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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
The Huddle
September 18, 2005
Season Ticket
Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM
BUF at TBB NE at CAR Sun 4 PM MIA at NYJ Mon 9 PM
JAC at IND* PIT at HOU* STL at ARI *Update Times ET

Prediction: Atlanta 24, Seattle 20

The Falcons come off a big revenge win over the Eagles and head to Seattle where HC Mike Holmgren is scratching his head and pointing fingers after the 14-26 loss in Jacksonville. If the Falcons defense can avoid a let down, he might end up scratching himself completely bald by next week. These teams met in week 17 last year and the Seahawks won 28-26 because the Falcons flat did not care by then. This game hinges on how well the Falcons play on a short week after an emotional win.

Atlanta Falcons (1-0)
1 14-10 PHI 10 Nov 13 GBP
2 Sep 18 @SEA 11 Nov 20 TBB
3 Sep 25 @BUF 12 Nov 24 @DET
4 Oct 2 MIN 13 Dec 4 @CAR
5 Oct 9 NE 14 Dec 12 NOR
6 Oct 16 @NOR 15 Dec 18 @CHI
7 Oct 24 NYJ 16 Dec 24 @TBB
8 Open Bye 17 Jan 1 CAR
9 Nov 6 @MIA M THU SAT
ATL Projections Rush Catch Pass
QB Michael Vick 70 0 150,1
RB Warrick Dunn 90,1 0 0
RB T.J. Duckett 30,1 0 0
TE Alge Crumpler 0 40 0
WR Dez White 0 10 0
WR Michael Jenkins 0 60,1 0
WR Roddy White 0 20 0
PK Todd Peterson 1 FG 3 XP -
Pregame Notes: Atlanta comes off a big win over the Eagles that offers revenge for the spanking they had last January in the NFC Championship (but not nearly as sweet as the PHI win that netted them the Super Bowl). Vick is still as wily, elusive and errant as ever though with a hint of improving the pass game.

Quarterback: Michael Vick is supposed to be using this season to become a better passer. There is no attempt to try to change who is and what he does best, just make him a better passer in the event he does stay in the pocket on occasion. Last week against the Eagles, Vick had 11 runs for 68 yards and one score and threw 12 of 23 for 156 yards with two fumbles and one interception. Pretty standard Vick stuff.

The only new feature so far was hitting Michael Jenkins on a fly pattern that resulted in a nice 58 yard gain.

Running Backs: Warrick Dunn had a hot start to the 2005 season against a good opponent when he ran for 117 yards on 21 carries and even added a catch (zero yards). Dunn continues to not be used as a pass threat and used heavily as an every-down back. T.J. Duckett had eight carries in the game but only gained 15 yards. He scored once on a one yard run.

Dunn ran for 132 yards on 25 carries last year against the Seahawks while even Duckett turned in 52 yards on eight carries in that meaningless game in week 17.

Wide Receivers: The Falcons had the worst set of receivers - in the sense of underutilized anyway - in the league last year and are starting much the same way. Michael Jenkins had a nice 58 yard bomb but only managed two more catches for 22 yards. The only other wideout with a catch was Brian Finneran with 12 yards on two receptions. It is encouraging that Vick hooked up with Jenkins on the long pass, but this offense still has a long way to go to produce fantasy relevant wideouts - if it ever does. Dez White does suit up as the starting split end, there just doesn't seem to be a clear reason why.

Tight Ends: Alge Crumpled started the year as Vick's favorite target again, catching four passes for 54 yards. The passing game continues to rely on him first.

Match Against the Defense: The Seahawks had one of the worse defenses in the league last year and there doesn't seem to be much improvement so far this season. Look for a major rushing effort from Vick and Dunn with likely enough left over to give even Duckett some value this week. While they did hold Fred Taylor to 76 yards last week, most every team has done that anyway. The Atlanta attack is diversified enough in the running game that the Seahawks cannot hope to contain it all.

There is a great chance for Vick to throw a touchdown here if he stops long enough to plant his feet and move his arm. That has to favor either Crumpler or Jenkins since no other receivers have yet mattered in Atlanta. Jenkins gets the same matchup that produced 130 yards for Jimmy Smith, though Jenkins and Smith are hardly equivalents.

Seattle Seahawks (0-1)
1 14-26 @JAC 10 Nov 13 STL
2 Sep 18 ATL 11 Nov 20 @SFO
3 Sep 25 ARI 12 Nov 27 NYG
4 Oct 2 @WAS 13 Dec 5 @PHI
5 Oct 9 @STL 14 Dec 11 SFO
6 Oct 16 HOU 15 Dec 18 @TEN
7 Oct 23 DAL 16 Dec 24 IND
8 Open Bye 17 Jan 1 @GBP
9 Nov 6 @ARI . MON SAT
SEA Projections Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Hasselbeck 0 0 240,1
RB Shaun Alexander 80,1 20 0
TE Jerramy Stevens 0 30 0
WR Darrell Jackson 0 80,1 0
WR Bobby Engram 0 50 0
WR Joe Jurevicius 0 40 0
PK Josh Brown 2 FG 2 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Seahawks offense came out of the gates very slow last week and while they improved as the game progressed, they added a new feature - Hasselbeck errors and special teams breakdowns. With the Falcons sporting a solid defense, the Seahawks need an error free game here to get a chance to win.

Quarterback: While Matt Hasselbeck threw for 246 yards and two scores last week, he also had three interceptions and a lost fumble - very uncharacteristic and most unwelcomed. While he threw for 191 yards and two touchdowns in the last meeting with Atlanta, you can be sure that a defense as good as Atlanta will consider that like blood in the water and come hard on passing plays.

Fortunately, Joe Jurevicius has already made a difference for the team that no longer has Jerry Rice or Koren Robinson but he won't be an every down, nor even every game, option.

Running Backs: Shaun Alexander started slowly last week against Jacksonville but ended with 73 yards on 14 carries. He did not score and had no catches in the game that eventually was forced to pass more due to the scoreboard. Alexander ran 19 times for 80 yards and one touchdown in the last meeting against the Falcons.

Wide Receivers: Darrell Jackson started the season with six catches for 65 yards and one score and Bobby Engram turned in a team high eight catches for 79 yards. With Joe Jurevicius (3-64, 1 TD) involved, this passing offense can still move the ball as along as Hasselbeck cuts down the errors.

Jackson only had three catches for 18 yards but scored once against the Falcons in the previous matchup.

Tight Ends: Itula Mili did not play last week due to an intestinal blockage and Jerramy Stevens took all the tight end plays, ending with three catches for 41 yards. He had only 14 yards in the last meeting with the Falcons but did score one touchdown in that game.

Match Against the Defense: The Seahawks start with Alexander running and his production will depend on game situation. He should manage around four yards per carry here, it just depends on how many times he gets the ball (like the mere 14 carries he had last week). Expect a moderate game because he comes first but a big game is not likely against the Atlanta defense.

Hasselbeck goes against a defense that just forced Donovan McNabb into throwing a pick and fumbling twice and while that doesn't bode well, Seattle is at home and that should help. Expect a moderate game from Hasselbeck that will end up pass-heavy in the fourth quarter as the team attempts to catch up.