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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David M. Dorey
The Huddle
WEEK 12
November 24, 2004
Season Ticket
Thu 12:30 Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM
IND at DET CLE at CIN* BAL at NE NYJ at ARZ* OAK at DEN*
Thu 4:05 TB at CAR JAX at MIN* NO at ATL Mon 9 PM
CHI at DAL SD at KC PHI at NYG BUF at SEA* STL at GB*
*updated TEN at HOU* WAS at PIT* MIA at SF Times ET
  Baltimore Rush Catch Pass
QB Kyle Boller 10 0 210,1
RB Chester Taylor 40 20 0
TE Wilcox/Jones 0 20 0
WR Travis Taylor 0 60 0
WR Clarence Moore 0 60,1 0
WR Kevin Johnson 0 50 0
PK Matt Stover 2 FG 1 XP -
  New England Rush Catch Pass
QB Tom Brady 0 0 220,1
RB Kevin Faulk 10 20 0
RB Corey Dillon 80,1 10 0
TE Daniel Graham 0 40,1 0
WR David Patten 0 30 0
WR Deion Branch 0 50 0
WR David Givens 0 60 0
PK Adam Vinatieri 3 FG 2 XP -

BAL (7-3) vs NE (9-1)

Game Prediction: BAL 13, NE 23

This should be an interesting game - two of the best defenses in the NFL square off and just to make it more even, the Patriots are still banged up and the Ravens are showing some offensive life in the passing game.

Pre-Game Notes - BAL

The Ravens have won their last three games and yet are still two games behind the Steelers. There's no margin for error in the playoff race and watching Jamal Lewis getting hurt doesn't help. The passing game looked much better last week and against the Cowboys - it is little surprise.

Quarterback: These last two weeks have been awe-inspiring times for Kyle Boller - at least relatively speaking. In both games he has thrown for two scores and at least 213 yards. He did not have any interceptions. While facing the Cowboys last week would naturally lead to good passing numbers, his previous work against the Jets was just as good. Now that Lewis appears likely to miss this week, Boller will again be called on to make the difference against the Patriots.

Running Backs: It appears that Jamal Lewis will be doubtful to play this week after spraining his ankle against the Cowboys. While there is no official word yet, I am assuming that Chester Taylor will be starting and will update as needed. Musa Smith broke his leg and is gone for the season now and the Ravens will likely be cruising the waiver wire to find a new running back.

Wide Receivers: In the last two weeks, all these passing yards have given some value to the Raven receivers. Last week Travis Taylor had 68 yards on six catches as the lead receiver and has looked better as of late. Clarence Moore only had one catch for 24 yards against the Cowboys but was suffering from flu-like symptoms and played after getting intravenous fluids and some medicine. He wasn't bad this week, he was just trying not to vomit.

Kevin Johnson had four catches for 51 yards last week and his first Raven touchdown. With Moore feeling better this weekend, Johnson is more likely to return to his sub-30 yard game standard.

Tight Ends: Todd Heap will be back, there's just no certainty which year that will be. They won't put him on injured reserve but he has not improved nearly enough in the last two months to play.

Match Against the Defense: Moving to a running game of Chester Taylor will not likely pay dividends for the Ravens this week. The Patriots are one of the toughest teams against running backs and have not allowed more than 77 rushing yards to any visiting runner in the past two months. Only one back - Shaun Alexander - has scored a touchdown there. Expect a lower game from Taylor.

The Patriots pass defense has been held together with duct tape and string but has been good enough to keep the Patriots ahead on the scoreboard this season. While Boller has looked better the last two weeks, this will be a much more challenging game for him. He'll likely have to pass much more than usual and should post some moderate yardage with a chance at up to two scores but one is more likely. He's not yet reliable enough to expect more.

The banged up cornerbacks of the Patriots means that both Moore and Taylor have good chances to post numbers and Moore has the side most often attacked but both should be targets the entire game along with Kevin Johnson.

Pre-Game Notes - NE

The Patriots continue to get the job done in almost an incalculable manner each week. They come off a nice Monday night win over the Chiefs and while they are on a short week, they are back at home where they are locks for a win. The Ravens defense should keep the game score low enough to make the game interesting and Brady will be good enough to make the game still never in question.

