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

Prediction: HOU 13, ATL 20

The Texans hot start to the season cooled down with the loss to the Colts but it was only six points and the Texans were missing major players on their offense - pretty impressive even in a loss. The Falcons... well... at least they are scoring again. This week is a nice setup for the Falcons first win of the year with the injured Texans coming off a close win and heading on the road to Atlanta where eventually they will win one. Eventually. Just probably not this week.

Update: Ahman Green has not practiced this week and HC Gary Kubiak says that he will be a gametime decision. He's far too risky to start on your team this week and the rushing load should be split between Ron Dayne (who has sore ribs) and Samkon Gado. I have also removed Jerome Mathis from the projections since he he is battling a sore foot and missed some practice time this week. Tough gig for Schaub missing Andre Johnson, Jacoby Jones and probably Mathis.

Houston Texans (2-1)
Homefield: Reliant Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 KC 20-3 +3 38
2 @CAR 34-21 +6.5 39
3 IND 24-30 + 6 47.5
4 @ATL   -3 38.5
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 ATL Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Schaub     160,1
RB Ron Dayne 70    
TE Owen Daniels   70,1  
WR Andre Davis   60  
WR Jerome Mathis 20
WR Kevin Walter   30  
PK Kris Brown 2 FG 1 XP  
Pregame Notes: The Texans continue to impress with a relatively close loss to the Colts as their only black mark on the season - and they did it without Andre Johnson and eventually with Ahman Green injured. The defense is much improved and the offense could be surprisingly good - if only they could get healthy. The "Most Improved" award would gladly be traded for the "No Injuries" honors.

Quarterback: Whether or not Andre Johnson is in the lineup, Matt Schaub has managed to throw for 225 to 236 yards each week. He'll be even more challenged this time since both Johnson and Jacoby Jones will be out and Andre Davis has a dislocated finger. This is the big week that Matt Schaub revisits the Falcons too but he's returning with little more than Kevin Walter and Andre Davis and potentially Ron Dayne instead of Ahman Green. It's like going back to your hometown driving a 1968 Dodge Dart with leaky gas tank. Kind of hard to impress anyone.

Running Backs: Ahman Green sprained his knee last week but an MRI did not show any structural damage so Green is just waiting for the swelling to subside before a determination can be made about this week. Fortunately (for the Falcons), Ron Dayne is expected back this week after missing last Sunday with bruised ribs. Dayne has 31 carries for 77 yards this season for a hefty 2.5 yard average. Maybe Schaub can show his old teammates pictures of Ahman Green and pretend they are running.

Wide Receivers: Andre Johnson is expected to miss a second week due to his knee injury and now Jacoby Jones will be out two to three weeks with a shoulder separation. That leaves Andre Davis and Kevin Walter as starters with Jerome Mathis as the slot player in addition to being the return man on punts. At least now Schaub can really show what he is made of using little more than crossed fingers and lucky charms.

Tight Ends: If there ever was a week to start Owen Daniels, this looks like this would be it. Daniels turned in seven catches for 78 yards last week and had five receptions for 58 yards in week two. Now both Johnson and Jones are out. Oh sure, start Daniels this week.

Match Against the Defense: The Falcons already have a solid pass defense that held Steve Smith to just one catch last week. Assuming that DeAngelo Hall plays this week, he should smother anything that Kevin Walter might do. That leaves Davis and Daniels as best bets and I like one score in this game, Look for low passing yards from Schaub despite this being his homecoming of sorts - it is not really his fault.

With Green likely out, Ron Dayne should be the starter and goes against a better defense than he would need to matter. He should manage decent yardage here but unlikely any score.

Gaining Fantasy Points HOU 20 17 16 17 8 2
Preventing Fantasy Points ATL 14 27 6 21 19 30


Atlanta Falcons (0-3)
Homefield: Georgia Dome
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @MIN 3-24 +3 36
2 @JAC 7-13 +11 34.5
3 CAR 20-27 +4 37.5
4 HOU   +3 38.5
5 @TEN 7-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
6 NYG 15-Oct MON 8:30 PM
7 @NO 21-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
8 BYE - - -
9 SF 4-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
10 @CAR 11-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
11 TB 18-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
12 IND 22-Nov THU 8:15 PM
13 @STL 2-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
14 NO 10-Dec MON 8:30 PM
15 @TB 16-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
16 @ARI 23-Dec SUN 4:05 PM
17 SEA 30-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
ATL vs HOU Rush Catch Pass
QB Joey Harrington     240,1
RB Warrick Dunn 80 10  
RB Jerious Norwood 40,1 20  
TE Alge Crumpler   60,1  
WR Joe Horn   30  
WR Michael Jenkins   50  
WR Roddy White   70  
PK Morten Andersen 2 FG 2 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Falcons played a surprisingly good game against the Panthers last week even if they did lose. Harrington had a big game and the running attack showed some life. After facing MIN, JAC and CAR defenses, the Texans may actually prove to be a step down particularly considering the effect of so many injuries on the Texans offense that likely will prevent much ball control. This is about as good a chance for a win that the Falcons will have perhaps the entire season or at least until the 2007 Saints show up in week 14.

Quarterback: With Byron Leftwich standing in the background and grinning, Joey Harrington came to life last week and threw for 362 yards and two scores against only one sack and no turnovers. There's a major difference from the first two weeks but then again - it was the first home game. Leftwich is no longer grinning.

Running Backs: The Falcons are running about a 2:1 ratio with Warrick Dunn and Jerious Norwood. Last week had Dunn gaining 55 yards on 11 carries while Norwood turned in 32 yards on six runs. It was a productive game against a tough Panthers defense but falling behind forced the Falcons to throw instead of run and the duo only had 17 carries. That should increase this week.

Wide Receivers: Roddy White has emerged as the primary receiver in this offense and comes off a career best seven catches for 127 yards with one score. Michael Jenkins also had 76 yards on six receptions which was double that from his first two games combined. Joe Horn? He just chugs along with only about 35 yards every week. Maybe White is becoming the new Colston? Hard to imagine in this offense but still White has become the go-to guy for Harrington, even above Alge Crumpler.

Tight Ends: While White may have supplanted Alge Crumpler as the most productive receiver, Crumpler still has been good for around 60 yards per week and scored last Sunday.

Match Against the Defense: The Houston rushing defense has been solid this year though Joseph Addai turned in two scores against them last week. This won't be where the Falcons will likely win the game but if the injuries to the Texans offense slow them down - and it appears rather likely - then the running game could have decent numbers if only because of the volume of carries.

Harrington has a little incentive above keeping Leftwich frowning. He will be compared to Schaub in this game and he faces a secondary that has allowed 589 yards these last two weeks to Peyton Manning and Jake Delhomme. Expect Harrington to throw for at least one score and possibly two though the Falcons will just want to play ball control in this game. Look for a decent passing game but nothing too big.

Gaining Fantasy Points ATL 22 23 20 9 29 29
Preventing Fantasy Points HOU 19 10 18 20 9 8

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