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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
The Huddle
~ 2007 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday night

Prediction: DAL 23, MIA 17

The Cowboys come off a points-bonanza in the late game last Sunday where their offense was much better than expected and their defense was much worse. The Dolphins played the Redskins to even in regulation before losing in overtime and at least all the curious statements by Cam Cameron ended up to be pretty much what we expected.

Update: Jesse Chatman has missed the last two days of practice because of a bruised left knee and may miss this week. I am removing him from the projections and bumping up Ronnie Brown's numbers a bit. But this is Miami and Cameron could call up Lorenzo Booker and use him as well. Brown faces a defense that was gashed by the run last week but the blocking was poor for the Fins and Brown is still a question mark until he actually has turned in a good game in the new offense.

Dallas Cowboys (1-0)
Homefield: Texas Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 NYG 45-35 -5.5 44
2 @MIA 16-Sep -3.5 40
3 @CHI 23-Sep SUN 8:15 PM
4 STL 30-Sep SUN 1:00 PM
5 @BUF 8-Oct MON 8:30 PM
6 NE 14-Oct SUN 4:15 PM
7 MIN 21-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
8 BYE - - -
9 @PHI 4-Nov SUN 8:15 PM
10 @NYG 11-Nov SUN 4:15 PM
11 WAS 18-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
12 NYJ 22-Nov THU 4:15 PM
13 GB 29-Nov THU 8:15 PM
14 @DET 9-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
15 PHI 16-Dec SUN 4:15 PM
16 @CAR 22-Dec SAT 8:15 PM
17 @WAS 30-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
DAL at MIA Rush Catch Pass
QB Tony Romo     240,1
RB Julius Jones 60    
RB Marion Barber 50,1 10  
TE Jason Witten   40  
WR Terrell Owens   70,1  
WR Patrick Crayton   80  
WR Sam Hurd   20  
PK Nick Folk 3 FG 2 XP  
Pregame Notes: Monster game for Tony Romo who really needed that to make fans stop bringing up the field goal gaff that ended the 2006 season. The offense looks suspiciously like the last one other than rediscovering Jason Witten but the only aggressiveness with the defense so far is what they allow opponents to do to the scoreboard. Two straight road games against very good defenses will paint a truer picture of the offense by week four.

Quarterback: Tony Romo was "en fuego" against the Giants last week, not only throwing for 345 yards and four scores but also rushing in one as well. The Cowboys offense was hitting on all cylinders against a very soft Giants defense but this week will be a bigger test. And week three in Chicago will be the ultimate one. Romo probably needs those 4 scores from last week to still have a decent average when week four rolls around.

Running Backs: Okay, new offensive scheme is now uncovered and it still looks just like the rushing game from 2006. Julius Jones started the game and took most the early action and rolled up 66 rushing yards on 16 carries while Marion Barber showed up later, looked better and gained 65 yards on 11 carries while scoring once. Barber also added a nifty 29 yard catch as well. And yet - same thing happens next week. There is zero movement so far to making Barber a fulltime back despite the disparity in scoring and yards per carry.

Wide Receivers: Terrell Owens started the year with two scores on his three catches for 87 yards and the plan is not to use him heavily in the passing game. But he will always be a key player in the red zone and showed last week that he still can turn a simple crossing route into a long score. Terry Glenn remains out and could be gone for the year. Patrick Crayton (3-51) seems every bit as adequate as Glenn anyway and since Witten is being used so much, there's no reason to expect any more happening here than already has.

Tight Ends: With Terrell Owens and Patrick Crayton a concern for the corners last week, the middle was left open and Jason Witten became the primary target when he caught all six passes thrown to him and scored once while gaining 116 yards. While that won't continue every week, it is encouraging to see that the new offense still relies on Witten and will do so heavily if the secondary makes him the most attractive target.

Match Against the Defense: The Dolphins defense gave up 157 rushing yards to Betts and Portis last week but that will be tough for the Cowboys to replicate in Miami. Look for a split of yardage between Jones and Barber of course but with Barber scoring once.

