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

Prediction: PHI 24, NYJ 13

Here's the chance for either team to get that much needed second win of the year. The Eagles come off a bye week after a complete offensive meltdown in New York in week four and the Jets come off their loss to the same Giants. Neither team is playing nearly as well as they did last year but the Eagles enter this contest rested and with more than a little desperation.

Update: Brian Westbrook has returned to full practices this week and is expected to play after missing time with an abdominal strain. L.J. Smith has also returned to practice and while there is a chance that he could play this week, I am not adding him into the projections because his hernia was significant and likely will not allow him to just jump back into playing full-time.

Laveranues Coles, Jerricho Cotchery and Chad Pennington all were limited in practice this week but all are expected to play on Sunday.

Philadelphia Eagles (1-3)
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 56-21 -6.5 44.5
4 @NYG 3-16 -2.5 47
5 BYE - - -
6 @NYJ   -3 42
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 at NYJ Rush Catch Pass
QB Donovan McNabb     230,2
RB Brian Westbrook 70 50  
RB Correll Buckhalter 40,1    
TE Matt Schobel   30,1  
WR Reggie Brown   30  
WR Kevin Curtis   80,1  
WR Jason Avant   40  
PK David Akers 1 FG 3 XP  
Pregame Notes: Nothing helps the focus on the weekend game more than dropping from being the perpetual division leader to falling to 1-3 and sputtering on offense for almost no apparent reason. Coming off their bye week, the Eagles know they have to win this game and a lot more to keep within any hopeful striking distance of the rest of the NFC for at least a wild card bid. In particular, the passing game is what has flopped and worked for one shining game against the bad Lions secondary using just one player - Kevin Curtis - to do the damage. Brian Westbrook is just as good as last season but the passing game has just disappeared. Facing the Bears, Vikings and Cowboys defenses after this week, the Jets present an opportunity that the Eagles cannot pass up. Should the Eagles lose here and not pass at least reasonably well, then quite frankly the season is over. It may already be.

Quarterback: When we last saw Donovan McNabb playing, he was getting sacked 12 times in one game against the Giants. And throwing for only 138 yards. So far McNabb has one great game (381, 4 D) and three very forgettable performances. What complicates this more is that the Eagles are hitting panic mode and McNabb is growing in frustration that could affect his play which needs no negatives right now. This is the week for Donovan because it will get no easier and this offense revolves around what he can do. So far - he can't this year. It's becoming reminiscent of the final year of Culpepper in Minnesota.

Running Backs: Brian Westbrook was turning in another great season when an abdominal strain sidelined him in week four. Now that two weeks have passed, it is still not a given that he will play this week though he did show up for some limited practice on Monday. There were rumors that he had an abdominal muscle tear which was denied by HC Andy Reid and it is unlikely he would have done anything in practice if that was so. I am assuming that Westbrook can play with only minor limitation

Correll Buckhalter ran for 103 yards on 17 carries against the Giants in replacement for Westbrook but he's not the difference maker that Westbrook is for the offense. Tony Hunt has received very little playing time so far but if Westbrook is limited or out this week, Buckhalter and Hunt will see increased playing time. One concern with the Eagles is that they are so pass heavy that it has changed their opponents focus and in turn limits the passing game. More running is what the game plan supposedly aims for this week but a healthy Westbrook will help the cause more than anything.

Wide Receivers: That one game by Kevin Curtis represents the only time any wideout here has mattered. Curtis gained 221 yards against the Lions and 102 yards in the other three games combined. Reggie Brown's break out season has never even gotten out of the box with no game over 27 yards and no scores. With some big-time defenses on tap after this week, these wideouts have to show up this week because it may not get any better than whatever happens on Sunday.

Tight Ends: One big positive is that L.J. Smith could be back this week or next from the groin injury that has kept him out the last two weeks and limited him the entire season. Smith was limited in a closed practice on Monday and I will not add him into the projections until he is clearly ready to play. He could make a decent free agent pick since he's likely sitting on many waiver wires out there and needs to become a part of the passing game once again. Matt Schobel has never amounted to more than one or two inconsequential catches per game this year.

Match Against the Defense: The Jets are one of the worst teams at stopping running backs and could yield a very big game for Westbrook this week if he is healthy enough to take advantage of it. Barring news that he is back to full strength, expect a bigger mixture of Westbrook and Buckhalter on Sunday and the chance that Tony Hunt could get more carries as well. The Eagles want to run and stopping it is the Jets biggest weakness.

