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

Prediction: SEA 17, PHI 23

Update: Shaun Alexander has returned to full practices and has shared work with the first team with Maurice Morris on Thursday. Morris was limited on Wednesday because of his ankle but look for both players to have a role this week. The ration will depend on how well both hold up and which is more productive.

Brian Westbrook has missed practice both days this week and could be a gametime decision though Westbrook insists he will play. He has a bruised knee but is a warrior and I am slightly lowering his projections. The Eagles know he must play if their team is to win and they will already likely be without McNabb. If you need Westbrook, check the gametime inactives to be sure but this is a later afternoon game. His knee swelling should be down by Sunday though and again, he insists that he will play.

This should be a competitive game with the Seahawks leading the NFC West but only 2-3 on the road and the Eagles coming off a tremendous effort in New England that fell a little short. The Eagles are only 2-3 at home but the only road wins by the Seahawks have been against the Rams and 49ers - not exactly awe-inspiring.

Seattle Seahawks (7-4)
Homefield: Qwest Field
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 TB 20-6 -6 41
2 @ARI 20-23 -2.5 42.5
3 CIN 24-21 -3 50
4 @SF 23-3 -1.5 40.5
5 @PIT 0-21 +6 41
6 NO 17-28 -6 43
7 STL 33-6 -9 40
8 BYE - - -
9 @CLE 30-33 +1 47
10 SF 24-0 -10 39.5
11 CHI 30-23 -5.5 37.5
12 @STL 24-19 -3 44.5
13 @PHI   +3 43
14 ARI 9-Dec SUN 4:05 PM
15 @CAR 16-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
16 BAL 23-Dec SUN 4:15 PM
17 @ATL 30-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
SEA at PHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Hasselbeck     280,2
RB Maurice Morris 50 30  
RB Shaun Alexander 50 10  
TE Marcus Pollard   20  
WR Deion Branch   70,1  
WR Bobby Engram   90,1  
WR Nate Burleson   40  
PK Josh Brown 1 FG 2 XP  
Pregame Notes: The Seahawks held off a surprisingly spry Rams team last week but that was their first road win after losing in Cleveland and Pittsburgh. They already have a two game lead over the Cardinals who they host the next week and remaining games against the Cardinals, Ravens, Falcons and Panthers should easily secure the division yet again this year. Losing Hackett for a few weeks doesn't help though and the rushing game has been replaced by a pass happy offense that will be without their best weapon in Philadelphia.

Quarterback: Matt Hasselbeck continued his scoring streak in St. Louis but for the first time since week five, he failed to throw for two scores and settled for just one strike to Deion Branch. He has averaged 260 passing yards per game and more when on the road since the Seahawks usually trail and have no running game anyway. One notable there though - the last six games have gone against the defenses of NO, STL (2), CLE, SF and the visiting Bears. Ends up that is hardly a tough schedule and this week will be Hasselbeck's biggest challenge since getting shut out in Pittsburgh during week five.

Running Backs: Shaun Alexander missed his third straight game last week and even when he has played, he is only averaging 3.3 yards per carry and has been almost worthless in fantasy terms since week four. Maurice Morris has been adequate in most games but rarely carries more than 17 times and has never had more than 87 rushing yards. His four scores have all come at home and his limited starts on the road have been far less impressive.

I will assume that Alexander misses this week as well and update if warranted. There has been no word that Alexander will be demoted when healthy but nothing he has done since week five says that shouldn't happen anyway.

Wide Receivers: D.J. Hackett has re-injured the same ankle that kept him out of six games this season and is expected to miss two games as it heals. Deion Branch comes off a nice game in St. Louis where he had 92 yards on five receptions and scored once but Hackett has been the engine to this passing game for several weeks with 100+ yard games and a score for three straight weeks. With him out, Bobby Engram will see increased work and has filled in admirably during Hackett's previous absence. Most often Engram will man the slot and Nate Burleson goes to the flanker but Engram gets more passes than Burleson. The Seahawks pass so much that they regularly are in a three receiver set.

Tight Ends: Neither Marcus Pollard nor Will Heller is usually worth more than 10 or 20 yards in a game. No reliable fantasy value here.

