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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
Player Projections by Team
Game Predictions Summary
The Huddle
December 27, 2006
Season Ticket
Sunday Late
ATL at PHI DET at DAL NE at TEN STL at MIN Sunday Nite
BUF at BAL OAK at NYJ updated GB at CHI

Prediction: ATL 10, PHI 27

The Falcons have a shot at a wild card and all they need is a win, plus a loss by Carolina, a loss by Green Bay and a loss by the Giants. The biggest problem is that they need a win and they are 2-6 in the last eight games and come off a thumping by the Panthers in Atlanta last Sunday. The Eagles win in Dallas catapults them into the lead for the NFC East and a win here secures their division title. While perhaps the Falcons are due a win and the Eagles a loss, nothing over the last month says this is the time for change.

Atlanta Falcons (7-8)
1 20-6 @CAR 10 13-17 CLE
2 14-3 TB 11 10-24 @BAL
3 3-23 @NO 12 13-31 NO
4 32-10 ARZ 13 24-14 @WAS
5 Open Bye 14 17-6 @TB
6 14-27 NYG 15 28-38 DAL
7 41-38 PIT 16 3-10 CAR
8 29-27 @CIN 17 --- @PHI
9 14-30 @DET - MON SAT
ATL at PHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Michael Vick 50 0 140,1
RB Warrick Dunn 50 10 0
RB Jerious Norwood 30 10 0
TE Alge Crumpler 0 50 0
WR Michael Jenkins 0 40,1 0
WR Roddy White 0 10 0
PK Morten Andersen 1 FG 1 XP -
Pregame Notes: In what has to be the most appropriate accolade of the season, Vick now has the all-time rushing record for a quarterback and yet nothing else much works on the offense. His passing is still suspect as best and the Falcons can never mount comebacks relying solely on Vick scrambling. But he has the record, boy, and that's something. That is something and it is called fantasy bonanza and losing in the NFL.

Quarterback: The good news here is that Michael Vick always throws better on the road. But that comes because he runs less, never scores via the run and almost never has more than 60 yards as a runner. And his passing usually results in one touchdown but only once went over 165 yards. Okay, so not a lot of good news but hey - he set the rushing record for a quarterback. Look for the positive.

Running Backs: Jerious Norwood returned last week but only had five carries for 20 yards. The rushing game that started the year so strong went south after the first month and never came back. All totaled the running backs here only had 11 scores and only six went to Dunn or Norwood. Warrick Dunn has rarely turned in over 60 rushing yards in a game. It all takes a backseat to Vick but he has a rushing record now.

Wide Receivers: Welcome to the least productive wideouts in the entire NFL. Considering Oakland and Tampa Bay this year, that says something. Michael Jenkins has turned in seven scores as the lone wideout with any fantasy value but he managed to do that without turning in more than 50 yards in any game since week one. Atlanta should acquire wideouts purely on their ability to block downfield.

Ashley Lelie has a separated shoulder and will not play this week. Bet that really shoots down your fantasy team's chances. Not.

Tight Ends: Alge Crumpler remains a top fantasy tight end this year but he only had one score in the last seven games. His yardage remained good in most game but the scores stopped about mid-season.

Match Against the Defense: After 15 games, what does the match-up really matter? The running game faces an average defense but has never amounted to much this year and Vick throws like a first year quarterback. But he throws more on the road and runs less because defenses keep him down. Look for an average game here by Vick against a team that has to win - and this one can, unlike the Falcons.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM    QB   RB   WR   TE   PK  DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points ATL 3 17 32 10 25 16
Preventing Fantasy Points PHI 14 21 6 7 21 22


Philadelphia Eagles (9-6)
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 23-3 @DAL
8 6-13 JAX 17 --- ATL
9 Open Bye - - MON
PHI vs ATL Rush Catch Pass
QB Jeff Garcia 20 0 210,1
RB Brian Westbrook 80,1 40 0
TE L.J. Smith 0 50 0
WR Donte Stallworth 0 30 0
WR Reggie Brown 0 70,1 0
WR Greg Lewis 0 20 0
PK David Akers 2 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: When McNabb was lost in week 11 it appeared it would be just another replay of 2005. But this time around the Eagles had Jeff Garcia in the wings and what has transpired in the last four weeks has been nothing short of amazing for Eagle fans who witnessed their team go through a brutal three game road stretch through the division - and never lose once. A win here and the Eagles are not only the NFC East champs yet again, but they have that scary "we're peaking now" look.

Quarterback: Jeff Garcia is making a name for himself yet again after scoring in each game this year and spearheading the Eagles assault on the playoffs. Since becoming a starter and getting comfortable, Garcia has only had one home game in the last five weeks when he threw for 312 yards and three scores against the visiting Panthers... that just beat the Falcons... that show up this week.

Running Backs: For a player rumored to have a degenerative knee condition in week four when he missed the Packers game, Brian Westbrook has enjoyed a career year in 2006 and been used heavily as a rusher in addition to his role as a receiver. He has remained healthy and even comes off a 122 yard effort in Dallas last week. Westbrook has a career best 11 touchdowns on the season.

Wide Receivers: Reggie Brown concludes a successful first season as a starter and has scored nine times this year with two games over 100 yards. During Garcia's recent success, Brown has managed around 70 yards in most games. Donte Stallworth has been much less consistent than Brown but has scored five times and has three efforts over 100 yards. Over the last month, Stallworth only had one effort over 31 yards though.

Tight Ends: L.J. Smith was already a favorite of McNabb but other than the one game against the Panthers, he's been just as good with Garcia and comes off a 77 yard game in Dallas. He has five scores on the year and has a knack for either scoring or having good yardage but rarely both.

Match Against the Defense: The Falcons are reeling and the Eagles are rolling. At home in what should be a game of much triumph considering the circumstances of the last month, expect a nice game here from Westbrook in combined yardage with a good chance for one score if Buckhalter doesn't take it in.

Garcia faces a secondary that appears great statistically on the road but only because most opponents have been weak (TB, WAS, TB most recently) and the losing streak of the Falcons have meant that opponents have less need to throw. DeAngelo Hall faces Stallworth and should keep him quiet though he has not often been productive lately anyway. That should leave Brown as the best bet for a good game here and a defensive score seems very likely as well.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM    QB   RB   WR   TE   PK  DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points PHI 1 7 9 7 23 7
Preventing Fantasy Points ATL 11 11 26 9 16 16