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

Prediction: TB 17, IND 23

The Buccaneers rise to 3-1 with their win in Carolina though it came at the expense of losing Carnell Williams for the year. The Colts are a solid 4-0 again this year but could be missing both Marvin Harrison and Joseph Addai this week. The Bucs have been surprising but playing on the road in Indy is a good spot for a set-back.

Update: Both Joseph Addai and Marvin Harrison have not practiced this week. Harrison's knee sprain is expected to keep him out this week while Addai has not been ruled out and a decision on him may not be made until Saturday or Sunday. I am not adding either into the projections but there is still a small chance that Addai could play.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-1)
Homefield: Raymond James Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @SEA 6-20 +6 41
2 NO 31-14 +3.5 41.5
3 STL 24-3 -4 38.5
4 @CAR 20-7 +3 39
5 @IND   +10 46
6 TEN 14-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
7 @DET 21-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
8 JAC 28-Oct SUN 4:05 PM
9 ARI 4-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
10 BYE - - -
11 @ATL 18-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
12 WAS 25-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
13 @NO 2-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
14 @HOU 9-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
15 ATL 16-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
16 @SF 23-Dec SUN 8:15 PM
17 CAR 30-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
TBB at IND Rush Catch Pass
QB Jeff Garcia 10,1   180
RB Earnest Graham 80,1 10  
RB Michael Pittman 70 20  
TE Alex Smith   30  
WR Joey Galloway   50  
WR Ike Hilliard   40  
WR Michael Clayton   10  
PK Matt Bryant 1 FG 2 XP  
Pregame Notes: The Buccaneers have exceeded all expectations on their three game winning streak and in particular winning last week in Carolina. But this will be the Buccaneers first game against the AFC and they get the world champion Colts. The defense has been the savior here but they have faced three struggling offenses in a row now. Not the case with the Colts this week.

Quarterback: While HC Jon Gruden loves to wax on about how great an addition Jeff Garcia has been, the reality is that the Bucs have managed passing scores in only one game - against the visiting Saints. Otherwise, Garcia has not thrown for touchdowns and hasn't been over 201 passing yards in a game. Garcia did rush in a score last week but he's rarely been running this year in Tampa Bay.

Running Backs: The loss of Carnell Williams will hurt since he was having a good season but the combination of Michael Pittman and Earnest Graham should keep the rushing efforts going just as well. The carries were almost evenly split between Pittman and Graham last week and proved very effective. Graham has scored three times in the last two games and provides goal line duty in addition to being worthy of every down play. Barring any gameplan changes, I am assuming that the sharing will continue and Gruden himself has alluded to having a committee backfield now.

Wide Receivers: Joey Galloway has been the primary receiver for the Bucs for several years and already has scored twice this year but he was held to only four catches for 42 yards by the Panthers. The shocking development was Ike Hilliard turning in seven catches for 114 yards. Hilliard had enjoyed a revival of sorts this year with Garcia on board and has regained his starting role. Michael Clayton hangs in there with just one catch every week. This unit has always been predicated on what Galloway could accomplish. For the first time in two years, Hilliard has given the Bucs a second receiver if only for one week.

Tight Ends: Nothing much here in fantasy value. Alex Smith usually adds two or three catches each week for 20 or 30 yards and has yet to score this year.

Match Against the Defense: The good news for the Buccaneers is that the Colts will likely be without S Bob Sanders this week and will definitely not have LB Rob Morris. That should greatly open the rushing lanes as we saw last week when Denver ran for 212 yards. Expect the duo of both Pittman and Graham to have decent fantasy numbers this week with Graham the more likely to score a touchdown.

Garcia hasn't used the tight ends and the wideouts are going to be very challenged against the top secondary of the Colts that has only allowed three passing scores this year and never more than 236 passing yards in any game. Expect a down game here from Garcia who will be limited to trying to connect with wideouts that are covered.

Gaining Fantasy Points TB 23 4 21 26 17 21
Preventing Fantasy Points IND 10 18 7 13 15 9


Indianapolis Colts (4-0)
Homefield: RCA Dome
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 NO 41-10 -6 51.5
2 @TEN 22-20 -7 46
3 @HOU 30-24 -6 47.5
4 DEN 38-20 -10 46.5
5 TB   -10 46
6 BYE - - -
7 @JAC 22-Oct MON 8:30 PM
8 @CAR 28-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
9 NE 4-Nov SUN 4:15 PM
10 @SD 11-Nov SUN 8:15 PM
11 KC 18-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
12 @ATL 22-Nov THU 8:15 PM
13 JAC 2-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
14 @BAL 9-Dec SUN 8:15 PM
15 @OAK 16-Dec SUN 4:05 PM
16 HOU 23-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
17 TEN 30-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
IND vs TBB Rush Catch Pass
QB Peyton Manning     220,1
RB Kenton Keith 90,1 10  
TE Dallas Clark   50  
WR Aaron Moorehead   30  
WR Reggie Wayne   60  
WR Anthony Gonzalez   50,1  
PK Adam Vinatieri 3 FG 2 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Colts keep chugging along and come off a nice 18 point win over the Broncos last week. But they lost Marvin Harrison, Joseph Addai and Bob Sanders in the game and they may all three miss this week as well. With a bye to follow, just getting through this game gives the team two weeks to heal and prepare for the more challenging part of the schedule to come. The best outcome here is to get a win and stay healthy.

Quarterback: With Harrison out this week, Peyton Manning still has plenty of targets to use with Dallas Clark, Reggie Wayne and Anthony Gonzalez. Missing Joseph Addai is not a positive this week either but going against the tough Denver defense last Sunday Manning still threw for 193 yards and three touchdowns with a fourth one rushed in himself. The Bucs are bringing a sound defense to be sure, but nothing that Manning cannot handle.

Running Backs: Joseph Addai suffered a shoulder sprain last week and could miss this game. But Kenton Keith ran strong when Addai went down last Sunday and even he had 80 yards on 10 carries. If you are going to be a running back getting a first ever start, Indy is about as good as it gets. I am projecting for Keith to start and Addai to sit this week out but will update as warranted. With a bye week after this game, it would make sense to let Addai heal up completely for two weeks.

Wide Receivers: The likely loss of Marvin Harrison will move Anthony Gonzalez up into a starting role this week and push Aaron Moorehead into a slot role. This puts more pressure on Reggie Wayne this week but gives Gonzalez a nice start in the role he will likely inherit should Harrison every prove mortal and retire. Gonzalez has never had more than three catches in a game yet working from the slot and that could be true again next week but at a minimum this gives the rookie some valuable reps during a game.

Tight Ends: Dallas Clark has become one of the most used targets for Manning now and lines up all over. He has finally made the leap from tight end to being a consistent receiver in the scheme. He not only has scored in each of the last three games, his four touchdowns are more than any other Colts player has. Harrison and Wayne combined only have four scores.

Match Against the Defense: The Buccaneers have been softer against the run this year but the Colts will be using Keith in this game. Look for a decent game for a player no one owned before the start of the season. This should remain a low scoring game and that favors plenty of runs. Keith should score once in this game as well.

Manning faces a secondary that has only given up three passing scores in four games and two of those went to running backs. But this is Manning playing at home. Look for just one passing score here and good yardage that will favor Gonzalez getting a touchdown. CB Ronde Barber will deal with Wayne and get help anyway since Harrison is out. If Gonzalez doesn't catch the score, it almost has to go to Clark yet again for the fourth game in a row.

Gaining Fantasy Points IND 7 6 12 1 1 10
Preventing Fantasy Points TB 5 26 5 1 3 3

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