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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David M. Dorey
2005
Divisional
Round
Saturday Saturday Sunday Sunday
4:30 P.M. 8 P.M. 1 P.M. 4:30 P.M.
NYJ at PIT STL at ATL MIN at PHI IND at NE
  Indianapolis Rush Catch Pass
QB Peyton Manning 0 0 350,3
RB Edgerrin James 80,1 10 0
TE Marcus Pollard 0 20 0
TE Dallas Clark 0 40 0
WR Marvin Harrison 0 100,1 0
WR Brandon Stokley 0 50,1 0
WR Reggie Wayne 0 110,1 0
PK Mike Vanderjagt 2 FG 4 XP -
  New England Rush Catch Pass
QB Tom Brady 0 0 280,3
RB Corey Dillon 100,1 10 0
TE Daniel Graham 0 30,1 0
WR David Patten 0 60 0
WR Deion Branch 0 90,1 0
WR David Givens 0 80,1 0
PK Adam Vinatieri 1 FG 4 XP -

IND (12-4) vs NE (14-2)

Game Prediction: IND 34, NE 31

(Line - Patriots by 3)

Pre-Game Notes - IND

This is a much awaited rematch of the game in week one when the Patriots held off the Colts for a 27-24 win. The Colts had led 17-13 at the halftime but a 14 point third quarter by New England proved just enough to take the victory. This is also a rematch of the AFC Championship game last year when the Patriots intercepted Peyton Manning four times to secure their Superbowl bid with a 24-14 win.

Manning has done well enough against the Patriots lately other than those interceptions (he had one pick in the first meeting this season). Edgerrin James has been a workhorse, gaining 142 yards on 30 carries this season and 91 total yards and one score in the big game last January.

The key to this game will not be the run - though don't discount what James might be able to do. The Patriots secondary has been beaten up most of the season and with Ty Law officially on IR, there is no cavalry on the way. Of the last seven opponents against New England, the only quarterback that did not throw at least one score was Kyle Boller. Consider too that their recent schedule has included Ken Dorsey (189-1), Chad Pennington (252-1), A.J. Feeley (198-1) and Luke McCown (277 - 2). None of those teams are noted for passing. The last two teams with noted passing games have been against Trent Green (377-2) and Kitna/Palmer (328-3). None of these teams approach what Manning and the Colts have developed into this season. Back in week one, Manning had 256 yards and two touchdowns in a game that actually was a portend of the season to come with Brandon Stokley leading the way.

Defensively, the Patriots will have to stop the pass with a patchwork secondary and the legendary Belichick will need to come up with yet another masterful gameplan to slow down Indianapolis. Even if he can, there is still James around who has been effective already against the Patriots. Consider that back in week one, the cornerbacks were Ty Law and Tyrone Poole. This week they will be second-year player Asante Samuel and the rookie Randall Gay.

The Patriots best bet will be to try to reach Manning but as has been shown week after week, leaving the trio of receivers in man-to-man coverage has normally resulted in some very long touchdown passes. Using more blitzing will only leave the corners even more unprotected. Giving Manning too much time is tantamount to putting the barrel in your own mouth. If anyone can configure a defensive game play to thwart the Patriots, it would be Belichick and company. This one will be a tall order for them.

The Patriots will undoubtedly feature heavy use of Corey Dillon who gained 86 yards on 15 carries in the season opener. There's almost no chance that Dillon ends under 20 carries unless the Colts jump out to an early, sizable lead. Tom Brady has also been very effective against the Colts, throwing for 335 yards and three scores in week one and he has a healthy set of Givens, Branch and Patten again this time.

This will be the most fun game to watch this weekend and it's appropriately last on the schedule. The weather is expected to be mostly sunny and the temperature likely around 32 degrees. A colder or wet game would grant some advantage to the Patriots but it appears this week the skies will be clear, relatively warm and full of footballs the entire game.

IND NE 2004 Averages NE IND
Gains Allows QB's Gains Allows
296
232
Pass yards
234
264
3.2
1.1
Pass TDs
1.8
1.6
0.6
1.3
Interceptions
0.9
1.2
2
9
Rush yards
2
7
0.0
0.1
Rush TDs
0.0
0.1
---
---
RB's
---
---
115
85
Rush yards
131
118
0.6
0.4
Rush TDs
0.9
0.6
34
32
Receive yards
36
55
0.2
0.0
Receive TD's
0.1
0.1
---
---
WR's
---
---
214
164
Receive yards
155
157
2.3
1.0
Receive TD's
1.0
0.9
---
---
TE's
---
---
48
36
Receive yards
42
53
0.6
0.1
Receive TD's
0.5
0.6
---
---
PK's
---
---
1.3
0.9
Field Goals
1.9
1.6
4.0
1.4
Extra Points
3.0
2.3
---
---
DEF/ST
---
---
1.1
0.8
Fumbles
1.0
0.5
1.1
0.9
Interceptions
1.3
0.6
0.4
0.3
Touchdowns
0.3
0.0
2.7
1.6
Sacks
2.9
0.9
0.0
0.0
Safeties
0.0
0.0
Colts (12-4)
Score Opp.
24-27 @NE
31-17 @TEN
45-31 GB
24-17 @JAX
35-14 OAK
Week 6 bye
24-27 JAX
35-45 @KC
31-28 MIN
49-14 HOU
41-10 @CHI
41-9 @DET
51-24 TEN
23-14 @HOU
20-10 BAL
34-31 SD
14-33 @DEN
Patriots (14-2)
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
24-3 BAL
42-15 @CLE
35-28 CIN
28-29 @MIA
23-7 @NYJ
21-7 SF