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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
Player Projections by Team
Game Predictions Summary
The Huddle
October 25, 2006
Season Ticket
Sunday Late
Sunday night
On Bye
BAL at NO SF at CHI NYJ at CLE NE at MIN  
HOU at TEN TB at NYG PIT at OAK   updated

Prediction: DAL 20, CAR 21

Perhaps neither of these teams were quite as good as they thought they were. The Cowboys come off a humbling loss on Monday Night Football and sparked a quarterback chance while sounding all the alarms at Valley Ranch. The Panthers had been on a four game winning streak before heading into Cincinnati last week. But Carolina was on the road and almost won or tied that game. The Cowboys at home were so frustrated that they made major personnel changes that just made matters worse. The Cowboys will likely bounce back but it still won't be enough to win in Carolina for the second time.

The Cowboys won 24-20 in Carolina during week 16 of 2005.

Dallas Cowboys (3-3)
1 17-24 @JAX 10 --- @ARZ
2 27-10 WAS 11 --- IND
3 Open Bye 12 --- TB
4 45-14 @TEN 13 --- @NYG
5 24-38 @PHI 14 --- NO
6 34-6 HOU 15 --- @ATL
7 22-36 NYG 16 --- PHI
8 --- @CAR 17 --- DET
9 --- @WAS M THU SAT
DAL at CAR Rush Catch Pass
QB Tony Romo 20 0 230,2
RB Julius Jones 70 10 0
RB Marion Barber 20 10 0
TE Jason Witten 0 40,1 0
WR Terrell Owens 0 80,1 0
WR Terry Glenn 0 40 0
WR Patrick Crayton 0 50 0
PK Mike Vanderjagt 2 FG 2 XP -
Pregame Notes: The loss on Monday night was devastating. Gone was the chance to take first place. The Cowboys continual shortcoming was exposed on the first series - giving up the long play. They couldn't run or throw and once again ended the game watching an opposing defensive back running back a long interception return for a score. There were a few positives from the game but now Dallas has a three game road stretch ahead with a brand new quarterback.

Quarterback: It only took one half for Parcells to see Drew Bledsoe complete 7 of 12 for 111 yards and one interception before he started Tony Romo for the second half. Romo's first pass - an interception. And two more to follow. Romo did complete 14 of 25 for 227 yards and two scores but the three interceptions alone negated any comeback. While so far HC Bill Parcells has been less than completely firm in saying that Romo is the starting quarterback, there's no doubt that he will. A player the stature of Bledsoe doesn't get benched at halftime while trailing only by five points and not have it be "the change".

Bledsoe threw for 209 yards and one score against the Panthers last year.

Running Backs: After three straight games over 100 yards rushing, Julius Jones comes off his worst game of the year - easily - when he only had 13 carries for 30 yards last Monday. The offense is supposed to have him run between 20 and 24 carries a game and he had been gaining 4.5 to 5.0 yards per carry until last week. Unfortunately, Jones enjoyed one of his rare monster games last year in Carolina when he gained 194 yards on 34 carries and scored twice. Chances are good they remember.

Wide Receivers: Terrell Owens had his season best game last week when he caught six passes for 98 yards and one score. He also dropped a couple of passes, one of which was fourth down near the Giants 30-yard line. Owens has scored in the last two games and is getting more throws each week. This is coming at the expense of Terry Glenn who has spent the last four weeks with declining numbers, ending at just 41 yards last week. Even Patrick Crayton is doing more than Glenn. The slot receiver has over 60 yards in each of the last two games and scored against the Giants.

Terry Glenn and Keyshawn Johnson both had around 90 receiving yards in Carolina last year and Glenn scored the lone Dallas receiving touchdown.

Tight Ends: Of all the negatives from last week, perhaps the lone positive was the apparent reintroduction of Jason Witten into the passing game. He had four catches for 72 yards - all them in the second half with Romo as quarterback.

Witten only gained nine yards on one catch against the Panthers in 2005.

