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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
The Huddle
October 2, 2005
Season Ticket
Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM
DEN at JAC* PHI at KCC* Sun 4 PM On Bye: Mon 9 PM
HOU at CIN SEA at WAS DAL at OAK PIT, CHI *Updated

Prediction: Philadelphia 14, Kansas City 20

This matchup could be hard to call. The Eagles have looked dominating one week, then merely average the next. The Chiefs have looked dominating one week and then terrible the next. Playing in Kansas City will be a big help for the Chiefs and McNabb's abdominal injury certainly will not be a positive but could be a non-factor in the game. The Eagles have to go to Dallas the following week while the Chiefs take their bye. This is a game that the Eagles can afford to lose, less so for the Chiefs.

Update: Todd France is slated to replace David Akers this week while he mends his hamstring strain.

Philadelphia Eagles (2-1)
1 10-14 @ATL 10 Nov 14 DAL
2 42-3 SFO 11 Nov 20 @NYG
3 23-20 OAK 12 Nov 27 GBP
4 Oct 2 @KCC 13 Dec 5 SEA
5 Oct 9 @DAL 14 Dec 11 NYG
6 Open Bye 15 Dec 18 @STL
7 Oct 23 SDC 16 Dec 24 @ARI
8 Oct 30 @DEN 17 Jan 1 WAS
9 Nov 6 @WAS . MON SAT
PHI at KC Rush Catch Pass
QB Donovan McNabb 0 0 270,2
RB Brian Westbrook 40 50 0
RB Lamar Gordon 10 0 0
TE L.J. Smith 0 60,1 0
WR Terrell Owens 0 100,1 0
WR Greg Lewis 0 40 0
WR Reggie Brown 0 10 0
PK Todd France 0 FG 2 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Eagles had to fight last week to sneak past the Raiders and McNabb's slow start finally turned into the deadly passing we've come to expect from him. Westbrook is absolutely on fire lately and Owens is always a factor but it all comes back to McNabb - if he is healthy, the Eagles can take this game. If he is not, then likely there is no way they can win.

Quarterback: Donovan McNabb ended with a season-high 365 passing yards last week with two scores but almost all of that came in the second half after the Eagles trailed 10-6 at halftime. McNabb is bothered by a lower abdominal injury that has left him never running the ball this season and even effects his passing. Though McNabb will likely practice little this week and be questionable to play, I am expecting that he still manages to play and his injury is a limitation but not enough to keep him out.

Running Backs: While Brian Westbrook may not be the best "traditional" running back, he may be one of the best complete backs in the league. He has yet to rush more than 15 times in any game or gained more than 89 yards on the ground. But he's totaled over 100 yards in each matchup and ended last week with 208 yards thanks to 140 yards on six catches. He has scored at least once every week and twice against the Raiders.

Lamar Gordon remains just relief and some short yardage and only had one carry last week.

Wide Receivers: While Terrell Owens continues to be the start and finish of the Eagle wideouts, at least Greg Lewis is showing up more in the middle of games. Lewis had six catches for 70 yards last week and a score and 39 yards in week two. Owens continues to get a ridiculous amount of passes, but at least Lewis is making secondaries pay for ignoring him. With 39 passes thrown to him, Owens had four more than any other wideout in the NFL.

Tight Ends: L.J. Smith continues to be a major factor in the passing game, catching five passes for 50 yards last week and typically getting as many throws to him as any other receiver other than Owens.

Match Against the Defense: This match is harder to determine considering the health of McNabb. The Chiefs rushing game gave up 98 yards last week but had been tough the first two weeks. Look for Westbrook to only get moderate rushing yardage as he always does and he should have much more success receiving - and likely even more yards.

McNabb faces a secondary that has been very good this year and only allowed one passing score each week. But this secondary already gave up big games to both Randy Moss and Rod Smith who were clearly primary for their teams so expect at least one score from Owens this week and likely the century mark in yardage. Smith is a strong play this week as well.

Kansas City Chiefs (2-1)
1 27-7 NYJ 10 Nov 13 @BUF
2 23-17 @OAK 11 Nov 20 @HOU
3 10-30 @DEN 12 Nov 27 NE
4 Oct 2 PHI 13 Dec 4 DEN
5 Open Bye 14 Dec 11 @DAL
6 Oct 16 WAS 15 Dec 17 @NYG
7 Oct 23 @MIA 16 Dec 24 SDC
8 Oct 30 @SDC 17 Jan 1 CIN
9 Nov 6 OAK . MON SAT
KCC vs PHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Trent Green 0 0 220,1
RB Priest Holmes 90,1 20 0
RB Larry Johnson 40 10 0
TE Tony Gonzalez 0 60,1 0
WR Eddie Kennison 0 60 0
WR Samie Parker 0 40 0
WR Chris Horn 0 20 0
PK Lawrence Tynes 2 FG 2 XP -

Pregame Notes: It was all looking so good for the first two weeks with the rushing game and defense handling opponents but one week in Denver and the Chiefs look like they are almost back to square one. Back at home this week, they face a tough test against the Eagles but this team is all about regrouping and have a bye coming up the following week. They come off a short week but at least they do not have to travel again after a rough two game road schedule.

Quarterback: Trent Green was likely for lower numbers this year since his schedule was much tougher in 2005 but after three weeks that should have been no different than last year. Green is not nearly the quarterback he was in 2004 in terms of yards and scores. Green only has thrown for one touchdown and has yet to exceed 237 yards this season. With games against PHI, WAS and then in MIA and SD, he may get worse before he gets better.

Running Backs: Priest Holmes was held to only 61 yards on 14 carries last week, taken out of the equation by the second half thanks to a deteriorating situation on the scoreboard. Holmes failed to score for the first time this season and Larry Johnson only managed 13 yards on eight carries also without a score.

Back at home, the Chiefs will be looking to fire that rushing attack back to the 100+ yards and two scores per game it had been producing.

Wide Receivers: Eddie Kennison was the only wideout that helped when the game went bad against the Broncos last week. He caught eight passes for 112 yards and was the only consistently productive part of the passing game. Samie Parker scored as well but only had two catches for 21 yards despite being thrown 10 passes. He had several terrible drops but redeemed himself with the touchdown when the Broncos whiffed on the tackle. Parker had 86 yards the previous week but otherwise this attack has been little more than Kennison and a lot of incompletions.

Tight Ends: The guaranteed best tight end for the last five years may have run out of his warranty. Tony Gonzalez now has only 124 yards and 14 catches with no scores after three weeks of play. Not bad numbers, but hardly "best in the biz".

Match Against the Defense: The Eagle rush defense has been great the last two weeks at home but that was only against Kevan Barlow and Lamont Jordan. When it opened in Atlanta, Dunn and Duckett combined for 132 yards and a score so there is reason to expect the Chiefs to resume success with the rushing game. Look for the split to return more to the 2:1 ratio between Holmes and Johnson that changed last week only when the Chiefs fell behind badly.

Trent Green has not been connecting well on passes but the Eagle secondary can be beaten as Collins did last week. Their defense has already allowed 163 yards to tight ends so Gonzalez should finally see some better numbers this week unless the rushing game does so well that the pass is not needed - not likely against the Eagles who will not try to mail in the game regardless of how McNabb feels.