Every team has thrown for at least one score against the Jets though most have not had big passing yardage because they elect to throw the ball more. This is a do or die game for Philly who has had two weeks to prepare. I expect McNabb to have a better game here with two passing scores that should end up with Curtis and a tight end - Schobel or Smith if he plays. The Jets have already given up four scores to tight ends this year and plenty of yardage to no-name tight ends.

Gaining Fantasy Points PHI 17 1 15 29 10 17
Preventing Fantasy Points NYJ 24 31 17 28 14 18


New York Jets (1-4)
Homefield: Giants Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 NE 14-38 +6.5 40.5
2 @BAL 13-20 +9.5 33
3 MIA 31-28 +3 35.5
4 @BUF 14-17 -3 37.5
5 @NYG 24-35 +3 41
6 PHI   +3 42
7 @CIN 21-Oct SUN 4:05 PM
8 BUF 28-Oct SUN 4:05 PM
9 WAS 4-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
10 BYE - - -
11 PIT 18-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
12 @DAL 22-Nov THU 4:15 PM
13 @MIA 2-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
14 CLE 9-Dec SUN 4:15 PM
15 @NE 16-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
16 @TEN 23-Dec SUN 4:15 PM
17 KC 30-Dec SUN 8:15 PM
NYJ vs PHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Chad Pennington     240,1
RB Thomas Jones 60 10  
RB Leon Washington 20 20  
TE Chris Baker   40  
WR Laveranues Coles   80,1  
WR Jerricho Cotchery   50  
WR Brad Smith   20  
PK Mike Nugent 2 FG 1 XP  

Pregame Notes: Tough times for the Jets who were surprisingly good last year, upgraded in the offseason and now are worse than before. The rushing game has been marginally better in yardage from last year but without all those touchdowns and the passing game may be on the verge of a quarterback change. Not unlike the Eagles, this too is a do or die game but the reality is that the AFC is so much tougher than the NFC this year that the Jets are already in a lost cause thanks to the Patriots, Steelers and Colts. Not only has the offense failed to take off, the defense has been allowing far too many points to remain competitive in games.

Quarterback: After a nice 2006 season, the crowds are starting to call for Chad Pennington to meet the bench and give Kellen Clemens a chance as starter. Pennington has thrown for a score in every game but the last two weeks on the road have only had two scores against five interceptions and an inability to move the offense when it has to get down the field. Clemens only has one start which came in relief of Pennington in Baltimore and Clemens threw for 260 yards and a score in his first full game. Calling for Clemens is as much an indictment against Pennington as it is any confidence in Clemens. At 1-4, something has to change soon just to look like they are still trying to find the answer.

Running Backs: No doubt the biggest disappointment comes from the addition of Thomas Jones who has added very little to the offense thus far. Jones had one good game (110 yards) against the visiting Dolphins but only gained around 35 yards on 12 carries in both of the last two games. Last week he was almost completely left on the sideline in the second half and that has caused him to publicly grouse about a lack of playing time. Jones still has yet to score a touchdown this year.

Leon Washington has been getting more playing time and had nine carries last Sunday but with little to show for it - only 13 yards gained. Washington was used as a receiver eight times in Buffalo but only had one catch last week and just one in the two previous games. Inconsistent in use, Washington mainly just serves to drain away fantasy value from Jones.

Wide Receivers: The only aspect of this offense that has turned in decent numbers is the duo of Laveranues Coles and Jerricho Cotchery. Coles in particular has played very well despite being banged up and has four of the five scores by wideouts this year. He had a season high 89 yards on eight catches against the Giants last week and has offered nice fantasy value every week with spectacular catches a regular occurrence. Cotchery has the only two big receiving games this year (165 and 107 yards) which both came in road games but he has yet to score a touchdown.

Brad Smith scored his first touchdown last week and is slowly becoming more of a factor. The ex-quarterback is also used on at least one running play each week as well.

Tight Ends: Chris Baker scored twice in earlier games but that was on his lone catches in the game. He's being used a bit more lately with three catches in each of the last two games though no scores.

Match Against the Defense: The Philly rush defense has played well this year and only allowed two rushing scores and no opposing runner has turned in more than 80 yards. With Jones struggling, expect just more moderate numbers this week and likely no score yet again.

Pennington, provided he is not yanked during the game, goes against a secondary that has only allowed opponents about one score each week and usually minimal passing yardage. Look for the same here with Coles likely to score once and have the most yardage but overall only a moderate passing effort.

Gaining Fantasy Points NYJ 14 31 8 19 30 24
Preventing Fantasy Points PHI 14 8 21 3 12 30

The Huddle
~ 2007 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday night
On Bye


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