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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
Player Projections by Team
Game Predictions Summary
The Huddle
November 15, 2006
Season Ticket
Sunday Late
Sunday night
CIN at NO PIT at CLE     updated

Prediction: ATL 10, BAL 20

The Falcons slip to 5-4 and still trail the Saints by one game in the NFC West. Currently on a two game losing streak, this road trip is almost exactly what they don't need right now. The Ravens are now a full three games ahead of the Bengals and have won their last three match-ups. Atlanta is only 2-2 on the road while the Ravens are 3-1 at home. Vick scrambling and occasionally throwing to Alge Crumpler won't be enough this week.

Update: This game appears to be messy according to the injury report but Alge Crumpler missed practice on Wednesday and returned on Thursday and is expected to play. As always. Heap (ankle) too is questionable and was held out of both days of practice but is expected to play as is Derrick Mason (calf). Keep an eye on game time inactives just in case. Ray Lewis has not been counted out yet but is not likely to play.

Atlanta Falcons (5-4)
1 20-6 @CAR 10 13-17 CLE
2 14-3 TB 11 --- @BAL
3 3-23 @NO 12 --- NO
4 32-10 ARZ 13 --- @WAS
5 Open Bye 14 --- @TB
6 14-27 NYG 15 --- DAL
7 41-38 PIT 16 --- CAR
8 29-27 @CIN 17 --- @PHI
9 14-30 @DET - MON SAT
ATL at BAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Michael Vick 70 0 160,1
RB Warrick Dunn 50 10 0
TE Alge Crumpler 0 50 0
WR Ashley Lelie 0 40,1 0
WR Michael Jenkins 0 40 0
WR Roddy White 0 20 0
PK Morten Andersen 1 FG 1 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Falcons are getting hit by more injuries each week and now have lost DE Patrick Kerney who was their sack leader. The running game has been stalled lately and Vick is back to being...well... Vick. Losing to both the Lions and the Browns casts a dark shadow on what this team can do this year, particularly with an ever shrinking roster of players.

Quarterback: The more things change, the more they remain the same. After Michael Vick turned in two of the best games in his career, he turned around and flopped in Detroit with two interceptions and a lost fumble and only 163 passing yards. Last week - same thing. Exactly the same lost footballs, just one score and 197 passing yards against the visiting Browns. Hopefully he has kept the newspaper clippings from those two sterling games because the rest of them are shaping up to be much like all the others that say Vick cannot throw well and is just a running quarterback gimmick. As if it couldn't be just a little worse, after the game Vick was quick to point out other failures in the offense. Of course this all means that he'll turn in a big week soon - just as soon as you bench him.

Running Backs: With Jerious Norwood out last week, the entire rushing load fell on Warrick Dunn but he could only come up with 73 yards on 21 carries and not score against the Browns in Atlanta. Dunn has been good in really only one game over the last seven weeks though he did have a season high four catches for 35 yards against the Browns. For a rushing attack that looked awesome after the first two weeks of the season, Dunn has only had one long run against the Giants to prevent him from complete mediocrity. He's only averaging 3.2 yards per carry for the last four games.

I am assuming that Norwood remains out this week. The Falcons have not been very specific about his knee sprain but Norwood was unable to practice last week.

Wide Receivers: Michael Jenkins is coming close to having fantasy significance since he has scored a touchdown in three of the last four games. He never had more than 53 yards in any of those games and turned in just two catches for 17 yards against the Browns last Sunday, but he is the closest that the Falcons can come to a consistent receiver. This unit is plagued by dropped passes in every game and even is a contributing factor to numerous interceptions. Just ask Vick.

Tight Ends: Alge Crumpler leads the league for tight ends with six touchdowns and is the highest scoring fantasy tight end in most leagues but that stems mostly from a three game stretch with five touchdowns. Unfortunately that stretch ended last week when he only had four catches for 37 yards.

Match Against the Defense: Warrick Dunn has been struggling and now faces the #1 defense against the run as a visitor. Not exactly a recipe for success. Expect marginal production from Dunn this week and no score. Ray Lewis could still be out this week which would help tremendously but he could manage to get over his bruised back and play.

