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

Prediction: TBB 20, DET 24

The Buccaneers hit the road where their two losses have come this season and face the Lions who have won both their home games. Tampa Bay hasn't been scoring much but with their defense, they haven't needed to since four of their last five games have only allowed 14 points to their opponent (and IND was the lone exception). This is a marking point in the season for both teams. If the Lions win, they rise to 4-2 and continue to be much improved at least at home. If the Bucs win, then at 5-2 they are definite contenders in the NFC South. But a loss for either team says maybe they are not nearly as good as their record indicates. The Lions come off their bye week, we'll see how much they have been preparing for this game.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-2)
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 14-33 +9 45
6 TEN 13-10 -2.5 37
7 @DET   +1.5 43
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 DET Rush Catch Pass
QB Jeff Garcia     270,2
RB Earnest Graham 50 20  
TE Jerramy Stevens   20  
WR Joey Galloway   110,1  
WR Ike Hilliard   80,1  
WR Michael Clayton   30  
PK Matt Bryant 2 FG 2 XP  
Pregame Notes: The Buccaneers come off a close win over the Titans thanks to a dominating defense and the fact Vince Young could not finish the game. This is the fourth trip away from Tampa Bay and the only road win has been in Carolina. Tampa Bay has no rushing game currently and the passing attack has been just good enough in most games without ever being impressive. This week will be a big test for that pass defense.

Quarterback: Jeff Garcia comes off his best yardage game of the year when he threw for 274 yards against the Titans though he only had one touchdown and after six games, he only has thrown five scores. But - he also has not lost a fumble or thrown an interception. And he has only been sacked twice in the last four games. Coupled with a great defense, Garcia just doesn't make mistakes and manages to be just good enough. However - he has never had more than 201 yards in any road game this year and while he had two scores in Indianapolis against their injury-depleted secondary, he also only had 143 yards in that game. He's not going to be the cause for any loss, but can he be the reason that they win?

Running Backs: With Carnell Williams gone and Michael Pittman sidelined, the Buccaneers turned to Earnest Graham last week but only got back 29 yards on 13 carries against a good Titans defense. But Graham also caught six passes for 17 yards, so for reception point leagues, he had fantasy value. Make that only in reception point leagues. In three road games this season, Graham has gained only 70 yards on 27 carries though he scored once in Carolina.

Michael Bennett has just been added to the Bucs but I will not project for him this week until it is certain that he will get meaningful playing time.

Wide Receivers: Last week proved not only to be the highest passing yardage of the year, it was the first time that all three wideouts had productive games. Michael Clayton (2-53), Ike Hilliard (4-59) and Joey Galloway (4-97, 1 TD) all had great games compared to what their normal output has been this year. That could all be doubled this week if Garcia gets hot against a weak Detroit secondary.

Last Sunday was the first time that Clayton had more than one catch in a game and Hilliard only had four catches but one longer catch boosted his yardage. On the road this year, Joey Galloway has not gained more than 72 yards or scored. In fact over three road games, none of the wideouts have scored this year. Actually... only Galloway has any wide receiver scores this year. Not a greatly productive group so far.

Tight Ends: Alex Smith has only scored twice this year but that's more than any other receiver besides Galloway and both came on the road in one game - Indianapolis. But Smith sprained his ankle against the Titans and may not play this week. Updates as warranted. I will project for Jerramy Stevens since he has the only other tight end catches for the Bucs this year.

Match Against the Defense: The Lions rushing defense has been good this year and some of that is related to teams preferring to throw against them. But at the two home games this year, the Lions held Adrian Peterson to just 66 yards on 20 carries and Cedric Benson only had 50 yards on 15 runs. Don't expect much from Graham this week.

Garcia faces a secondary that has been very soft but at home plays better. Still this should be a game where Garcia can manage a couple of scores that will favor the wideouts. That has to mean Galloway has a good game here and maybe a very big game and even Hilliard is a decent start this week.

