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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
The Huddle
October 19, 2005
Season Ticket
FRI 7 PM Sun 1 PM SF at WAS* Sun 4 PM Sun 4 PM
KC at MIA* NO at STL Sun 4 PM DEN at NYG TEN at ARI*
Sun 1 PM PIT at CIN* DAL at SEA* On Bye: Mon 9 PM
GB at MIN* IND at HOU BUF at OAK CAR, TB Updated*

Prediction: Dallas 20, Seattle 24

This should be one of the best games of the weekend, pitting two teams with 4-2 records that lead their divisions and if history serves at all, this could be a great game since last year the Cowboys had a huge comeback win over the Seahawks, winning 42-39. Both teams are starting to hit their stride but the Seahawks are always a tough bird at the home nest.

Update: Julius Jones still has not practiced this week and as such I am not including him in the projections. He has not been ruled out yet, but it appears likely he will not play.

Dallas Cowboys (4-2)
1 28-24 @SDC 10 Nov 14 @PHI
2 13-14 WAS 11 Nov 20 DET
3 34-31 @SFO 12 Nov 24 DEN
4 13-19 @OAK 13 Dec 4 @NYG
5 33-10 PHI 14 Dec 11 KCC
6 16-13 NYG 15 Dec 18 @WAS
7 Oct 23 @SEA 16 Dec 24 @CAR
8 Oct 30 ARI 17 Jan 1 STL
9 Open Bye M THU SAT
DAL at SEA Rush Catch Pass
QB Drew Bledsoe 0 0 280,2
RB Anthony Thomas 50 10 0
TE Jason Witten 0 60,1 0
WR Keyshawn Johnson 0 80,1 0
WR Terry Glenn 0 90 0
WR Peerless Price 0 20 0
PK Jose Cortez 2 FG 2 XP -
Pregame Notes: Dallas rises to 4-2 with the win over the Giants and were it not for a late game collapse against Washington and getting caught napping in Oakland, this team could be 6-0. Then again - about the same could be said of most any team and the Cowboys have won their share of close games as well including overtime last week. This will be a big test to see if the Dallas defense really has patched all the holes and Alexander will present the toughest runner yet to face the Cowboys. Doesn't help that Julius Jones remains iffy this week with a high ankle sprain.

Quarterback: Not unlike Testaverde last season, Drew Bledsoe started out on a high note this season but Drew has kept it going. He has thrown a touchdown in every game this year and has 11 scores on the season plus one rushing touchdown. He's thrown for over 300 yards twice and is making his acquisition look like a coup for the Cowboys and a failure for the Bills.

Testaverde threw for 225 yards and two scores in Seattle last year for the Cowboys.

Running Backs: Julius Jones missed last week with what is being diagnosed as a mild high ankle sprain. In his place, the Cowboys opted to run through the depth chart by using Anthony Thomas (21-47), Marion Barber (11-30) and Tyson Thompson (3-13). After the game, HC Bill Parcells said he was not particularly happy with any of them. Since there again is a chance that Jones may sit out, I am projecting for Thomas as the primary carrier but as happened against the Giants, that doesn't mean much since Parcells will swap out runners looking for a spark.

Jones may have never been better than when he ran for 198 yards and three scores against the Seahawks last year.

Wide Receivers: Terry Glenn had six catches for 64 yards in one of his more quiet games last week and he was hampered by the double coverage all afternoon. Keyshawn Johnson became the main target and ended with eight catches for 120 yards and once again - a lost fumble. Bledsoe declined to point that one out this time. The duo have been the prime benefactor of Bledsoe joining the team and in every game this year, at least one of them has scored or turned in a big yardage game.

Patrick Crayton is lost for at least this week as his ankle continues to be examined. Initially it was feared that he had broken it but now it appears it may not be as bad and that he may only miss a few weeks. Most important - he misses this one. That should leave an opening for Peerless Price to renew his relationship with Bledsoe which was the driving force of him joining the team.

Keyshawn Johnson had 116 yards and one score against Seattle last season. Glenn did not play.

Tight Ends: Jason Witten just keeps on trucking, coming off a game with 56 yards and one score and he's been good for at least 50 yards in each of the last five games. While Glenn and Johnson trade off big games, Witten is the consistent man in the passing scheme.

Witten had five catches for 61 yards in the previous meeting against the Seahawks.

