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

Prediction: DAL 34, DET 17

The Cowboys are enjoying their best record in franchise history and scoring at will. The Lions have stumbled mightily with four consecutive losses and a rushing game that absolutely disappears in most games lately. Add in the loss of Roy Williams and that ten game promise by Jon Kitna is out the window.

The Lions won in Dallas 39-31 during week 14 of 2006.

Dallas Cowboys (11-1)
Homefield: Texas Stadium
  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 38-17 -3 46
10 @NYG 31-20 -1.5 49
11 WAS 28-23 -10.5 47
12 NYJ 34-3 -14.5 47
13 GB 37-27 -6.5 52
14 @DET   -10.5 38
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 DET Rush Catch Pass
QB Tony Romo     320,3
RB Julius Jones 60 20  
RB Marion Barber 50,1 30  
TE Jason Witten   60,1  
WR Terrell Owens   120,2  
WR Patrick Crayton   60  
WR Sam Hurd   20  
PK Nick Folk 2 FG 4 XP  
Pregame Notes: The Cowboys take over the #1 seed so far with their defeat of the Packers and unless they lose two remaining games and the Packers win out, the Cowboys will be playing all their playoff games at home this year. While the win was decisive last week, the loss of Brett Favre threw a less definitive shadow on the game but it is hard to argue 11-1 no matter what - particularly with the lone loss went to the only undefeated team. Dallas now has the challenge of remaining motivated in the remaining games and more importantly, keeping players healthy for the post-season.

Quarterback: Tony Romo has now broken Cowboys franchise records with 33 passing touchdowns so anything from now on is just gravy. Were this a season without Brady, Romo would be the #1 fantasy quarterback who has thrown for six games over 300 yards already and only once had less than two touchdowns in a game. He's also averaging just over one sack per game so his line is keeping him healthy.

Romo passed for 321 yards and two scores against the visiting Lions last year. He also had two interceptions.

Running Backs: Julius Jones' workload continues to decrease as Marion Barber takes a bigger role. Jones comes off his season worth effort of only nine carries for 26 yards against the Packers and hasn't had more carries than Barber since week five. Barber ran for 81 yards on 17 carries last Thursday and has been given more than 15 carries in each game since that week six change. He only has seven scores on the year which reflect more on the Cowboys' fondness for passing touchdowns.

Barber and Jones combined only gained 42 rushing yards versus the Lions in 2006 though Barber scored one touchdown.

Wide Receivers: Terrell Owens has scored in each of the last seven games and currently stands #2 in the NFL with 14 touchdowns on the year. He has topped 100 yards in five of the last six games and already ranks #1 in the league with 1249 yards on the season. The only thing likely to slow down Owens will be saving him for the playoffs and avoiding injury for him.

Last week saw Patrick Crayton return and he made up for lost time with two touchdown catches against the Packers though he only had two catches for 42 yards. His role has varied greatly this year, with as many as 184 yards in week four down to no catches in a game though he tends to remain around 40 to 60 yards in most weeks.

Owens caught six passes for 117 yards and one score against the Lions last year while Terry Glenn had 109 yards on six catches.

Tight Ends: Jason Witten continues to be a nice target for Romo but his role has been a bit decreased from earlier in the year. He has been fairly consistent around 50 to 60 yards per week but only has two scores over the last seven games.

Witten had four receptions for 62 yards against the visiting Lions last season.

Match Against the Defense: The Cowboys high scoring offense locks up against one of the worst defenses in the league. Oh yeah, start your Cowboys.

The Lions rushing defense has been slightly better than billed but has given up more rushing yards lately and the Cowboys should get one rushing score from Barber this week. Most teams do not rush for many yards but the running backs nearly always enjoy decent games as receivers which again favors Barber.

Romo faces a secondary that should be ripe for stat padding as well, and one that has allowed multiple passing touchdowns in eight games this year. Expect the expected - Owens and Witten should shine this week.