Romo faces a decent secondary that could make his day much longer if they can reach him with the rush or blitzes. Like Romo to throw for a score here that should favor Crayton the most but you can never count out Owens. The better linebackers in Miami should make Witten's role shrink this week and leave most the action to the wideouts.

Gaining Fantasy Points DAL 1 8 5 1 9 29
Preventing Fantasy Points MIA 14 28 19 2 28 10


Miami Dolphins (0-1)
Homefield: Dolphins Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @WAS 13-16 +3 35
2 DAL 16-Sep +3.5 40
3 @NYJ 23-Sep SUN 1:00 PM
4 OAK 30-Sep SUN 1:00 PM
5 @HOU 7-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
6 @CLE 14-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
7 NE 21-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
8 NYG 28-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
9 BYE - - -
10 BUF 11-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
11 @PHI 18-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
12 @PIT 26-Nov MON 8:30 PM
13 NYJ 2-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
14 @BUF 9-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
15 BAL 16-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
16 @NE 23-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
17 CIN 30-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
MIA vs DAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Trent Green     240,1
RB Ronnie Brown 70,1 20  
RB Jesse Chatman 30,1 30  
TE David Martin   10  
WR Chris Chambers   100,1  
WR Marty Booker   50  
WR Ted Ginn Jr.   20  
PK Jay Feeley 1 FG 2 XP  

Pregame Notes: The new offense for the Fins is predictably hampered by a shaky offensive line that fails to give Ronnie Brown much working room but Trent Green's looking like a decent addition even if it only is for a year or two at most. The Miami defense is what keeps this team in games and will get a big test this week against the Cowboys who had the highest score of any team last Sunday. But back at home the defense is even better. The question is if the offense can do enough to take the win - unlike last week.

Quarterback: Trent Green turned in a standard sort of game in his debut with the Redskins. He completed 24 of 38 passes for 219 yards and one score and much of that came either on passes to the running backs or Chris Chambers. Cam Cameron may have come over from San Diego but so far there's nothing here to confuse with Tomlinson, Gates or even Rivers.

Running Backs: Ronnie Brown was finally named the starter last week and he only managed to gain 32 yards on 11 carries. The blocking was so poor that Brown would meet defenders before he got to the line of scrimmage. Jesse Chatman was mixed in later during the game and he only managed 15 yards on seven carries. Brown is clearly the better runner here but with that blocking it really doesn't matter. Both backs were used in the passing game though and had six catches each - Brown with 40 yards and Chatman with 48. It's bad enough when a productive backfield is split but this one is below average even before the touches are distributed.

Wide Receivers: New offensive scheme, new quarterback, same old thing. Chris Chambers (6-92) was the only wideout with any value last week despite being mentioned in trade talks. Marty Booker only managed three catches for 20 yards and the hot rookie Ted Ginn never had a pass thrown to him though he did one end around for seven yards. One wideout and running backs - that's all this passing attack is so far.

Tight Ends: There will be no confusing David Martin with Antonio Gates. Martin's first showing with the Dolphins only brought in one catch for seven yards. Even Justin Peele did better (2-12) and he had the lone passing score. Peele is supposed to just be a blocker.

Match Against the Defense: The vaunted Dallas defense has yet to show up with CB Terrance Newman out and letting Chris Chambers go against Jacques Reeves instead. The Dallas secondary was a sieve against the Giants last week though the Dolphins are hardly a passing giant quite yet.

Look for decent yardage by the running backs here that will be split and therefore reduce the fantasy value significantly. I like the chance for one rushing score but that will depend on if Chatman or Brown are in at the time. Last week Chatman was used at the goal line though unsuccessfully. Chatman had two chances from the one yard line and went nowhere. That could mean Brown gets a shot this week but it remains to be seen.

Look for decent numbers from Green who will use Chambers all day since the other wideouts are not contributing and the Cowboys are soft in the secondary once again.

Gaining Fantasy Points MIA 15 21 19 6 16 17
Preventing Fantasy Points DAL 31 22 32 19 30 11

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