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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: DET 20, ARZ 24

Nothing like getting beaten by the visiting 49ers to say that the season is not going well. The Lions are 0-4 on the road this year and could pull off an upset here but odds are that the Cardinals are going to win a game this year and it simply won't be any more likely than this week.

The Lions won 29-21 when the Cardinals visited Detroit in week 10 last year.

Update: The Lions released Kevin Kasper as their weekly ritual of dumping the current slot receiver and they re-signed Corey Bradford back. I am adding in Bradford but the slot in Detroit has been constantly chainging this year. There is even a possibility that back-up quarterback Josh McCown could run a few plays as a receiver.

Larry Fitzgerald is listed as probable to play but has practiced and will suit up. He is still not 100% healthy due to his hamstring but he already had a nice game last week.

Detroit Lions (2-7)
1 6-9 SEA 10 13-19 SF
2 7-34 @CHI 11 --- @ARZ
3 24-31 GB 12 --- MIA
4 34-41 @STL 13 --- @NE
5 17-26 @MIN 14 --- MIN
6 20-17 BUF 15 --- @GB
7 24-31 @NYJ 16 --- CHI
8 Open Bye 17 --- @DAL
9 30-14 ATL - - THU
DET at ARZ Rush Catch Pass
QB Jon Kitna 0 0 290,2
RB Kevin Jones 80 50 0
TE Marcus Pollard 0 10 0
WR Roy Williams 0 110,1 0
WR Mike Furrey 0 70,1 0
WR Corey Bradford 0 20 0
WR Kevin Kasper 0 20 0
PK Jason Hanson 2 FG 2 XP -
Pregame Notes: Last week was the bad week for upsets and the Lions felt that inch but in reality they haven't been nearly as competitive as their final scores may indicate. The Martz-style offense is wonderful for fantasy owners with ample trash time yards and scores but not many games have been in question by the fourth quarter. The offense has improved, last week not withstanding, but the defense still needs some work. Again.

Quarterback: Following the theme of upsets last week, the home bound Jon Kitna faced perhaps his weakest opponent in the visiting 49ers and yet turned in his worst game since week two. Kitna only had 202 yards and one score against one interception when he had not fallen below 269 passing yards for the last three weeks. It was just one game and not a change in the effectiveness of this Mart-inspired offense. Kitna has scored at least once in the last seven games and usually ends up around that 270 yard mark. Two of his best three games came on the road.

The Lions threw for 231 yards and three scores against the visiting Cardinals last year.

Running Backs: The Lions may not win many games and Kevin Jones is not about to challenge for the rushing yard lead in the NFL, but even when he turns in a down game as he did last week with just 44 yards on 13 carries, he merely bumps up his role as a receiver and had a season high nine catches for 71 yards last week. Jones had rushed for 628 yards this year and ranks #1 in the NFL with 50 catches by a running back.

Jones ran for 81 yards against the Cards in 2005.

Wide Receivers: Somehow Mike Furrey took what should have been a dream match-up last week and instead of excelling, he turned in his worst effort of the season. Furrey only had two catches for 13 yards against the 49ers. Even Roy Williams only had five catches for 81 yards and failed to score for the first time in four games. Williams remains the focal point here but some concern this week is that most of his worst efforts this season came in road games. In four games as the visitor, Williams has only scored once and had games of 71, 7 and 29 yards on the road. He had one effort in St. Louis that saw him gain 139 yards, but three out of four were definitely a drop-off when he left Detroit. Conversely, Furrey has all three of his scores and his two best efforts come on the road this year.

Roy Williams had 117 yards and three touchdowns against the Cardinals last year.

Tight Ends: Six straight weeks that Marcus Pollard only gets one catch per game.

Match Against the Defense: The Cardinals rushing defense is always far better at home and only one opposing runner has scored a rushing touchdown there in the last four home games. Look for Kevin Jones to only have moderate rushing here but to supplement that with ample receiving yardage as did Larry Johnson who had 106 yards in Arizona earlier this year.

