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Predictions & Projections
By David M. Dorey
 
The Huddle
WEEK 17
December 24, 2003
Season Ticket
Sat 1:30 PM Sat 8:30 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM
BUF at NE PHI at WAS CHI at KC JAX at ATL CAR at NYG
Sat 5 PM Sun 8:30 PM CLE at CIN NYJ at MIA MIN at ARZ
SEA at SF PIT at BAL DAL at NO STL at DET DEN at GB
  IND at HOU TB at TEN OAK at SD
   
Carolina vs NY Giants Sun, Dec 28; 4 PM on FOX at Giants Stadium
  Carolina at NYG Rush Catch Pass
QB Jake Delhomme 10 0 230,2
RB De'Shaun Foster 50,1 0 0
RB Stephen Davis 60 0 0
TE Wiggins/Mangum 0 30 0
WR Muhsin Muhammad 0 60,1 0
WR Ricky Proehl 0 50 0
WR Steve Smith 0 80,1 0
  NY Giants vs CAR Rush Catch Pass
QB Jesse Palmer 20 0 160
RB Tiki Barber 50 50 0
TE Marcellus Rivers 0 20 0
WR Amani Toomer 0 40 0
WR Ike Hilliard Q Q Q
WR David Tyree 0 40 0

Game Prediction: CAR 24, NYG 6

A meaningless game that sends Fassel packing and mercifully ends the Giants season. The Panthers will play this game to win and little more.

Carolina Notes

The Panthers rise to 10-5 and have clinched the NFC South.

Jake Delhomme comes off a nice (and expected) big game against the Lions when he threw for 260 yards and two scores. He has thrown for at least one score in each of the last five games and now faces a defense that redefines bad each week.

Stephen Davis did not play last week but will return to practice and play on Sunday though he may not go for the full game in order to remain fresh for the first round of the playoffs against Green Bay or Seattle. De'Shaun Foster took the start last week and gained 76 yards on 21 carries.

Steve Smith will look to end the regular season on a strong note and improve on his seven touchdowns and two 100 yard efforts this season. He could hardly ask for a better opponent though with little to win in the game and a probable early lead, he may not be needed in order to win.

Match against the Defense: The Giants, for all their many failings, have been at least average against the run. Michael Strahan is playing well even if no one else is. Look for a decent but not huge rushing effort by the Panthers that will likely use both Davis and Foster.

Delhomme could shred this secondary if he wanted to but this looks more like a wind down game that the Panther defense can secure with only moderate help from the offense.

NY Giants Notes

The Giants fall to 4-11 and have lost their last seven games. It is hard to recall that they were 4-4 at one point.

Jesse Palmer threw for 190 yards against Dallas last week and his two starts have produced only one score. Palmer was off target much of the game last week, missing even short dumps in the flats that could have kept drives alive. More than anything, Palmer is running for his life back there in the face of repeated blitzes.

Tiki Barber had 47 yards rushing and 55 yards receiving last week and was the only facet of the Giants offense that seemed geared to the pro game last week. With the exception of a couple of medium range completions to Amani Toomer, he was the entire offense last week.

The wideouts have become almost inconsequential now since there is normally not enough time to throw the ball down the field and Toomer only had four scores on the season with three 100 yard games. He has only 116 yards total in the last three games.

Match against the Defense: The Giants have not scored more than seven points in the last five games. Like Mariucci in Detroit, the coach wants to have a good final home game and yet simply does not have the personnel to get the job done. The Panthers are most likely going to win this by just enough to take the game safely, so Barber will still be allowed to run and combined with his receiving yardage might top 100 yards as the only player of significance for the Giants.

Team Comparisons - Current team rankings (1-32) for FF points scored or allowed by position
Rank (1-32)
QB
RB
WR
TE
PK
DEF
CAR Scores
17
18
13
29
10
19
NYG Allows
26
17
30
18
25
28
CAR AP
9
-1
17
-11
15
9
Rank (1-32)
QB
RB
WR
TE
PK
DEF
NYG Scores
31
29
27
24
32
29
CAR Allows
19
6
4
11
8
23
NYG AP
-12
-23
-23
-13
-24
-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.
CAR
NYG
2003 Game Averages
NYG
CAR
Gains
Allows
QB's
Gains
Allows
226
257
Pass yards
189
165
1.2
2.2
Pass TDs
0.5
0.8
1.2
0.2
Interceptions
0.7
1.0
4
5
Rush yards
7
36
0.2
0.0
Rush TDs
0.0
0.3
---
---
RB's
---
---
94
105
Rush yards
77
77
0.5
0.7
Rush TDs
0.2
0.7
37
43
Receive yards
41
25
0.5
0.3
Receive TD's
0.2
0.0
---
---
WR's
---
---
177
190
Receive yards
131
111
0.5
1.5
Receive TD's
0.2
0.7
---
---
TE's
---
---
12
25
Receive yards
17
29
0.2
0.3
Receive TD's
0.2
0.2
---
---
PK's
---
---
1.8
1.5
Field Goals
0.7
1.2
1.8
3.0
Extra Points
0.7
2.2
---
---
DEF/ST
---
---
0.7
1.2
Fumbles
0.7
1.2
1.0
0.7
Interceptions
0.2
1.2
0.2
0.2
Touchdowns
0.2
0.5
2.5
4.3
Sacks
2.0
0.8
0.0
0.2
Safeties
0.0
0.0
Panthers (10-5)
Score Opp.
24-23 JAX
12-9 @TB
Week 3 BYE
23-3 ATL
19-13 NO
23-20 @IND
17-37 TEN
23-20 @NO
10-14 @HOU
27-24 TB
20-17 WAS
20-24 @DAL
16-25 PHI
14-20 @ATL
20-17 @ARZ
20-14 DET
Week 17 @NYG
Giants (4-11)
Score Opp.
23-13 STL
32-35 DAL
24-21 @WAS
Week 4 BYE
10-23 MIA
6-17 @NE
10-14 PHI
29-27 @MIN
31-28 @NYJ
7-27 ATL
10-28 @PHI
13-19 @TB
7-24 BUF
7-14 WAS
7-45 @NO
3-19 @DAL
Week 17 CAR

* Fantasy point rankings calculated using standard Huddle fantasy points