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

Prediction: NEP 31, MIA 0

This could be argued to be a mismatch between a 6-0 team and an 0-6 team. Not only have the Patriots won every game by 17 points or more, they come off a thorough win in Dallas over the previously unbeaten Cowboys. That means the NFL is down to only the Colts to stop them and when/if that doesn't happen, then we can all just focus on which team will lose to the Patriots in the Super Bowl. The Fins have lost all their games and some by only a little (but most by a lot). The trade away of Chris Chambers this week is signal enough that the Fins are already making 2008 plans while playing out one heck of a bad year. There is a chance that the Pats suffer a letdown after the big game last week but then again - the Dolphins?

These two teams traded home wins last year with the Patriots winning 20-10 in week five and later the Dolphins shutting out the Pats 21-0 in Miami during week 14. That's a bad thing. Now the Pats won't take them ridiculously lightly because of revenge.

Update: No changes to the projections but both Sammy Morris and Ben Watson have not practiced this week and are not expected to play. Both Laurence Maroney and Donte Stallworth both had the same pattern of practices this week as they did last week - both were limited in practice and yet last week Stallworth had a great game and Maroney still did not play. There is a chance that Maroney could play in the sense that he has been about practice at least on a limited basis again this week but it is far to risky to consider starting him. The Patriots clearly should not need him this week anyway.

Another interesting tact to this game potentially is that the rookie running back Lorenzo Booker has been working out as a wide receiver in practice this week. With Chambers gone and a need to pass each week, he may develop into a contributor yet.

New England Patriots (6-0)
Homefield: Gillette Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @NYJ 38-14 -6.5 40.5
2 SD 38-14 -3 47
3 BUF 38-7 -16.5 41
4 @CIN 34-13    
5 CLE 34-17 -15.5 48
6 @DAL 48-27 -5 52.5
7 @MIA   -17 51
8 WAS 28-Oct SUN 4:15 PM
9 @IND 4-Nov SUN 4:15 PM
10 BYE - - -
11 @BUF 18-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
12 PHI 25-Nov SUN 8:15 PM
13 @BAL 3-Dec MON 8:30 PM
14 PIT 9-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
15 NYJ 16-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
16 MIA 23-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
17 @NYG 29-Dec SAT 8:15 PM
NEP at MIA Rush Catch Pass
QB Tom Brady     300,3
RB Kevin Faulk 60 10  
TE Kyle Brady   20  
WR Randy Moss   100,1  
WR Donte Stallworth   70,1  
WR Wes Welker   100,1  
PK Stephen Gostkowski 1 FG 4 XP  
Pregame Notes: It is quickly becoming hard to find new things to report about the Pats. Each week, the same result. The Pats roll all over their opponent and when they get a sizable lead, they take it a little easy. By the time that Matt Cassell comes into close out the game, the opposing team is about as motivated and happy as lifers in prison. The Indy game in week nine is the only road bump now unless the Steelers can do something in New England in week 14. Just one more happy fact - the Pats have a week 10 bye so they'll be even fresher than other teams at the end of the year.

Quarterback: I'm already sick of seeing Tom Brady and he hasn't even started the 82 different commercials he will be in next year. At least Peyton Manning has some "next door" goofiness to his look but Brady peels out of the pages of GQ (literally by the way). He already has 21 touchdowns on the season which is more than anyone in NFL history after six games. He is on a pace to reach 56 scores on the year which would only be seven more than anyone in the history of the NFL. Kind of makes you wonder why they took so long to get him some actual receivers. It's like Tiger Woods getting real golf clubs after years of playing golf with a croquette mallet... whoa...

Brady only threw for 140 yards and two scores at home against the Dolphins last year. He did not complete the second game since the Pats fell apart that week. He's probably licking his chops but is too cool to let on.

Running Backs: This is one area that just gets worse. Laurence Maroney remains out for three weeks now though he has only been limited in practice and goes to the games. That made Sammy Morris a gem to own but he too was injured when his own lineman fell on his shoulders. It looked like a broken collarbone though the Patriots will only confirm the injury is somewhere between his chin and nipples. Kevin Faulk got 13 unexpected carries in Dallas and gained 50 yards. I will project for Faulk to start and adjust it if credible information becomes available that Maroney or Morris will play.

This would have been a nice week for Morris to be healthy so he could stick it to his old team. His performance against the Pats last year was how he got his job with the Boston mafia.

Maroney only played in one game against the Fins and gained just 38 yards on 18 carries. No Patriot runner scored against them in 2006.

Wide Receivers: Randy Moss was held to just 69 yards and one score to give him a league leading eight scores on the season. That makes two weeks that he has failed to gain 100 yards after embarrassing four straight secondaries to start the year. Wes Welker has been declining in use but suddenly showed up with a career best 11 catches for 124 yards and two scores in Dallas. Donte Stallworth too is healthy now and comes off his best game of the year when he had 136 yards and a score. It's like dividing up two games worth of passing every week.

