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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
The Huddle
WEEK 9
~ 2007 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday night
Monday
On Bye
CHI, MIA
*updated
NYG, STL

Prediction: DAL 24, PHI 20

The long-time rivals meet and Eagles swept the Cowboys in 2006, losing 24-38 in Philadelphia and later 7-23 in Dallas. The tables are turned this year with Dallas as the stronger team and the Eagles still floundering in search of an offense outside of Brian Westbrook. Past records and stats can often be thrown out in these match-ups but the Philly passing game continues to be below expectations while the Cowboys have been getting the job done on both sides of the ball. The Owens flap is old news by now and this is a chance for the Cowboys to pull a rare win out of Philly. But the Eagles won't make it easy.

Dallas Cowboys (6-1)
Homefield: Texas Stadium
RealGrass
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 NYG 45-35 -5.5 44
2 @MIA 37-20 -3.5 40.5
3 @CHI 34-10 +3 41
4 STL 35-7 -13 47
5 @BUF 25-24 -10 42
6 NE 27-48 +5 52.5
7 MIN 24-14 -9.5 46
8 BYE - - -
9 @PHI   -3 46
10 @NYG 11-Nov SUN 4:15 PM
11 WAS 18-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
12 NYJ 22-Nov THU 4:15 PM
13 GB 29-Nov THU 8:15 PM
14 @DET 9-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
15 PHI 16-Dec SUN 4:15 PM
16 @CAR 22-Dec SAT 8:15 PM
17 @WAS 30-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
DAL at PHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Tony Romo     250,2
RB Julius Jones 40 10  
RB Marion Barber 50,1 20  
TE Jason Witten   70,1  
WR Terrell Owens   80,1  
WR Patrick Crayton   50  
WR Sam Hurd   20  
PK Nick Folk 1 FG 3 XP  
Pregame Notes: Sure, the Cowboys stumbled against the Patriots but then again they did score more points against them than any other team. The Cowboys have yet to turn in less than 24 points in any game this season. The next three weeks all come against divisional opponents and only one is at home. The next three weeks will define the Cowboys this year since they play on the road in Philly and New York and then host the Skins. Wins there almost guarantee Dallas not only takes the division but are strong contenders for the #1 seed in the NFL. The bye week has been good to rest up for the run through the division but so far the Cowboys season had been fortunate with almost no big injuries to contend with this year.

Quarterback: Tony Romo's great season continues but not unlike last year, he's started slowing down lately with tough games against the good defenses of New England (199 yards, 2 TD) and Minnesota (277 yards, 1 TD) and those came after his five interception disaster in Buffalo. But other than the one flop in Buffalo, he has never thrown more than one interception in any game and has scored at least once in each as well. He's on the road for only the third time this year and has never had less than two passing touchdowns.

Romo was the starter in the second match-up against the Eagles last year that only 142 passing yards and one score against two interceptions.

Running Backs: Not unlike several other teams, the Cowboys continue to stick with their starter despite the fact that the secondary back is more effective and typically gains more total yardage and has more yards per carry. But what has also happened to the Cowboys rushing attack is a decrease in overall effectiveness for the last month. While Jones never has more than around 50 or 60 rushing yards in a game, Marion Barber had three low output efforts before finally showing up with 96 yards and a touchdown against the Vikings in week seven. After scoring five times in the first three games, Barber had gone three weeks without a touchdown until the Vikes came to town.

Jones ran for 100 yards in Philadelphia last year but then only 38 yards in Dallas against the Eagles. Barber had only 22 rushing yards in the first meeting but scored once and later only had three rushing yards in the second game.

Wide Receivers: After three consecutive games with a touchdown, Patrick Crayton stumbled with only two catches for 19 yards against the Vikings and one was a lost fumble. But Crayton has proved himself as a more than adequate complement to Terrell Owens - it just depends on which way Romo needs to look that week. Owens had down games against the Bills and Rams and yet came back to life against the two toughest match-ups of the year. He had six catches for 66 yards and a score against the Pats and then seven catches for 103 yards and another touchdown against the Vikings. He only has five touchdowns on the season so far and appears to be of more use in the tougher match-ups.

Owens only had games of 45 and 23 yards against the Eagles last year though he did score once in the game played at Dallas. The animosity from his time in Philly is now old news.

Tight Ends: Jason Witten has actually become the most consistent player in the offense., He has four scores this year and has caught six or more passes in five of the seven games including two efforts over 100 yards. Even Owens only has two games that big.

