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Predictions & Projections
By David M. Dorey
 
The Huddle
WEEK 14
December 3, 2003
Season Ticket
Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM
CHI at GB IND at TEN TB at NO KC at DEN CAR at ATL
CIN at BAL OAK at PIT WAS at NYG MIA at NE Mon 9 PM
DAL at PHI SD at DET Sun 4 PM NYJ at BUF STL at CLE
HOU at JAX SEA at MIN ARZ at SF *updated Times EST
   
Dallas vs Philadelphia Sun, Dec 7; 1 PM on FOX at Osaka Dome
  Dallas Rush Catch Pass
QB Quincy Carter 20 0 240,1
RB Richie Anderson 20 40 0
RB Troy Hambrick 30 10 0
TE Jason Witten 0 40,1 0
WR Joey Galloway 0 30 0
WR Terry Glenn 0 40 0
WR Antonio Bryant 0 50 0
  Philadelphia Rush Catch Pass
QB Donovan McNabb 30 0 190,1
RB Duce Staley 30 10 0
RB Brian Westbrook 60,1 30 0
RB Correll Buckhalter 40 0 0
TE Chad Lewis 0 20 0
WR James Thrash 0 30 0
WR Freddie Mitchell 0 30 0
WR Todd Pinkston 0 40,1 0

Game Prediction: DAL 10, PHI 20

The Cowboys already beat the Eagles in Dallas in week six by the score of 23-21. This time around the Eagles are back at home and on a seven game winning streak since that game. The difference here is that the Eagles passing game has greatly improved but the Dallas rushing attack has become worse.

The battle for the NFC East watches the Eagles take the lead for good while Dallas marches on towards a wildcard.

Dallas Notes

The Cowboys fell to 8-4 with their embarrassing loss to the Dolphins on Thanksgiving Day.

Quarterbacks:: Quincy Carter comes off his second best game of his career when he threw 24 of 40 for 288 yards and two touchdowns but his three interceptions sealed the Cowboys fate. Carter also lost a fumble that was returned for a touchdown as well. This gives him seven interceptions in the last three games and heading to Philadelphia is not a way to get back on track. Carter ran for 42 yards on four runs, his highest game on the ground this season.

Carter only had 146 yards and no scores in his last game against the Eagles.

Running Backs: Troy Hambrick had been declining in yardage the past couple weeks and with his two yards gained on three carries, he may continue his trend by running backwards from now on. Hambrick has not been a factor in the running game since week nine when he scored twice and gained 100 yards against the Redskins. Problem is - no other runner has stepped up in his place.

Hambrick had one touchdown in his prior meeting with the Eagles but gained only 46 yards on 18 carries.

Richie Anderson did score twice last week - once on a four yard run and again on a a nice 27 yard pass that caught the Dolphins in a blitz. Anderson ended with a total of 56 yards in the game and was the first outlet for Carter when he could not run.

Receivers: Carter scored on one nice catch in the endzone to Antonio Bryant who had a total of three catches for 44 yards. Bryant scored for the first time in eight weeks. Terry Glenn ended with 97 yards on four catches while Joey Galloway only left with three receptions for 33 yards. Glenn was the main target last week and had virtually all the long gainers.

The rookie Jason Witten became the most frequent target against the good secondary of Miami and had a career best eight catches for 58 yards.

When the Cowboys last played the Eagles, all three wideouts shared equally - Galloway (2-56), Glenn (5-41) and Bryant (1-49) all had a role but none scored.

Match against the Defense: The problem here is that the Cowboys had little success rushing against the Eagles last time and have watched their running game disintegrate since then. Forcing the Cowboys to throw the ball will lead to more mistakes which plays into the Eagles hands.

Carter was only able to throw for 146 yards the last meeting against the Eagles and their secondary is healthier now and at home. When Dallas beat the Eagles this season it was the first Cowboy win in the past seven meetings. The Cowboys have not scored more than 18 points in Philadelphia this millennia.

