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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: New York Giants 20, San Diego 27

There is no surprise that this game pits an undefeated team against a winless team. It is just surprising which is which. This game also carries a wonderful subtext to it. Not only is this a must win by the Chargers, they face Eli Manning for the first time. The quarterback that they spent their #1 overall pick on in 2004 despite being warned that he would not play for "a losing franchise". He forced the Chargers into swapping their pick with the Giants and ending up with Philip "might as well be on the" Rivers. Think that will be lost on the fans and the Chargers defense?

New York Giants (2-0)
1 42-19 ARI 10 Nov 13 MIN
2 27-10 @NOR 11 Nov 20 PHI
3 Sep 25 @SDC 12 Nov 27 @SEA
4 Oct 2 STL 13 Dec 4 DAL
5 Open Bye 14 Dec 11 @PHI
6 Oct 16 @DAL 15 Dec 17 KCC
7 Oct 23 DEN 16 Dec 24 @WAS
8 Oct 30 WAS 17 Dec 31 @OAK
9 Nov 6 @SFO . . SAT
NYG Projections Rush Catch Pass
QB Eli Manning 0 0 180,2
RB Tiki Barber 60 30,1 0
RB Brandon Jacobs 20 0 0
TE Jeremy Shockey 0 30 0
WR Amani Toomer 0 30 0
WR Plaxico Burress 0 80,1 0
WR Tim Carter 0 10 0
PK Jay Feeley 2 FG 2 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Giants come off two impressive home games thanks to the hurricane and have plenty of reasons to feel better about 2005. The defense has risen up and dismantled the Cardinals and Saints and Eli Manning has thrown for one more touchdown than he has interceptions. And of course, Tiki Barber remains himself.

Quarterback: While Eli Manning had a nice start to the season with a 172 yard effort and two scores, he followed it up with 165 yards and one more touchdown last week. It appears he has found his groove. He's also been fully apprised that Plaxico Burress is on the team since Burress has had 21 of the 31 passes to wideouts this season. Manning has also made good use of Jeremy Shockey so far and at least for the two home games, he appears ready to make a step up this season.

Running Backs: Tiki Barber may lose a little action to Brandon Jacobs, but that hasn't dampened his penchant for scoring touchdowns. After rushing for one score against the Cardinals, Barber scored on both a run and a pass last week against the Saints, ending with 89 total yards. For one of the best receiving backs of the last few years, Barber only has three catches so far this season.

Brandon Jacobs continues to offer a valuable short yardage and goal line role and has scored in both games this year. He's not likely to turn in much yardage with Barber around, but he's also not likely to be on the bench when the Giants are on the goal line.

Wide Receivers: Plaxico Burress has had at least ten passes in both games as a Giant. He has caught a total of ten passes for 140 yards and one score. And that is about all you need to remember about Giants wideouts. Amani Toomer had no catches in week one and only managed two snags for 31 yards last week. This offense is not very complicated. It's Barber, Shockey and Burress. And realistically no one else. The addition of Burress has only further detracted from Toomer.

Tight Ends: Jeremy Shockey had a sore ankle but played anyway last week, ending with 64 yards on five catches. Eli Manning relies on Shockey now and will ensure that he remains top ten (at least) in his position if he can avoid the injury bug.

Match Against the Defense: The Chargers have not met their own expectations this year and at 0-2 and back at home, there is little doubt that they won't be highly motivated this week. Add in the Eli Manning snub last year and there is every reason to believe that the "A" version of the Chargers shows up this week.

Barber should only have moderate success rushing but will need to add receiving yards which should be there this week. Expect this to be the first week that Brandon Jacobs does not score but Barber still has a good chance if only via a pass.

Manning will likely be heavily blitzed this week if not needing to dodge batteries thrown from the stands. His average game so far - around 170 yards - is likely though he could have more if the Chargers take an early lead and force him to throw. The good news is that Burress plays the same split end that Keyshawn Johnson had when he scored twice in week one against the Bolts. Burress is easily the most likely recipient of a score and should notch at least moderate yardage here. Shockey is a less appealing start though, going against solid linebackers for San Diego that has only allowed 33 total yards to all tight ends faced this year - including Witten.

San Diego Chargers (0-2)
1 24-28 DAL 10 Open Bye
2 17-20 @DEN 11 Nov 20 BUF
3 Sep 25 NYG 12 Nov 27 @WAS
4 Oct 2 @NE 13 Dec 4 OAK
5 Oct 10 PIT 14 Dec 11 MIA
6 Oct 16 @OAK 15 Dec 18 @IND
7 Oct 23 @PHI 16 Dec 24 @KCC
8 Oct 30 KCC 17 Dec 31 DEN
9 Nov 6 @NYJ . MON SAT
SDC Projections Rush Catch Pass
QB Drew Brees 0 0 250,2
RB L. Tomlinson 70,1 20 0
TE Antonio Gates 0 80,1 0
WR Keenan McCardell 0 90,1 0
WR Eric Parker 0 30 0
WR Reche Caldwell 0 20 0
PK Nate Kaeding 2 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: After being a Cinderella team in 2004, the Chargers will be back to sweeping out the basement if they don't start notching some wins soon. Both games were close losses and could have been wins for the want of a couple of plays. No room for any more errors when the team is 0-2 and with Eli Manning coming to town, every reason to get downright rude about winning.

Quarterback: Drew Brees continues to have mental mistakes this season, losing a fumble and interception last week and two interceptions in the previous game. That's not acceptable in games that ended up close losses. Brees was unable to throw a score against the Broncos but has one big element back now - Antonio Gates who had 80 yards. And with that, no more excuses for Brees.

Running Backs: LaDainian Tomlinson was held to only 52 yards on 19 carries in Denver last week but he still extended his scoring streak by turning in two touchdowns. So far he only has 144 yards after two games and even more surprising - he has yet to catch a pass this season.

Wide Receivers: It only took a week for Keenan McCardell to remember who was the top dog in the passing game. In week one, he had 123 yards and two scores against the Cowboys but last Sunday with Gates back in the lineup, McCardell only had 54 yards on four catches. Eric Parker still mans the #2 spot but was reduced to only 30 yards last week after starting out with a 75 yard effort in week one.

Gates is back - all wideouts take a step backwards. Make that two.

Tight Ends: After missing the first week with the ending of his suspension, Antonio Gates returned to the lineup last week and turned in six catches for 80 yards. Didn't look like he had missed a day.

Match Against the Defense: The Giants rushing defense has been very good this season, holding all opponents to only 82 total rushing yards this season. Tomlinson is not likely to have a monster yardage game here but as with all things Tomlinson, never say never. There has been no rushing scores allowed by the Giants this season as well but then again - they have played only two home games.

Brees should have success here throwing against a secondary that has allowed over 600 passing yards this season. In particular, the cornerback situation in New York is a bit shaky with Will Peterson nursing a bad knee and Will Allen failing to meet expectations. McCardell has a great chance at a score and some yardage here as does, of course, Antonio Gates. Look for the best passing game yet by Brees that will have to be the difference in the game.

Eli Manning is the interesting one here.