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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: PHI 20, DAL 31

Here's the battle for the NFC East. The Cowboys have already clinched a playoff berth and a win here give them the NFC East. A win by the Eagles ties the two teams with the head-to-head tie breaker going to the Eagles who would need to win against the Falcons in week 17 to clinch the division (or a Dallas loss to Detroit). The Eagles are on a three game winning streak and this early Monday night game is the one to watch.

The Eagles won 38-24 when they hosted the Cowboys in week five.

Philadelphia Eagles (8-6)
1 24-10 @HOU 10 27-3 WAS
2 24-30 NYG 11 13-31 TEN
3 38-24 @SF 12 21-45 @IND
4 31-9 GB 13 27-24 CAR
5 38-24 DAL 14 21-19 @WAS
6 24-27 @NO 15 36-22 @NYG
7 21-23 @TB 16 --- @DAL
8 6-13 JAX 17 --- ATL
9 Open Bye - - MON
PHI at DAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Jeff Garcia 0 0 240,2
RB Brian Westbrook 70 50 0
TE L.J. Smith 0 50,1 0
WR Donte Stallworth 0 40 0
WR Reggie Brown 0 80,1 0
WR Greg Lewis 0 10 0
PK David Akers 2 FG 2 XP -
Pregame Notes: When McNabb was lost for the season in week 11, it was like 2005 all over again. Except this time around Brian Westbrook has remained healthy and productive and Jeff Garcia is pretending he's playing on the 49ers five years ago. After big losses to the Titans and Colts, The Eagles have managed wins over the Panthers, Skins and Giants. The Eagles have already beaten the Cowboys once this year and the team has adjusted to Garcia but this road trip will be their toughest challenge yet.

Quarterback: After throwing for multiple scores in three straight games, Jeff Garcia settled back to only one touchdown last week in New York and his yardage has only once been over 240 yards - against the Panthers. In Washington and Indianapolis, Garcia only managed 160 passing yards or less.

McNabb threw for 354 yards and two touchdowns against the Cowboys this season.

Running Backs: Brian Westbrook remains a top back in fantasy terms though he has not exceeded 100 rushing yards in the last three games. Garcia has continued the use of Westbrook in the passing game though and Westbrook has topped 100 total yards in each of the last eight games. Westbrook gained just 33 yards on 11 runs but scored once against the visiting Cowboys this season. He added 53 yards on five receptions. In 2005, Westbrook ran for 86 yards and added 32 receiving yards in Dallas with one rushing score.

Last week Correll Buckhalter had his first score of the season and gained 48 yards on eight carries against the Giants. Since McNabb left, Buckhalter had never had more than 20 rushing yards in any game.

Wide Receivers: Reggie Brown has not suffered any drop-off with Garcia around. He scored in each of the last three games - all wins - and remained above 75 yards in each. Donte Stallworth has also scored in two consecutive weeks but was surprisingly shut down last week with only one catch for five yards. Garcia has made almost no use of any other wideouts beyond Brown and Stallworth.

Hank Baskett caught three passes for 112 yards and a score while Brown had four catches for 79 yards and the other touchdown when the Cowboys visited Philadelphia in week five.

Tight Ends: L.J. Smith scored in three of the last four games but was blanked against the Panthers because the win never needed him. He still tends towards lower yardage, but Garcia likes him in the redzone.

Smith had two catches for 63 yards against the Cowboys this year and had six catches for 56 yards in Dallas last season.

Match Against the Defense: The Cowboys rush defense at home has been solid other than with the ambush dealt by the Saints two weeks ago. Westbrook should top 100 total yards yet again, but he'll need receiving yards to get there and likely won't score.