Match Against the Defense: The Cowboys had been solid with rushing Jones for 100 yards and he had a monster game last season in Carolina. The Panthers rushing defense has only given up two touchdowns to running backs this season but three runners have already topped 100 yards against them this year. Expect a good game here from Jones but no score and nothing near what he did there last year.

Romo goes against an average secondary that can be beaten. The safest bet here is to continue to expect Owens to make some noise and the use of Witten comes at a great time against a team ranked 31st against tight ends. Expect both to score and Romo to end up around 230 yards if Dallas has to throw to keep up.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM    QB   RB   WR   TE   PK  DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DAL 4 5 7 21 14 8
Preventing Fantasy Points CAR 18 8 8 31 19 9


Carolina Panthers (4-3)
1 6-20 ATL 10 --- TB
2 13-16 @MIN 11 --- STL
3 26-24 @TB 12 --- @WAS
4 21-18 NO 13 --- @PHI
5 20-12 CLE 14 --- NYG
6 23-21 @BAL 15 --- PIT
7 14-17 @CIN 16 --- @ATL
8 --- DAL 17 --- @NO
9 Open Bye - - MON
CAR vs DAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Jake Delhomme 0 0 220,2
RB DeShaun Foster 50 10 0
TE Kris Mangum 0 10 0
WR Steve Smith 0 100,1 0
WR Drew Carter 0 20 0
WR Keyshawn Johnson 0 80,1 0
PK John Kasay 0 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Panthers won four straight games by scoring just enough to take those victories - never more than the eight points against the visiting Browns and by three points or less against the Buccaneers, Saints and Ravens. Finally that luck ran out in Cincinnati when Delhomme threw an interception at the CIN 10-yard line with under four minutes to play last week. Almost pulled out another. This week Keyshawn Johnson gets to say hello to Parcells - you know how badly Keyshawn will want to play well.

Quarterback: With Steve Smith back, Jake Delhomme has been markedly better and has thrown two scores in three of the last four games and never failed to have at least one touchdown. The last two road games produced nice yardage as well. In three home games, Delhomme has not had more than 180 passing yards this year though.

Delhomme threw for 260 yards and two scores against the Cowboys in 2005.

Running Backs: DeAngelo Williams likely remains out this week and once again leaves DeShaun Foster to fend by himself. That hasn't meant much the last two weeks with Foster only gained less than 60 yards in a game. Foster gained only 68 yards on 22 carries against Dallas last year.

Wide Receivers: Steve Smith has been a fantasy gem in four of his five games this year with only one 62 yard effort against the Browns as a low mark. That's left Keyshawn Johnson with less than 70 yards for the last month but this week Johnson faces his ex-employer and a chance to show Bill Parcells he still has the goods. Keyshawn has only scored one touchdown this year - against his ex-employer Tampa Bay that provided the winning margin. Drew Carter figures in some weeks and disappears in others, but Smith is currently he most consistent wideout besides Torry Holt. And this week, Keyshawn gets a chance at a little revenge.

Steve Smith was held to only one catch for 18 yards against Dallas last year while Ricky Proehl (104, 1 TD) and Drew Carter (55, 1 TD) were left alone as Dallas escorted Smith everywhere he went.

Tight Ends: Kris Mangum had a score last week but that's the first by any Panthers tight end and still he only had 11 yards in the game.

Match Against the Defense: The Cowboys rushing defense has been pretty solid until Tiki Barber last week. But Foster is no Tiki, so do not expect any touchdowns here and only moderate rushing yardage.

Delhomme gets to go against a secondary that is usually pretty solid but that gives up the big play in almost every game, if not more than one. I like Delhomme throw two scores here - one to Steve Smith and a second that should end up with the motivated Keyshawn Johnson. I also like the chance for a defensive score in this game.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM    QB   RB   WR   TE   PK  DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CAR 24 23 10 29 9 24
Preventing Fantasy Points DAL 17 12 16 22 13 29