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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: Denver 20, NY Giants 17

The Giants return home after losing in overtime in Dallas and with that the lead in the NFC East. The Broncos are now 5-1 and have a two game lead over the Chiefs in the AFC West. You can cross off that opener in Miami from your memory, these Broncos have been outstanding in the last five games and have most recently beaten JAX, WAS and NE. After five consecutive wins, the Broncos are due for a loss and a road game is never easy, but the Giants have to forget the tough loss last week in a hurry to have a shot in this game.

Denver Broncos (5-1)
1 10-34 @MIA 10 Nov 13 @OAK
2 20-17 SDC 11 Nov 20 NYJ
3 30-10 KCC 12 Nov 24 @DAL
4 20-7 @JAC 13 Dec 4 @KCC
5 21-19 WAS 14 Dec 11 BAL
6 28-20 NE 15 Dec 17 @BUF
7 Oct 23 @NYG 16 Dec 24 OAK
8 Oct 30 PHI 17 Dec 31 @SDC
9 Open Bye M THU SAT
DEN at NYG Rush Catch Pass
QB Jake Plummer 10 0 250,1
RB Mike Anderson 70,1 10 0
RB Tatum Bell 70 10 0
TE Jeb Putzier 0 30 0
WR Rod Smith 0 90 0
WR Ashley Lelie 0 60,1 0
WR Charlie Adams 0 30 0
PK Jason Elam 2 FG 2 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Broncos have risen to 5-1 with a very underrated defense that remains good even when Champ Bailey remains on the sideline (which he has for the last couple of games). Denver has finally embraced RBBC and made it work very well, so much so that the passing game has taken a major hit this season while Anderson and Bell carve up opponents, get a lead, and then carve them up even more.

Quarterback: Jake Plummer comes off his best game of the year, throwing for 262 yards and two scores against the Patriots but that was his first effort over 200 yards since back in week two. The Broncos have been run-oriented and thanks to the success of the rushing, Plummer mostly manages the game. He has not had an interception in the last four games even though he faced JAX, WAS and NE. No need to mess with success yet.

Running Backs: The duo of Mike Anderson and Tatum Bell are not about to change their roles anytime soon. HC Mike Shanahan loves the thunder and lightning approach and why not? Even when facing some of the better defenses in the league, these two runners have combined for major yardage every week. Anderson takes the heavier load as the power back and Bell comes in to rip off some long runs in almost every game.

The bad news may seem that no one back is having monster games, but the reality is that both backs are turning in very good games every week.

Wide Receivers: Rod Smith woke back up last week when he had 123 yards and one score against the Patriots and Ashley Lelie turned in 81 yards on three catches thanks to finally catching one bomb. Going against the softer corners of the Giants this week should prove no less beneficial and the offense uses those two receivers almost exclusively in the passing game - when it has to pass. Lelie has been a disappointment this year but is getting better and facing two great offenses next should force the Broncos more to the pass.

Tight Ends: Jeb Putzier had 32 yards last week but that is about his average when Denver starts throwing the ball. His only moment on Sportscenter this year has been last week when he was flattened by a safety.

Match Against the Defense: The Denver rushing game has been successful even against top defenses and the Giants have already given up 192 yards to Tomlinson this year. On the road, the results should be less than we've seen recently as Denver ran wild at home, but both Bell and Anderson are obvious fantasy starts each week now and should get heavy play here to slow down the Giants passing attack.

Plummer faces a secondary that he can beat and he'll likely need to throw more this week. Ashley Lelie gets the best matchup that has been exploited all season but Smith is so much more common a target that both could have nice games here. Denver will run as much as they can and remain in the game, but if the Giants manage a lead here and it gets late, Plummer will be successful against what has become the Achilles heel of the Giants - the cornerbacks.

New York Giants (3-2)
1 42-19 ARI 10 Nov 13 MIN
2 27-10 @NOR 11 Nov 20 PHI
3 23-45 @SDC 12 Nov 27 @SEA
4 44-24 STL 13 Dec 4 DAL
5 Open Bye 14 Dec 11 @PHI
6 13-16 @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 vs DEN Rush Catch Pass
QB Eli Manning 0 0 270,2
RB Tiki Barber 70 10 0
TE Jeremy Shockey 0 90,1 0
WR Amani Toomer 0 30 0
WR Plaxico Burress 0 90,1 0
WR Tim Carter 0 20 0
PK Jay Feeley 1 FG 2 XP -

Pregame Notes: The New York offensive explosion this year took a tumble when they could only come up with 13 points last week - and only that thanks to a fourth quarter touchdown that forced overtime. The Giants had rose to a good record this season with games against ARZ, NO and STL but were blown out in SD and then lost a close one in Dallas to show they are not yet good in every game. Eli Manning has been a big help for the offense this season but it has come at the expense of Tiki Barber who was the entire offense in 2004.

Quarterback: Eli Manning took a step backwards against the Cowboys when he only threw for 215 yards and one score against one interception and a lost fumble. But to his credit, he led the team down on the tying drive late in the game and as it ends up, the fumble by Brandon Jacobs at the one-yard line may have been the play that was most responsible for the loss. Manning already has ten touchdowns on the season against only three interceptions and each week he gets a little better at spreading the wealth. This will be another big test for him and coupled with a game against the Skins next week will define how far he has come in such a short time.

Running Backs: Tiki Barber only has one 100 yard rushing game this season and last year at this time he had already racked up four such games. Other than his 128 yard day against the Rams, he's remained at 80 yards or less each week though he does have four scores on the year. When facing the only two defenses of note this year (SD and DAL), Barber has only gained about 60 yards in those games with no scores.

Brandon Jacobs came in for one rush last week and it produced a fumble at the goal line that the Cowboys recovered. There is little chance that Jacobs gets the rock this week much and even less when it is at the goal line.

Wide Receivers: Plaxico Burress had five catches for 55 yards which was almost exactly what he had against the Chargers in the other tough matchup for the Giants this season. Other than his monster 204 yard game against the Rams, Burress has remained around 70 yards against soft secondaries and around 60 against the tougher matchups. Amani Toomer is back to invisibility, he only managed 11 yards on two catches last week and other than his 84 yard effort in San Diego, he hasn't been over 34 yards this season. He has to wait for Burress and Shockey to get done before he has any action.

Tight Ends: There appears to be a new leader for tight ends in the NFL. Jeremy Shockey now leads the league with 380 yards and his three scores are bettered only by Randy McMichael. As long as he remains healthy, Shockey looks like a lock to end as a top three tight end and at current rate - he'll give Gates a run for the top spot.

Match Against the Defense: Denver has been very good against the run this year and since Barber continues to be about half what he was last season, expect only a moderate game here with very little chance of scoring unless it is a long run. The Broncos have handled better than Barber this season and come away the winner.

Manning will have a shot at some decent yardage here and should throw at least one score and likely two. No team has thrown for three against Denver but both Brunell and Brady just rang up around 300 passing yards each. Denver continues their tour of the best tight ends in the game and they've given up a lot of yards and a couple of scores to tight ends this season thanks to facing McMichael, Gates, Gonzalez and Cooley. Expect another good game here from Shockey who will need to provide an outlet for Manning. Burress matches against rookie CB Darent Williams who is only 5'8" and should have some nice catches but Denver will commit plenty to help out the right side. There is no chance they let a short rookie go alone against 6'5" Burress.