Gaining Fantasy Points TB 24 15 20 19 24 28
Preventing Fantasy Points DET 31 32 24 10 10 32


Detroit Lions (3-2)
Homefield: Ford Field
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @OAK 36-21 +1 39
2 MIN 20-17 -3 42.5
3 @PHI 21-56 +6.5 44.5
4 CHI 37-27 +2.5 46
5 @WAS 3-34 +4 44.5
6 BYE - - -
7 TB   -1.5 43
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 vs TB Rush Catch Pass
QB Jon Kitna     250,2
RB Kevin Jones 70,1 20  
RB Tatum Bell 20 20  
TE Sean McHugh   10  
WR Roy Williams   60  
WR Mike Furrey   30  
WR Calvin Johnson   50,1  
WR Shaun McDonald   50,1  
PK Jason Hanson 1 FG 3 XP  

Pregame Notes: So far we know for sure that the Lions at home have been very effective with their passing scheme and at 3-2, they already have to consider this season a success. But they are only 1-2 on the road and in those two losses the Lions looked just as inept as last year. In Washington, they were waxed going against a team that was coming off a bye week but also that did not have several key players playing. The good news is that the Lions are at home in four of the next six weeks and come off their own bye week more rested and healthy. The Lions have shown that they can be good some of the time but still need to show consistency - especially when they leave town to play on the road.

Quarterback: Jon Kitna was on a nice roll this year until the game against the Skins. He had thrown for at least one score in every game and never had less than around 250 passing yards. But he only posted 106 yards in week five with no scores and two interceptions. More troubling than that is the 24 sacks already allowed by the Lions this season - 21 came in just the last three games. While that is not unusual for a Martz offense, it cannot make fantasy owners comfortable that Kitna is going to be around long enough to ever see his ten wins to come true.

Running Backs: Kevin Jones has been back for three games and has been limited to ten or eleven carries. He has averaged just over four yards per carry and scored twice while showing up as a receiver for a few catches. Tatum Bell's numbers have not really waned because they have never been much since week one. This offense is going to pass first and last with a run thrown in on occasion so even combined it is unlikely that the duo can reach much more than 20 carries in a game. Where the interest lies for fantasy owners is when Jones will resume his role as a receiver more where he was very productive in 2006. The intent is to run Jones more as the season progresses but he still won't get much more than he has in the last two games. It all depends on how much he is used as a receiver.

Wide Receivers: The last two games cooled down Roy Williams who has started the year with three straight games with a score and he had 111 and 204 yards in weeks two and three. But he only had 53 and 36 yards in the last couple of match-ups as the Lions faced tough opponents. Calvin Johnson missed week four with a back injury and only turned in one catch in the last game when his back flared up again. The bye week came at an opportune time for Johnson who needed the rest. Johnson is still looking for his first 100 yard receiving game in the NFL. Mike Furrey and Shaun McDonald continue to provide solid support and when Furrey filled in for Johnson against the Bears, he had five catches for 91 yards but usually only has half that many yards as the #3 receiver. This unit has looked great and also has struggled against the Skins in particular. If the offensive line could only cut down on the sacks that Kitna is taking, the wideouts would reap the benefits.

Tight Ends: Sean McHugh started the year with a few catches per week but has only been used for one catch over the last couple of games. No fantasy value here.

Match Against the Defense: The Lions have won both their home games and each went against good defenses - MIN and CHI. The Buccaneers defense has held down game scores well but not as much for yardage. Three runners have already topped 100 yards and two were in road games. Six different running backs have turned in at least one score against them as well. Kevin Jones should take a bigger share this week and should be good for at least moderate yardage with a shot at good if Tatum Bell is not used much.

Kitna needed the rest after getting bashed in most the recent games and the Buccaneers defense will undoubtedly be coming after him. The Bucs had been noticeably softer on the road with each opponent throwing for at least one score though no one has had more than two including Peyton Manning. Look for a decent game here by Kitna but likely not a huge yardage game. I like Kitna to throw for two scores if the line protects him well enough. That should favor Calvin Johnson if his back has healed up over the bye week. Roy Williams draws Ronde Barber which could be a problem but with four wideouts in play, the coverages will vary anyway.

Gaining Fantasy Points DET 5 28 3 31 20 2
Preventing Fantasy Points TB 5 26 4 8 4 1

The Huddle
~ 2007 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday night
On Bye


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