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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
Player Projections by Team
Game Predictions Summary
The Huddle
December 6, 2006
Season Ticket
Sunday Late
Sunday Nite
BAL at KC NYG at CAR   SEA at ARZ *updated

Prediction: NE 24, MIA 13

This was shaping up to be a more interesting game but the Patriots keep winning and the Dolphins finally fell after four straight wins. Now it's just the 9-3 Patriots who will walk away with the AFC East again against the 5-7 Dolphins who may not break .500 this season. All the Patriots are playing for is better seeding in the playoffs but is that going to be enough this week? The Patriots are 5-0 on the road this year while Miami is only 3-3 at home.

The Dolphins lost 10-20 when they visited New England in week five.

New England Patriots (9-3)
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 28-21 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 at MIA Rush Catch Pass
QB Tom Brady 0 0 250,2
RB Corey Dillon 70 0 0
RB Lawrence Maroney 40,1 30 0
TE Ben Watson 0 50,1 0
TE Daniel Graham 0 10 0
WR Doug Gabriel 0 20 0
WR Reche Caldwell 0 70,1 0
WR Troy Brown 0 30 0
PK Stephen Gostkowski 1 FG 3 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Pats are #3 in points allowed this year with just under 14 points given up per game on average. On the road, they've actually been even better with no opponent scoring more than 17 points. Dillon has been a scoring machine every other week and Brady fills in on the even numbered games. The defense has lost several players as it does every year and the Pats keep making others fill in with good results.

Quarterback: Tom Brady comes off a rare game without a touchdown pass but on the road this year he's been golden. He has thrown for 12 touchdowns during the last four trips away from home and never less than two in every game. Since week seven, he has thrown for over 200 yards in every game regardless of venue and his best two efforts on the season - four touchdown games against the Vikings and Packers - were his last two trips away from New England.

Brady only threw for 140 yards and two touchdowns in the week five game against the Dolphins.

Running Backs: Corey Dillon has scored ten touchdowns this season and yet never in two successive games. Every other week, Dillon has scored at least one touchdown and he has had as many as three just last week. But on those "off week" games, he never has scored. His yardage has tended to be around 50 yards each week with a few highs and lows but he always scores every other week.

Laurence Maroney left the win in Detroit with what was called "the wind knocked from him" though that is usually Patriot-speak for Maroney getting a concussion. If Maroney cannot play this week, Dillon will take the full load. Pending practice reports that will be intentionally misleading, I will assume that Maroney plays this week but will be a bit limited from his "concussion". Check the game inactives and I will update pending more information.

Dillon gained 45 yards on ten carries while Maroney only turned in 38 yards on 18 carries in the previous match-up against the Dolphins. Heath Evans caught a short touchdown pass.

Wide Receivers: By now, it is evident that Reche Caldwell is the primary receiver in this crew and he comes off the first 100 yard game by a Pats wideout this year when he caught eight passes for 112 yards last week. Doug Gabriel hasn't had much more than one catch per game for a month now and Jabar Gaffney is no better. Throw in Troy Brown and Chad Jackson and there are plenty of reasons to steer clear of these players for your fantasy team.

Troy Brown led all receivers in week five with five catches for 58 yards and one touchdown,

Tight Ends: Ben Watson only had three receptions for 41 yards against the Lions but in games against tougher defenses, he's always been a bigger factor. Three of his biggest four games this year were on the road.

Watson caught four passes for 33 yards against the Fins this year.

Match Against the Defense: Provided that Maroney can play this week, he'd likely score a touchdown because the Fins have allowed five scores to opposing runners in the last four home stands. Dillon could score of course but he has that perfect trend that has lasted over 12 games. I am going to credit the score to Maroney with lower yardage but as with all things Patriot, the actual playing status of players will be a closely guarded secret.

Brady should throw for at least two scores in this match-up with decent yardage against a secondary that has allowed almost every opponent to throw for at least one. That favors Watson strongly this week and after him would be a wideout. I'll credit Caldwell but it could, of course, go anywhere.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM    QB   RB   WR   TE   PK  DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NE 7 5 18 5 26 13
Preventing Fantasy Points MIA 8 5 10 25 14 20


Miami Dolphins (5-7)
1 17-28 @PIT 10 13-10 KC
2 6-16 BUF 11 24-20 MIN
3 13-10 TEN 12 27-10 @DET
4 15-17 @HOU 13 10-24 JAX
5 10-20 @NE 14 --- NE
6 17-20 @NYJ 15 --- @BUF
7 24-34 GB 16 --- NYJ
8 Open Bye 17 --- @IND
9 31-13 @CHI - MON THU
MIA vs NE Rush Catch Pass
QB Joey Harrington 0 0 230,1
RB Sammy Morris 50 10 0
TE Randy McMichael 0 20 0
WR Chris Chambers 0 80,1 0
WR Marty Booker 0 60 0
WR Wes Welker 0 60 0
PK Olindo Mare 2 FG 1 XP -

Pregame Notes: The giddy high from a four game winning streak came crashing down last week when Ronnie Brown was out and Joey Harrington turned back into Joey Harrington. At 5-7 and with NE, IND and NYJ left to play, reaching a .500 season seems a major challenge while any playoff talk is over now. HC Nick Saban was wondering why his teams always start so slowly every year. He may be wondering why they end badly too.

Quarterback: Joey Harrington had his magic game when he threw for three scores in Detroit but last week he only had one touchdown and two interceptions against the Jaguars. He's been consistent at staying above 200 yards and usually scores once but anything more is a rarity.

Harrington threw for 232 and no scores against the Patriots this year and had two interceptions.

Running Backs: Ronnie Brown remains out with a hand injury that required surgery and a cast. The Dolphins have not set a timetable for when he will return but I will count him out until practice reports are encouraging. Last week Sammy Morris only gained 47 yards on 12 carries.

Ronnie Brown only gained 39 yards on 17 carries but scored once against the Pats this year. He only had one catch for a net three yards loss.

Wide Receivers: Chris Chambers snapped a 14-game streak without a 100-yard receiving performance last week when he caught eight passes for 121 yards. Prior to that effort, Chambers had a high game of only 66 yards. He still has not scored in the last four weeks. Marty Booker has been the endzone receiver as of late with three scores in the last two games and a big 115 yard effort in Detroit. Prior to that performance he had been stuck around 40 yards in most games.

Wes Welker led all wideouts when he had 77 yards on nine catches against the Patriots earlier this season.

Tight Ends: Randy McMichael scored in Detroit for the only time this season but last week he was back to minimal numbers.

McMichael gained 84 yards on six catches in New England this year.

Match Against the Defense: The Patriots have a strong rush defense and Sammy Morris will never challenge for a starting spot anywhere sans injury to the starter. Look for moderate to low rushing yardage from him with no score.

Harrington has not fared that well against a good defense and New England is one of the best. Expect no more than one passing score and moderate yardage here. Favor Chambers with a score in this one against the same match-up that gave Furrey 123 yards and a score last week.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM    QB   RB   WR   TE   PK  DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points MIA 20 26 11 16 24 6
Preventing Fantasy Points NE 4 4 17 2 8 16