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

Prediction: HOU 10, CAR 24

The fortunes of both these teams seemed to have turned around during the offseason. The Panthers had little trouble with the Rams on the road while the Texans easily handled the visiting Chiefs. But now back in the Panthers lair, the Texans will discover the difference between the Chiefs on the road and a balanced team at home.

Houston Texans (1-0)
Homefield: Reliant Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 KC 20-3 +3 38
2 @CAR 16-Sep +7 38
3 IND 23-Sep SUN 1:00 PM
4 @ATL 30-Sep SUN 1:00 PM
5 MIA 7-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
6 @JAC 14-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
7 TEN 21-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
8 @SD 28-Oct SUN 4:05 PM
9 @OAK 4-Nov SUN 4:15 PM
10 BYE - - -
11 NO 18-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
12 @CLE 25-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
13 @TEN 2-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
14 TB 9-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
15 DEN 13-Dec THU 8:15 PM
16 @IND 23-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
17 JAC 30-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
HOU at CAR Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Schaub     200,1
RB Ahman Green 40 40  
TE Owen Daniels   20  
WR Andre Johnson   80,1  
WR Jacoby Jones   40  
WR Kevin Walter   10  
PK Kris Brown 1 XP 1 FG  
Pregame Notes: The opening of the new era in Houston - you know, without David Carr - went rather well with the offense showing all new punch from last year. Ahman Green ran well and more importantly than anything offensive was the Texans holding an opponent to only three points and 235 net yards. With a trip to Carolina and then hosting the Colts in week three, all those good feelings may not be joined by many more for a while.

Quarterback: The Matt Schaub debut went great though he only threw for 225 yards. But Schaub completed 16 of 22 passes and brought Andre Johnson to life as one of the most productive NFL receivers from week one. There's still plenty left to learn and accomplish but first things first with getting the ball to Johnson.

Running Backs: Ahman Green gained 73 yards on 16 carries against the Chiefs for a healthy 4.6 yard average but the Texans also relied on Ron Dayne for 13 carries and 33 yards. That's the beauty of a Gary Kubiak team though in fairness Dayne only had four carries by the fourth quarter and much of his use was in a game already decided - how often will that happen? Green was also used as a receiver for four catches which could increase in tougher games.

Wide Receivers: It's finally all about Andre Johnson again. Schaub threw ten passes to his star wideout for seven completions and 142 yards including a 77 yard score that alone was everything they wanted from Carr and rarely ever saw. Unfortunately, the passing scheme only had Johnson in it. No other wideout had more than two catches for 33 yards (Jacoby Jones) and the Texans will need to quickly evolve into more than just Johnson as a receiver. Unless you own Johnson in which case you have to be pretty pleased about now. Tougher games are coming down the pike and the offense must and will improve.

Tight Ends: Owen Daniels only had one catch last week and that follows last year when he was red hot to start the year and then little used by the end of the season.

Match Against the Defense: This is where the gains of last week may disappear all too quickly. The Panthers held Steven Jackson to only 58 yards on 18 carries in St. Louis. Ahman Green in Carolina? Probably not going to be any better and most likely even less. Green can prop up his fantasy value with some catches here but this is not a favorable match-up.

This same defense held Marc Bulger to only 167 yards and one score but the good news, of sorts, was that they still could not cover split end Torry Holt so Andre Johnson should hold his value this week even if no other receiver can do the same.

Gaining Fantasy Points HOU 14 22 11 29 14 3
Preventing Fantasy Points CAR 16 3 18 12 17 7


Carolina Panthers (1-0)
Homefield: Bank of America Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @STL 27-13 -1 42
2 HOU 16-Sep -7 38
3 @ATL 23-Sep SUN 4:15 PM
4 TB 30-Sep SUN 4:05 PM
5 @NO 7-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
6 @ARI 14-Oct SUN 4:05 PM
7 BYE - - -
8 IND 28-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
9 @TEN 4-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
10 ATL 11-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
11 @GB 18-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
12 NO 25-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
13 SF 2-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
14 @JAC 9-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
15 SEA 16-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
16 DAL 22-Dec SAT 8:15 PM
17 @TB 30-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
CAR vs HOU Rush Catch Pass
QB Jake Delhomme     200,2
RB DeShaun Foster 80 20  
RB DeAngelo Williams 40,1 10  
TE Jeff King   20  
WR Steve Smith   90,2  
WR Keary Colbert   10  
WR Drew Carter   40  
PK John Kasay 1 FG 3 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Panthers started their season looking just like we thought they would - last year. Everything worked. All those happy accolades that the players were heaping on the new offense rang true and the defense stepped up to shut down the Rams in every facet of their offense. Jake Delhomme threw great and Foster and WIlliams ran like they were Taylor and Jones-Drew (who incidentally ran like they were Laurel and Hardy last week). The Panthers have a fairly kind schedule this year and appear to be ready to get back the respect they lost in 2006.

Quarterback: The acquisition of David Carr in the offseason sparked speculation that Jake Delhomme was on some sort of a short leash this year after a forgettable 2006. Let some of that leash out. Delhomme completed 18 of 27 passes for 201 yards and three scores with no interceptions. Heck, throw the leash away for that matter.

Running Backs: The talk about DeShaun Foster looking good in camp this year was obviously not just talk - Foster ran for 94 yards on 17 carries and while DeAngelo Williams owners may not own the primary back anytime soon, Williams still contributed 62 yards on 15 carries. It was only the Rams defense which has not been great but a combined 156 rushing yards proves the Panthers are on the right track.

Wide Receivers: Healthy Jake Delhomme. Healthy Steve Smith. Big game. Smith hauled in seven catches for 118 yards and one score in St. Louis last week and yet all that word that Keary Colbert was getting back to being a part of the offense, one catch for nine yards says that ain' t so. And Drew Carter catching three passes for two touchdowns says you can drop Colbert this week in your waiver wire frenzy. Notable too was that Dwayne Jarrett was inactive.

Tight Ends: Jeff King's five catches for 35 yards may not be a fantasy dream come true, but that's more use of the tight end position than the Panthers have done in years. It bears watching though realistically, the high side here still wouldn't equate into a fantasy starter.

Match Against the Defense: The Texans turned in a surprisingly good defensive showing last week but it's only reasonable to expect some and maybe most of that was about how under prepared the Chiefs were since they had been unable to unseat Damon Huard as the starting quarterback and Larry Johnson had showed up only days before. Plus it was a home opener just as this is for the Panthers.

The backs are going to share here but there should be enough yardage to split that at least Foster has fantasy significance this week. The Texans secondary may be better but this was the 26th ranked defense against quarterbacks last year and has not improved that dramatically yet. Look for another good game here from Delhomme and Smith that should see a few more passes go to the running backs this week.

Gaining Fantasy Points CAR 8 13 6 16 7 22
Preventing Fantasy Points HOU 3 7 7 10 5 17

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