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Predictions & Projections
By David M. Dorey
 
The Huddle
WEEK 16
December 17, 2003
Season Ticket
Saturday Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM
ATL at TB 1 BAL at CLE NYG at DAL ARZ at SEA DEN at IND
KC at MIN 5 CIN at STL NO at JAX SD at PIT Mon 9 PM
NE at NYJ 8:30 DET at CAR TEN at HOU SF at PHI GB at OAK
Times EST MIA at BUF WAS at CHI *updated
   
Arizona vs Seattle Sun, Dec 21; 4 PM on FOX at Seahawks Stadium
  Arizona at SEA Rush Catch Pass
QB Josh McCown 0 0 190,1
RB Emmitt Smith 20 0 0
RB Marcel Shipp 60 10 0
TE Freddie Jones 0 30 0
WR Bryan Gilmore 0 20 0
WR Bryant Johnson 0 30 0
WR Anquan Boldin 0 80,1 0
  Seattle vs ARZ Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Hasselbeck 10 0 270,3
RB Shaun Alexander 100,1 20 0
TE Itula Mili 0 20 0
WR Darrell Jackson 0 100,2 0
WR Bobby Engram 0 50,1 0
WR Koren Robinson 0 70 0

Game Prediction: ARZ 7, SEA 34

The Seahawks are undefeated at home and the Cardinals are 0-7 on the road. Not a good mixture.

Arizona Notes

The Cardinals fall to 3-11 with their loss to the Panthers last week.

Quarterbacks:: Josh McCown had the first start of his career last week and threw for 172 yards and rushed in one score while gaining a total of 47 yards on seven runs. He had only one turnover - an interception early in the game but then settled down for a respectable performance. All it really does is complicate the drafting plans next April, since many topflight quarterbacks will be coming out and the Cardinals are angling for a very early pick.

McCown gets his second start this week and in Seattle will gain a bigger test. Back in week two, Blake was injured against the Seahawks and McCown stepped in to throw for 150 yards and one touchdown to Bryant Johnson. He had two interceptions and one fumble that game.

Running Backs: Last week Marcel Shipp had 23 carries for 89 yards but Emmitt Smith jogged onto the field to score the touchdown. Smith had 23 yards on nine carries last week and took almost one of every three runs.

Back in the last meeting with Seattle, Emmitt Smith only gained 54 yards on 14 carries while Shipp had only four runs for six yards. Figure that outcome to flip for the two runners this week.

Receivers: In what is less than a shock, Anquan Boldin remained the primary receiver for McCown last week, gaining 73 yards on seven receptions and, as always, the rest of the receivers were inconsequential. Back in week two against Seattle, Boldin had eight catches for 62 yards while Bryant Johnson had 68 yards and one score.

Match against the Defense: The Seahawks play far tougher at home and McCown will have a hard time doing well since half of the visitors never score a passing touchdown. But the Seattle secondary has been worse lately and allowed good scores to good opponents. That does not involve the Cardinals much. Look for Boldin to have a good chance to score since the Seahawks are allowing wideouts to score more than any other position and his sheer volume of passes should net him a decent game.

Shipp is already sharing with Emmitt, so the running game will be less effective in fantasy terms and no visiting runner has gained over 100 yards there this season. Seattle has allowed only two rushing scores at home as well, so discount the chance Shipp or Emmitt sees the endzone. Seattle has a banged up set of linebackers, with Anthony Simmons, Randall Godfrey and Orlando Huff all question marks this week. Arizona should try to exploit that at least early in the game.

Seattle Notes

The Seahawks fall to 8-6 and have lost their last two games. They are now undefeated at home and only 1-7 on the road.

Quarterbacks:: Matt Hasselbeck had 246 yards and one touchdown last week against the Rams with one interception. He returns home this week were he last had three scores and 328 yards against the Browns.

Hasselbeck threw for 175 yards and two scores against the Cardinals in week two and even added a rushing score on his only run in the game. He should improve that yardage this time around.

