The Huddle on Facebook Facebook   The Huddle on Twitter Twitter   The Huddle Mobile Mobile Welcome, GuestJOINHELP


Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
The Huddle
~ 2007 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday Late

Prediction: IND 24, ATL 6

The Colts are coming off back-to-back losses and once again serves a reminder of how hard it is to win a Super Bowl and then remain healthy the next year. At 8-2, they no longer are likely to get that #1 seed this year and have to win just to keep Pittsburgh from taking away a first round bye. The Falcons come off their stomping by the Buccaneers but had won the two previous games. Somehow this ended up as the Turkey Day #3 game and by then, the tryptophan from the turkey should be kicking in big -time. This game will not be caffeinated..

Indianapolis Colts (8-2)
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 33-14 -9 45
6 BYE - - -
7 @JAC 29-7 -3.5 45
8 @CAR 31-7 -6.5 45
9 NE 20-24 +5.5 56.5
10 @SD 21-23 -3.5 49
11 KC 13-10 -15 44
12 @ATL   -12 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 at ATL Rush Catch Pass
QB Peyton Manning     220,2
RB Joseph Addai 100,1 30  
TE Dallas Clark   40,1  
WR Craphonso Thorpe   20  
WR Reggie Wayne   80,1  
WR Anthony Gonzalez   40  
PK Adam Vinatieri 1 FG 3 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Colts still have one of the best records in the NFL but injuries have really changed the team. The loss of Dwight Freeney is a harsh blow to the defense and this week Aaron Moorehead was placed on injured reserve so there is even less depth. But Manning, Addai and Wayne remain healthy and that core is enough to win in Atlanta. The remaining slate for the Colts gets tough next week when they host the Jaguars and this week must resist looking past the Falcons since there will be ten days before they play again.

Another notable - Adam Vinatieri has gone from being the best clutch kicker in NFL history to shanking several of his most recent kicks. That doesn't help in close games and was expressly NOT why he was brought on.

Quarterback: Last week was a bitter loss and Peyton Manning had his first game of the season with no touchdown. He only completed 16 of 32 passes for 163 yards and threw an interception. This was a major upgrade from the six picks he threw in San Diego but it all illustrates how even Manning needs healthy receivers to succeed. Harrison is likely out this week and Moorehead is gone but at least Anthony Gonzalez is expected back.

Running Backs: Despite the recent woes of the Colts, at least Joseph Addai continues to pull his weight with a score against the Chiefs and 106 total yards thanks to four catches .His rushing average has taken a tumble in the last two games gut he still receives over 20 carries per week and has scored in all but two games this year. Only once has he failed to either score or have 100 total yards.

Wide Receivers: The Colts lost Aaron Moorehead to a neck injury suffered last week but at least Anthony Gonzalez is slated to return for this game. Reggie Wayne has been both productive and impressive while Harrison mends because he has been the lone talented wideout for Manning. Even with the added coverage, Wayne has scored in four of the last seven games and had three efforts top 130 yards in the last five weeks.

Craphonso Thorpe will man the slot again this week but has done little with the opportunity and the Colts have opted for mostly two tight end sets anyway.

Tight Ends: The injuries continue. Bryan Fletcher was a game time inactive because of a calf injury and left Dallas Clark to only gain 15 yards on three catches. Clark missed week ten because of a concussion but has not had a decent game since week seven when his scoring stopped.

Match Against the Defense: The Falcons rushing defense is weak and has allowed almost every opponent to score once via rushing since week three. Expect a solid game here by Addai that could turn big. He should turn in a score as well.

Manning faces a secondary that is not nearly as good as the ranking suggests because of facing poor passing teams and the fact most opponents just run all over them. I like Manning to throw for two scores here that should favor Clark and of course Wayne. Unless they move him, CB DeAngelo Hall will take on Gonzales and leave Wayne to the rest.