Gaining Fantasy Points DAL 2 9 5 1 2 8
Preventing Fantasy Points DET 31 31 28 15 10 32


Detroit Lions (6-6)
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 23-16 -1.5 43
8 @CHI 16-7 +5 44
9 DEN 44-7 -3 45.5
10 @ARI 21-31 +1 45
11 NYG 10-16 +2.5 49.5
12 GB 26-37 +3.5 48
13 @MIN 10-42 +3.5 44.5
14 DAL   +10.5 38
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 DAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Jon Kitna     270,2
RB Kevin Jones 20 30  
TE Sean McHugh   10  
WR Mike Furrey   90,1  
WR Calvin Johnson   70  
WR Shaun McDonald   60,1  
PK Jason Hanson 1 FG 2 XP  

Pregame Notes: The loss of Roy Williams is a big blow to this offense that now will go with Mike Furrey and Calvin Johnson as starters. That strong start to the season has now crumbled and the rushing game has been particularly suspect in recent weeks. Add in an defense that has given up 30+ points in three of the last four games and the Lions are right back to the same square one that ended last year. The offense has been so bad lately that now Mike Martz has been dropped from the list of potential new head coaches next year and could well be in jeopardy of losing his coordinator position.

Quarterback: Jon Kitna is throwing for one score per game for the last five weeks and while he usually has decent yardage, he is getting beaten to a pulp each week with at least three sacks and one or more turnovers. Williams was the key to this passing attack and now is gone so Kitna will have to spread the ball around to compensate. He passed for 306 yards and four touchdowns in Dallas last year for his biggest effort on that season but that should be easily remembered by the Dallas secondary.

Running Backs: Talk about inconsistency. Kevin Jones ran for 93 yards and a score against the Packers. In the other three most recent games, he only gained a total of 26 rushing yards on 18 carries. He does figure in more as a receiver but even that tops out around three or so catches per week recently. The decline of the offense is felt no where more than in the running game that should be even more challenged to produce this week.

Wide Receivers: The loss of Williams is big here not only because he has consistently been the primary receiver, but because of what that did to the secondary that would have to devote more resources to stopping him first. Now Mike Furrey takes his place and hopes to rekindle 2007 when he was the highly productive wideout that no secondary really cared about.

Calvin Johnson would seem to merit an increase now from just the need alone but only managed one catch last week on his three passes. His best effort of the year was in week 12 when he was thrown 15 passes and caught seven for 83 yards and a score but that level of attention will need to continue if the Lions are going to have a chance in games. And yet - Johnson has only been targeted like that once. He has spent almost the entire year with three catches for around 40 yards in games.

The absence of Williams will most likely have a positive effect on Shaun McDonald because he can get the better match-ups as the slot receiver. But that has only accounted for one score in the last eight games so far.

Roy Williams had six receptions for 104 yards and two scores in Dallas last year while Mike Furrey turned in 11 catches for 102 yards and a score.

Tight Ends: One catch per game - no fantasy value here.

Match Against the Defense: The Cowboys have been solid against the run thanks in no small part to getting a big lead and forcing opponents to pass. Expect yet another poor showing here by Jones who could tack on some yards as a receiver this week.

Kitna faces a secondary that has usually allowed more than 250 passing yards and at least one score if only as trash time fodder. The Cowboys secondary benefits from knowing that opponents have always needed to pass and usually deeper down the field. CB Terrance Newman draws Johnson but is banged up a bit and the rookie wideout should see a higher rate of throws this week. Furrey makes an interesting play this week on the softer side of the secondary as does McDonald attacking the safeties. Look for Kitna to throw for at least one score here and likely two. He's going to be throwing a lot - as long as he doesn't get knocked out of the game.

Gaining Fantasy Points DET 13 31 3 31 11 4
Preventing Fantasy Points DAL 13 4 21 14 11 12

The Huddle
~ 2007 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday Late

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