Running Backs: Shaun Alexander gained 126 yards and one touchdown last week in St. Louis. He now has scored in all but three games this season though only once has he had more than one in a game. He has scored in six of the last seven games. Alexander only rushed for 51 yards on 13 carries back in week two in Arizona but scored once in that game as well.

Receivers: Darrell Jackson led the receivers last Sunday, gaining 99 yards on six catches and scoring once. Koren Robinson had five grabs for 47 yards while Bobby Engram was blanked. Engram was tripped up on his bomb at the end of the game when he fell over a sprawling official down by the goal line which could have had a huge impact on the game and his stats had he remained running.

Back in week two against the Cards, Darrell Jackson had his best game of the season, only catching three passes but scoring twice and gaining 133 yards. That was the game when Robinson was suspended.

Match against the Defense: Every quarterback since week nine has scored against the Cardinals and that should be extended here with Hasselbeck throwing at least two scores against the secondary that has allowed more than one in every away game this year. Of the seven road trips this season, four have allowed three or four passing scores.

Both sides are bad for Arizona so Jackson and Robinson have great chances to score here and Jackson already has two in their last meeting. Robinson needs to end this season stronger than he has played so far, and since he missed their previous meeting it may give him a little more impetus to get open and connect with Hasselbeck.

The Cardinal run defense had been good this season but in the last month has dropped off and allowed four rushing scores and two big games to Barlow and Forsey while on the road. Alexander should see one score but probably not two unless the game situation keeps getting him carries near the goal line.

Team Comparisons - Current team rankings (1-32) for FF points scored or allowed by position
Rank (1-32)
QB
RB
WR
TE
PK
DEF
ARZ Scores
22
32
27
20
26
15
SEA Allows
28
6
31
1
24
28
ARZ AP
6
-18
4
-19
-2
13
Rank (1-32)
QB
RB
WR
TE
PK
DEF
SEA Scores
4
15
1
12
9
14
ARZ Allows
32
22
32
12
31
27
SEA AP
28
7
31
0
22
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.
ARZ
SEA
2003 Game Averages
SEA
ARZ
Gains
Allows
QB's
Gains
Allows
172
261
Pass yards
266
302
0.8
2.2
Pass TDs
2.0
2.2
1.8
0.8
Interceptions
0.8
1.0
23
7
Rush yards
8
15
0.2
0.0
Rush TDs
0.2
0.6
---
---
RB's
---
---
66
98
Rush yards
119
115
0.2
0.2
Rush TDs
0.8
1.0
14
40
Receive yards
28
38
0.0
0.0
Receive TD's
0.0
0.2
---
---
WR's
---
---
124
200
Receive yards
207
229
0.4
2.2
Receive TD's
1.8
2.0
---
---
TE's
---
---
33
21
Receive yards
31
35
0.0
0.0
Receive TD's
0.2
0.0
---
---
PK's
---
---
1.2
1.4
Field Goals
1.2
1.6
1.4
3.0
Extra Points
3.8
4.2
---
---
DEF/ST
---
---
0.8
0.8
Fumbles
0.8
0.8
1.4
0.8
Interceptions
0.8
1.4
0.2
0.6
Touchdowns
0.2
0.4
1.8
2.8
Sacks
2.8
2.2
0.0
0.0
Safeties
0.2
0.2
Cardinals (3-11)
Score Opp.
24-42 @DET
0-38 SEA
20-13 GB
13-37 @STL
7-24 @DAL
18-26 BAL
Week 7 BYE
16-13 SF
17-14 CIN
15-28 @PIT
6-44 @CLE
27-30 STL
3-28 @CHI
14-50 @SF
17-20 CAR
Week 16 @SEA
Week 17 MIN
Seahawks (8-6)
Score Opp.
27-10 NO
38-0 @ARZ
24-23 STL
Week 4 BYE
13-35 @GB
20-19 SF
24-17 CHI
24-27 @CIN
23-16 PIT
20-27 @WAS
35-14 DET
41-44 @BAL
34-7 CLE
7-34 @MIN
22-27 @STL
Week 16 ARZ
Week 17 @SF

* Fantasy point rankings calculated using standard Huddle fantasy points using only the last five games played