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

Prediction: SEA 20, ARI 17

The Seahawks started their year with a solid win over the Buccaneers while the Cardinals dropped their Monday night game against the 49ers if only because the defense slipped on the final series. The new coaching regime would love for a win in their home opener this week but Seattle's demise may premature.

The Cardinals lost 21-10 in week two at Seattle but later won 27-21 in week 14 when the Seahawks visited.

Update: Shaun Alexander practiced with a cast over his left hand and wrist the last two days but he insists that it is nothing of significance and he did practice fully. He is not on the injury report because he practiced and is expected to play. Check out the inactives before game time just in case this really is something but apparently no one is concerned and he is safe to start. D.J. Hackett will definitely miss this week as expected.

Seattle Seahawks (1-0)
Homefield: Qwest Field
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 TB 20-6 -6 41
2 @ARI 16-Sep -3 44.5
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 AT ARI Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Hasselbeck     210,1
RB Shaun Alexander 70,1 20  
TE Marcus Pollard   40,1  
WR Deion Branch   50  
WR Bobby Engram   50  
WR Nate Burleson   40  
PK Josh Brown 2 XP 2 FG  
Pregame Notes: The Seahawks had a rather typical season opener when they took down the visiting Buccaneers and Shaun Alexander looked at least close to back to form. More encouraging here was the performance of the defense but that was at home against a weak offense. The Seahawks have had problems in the past in Arizona but the Cards appear to have all new challenges installing their new schemes as well.

Quarterback: Just a standard day in the office for Matt Hasselbeck on Sunday when he completed 17 of 24 passes for 222 yards and one score without any interceptions. It was troubling that Deion Branch hardly replaced Darrell Jackson but otherwise the offense ran to form.

Hasselbeck threw for only 221 yards and a score in Seattle against the Cards but later had 243 yards and three touchdowns in Arizona.

Running Backs: While Shaun Alexander started slowly last week, he ended up with 105 yards on 27 carries and scored once. That still is sub 4.0 yards per carry but the Buccaneer defense is improved this year and his yardage totals are encouraging that there's still some gas left in the tank. He even had two catches for 12 yards as an added bonus. Maurice Morris caught a 34 yard score but that was just one trick play and not a new feature to the offense.

Alexander was only moderately successful last year against Arizona, gaining 89 and 76 rushing yards with one score in the home game.

Wide Receivers: The wideouts didn't really do much last week but Ronde Barber completely shut down Deion Branch and D.J. Hackett was injured on his first catch when he suffered a badly sprained ankle. He'll miss this week and Bobby Engram will be stepping up as he has done in previous years. Engram led all receivers last week with thee catches for 64 yards. Nate Burleson filled in for two catches for 41 yards though he lost a fumble as well.

 Hackett only played in the game in Arizona last year but had four catches for 104 yards and a score. Darrell Jackson recorded games of 127 and 60 yards against the Cardinals last season and scored once in each. Branch played in the road match-up and had three catches for 54 yards. This week will be all new receivers from what played last year. Even Branch is playing the other side now.

Tight Ends: While Marcus Pollard may be the old man of tight ends, he still accounted for a team high five catches for 43 yards last week and looks to be an adequate replacement for Jerramy Stevens. He won't be dashing for any long scores but

Match Against the Defense: The Cardinals defense was very impressive last week and shut down the 49ers for almost all but the final drive. How much of that was just a bad offense missing Norv Turner and how much was the influence of new coaching for the Cards will be better known after this game but the Cardinals have always played the Seahawks tough in the desert. Expect only moderate numbers here form Alexander and hope his role as a receiver continues.

Hasselbeck is a better quarterback than Alex Smith but the passing game has typically languished a bit on the road to Arizona recently. Most likely outcome here is another solid showing by Hasselbeck that won't light any fantasy fires and should continue to make use of Pollard and even Burleson. Look for one score and just average yardage. This game tilts on the match-up between the SEA defense and the ARI offense.

