle fantasy points