Quarterback: Tom Brady continues to score in every game this season and while he's been accurate and almost error free, I think most of the NFL fan-base is going to go postal the next time an announcer mentions Brady in the same sentence with Joe Montana. Yes, they have to say something for three hours. Just say something new that doesn't smack of blind adoration.

Running Backs: Corey Dillon comes off his second two touchdown game of the year and after the game against the Chiefs, an announcer asked him what he thought about playing for the Patriots this season. All Dillon said was "we're 9-1" with a face that was happier than previously thought possible without the use of illegal drugs or alcohol. Dillon had his string of four straight games over 100 yards snapped last week but he still had 98 yards. And scored twice. It's week 11 of the season and Dillon has already seen more victories for his team than any other season as a Bengal.

Wide Receivers: Deion Branch played last week and he was a secret weapon of sorts considering he had missed the last eight games. While no one is sure exactly why he was out for two months, we can all be sure that he is back after he gained 105 yards on six catches with one touchdown. Both David Patten and David Givens only had one catch in the game though Patten made his 46 yards down the field.

Patten returns to being the #3 receiver now though Givens was not effective as the #2 last week.

Tight Ends: After spending the last four games with only seven catches and minimal yardage, Daniel Graham turned in 83 yards last week on only three carries thanks to a 48 yard catch that showed surprising speed.

Match Against the Defense: The Ravens defense is tough across every position and this week CB Chris McAlister is expected back this week after missing the Dallas game with a neck stinger. Corey Dillon goes against a defense that has only allowed two runners to top 100 yards (Holmes and Martin) and both of them scored two touchdowns - the only rushing scores allowed to running backs by the Ravens. Dillon is proving a workhorse so he still remains good for at least a moderate game but he'll more likely remain under 100 yards this week.

Tom Brady faces a secondary that is top notch. The Ravens have only allowed four passing scores in the last eight games and no passer has exceeded 223 yards in that timeframe. Add in that the Patriots are coming off a short week and Brady should have one of his lowest games of the year.

It's always nearly impossible to match up which Patriot receiver looks the most attractive in any given week, but one area of probable success will be to the tight end since most teams that use them well have scored against the Ravens. The wideouts are generally well covered and the tight ends come into more focus in the red zone. Until last week, Graham was a forgotten man in the game plan but should have a chance at a score this week.

Branch should draw McAlister this week which will be much tougher than his Chiefs game.

BAL NE 2004 Averages NE BAL
Gains Allows QB's Gains Allows
155
237 Pass yards 244
194
0.7
1.0 Pass TDs 1.8
0.7
0.6
1.3 Interceptions 0.8
1.3
10
9 Rush yards 1
12
0.4
0.1 Rush TDs 0
0.1
---
  RB's  
---
112
94 Rush yards 121
91
0.7
0.4 Rush TDs 0.7
0.4
21
25 Receive yards 37
21
0.0
0.0 Receive TD's 0.0
0.0
---
  WR's  
---
99
168 Receive yards 171
138
0.4
1.0 Receive TD's 1.2
0.4
---
  TE's  
---
35
44 Receive yards 35
35
0.2
0.0 Receive TD's 0.5
0.3
---
  PK's  
---
1.7
1.3 Field Goals 2.5
1.7
1.9
1.4 Extra Points 2.7
1.1
---
  DEF/ST  
---
0.7
0.9 Fumbles 0.8
0.9
1.4
0.8 Interceptions 1.3
0.6
0.7
0.4 Touchdowns 0.1
0.1
3.0
1.8 Sacks 3.1
2.4
0.0
0.0 Safeties 0.0
0.0
Ravens (7-3)
Score Opp.
3-20 @CLE
30-13 PIT
23-9 @CIN
24-27 KC
17-10 @WAS
Week 6 bye
20-6 BUF
10-15 @PHI
27-13 CLE
20-17 @NYJ
30-10 DAL
Week 12 @NE
Week 13 CIN
Week 14 NYG
Week 15 @IND
Week 16 @PIT
Week 17 MIA
Patriots (9-1)
Score Opp.
27-24 IND
23-12 @ARI
Week 3 bye
31-17 @BUF
24-10 MIA
30-20 SEA
13-7 NYJ
20-34 @PIT
40-22 @STL
29-6 BUF
27-19 @KC
Week 12 BAL
Week 13 @CLE
Week 14 CIN
Week 15 @MIA
Week 16 @NYJ
Week 17 SF