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

Prediction: NEP 34, BAL 10

Update: Demetrius Williams remains out with his ankle sprain and Devard Darling will again take his place. Willis McGahee has been limited in practice because of his sore ankle but is still expected to play. He's going to be a risky play against the Patriots anyway, and slightly more so with an ankle that is not 100%. I am slightly lowering his projections.

Finally, the Patriots come off a game that makes you go "wow!" for the wrong reasons. While it was bound to happen, it was still so hard to believe after ten games of near basketball quality scoring. The Ravens are staggering now on a five game losing streak with an offense that is everything that the Patriots are not. With the Steelers left to intimidate for week 14, the Ravens just get in the way.

New England Patriots (11-0)
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 -7.5 54
5 CLE 34-17 -15.5 48
6 @DAL 48-27 -5 52.5
7 @MIA 49-28 -17 51
8 WAS 52-7 -16 48
9 @IND 24-20 -5.5 56.5
10 BYE - - -
11 @BUF 56-10 -15.5 46.5
12 PHI 31-28 -22.5 50.5
13 @BAL   -20.5 51.5
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 BAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Tom Brady     300,4
RB Laurence Maroney 30    
TE Ben Watson   20,1  
WR Randy Moss   100,2  
WR Donte Stallworth   60  
WR Wes Welker   90,1  
PK Stephen Gostkowski 2 FG 4 XP  
Pregame Notes: Close call last week and a wake up call of sorts. The Patriots outlasted the Eagles like everyone expected but did not have their patented fourth quarter where they crush the opponent and pile on the points. That happens this week and after this game it will be three straight home games right when fantasy playoffs are happening. With a 16-0 season looming, Brady and company will continue to play and even into week 17 since they get the first round of the playoffs off anyway and have to secure that unbeaten streak.

Quarterback: Tom Brady is probably the only quarterback who had to apologize after winning a game with 380 passing yards, one score and no turnovers. That was the first time that he had failed to score three touchdowns though and it leaves him with only 39 passing scores on the year which is not only #1 in the NFL, it is ten touchdowns better than #2 Tony Romo. Brady's 3,439 passing yards is also #1 in the league.

Running Backs: Laurence Maroney owners are unlikely to sign up again next year. While he has scored in each of the last two games, he also has not had more than 15 carries in any game since week one and has a total of just 50 rushing yards from the last two games combined. He only has two catches on the year and is just rarely in the plans of the pass happy Patriots. Fullback Kyle Eckel has as many scores as Maroney.

Wide Receivers: Randy Moss comes off his worst game of the year with only 43 yards on five catches against the Eagles. They planned to take him out of the game and succeeded. Everyone has planned to take him out of the game but no one had until now. Moss still leads the NFL with 16 touchdowns. Wes Welker has been on fire lately making the slot become the featured position on the Pats offense with over 110 yards in each of the last two games and four efforts over 100 yards on the year. And just to further penalize the Donte Stallworth owners who never get more than around 50 yards a week, Jabar Gaffney had 87 yards on six catches and a score last week.

Nothing wrong here and there actually are enough balls to go around thanks to ignoring the rushing game.

Tight Ends: Ben Watson has become too inconsistent to warrant a fantasy start now. He has only scored once in the last four games and has been below 30 yards in three of them. Of course the one week you do not start him...

Match Against the Defense: Funny how this matches up. The Ravens have a terrific rushing defense and the Patriots only run on occasion to let the receivers catch their breath. Expect another low game from Maroney.

Brady faces a secondary that just gave up three scores and 249 yards to Philip Rivers. Roethlisberger passed for five touchdowns. Oh yeah, start your Patriot wideouts this week.

Gaining Fantasy Points NE 1 8 1 11 3 1
Preventing Fantasy Points BAL 13 2 24 9 32 24


Baltimore Ravens (4-7)
Homefield: M&T Bank Stadium
Sport Turf
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @CIN 20-27 +3 40.5
2 NYJ 20-13 -9.5 33
3 ARI 26-23 -7 35.5
4 @CLE 13-27 -4 40
5 @SF 9-7 -3.5 34.5
6 STL 22-3 -9 36.5
7 @BUF 14-19 -3 35
8 BYE - - -
9 @PIT 7-38 +4 48
10 CIN 7-21 -4.5 44.5
11 CLE 30-33 +2.5 43.5
12 @SD 14-32 +9.5 38.5
13 NE   +20.5 51.5
14 IND 9-Dec SUN 8:15 PM
15 @MIA 16-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
16 @SEA 23-Dec SUN 4:15 PM
17 PIT 30-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
BAL vs NEP Rush Catch Pass
QB Kyle Boller     170
RB Willis McGahee 50,1 10  
TE Quinn Sypniewski   30  
WR Mark Clayton   20  
WR Demetrius Williams 20
WR Devard Darling   20  
WR Derrick Mason   70  
PK Matt Stover 1 FG 1 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Ravens are on a five game losing streak and heading towards what has to be a roster upheaval in the offseason. The only wins this year went against NYJ, ARI, SF and STL. Only the SF game was on the road. With remaining games against the Pats, Colts, Seahawks and Steelers, this nightmare season is far from over. Willis McGahee has pulled his weight and was a nice pickup but none of the rest of the offensive players should feel comfortable heading into 2008.

Quarterback: Kyle Boller had a decent enough game against the Browns when he threw for 279 yards and one score but in San Diego he was back in form with only 191 passing yards in a pasting by the Chargers. Against the softest of defenses, he appears almost average but that is not the case this week or for the rest of the season.

Running Backs: Willis McGahee has scored once in six straight games now even though his yardage rarely exceeds around 60 yards. He has scored seven times this season and is the same number of touchdown passes in this horrible offense. He sprained his foot last week but returned to the game and should be okay to play on Sunday. McGahee is the only consistent performer in this offense and apparently the only one with a sense where the endzone is.

Wide Receivers: Derrick Mason continues to provide a decent possession role in the offense which is critical because no other receiver is able to string together more than two or three productive games. Mason has two scores on the year and as a group, the wide receivers only have caught three receiving touchdowns. OC Rick Neuheisel has not proven to be nearly the benefit as hoped though he has not had a lot to work with. Still - this offense with these same players were much more productive in 2006.

Tight Ends: Just in case there wasn't enough salt in the wound, the Ravens are now considering shutting Todd Heap down for the rest of the year because of his hamstring strain. He has missed five of the last seven games and keeps tweaking his hamstring when he practices. Quinn Sypniewski will start again this week.

Match Against the Defense: The Patriots have been great against the run this year because opponents do not have the chance to just rush the ball since they are usually 21 points behind. McGahee has not been turning in big games this year but he is always good for a score. That could happen this week and would likely be the only chance the Ravens have of scoring.

Boller goes against a solid secondary with little more to use than Mason. Boller was sacked ten times in the last two games and could end up in the fetal position before the game is over. Expect Mason to have a barely moderate game but otherwise no other receiver here is reliable enough to warrant any fantasy consideration.

Gaining Fantasy Points BAL 28 17 24 17 13 20
Preventing Fantasy Points NE 15 6 9 12 1 1

The Huddle
~ 2007 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday night

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