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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
Player Projections by Team
Game Predictions Summary
The Huddle
WEEK 15
December 13, 2006
Season Ticket
Thursday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday Late
Sunday Late
SF at SEA CLE at BAL NYJ at MIN DEN at ARZ KC at SD
Saturday
DET at GB PIT at CAR PHI at NYG
Monday
DAL at ATL HOU at NE TB at CHI MIA at BUF CIN at IND
  JAX at TEN WAS at NO STL at OAK *updated

Prediction: HOU 3, NE 17

The Texans are 2-5 on the road this year and have actually won two of their last three away games thanks to the Jaguars and Raiders. The Patriots stumbled badly in a shutout loss to the Dolphins but return home for their final regular season game. The Patriots loss dropped them to #4 seed in the AFC and an easy home game this week cannot be written off as a win after the fiasco last week in Miami.

Update: The Patriots always entertaining and rarely reliable injury and practice reports have Laurence Maroney still questionable with his bad back and he has been held out of practices. I am not adding him back into the projections but at least the Patriots are playing in an easy game so inactives will be known prior to kickoffs on Sunday. Benjamin Watson is questionable and has not practiced due to his knee so I am not adding him in. But now even Daniel Graham is questionable and not practicing due to a sore ankle so I am removing him from the projections.

As a sign that the tight ends are ailing, the Patriots signed O.J. Santiago on Wednesday and yet he is already questionable on the injury report.

Also Doug Gabriel has been obviously removed from the projections because he was surprisingly released on Monday likely as a "look what happens" by the Patriots in the wake of the shut out last week. Unfortunately, Chad Jackson remains questionable again this week and he has not played since week 12.

It is almost certain that one or more of these receivers/tight ends that are questionable will play this week but the Patriots as always will cloak what will happen until game inactives must be announced. With so many injuries to significant players, I am lowering the projections and game score though after last week, it would be expected that the Patriots rebound in a big way in a home game on the heels of being violated in Miami last week.

Houston Texans (4-9)
1 10-24 PHI 10 13-10 @JAX
2 24-43 @IND 11 21-24 BUF
3 15-31 WAS 12 11-26 @NYJ
4 17-15 MIA 13 23-14 @OAK
5 Open Bye 14 20-26 TEN
6 6-34 @DAL 15 --- @NE
7 27-7 JAX 16 --- IND
8 22-28 @TEN 17 --- CLE
9 10-14 @NYG - - -
HOU at NE Rush Catch Pass
QB David Carr 0 0 180
RB Wali Lundy 20 30 0
RB Ron Dayne 50 10 0
TE Owen Daniels 0 30 0
WR Andre Johnson 0 80 0
WR Eric Moulds 0 20 0
WR Kevin Walter 0 10 0
PK Kris Brown 1 FG 0 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Texans were the latest team to fall to a Vince Young comeback and with only IND and CLE left after this week, the Texans are likely to end up with no more than one more win - if that much. On the plus side there should be at least three teams with worse records so they won't have to pass on anyone quite as notable as they did last April. This is the final road game of the year.

Quarterback: After starting out with scores in each of his first four games, David Carr has only thrown touchdowns in two of the last nine games. The season is winding down and so far, Carr has not improved this season - he has gotten worse.

Running Backs: The Texans are now using a dual backfield with Wali Lundy and Ron Dayne and while Lundy gets the starting call, Dayne has had the bulk of the work these last two weeks when he has ran for 95 yards on 18 carries against the Raiders and last Sunday turned in 87 yards on 21 runs with two touchdowns scored. Lundy was only given five carries in both games. Remember all of this next summer when you consider drafting a Texans running back. And then don't.

Wide Receivers: What little passing that Carr does, it almost entirely favors Andre Johnson. The problem is that Johnson has only caught one touchdown in the last six weeks and his has not topped 100 yards since week seven. He started the season red hot as one of the top fantasy wideouts and by now he's just another possession receiver with the odd touchdown. Eric Moulds has only had one catch in each of the last two games.

Tight Ends: Owen Daniels has been settled at around 20 yards per week since his big game six weeks ago.

Match Against the Defense: The Patriots have a solid rush defense and the Texans are still convinced that Ron Dayne is worthy of carrying the bulk of the load. That may change after this week - expect no more than moderate numbers here that could go lower.

Carr has not been throwing well and now faces the #3 defense against quarterbacks. The Patriots were humbled if not humiliated last week and they will take it out on the visiting Texans. Only six teams have passed for touchdowns against the Patriots and the Texans will not be the seventh. Look for the Patriots to make amends for falling apart last week.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM    QB   RB   WR   TE   PK  DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points HOU 19 27 21 12 28 28
Preventing Fantasy Points NE 3 6 15 2 8 19

 

New England Patriots (9-4)
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 0-21 @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 HOU Rush Catch Pass
QB Tom Brady 0 0 210,1
RB Corey Dillon 80,1 0 0
TE Ben Watson 0 20 0
TE Daniel Graham 0 10 0
WR Jabar Gaffney 0 40 0
WR Reche Caldwell 0 60,1 0
WR Troy Brown 0 20 0
PK Stephen Gostkowski 1 FG 2 XP -

Pregame Notes: Last week was rife with upsets across the league but none were as surprising as the shutout dealt to the Patriots by the Dolphins. The loss still doesn't likely jeopardize the Pats chances to win the division thanks to the Jets losing as well but this is the final home game of the year and the easiest match-up left to play. After last week, the Patriots should have no problem focusing on winning this match-up.

Quarterback: Tom Brady was back on track scoring multiple touchdowns in every game until week nine. Since then, he has only scored in three of the six games and just once in two of those. Last week Brady was off his game to a previously unseen level when he only had 12 completions on 25 attempts for 78 yards before being yanked in the fourth quarter. This is a week where Brady needs to get back to business in a big way before heading off to face the Jaguars in week 15.

Running Backs: Laurence Maroney has been hampered by a sore back since having the wind knocked out of him against the Lions in week 13. The condition did not improve and Maroney was a gametime scratch last week. He did not miss much as Corey Dillon only gained 79 yards on 16 carries. Dillon has a great chance this week to continue his perfect trend of scoring in every other game. He had no scores last week and plays in Jacksonville the following week. Almost like it is scripted.

I am not projecting for Maroney until he is cleared to play.

Wide Receivers: Reche Caldwell has been the only wideout with any consistency for the last month and even he had only one catch last week. The Patriot wideouts have always been difficult to forecast but lately it has not matter because there has been little to expect.

Tight Ends: While Ben Watson had a bad outing in Miami on Sunday, so did the rest of the Pats. Watson remains the most used receiver by Brady with 50 or more yards in most games this year.

Match Against the Defense: Expect Corey Dillon to score at least once this week since almost every team has this season. His yardage will depend on Maroney playing but without him, Dillon faces a team that has only given up three 100 rushing games this year and never more than 124 to any runner. Look for only moderate yardage.

Where the Texans are weakest is against the pass and Brady could really use a good game here after last week. Expect two scores instead of the one that the Texans usually give up with moderate to good yardage that favors the cast of wideouts and even Watson since the Texans have faced very few teams that use their tight ends. Bottom line here - the Patriots need a big turn around after a humiliation in Miami. The Texans chose the wrong week to show up.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM    QB   RB   WR   TE   PK  DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NE 12 5 19 5 29 18
Preventing Fantasy Points HOU 28 22 14 4 16 21