Garcia faces a secondary that has been toasted for at least two scores by any decent offense visiting Dallas and should end up with two scores in this game. Expect another solid game here from Reggie Brown pitted on the soft side against Anthony Henry while Stallworth should have more trouble from Terrence Newman. Smith will be very attractive this week and should bring in the other touchdown.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM    QB   RB   WR   TE   PK  DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points PHI 1 8 9 10 26 9
Preventing Fantasy Points DAL 26 15 17 22 8 18


Dallas Cowboys (9-5)
1 17-24 @JAX 10 27-10 @ARZ
2 27-10 WAS 11 21-14 IND
3 Open Bye 12 38-10 TB
4 45-14 @TEN 13 23-20 @NYG
5 24-38 @PHI 14 17-42 NO
6 34-6 HOU 15 38-28 @ATL
7 22-36 NYG 16 --- PHI
8 35-14 @CAR 17 --- DET
9 19-22 @WAS M THU SAT
DAL vs PHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Tony Romo 0 0 240,2
RB Julius Jones 80 0 0
RB Marion Barber 60,2 30 0
TE Jason Witten 0 40 0
WR Terrell Owens 0 90,1 0
WR Terry Glenn 0 60,1 0
WR Patrick Crayton 0 10 0
PK Martin Gramatica 1 FG 4 XP -

Pregame Notes: The win last week was needed after the fiasco against the Saints and now the Cowboys can win the division with a victory over their division rivals. This is the week since the visiting Lions should pose no threat and a win here means the Cowboys likely will have nothing to win or lose in week 17. After the Saints game, a big win for the home crowd that gets them into the playoffs as the NFC East division is plenty enough motivation.

Quarterback: Tony Romo comes off his best game in a month when he threw for 278 yards and two scores with only one interception - and that was a tipped ball. Romo had thrown two picks in the previous couple of weeks and needed the solid showing. Romo has never thrown for less than 225 yards in a game this year.

Drew Bledsoe was still the starter in week five and had 223 yards and three interceptions against the Eagles this season. He threw for 289 yards and three scores when the Eagles came to Dallas last year.

Running Backs: Julius Jones had the big effort in week 14 when he gained 116 yards on just ten carries against the Saints but that included one 74-yard gain. Without that one run, he would have been stuck in the same mediocre trend that has plagued him since week nine. Jones only gained 26 yards on 13 carries last Saturday in Atlanta.

But the big news last week in fantasy terms was that Marion Barber replicated what he had been doing for the last month when he ran for 60 yards on just 11 carries and scored two touchdowns. Barber had almost no role against the Saints in a most uncharacteristic week but otherwise has scored twice in four of the five previous games. He currently has 15 touchdowns on the season and is the far more effective runner whenever given the chance.

Jones ran for 100 yards on 26 carries in Philadelphia this year. Barber had seven runs for 22 yards and one score. In 2005, Jones gained 72 yards on 16 carries while Barber did not play when the Eagles came to Dallas.

Wide Receivers: Terrell Owens caught two scores against the Falcons and gained 69 yards on five catches but also spit in the face of CB DeAngelo Hall which has been beaten to death by the media delighted to have something to focus on about Owens. Since Romo took over, Owens has been golden almost every week and has 11 touchdowns on the season. Terry Glenn caught five passes for 96 yards last Saturday and had 150 yards on eight catches in week 14. The duo has been quite productive lately to the point where Patrick Crayton has no fantasy value anymore.

No wideout had more than Glenn's 61 yards against the Eagles this year. Owens was held to 45 yards on three catches. Glenn recorded 118 yards and two scores against the visiting Eagles in 2005.

Tight Ends: Jason Witten chugs along with 40 or 50 yards per week but he only has one score on the season. Witten caught four passes for 51 yards in Philly this year. Last season, he caught seven passes for 80 yards against the Eagles.

Match Against the Defense: The Eagles are weak against the run but the Cowboys seem intent on waiting until the second half to use Barber despite his superior performances. Look for two rushing scores likely this week which should both go to Barber unless Jones can pop a long run. This is the same team that gave up 170+ rushing yards to both Washington and Indianapolis.

The Cowboys will look to exploit the run but there's no way that Terrell Owens is going to miss a chance to score on the Eagles who held him in check in Philly this year. Look for at least one score to Owens that could become two if Dallas can get a lead and start pounding the ball to bring up the safeties.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM    QB   RB   WR   TE   PK  DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DAL 5 5 4 15 8 11
Preventing Fantasy Points PHI 14 23 6 8 25 23