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

Prediction: DET 23, PHI 20

Here's a sign that the NFL changes each season. The Lions are 2-0 with an impressive passing game and a smidgeon of defense while the Eagles are 0-2 after defeats by the Packers and Redskins. This is yet another big home game for Philly but so was last week when McNabb faltered. The Lions have already won a road game this year so two in a row would be stupefying. Welcome to the NFL 2007.

Update: Kevin Jones is still likely to see the field this week but still did not fully participate in practices on Wednesday or Thursday. I am not changing his minimal projections but realize even they may prove high side for this first week back. Also L.J. Smith and Brian Westbrook were held out of practice on both Wednesday and Thursday. Smith is still recovering from his groin injury while Westbrook has a strained knee from the Monday night game and the team is having him looked at further by doctors.

The status on Westbrook this week won't be known until later Friday at the earliest. Smith is just nursing the same condition and will play again this week but be limited. OC Marty Mornhinwheg said that Westbrook is considered day-to-day. I am only slightly lowering the projections at this point since Westbrook had a knee problem last year and turned in a career best rushing year... though he was held out for one game. Make sure to check the latest on Westbrook before you use him this week. It still all smacks of him playing but even if he does he could be limited.

Detroit Lions (2-0)
Homefield: Ford Field
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @OAK 36-21 +1 39
2 MIN 20-17 -3 42.5
3 @PHI 23-Sep +6.5 44.5
4 CHI 30-Sep SUN 1:00 PM
5 @WAS 7-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
6 BYE - - -
7 TB 21-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
8 @CHI 28-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
9 DEN 4-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
10 @ARI 11-Nov SUN 4:15 PM
11 NYG 18-Nov SUN 4:15 PM
12 GB 22-Nov THU 12:30 PM
13 @MIN 2-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
14 DAL 9-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
15 @SD 16-Dec SUN 4:15 PM
16 KC 23-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
17 @GB 30-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
DET at PHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Jon Kitna     270,2
RB Kevin Jones 20 10  
RB Tatum Bell 40 20  
TE Sean McHugh   20  
WR Roy Williams   70  
WR Mike Furrey   50  
WR Calvin Johnson   60,1  
WR Shaun McDonald   60,1  
PK Jason Hanson 2 FG 2 XP  
Pregame Notes: The Lions are 2-0 and looking to make good on Jon Kitna's prediction of a 10-6 season. As powerful as the passing game has been so far, it's getting had to argue with him. The defense has not yet faced an offense that would even be considered to be average but then again, the Eagles only have 25 points on the season and just one offensive touchdown so...

Quarterback: Jon Kitna left the game with a concussion last week but with the game on the line and J.T O'Sullivan not lighting it up, he wobbled back into the game and secured the win. As a team, the Lions threw for 393 yards against the vaunted Vikings defense. Kitna had 289 yards and three scores in the season opener as well. If you watched Monday night football and saw Santana Moss barely miss catching a long bomb for a score, think of the Lions with four players that can all run that route.

Running Backs: Tatum Bell will be joined by Kevin Jones this week at least for part of the game. Jones is returning from his Lis Franc injury last year and won't be over-used but it should be enough to take Bell out of fantasy consideration this week. Jones is hoped to play for 15 to 20 snaps and was very productive last year. Those of you who are holding Jones shouldn't trot him out in your lineups quite yet but do watch the game with interest. As explosive as the passing has been thus far, Jones may have some decent running room and lanes as a receiver.  

Wide Receivers: This passing attack has been as good as Martz could have hoped. After two games played against solid defenses, the four wideouts here have never had less than 50 yards and/ or a touchdown yet. Roy Williams has the lone 100 yard game last week when he reeled in seven catches for 111 yards and a score and the rookie Calvin Johnson has never played in an NFL game without a touchdown yet. Mike Furrey gets around 50 or 60 yards per game while #4 Shaun McDonald turns in around 80 yards and seven catches each week. While none are producing monster numbers, they are all producing very good fantasy scores each week. Sniff... thank you, Mike Martz... thank you...

Tight Ends: Even Sean McHugh has managed to catch about 30 yards each game. He'll never be a top tight end by any means but still offers a bit of production on top of what the wideouts do.,

Match Against the Defense: Most of the Eagles woes have been about their own offense and not the defense. The Eagles have only allowed one passing score this year and both Campbell and Favre settled for around 200 passing yards. But the Lions have a lot more receivers than the Packers and Redskins combined. Look for only minimal to moderate numbers from the running backs here that will be split since Jones is coming back.