Tight Ends: Ben Watson left Sunday's game in Dallas with a left ankle injury after only recording one catch. In his place, Kyle Brady only had one catch that was, of course, a touchdown. I will project for Brady as the starter this week until Watson looks safe to start..

Match Against the Defense: This is probably not the week to have the #28 defense against quarterbacks. The Pats face a weak rushing defense but probably only have Kevin Faulk and fullback Kyle Eckel to use so expect only moderate rushing numbers. This would be a nice spot for Maroney to show up again.

Brady has yet to throw for less than three scores and the Fins have given up at least two in most match-ups so mark Brady down for his standard that should involve Wes Welker against his old team as well. It's about the only angle to this contest of any interest. I also like the chance for a defensive score in this game against Cleo "I am not a Muppet" Lemon.

Gaining Fantasy Points NE 1 12 2 7 5 5
Preventing Fantasy Points MIA 28 24 17 16 32 14


Miami Dolphins (0-6)
Homefield: Dolphins Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @WAS 13-16 +3 35
2 DAL 20-37 +3.5 40.5
3 @NYJ 28-31 +3 35.5
4 OAK 17-35 -3.5 40
5 @HOU 19-22 +5.5 43
6 @CLE 31-41 +4 45
7 NE   +17 51
8 NYG 28-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
9 BYE - - -
10 BUF 11-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
11 @PHI 18-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
12 @PIT 26-Nov MON 8:30 PM
13 NYJ 2-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
14 @BUF 9-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
15 BAL 16-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
16 @NE 23-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
17 CIN 30-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
MIA vs NE Rush Catch Pass
QB Cleo Lemon     170
RB Ronnie Brown 80 50  
TE David Martin   20  
WR Derek Hagan   20  
WR Marty Booker   40  
WR Ted Ginn Jr.   40  
PK Jay Feeley      

Pregame Notes: Ah yes, nothing says throw in the towel like an 0-6 record facing the Patriots this week and trading away the #1 wideout. Chris Chambers was sent packing to the Chargers and we should all be so lucky to work in Miami and then get transferred to San Diego. With the loss of Trent Green and now Chris Chambers, the Fins have now minimized their offense to little more than Ronnie Brown. That's not a good thing this week but it does ensure that Brown is likely to become the leading rusher and receiver for the team by year's end.

Quarterback: Cleo Lemon wasn't half bad last week in his first start when he threw for 256 yards and two touchdowns and scored on two rushes. Of course that was in Cleveland and the Fins still lost by ten points. Now that Lemon has faced the worst secondary on the schedule, he gets to face the toughest one. Chambers had six catches for 73 yards last week. Now Derek Hagan's is going to replace him?

Running Backs: As bad as things are in Miami, it must be surreal for Ronnie Brown to be in the locker room surrounded by angry, disillusioned and unhappy players while he just wants to say "hey, I just had my fourth huge game in a row! Yea me!" Brown has been outstanding since HC Cam Cameron de-butted his head and started him exclusively in week three. Brown has 461 rushing yards in the last four games with 280 receiving yards on 26 receptions which dwarfs the rest of the offense individually and almost collectively.

Ronnie Brown only played in the game at New England last year and gained just 39 yards on 17 carries but scored once. Sammy Morris gained 123 yards and scored once in the home game which is exactly why he now plays for the Patriots.

Wide Receivers: With Chambers now gone, Derek Hagan gets the bump up the depth chart to being a starter because Cam Cameron wants to get more playing time for his exciting young players that only have 72 yards on six catches for the season. Ted Ginn still gets only one catch per week though they tend to go for around 30 yards. Marty Booker has become the wily veteran here that has to know just how much fun is in store for the rest of the year. There were only three times this season that a receiver had more than 79 yards and all three belonged to Chambers when Green was playing.

Booker could not finish the game last week because of a headache. Perhaps he had heard something about the trade in advance.

Booker only had 29 yards in New England but turned in eight catches for 103 yards and one score in the home meeting.

Tight Ends: The lone positive to last week was that Lemon threw both his scores to David Martin just as he threw both his scores last year to Randy McMichael. Martin still finished with only three catches for 18 yards.

Match Against the Defense: The only way that this game ends up with any fantasy value outside of Ronnie Brown is if the Patriots just try to mail in this game. Problem is that the last time these teams played, the Dolphins shut out the Patriots and embarrassed them using Sammy Morris and Wes Welker. Now that Welker and Morris are on the other side, I like this one to end up as a shutout the other way.

The only interesting aspect to this game is how much will Ronnie Brown be limited? While no runner has turned in more than 74 yards against the Pats this year, I half expect the Fins to fall behind and still use Brown because they know they cannot catch up.

Gaining Fantasy Points MIA 11 9 24 13 7 32
Preventing Fantasy Points NE 10 4 13 21 3 2

The Huddle
~ 2007 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday night
On Bye

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