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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
The Huddle
November 23, 2005
Season Ticket
Thanksgiving Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM
DEN at DAL CHI at TB* SF at TEN* MIA at OAK Mon 9 PM
Sun 1 PM CLE at MIN STL at HOU GB at PHI* PIT at IND
BAL at CIN NE at KC   NYG at SEA Times ET

Prediction: Green Bay 14, Philadelphia 24

Interesting match-up between two teams that can argue which one is more disappointed with the season thus far. The Packers are on a short week after being beaten by a Vikings field goal for the second time this year while the Eagles have dropped their last four games, lost Owens and McNabb and any hopes of returning as the NFC East Champ this year. The Packers are only 1-4 on the road this season with the lone win being the shocker upset trap game in Atlanta. You cannot have a trap game against the Eagles for the rest of the season.

Update: Greg Lewis was held out of practice on Wednesday due to his sore elbow. He will still likely play this week but I have downgraded him.

Green Bay Packers (2-8)
1 3-17 @DET 10 33-25 @ATL
2 24-26 CLE 11 17-20 MIN
3 16-17 TBB 12 Nov 27 @PHI
4 29-32 @CAR 13 Dec 4 @CHI
5 52-3 NOR 14 Dec 11 DET
6 Open Bye 15 Dec 19 @BAL
7 20-23 @MIN 16 Dec 25 CHI
8 14-21 @CIN 17 Jan 1 SEA
9 10-20 PIT . . MON
GBP at PHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Brett Favre 0 0 280,2
RB Sam Gado 30 20 0
TE Bubba Franks 0 40,1 0
TE Donald Lee 0 20 0
WR Donald Driver 0 110,1 0
WR Robert Ferguson 0 50 0
WR Antonio Chatman 0 30 0
PK Ryan Longwell 0 FG 2 XP -
Pregame Notes: Getting swept by the Vikings this season is just another sign that the Packers are done for the year. This most recent loss - on Monday night in Green Bay - was just the kill shot for any hopes that the season might end with any positives. Even Brett Favre refused to talk to reporters after the game perhaps in part because his interception returned for a Vikes score was the difference in the game. The running game has gone away yet again and the Packers are left with little more than Favre standing there looking very frustrated.

Quarterback: Brett Favre remains a viable fantasy start - he still had 227 yards and two scores last week against the Vikings and has scored in all but one game this season but the weariness of the season is wearing on him and his propensity to throw interceptions is getting worse and losing games by themselves. The Packers have been crumbling all season and may be primed for a major letdown this week after the emotional loss against the Vikings.

Running Backs: Samkon Gado's flirtation with immediate fame apparently was short-lived. Gado only had ten carries for seven yards against the Vikes and he very much looked like a plodding, slow runner with a lack of vision that should not have been drafted (he wasn't). His failure to run caused the Packers to run through the entire roster of running backs last week with Tony Fisher, Reshard Lee and William Henderson helping out with no success as well.

Gado remains the starter, but mainly because no one else is there to take the job.

Wide Receivers: Donald Driver comes off his first two touchdown game of the year. He has been the lone consistent receiver for Favre and if anyone has success, it is Driver first and all others second. Driver is a lock for 70 yards a week with a shot for over 100 if the secondary is soft like this week. Robert Ferguson was able to suit up and play after re-injuring his knee in practice but he only managed to gain five yards on one catch. Both Antonio Chatman and Andrae Thurman were also non-factors in the game. Favre has seen some success with Ferguson in the past and his return should help out the passing game since Chatman never was able to step up in Ferguson's absence.

Tight Ends: Surprisingly the Vikings were able to hold Bubba Franks to only one catch last week when he had been one of the most consistent receivers for Favre over the last month. Donald Lee (4-37) had a season high game and the Packers hope to get David Martin back this week. Favre needs all the help he can get and Martin is likely the best receiver of the bunch.

Match Against the Defense: For all the failings of the Eagles this season, their run defense has been outstanding when at home and only one player has rushed in a score. Not one has run for more than 46 yards so expect another bad game here from Gado and company.

Favre goes against a secondary that can be beaten, particularly by a quarterback the quality of Favre. Expect a game here in the high 200's with two scores which Brees and Collins have already done in Philly. Driver is the obvious best outlet but one of the tight ends should see success scoring this week against a defense that has allowed several big games by tight ends this season. Favre will use three different tight ends if Martin is healthy enough to play and any of the three are equally likely to catch the score.

Philadelphia Eagles (4-6)
1 10-14 @ATL 10 20-21 DAL
2 42-3 SFO 11 17-27 @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 vs GB Rush Catch Pass
QB Mike McMahon 0 0 270,2
RB Brian Westbrook 30 60 0
RB Lamar Gordon 10 10 0
TE L.J. Smith 0 80,1 0
WR Greg Lewis 0 30 0
WR Reggie Brown 0 70,1 0
WR Billy McMullen 0 10 0
PK David Akers 1 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Eagles are flying pretty low these days and have lost five of their last six games with the lone win being a comeback over the visiting Chargers thanks to Owens and McNabb - neither are exactly in the game plan anymore. But the home losses have all been in close games against quality opponents, something that is not showing up this week.

Quarterback: Mike McMahon is not going to make anyone forget about McNabb but he played well against the Giants last week, throwing for 298 yards and one score with only one interception. Considering the running game is non-existent, McMahon could end up posting some surprising numbers for the rest of the season starting this week.

Running Backs: The Eagles seemed to have found a rushing game against the Cowboys but that was incorrect. Last week Brian Westbrook had 16 rushes but only gained 66 yards. His role in the passing game has been increasing as the season progresses though and he had 57 yards on only four receptions against the Giants. That makes four of the last five games over 50 yards receiving. Lamar Gordon only had four yards on four carries last week and will be returning to the last page of the game plan.

Wide Receivers: The Eagles can only use what they have so Reggie Brown's transgression with dropping passes is ignored and he continues to have a significant presence in the passing game. He had 88 yards on three catches last week with the lone touchdown thrown by McMahon. Greg Lewis had 64 yards on three catches and Billy McMullen just does almost nothing in games. He only had one catch against the Giants. The post-Owens scheme is giving Brown ample opportunities for long plays and Lewis is evolving into an average possession receiver. Otherwise, all throws go to the tight end or Westbrook.

Tight Ends: L.J. Smith comes off a very nice effort as McMahon threw a game high 11 passes to him that resulted in seven catches for 84 yards. That success should continue to give McMahon confidence in throwing to Smith.

Match Against the Defense: The Packers had been solid against the run until last week but the Eagles are not going to bother rushing much. There has been no reason and even less success. Expect Westbrook to continue to provide more production as a receiver than a runner.

McMahon goes against a secondary that has never failed to allow an opposing quarterback to connect for at least two passing scores in any away game by the Packers this year. Look for a nice game here by McMahon going against a secondary that should give up at least 250 passing yards and likely even more since the Eagles won't be running much. Those scores favor L.J. Smith and Reggie Brown strongly which matches the usage that Philly has been using anyway.

Have to like the chance for yet another defensive score allowed by the Packers as well.