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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
Player Projections by Team
Game Predictions Summary
The Huddle
October 4, 2006
Season Ticket
Sunday Late
Sunday night
On Bye
MIA at NE WAS at NYG DAL at PHI   updated

Prediction: DAL 23, PHI 20

The much anticipated game happens. Both teams have one loss and the Eagles don't need to drop another divisional game or risk losing important tie-breakers at the end of the season. This should be one of the most heavily watched games of the day and for one good reason - Terrell Owens. Terrell Owens. Terrell Owens. Terrell Owen. Terrell Owens. Terrell Owens. Terrell Owen. Terrell Owens. Terrell Owens. Terrell Owen. Terrell Owens. Terrell Owens. Terrell Owen. Terrell Owens. Terrell Owens. Terrell Owen. Terrell Owens. Terrell Owens. Terrell Owens.. there. That will make the quota for how many times anything related to this game has to mention Owens. Regardless of what happens. This is the Super Hype Bowl and most are already tired of hearing about it.

The Cowboys swept the Eagles last season, winning 33-10 at home and later 21-20 in Philadelphia.

Update: This is a very big game for both teams but the Eagles have many question marks going into this game that may not be resolved until game time which comes three hours after the first kick-off of the day. Donte Stallworth is doubtful to play this week because of his ever balky hamstring and has not practiced. He only made it for one catch last Sunday before being forced from the game. I am removing him from the projections and adding in Greg Lewis as that appears likely. Game inactives won't be named until that late kick-off so starting Stallworth is a major risk this week that likely won't pay-off.

Brian Westbrook was a surprise scratch last week and it is still undetermined how much of that was him being unable to play versus saving him for this week when they would need him. Westbrook has been held out of practice again this week. He is effectively no different than he was in week three when he played and again in week four when he did not. As the key to the offense, his presence not only makes a huge difference but likely means either winning or losing coupled with the injury to Stallworth as well. I am lowering his projections since his knee is still very much a problem and he could be a gametime scratch again if he decides at gametime his knee won't hold up. Or he could gut it out and post some very nice numbers as he did in week three. With his importance so high, the Eagles won't be in any hurry to show their hand until they must.

Reggie Brown is also listed as questionable but he has practiced and is expected to play.

I am changing the game score to reflect a Dallas win. But that depends on the health of Westbrook more than anything. Even with banged up or missing players, the Eagles at home against the Cowboys and Terrell Owens will be very hard to beat from the sheer motivation aspect.

Dallas Cowboys (2-1)
1 17-24 @JAX 10 --- @ARZ
2 27-10 WAS 11 --- IND
3 Open Bye 12 --- TB
4 45-14 @TEN 13 --- @NYG
5 --- @PHI 14 --- NO
6 --- HOU 15 --- @ATL
7 --- NYG 16 --- PHI
8 --- @CAR 17 --- DET
9 --- @WAS M THU SAT
DAL at PHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Drew Bledsoe 0 0 290,2
RB Julius Jones 50 10 0
RB Marion Barber 10 20 0
TE Jason Witten 0 20 0
WR Terrell Owens 0 80,1 0
WR Terry Glenn 0 120,1 0
WR Patrick Crayton 0 30 0
PK Mike Vanderjagt 3 FG 2 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Cowboys have put in two solid efforts since the opening loss to the Jaguars and they were barely tested last week in Tennessee. This will be one of two or three most important games of the year for the franchise and a win here would give Dallas the sole lead in the NFC East. The Eagles are banged up which helps but playing in Philly is never, ever a treat.

Quarterback: Drew Bledsoe is throwing at least one score in every game and has two in each of the last two match-ups thanks to playing Washington and Tennessee. He remains a rock - at least in the sense he hardly moves and has only three rushing yards on five attempts this year. Getting Terrell Owens back last week made a difference but this Sunday Owens will likely be accompanied by so many defenders that he may feel like he is just at another Eagle inter-team scrimmage.

Bledsoe threw for 289 yards and three scores at home against the Eagles but only had 196 yards and one touchdown as a visitor in 2005.

Running Backs: Julius Jones finally had a breakout game last week when he turned in 122 yards on 23 carries in Tennessee with one score. It was such a rout that even Marion Barber (9-55) and Tyson Thompson (5-18) also scored. Jones has been more consistent around 80 yards in a game and has yet to catch more than one pass in a game this year.

Julius Jones ran for 72 yards at home against the Eagles but only had 16 yards in the second meeting in Philadelphia. Barber did not play in the initial match-up but had 46 yards and one score in Philadelphia.

Wide Receivers: While all the media eyes have been on Terrell Owens, that referee in the endzone with his arms held high has been watching Terry Glenn who has three scores on the season and two just last week. Glenn hasn't turned in any big yardage games yet but he has no bad games and just keeps on scoring while everyone points at Owens. That could easily happen again this week as Philly will naturally want to hold Owens quiet, even if it means letting Glenn have a big game.

In a somewhat well publicized event last week, Owens was briefly hospitalized with either a reaction to medicine or from the attempt to kill himself due to leading a lonely, depressed existence. Sort of depends on who you ask. Owens is still limited by his hand as proven by dropped touchdowns in each of the last two games but he'll be better this week with a huge reason to want to excel. For someone who thrives on attention, it just won't get any bigger than this one.

Glenn had 118 yards and two scores in Dallas against the Eagles last year and had 31 yards with one touchdown as a visitor.

