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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
Player Projections by Team
Game Predictions Summary
The Huddle
November 29, 2006
Season Ticket
Sunday Late
Sunday night
ATL at WAS MIN at CHI   TB at PIT Updated

Prediction: DET 7, NE 27

The Lions chalked up yet another Thanksgiving Day loss since it matched up so well with all the other games they have played this year. Now the Lions head to New England with a 0-5 road record. Probably not going to happen here. The Patriots are 8-3 and while all three losses came at home, they hardly went to teams the likes of Detroit. The Pats need a big win and this should be the one for the hometown fans.

Detroit Lions (2-9)
1 6-9 SEA 10 13-19 SF
2 7-34 @CHI 11 10-17 @ARZ
3 24-31 GB 12 10-27 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 NE Rush Catch Pass
QB Jon Kitna 0 0 180,1
RB Kevin Jones 70 40 0
TE Marcus Pollard 0 10 0
WR Roy Williams 0 60,1 0
WR Mike Furrey 0 40 0
WR Corey Bradford 0 30 0
PK Jason Hanson 0 FG 1 XP -
Pregame Notes: The last three weeks has seen the Lions decline at a rapid pace and it's not as if any of their opponents had a winning record. Now on the road to division leading New England, the Lions have little more than a shot at a win in week 14 when the Vikings come to town, Other than that, they'll have to hope for a trap game that likely won't happen. The coaching staff is still new enough that it's likely still safe with a 2-14 record but this would have to be the final year of such folly.

Quarterback: The Lions keep losing and Jon Kitna continues to chug along with around 250 yards and one score in each game. Other than the one three score effort against the Jets, Kitna has not exceeded one score in a game since week four. In his favor, of only four games with multiple touchdowns, three happened on the road. The loss of Kevin Jones has proven to be particularly damaging to the Lions ability to move the ball but whether he is there or not, Kitna still ends up around 250 yards and one score in most games.

Running Backs: Kevin Jones was held out last week and his replacement Arlen Harris only managed to gain 15 yards on 18 carries. Unlike Jones, Kitna never bothered to include Harris in the passing game either. Jones returned to practice on Monday and appears good to go this week. I will project for him assuming he will be healthy to play.

Wide Receivers: Roy Williams had six catches for 126 yards on Thanksgiving and that gives him five games over the 100 yard mark this year. Williams has not scored since week nine. Mike Furrey ended with 67 yards last week and had the exact same numbers the previous game. He hasn't scored since week seven but remains a solid possession outlet for Kitna.

Of very minor note, Mike Williams finally had his first (and only) catch of the season when he gained seven yards against the Dolphins.

Tight Ends: Dan Campbell scored the lone touchdown last week, same as he did in week 10. Kitna never uses him much, but he likes him in the redzone.

Match Against the Defense: The Patriots have a top rush defense that has allowed only six scores this year to running backs but Jones is a dual threat. He won't likely score here but he should manage good yardage with his receiving included. Kitna will need the outlet.

Kitna faces a top secondary as well but there is little doubt he will be forced to the passing game early but that still won't likely get him much over 200 yards if he gets that far. With any luck the Patriots get a big early lead and let Kitna rack up some trash yards but more than one score is very unlikely. Only four quarterbacks have scored at all against the Pats this year.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM    QB   RB   WR   TE   PK  DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DET 10 20 14 18 18 29
Preventing Fantasy Points NE 3 5 14 2 3 16


New England Patriots (8-3)
1 19-17 BUF 10 14-17 NYJ
2 24-17 @NYJ 11 35-0 @GB
3 7-17 DEN 12 17-13 CHI
4 38-13 @CIN 13 --- DET
5 20-10 MIA 14 --- @MIA
6 Open Bye 15 --- HOU
7 28-6 @BUF 16 --- @JAX
8 31-7 @MIN 17 --- @TEN
9 20-27 IND - - MON
NEP vs DET Rush Catch Pass
QB Tom Brady 0 0 240,2
RB Corey Dillon 50,1 0 0
RB Lawrence Maroney 60 30 0
TE Ben Watson 0 80,1 0
TE Daniel Graham 0 20 0
WR Doug Gabriel 0 40,1 0
WR Reche Caldwell 0 50 0
WR Troy Brown 0 10 0
PK Stephen Gostkowski 2 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: While perhaps overlooked, the reality is that the Patriots defense has been more than a little good this year. They rank #2 in points allowed (144), second only to the Bears (137) and ahead of the Ravens (147). Only the Colts have managed to score more than 17 points against them this season. The offense had a slow start figuring out who the receivers were but Brady has control now and Gillette Stadium even has new carpet just so the quarterback doesn't slip around. This game could be a blow out but there is no need for it. The Patriots only have two more games that should prove a big challenge - at Miami and at Jacksonville and those will likely still have the Pats favored.

Quarterback: Tom Brady only had one passing score last week but that was against the Bears and he still managed 269 passing yards. Brady has remained about 200 in each of the last five games with four of them ringing in with 250 or more. He still has more interceptions than normal but the Pats are winning and this week should not be in the way of that trend. Brady is third in the NFL with 20 passing touchdowns on the season.

Running Backs: The two headed attack still has only one 100 yard game by an individual and that was back in week four by Laurence Maroney. He has scored in both of the last games though and most recently has been back into the passing game as a receiver. Corey Dillon has turned in sub-50 yard games most weeks this year but has scored exactly in every other game - and he did not score last week.

Wide Receivers: Not that anything can be reliable with the Patriots wideouts, but Reche Caldwell has scored twice in the last three weeks and had at least 57 yards in each of those games. That is major consistency for a Patriot this year. Doug Gabriel has almost disappeared the last few games which likely means he is due for something this week. Brady has been relying on Ben Watson more than any wideout.

Tight Ends: These last two weeks have been season highs for Ben Watson with efforts of 74 and 89 yards and a score in each game. Brady has settled down to relying on Watson to the added detriment of the wideouts.

Match Against the Defense: The Lions rush defense is only average on a good day and this should not prove to be a good day. Look for decent yardage in total and for Dillon to score.

Brady goes against a secondary that was ranked as the worse until recently but it still is no better. Look for at least two scores from Brady and good yardage. There could be more if Brady doesn't get bored or the Pats get so far ahead that they just run every play. Watson goes against a very soft defense this week and should make it the third straight week with a score. The other will go to a wideout and while Caldwell is the hottest right now, that usually means someone else will catch it this week.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM    QB   RB   WR   TE   PK  DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NE 7 4 19 3 26 23
Preventing Fantasy Points DET 26 19 20 28 29 28