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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
The Huddle
December 28, , 2005
Season Ticket
Sat 4:30 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM SEA at GB*
DEN at SD* ARI at IND CHI at MIN* NO at TB WAS at PHI*
Sat 8 PM BAL at CLE CIN at KC Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM
Updated* CAR at ATL MIA at NE TEN at JAC* Times ET

Prediction: Arizona 16, Indianapolis 24

The Cardinals come off a win over the Eagles and a victory in Indianapolis would come as a major plus at the end of yet another forgettable season. But the Cardinals are a terrible road team and the Colts are back at home. The Colts have nothing to win here having already secured homefield advantage throughout the AFC playoffs but teams prefer to enter the post-season on a high note which is exactly what the Cardinals are best at giving out on the road.

Arizona Cardinals (5-10)
1 19-42 @NYG 10 21-29 @DET
2 12-17 STL 11 38-28 @STL
3 12-37 @SEA 12 17-24 JAC
4 31-14 SFO 13 17-10 @SFO
5 20-24 CAR 14 13-17 WAS
6 Open Bye 15 19-30 @HOU
7 20-10 TEN 16 27-21 PHI
8 13-34 @DAL 17 Jan 1 @IND
9 19-33 SEA . . SAT
ARZ at IND Rush Catch Pass
QB Josh McCown 10 0 250,1
RB J.J. Arrington 20 10 0
RB Marcel Shipp 30 10 0
TE Adam Bergen 0 20 0
WR Anquan Boldin 0 80 0
WR Larry Fitzgerald 0 90,1 0
WR Bryant Johnson 0 20 0
PK Neil Rackers 3 FG 1 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Cardinals are slogging through yet another promising season that is ending with little different from the previous year. Warner, when healthy, is a better quarterback. Boldin, when healthy, makes for a great pair of wideouts with Fitzgerald. But the rest of the offense has been very little help for the entire season and the Cardinals are averaging only 67 yards per game which is not only worst in the NFL this year, it is one of the worst averages since the 1970 merger of the AFL and the NFL. The lone bright spot - Neil Rackers gets a chance to tie or break the NFL record for field goals in a season. He needs only one more to tie and two to set a new record. A testament to his ability to convert and the inability of the Cardinals to advance beyond the 20-yard line.

Quarterback: Josh McCown gets his final shot at showing something this year when he faces the Colts and though he comes off a 294 yard effort against the Eagles with two scores, prevailing wisdom is that he won't be back next year.

Running Backs: J.J. Arrington will have to wait for his second season to get a shot at his first 100 rushing yard game and actually, he can set a personal best by merely gaining 60 yards or more in a game. He and Marcel Shipp continue to share almost evenly but the offensive line has never been a help to the run game and the Cardinals will either bring in a new coach for the line next year or will at least bring in more help for what is one of the worst run blocking units in the league.

Wide Receivers: The Cardinals will conclude their season having designed an offense that revolves exclusively around getting the ball to either Larry Fitzgerald or Anquan Boldin. Both players are top ten fantasy wideouts this year and Bryant Johnson only has 416 yards and one score. No team has been successful in shutting both wideouts completely down in a game.

Tight Ends: This unit only scored twice this season and only twice ever topped 35 yards in a game - and only because of a couple of long receptions. Adam Bergen has played well enough to stick next year and poorly enough to not matter in 2006 anyway.

Match Against the Defense: The worst rushing team this year (or for the last 35 years for that matter) won't do anything better in Indianapolis. As always, avoid all Cardinal runners whoever they may be.

McCown obviously catches a break going against the Colts when they will likely set at least the safety and possibly more players than that. Chalk up decent games for both Fitzgerald and Boldin but shouldn't be anything major here. The Colts are at home and even their second team could give the Cards problems. The only interesting aspect to this game is if Rackers can set the all-time record for field goals. He needs two. He will likely get them.

Indianapolis Colts (13-2)
1 24-7 @BAL 10 31-17 HOU
2 10-3 JAC 11 45-37 @CIN
3 13-6 CLE 12 26-7 PIT
4 31-10 @TEN 13 35-3 TEN
5 28-3 @SFO 14 26-18 @JAC
6 45-28 STL 15 17-26 SDC
7 38-20 @HOU 16 13-28 @SEA
8 Open Bye 17 Jan 1 ARI
9 40-21 @NE . MON SAT
IND vs ARZ Rush Catch Pass
QB Peyton Manning 0 0 90,1
QB Jim Sorgi 0 0 180,1
RB Edgerrin James 50 10 0
RB Dominic Rhodes 40,1 10 0
TE Dallas Clark 0 30,1 0
WR Reggie Wayne 0 30 0
WR Aaron Morehead 0 40 0
WR Brandon Stokley 0 20 0
WR Troy Walters 0 80,1 0
PK Mike Vanderjagt 1 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: Now the Colts have lost their last two games and the offense even with Manning and James looks like it is just going through the motions. The Colts have nothing to win here and will likely follow last week's plan - play the starters (sans Harrison) for the first quarter or so and then let the back-ups finish the game in the rare playing time they ever see.

Quarterback: Peyton Manning took a few hits last week but stuck with it until the second quarter when Jim Sorgi played. That will likely continue this week but Sorgi should have more success at home against the Cardinals than on the road in Seattle. For Sorgi, this is like dad leaving the keys to the Porsche behind. Gotta drive it some - how many chances does he ever get? In three quarters, Sorgi threw for 237 yards and one score.

Running Backs: Edgerrin James played for one half last week before taking the bench and letting Dominic Rhodes play. James had 41 yards on 13 carries but the Colts were already behind at the half and only ran a handful of times in the second half. Dominic Rhodes should share with James Mungro and there will be more attempts this week against the Cardinals.

Wide Receivers: The two top receivers for the Colts totaled 213 yards and one score like usual, but instead of Harrison and Wayne it was Brandon Stokley (5-122) and Troy Walters (8-91, 1 TD). Safe bet the same thing happens this week limited only by a less pressing need to pass.

Tight Ends: Dallas Clark ends the season on a more disappointing note. The Colts tight ends turned in a total of nine touchdowns last year and with Marcus Pollard gone, Clark was expected to step up into a much bigger role. Instead he only rose from 423 to 488 receiving yards and actually fell from five to only four touchdowns - three in one game.

Match Against the Defense: Look for the continued cameo by the Colts star players but the Cardinals rush defense has allowed five rushing scores to the last five road opponents, so Rhodes or Mungro have a good shot at scoring.

Sorgi will likely spell Manning after the first quarter and the Cards passing defense has always allowed at least one touchdown to road opponents. Should not be a lot of yardage here, but at least one score and possibly two against a team that has been weakest against wideouts.