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Predictions & Projections
By David M. Dorey
 
The Huddle
Championship
January 14, 2004
Playoff Ticket
Sunday
3:00 PM, CBS at Gillette Stadium
6:45 PM, FOX at Lincoln Financial Field
   
Carolina at Philadelphia  
  Carolina Rush Catch Pass
QB Jake Delhomme 0 0 200,1
RB Stephen Davis 30 0 0
RB DeShaun Foster 80,1 20 0
TE Wiggins/Mangum 0 20 0
WR Muhsin Muhammad 0 50 0
WR Ricky Proehl 0 20 0
WR Steve Smith 0 80,1 0
  Philadelphia Rush Catch Pass
QB Donovan McNabb 40,1 0 190,1
RB Duce Staley 40 20 0
RB Correll Buckhalter 20 0 0
TE Chad Lewis 0 20 0
TE L.J. Smith 0 30 0
WR James Thrash 0 40 0
WR Freddie Mitchell 0 30 0
WR Todd Pinkston 0 50,1 0

Game Prediction: CAR 20, PHI 23

Line: Eagles by 4

As noted on the NE-IND page, these two teams faced off in week 13 with the Eagles visiting the Panthers and they left with the 25-16 win. They won largely thanks to David Akers who kicked four field goals that week while John Kasey only had an inexplicable 1 of 4 field goals good. The game would have been tied had he made them as did Akers that day. That was easily Kasay's worst game of the season - he made 20 consecutive field goals to start the season. Kasay even missed an extra point in the game.

So effectively that is saying that these two teams played to a draw excluding what the kickers did - the stats from that week 13 game below show the similarity:

13
CAR
RY
RT
CY
CT
Fum
Int
13
PHI
RY
RT
CY
CT
Fum
Int
QB
Delhomme J
13
.
216
2
1
.
QB
McNabb D
6
.
182
1
.
1
WR
Smith S
-2
.
80
1
.
.
WR
Mitchell F
.
.
40
.
.
.
WR
Muhammad M
.
.
79
1
.
.
WR
Thrash J
.
.
27
1
.
.
WR
Proehl R
.
.
24
.
.
.
WR
Pinkston T
.
.
15
.
.
.
TE
Wiggins J
.
.
8
.
.
.
WR
Lewis G
.
.
7
.
.
.
TE
Seidman M
.
.
1
.
.
.
TE
Lewis C
.
.
29
.
.
.
RB
Goings N
8
.
19
.
.
.
TE
Smith L
.
.
15
.
.
.
RB
Smart R
2
.
5
.
.
.
RB
Westbrook B
64
.
32
.
1
.
RB
Davis S
115
.
0
.
.
.
RB
Staley D
24
1
8
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
RB
Buckhalter C
30
.
0
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
RB
Ritchie J
.
.
9
.
.
.

So what can be different in this game?

The Eagles are without their leading rusher of Brian Westbrook and their run defense took a hit with the loss of LB Carlos Emmons. The Panthers, not unlike the Colts, are showing the ability to post points in the past two weeks and bring along their own defense which is very sound on a bad day and topnotch on a good weekend.

Homefield for the Eagles has not been as advantageous at Lincoln Field as it seemed at the Vet.

This game will require more out of McNabb this time as he was forced to do last week against the Packers. The outcome in this matchup depends on how well McNabb can carry the team yet again. He was only sacked three times in week 13 but never tried to establish himself as a runner.

CB Troy Vincent is still optimistic that he can play this week after missing the first two post-season games but DE Brandon Whiting suffered a slight MCL strain that is not expected to keep him out but could limit him.

Stephen Davis is still bothered by the strained quadriceps that forced him out last week and it is not yet known if he will play. Deshaun Foster ran well last week in his place but Davis could provide better power running that has been the bane of the Philly defense much of this season. I am assuming for now that Davis can play but will be limited and will share with Foster.

While Carolina has been the surprise team for the NFC, they were only 5-3 on the road this season and already lost to Philly by nine points in week 13. In order for the Panthers to win, they need Davis healthy or at least for Foster to gain enough yards to free up Delhomme to pass.

Defense wins championships and the Eagles do not have the better overall defense here but they have good secondary players (more so if Vincent returns) and are at home. A close game but one the veteran Eagle crew should take as their much anticipated final step to reaching the Super Bowl.

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
PHI Allows
23
26
12
29
26
5
CAR AP
6
8
-1
0
16
-14
Rank (1-32)
QB
RB
WR
TE
PK
DEF
PHI Scores
6
1
21
15
2
14
CAR Allows
19
6
4
11
8
23
PHI AP
13
5
-17
-4
6
9
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
PHI
2003 Game Averages
PHI
CAR
Gains
Allows
QB's
Gains
Allows
226
222
Pass yards
250
165
1.2
1.2
Pass TDs
1.5
0.8
1.2
0.8
Interceptions
0.7
1.0
4
34
Rush yards
17
36
0.2
0.2
Rush TDs
0.2
0.3
---
---
RB's
---
---
94
150
Rush yards
114
77
0.5
0.8
Rush TDs
1.7
0.7
37
29
Receive yards
75
25
0.5
0.3
Receive TD's
1.0
0.0
---
---
WR's
---
---
177
144
Receive yards
145
111
0.5
0.5
Receive TD's
0.3
0.7
---
---
TE's
---
---
12
49
Receive yards
30
29
0.2
0.3
Receive TD's
0.2
0.2
---
---
PK's
---
---
1.8
2.0
Field Goals
2.0
1.2
1.8
1.8
Extra Points
3.5
2.2
---
---
DEF/ST
---
---
0.7
0.5
Fumbles
0.8
1.2
1.0
0.7
Interceptions
0.8
1.2
0.2
0.0
Touchdowns
0.2
0.5
2.5
2.3
Sacks
2.5
0.8
0.0
0.0
Safeties
0.2
0.0
Panthers (11-5)
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
37-24 @NYG
Eagles (11-4)
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
36-10 DAL
34-27 @MIA
28-31 SF
31-7 @WAS

* Fantasy point rankings calculated using standard Huddle fantasy points