Gaining Fantasy Points SEA 13 2 22 13 12 12
Preventing Fantasy Points ARI 5 14 16 1 23 14


Arizona Cardinals (0-1)
Homefield: University of Phoenix Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @SF 17-20 +3.5 45
2 SEA 16-Sep +3 44.5
3 @BAL 23-Sep SUN 1:00 PM
4 PIT 30-Sep SUN 4:15 PM
5 @STL 7-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
6 CAR 14-Oct SUN 4:05 PM
7 @WAS 21-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
8 BYE - - -
9 @TB 4-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
10 DET 11-Nov SUN 4:15 PM
11 @CIN 18-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
12 SF 25-Nov SUN 4:05 PM
13 CLE 2-Dec SUN 4:05 PM
14 @SEA 9-Dec SUN 4:05 PM
15 @NO 16-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
16 ATL 23-Dec SUN 4:05 PM
17 STL 30-Dec SUN 4:15 PM
ARI vs SEA Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Leinart 20   180,1
RB Edgerrin James 100,1 30  
TE Leonard Pope   20  
WR Anquan Boldin   40  
WR Larry Fitzgerald   50,1  
WR Bryant Johnson   30  
PK Neil Rackers 1 FG 2 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Cardinals almost pulled off the upset on Monday night but couldn't stop the 49ers on the final drive. Edgerrin James ran well but Matt Leinart and the passing game never got out of first gear. Leinart looked more like a rookie than when he actually was a rookie. But the defense played very well and already shows improvement. That new offensive scheme is just going to take a bit longer.

Quarterback: The 49ers played a solid secondary against Matt Leinart last Monday and held him to a horrible outing of just 14 of 28 for 102 yards and one score with two interceptions. Leinart was knocked about constantly though he only had one sack. Repeated attempts to connect with Fitzgerald and Boldin often were clearly off the mark and the new scheme is still in the learning curve stage. A sign of his woes was that Leinart ran six times and gained 35 yards.

Leinart was the starter in week 14 against the Seahawks and threw for 232 yards and two scores.

Running Backs: While Edgerrin James only gained 3.5 yards per carry against the 49ers, he had 26 runs and totaled 92 rushing yards with one score and even had two catches for 20 yards. Marcel Shipp was only used once so no sharing is going on. James remains one of the few backs that gets everything there is to get.

James only gained 64 yards on 18 carries in Seattle last year but racked up 115 yards and one score on 26 carries when the Cards hosted the game in week 14.

Wide Receivers: The dynamic duo was completely shutdown last week when Larry Fitzgerald only had three catches for 20 yards and Anquan Boldin totaled just 22 yards on four catches - those are some rather short routes. Boldin did score the lone receiving touchdown but Leinart was unable to connect on any long passes with his wideouts last Monday. The only working plays were ridiculously short and that's not a positive sign for the pair if this new offense keeps it short. It is only one game but not a good one by any stretch.

Boldin had games of 6-62 and 4-47 against the Seahawks last year but never scored. Fitzgerald had a low effort in Seattle of just 52 yards but had seven catches for 79 yards and scored a touchdown back at home.

Tight Ends: Leonard Pope is a much larger part of the new offense so far with three catches for 22 yards in a game where no receiver had anything more than that. He'll need some endzone success to become a viable fantasy player but at least the new scheme is using the position more.

Match Against the Defense: The Seattle defense was solid last week but the visiting Buccaneers are hardly a powerhouse. Carnell Williams only had 12 carries but averaged 5.0 when he did run. Expect a good showing here by James who should have a good total number of runs and score once.

Leinart's problems last week should be lessened with a home game here but the Seattle defense will undoubtedly harass him like the 49ers did. This offense is still coming together and while the old magic with Boldin and Fitzgerald could return, the most likely outcome here is another low to moderate game with incremental improvement from last week. Once again, Fitzgerald has the better match-up but he didn't exploit it last week with passes sailing over his head or bouncing at his feet.

Gaining Fantasy Points ARI 21 14 21 20 22 19
Preventing Fantasy Points SEA 10 10 15 9 12 6

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