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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David M. Dorey
The Huddle
WEEK 6
October 13, 2004
Season Ticket
Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Mon 9 PM
MIA at BUF* GB at DET* CAR at PHI* DEN at OAK TB at STL
SD at ATL KC at JAX HOU at TEN* PIT at DAL Bye Week:
CIN at CLE* SF at NYJ*   Sun 8:30 PM ARZ, BAL
WAS at CHI* SEA at NE* Times ET MIN at NO IND, NYG
  Pittsburgh Rush Catch Pass
QB Ben Roethlisberger 0 0 220,2
RB Duce Staley 70 20 0
RB Jerome Bettis 10 0 0
TE Jay Riemersma 0 10 0
WR Hines Ward 0 80,1 0
WR Antwaan Randle El 0 20 0
WR Plaxico Burress 0 70,1 0
PK Jeff Reed 2 FG 2 XP -
  Dallas Rush Catch Pass
QB V. Testaverde 0 0 230,1
RB Eddie George 60,1 10 0
RB Richie Anderson 30 20 0
TE Jason Witten 0 40 0
WR Keyshawn Johnson 0 40 0
WR Terry Glenn 0 60,1 0
WR Antonio Bryant 0 50 0
PK Bill Cundiff 1 FG 2 XP -

PIT (4-1) vs DAL (2-2)

Game Prediction: PIT 20, DAL 17

The Steelers have feasted on a light schedule so far this year and the Cowboys are stumbling lately. After the fiasco against the Steelers last week, Dallas needs to put together a solid game just to keep on track but these Steelers are getting better.

Pre-Game Notes - PIT

After winning games against the Raiders, Dolphins, Bengals and Browns, it's hardly pop the cork time in Pittsburgh but the season has already started out with a new sense of excitement from their free agent running back and rookie quarterback.

Quarterback: Though Eli Manning and Philip Rivers went first, Ben Roethlisberger has done nothing but impress so far and unlike those other two rookies, he's doing it on the field and winning games. He has only thrown for around 180 yards per game with a high of 230 against the Browns last week but he's scored one touchdown in every matchup and showing poise and mastery of the position already. Simple enough, forget about Maddox - Big Ben has chimed and it's Roethlisberger time.

Running Backs: Duce Staley comes off his second 100 yard effort as a Steeler, turning in 117 yards and one score on 21 carries while Jerome Bettis scored his sixth touchdown on the season last week. Bettis had 14 carries against the Browns but only gained 34 yards but down by the goal line, there is no question who comes rumbling through.

Wide Receivers: It's almost as if the roles have reversed. With Roethlisberger around, Hines Ward no longer is the main focus and comes off a six catch, 61 yard effort against Cleveland. Conversely, Plaxico Burress has been getting bigger each week and ended with 136 yards and a score last week. Burress is the long ball guy and Roethlisberger can heave the rock with the best of them. In the last two games, Burress was a target on 19 passes while Ward only had 13 throws. This is given a decrease to Ward but overall, the passing numbers are up and more importantly, the wins are now at three in a row.

Tight Ends: Not a single pass in week five.

Match Against the Defense: The Cowboys rush defense had been good until last week when Tiki Barber shredded it for 122 yards and one touchdown. Coming off that loss, the Cowboys should be tougher still at home but there's no guarantee. Look for Staley to post moderate numbers and since only Barber on a long run has scored against them, the Cowboys should hold both Staley and Bettis out of the endzone.

The passing game is where teams have been feasting the entire season. Look for Roethlisberger to finally find Hines Ward for a score and likely one other to Burress before the game is done. This should prove to be a close game that could hinge on a single long pass completion. Have to like both Ward and Burress this week but mostly Ward with the better matchup.

To make matters even better, the Cowboys just lost another cornerback to a season ending injury. Bruce Thornton tore his right ACL and joins Pete Hunter on the IR list. The Cowboys signed free agent Tyrone Williams a couple of weeks ago and will have to use him this week in the nickel package. Jacque Reeves starts on the right side now and was picked on all game by the Giants.