For Kitna, he just has to keep from getting blasted by a Philly blitz which will definitely be the order of the day for the Eagles. I like Kitna to throw for a couple of scores here that will favor Johnson until he finally doesn't score and McDonald who has the speed to get deep when Williams and Johnson catch the eye of the safeties who are already banged up after last week.

Gaining Fantasy Points DET 3 28 2 17 5 6
Preventing Fantasy Points PHI 7 9 5 25 25 18


Philadelphia Eagles (0-2)
Homefield: Lincoln Financial Field
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @GB 13-16 -3 43.5
2 WAS 12-20 +7 38.5
3 DET 23-Sep -6.5 44.5
4 @NYG 30-Sep SUN 8:15 PM
5 BYE - - -
6 @NYJ 14-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
7 CHI 21-Oct SUN 4:15 PM
8 @MIN 28-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
9 DAL 4-Nov SUN 8:15 PM
10 @WAS 11-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
11 MIA 18-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
12 @NE 25-Nov SUN 8:15 PM
13 SEA 2-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
14 NYG 9-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
15 @DAL 16-Dec SUN 4:15 PM
16 @NO 23-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
17 BUF 30-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
PHI vs DET Rush Catch Pass
QB Donovan McNabb 10   270,2
RB Brian Westbrook 50 50  
RB Correll Buckhalter 20    
TE L.J. Smith   20  
WR Reggie Brown   50,1  
WR Kevin Curtis   60  
WR Jason Avant   60,1  
PK David Akers 2 FG 2 XP  

Pregame Notes: At 0-2, the Eagles are reeling and mostly because the core of their team - Donovan McNabb - has been the liability instead of the greatest strength. This week should be a banner game for a healthy McNabb but he is not playing like the Donovan of old. The defense is holding opponents to only 18 points per game but the offense has only scored 13 at most. Now to make it an official crisis, McNabb's response has been to come out publicly and decry how black quarterbacks are treated unfairly by the media. Maybe he should spend time getting his aim down about three feet on passes.

Quarterback: After two weeks, Donovan McNabb has thrown for 424 yards and one score. After two weeks in 2006, he had 664 passing yards and five touchdowns. McNabb is clearly not healed from his knee injury which has affected his accuracy in a surprising way. Passes in the dirt and even more sailing well overhead of intended receivers. Almost everything is the same on the offense except two things - Kevin Curtis is an upgrade from Donte Stallworth and McNabb is not remotely the same.

Running Backs: Despite all the passing woes, Brian Westbrook remains the star of this offense and has been the only factor keeping the Eagles from nothing short of putrid results in games. He has gained about 90 yards each week on the ground and caught 14 passes for 112 yards already. No problem here other than defenses are going to start shrinking down to just him if McNabb doesn't step it up with the passing game.

Wide Receivers: As a sign of the troubles here, the best wideout here has been Jason Avant who has turned in the two best performances by a wideout with just 54 and 55 yards. He also has the only offensive touchdowns this year. Kevin Curtis gets plenty of throws - he had 11 last week - but only caught four of them for 28 yards. Reggie Brown has all but disappeared and only has three catches. And the Packers and Redskins are not considered the elite defenses of this league either (though good). For McNabb to mount a turnaround, he must start connecting with these wideouts.

Tight Ends: L.J. Smith still is not 100% healthy yet but has played both games and turned in two catches in each for negligible yardage.

Match Against the Defense: Considering that Westbrook is the line constant in this offense, the question is how well will McNabb throw? The Lions gave up 313 yards and two scores to Josh McCown but then held down Tarvaris Jackson because he is Tarvaris Jackson. The old McNabb would have turned in 320 yards and three or more scores against this defense. But the Lions are also opportunistic and had four interceptions last week. The most likely outcome here has to be a decent game for McNabb that reconnects with his wideouts since the corners are the weak link in the Lions defense. By this point it will take a small leap of faith to expect McNabb to turn it around in one week. But if he doesn't. it's going to take a much bigger leap of faith to expect the old McNabb to show up any time soon.

Gaining Fantasy Points PHI 26 20 23 27 6 20
Preventing Fantasy Points DET 25 32 7 3 6 30

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