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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
The Huddle
WEEK 8
October 26, 2005
Season Ticket
Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM
ARI at DAL JAC at STL* WAS at NYG* TB at SF* BUF at NE
CHI at DET* MIA at NO* Sun 4 PM On Bye: Mon 9 PM
CLE at HOU MIN at CAR* KC at SD* IND, NYJ BAL at PIT*
GB at CIN OAK at TEN* PHI at DEN ATL, SEA *Updated

Prediction: Arizona 6, Dallas 27

There is no doubt that the Cowboys will be looking for a win here after dropping another game with a fourth quarter collapse after controlling the game for the first three quarters. The Cardinals have won two of their last three games but the visiting 49ers and TItans are hardly top notch opponents. No time for the Cowboys to dwell on the loss that dropped them from the NFC East lead and after this game, Dallas heads into a bye week.

Arizona Cardinals (2-4)
1 19-42 @NYG 10 Nov 13 @DET
2 12-17 STL 11 Nov 20 @STL
3 12-37 @SEA 12 Nov 27 JAC
4 31-14 SFO 13 Dec 4 @SFO
5 20-24 CAR 14 Dec 11 WAS
6 Open Bye 15 Dec 18 @HOU
7 20-10 TEN 16 Dec 24 PHI
8 Oct 30 @DAL 17 Jan 1 @IND
9 Nov 6 SEA . . SAT
ARZ at DAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Josh McCown 0 0 150
RB J.J. Arrington 8 10 0
RB Marcel Shipp 19 10 0
TE Adam Bergen 0 10 0
WR Anquan Boldin 0 50 0
WR Larry Fitzgerald 0 50 0
WR Bryant Johnson 0 20 0
PK Neil Rackers 2 FG 0 XP -
Pregame Notes: This is already week eight but the Cardinals head off to play only their third road game of the season. The Cardinals hope to do better this time since the two previous efforts away from Arizona were both lost by 23 points or more. This will also be the first time that McCown takes the show on the road as a starter. The win against the Titans was nice, but the offense struggled and the defense was facing a team decimated by injury.

Quarterback: Josh McCown has scored in each of his three starts, but he only turned in 140 yards against Tennessee and that was mainly because he finally connected with Larry Fitzgerald on a 34-yard touchdown. McCown was almost completely unable to find wideouts in that game and now heads to Dallas where the defense will be better and more motivated.

While Green has declined to name a starting quarterback yet, I'll assume they will keep using McCown since he has won two of three games. Updates if warranted.

Running Backs: The Cardinals had their longest run of the year when J.J. Arrington gained 32 yards on one carry but he only had four more runs that netted -2 yards. Marcel Shipp only had 8 yards on 14 carries and this running game is easily among the worst in the NFL. They have not scored this season and the best effort has been only 54 yards. HC Denny Green made mention of wanting to run better but after last week, he's plainly accepting that the Cardinals cannot run this year and will focus on the passing game.

Wide Receivers: For the first time in the NFL, Anquan Boldin had no catches in a game. He had five passes and caught two while out of bounds, but he ended with nothing. Larry Fitzgerald only had four catches for 71 yards and one score that came on the 34-yard completion. There is no secret to this offense. Boldin and Fitzgerald are the stars of the offense and if they are shut down, the Cardinals are going nowhere. This will not be lost on the Cowboys this week. The complete absence of any rushing attack means the entire defense can just about split in two and cover either side against the two wideouts that matter.

Notable is that Larry Fitzgerald has scored in all three games that McCown started.

Tight Ends: Just say no. The Cardinals already have.

Match Against the Defense: The pitiful rushing attack of Shipp and Arrington may struggle to produce double digit yardage this week, just as they did last Sunday. Green is already abandoning the run game and there may be even less token carries this week.

The Cowboys secondary started the season giving up yards and scores but have only allowed two touchdowns in the last four games and no one has topped 224 yards in that time. Expect more struggling here by McCown that could make last week look like a success. The Cowboys have shifted to a 4-3 this season and that only gives McCown something more to read and react against. Consider that Randy Moss, Terrell Owens and Plaxico Burress all failed to score and only Moss had any appreciable yardage. Expect a lower game here from Fitzgerald and Boldin... well, maybe an increase for Boldin since he comes off a game without any catches.

Dallas Cowboys (4-3)
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 10-13 @SEA 16 Dec 24 @CAR
8 Oct 30 ARI 17 Jan 1 STL
9 Open Bye M THU SAT
DAL vs ARZ Rush Catch Pass
QB Drew Bledsoe 0 0 230,1
RB Marion Barber 50,1 10 0
RB Anthony Thomas 40,1 0 0
RB Tyson Thompson 40 10 0
TE Jason Witten 0 40 0
WR Keyshawn Johnson 0 50 0
WR Terry Glenn 0 80,1 0
WR Peerless Price 0 30 0
PK Shaun Suisham 2 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Cowboys fall to 4-3 after letting the Seahawks steal back the win and that makes all three losses coming by a touchdown or less. The Cowboys offense has been sputtering over the last month and only once scored more than 16 points in the last four games. Julius Jones has missed two games and Drew Bledsoe is making game-killing mistakes - both problems that should be corrected this week.

Quarterback: Drew Bledsoe threw an interception against the Seahawks that allowed Seattle to kick the winning field goal and avoid overtime. Bledsoe comes off his worst game of the year, throwing for only 136 yards, one score and two interceptions last week. He still has at least one touchdown in every game and three times has topped 288 yards in a game. Expect to see Bledsoe back to form this week unless the running game manages to consume the game clock.

Running Backs: The Cowboys were without Julius Jones for the second week and instead of relying on Anthony Thomas, the offense ran with the rookie Marion Barber carrying 22 times for 95 yards. Thomas only had six carries for 19 yards and Tyson Thompson turned in six runs for 34 yards. Jones has been out with a sprained ankle and has not been practicing for two weeks. I am assuming that he misses this game as well but will update as information becomes available. The Cowboys have been changing who the primary back is every week, so there is no relying on one particular back if Jones is still out.

Wide Receivers: Terry Glenn was the hot receiver to start the season, recording three games over 100 yards and scoring three touchdowns in the first five games but he's settled down to two straight weeks now of only 64 and 35 yards with no scores. Keyshawn Johnson has been getting most of the passes for the last month and has four scores on the year. With Patrick Crayton gone, the duo of Glenn and Johnson are taking even more importance though Peerless Price had one catch for 19 yards last week. This crew should be in for some good action this week unless Parcells decides to just run the ball for the entire game.

Tight Ends: Jason Witten comes off one of his worst games of the year but he still managed to turn two catches into 47 yards. Next to Glenn and Johnson, Witten remains the third most common target.

Match Against the Defense: The Cardinals defense has played well this season though the opponents have been less than powerhouses. In the only two road games, this defense gave up six rushing scores to the Giants and Seahawks so there is an excellent opportunity for good yardage and a score - if not more than one. Problem is - who will be running the ball since Dallas is changing up the primary back with Julius Jones out.

Drew Bledsoe can certainly beat this secondary, the question is how much passing he will be asked to do. Knowing that the Cardinals will not rush well, the only way that Arizona will stay in the game will be passing but there are only two wideouts that need covering and the Cowboys secondary has toughened up as the season progresses. That could lead to very few points by the Cardinals and less need by Bledsoe to throw the ball. The biggest factor that could help some offensive scoring by the Cowboys here is that they just lost yet another game when a close score could not be protected. That could mean a bit more rolling up the score by the Cowboys for a margin of safety.