Tight Ends: Unfortunately, Jason Witten continues to languish in relative obscurity with Owens and the rushing game taking over. Witten only has nine catches on the year for 97 yards. But he's blocking really, really well. With what should be a fierce pass rush this week, he'll likely need to block more than catch yet again.

Witten had 80 yards at home against the Eagles last season but only had 27 yards as a visitor and he never scored.

Match Against the Defense: The Philly rushing defense has been stellar this year even with the two scores allowed to Michael Robinson in week three. Other than Morency running when the Packers should have been passing, no runner has topped 52 yards against them and that includes Gore and Barber. Look for a lesser effort from Jones this week that won't get to include the other runners to any large extent.

Bledsoe is going to have to play well here to keep the Cowboys in the game but if he can avoid getting sacked and hurried, there's reasons to believe he could have a nice game here. Two of the three corners for Philly are injured and won't be 100% for this game even if they play. That means get to the quarterback in a hurry and cover any of those weaknesses as they did against Favre on Monday night. The Cowboys may elect to keep Barber in the backfield more this week if only to block as well as Witten and Fasano and hope to get production from Owens and Glenn. The Philly front line is very good and will be coming hard this week. Whatever the Cowboys can do will rely on holding them off long enough to get Glenn or Owens free. Look for a big game here from at least Glenn if not Owens as well.

Philadelphia Eagles (3-1)
1 24-10 @HOU 10 --- WAS
2 24-30 NYG 11 --- TEN
3 38-24 @SF 12 --- @IND
4 31-9 GB 13 --- CAR
5 --- DAL 14 --- @WAS
6 --- @NO 15 --- @NYG
7 --- @TB 16 --- @DAL
8 --- JAX 17 --- ATL
9 Open Bye - - MON
PHI vs DAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Donovan McNabb 10 0 260,2
RB Brian Westbrook 40 50 0
RB Correll Buckhalter 30 10 0
TE L.J. Smith 0 70,1 0
WR Donte Stallworth 0 40 0
WR Hank Baskett 0 30 0
WR Reggie Brown 0 50 0
WR Greg Lewis 0 30,1 0
PK David Akers 2 FG 2 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Eagles have been barely tested this year other than the loss to the Giants that came in a game that they allowed the Giants to mount a big comeback. Philly has been starting slow in most games but ending big with little more than slight perspiration from the effort. Numerous injuries the offense and in the secondary are troublesome, but all hands will be on deck this week for the biggest home game of the year. Owens is returning and with him the demons of a hellish 2005 season that need to be exorcised in front of the home town fans.

Quarterback: It'll be interesting this week to watch Donovan McNabb since he will likely have a banged-up set of receivers against a good Dallas defense. So far there has been no quarterback as productive as McNabb - not even close. He has scored at least twice in every game and had two rushing AND two passing scores last week against the Packers. As it worked out, he has gone against some truly bad defenses in HOU, NY, SF and GB so his astronomic numbers are not quite so shocking. A big game here will not only give the Eagles the NFC East lead, but will put in first in line for Offensive MVP with quite a distance to the #2 guy. A down game could mean he was benefiting from facing very soft defenses. Above all, this is where McNabb gets to definitely show that he doesn't need Owens around.

McNabb only played part of the first meeting with the Cowboys and threw for only 131 yards. In the second meeting he had 169 yards but was injured for the rest of the season in that game.

Running Backs: Brian Westbrook was a surprise scratch last week but that could stem as much from wanting him fresh in this game as it did from his ailing knee. Even with missing a game, Westbrook is the #1 scoring fantasy running back in most leagues and already has three rushing touchdowns and two receiving scores. Correll Buckhalter (11-49) took the start against the Packers and showed why Westbrook is such a weapon on this offense. I am assuming that Westbrook plays this week at the same level he did in week three but will update as needed. It will likely be very hard to gauge exactly what his status is prior to the game if only because the Eagles won't want to disclosed it if possible. If Westbrook does not play, this game takes a very different look.

Westbrook had only 36 total yards in the first meeting but managed 118 yards and one score in the home game against the Cowboys.

Wide Receivers: Donte Stallworth opened with two big games but then missed week three with a hamstring spasm before the game. Last Monday, Stallworth was again an early game scratch thanks to those perpetually balky hamstrings. Reggie Brown had 63 yards on three catches but busted up his shoulder later in the game. I am assuming he plays this week but will update as needed. The entire Philly wideout crew is hard to gauge this week with both starters potentially injured. Greg Lewis filled in with two scores and 75 yards on just two catches and could need to show up this week as well.

There could be updates here but realize that the only time you can be certain about Stallworth is when he is called out for the game. Since this is a later game, the inactives won't be known at first kick-off so realize the risk is there.

Tight Ends: L.J. Smith had been enjoying a big start to his season but only came up with two catches for 38 yards last week because he just wasn't needed much in the blowout over the Packers. With a banged up set of wideouts, Smith should become more needed this week.

Match Against the Defense: The Cowboys rush defense has been very good this year but like Philly, it has not faced many quality opponents yet. So far they've been holding opposing runners to less than 74 yards and usually below 50. Look for just moderate rushing numbers from Westbrook here but he should come up huge with receptions which has been a bit more problematic for the Cowboys defense this year.

McNabb goes against a secondary that has only allowed two passing scores but Leftwich, Brunell and Young were not exactly leading the NFL as is McNabb. This game should more heavily favor Smith and Westbrook as receivers than the wideouts since Dallas has good corners going against limited wideouts. This is a big game for McNabb that he likely circled on his calendar long ago. Look for a big game here that propels the Eagles into the NFC East lead.