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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
Player Projections by Team
Game Predictions Summary
The Huddle
December 20, 2006
Season Ticket
Sunday Late
Sunday Late
updated IND at HOU TEN at BUF CIN at DEN NYJ at MIA

Prediction: NYJ 20, MIA 17

This should be a good late Monday night game even though the Dolphins come off a big-time shut out in Buffalo. The Jets won 20-17 when they hosted the Dolphins in week six and need this win to remain in contention for a wild card. The Dolphins just need a win to keep up hopes of breaking .500 on the season.

Update: Marty Booker remains out with a sprained ankle and has not practiced this week. Ronnie Brown has practiced for the first time since surgery on his broken hand but is still questionable this week. I am expecting that Brown and Sammy Morris share the load this week and have adjusted the projections accordingly.

Both Laveranues Coles (back) and Cedric Houston (calf) are questionable this week and have been limited in practice. They will both likely play but will not be 100% so I am lowering their projections.

New York Jets (8-6)
1 23-16 @TEN 10 17-14 @NE
2 17-24 NE 11 0-10 CHI
3 28-20 @BUF 12 26-11 HOU
4 28-31 IND 13 38-10 @GB
5 0-41 @JAX 14 13-31 BUF
6 20-17 MIA 15 26-13 @MIN
7 31-24 DET 16 --- @MIA
8 13-20 @CLE 17 --- OAK
9 Open Bye - - MON
NYJ at MIA Rush Catch Pass
QB Chad Pennington 0 0 220,1
RB Cedric Houston 40 10 0
RB Leon Washington 20 20 0
TE Chris Baker 0 30,1 0
WR Laveranues Coles 0 60 0
WR Justin McCareins 0 30 0
WR Jerricho Cotchery 0 50,1 0
PK Mike Nugent 2 FG 2 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Jets just need a win this week before returning home and beating the Raiders. But the Jets have played inconsistently this season, oddly winning in road games against the Pats and Bills but losing their home stands against them. The Jets are 8-6 and yet have never won more than two straight games. But the Dolphins are no better and started out worse. It all comes down to this week.

Quarterback: The Jets offense has improved as the season progresses and Chad Pennington has thrown for at least one score in each of his last three road games which went against defenses like Minnesota and New England. What Pennington has not been able to stop is turnovers with two in each of the last two games. Pennington has rarely branched out beyond Coles and Cotchery, but he's hard to beat when one of them can get open.

Pennington threw for 175 yards and two scores against the Dolphins this season.

Running Backs: The running back carousel in New York has stopped for now and Cedric Houston takes the lion's share of carries each week. He has scored four times in the last four games while managed at least 50 yards as a starter. Houston is no bug yardage runner with only one effort over 60 yards this year but he has scored in four different games. Leon Washington's role continues to grow smaller as the season wears on.

In week six against Miami. the Jets ran Kevan Barlow for 45 yards on 13 carries and also used Leon Washington eleven times for 58 yards. Neither runner scored.

Wide Receivers: Laveranues Coles reeled in five catches for 106 yards and two scores against the Fins this year while Cotchery only had one catch for six yards. But Coles was hit in the back last week and could be limited on Monday. Practice reports should help clear up his condition and Coles insists that he will play this week. His involvement is critical as he has scored in three of the last four games and remains the primary target for Pennington. Jerricho Cotchery has done well when faced with soft defenses this year but has remained with 70 yards or less whenever the Jets face a formidable defense.

Tight Ends: Chris Baker has stepped up over the last month where he typically brings in around 20 or 30 yards each week but he only has two scores on the year and only one in the last 11 games.

Baker caught four passes for 39 yards against the Dolphins this year.

Match Against the Defense: The Dolphins rush defense is one of the best and Houston is hardly more than an average runner. Look for only moderate yardage here at best and likely no score.

Pennington will have to win this game unless the defense can score and faces a secondary that is also top ten. But Pennington knows this defense well and already had some success. Look for two scores that will strongly favor Laveranues Coles and likely either Baker or Cotchery. Baker faces one of the softer defenses against tight ends but Pennington has not been looking for Baker in the endzone lately.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM    QB   RB   WR   TE   PK  DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NYJ 25 19 11 27 21 19
Preventing Fantasy Points MIA 9 4 9 27 10 16


Miami Dolphins (6-8)
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 21-0 NE
6 17-20 @NYJ 15 0-21 @BUF
7 24-34 GB 16 --- NYJ
8 Open Bye 17 --- @IND
9 31-13 @CHI - MON THU
MIA vs NYJ Rush Catch Pass
QB Joey Harrington 0 0 180,1
RB Ronnie Brown 50 0 0
RB Sammy Morris 40,1 0 0
TE Randy McMichael 0 30 0
WR Chris Chambers 0 50,1 0
WR Derek Hagen 0 20 0
WR Wes Welker 0 50 0
PK Olindo Mare 1 FG 2 XP -

Pregame Notes: Here's a sign why they play the games on Sunday. The Dolphins shut out the Patriots in week 14 but were beaten by them in New England. The next week, the Bills shut the Fins out. With a final game in Indianapolis, this is the week with the best shot at a win but the offensive line problems persist with Jeno James on IR and Harrington was slapped around last week like the new guy on the cell block.

Quarterback: Joey Harrington only completed 5 of 17 passes for 20 yards and two interceptions before finally getting the hook last week. Other than his one trip to Detroit, Harrington has only managed one score in games over the last five weeks and once he lost his crutch of Marty Booker last week there was no hope. Harrington has played well in spurts this year but mainly against the weaker opponents. He's no lock to keep Culpepper on the bench next year.

Harrington threw for 266 yards and one score with two interceptions against the Jets this year.

Running Backs: There is optimism that Ronnie Brown can return from his broken hand this week and his cast has been removed. Like the rest of the offense, Brown had 127 yards on 22 carries with one score in New York this season. Offensive line woes won't likely help this week but Brown is an obvious upgrade to Sammy Morris - if he can hold on to the ball.

Wide Receivers: Marty booker suffered an ankle injury in the third quarter of the loss at Buffalo and didn't return. HC Nick Saban now describes that as a "significant" ankle sprain so I am not including him in the projections this week. Booker's absence will make a difference since he had scored four times in the previous three games and turned in nice yardage in each performance. While Chris Chambers has declined and not scored since week nine, Booker had been instrumental in the passing game. Booker also missed the game in New York against the Jets in week six - a loss.

Chris Chambers had five receptions for 60 yards and one score against the Jets this year.

Tight Ends: Randy McMichael remains a solid contributor but only to the level of around 30 or 40 yards per week for the last seven weeks. He only has one touchdown on the season.

McMichael had eight catches for 72 yards against the Jets this season.

Match Against the Defense: The Jets rushing defense has been bad this year but it has improved recently and the Dolphins are having problems with the offensive line anyway. Look for only moderate to decent yardage here for Brown returning from injury and a chance for one score.

Harrington should throw for one score here since every opponent of the Jets has this season. But only three of 14 opponents have managed more than two and Harrington is not in synch with his receivers with Booker out. Chamber or Welker is most likely to catch the score but neither have been used near the goal line much this year.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM    QB   RB   WR   TE   PK  DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points MIA 23 26 12 16 28 7
Preventing Fantasy Points NYJ 19 28 21 16 7 8