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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey

The Huddle
~ 2007 ~
Season Ticket

Sunday night

Prediction: TB 14, SEA 24

The Buccaneers open on the road where they were only 1-7 last year while the Seahawks look to regain what once was domination at home before last year. Shaun Alexander is older, maybe or maybe not still bothered by his foot injury and Darrell Jackson is gone but this still should be a solid win for the Seahawks who no longer have the cakewalk interdivisional games as they once did. They need to take these easier wins.

Seattle won 23-7 in Tampa Bay last year during week 17.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-12)
Homefield: Raymond James Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @SEA   +6 41
2 NO 16-Sep SUN 1:00 PM
3 STL 23-Sep SUN 1:00 PM
4 @CAR 30-Sep SUN 4:05 PM
5 @IND 7-Oct SUN 4:05 PM
6 TEN 14-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
7 @DET 21-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
8 JAC 28-Oct SUN 4:05 PM
9 ARI 4-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
10 BYE - - -
11 @ATL 18-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
12 WAS 25-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
13 @NO 2-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
14 @HOU 9-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
15 ATL 16-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
16 @SF 23-Dec SUN 8:15 PM
17 CAR 30-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
TB at SEA Rush Catch Pass
QB Jeff Garcia 10   200,2
RB Carnell Williams 60 20  
RB Michael Pittman 10 20  
TE Jerramy Stevens   30,1  
WR Joey Galloway   70,1  
WR Maurice Stovall   30  
WR David Boston   20  
PK Matt Bryant   2 XP 2 Pts
Pregame Notes: The Buccaneers come off another disappointing season and decided to cure their woes by adding Jeff Garcia to the fold and bolstering the defense so that losses this year will be by much smaller margins. Not many changes to the offense outside of Garcia unless you want to count the newest iteration of David Boston. The Bucs actually have a much softer schedule than last year and should definitely see improvement. Just not so much this first week in Seattle.

Quarterback: After spending the last few seasons picking through the bargain bin of quarterbacks, the Buccaneers signed Jeff Garcia fresh off his career saving season in Philadelphia. The one-time mobile quarterback is now 37 years old and hasn't been much of a running threat since 2004 but compared to the Simms, Gradkowski's and Rattays of the past, he is an instant and obvious upgrade.

The Buccaneers only threw for 185 yards and one score when they hosted the Seahawks in the final game of 2006.

Running Backs: Carnell Williams is looking to reclaim his sidetracked career after a terrible 2006 season when he only gained 798 yards on 269 carries with a 3.5 yard average. He also only scored once all year - hardly the fodder for fantasy dreams. But the schedule this year doesn't include Chicago, Baltimore or Pittsburgh and things are looking up here. Williams still had two efforts last year top 100 rushing yards and should be much improved for 2007 if only because the schedule is kinder and Garcia may actually make the pass of some concern to the defense.

Carnell Williams did not play in the final game last year but Pittman ran for 73 yards on only 12 carries.

Wide Receivers: Joey Galloway continues to prove age-less entering his 13th NFL season at the age of 36. He should have declined by now but comes off two straight seasons over 1000 yards and with at least seven scores in each. He hasn't received much help in that time though that could be changing with Garcia under center and a chance that Maurice Stovall could take the next step up. For those gamblers in the audience, David Boston is still on the active roster and has looked pretty good. So far - no season ending injury. This passing attack may not reach average status but anything more than a handful of games from Galloway will be a step in the right direction.

Galloway turned in 118 yards on eight catches with one score against Seattle last year. No other wideout had more than one catch for nine yards.

Tight Ends: Alex Smith remains the starter with dubious fantasy value here but he is just returning from an ankle sprain. He should play this week but the Buccaneers have held on to Jerramy Stevens of Seattle legal system fame as well. Stevens may figure in if he can act right and stay out of trouble. This is a situation worth a casual eye early in the season. I am projecting for Stevens this week mainly because he faces his old team and revenge is a big factor here.

Match Against the Defense: The Buccaneers were the second lowest scoring team in the NFL last year (13 points per game) so really anything over 14 points will boost their average. They may need to wait until week two to get there though since this team has not been a road warrior as of late. Seattle has at least an average rush defense which matches well enough against the Bucs to keep Williams from having a big game or scoring.

Garcia will be the one that must exploit the secondary that has lost Ken Hamelin and he should see some success with Galloway's match-up against Kelly Jennings if only because the Bucs are going to need to stick with the pass in the second half. Look for only moderate numbers here from Garcia and a score that has to favor Galloway. It's still new and developing, but on the road to Seattle will make gains tough for week one.

