VOTED #1 FANTASY FOOTBALL SITE
1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 & 2002
PRIORITY NEWS   MESSAGE BOARDS JOIN   
HOME ARTICLES STATISTICS WEEKLY FEATURES TEAM LINKS NFL RESOURCES  
Predictions & Projections
By David M. Dorey
 
The Huddle
Super Bowl
January 28, 2004
Playoff Ticket

Carolina vs New England
Reliant Stadium at 6:25 PM (EST) on CBS

   
  Carolina Rush Catch Pass
QB Jake Delhomme 0 0 190,1
RB Stephen Davis 90,1 20 0
RB DeShaun Foster 30 0 0
TE Wiggins/Mangum 0 30,1 0
WR Muhsin Muhammad 0 40 0
WR Steve Smith 0 60 0
  New England Rush Catch Pass
QB Tom Brady 0 0 230,2
RB Kevin Faulk 40 20 0
RB Antowain Smith 40 0 0
TE Fauria/Graham 0 40 0
WR Troy Brown 0 50,1 0
WR David Givens 0 50,1 0
WR Deion Branch 0 40 0
WR Bethel Johnson 0 20 0

Game Prediction: CAR 17, NE 20

Line: Patriots by 7

This will be an interesting Super Bowl if only because most people seem to want the underdog Panthers to win but most people believe that the Patriots will take the Championship.

Both teams come in healthy - the Panthers are enjoying their first week off since their bye came after the first two games of the season and after 17 consecutive games, the rest was much needed. Stephen Davis is at practice and according to HC John Fox, Davis is 100% healthy. Add in DeShaun Foster and the Panthers bring some weapons for their running game.

That running game should be paramount to the success of the Panthers and both teams know it.

The Panthers will need to minimize mistakes and since Jake Delhomme is new to the Superbowl and going against a defense that is stocked in the secondary, throwing the ball is not something that will likely be the focus of the Carolina offense. Delhomme turned the ball over in the last nine games of the regular season - that cannot happen here if the Panthers are going to stay in the game.

The Patriot defense was great against runners this season but what is significant is that the best five opponent rushing performances all came when the Patriots were on the road. Travis Henry was tops in the number of carries against the Pats with 28. Carolina would love nothing more than to see Davis tote the rock 30 times. The question is if the scoreboard will allow them that luxury.

Delhomme will throw the ball if needed and there is some reason to expect he will find at least a little success. Only seven quarterbacks threw for scores against the Patriots but five of them were when the Patriots were on the road.

Another fact is that the Patriots on the road have never done well this season since week two (@PHI). In the other seven games on the road this season, they lost two and never won any by more than five points. Amazingly, their last loss was in Washington. The Patriots are favored by seven points but have never won away from home by more than five points.

The Panthers on the road during the season did defeat the Colts and Buccaneers but they enjoyed a road schedule that otherwise only had NO, HOU (loss), DAL (loss), ATL, ARZ and NYG. Like the Patriots, they never won a game by more than four points on the road other than the finale in New York against a Giant team that had already cleaned out their lockers. Their win in St. Louis was in overtime and in Philadelphia they played great defense against a team that could neither run nor pass well.

The Panthers have an equally good rush defense and the Patriots are not exactly bringing the cream of the crop for a running game. Antowain Smith looks good in the frozen conditions in New England but will more likely return to his less productive ways in Houston. With a faster field and better conditions, Kevin Faulk is likely to figure in more than he has in the past month.

Where this game turns is with the passing attack of the Patriots. The Panthers invariably give up at least one passing score and yet never more than two. These are two teams with very good defenses and the Patriots should have more success passing and the Panthers are better off running. Given both teams history, it should turn into a close matchup unless the Panthers start slowly in their first ever Super Bowl and allow the Patriots to grab a quick score or two and force Carolina to throw more than they want.

It all comes down to whether the Patriots can stop Davis and if the Panthers are able to contain the Patriot passing attack. This should prove to be a very close game and likely lower scoring than most like to see in "The Big Game". Hopefully, and according to the trends of this season, the outcome should not be secure until the final gun.

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
NE Allows
25
1
15
25
3
8
CAR AP
8
-17
2
-4
-7
-11
Rank (1-32)
QB
RB
WR
TE
PK
DEF
NE Scores
18
23
12
9
14
1
CAR Allows
19
6
4
11
8
23
NE AP
1
-17
-8
2
-6
22
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
NE
2003 Game Averages
NE
CAR
Gains
Allows
QB's
Gains
Allows
226
202
Pass yards
224
165
1.2
1.2
Pass TDs
1.3
0.8
1.2
2.3
Interceptions
0.8
1.0
4
12
Rush yards
4
36
0.2
0.8
Rush TDs
0.0
0.3
---
---
RB's
---
---
94
74
Rush yards
87
77
0.5
0.0
Rush TDs
0.7
0.7
37
42
Receive yards
40
25
0.5
0.0
Receive TD's
0.0
0.0
---
---
WR's
---
---
177
136
Receive yards
149
111
0.5
0.8
Receive TD's
1.0
0.7
---
---
TE's
---
---
12
23
Receive yards
35
29
0.2
0.5
Receive TD's
0.3
0.2
---
---
PK's
---
---
1.8
1.2
Field Goals
1.5
1.2
1.8
1.5
Extra Points
2.5
2.2
---
---
DEF/ST
---
---
0.7
0.8
Fumbles
0.5
1.2
1.0
0.8
Interceptions
2.3
1.2
0.2
0.0
Touchdowns
0.5
0.5
2.5
2.2
Sacks
2.7
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
Patriots (14-2)
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
38-34 @IND
12-0 MIA
27-13 JAX
21-16 @NYJ
31-0 BUF

* Fantasy point rankings calculated using standard Huddle fantasy points