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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David M. Dorey
The Huddle
WEEK 13
December 1, 2004
Season Ticket
Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM
CIN at BAL* BUF at MIA ATL at TB* DEN at SD PIT at JAX
MIN at CHI TEN at IND* SF at STL* KC at OAK* Mon 9 PM
ARZ at DET CAR at NO   GB at PHI* DAL at SEA
NE at CLE HOU at NYJ *updated NYG at WAS Times ET
  Arizona Rush Catch Pass
QB John Navarre 10 0 170
RB Larry Croom 50 10 0
RB Josh Scobey 0 20 0
TE Freddie Jones 0 30 0
WR Bryant Johnson 0 10 0
WR Larry Fitzgerald 0 40 0
WR Anquan Boldin 0 60 0
PK Neil Rackers 2 FG 0 XP -
  Detroit Rush Catch Pass
QB Joey Harrington 0 0 180
RB Kevin Jones 110,2 10 0
RB Artose Pinner 20 20 0
TE Stephen Alexander 0 40 0
WR Roy Williams 0 50 0
WR Az-Zahir Hakim 0 20 0
WR Tai Streets 0 10 0
PK Jason Hanson 1 FG 2 XP -

ARZ (4-7) vs DET (4-7)

Game Prediction: ARZ 6, DET 17

These two teams are relative mirrors of one another. Both teams were surprises in the first half of the season and showed a great new defense with some surprising offense. Now both teams are on losing streaks, come off humbling losses and have returned to their normal spot near the NFL caboose.

Pre-Game Notes - ARZ

The Cardinals have now lost two games after a shocking win on the road over the Giants. They were one game away from hitting .500, coming off a nice victory as an underdog - what could make more sense than to swap out quarterbacks? Now only two weeks later they are on their third quarterback and have lost their best two running backs. The Cardinals are truly back (to 2003).

Quarterback: The Shaun King experiment did not last long. Last week he only completed 14 of 26 passes for 119 yards and one interception before being replaced by Josh McCown who went 5 of 10 for 62 yards with two interceptions. Reaching a bit deeper into the bag, HC Dennis Green has named rookie John Navarre as the starter this week. But don't get comfortable with that yet.

Running Backs: They lost Troy Hambrick for the season. Now they have lost Emmitt Smith to a sprained toe for at least two or three more weeks. Larry Croom has been named as the starting running back this week since Josh Scobey has proven to be little more than an occasional pass catcher and not much of a runner.

Wide Receivers: Anquan Boldin had 87 yards on eight receptions and his 13 passes were almost double the second most popular target (Freddie Jones). There is a concern that Boldin still has not adapted to his move to split end from the slot that was done in the offseason to help free him and Larry Fitzgerald up more in patterns. Fitzgerald only had two catches for 21 yards last week and no other wideouts even had a catch. Bryant Johnson never even had a pass.

With a new quarterback this week, the likely outcome is an obvious risk and while Detroit has an average secondary, the Cardinals haven't yet created even an average receiving game.

Tight Ends: Freddie Jones had four catches for 37 yards last week which followed a 5-73 game the previous week against the Panthers. In the last two games, Jones has been a factor in the passing game. In the three games prior, he only had one catch in each matchup.

Match Against the Defense: The Lions defense has been only average lately, propped up by excellent special teams play. But the Cardinals come to town with a rookie quarterback who was third string a week ago and their starting running back was also a third stringer only a short time ago.

The Lions are about average against running backs and since Croom has never started a game, expect a mediocre output from him as most likely. Navarre has never started a game either but offers at least better hope this week facing a secondary that is Top 5 worst at stopping quarterbacks. The Lions have allowed seven opposing quarterbacks to throw for at least two scores in the game, most recently being shredded by Manning for six. If you have to take a completely blind swing for the fence, Navarre could surprise. Or he could end up being a third string rookie on a bad team.

Pre-Game Notes - DET

The Lions have now lost their last five games and any sense of progress with the offense has been erased other than a running game that they don't get to use much since they have been so far behind in most games.

