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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: SEA 24, TB 17

The Seahawks are on a three game losing streak and yet have clinched the NFC West. The Buccaneers come off their fourth win of the season and suddenly have a passing game again. Neither team has anything to win here and Seattle is only 3-4 in road games this year. No team wants to head into the playoffs on a four game losing streak but risking players to injury doesn't make much sense either.

Update: Alex Smith is doubtful to play this week and I have added in Anthony Becht. Smith is the receiving tight end though so expect little from Becht and for the passes to go elsewhere this week.

Seattle Seahawks (8-7)
1 9-6 @DET 10 24-22 STL
2 21-10 ARZ 11 14-20 @SF
3 42-30 NYG 12 34-24 GB
4 6-37 @CHI 13 23-20 @DEN
5 Open Bye 14 21-27 @ARZ
6 30-28 @STL 15 14-24 SF
7 13-31 MIN 16 17-20 SD
8 28-35 @KC 17 --- @TB
9 16-0 OAK - MON THU
SEA at TB Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Hasselbeck 0 0 200,2
RB Shaun Alexander 80,1 0 0
TE Jerramy Stevens 0 30 0
WR Bobby Engram 0 50,1 0
WR Deion Branch 0 60,1 0
WR D. J. Hackett 0 50 0
PK Josh Brown 1 FG 3 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Seattle rushing game has been an obvious disappointment this year thanks to the decline of the offensive line and the lengthy injury to Alexander, but just as significant is that the defense has not held any opponent below 20 points in the last seven games. Only the Colts have both a winning record and more points allowed than Seattle this year - but with 66 more offensive points scored. Seattle is sliding into the playoffs and their level of play suggests that the losing slide won't stop in the postseason.

Quarterback: Matt Hasselbeck has turned in a down year along with the rest of the offense but in road games he has either been great or horrible with nothing in between. Twice he has thrown for 240+ yards and three scores. And three times he has failed to score and struggled to reach 200 passing yards. In the last two games without Darrell Jackson on the field, Hasselbeck has only had one score and four interceptions - both home losses.

Running Backs: No arguing that Shaun Alexander has been a major disappointment this year and not just in relation to his foot injury. But Alexander comes off a 149 yard, two touchdown effort against the Chargers last week and has scored in three of the last four games. He only has two efforts over 100 rushing yards and both came in home games. On the road, he has scored only once in four trips and has never run for more than around 3.5 yards per carry.

Wide Receivers: Darrell Jackson has missed two weeks with a bad case of turf toe and in his wake no wideout is stepping up. Jackson has accounted for ten scores this year but no other wideout has turned in more than four. Deion Branch had one big game in San Francisco but has spent the last five weeks never rising above 60 yards or scoring. Bobby Engram finally returned last week with four catches for 65 yards but some of that came at the expense of D.J. Hackett. This unit has a ton of promise that has never really delivered this year. Without Jackson, the scoring ability is not replaced.

Tight Ends: Jerramy Stevens has four scores on the season but his 64 yards in week 15 dwarfs all other weeks which never exceeded 30 yards and usually remained below 20 yards.

Match Against the Defense: The Bucs rushing defense is not well ranked but largely because of allowing tailbacks to rack up receiving yardage with has never been Alexander's forte. He has a chance at one rushing score though only three visiting running backs have scored a rushing touchdown in Tampa Bay this year.

The Buccaneers pass defense has been their weakness with half of their opponents throwing for at least two scores. Expect one touchdown here that favors Branch slightly. There has not been a weaker side for the Bucs this year - both have been victimized. The Bucs are also soft against tight ends.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM    QB   RB   WR   TE   PK  DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points SEA 11 30 7 27 18 14
Preventing Fantasy Points TB 29 18 10 28 14 25


Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-11)
1 0-27 BAL 10 10-24 @CAR
2 3-14 @ATL 11 20-17 WAS
3 24-26 CAR 12 10-38 @DAL
4 Open Bye 13 3-20 @PIT
5 21-24 @NO 14 6-17 ATL
6 14-13 CIN 15 31-34 @CHI
7 23-21 PHI 16 22-7 @CLE
8 3-17 @NYG 17 --- SEA
9 14-31 NO - MON THU
TBB vs SEA Rush Catch Pass
QB Tim Rattay 0 0 220,1
RB Michael Pittman 50,1 30 0
TE Alex Smith 0 30 0
TE Anthony Becht 0 10 0
WR Joey Galloway 0 80,1 0
WR Maurice Stovall 0 50 0
WR Ike Hilliard 0 40 0
PK Matt Bryant 1 FG 2 XP -

Pregame Notes: After struggling through the season averaging only 12 points per game - neck and neck with Oakland as the NFL's worst - the Buccaneers made a change at quarterback and now they are putting up 26 points per game. Perhaps the old switcheroo came a bit too late but the Buccaneers are at least ending their season posting double digit scores. That top 5 draft pick in April should net a playmaker and on a team with no offensive spark, the hard part will be deciding where the biggest bang is for the buck.

Quarterback: As a team the Buccaneers only have 13 passing scores so the three touchdowns thrown by Tim Rattay in Chicago made a major advance in the passing game that had only scored that many touchdowns in the previous six games combined. Rattay's 268 passing yards were also a season high for a team that had not exceeded 200 yards since week five. Rattay only had 212 passing yards in Cleveland last week but that came in a win with no need to pass the ball. Nothing that happens this week is going to change the pecking order next season but it won't hurt Rattay's chances to compete going into training camp next summer.

Running Backs: Carnell Williams missed last week with a foot injury and it only took one game for Michael Pittman to do what it has required the entire season for Williams to accomplish - score a touchdown. WIlliams' future with the team is potentially in doubt after a year with just the one score and two efforts over 100 rushing yards against nine games with less than 50 rushing yards. Mike Alstott has even been given an expanded role with 22 carries for 56 yards last week. This offense has been among the worst in the NFL this year and the rushing game has supplied only five touchdowns on the year.

Wide Receivers: Joey Galloway's magic 2005 campaign did not carry over into this season and the speedy wideout enters the final game with six scores and 939 yards - not a crash and burn but plenty of sub-50 yard games to make him a fantasy team killer to rely on. With Rattay, Galloway had 107 yards and a score on just three catches in Chicago but then only managed 34 yards on two catches last week. It has been that sort of season in Tampa Bay. The lone promising development here is that the rookie Maurice Stovall has 87 yards over the last two games.

Tight Ends: Alex Smith started the season out on a promising note only to disappear for most the year until Rattay started playing. Smith caught a score in Chicago and last week had 45 yards on four catches. Smith has three scores on the year.

Match Against the Defense: With Williams likely out again this week, Pittman and Alstott will combine against an average rush defense and should post one score between them with moderate yardage.

Rattay may have just had a great game in Chicago and then returned to more normal levels last week when he only had 212 yards against the Browns. Seattle won't roll over this week and a road game is less likely to produce a trap game for them. Expect Rattay to toss one score that has to favor Galloway with only moderate yardage. The last four opponents for the Seahawks have thrown two scores but the Buccaneers are a reasonable bet to break that trend.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM    QB   RB   WR   TE   PK  DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points TB 30 25 20 24 31 30
Preventing Fantasy Points SEA 20 16 23 8 19 27