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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
  Minnesota Rush Catch Pass
QB Daunte Culpepper 30 0 290,2
RB Mewelde Moore 20 0 0
RB Onterrio Smith 80,1 40 0
TE Jermaine Wiggins 0 20 0
WR Randy Moss 0 100,1 0
WR Nate Burleson 0 60 0
WR Kelly Campbell 0 50,1 0
PK Morten Andersen 2 FG 3 XP -
  Philadelphia Rush Catch Pass
QB Donovan McNabb 20 0 250,3
RB Brian Westbrook 90,1 20 0
TE L.J. Smith 0 30 0
WR Terrell Owens 0 100,2 0
WR Freddie Mitchell 0 30 0
WR Todd Pinkston 0 70,1 0
PK David Akers 2FG 4 XP -

MIN (1-0) vs PHI (1-0)

Game Prediction: MIN 27, PHI 31

What a great Monday night game!

These two teams combined for 849 total yards and nine touchdowns from their respective games last week. They allowed 799 total yards and four scores. Knock the dog off the recliner and get ready for some football. Moss vs. Owens. Culpepper vs. McNabb. Is this a great country or what?

Pre-Game Notes - MIN

The Vikings come off a throttling of Dallas where everything worked and they almost lost interest when they reached 35 points. For fantasy thrills, they allowed Testaverde - Vinny Testaverde - to lead the league in week one with 355 passing yards.

Quarterback: Daunte Culpepper comes off his first ever five touchdown game. He went 17 of 23 for 242 yards and absolutely thrilled the first guy to grab a quarterback in every fantasy draft.

Running Backs: With Michael Bennett out, Moe Williams took the start but sprained his ankle and probably won't practice until late in the week if even then. I am assuming he it out. Bennett is nearing his return but also looks likely to not play this week since Mike Tice wants him "almost 100%" before letting him work on his next injury.

That leaves Onterrio Smith to play again unless he is interrupted by his contested suspension. Until word is heard back, I am assuming that he plays. He gained 136 total yards against the Cowboys which included a 63-yard touchdown reception. Mewelde Moore will likely see action with Bennett and Williams out but only as relief for Onterrio Smith. If Smith gets the suspension, suddenly the #4 RB of Moore becomes a starter. Who says you can have too many running backs?

Wide Receivers: The Cowboys overcommitted to covering Randy Moss last week which meant all he did was catch two short touchdowns. Both Kelly Campbell and Marcus Robinson had scores as well and Nate Burleson was the only wideout left out of the fun. The problems at corner and safety made the #3 spot rather productive and Burleson had drawn Terrence Newman for coverage - the only bad matchup for any of the receivers.

Tight Ends: Jim Kleinsasser hyper-extended his knee during the game last week. I am assuming that he does not play this week and will update as needed by Friday. Jermaine Wiggins will take his spot if necessary.

Match Against the Defense: The Eagles had a lot of fun applying pressure to Kurt Warner last week, but he hardly has the mobility of Culpepper nor the offensive line. The Eagles love to use blitz packages and take risks but when there are four worthy options out in patterns, chances are that being too aggressive will work against them. The Cowboys already proved that you cannot devote too much attention to Randy Moss.

Favorable too for Onterrio Smith is the success that Tiki Barber had last week. He gained 125 yards thanks largely to one long run that Smith can make as well. Plus Barber only had nine carries. Smith will get plenty of play and should see some success. As is common against the Vikings, it largely depends on which poison the opponent selects.

Pre-Game Notes - PHI

After dismantling the Giants last week, the Eagles remain at home with their brand new passing game and are happy to welcome the same team that allowed Vinny Testaverde to throw for 355 yards last week.

Quarterback: All this time and all Donovan McNabb really needed was an actual wide receiver. Like Culpepper last week, McNabb enjoyed a career best when he threw for 330 yards and four touchdowns. Beyond the magic of three scores to Terrell Owens, he also had 98 yards to the other wideouts. That usually took three games last year. Even the tight ends accounted for 108 yards.