Dallas will try to substitute a shorter passing scheme to compensate for a bad rushing game which will favor Anderson and the tight ends the most and any good yardage by a wideout will have to come on a single deep completion.

Philadelphia Notes

The Eagles rise to 9-3 and now have a one game lead over Dallas in the NFC East.

Quarterbacks:: Donovan McNabb comes off a reasonably effective game in Carolina where he threw for 182 yards and one touchdown. It was a step down from his two previous efforts of 259 and 314 yards but he did throw a touchdown for the fifth straight game. The only time he failed to throw a score in the past eight games was when he played in New York in week seven.

Back in week six against Dallas, McNabb only had 11 completions on 26 passes for 126 yards and one touchdown, his second lowest yardage of the season.

Running Backs: Against the tough Panther defense, the running game was again an effective mix-n-match affair and Brian Westbrook was tops with 12 carries for 64 yards and Duce Staley scored the lone rushing score. Against the Cowboys in week six, the three running backs shared equally - Buckhalter (11-52, 1 TD), Staley (7-28) and Westbrook (8-37, 1 TD). All three backs have their individual strengths and all three have been playing every week.

Receivers: Last week James Thrash had his first touchdown of the season but none of the wideouts did much. In the Dallas game, the wideouts only accounted for a combined four catches and 42 yards with no scores. Duce Staley had 66 yards receiving and the lone passing touchdown. McNabb is spreading the ball around to up to nine receivers a game, so no one player is that significant.

Match against the Defense: McNabb is certainly on his "A" game now unlike in the past meeting. The Dallas secondary was exposed by the Dolphins last week mainly on the left side that would favor Pinkston but the way the ball is spread around there is little in the way of consistency to rely on passing for the Eagles which is how they want it.

The Cowboys gave up two rushing scores to the Eagles last time they played and the improvement of the passing game only helps out the running game, particularly for Westbrook who catches passes well and has the speed to take advantage when the linebackers drop back into coverage.

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
20
16
21
22
31
14
PHI Allows
15
22
13
9
15
4
DAL AP
-5
6
-8
-13
-16
-10
Rank (1-32)
QB
RB
WR
TE
PK
DEF
PHI Scores
23
2
31
20
7
11
DAL Allows
1
5
4
1
3
17
PHI AP
-22
3
-27
-19
-4
6
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
PHI
2003 Game Averages
PHI
DAL
Gains
Allows
QB's
Gains
Allows
198
220
Pass yards
194
160
1.2
0.9
Pass TDs
0.9
0.9
1.4
0.7
Interceptions
0.5
0.6
17
10
Rush yards
20
3
0
0.2
Rush TDs
0.1
0.1
---
---
RB's
---
---
94
119
Rush yards
114
81
0.7
0.6
Rush TDs
1.4
0.4
49
37
Receive yards
54
34
0.1
0.2
Receive TD's
0.6
0.2
---
---
WR's
---
---
125
153
Receive yards
102
111
0.8
0.5
Receive TD's
0.3
0.7
---
---
TE's
---
---
25
29
Receive yards
38
14
0.2
0.2
Receive TD's
0
0
---
---
PK's
---
---
0.9
1.8
Field Goals
1.8
1.3
2
1.6
Extra Points
2.6
1.6
---
---
DEF/ST
---
---
0.9
0.5
Fumbles
1.2
0.7
0.6
0.5
Interceptions
0.6
1.3
0.2
0.1
Touchdowns
0.2
0.2
2
2.5
Sacks
2.4
1.8
0.2
0
Safeties
0
0
Cowboys (8-4)
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
0-12 @NE
24-20 CAR
21-40 MIA
Week 14 @PHI
Week 15 @WAS
Week 16 NYG
Week 17 @NO
Eagles (9-3)
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
23-16 @ATL
17-14 @GB
28-10 NYG
33-20 NO
25-16 @CAR
Week 14 DAL
Week 15 @MIA
Week 16 SF
Week 17 @WAS

* Fantasy point rankings calculated using standard Huddle fantasy points