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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
The Huddle
September 25, 2005
Season Ticket
Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM
CAR at MIA NOR at MIN Sun 4 PM On Bye: Mon 9 PM

Prediction: Carolina 17, Miami 13

After two weeks, everything is back to normal. The Dolphins actually are not instantly big-time good and the Panthers countered losing a home game to the Saints by beating the reigning world champion Patriots. Now Carolina hits the road for the first time this season hoping that Miami still remains a struggling offense. Two weeks of game film and an ineffective rushing game by Ronnie Brown should be enough.

Carolina Panthers (1-1)
1 20-23 NOR 10 Nov 13 NYJ
2 27-17 NE 11 Nov 20 @CHI
3 Sep 25 @MIA 12 Nov 27 @BUF
4 Oct 3 GBP 13 Dec 4 ATL
5 Oct 9 @ARI 14 Dec 11 TBB
6 Oct 16 @DET 15 Dec 18 @NOR
7 Open Bye 16 Dec 24 DAL
8 Oct 30 MIN 17 Jan 1 @ATL
9 Nov 6 @TBB . MON SAT
CAR Projections Rush Catch Pass
QB Jake Delhomme 0 0 200,1
RB DeShaun Foster 40 10 0
RB Stephen Davis 60,1 0 0
TE Kris Mangum 0 20 0
WR Steve Smith 0 70,1 0
WR Keary Colbert 0 20 0
WR Rod Gardner 0 10 0
WR Ricky Proehl 0 50 0
PK John Kasay 1 FG 2 XP -
Pregame Notes: The fearsome front four of the Panthers have been hard at work keeping opponents from mounting any rushing game and come off limiting Corey Dillon to only 36 yards last week. Combine that with a solid secondary and the offense just needs to be average to stay in games. With Stephen Davis leading the NFL after scoring four rushing touchdowns, this offense has yet to see what Delhomme can really do without Muhammad around.

Quarterback: The numbers were low from the game last week when Jake Delhomme only completed 11 of 26 passes for 154 yards with one interception but the rushing game has been solid enough to compensate. Delhomme only has one passing score this season against three interceptions which is a surprise but one that will improve as the schedule becomes much easier in coming weeks.

Running Backs: Stephen Davis evidently is dedicated to proving that age and microfracture surgery does not end a career. He only managed 77 yards on 25 carries last week but scored three times. He's not fast at all but he can gain that one yard when needed (and when there is no replay).

DeShaun Foster gets roughly one carry for every two or three by Davis depending on how well Davis is running. Foster has 16 carries this season for 78 yards and a much better average than Davis but he's never used in any short yardage or goal line duty.

Wide Receivers: Steve Smith had a monster week against the Saints but only managed 34 yards on four receptions against the Pats. That spells low numbers in the passing game since no other wideout has stepped up. Keary Colbert had seven passes last week and could not catch even one of them. He has only 11 yards on the season. Ricky Proehl turned in a surprising 63 yards on three catches but that was only because of one 41 yard catch. He had no catches in week one.

So far Rod Gardner has only had one pass and no receptions. This high flying passing game of 2004 has been grounded by an effective rushing game and a sound defense.

Tight Ends: Kris Mangum, 20 yards. Write it down. Then move on to a tight end with potential.

Match Against the Defense: The Dolphin defense has been good against the run so far and Curtis Martin tops the list with only 72 yards on 31 carries. No rusher has scored against the Fins this year. Look for more mix-n-match by Foster and Davis but this first road game won't likely see Davis score more than once - if that.

Delhomme will throw at least one score and possibly two. While both corners have given up decent games this year, the only wideout of concern is Steve Smith who will get plenty of attention. He should end up at least moderate in yardage from a volume of passes but even one score would be a success. The Dolphins have allowed three passing scores this year and two went to opposing fullbacks at the goal line. This should be a low points game that the Panthers need to win on defense.

Miami Dolphins (1-1)
1 34-10 DEN 10 Nov 13 NE
2 7-17 @NYJ 11 Nov 20 @CLE
3 Sep 25 CAR 12 Nov 27 @OAK
4 Open Bye 13 Dec 4 BUF
5 Oct 9 @BUF 14 Dec 11 @SDC
6 Oct 16 @TBB 15 Dec 18 NYJ
7 Oct 23 KCC 16 Dec 24 TEN
8 Oct 30 @NOR 17 Jan 1 @NE
9 Nov 6 ATL . . SAT
MIA Projections Rush Catch Pass
QB Gus Frerotte 0 0 200,1
RB Ronnie Brown 40 10 0
TE Randy McMichael 0 50,1 0
WR Chris Chambers 0 50 0
WR Marty Booker 0 30 0
WR Wes Welker 0 30 0
WR David Boston 0 20 0
PK Olindo Mare 2 FG 1 XP -

Pregame Notes: Once a little game film was available on the new offense in Miami, the Dolphins passing attack was cut in half last week in New York. The rushing game continues to languish and won't improve this week against a fierce Carolina front line. The passing attack that looked so good in week one took a big step backwards last Sunday and turned into what it was last year - Randy McMichael plus almost nothing.

Quarterback: After turning in 275 yards and two scores against the Broncos, Gus Frerotte only managed to throw 20 of 43 for 177 yards and one score with one interception against the Jets. Worst even still is that he was only minimally successful with his wideouts last week, completing only eight of 21 passes to the wide receivers for only 82 yards - and that was using four different players.

Frerotte has turned into what so many rebuilding team quarterbacks do - the guy that ends up looking at the tight end more and more.

Running Backs: The Dolphins and Nick Saban in particular are still solid in the camp of Ronnie Brown, but the results so far have been less than stellar. Brown rushed 12 times for only 35 yards last week and added to the previous effort gives him only 92 yards on 34 carries this season, an average of 2.7 yards per carry.

in case you have not noticed, the Fins are using Sammy Morris when it counts the most - near either goal line.

Wide Receivers: That wild opening week was not repeated. As noted, there are four wide receivers getting looks and none of them mattered last week. Marty Booker went from 104 yards and a score to only 21 yards on one catch last week. Oddly enough, Booker, Chris Chambers and Wes Welker all ended with 21 yards last week. Until this group shows that the opener was nothing more than a fluke, lower expectations for this group.

Tight Ends: Shades of 2004. Randy McMichael has scored in both games this year and has 14 catches for 132 yards, easily the most productive receiver. With defenses keying on wideouts and the run game, McMichael will continue to provide a primary option for Frerotte.

Match Against the Defense: Expect the third straight bad game for Brown rushing against a solid defense which has limited far better runners and superior offensive lines. If he tops his current season high of 57 yards it will be a big success.

Frerotte struggled last week and will again here against a team that can bring the heat and that has limited all wideouts this season so far. The only passing score that the Panthers have allowed this year went to Daniel Graham and that fits into the direction that the Miami offense is heading with McMichael. With McMichael coming off two straight games with touchdowns, he won't be any surprise to the defense but he still may be the best option.