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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: DET 10, DAL 27

Here's an ugly game. The Lions are in competition for the first pick in the NFL draft with an NFL worst 2-13 record. The Cowboys were looking good again (which is always a bad indicator) and laid yet another egg when the Eagles came to town and thoroughly dominated them. Dallas has clinched a playoff spot but now has lost the division unless the Eagles lose to the Falcons and the Cowboys win here. Half of that equation looks likely and it is not the Philly half.

Detroit Lions (2-13)
1 6-9 SEA 10 13-19 SF
2 7-34 @CHI 11 10-17 @ARZ
3 24-31 GB 12 10-27 MIA
4 34-41 @STL 13 21-28 @NE
5 17-26 @MIN 14 20-30 MIN
6 20-17 BUF 15 9-17 @GB
7 24-31 @NYJ 16 21-26 CHI
8 Open Bye 17 --- @DAL
9 30-14 ATL - - THU
DET at DAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Jon Kitna 0 0 260,1
RB Arlen Harris 30 10 0
TE Dan Campbell 0 30,1 0
WR Roy Williams 0 100,1 0
WR Mike Furrey 0 60 0
WR Corey Bradford 0 50 0
PK Jason Hanson 1 FG 1 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Lions have had so many bad endings to seasons that it is hard to remember the last time they were ever a contender. Bringing in Rod Marinelli as head coach promised that a defense might be found - not so far. Bringing in ex-HC Mike Martz gave promise to the offense that so far has been realized only with better passing yardage and far more turnovers - not so much the whole "score touchdowns" part yet. The Lions have nothing to win here other than perhaps a chance that they can return to play next year.

Quarterback: Jon Kitna had no problem holding off Josh McCown in training camp and Kitna has taken every snap as a starter. He has been good at yardage almost every week with over half the games producing over 250 passing yards but only 17 touchdowns means there is a lot left to do. More importantly, the 21 interceptions and nine lost fumbles have been catastrophic and a sign that the blocking needs much more work.

Running Backs: Kevin Jones was having a career year under Martz though largely because he became such a factor in the passing scheme as well. But Jones is on injured reserve and may miss much of next season. In his place, Arlen Harris and Aveion Cason have been almost worthless and there hasn't been enough carries since Jones left to really judge them anyway.

Wide Receivers: While Martz normally has spread formations that use up to four receivers, only Roy Williams and Mike Furrey have amounted to anything this year. Roy has only five touchdowns but turned in five efforts over 100 yards. Furrey also has five scores but only three games over 100 yards. Problem here is that either wideout can turn in a very nice game but they rarely ever do so two weeks in a row. Furrey has been surprisingly solid but the Lions will likely look to upgrade this unit. Corey Bradford failed to make much impression despite being on the team twice this year.

Tight Ends: A minor surprise was that the Lions brought in Dan Campbell as a blocking tight end and he ended up as one of the better receivers. Campbell has four scores on the year and typically had 20 or 30 yards in most games.

Match Against the Defense: Harris and Cason (an ex-Cowboy) are unlikely to do much rushing anywhere much less on the road in Dallas.

Kitna could have a decent game here but Mike Furrey draws Terrence Newman who most teams will avoid throwing against. Expect a solid game here from Roy Williams if only because there should be plenty of trash time. Have to also like Campbell's chances to score against his ex-team.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM    QB   RB   WR   TE   PK  DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DET 9 26 12 19 12 26
Preventing Fantasy Points DAL 28 14 12 27 10 20


Dallas Cowboys (9-6)
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 7-23 PHI
8 35-14 @CAR 17 --- DET
9 19-22 @WAS M THU SAT
DAL vs DET Rush Catch Pass
QB Tony Romo 0 0 240,2
RB Julius Jones 80 10 0
RB Marion Barber 40,1 10 0
TE Jason Witten 0 50 0
WR Terrell Owens 0 80,1 0
WR Terry Glenn 0 70,1 0
WR Patrick Crayton 0 20 0
PK Martin Gramatica 2 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Cowboys seem intent on taking two steps forward and then one leap backwards this year. The defense is still subject to giving up the big play which has been a killer for the entire season while the offense looks shakier when it should be solidifying behind Romo. Three weeks ago, the Cowboys were on a four game winning streak and were 8-4. Now they have lost their chance to win the division (most likely) and are stumbling into the playoffs instead of peaking. Playing the Lions should make everything look okay for a week but even that is no longer a guarantee.

Quarterback: The Tony Romo bandwagon is now open again since there are more than a few empty seats by now. After playing in top for his first six games, Romo has taken a big step backwards since week 13. In the last four games, he has thrown for four scores against seven interceptions and in the biggest game of the year - against the visiting Eagles last week - Romo turned in his worst effort with 142 passing yards and only one score against two interceptions.

Running Backs: It's hard to discern exactly what the Cowboys are trying to do with their backfield. Julius Jones only has one 70 yard run in week 14 to separate him from being a complete flop for the last eight games while Marion Barber has scored 15 times this season. Barber has always been considered the relief player despite consistently producing better numbers and in the two biggest losses - against New Orleans and Philadelphia - he was almost never used. The hope was to rest Jones and he has made it through the season without injury but so far it appears it has only kept him on the field to be mediocre while Barber has to shine in spot relief.

Wide Receivers: Disregarding the latest fiasco, Terry Glenn has been a consistent performer this year though his six scores came in only four games and he has only one effort over 100 yards. Terrell Owens is still complaining about his role but has scored in each of the last three games when he is not busy dropping passes. Owens has 12 scores on the season but only twice had more than 100 yards.

Tight Ends: The addition of Terrell Owens apparently has left Jason Witten with only a basic third down role and he has only scored once this year. Witten has been turning in almost 50 yards in most recent games but he is never a consideration near the goal line.

Match Against the Defense: Have to think the Cowboys will want a big effort here in what will likely be the final home game and coming on the heels of the latest embarrassment. The visiting Lions are ripe for making the Cowboys look better than they are and both the rushing and passing games should turn in good numbers here.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM    QB   RB   WR   TE   PK  DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DAL 5 8 5 15 11 12
Preventing Fantasy Points DET 21 27 16 22 31 30