Gaining Fantasy Points IND 8 3 16 4 8 13
Preventing Fantasy Points ATL 8 28 5 15 17 27


Atlanta Falcons (3-7)
Homefield: Georgia Dome
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @MIN 3-24 +3 36
2 @JAC 7-13 +11 34.5
3 CAR 20-27 +4 37.5
4 HOU 26-16 +2.5 39.5
5 @TEN 13-20 +8 41
6 NYG 10-31 +4.5 43
7 @NO 16-22 +9 43
8 BYE - - -
9 SF 20-16 -3 37
10 @CAR 20-13 +4.5 36.5
11 TB 7-31 +3 35
12 IND   +12 8:15 PM
13 @STL 2-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
14 NO 10-Dec MON 8:30 PM
15 @TB 16-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
16 @ARI 23-Dec SUN 4:05 PM
17 SEA 30-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
ATL vs IND Rush Catch Pass
QB Joey Harrington     170
RB Warrick Dunn 60 30  
TE Alge Crumpler   30  
WR Joe Horn   20  
WR Michael Jenkins   30  
WR Roddy White   50  
PK Morten Andersen 2 FG    

Pregame Notes: After two wins, the Falcons once again were demolished at home and the positives from beating the 49ers and Panthers are gone. It is entirely possible that the team has seen their final win for the season and currently does not know who the starting quarterback will be this week. Even considering the two wins, the offense has been sluggish at best and Petrino is spawning locker room questions that no one wants to answer. Most of all - "what is going on here?"

Quarterback: Adding to the Falcons' sense of futility was Bobby Petrino's decision to bench Joey Harrington after two wins and go with Byron Leftwich who then promptly looked horrible, gave away the game and forced Petrino to insert Harrington in at the end of the game to avoid the shutout. Now Petrino will not name a starter yet and may not until game time perhaps in the hope that a real quarterback falls out of the sky and solves his problem. Leftwich is still not completely healed from his ankle sprain and I will assume that Harrington takes the start this week. Leftwich has yet to look sharp in his brief playing time spread out over three games.

There are rumors that the team prefers Leftwich because they do not like Harrington but that only serves to further weaken an already sputtering offense.

Running Backs: If you ignore the two wins over the weak opponents of CAR and SF (and you really should), then Warrick Dunn has been abysmal this year with a total of only three scores and less than 60 rushing yards in seven of the ten games this year. Oddly enough, the Falcons have taken to throwing to him in the last two weeks and he had eight catches for 40 yards last Sunday and three receptions for 51 yards in Carolina,.

Jerious Norwood is back now but only had two carries. He still is not 100% recovered from his ankle sprain.

Wide Receivers: The switch to Leftwich last week helped Roddy White to his worst game of the season but with Harrington as the starter, White has marginal fantasy value with around 60 yards or more each week. Michael Jenkins showed up with nine catches for 73 yards against the Panthers but only had one catch the pervious week. He is far too inconsistent to warrant fantasy attention. The entire group only has six scores this year.

Joe Horn missed practice on Tuesday but has not been ruled out yet for Thursday. He is nursing a hamstring that has kept him out the last two weeks.

Tight Ends: Alge Crumpler is once again "just a tight end: and tops out around 30 yards in a game. At least he has a pricey contract that was not written for this level of production.

Match Against the Defense: This will be a tough gig for Dunn this week since the Colts play in a dome as well and even without Dwight Freeney have been solid against the run. Expect just moderate rushing yards here and hope that the Falcons continue to use him as a receiver before he retires.

Harrington, assumedly, faces a top pass defense and that only spells certain doom here. Do not touch any of the Atlanta receivers against the team that is ranked #1 against wideouts.

Gaining Fantasy Points ATL 28 24 20 19 21 26
Preventing Fantasy Points IND 3 10 1 7 2 9

The Huddle
~ 2007 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday Late

Other Features

Fantasy Statistics
Training Room
Free Agent Forecast
Commentary From the Edge
Tunnel Vision
a d v e r t i s e m e n t