Gaining Fantasy Points TB 31 25 20 25 31 31
Preventing Fantasy Points SEA 19 13 25 6 15 27
rankings reflect as of week 17, 2006


Seattle Seahawks (9-7)
Homefield: Qwest Field
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 TB   -6 41
2 @ARI 16-Sep SUN 4:05 PM
3 CIN 23-Sep SUN 4:05 PM
4 @SF 30-Sep SUN 4:05 PM
5 @PIT 7-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
6 NO 14-Oct SUN 8:15 PM
7 STL 21-Oct SUN 4:15 PM
8 BYE - - -
9 @CLE 4-Nov SUN 4:05 PM
10 SF 12-Nov MON 8:30 PM
11 CHI 18-Nov SUN 8:15 PM
12 @STL 25-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
13 @PHI 2-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
14 ARI 9-Dec SUN 4:05 PM
15 @CAR 16-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
16 BAL 23-Dec SUN 4:15 PM
17 @ATL 30-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
SEA vs TB Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Hasselbeck     220,1
RB Shaun Alexander 100,2 10  
TE Marcus Pollard   20  
WR Deion Branch   50  
WR Bobby Engram   40  
WR D.J. Hackett   80,1  
PK Josh Brown 1 FG 3 XP  

Pregame Notes: Seattle took a steep fall from grace last year with injuries to Shaun Alexander and Matt Hasselbeck but even still they won the NFC West where 9-7 may no longer be enough. Darrell Jackson and Jerramy Stevens are gone and not replaced but this team just needs a healthy year to regain a bit of the swagger it once had. With Alexander hitting the age of 30, that may end up had to do.

Quarterback: Matt Hasselbeck only played in 12 games last year but still managed to score18 times against 15 interceptions and had 2442 passing yards. Hasselbeck has never taken the final step to being a top five quarterback in the league but he's always been solid at the worst. But that could change this year unless the loss of his preferred target of Darrell Jackson is not compensated for by Deion Branch and company. Losing Jerramy Stevens as well may not be a liability, but replacing him with 35 year old Marcus Pollard seems to invite more durability problems in the receivers.

Hasselbeck threw for 216 yards and one score in Tampa Bay last year.

Running Backs: The Seahawks fortunes this year - or lack of them - all revolve around Shaun Alexander's health and how well the offensive line comes together this year. Alexander set an NFL scoring record in 2005 and then rewarded fantasy drafters with a nightmare 2006 season that only produced seven scores and 896 rushing yards with a 3.6 yard average thanks mostly to a foot injury that lingered and forced him out for six games.

Alexander's foot is no longer an issue according to him. That and any other malady hitting a 30 year-old back will be an issue to every fantasy owner.

Alexander ran for 92 yards on 28 carries and scored once in Tampa Bay last season.

Wide Receivers: With Darrell Jackson traded to divisional rival San Francisco, this crew needs to come together and make up the difference, particularly in touchdown passes. Deion Branch only had 53 catches for 725 yards last year but did show up right when the season was starting. D.J. Hackett was a sleeper type to many in drafts this summer but he'll need to step up into a starting role and continue to play at least as well as he did last year in spot relief. Bobby Engram is back as well with his thyroid condition under control. There will be fantasy value here and Branch and Hackett have to step up. But there is risk in that so far since neither has shown to be the next Jackson so far.

Hackett had 63 yards and a score against the Bucs last year but no other wideout had more than 38 yards.

Tight Ends: Losing Jerramy Stevens may hurt but he was rarely reliable anyway. Marcus Pollard has decided to play out his swan song in Seattle and the coaching staff has been pleased with both is blocking and receiving this summer. At the age of 35, he needs to impress quickly before his career is over.

Match Against the Defense: Tampa Bay has upgraded their linebackers and defensive line which should prove a bigger challenge for Alexander but this is played in Seattle and the Seahawks are healthier this time around. Expect a good game here by Alexander that could turn big if the Bucs offense flops and allows even more carries.

Hasselbeck goes against a decent secondary and Deion Branch matches on Ronde Barber which won't help. Look for close to repeat of the last matchup here for Hasselbeck with moderate yardage and a score that should favor Hackett the most. The upgrade with Cato June should make that poor ranking against tight ends improve this year.

Gaining Fantasy Points SEA 12 29 7 26 15 14
Preventing Fantasy Points TB 28 17 10 29 18 23

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