Kitna faces a secondary that should give up some big yardage in this game and likely two scores. The average ranking below stems mostly from opponents preferring to run against them this year and when an opponent tries to rack up much in the passing game, they usually end up around 300 yards and two scores. That of course favors Roy Williams getting back into gear along with Mike Furrey.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM    QB   RB   WR   TE   PK  DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DET 6 18 15 16 14 28
Preventing Fantasy Points ARZ 19 28 16 14 31 30


Arizona Cardinals (1-8)
1 34-27 SF 10 10-27 DAL
2 10-21 @SEA 11 --- DET
3 14-16 STL 12 --- @MIN
4 10-32 @ATL 13 --- @STL
5 20-23 KC 14 --- SEA
6 23-24 CHI 15 --- DEN
7 9-22 @OAK 16 --- @SF
8 14-31 @GB 17 --- @SD
9 Open Bye - - MON
ARZ vs DET Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Leinart 0 0 260,2
RB Edgerrin James 80,1 20 0
TE Leonard Pope 0 10 0
WR Anquan Boldin 0 70,1 0
WR Larry Fitzgerald 0 90,1 0
WR Bryant Johnson 0 50 0
PK Neil Rackers 1 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: Time to circle the wagons and prepare to play the most winnable game left on the schedule. The Cardinals finally have Fitzgerald and Boldin both in the game and James is even running better lately (albeit per carry and not from volume of runs). Leinart gets his best matchup of the year and after five weeks has to be hungry for a win. If the Cards drop this one, they could easily end up 1-15 with a 15 game losing steak. Denny might not still be around to witness that, but it is entirely possible.

Quarterback: Matt Leinart now has started five games and still has yet to know what an NFL win is like. He came close in those first two efforts when he had two scores and nice yardage against both the Bears and Chiefs but he's fallen back in the three games since. Leinart only had one touchdown in the last three games and hasn't been above 216 passing yards. He's also had five interceptions in those games. Leinart got Larry Fitzgerald back last week but it appeared that merely came at the expense of Anquan Boldin.

Warner threw for 359 yards and one score in Detroit last year.

Running Backs: Edgerrin James has been running more effectively the last couple of weeks, but he's still limited in carries because of game situation. James ran for 68 yards on 15 carries against the Cowboys and he had 84 yards on 24 carries in Green Bay but his only real positive lately has been a small increase in his use as a receiver. Leinart had only connected with him once per game for a few weeks but had three and two completions to him in the last two games. It's nothing like what he had in Indianapolis to be sure, but at least the baby steps seem to be going forward.

Wide Receivers: After missing four games with a hamstring issue, Larry Fitzgerald finally came back to the field last week and had a respectable 80 yards on six catches in his first game with Leinart as the starter. Anquan Boldin only had two catches for 53 yards though and did not get any benefit of lesser coverage because Fitzgerald was back. This week against a softer secondary should yield a better picture of what to expect now that Boldin, Fitzgerald and Leinart are all playing together.

Fitzgerald turned in nine catches for141 yards and one score in Detroit last year while Boldin missed the game.

Tight Ends: Leonard Pope is lucky to have one catch per week.

Match Against the Defense: The Lions rush defense is about average in most games though they surrendered three scores to the Jets in the last road game. Look for one score from the very overdue James and moderate to decent yardage for once.

Leinart faces a secondary that has been statistically good the last could of games but Brad Johnson, Pennington, Vick and Alex Smith are hardly in productive offenses for passing. Even Losman had two scores against this secondary and Favre shredded it for three scores. Look for a nice bounce back game for Leinart that makes the world all seem right - even if only for one week. CB Dre Bly draws Boldin but he hasn't been quite the shut down corner this year he once was. Look for Fitzgerald to have the biggest game but Boldin should figure in.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM    QB   RB   WR   TE   PK  DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points ARZ 19 30 8 31 24 16
Preventing Fantasy Points DET 25 22 17 28 29 28