Match Against the Defense: The Seattle rushing defense is hardly any fun to go against this season. They have only allowed two rushing touchdowns in six games and no runner has exceeded 90 yards against them. Since the Cowboys are now using an ineffective musical chair approach to the ground game, expect moderate numbers from Thomas to be a big success.

This will be one of the better passing attacks to go against the Seahawks this season and they did allow STL to gain 336 yards against them. There is no weak side with the Seahawks really and both Johnson and Glenn should be big contributors here if the game becomes a shootout. Much of that depends on how well Dallas stops Alexander but look for at least moderate numbers from the duo with a chance of some big production if Dallas falls behind early.

Seattle Seahawks (4-2)
1 14-26 @JAC 10 Nov 13 STL
2 21-18 ATL 11 Nov 20 @SFO
3 37-12 ARI 12 Nov 27 NYG
4 17-20 @WAS 13 Dec 5 @PHI
5 37-31 @STL 14 Dec 11 SFO
6 42-10 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 vs DAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Hasselbeck 0 0 200,1
RB Shaun Alexander 110,2 0 0
TE Jerramy Stevens 0 50,1 0
WR Peter Warrick 0 50 0
WR Joe Jurevicius 0 60 0
WR Jerheme Urban 0 20 0
PK Josh Brown 1 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: Seattle has a two game lead in the NFC West and if the Rams lose Bulger for very long, they can just print the divisional "champ" caps up now. The road win over the Rams was huge and likely represents a turning point for the Seahawks this year and Alexander has been relatively unstoppable this season. With a bye looming next weekend, this game is a very big one and could end up the only real test until hosting the Giants in week 12.

Quarterback: Matt Hasselbeck only had 168 yards and one score last week, but when the rushing game produces five touchdowns, no one complains. Hasselbeck has scored in all but one game this season and invariably exceeds 240 yards in any game that he has to throw. Darrell Jackson and Bobby Engram remain on the shelf but with a dominating ground game and Hasselbeck, this offense can still score.

Hasselbeck threw for a season high 414 yards and three scores in the game against Dallas last year.

Running Backs: Shauntastic. Having ran out of superlatives about Shaun Alexander, sportswriters are being forced to invent new words that mean "he who never stops scoring". Alexander has 12 touchdowns on the season in only six games and twice has turned in four scores. He's invisible in the passing game because it is just easier to hand the ball to him. He has not had less than 98 yards in a game since week one and after his mopping up of Houston last week, there was so much time left that Maurice Morris had 104 yards and one score.

Alexander only gained 83 yards but scored twice against the Cowboys in 2004.

Wide Receivers: D.J. Hackett was bothered by a hip injury last week and was replaced by Peter Warrick who had 53 yards on only three catches in a game that had almost no need to pass. Joe Jurevicius only managed 29 yards on three catches but scored for the third time this season and the second game in a row. Since the Seahawks should see a far better effort from the opponent this Sunday, look for the wideouts to get more involved once again. Until there is word to the contrary, I am assuming that Hackett is once again out and that Jurevicius, Warrick and Jerheme Urban will be the starters.

In his last hurrah, Jerry RIce had 145 yards and one score against Dallas last year while Darrell Jackson turned in 113 yards and a score as well.

Tight Ends: Jeremy Stevens only had 28 yards last week during the blowout but the huge rushing effort spelled minimal need for the tight end. That should change this week against the Cowboys and Stevens is always good for at least 30 yards a game - more as the need for passing increases.

Stevens only had two catches against Dallas last season but gained 58 yards.

Match Against the Defense: The Cowboys have been good against the run this year other than the one game in Oakland but this could be a similar repeat. Dallas comes off two huge games for the franchise with wins over Philly and the Giants and Alexander has been nothing less than spectacular. They will load up against him and the safety Roy Williams is a good run stopper, but the Cowboys continue to miss LB Dat Nguyen. Look for a good game here and since it is Alexander - it could be a big one again.

Hasselbeck's day will depend on what Alexander can accomplish and the Cowboys secondary has tightened up recently after opening the season as a sieve. Jeremy Stevens looks like the main player that should do better this week against the Cowboys that were ravaged by Shockey last Sunday - particularly since Nguyen is out. Look for more moderate passing numbers here since the Cowboys are likely to be tired and a little drained after two big wins. Alexander will matter most.