Pre-Game Notes - DAL

The Cowboys have been winning every other game and are due for a "W" this week but the offense is suddenly sputtering in the passing game after looking stellar the first few weeks. More than anything, the secondary needs work and the Steelers bring in a balanced enough offense to prevent loading up against any one facet.

Quarterback: While Vinny Testaverde had a big 355 yard effort in week one, he's been getting worse every week and ended against the Giants with only 126 yards and one score. Basically, he's looked great against soft secondaries like the Vikings and Browns but struggled against the Skins and now the Giants - both divisional foes.

Running Backs: Eddie George had his best effort of the season last week when he gained 75 yards on only 15 carries but the Cowboys are still mixing in three other backs who combined also had 15 carries. Even on a good afternoon, George only had 50% of the carries in the game. Richie Anderson is accounting for about 60 yards in the two games since he returned.

Wide Receivers: Keyshawn Johnson scored his first Cowboy touchdown last week but only had four catches for 43 yards with the meager passing. Antonio Bryant led receivers with 63 yards on three catches but left the game with a leg injury. He is expected back this week. The biggest factor in the success with this group is simply how good the protection is for Testaverde. He was harassed last week and was unable to move around enough to buy time.

Tight Ends: Against a tougher defense, Jason Witten was the primary receiver last week and had eight passes with five catches for 35 yards. The previous game he had the lone passing score and continues to figure in heavily into the passing scheme, particularly when the secondaries are tougher.

Match Against the Defense: The Steeler's have only allowed two passing scores in the last four games and no quarterback has thrown for more than 210 yards though the Steeler schedule has been quite kind early in the season. Look for Vinny to improve, finally, from a poor showing last week in a game the Cowboys have to win to stay at all competitive in the NFC East. This should be a great chance for Terry Glenn to score again and if not him, then most likely Antonio Bryant on a long play.

The Steelers rush defense appears great this year, but they've faced only Wheatley and Leonard and done well. Jamal Lewis had two scores against them and Rudi Johnson managed 123 yards and one score in week four. On the road in Dallas, they should allow a moderate performance from George but he shares too much to expect anything more.

PIT DAL 2004 Averages DAL PIT
Gains Allows QB's Gains Allows
191
214
Pass yards
254
183
1.0
2.0
Pass TDs
1.3
0.8
0.8
0.8
Interceptions
1.0
1.2
6
15
Rush yards
0
15
0.2
0.0
Rush TDs
0.0
0.0
---
---
RB's
---
---
127
108
Rush yards
95
85
1.4
0.3
Rush TDs
0.8
0.6
8
49
Receive yards
35
30
0.2
0.3
Receive TD's
0.0
0.2
---
---
WR's
---
---
175
142
Receive yards
183
117
0.8
1.5
Receive TD's
0.8
0.6
---
---
TE's
---
---
7
32
Receive yards
45
36
0.0
0.3
Receive TD's
0.5
0.0
---
---
PK's
---
---
1.0
1.8
Field Goals
0.6
2.0
2.6
1.8
Extra Points
1.6
1.6
---
---
DEF/ST
---
---
1.2
1.0
Fumbles
0.3
0.8
1.2
1.0
Interceptions
0.8
0.8
0.2
0.0
Touchdowns
0.0
0.4
2.4
1.3
Sacks
2.8
1.6
0.0
0.0
Safeties
0.3
0.0
Steelers (4-1)
Score Opp.
24-21 OAK
13-30 @BAL
13-3 @MIA
28-17 CIN
34-23 CLE
Week 6 @DAL
Week 7 bye
Week 8 NE
Week 9 PHI
Week 10 @CLE
Week 11 @CIN
Week 12 WAS
Week 13 @JAX
Week 14 NYJ
Week 15 @NYG
Week 16 BAL
Week 17 @BUF
Cowboys (2-2)
Score Opp.
17-35 @MIN
19-12 CLE
21-18 @WAS
Week 4 bye
10-26 NYG
Week 6 PIT
Week 7 @GB
Week 8 DET
Week 9 @CIN
Week 10 PHI
Week 11 @BAL
Week 12 CHI
Week 13 @SEA
Week 14 NO
Week 15 @PHI
Week 16 WAS
Week 17 @NYG