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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: MIA 13, IND 23

The Fins have dropped their last two games while only scoring one offensive touchdown. The season is over and the media is already questioning HC Nick Saban if he is going to stick around. The Colts have the most unimpressive 11-4 record in the history of organized sports after going 2-4 in the last six games with one very consistent factor - the Colts are 7-0 at home this year but 0-4 in their most recent road games. Indy has nothing to win in this match-up but pride and respect. And both are needed desperately.

Miami Dolphins (6-9)
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 10-13 NYJ
8 Open Bye 17 --- @IND
9 31-13 @CHI - MON THU
MIA at IND Rush Catch Pass
QB Joey Harrington 0 0 100
QB Cleo Lemon 0 0 70
RB Ronnie Brown 110,1 10 0
TE Randy McMichael 0 40 0
WR Chris Chambers 0 30 0
WR Derek Hagen 0 30 0
WR Wes Welker 0 60 0
PK Olindo Mare 2 FG 1 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Dolphins defense has done their share this year but the offense has never found any consistency much less the end zone enough. The team started out with Culpepper as the starter, dumped that idea and went with Harrington and now is likely to see what Cleo Lemon can do. Evidently finding the heir to Marino is a life-long pursuit.

Quarterback: After Joey Harrington completed only 7 of 15 passes for 42 yards last week, Cleo Lemon came off the bench and was generally impressive going 11 of 16 for 104 yards and one score. Just as telling was that the Fins called on Lemon with the game on the line - not just mop up work or closing out a loss. The Fins are likely to split time between Harrington and Lemon this week just to get a better idea for next year.

Running Backs: Ronnie Brown returned last week from hand surgery that had kept him out since week 12 and he was none the worse for the absence. Brown ran for 110 yards on 18 carries and looked sharp. Going against the worst rushing defense this week should reward him for healing quickly.

Wide Receivers: The season is winding down and Chris Chambers is back to being what he has always been - just a solid possession receiver at best who is having a down year thanks to the lackluster quarterback play. Chambers only has four scores on the year and just 638 yards - down from the normal 800 per season he typically has. Marty Booker missed last week with an ankle sprain and assumedly misses this meaningless week as well.

Tight Ends: It did not take Lemon long to realize where the catches were - Randy McMichael had five catches for 46 yards and a score last week for his best effort in the last eight games.

Match Against the Defense: As bad as the Colts have been against the run - and that is worse than any other team - they still play far better at home where they have only allowed two rushing scores this year against 15 on the road. Look for a nice yardage game here by Brown but likely not as productive as it may seem. The Colts at home are much better.

The passing game goes against one of the better secondaries but only in so far as most teams just run the ball. Whatever happens here will be mostly in the running game and the likely split between Harrington and Lemon will water down what should be minimal passing numbers anyway.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM    QB   RB   WR   TE   PK  DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points MIA 22 27 16 14 28 8
Preventing Fantasy Points IND 5 32 1 10 13 5


Indianapolis Colts (11-4)
1 26-21 @NYG 10 17-16 BUF
2 43-24 HOU 11 14-21 @DAL
3 21-14 JAX 12 45-21 PHI
4 31-28 @NYJ 13 17-20 @TEN
5 14-13 TEN 14 17-44 @JAX
6 Open Bye 15 34-16 CIN
7 36-22 WAS 16 24-27 @HOU
8 34-31 @DEN 17 --- MIA
9 27-20 @NE - - MON
IND vs MIA Rush Catch Pass
QB Peyton Manning 0 0 280,2
RB Dominic Rhodes 20 10 0
RB Joseph Addai 70 20 0
TE Ben Utecht 0 20 0
WR Marvin Harrison 0 70,1 0
WR Reggie Wayne 0 100,1 0
WR Aaron Moorehead 0 30 0
PK Adam Vinatieri 3 FG 2 XP -

Pregame Notes: The frustration with the defense is wearing thin now with four losses in the last six games all thanks to the defenses inability to win even a game of flag football, much less tackling an NFl starting running back. Back at home this week should be a nice way to get back on the winning track and the first round match-up will be in Indy, But where ever the second game ends up, it won't be in Indy and some opposing running back will be grinning ear to ear.

Quarterback: Peyton Manning has scored in every game this year and his 29 passing scores are three better than any other quarterback in the league. He ranks second only to Drew Brees with 4115 passing yards but Manning is sorely reminded why he has never been to a Super Bowl - defense wins championships.

Running Backs: Joseph Addai was no lock to play last week but he healed from an ankle sprain and gained 100 yards on 15 carries against the Texans last Sunday. That performance gave him 1017 rushing yards on the season and his eight scores shows that the Colts are already set up in the backfield for next year. Dominic Rhodes still figures in, but only after Addai has been given the primary role in each game.

Wide Receivers: Nothing wrong with the wideouts here. Both Marvin Harrison (1292) and Reggie Wayne (1240) are top five wideouts this year and Harrison's 11 scores trail only Terrell Owens (12). Harrison is the top fantasy wideout in most leagues currently thanks to five scores over the last two games. Wayne has dropped off with scoring, recording a touchdown in only one of the last four games.

Tight Ends: Oddly enough, Ben Utecht is the only consistently used tight end and yet the only one without a score this season.

Match Against the Defense: The Dolphins rushing defense has been outstanding this year and no opposing runner in a road game has rushed in a score on them. None have gained more than 79 yards since week one so expect only moderate yardage from Addai and likely no score.

Manning faces a defense that has always allowed at least one passing score to every road opponent this year and half have turned in two or more. Reggie Wayne has the most exploited match-up and he's over due for a nice game. Expect two passing scores here with a chance for more and Wayne should catch at least one.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM    QB   RB   WR   TE   PK  DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points IND 2 15 2 6 4 27
Preventing Fantasy Points MIA 9 4 8 25 9 15