Witten had around 50 receiving yards in both meetings with the Eagles last season.

Match Against the Defense: For all the woes of the Eagles this year, their defense still has yet to give up more than 21 points in any game and have only allowed two rushing scores. Playing in Philly, no runner has turned in more than 69 rushing yards though the Cowboys bring a much better offense than the Eagles have been facing. Look for only moderate rushing yardage here split between Jones and Barber but a decent chance for Barber to bang in one score.

The Eagles have only allowed six passing scores this year but that includes but games of 446 yards to Kitna and 322 yards to Griese. Romo should be good for at least one score here and likely two. Look for scores to Jason Witten and Owens in this game with decent yardage that can grow big if the Cowboys fall behind.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DAL 2 5 7 3 3 10
Preventing Fantasy Points PHI 8 5 15 9 25 21

 

Philadelphia Eagles (3-4)
Homefield: Lincoln Financial Field
Turf
  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 16-9 -4.5 43.5
7 CHI 16-19 -4.5 40.5
8 @MIN 23-16 -1 37.5
9 DAL   +3 46
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 vs DAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Donovan McNabb     260,2
RB Brian Westbrook 60 60,1  
TE Matt Schobel   20  
WR Reggie Brown   50  
WR Kevin Curtis   80,1  
WR Jason Avant   30  
PK David Akers 2 FG 2 XP  

Pregame Notes: The win over the Vikings kept slim hopes alive for the Eagles but it came against a team resorting to Brooks Bollinger at quarterback. The Philly offense continues to be unable to get into the endzone very often and while McNabb is better with yardage now, he still only has three scores over the last four games. The defense has been good enough to get three wins this year but the offense just struggles whenever anyone but Westbrook ends up with the ball.

Quarterback: Donovan McNabb has been markedly better these last three weeks with a 333 yard effort against the Vikings and 278 yards against the Jets but he still only had one score in each of the last three games. He only has two interceptions on the year but continues to get sacked at least two or three times per game. The offense is better and McNabb is finally hitting more than just Westbrook on a swing pass but the lack of scoring continues to be the concern here.

McNabb was the starter in the first meeting with the Cowboys and threw for 354 yards and two scores. Later Jeff Garcia threw for 238 yards and a touchdown.

Running Backs: Brian Westbrook comes off his lowest rushing total of the year when he only gained 46 yards on 21 carries against the Vikings but he scored a rushing touchdown and caught another as well. It was his first game this year without at least 100 total yards but was buoyed by the scores. Westbrook is the only constant in this offense and has been instrumental in the team winning the three games.

Westbrook only gained 33 rushing yards in the home game against the Cowboys last year but scored once and added 53 yards on five catches. He later ran for 122 yards on 26 carries in Dallas but only had six yards on two receptions.

Wide Receivers: The improved passing numbers as of late have benefited the wideouts with Kevin Curtis turning in at least 60 yards over the last three weeks and scoring one when he had 121 yards against the Jets. Reggie Brown comes off his season best game of 105 yards on eight receptions though he has only twice been above 50 yards this season and still has not scored. Only the two wideouts matter here (if even both do in any given game) and McNabb is also using running backs as receivers as well.

Tight Ends: L.J. Smith returned last week after missing three games with a groin injury but did not have a reception. Matt Schobel did catch one pass for 12 yards but the tight ends have just not mattered this year for Philly. Only once has any had more than 20 yards in a game and the one time was Brent Celek a month ago.

Match Against the Defense: The Cowboys secondary has been feast or famine this year. Eli Manning had 312 yards and four scores in week one and Brady ripped them for 388 yards and five scores but otherwise the Cowboys have not given up a passing score since week two and kept opponents yardage below 200 yards thanks in part to facing weaker offenses. Expect McNabb at home against the hated Cowboys to be better than that and throw for around mid-200's with a chance for even more if Dallas gets an early lead and forces the Eagles to pass. I like McNabb to turn in two scores in this game that will favor Westbrook and Curtis the most.

Westbrook goes against a tough rushing defense that has not given up more than 66 yards to any running back this year. Look for him to do his damage mostly via receptions.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points PHI 14 4 13 30 6 22
Preventing Fantasy Points DAL 17 8 27 4 11 28

The Huddle
WEEK 9
~ 2007 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday night
Monday
On Bye
CHI, MIA
*updated
NYG, STL

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