The Ravens are actually weaker against the pass but mostly because Drew Brees had a huge game against them in New Orleans. The biggest weakness for the Ravens, as such, is also the biggest weakness for the Falcons because they are going against a secondary that has only been burned by the best of wideouts - something that hardly exists for the Falcons. Vick needs to bounce back after two poor showings but in Baltimore is about the worse place to expect that to happen. Expect one passing score eventually but another lower game for Vick unless he can break a long run.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM    QB   RB   WR   TE   PK  DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points ATL 2 17 32 6 12 12
Preventing Fantasy Points BAL 16 1 15 7 4 3


Baltimore Ravens (7-2)
1 27-0 @TB 10 27-26 @TEN
2 28-6 OAK 11 --- ATL
3 15-14 @CLE 12 --- PIT
4 16-13 SD 13 --- @CIN
5 3-13 @DEN 14 --- @KC
6 21-23 CAR 15 --- CLE
7 Open Bye 16 --- @PIT
8 35-22 @NO 17 --- BUF
9 26-20 CIN - THU MON
BAL vs ATL Rush Catch Pass
QB Steve McNair 20 0 190,2
RB Jamal Lewis 60 10 0
TE Todd Heap 0 60,1 0
WR Derrick Mason 0 50,1 0
WR Mark Clayton 0 50 0
WR Demetrius Williams 0 10 0
PK Matt Stover 2 FG 2 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Ravens finally got a huge game out of McNair but that came in part because of some revenge he wanted last week. The rushing game is mired in mediocrity each week and the defense has been saving the day in most games. That should happen again in this home match-up against a team that doesn't usually throw well and will be hard pressed to invigorate their rushing attack. While the Ravens should win this regardless, the outcome would be decided quicker if Ray Lewis plays.

Quarterback: Steve McNair comes off his best game as a Raven - by a large margin - when he had 373 passing yards and three touchdowns against his ex-employer of the Titans last week. He still had two interceptions and his touchdown total was more than he had from the four previous games combined. It was a nice bit of revenge but hardly the portend of things to come. McNair typically remains below 200 yards in most games but has managed two scores in four efforts this year.

Running Backs: Perhaps Jamal Lewis should acquire the nickname of "bulldozer" because that is about as fast as he can run. Or maybe just "dozer" since his runs put most of the viewing audience asleep. Lewis comes off a 16 carry game against the Titans where he only turned in 45 yards - slightly below his typical 3.1 yards per carry. The Ravens are rather loyal to a back who only has two touchdowns on the year and that has exceeded 80 rushing yards in a game only once because he had 31 carries (and just 109 yards).

Musa Smith, who incidentally looks far better running than Lewis and yet never gets a chance, injured his neck and head last week and was taken from the field on a backboard. He later was seen walking around and appears to be okay but obviously may not toss his three carries into the ring this week.

Wide Receivers: The only part of McNair's 373 passing yards that was the most amazing was that it almost all went to wideouts and not Todd Heap. Derrick Mason reeled in a season high eight catches for 64 yards and one score while Mark Clayton had a season high seven receptions for 125 yards and one touchdown as well. Even slot receiver Demetrius Williams had 75 yards. Now that the aberration of the year is over, Clayton and Mason can return to their weekly struggle to top 50 yards while Williams hopes to have at least one catch.

Tight Ends: Oddly enough, McNair has his best game of the year while Todd Heap had one of his worst - just 49 yards on four catches. Heap also turned his ankle a bit in the game but that is pretty much to be expected every week. Heap still has five touchdowns on the season and remains an elite fantasy tight end. He just needs McNair to return to mediocrity and just feed him passes for the entire game.

Match Against the Defense: The Falcons are good against the run and that matches up poorly for Jamal Lewis who needs a bad defense to make himself look even average. No reason to expect anything more than a moderate game here without a score.

McNair could have a nice effort in this one against a secondary that ranks as average but actually has been far worse than that lately. With Patrick Kerney out, McNair should have even more time to find an open receiver and he is spreading the ball around better as of late. Look for likely two passing scores in this one unless McNair ends up running in a score himself. That definitely favors Heap since the Falcons have played against two decent tight ends (Shockey and Miller) and both scored. Winslow was able to score against them last week, but he had 90 yards in the game anyway. The other score could go to either Mason or Clayton who has been more used recently. I am awarding it to Mason but he has no particular advantage in getting it.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM    QB   RB   WR   TE   PK  DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points BAL 16 27 27 4 7 2
Preventing Fantasy Points ATL 15 3 26 17 23 18