Running Backs: Brian Westbrook also enjoyed a career best last week, notching his first 100 yard rushing game and handling the ball 20 times for a total of 161 yards. Neither Reno Mahe or Thomas Tapeh figured in much and the game was already easily out of reach. Good sign that Westbrook will be used heavily and a caution that he may not last if he is needed for 320 touches this season.

Philly has re-signed Dorsey Levens, but he's not likely to contribute much this week.

Update: The plan now is to activate him and use him at least on some short-yardage plays. It's too early to consider adjusting Westbrook's numbers, but be aware that Levens could take a short score away.

Wide Receivers: Terrell Owens and his three touchdown start in Philadelphia will become legendary, if only to him, but he was not the sole wideout with a good game. Todd Pinkston had three receptions for 76 yards for one of his better efforts as well. We never knew there were receivers in Philadelphia and now there appears to be several.

Tight Ends: All this passing did not ignore the tight ends. L.J. Smith had three catches for 50 yards and one touchdown while Chad Lewis shook off the rust and had six grabs for 58 yards. Smith should be a constant this season but when Lewis turns in six catches, you know the spanking was on.

Match Against the Defense: Here is where it gets even more interesting. One major reason why Testaverde was so successful last week was that starting RCB Ken Irvin tore his Achilles tendon during warm-up and forced Brian Williams back into the role (he had been out with a knee sprain). CB Rushen Jones was forced into the nickel formation and he gave up the long score to Terry Glenn. Williams was the one that made Keyshawn Johnson look like it was 1998 again.

Jones later left with a bruised chest in the second half when Dallas realized they could throw almost at will. Jones will likely return unlike Kevin Irvin and regardless, the Vikes are trying to find a free agent cornerback to get enough bodies on the field.

The bottom line to all of this is that Irvin would have covered Todd Pinkston but now the eventual corner will be ripe to burn whomever it ends up being. Terrell Owens will be moved around regardless and is a lock for yet another big game against this secondary. There should be plenty of scoring in this affair and we could end up with one of the highest scoring MNF games in recent memory.

MIN PHI 2003 Averages PHI MIN
Gains Allows QB's Gains Allows
242 269 Pass yards 330 355
5 0 Pass TDs 4 1
0 0 Interceptions 0 0
25 0 Rush yards 12 0
0 0 Rush TDs 0 0
--- --- RB's --- ---
111 170 Rush yards 129 71
0 2 Rush TDs 0 1
79 79 Receive yards 56 31
1 0 Receive TD's 0 0
--- --- WR's --- ---
158 151 Receive yards 166 307
4 0 Receive TD's 3 1
--- --- TE's --- ---
42 32 Receive yards 108 25
0 0 Receive TD's 1 0
--- --- PK's --- ---
0 1 Field Goals 1 1
5 2 Extra Points 4 2
--- --- DEF/ST --- ---
2 0 Fumbles 1 0
0 0 Interceptions 0 0
0 0 Touchdowns 0 0
1 2 Sacks 5 2
0 0 Safeties 0 0
Vikings (1-0)
Score Opp.
35-17 DAL
Week 2 @PHI
Week 3 CHI
Week 4 bye
Week 5 @HOU
Week 6 @NO
Week 7 TEN
Week 8 NYG
Week 9 @IND
Week 10 @GB
Week 11 DET
Week 12 JAX
Week 13 @CHI
Week 14 SEA
Week 15 @DET
Week 16 GB
Week 17 @WAS
Eagles (1-0)
Score Opp.
31-17 NYG
Week 2 MIN
Week 3 @DET
Week 4 @CHI
Week 5 bye
Week 6 CAR
Week 7 @CLE
Week 8 BAL
Week 9 @PIT
Week 10 @DAL
Week 11 WAS
Week 12 @NYG
Week 13 GB
Week 14 @WAS
Week 15 DAL
Week 16 @STL
Week 17 CIN

* Fantasy point rankings calculated using standard Huddle fantasy points