fantasy football     JOIN THE HUDDLE    


Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
The Huddle
November 16, 2005
Season Ticket
Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM
DET at DAL NO at NE Sun 4 PM PIT at BAL* MIN at GB*
IND at CIN OAK at WAS SEA at SF* Updated* Times ET

Prediction: Philadelphia 6, NY Giants 31

The Eagles season may have swirled downward permanently on only one play last week when the Cowboys returned an interception for a score to win and an innocuous block on McNabb twisted him and injured his groin further. He's likely out this week and along with him the chance that the Eagles can stage a fair fight.

The Eagles swept the Giants last year, winning 31-17 and 27-6.

Update: L.J. Smith did not practice on Wednesday but returned on Thursday after having a hamstring strain. I am slightly lowering his numbers on the chance he will not be 100% and already would be one of the biggest concerns for the secondary.

Philadelphia Eagles (4-5)
1 10-14 @ATL 10 20-21 DAL
2 42-3 SFO 11 Nov 20 @NYG
3 23-20 OAK 12 Nov 27 GBP
4 37-31 @KCC 13 Dec 5 SEA
5 10-33 @DAL 14 Dec 11 NYG
6 Open Bye 15 Dec 18 @STL
7 20-17 SDC 16 Dec 24 @ARI
8 21-49 @DEN 17 Jan 1 WAS
9 10-17 @WAS . MON SAT
PHI at NYG Rush Catch Pass
QB Mike McMahon 0 0 140
RB Brian Westbrook 30 50 0
RB Lamar Gordon 30 10 0
TE L.J. Smith 0 30 0
WR Greg Lewis 0 10 0
WR Reggie Brown 0 20 0
WR Billy McMullen 0 10 0
PK David Akers 2 FG 0 XP -
Pregame Notes: First Terrell Owens is sent packing and then Donovan McNabb is helped from the field. McNabb is one of those ultra-critical players around which the success or failure of a team hinges. Now that Mike McMahon is slated to start, the team takes an entirely new look - and not a pretty one.

Quarterback: While Donovan McNabb has not been ruled out this week, the injury sustained on Monday night clearly hurt him and impacted his ability to throw on the remaining plays in the game. McNabb is a warrior but everyone has their physical limits. His injury now would only hurt the team in playing him so he'll be out this week and stay tuned to see how much longer than that. Mike McMahon is likely to get the start this week and while often fill-in quarterbacks enjoy a big first game, probably not in New York in a critical division game against a team that just lost a mind-blowing and record setting game against the Vikings.

Running Backs: It was all going so well on Monday too. Brian Westbrook had his biggest game of the year with 16 carries for 86 yards and a score and 32 more yards on five receptions. Lamar Gordon had his first significant play since week two when he added 13 runs for 57 yards. Now with McNabb out - all bets are off and the rushing game will likely return to the pedestrian results until last Monday.

Westbrook gained 127 total yards and two scores against the Giants in New York last season.

Wide Receivers: The passing game was spotty with the wideouts until Owens showed up. Now he is gone again and the team just lost McNabb. Think back to the days of Thrash, Pinkston and Mitchell - now remove McNabb throwing them the ball. Ouch. Reggie Brown only had three catches for 15 yards against the Cowboys and of his six incompletions, at least four were reasonably "catchable". This includes the one that would have given the Eagles the ball on the 30-yard line for a game winning field goal. Against a motivated Giants team this week that already throttled the visiting Redskins, the picture is just not pretty at all.

Tight Ends: L.J. Smith had six catches for 56 yards against the Cowboys and could be the one receiver to benefit from the loss of McNabb. He's a big target with good hands and is closest to the quarterback. That's what often happens in these transitions.

Match Against the Defense: Without Owens and now McNabb, it is highly speculatory what to expect here. The Eagles will want to establish some running game and had some success last week but that was at home. On the road in New York? The Giants will smell blood in the water and come running. Look for Westbrook to supply minimal rushing yards but have a shot as some decent receptions since he will be a needed outlet for McMahon.

A non-McNabb passing attack is hard to envision but expect that the Giants bring plenty of heat on every passing down to force McMahon into making mistakes. There's no going lightly against a divisional rival that has owned you in recent years. There are plenty of reasons to shoot for a replay of the Washington massacre.

New York Giants (6-3)
1 42-19 ARI 10 21-24 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 24-23 DEN 16 Dec 24 @WAS
8 36-0 WAS 17 Dec 31 @OAK
9 24-6 @SFO . . SAT
NYG vs PHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Eli Manning 0 0 240,2
RB Tiki Barber 120,1 20 0
TE Jeremy Shockey 0 60,1 0
WR Amani Toomer 0 60 0
WR Plaxico Burress 0 80,1 0
WR Tim Carter 0 10 0
PK Jay Feeley 1 FG 4 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Giants come off a humbling loss when they dominated the Vikings for all but two special team plays and one interception - all touchdowns. To mount further embarrassment on them, they allowed the Vikings only one drive in the whole game that came in the final minute when Minnesota drove for a game winning field goal. These Giants would already be fired up this week after falling prey to a mind-boggling way to lose. Throw in that the Eagles are without McNabb and this could be every bit as ugly as the Washington shut out.

Quarterback: Eli Manning has thrown at least one score in every game this year and comes off a game where he had 291 yards and one touchdown against the Vikings that included four interceptions - he only had three in the last seven games. It was a monumental trap game that apparently fate was determined to happen. Manning is a completely different quarterback now than he was when he only had 148 passing yards against the Eagles with no scores when they visited in 2004.

Running Backs: Tiki Barber finally reprised his role as receiving back extraordinaire when he had eight catches for 111 yards and 95 rushing yards with one score against the Vikings last week. That makes four straight games over 100 total yards and scores in three of them.

Barber gained 110 rushing yards against the visiting Eagles last year.

Wide Receivers: Plaxico Burress is still getting the same amount of passes thrown to him has he had to start the year but he just is not catching as many. He has not had more than 79 yards in the last three weeks and has scored only once since week four. He still gets upwards of a dozen passes a week. Amani Toomer has actually been the better option and he scored against the Vikes as well. His yardage is slightly less than Burress on most counts, but he's been getting less passes than Plaxico every week.

Tight Ends: Jeremy Shockey remains a solid part of the passing game and had 55 yards on five catches last Sunday. He's scored in four of the last six outings and only once fallen below 44 yards.

Shockey only had 31 yards against the visiting Eagles in 2004

Match Against the Defense: Blood in the water, my friend, blood in the water. The Eagles spent all their emotional energy last week in a must-win game against the Cowboys and all it got them was a heart-breaking one point loss and McNabb out of the picture. The Eagles already have been slow to start and less effective on the road and that was with Owens and McNabb. Now left to fend with Mike McMahon throwing incompletions to Reggie Brown while Brian Westbrook wonders where everyone has gone, this is going to be a bad week. They circled the wagons last week and still got beaten. This week, the Giants will replicate the Redskins massacre on Philly and that benefits Barber the most, but anyone could score here.

I especially like the chance of a defensive score as well.