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

Prediction: DAL 17, CHI 16

The Cowboys bring their 2-0 record and the highest scoring offense into Chicago to face the 1-1 Bears who still haven't impressed anyone enough to consider them locks to return to the Super Bowl this year. These sort of match-up are always fun - a great offense meets a great defense and a bad offense meets a bad defense. It's like a physics experiment with cheerleaders.

Dallas Cowboys (2-0)
Homefield: Texas Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 NYG 45-35 -5.5 44
2 @MIA 37-20 -3.5 40.5
3 @CHI 23-Sep +3 42
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 CHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Tony Romo     190,2
RB Julius Jones 40    
RB Marion Barber 40 20  
TE Jason Witten   50,1  
WR Terrell Owens   70,1  
WR Patrick Crayton   30  
WR Sam Hurd   20  
PK Nick Folk 1 FG 2 XP  
Pregame Notes: As long as you only look at the Cowboys offense, then all things are rosy here with 82 points scored over the first two games. Ringing up 37 in Miami was an accomplishment and this week will be the ultimate test of the year in Chicago. The defense though? The lethargic offenses of the Giants and Dolphins managed to score 55 points. The new aggressive attitude that HC Wade Phillips was supposed to be bringing to the team so far has only been aggressive in what they let the opponent do to the scoreboard.

Quarterback: Jerry Jones did not want to give Tony Romo a contract extension before he saw more of what he was buying. So far, he is just spending more money than he had to since Romo has been more than adequate and already has six passing scores and one rushing touchdown alone with about 260 passing yards per game. Just as critical- he only has one interception and no fumbles. And he doesn't hold for field goals anymore either.

Running Backs: Here's the gameplan. Start Julius Jones and give him about 15 carries a game so he can run for around 50 yards. Then start to feed it to Marion Barber so he can look twice as good as Jones and score three times so far this year. Know what? It may not work for your fantasy team but it works for the 2-0 Cowboys. Jones is a speedy slasher (sort of) and Barber is the bull. Until Jones gets injured, there has been no word from the team that they are going to change what has worked well so far.

Wide Receivers: Terrell Owens continues his streak of consecutive games with a score and already has three touchdowns on the season with never less than 87 yards in a game. They know he is coming but since he is not used too heavily, they never know when he will be the guy on any given play. Patrick Crayton had an open dislocation of his pinky finger last week and had to get stitches in it during halftime. Crayton will play with the injury but it reasonably has to affect his ability to catch at least a bit. Sam Hurd takes the slot again this week but hasn't done much yet other than the one 51-yard touchdown in week one.

Tight Ends: After opening with a monster game in the season opener, Jason Witten was held to only a couple of catches last Sunday. With Crayton possibly limited and Hurd not yet making a big impact, Witten should see more work this week unless the Cowboys need him for pass protection.

Match Against the Defense: Here's a huge test for the high-flying offense going against defense that has held Tomlinson to 25 rushing yards and Larry Johnson to just 55 yards. Tomlinson managed one rushing score while at home but this is a tall order for the Dallas backfield to do more than a moderate game that gets split up anyway. Low numbers for both Jones and Barber here.

Where this game will hinge for the Cowboys is with the passing of Romo going against a tough secondary but one that has lost players and that has already had to come up big the last two weeks. This is going to be a low scoring game but one where the Cowboys should manage at least a little success. Not having Terry Glenn hurts and Crayton having a bad finger is not optimal, but the offense can use Owens and Witten with some success here. The bottom line to this game is that it will be decided on one or two plays - either long scoring passes or defensive scores.

Gaining Fantasy Points DAL 2 1 8 3 2 13
Preventing Fantasy Points CHI 3 18 3 31 4 26


Chicago Bears (1-1)
Homefield: Soldier Field
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @SD 3-14 +5.5 42.5
2 KC 20-10 -12 34.5
3 DAL 23-Sep -3 42
4 @DET 30-Sep SUN 1:00 PM
5 @GB 7-Oct SUN 8:15 PM
6 MIN 14-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
7 @PHI 21-Oct SUN 4:15 PM
8 DET 28-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
9 BYE - - -
10 @OAK 11-Nov SUN 4:15 PM
11 @SEA 18-Nov SUN 8:15 PM
12 DEN 25-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
13 NYG 2-Dec SUN 4:15 PM
14 @WAS 6-Dec THU 8:15 PM
15 @MIN 17-Dec MON 8:30 PM
16 GB 23-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
17 NO 30-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
CHI vs DAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Rex Grossman     190,1
RB Cedric Benson 90 10  
TE Desmond Clark   20  
WR Bernard Berrian   90,1  
WR Muhsin Muhammad   30  
WR Rashied Davis   30  
PK Robbie Gould 3 FG 1 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Bears made amends for losing the opener but it wasn't all that pretty or dominating over the Chiefs who could have won the game if the receivers never dropped passes and they actually kicked away from Devin Hester which should clearly be in every team's special teams game plan. Hester even had a 95-yard kickoff return touchdown called back on a meaningless penalty. The offense has only scored one touchdown this year and that went to a tackle eligible. Dallas brings a softer defense to town but the Bears really need to show more consistency to expect to continue winning. Hester cannot be the leading scorer for the team but he is tied with offensive tackle John St. Clair for the lead after two games.

Quarterback: The "good" Rex Grossman that opened the 2006 season has yet to make a showing and it only gives the media and fans more fodder for a change when he only had one score so far this year against three interceptions and never more than 160 passing yards in a game. The soft Cowboys secondary should be a treat though as will Detroit next week. There still is a chance for Grossman to redeem himself but it needs to start this week.

Running Backs: Cedric Benson ran for 101 yards on 24 carries last week which gives him two 100 yard efforts in the last three games played but he only averaged right at four yards per carry and the offense continues to call him to run pitch-outs when he's better north and south. Benson still hasn't scored this year and the Bears are mixing in Adrian Peterson on many passing downs. Benson has quieted his critics for a week after his game on Sunday but he still has not convinced anyone he will be the next Walter Payton... maybe not even the next Thomas Jones.

Wide Receivers: The erratic passing of Grossman has caused Muhsin Muhammad to have zero fantasy value so far (only two catches for 15 yards) and Bernard Berrian's ten catches for 148 this season dwarfs what any other receiver has done. Even the plan to involve Devin Hester has resulted in only two incompletions so far. This week should be a far better one for the Bears but we thought the same last Sunday.

Tight Ends: Desmond Clark has been good for around 30 yards per game and the rookie Greg Olsen is possible to return for this game. Clark was busted up last week as well. Updates here if Clark has problems or if Olsen can plan.

Match Against the Defense: The Cowboys are signing Tank Johnson and the prevailing wisdom in Chicago is to pump him for information to use against the Bears (which , incidentally, he would readily supply). The Cowboys rush defense has been pretty good this year not allowing any rushing scores and holding teams to lower rushing numbers because they fall behind and cannot run more than 19 times in a game. Expect at least a decent game here from Benson and even a good one if the Bears defense can keep it close and rely on Benson instead of Grossman.

While Grossman faces one of the statistically softest secondaries in the league, realize two things. One - Grossman has fallen far behind in his quest for offensive player of the year. Second - Dallas had four interceptions in Miami last week. Grossman won't challenge the secondary any more than he has to but at some point he likely will. At this point the only safe play for a Bears receiver is obviously Berrian who gets the best match-up anyway with Terrance Newman still out.

Gaining Fantasy Points CHI 30 29 29 21 23 5
Preventing Fantasy Points DAL 30 14 31 6 28 4

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