Match Against the Defense: This would be a shutout if the Eagles bring the same defense that limited the Patriots more than any other opponent has this season. No opposing runner has gained more than 72 yards in Philadelphia though four have scored one time each. With Morris as the starter, expect just moderate rushing yardage at best but he should add a few more receiving yards than normal unless the Eagles blitz so much that he has to block on all pass plays.

Hasselbeck faces a secondary that is definitely the weakness of the defense but one that has also faced numerous good quarterbacks this year. I like Hasselbeck to get healthy yardage here and two scores that have to favor the wideouts. Engram in particular should have a solid showing.

Gaining Fantasy Points SEA 9 20 6 26 8 8
Preventing Fantasy Points PHI 11 7 22 11 16 22


Philadelphia Eagles (5-6)
Homefield: Lincoln Financial Field
  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 17-38 +3 46
10 @WAS 33-25 +2.5 37.5
11 MIA 17-7 -10 40.5
12 @NE 28-31 +22.5 50.5
13 SEA   -3 43
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 SEA Rush Catch Pass
QB Donovan McNabb 230,1
QB A.J. Feeley     240,1
RB Brian Westbrook 70,1 60  
TE L.J. Smith   50  
WR Reggie Brown   50,1  
WR Kevin Curtis   50  
WR Jason Avant   20  
PK David Akers 3 FG 2 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Eagles almost had one for the mantle when they were nipped in New England. The Eagles had never looked better and - it was without Donovan McNabb. A.J. Feeley was nothing short of astounding against the Pats but one game does not make a quarterback controversy here. That will take McNabb to return and look bad. Then they will have one. The Eagles have played better than their record suggests, with the most recent losses going to the Cowboys and Patriots. That Patriot game has to be a big confidence builder and not a loss that causes the team to play flat the next week.

Quarterback: Despite the fine play of A.J. Feeley who threw for 345 yards and three touchdowns in New England, HC Andy Reid was very clear that Donovan McNabb remains the starter and he is expected to return this week. He missed last week because of injuries to his ankle and thumb but should be back. McNabb had been on a scoring steak himself with his five previous games containing at least one score and in his last start he threw for four touchdowns in Washington. No doubt McNabb feels the heat from Feeley and will want to shine at home this week.

Running Backs: Brian Westbrook is currently #1 among all NFL running backs with 558 receiving yards and four receiving scores. He even ranks #4 in rushing yards with 901. He has never had a home game with less than 120 total yards this year and truly has been the engine to this offense. The old rule was that Westbrook was not supposed to have more than 15 carries per game. He has never been with less than 16 since week three and three of the last five games ran more than 20 times. He is on pace for 300+ carries this year and that's with him missing week four.

Wide Receivers: Kevin Curtis remains the most consistent and productive wideout for the Eagles but he had not scored in the last six games and usually ends up around 60 or 70 yards per game. Reggie Brown gets much less work but has scored twice in the last three weeks and against the Pats, Greg Lewis was the surprise player with two scores and 88 yards which was almost exactly what he had done for the entire season combined before last week. Curtis has some fantasy value because he is the best at those moderate yardage games but the scores tend to go elsewhere without any real trend of pattern.

Tight Ends: L.J. Smith continues his improved play over the last three weeks which has seen him turn in right at 45 yards each week and score once in Washington. He's not a major part of the passing game but gets enough use to warrant marginal fantasy value.

Match Against the Defense: The Seahawks have been pretty good against the run this year though have allowed 11 rushing scores so far. They also have given up numerous 30+ receiving yard games to running backs so expect a nice showing here by Westbrook who will keep his 120 total yard streak intact.

McNabb will have the tougher job here going against one of the better secondaries in the league that has only allowed a total of six passing scores in 2007. Most teams will end up over the 200 yard mark but McNabb is coming back from injury so do not expect much more than that. I like him to throw for one score here that could go anywhere. Reggie Brown is the most likely but no lock. If he scores twice, it will be because of Westbrook cutting loose on a reception.

Gaining Fantasy Points PHI 11 2 12 27 15 31
Preventing Fantasy Points SEA 5 25 8 6 8 6

The Huddle
~ 2007 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday night

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