Quarterback: Here's a mess. Joey Harrington opened the game and completed 14 of 23 passes for 156 yards and no scores before being pulled after the first series of the third quarter against the Colts when they already trailed 34-9. Mike McMahon entered the game to the delight of the fans (on the premise he could not be any worse) and he was actually worse, completing 11 of 17 but only for 77 yards with one interception. Until the final meaningless drive, McMahon only managed to throw for two first downs and the Lions never went past their own 43-yard line in a game against a very deep prevent defense.

I am assuming that Harrington gets the nod this week and will update if warranted.

Running Backs: Kevin Jones ran very well last week, the problem was that he only had 12 rushes in the entire game. He ended with 99 yards which included one 40 yard run. Jones already had eight runs for 83 yards by halftime but the Lions were so far behind that he was eliminated from being a factor. Jones has been a solid runner in the last three games, gaining 280 yards on 50 carries for a 5.6 YPC.

Wide Receivers: With Az-Zahir Hakim inactive last week, the wideouts were needed to step up and little happened in spite of playing against a terrible secondary in a game that was trash time for the final 45 minutes. Roy Williams led the group with 51 yards on four receptions and Tai Streets turned in his best game in two months with a whopping three catches for 26 yards. This crew oddly resembles the motley group from last year, with Williams as the relatively better receiver instead of Hakim.

With obvious quarterback woes, it's hard to rely on any wideout from this team - even Roy Williams who has not scored since week seven and has not exceeded 67 yards since week three. I assume that Hakim will make it back this week and that it won't nearly make enough of a difference.

Tight Ends: Stephen Alexander comes off a season high five catches for 58 yards last week and had about the same success with either quarterback. He had a touchdown the previous week against the Vikings and is starting to step up his level of play this season.

Match Against the Defense: Kevin Jones faces an average defense but he's been getting more use and should approach the century mark this week. He's helped out by the Cardinals having new players in their QB and RB spots which should end up allowing the Lions more time to run in the game and enjoy better field position.

The Arizona secondary has been much improved this season and while Harrington could really use a big game, it is unlikely that it will happen here. The Cardinals have held their last six opponents to less than 200 passing yards and never more than two scores. Look for a lower day from Harrington and the boys with no passing score unless he hits one long pass.

ARZ DET 2004 Averages DET ARZ
Gains Allows QB's Gains Allows
187
235
Pass yards
183
213
0.6
1.8
Pass TDs
1.3
1.2
0.9
0.8
Interceptions
0.7
0.9
9
15
Rush yards
8
11
0.0
0.2
Rush TDs
0.0
0.0
---
---
RB's
---
---
97
107
Rush yards
81
116
0.9
0.5
Rush TDs
0.3
0.6
28
50
Receive yards
35
33
0.2
0.3
Receive TD's
0.3
0.1
---
---
WR's
---
---
129
149
Receive yards
117
146
0.5
1.5
Receive TD's
0.9
0.6
---
---
TE's
---
---
31
38
Receive yards
30
35
0.1
0.3
Receive TD's
0.1
0.4
---
---
PK's
---
---
1.2
1.0
Field Goals
0.9
1.7
1.7
2.5
Extra Points
2.0
1.6
---
---
DEF/ST
---
---
1.0
0.5
Fumbles
0.8
0.8
0.9
0.7
Interceptions
0.8
0.9
0.2
0.2
Touchdowns
0.5
0.4
2.3
2.4
Sacks
2.6
2.8
0.1
0.1
Safeties
0.1
0.0
Lions(4-7)
Score Opp.
20-16 @CHI
28-16 HOU
13-30 PHI
Week 4 bye
17-10 @ATL
10-38 GB
28-13 @NYG
21-31 @DAL
10-17 WAS
17-23 @JAX
19-22 @MIN
9-41 IND
Week 13 ARI
Week 14 @GB
Week 15 MIN
Week 16 CHI
Week 17 @TEN
Cardinals (4-7)
Score Opp.
10-17 @STL
12-23 NE
3-6 @ATL
34-10 NO
28-31 @SF
Week 6 bye
25-17 SEA
14-38 @BUF
24-23 @MIA
17-14 NYG
10-35 @CAR
3-13 NYJ
Week 13 @DET
Week 14 SF
Week 15 STL
Week 16 @SEA
Week 17 TB