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Predictions & Projections
David M. Dorey
The Huddle
September 19, 2004
Season Ticket
Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM
STL at ATL DEN at JAX* Sun 4 PM IND at TEN Mon 9 PM
CLE at DAL* CAR at KC* SEA at TB* NYJ at SD MIN at PHI*
HOU at DET SF at NO* BUF at OAK* Times ET *updated
  Houston Rush Catch Pass
QB David Carr 0 0 250,1
RB Domanick Davis 70,1 30 0
RB Tony Hollings 20 20 0
TE Miller/Bruener 0 10 0
WR Corey Bradford 0 50 0
WR Andre Johnson 0 100,1 0
WR Jabar Gaffney 0 30 0
PK Kris Brown 2 FG 2 XP -
  Detroit Rush Catch Pass
QB Joey Harrington 0 0 210,2
RB Kevin Jones 50 10 0
RB Artose Pinner 10,1 0 0
TE Stephen Alexander 0 30 0
WR Roy Williams 0 70,1 0
WR Az-Zahir Hakim 0 50 0
WR Tai Streets 0 50,1 0
PK Jason Hanson 1 FG 3 XP -

HOU (0-1) vs DET (1-0)

Game Prediction: HOU 20, DET 24

Here's a matchup that no one has ever seen before. The Texans have never been 0-1 in their history and no one still living remembers when the Lions last came off a road win.

Pre-Game Notes - HOU

The Texans big goal this year was to win back-to-back games. Started with SD and then at DET for a very nice opening schedule. Now they're just trying to keep from their first ever 0-2 record.

Quarterback: David Carr was effective last week against the Lions, he completed 19 of 25 for 229 yards but threw two costly interceptions. He spread the ball evenly among his wideouts and Domanick Davis but failed to score. He even had good protection with no sacks.

Running Backs: Domanick Davis had a great opening weekend when he gained a combined 157 yards and scored twice but ended up in part responsible for the loss with his two fumbles in the game. After 288 touches last year, Davis had lost the handle only three times. He has not been a fumbler but can now count on the defense finding out if the problem is solved.

The "10 to 12" carries a game for Tony Hollings suggested by HC Dom Capers was merely preseason fluff. Hollings only had three carries against the Chargers and gained 10 yards though he did go 27 yards on his one screen play. Hollings is nothing more than relief for Davis unless Domanick is injured.

Wide Receivers: The receivers turned in decent showings with Andre Johnson leading the way with his four catches for 58 yards. Jabar Gaffney and Corey Bradford were not far behind but last week the Texans figured they would win with rushing and they could have if only they had not lost four turnovers.

Tight Ends: One catch, seven yards, and don't think about using Billy Miller since Mark Bruener had the lone catch.

Match Against the Defense: The Lions defense played the Bears tough last week and limited Thomas Jones to only 67 yards on 21 carries. Back at home, they should be just as tough though Davis could end up with more receiving yardage than rushing. The Lions were good at pressuring the quarterback so dumpoffs will happen for Davis and the fast carpet should suit his style.

The Lions lost CB Dre' Bly for a few weeks to a sprained knee and that spells good things for Andre Johnson who would have had the matchup. If only two aspects of the offense work, it will be both Davis and Johnson in the passing game.

Pre-Game Notes - DET

The Lions once again find mixed emotions from last week. They won their first road game in 25 tries and yet lost Charles Rogers for the season and Dre' Bly for a few weeks. Two very big players on either side of the ball.

Quarterback: Joey Harrington was only moderately successful last week when he completed 14 of 26 for 187 yards and one touchdown with one interception. He lost Rogers early in the game but he's never had enough time with him to get used to looking for him. Harrington did find some chemistry already with Roy Williams and that's critical now that Rogers is back on the sidelines.

Running Backs: The debut of Kevin Jones mostly flopped as he only gained 36 yards on 15 carries though he added 34 yards on one pass. The plan to also use Artose Pinner meant only five carries for 21 yards in the game. Back at home on familiar ground, the duo should have an easier time gaining real estate.

Wide Receivers: Out with the old, in with the new. Charles Rogers cameo for 2004 is now over and Roy Williams has already impressed with four catches for 69 yards including a highlight reel one-handed snare. With Rogers gone, Tai Streets will likely move up and Az-Zahir Hakim will remain in the slot. That Streets pickup in the offseason now looks like a genius move.

Tight Ends: The Lions wasted no time in using Stephen Alexander but he wasted no time in showing he was not really that good, catching only two of five passes for 15 yards.

Match Against the Defense: The Houston run defense has historically been below average and comes off allowing Tomlinson to gain 121 yards on 26 carries but Kevin Jones is not yet Tomlinson (nor likely ever). The Lions should see some success with the run and their first game at home should be a nice test to see what Jones might do this year in more favorable surroundings.

The Texans were ripped a new one by TE Gates last week but mainly since they never adjusted to him the entire game. Don't look for Stephen Alexander to replicate with Gates did. The more intriguing matchup will be Roy Williams against Aaron Glenn and Streets/Hakim against the rookie CB Dunta Robinson. Harrington will want to throw to Williams more but Streets and Hakim should have an easier time getting open.

HOU DET 2003 Averages DET HOU
Gains Allows QB's Gains Allows
229 227 Pass yards 187 209
0 0 Pass TDs 1 2
2 2 Interceptions 1 0
12 21 Rush yards 6 -2
0 0 Rush TDs 0 0
--- --- RB's --- ---
98 81 Rush yards 77 124
2 2 Rush TDs 0 1
100 52 Receive yards 69 -4
0 0 Receive TD's 0 0
--- --- WR's --- ---
122 147 Receive yards 99 90
0 0 Receive TD's 1 2
--- --- TE's --- ---
7 26 Receive yards 19 123
0 0 Receive TD's 0 0
--- --- PK's --- ---
2 0 Field Goals 2 2
2 2 Extra Points 2 3
--- --- DEF/ST --- ---
0 0 Fumbles 2 2
0 1 Interceptions 2 2
0 0 Touchdowns 1 0
1 1 Sacks 3 2
0 1 Safeties 0 0
Texans (0-1)
Score Opp.
20-27 SD
Week 2 @DET
Week 3 @KC
Week 4 OAK
Week 5 MIN
Week 6 @TEN
Week 7 bye
Week 8 JAX
Week 9 @DEN
Week 10 @IND
Week 11 GB
Week 12 TEN
Week 13 @NYJ
Week 14 IND
Week 15 @CHI
Week 16 @JAX
Week 17 CLE
Score Opp.
20-16 @CHI
Week 2 HOU
Week 3 PHI
Week 4 bye
Week 5 @ATL
Week 6 GB
Week 7 @NYG
Week 8 @DAL
Week 9 WAS
Week 10 @JAX
Week 11 @MIN
Week 12 IND
Week 13 ARI
Week 14 @GB
Week 15 MIN
Week 16 CHI
Week 17 @TEN

* Fantasy point rankings calculated using standard Huddle fantasy points