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

Prediction: CAR 17, TBB 20

Update: Earnest Graham and Joey Galloway have been held out of practice and are likely both going to sit out the final game.

The Buccaneers wrap up their year hosting the Panthers who they beat 20-7 in Carolina during week four this season. But the Buccaneers have already made the playoffs and will be sitting players this week as they did in San Francisco. So the question is mostly if the Carolina first teamers can beat the second string from Tampa Bay.

Carolina Panthers (6-9)
Homefield: Bank of America Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @STL 27-13 -1 42
2 HOU 21-34 -6.5 39
3 @ATL 27-20 -4 37.5
4 TB 7-20 -3 39
5 @NO 16-13 +4 43
6 @ARI 25-10 +6 38.5
7 BYE - - -
8 IND 7-31 +6.5 45
9 @TEN 7-20 +4 40
10 ATL 13-20 -4.5 36.5
11 @GB 17-31 +10 37.5
12 NO 6-31 +3 41
13 SF 31-14 -3 35.5
14 @JAC 6-37 -10.5 38
15 SEA 13-10 +7 38
16 DAL 13-20 +13 44.5
17 @TB   -2.5 36
CAR at TB Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Moore     190,1
RB DeShaun Foster 70 20  
RB DeAngelo Williams 40,1 10  
TE Jeff King   20  
WR Steve Smith   70,1  
WR Ryne Robinson   30  
WR Drew Carter   20  
PK John Kasay 1 FG 2 XP  
Pregame Notes: The Panthers are playing out a very disappointing season that took a nosedive once Jake Delhomme was gone for the year. The only progress that has been made this year was that now the Panthers understand why David Carr was available as a free agent (which he should be again soon). This was a season where nothing much worked and the Panthers kept trying the same thing hoping for different results. Like recent seasons, injuries doomed this team that could never compensate.

Quarterback: Using Matt Moore for the last two weeks has shown that he's better than your average undrafted quarterback and he has definite promise if only to become a solid career back-up. With only two games for measurement, it's hard to glean too much information but given the play of David Carr and Vinnie Testaverde, at least the Panthers look like they have landed a good back-up for Jake Delhomme.

Carr was the starter in week four and only passed for 155 yards and one score against the visiting Buccaneers.

Running Backs: Nothing new here. The Panthers yet again went into the season using DeShaun Foster knowing that his past had been largely mediocre and that just continued again this year. Why the Panthers stick with him is a mystery but at least DeAngelo Williams makes the most of the little use he is given. Going into the final game, Foster has rushed 236 times for 830 yards (3.5 YPC) and Williams has 114 runs for 536 yards (4.7 YPC). HC John Fox has elected to keep that going for two years now but should the coaching change, there is no way that Foster has bought any good will with his level play this season or really any.

Foster rushed for 64 yards on 15 runs versus the Bucs this season.

Wide Receivers: There was hope that the drafting of Dwayne Jarrett was going to bring in a younger version of Keyshawn Johnson to complement Steve Smith but Jarrett has been a no-show this season with only four games played and a paltry six catches as a rookie. Steve Smith stood alone as the only decent weapon of the offense and while he was usually thrown double digit passes every week, the defenses all knew to just cover him and not worry about the rest. Smith is ending a horrible season thanks in no small part to the absence of Delhomme. The Panthers go into 2008 once again trying to find someone - anyone - that can complement Smith.

Smith was held to only 32 yards on five catches in the last meeting with the Buccaneers.

Tight Ends: Jeff King entered the season looking like he was finally going to be the first tight end since Wesley Walls that would matter in the passing scheme for the Panthers. He had several decent games to start the year but since mid-season has been little more than an average tight end that catches never more than a couple of passes per game. The return of Delhomme should help his numbers in 2008.

Match Against the Defense: The Panthers get the benefit of facing a Buccaneers team that is certain to bench almost all notable players at least a portion if not the entire game. That still won't result in a big offensive showing here but it should let Steve Smith have a decent game if only in the second half. The output by the Panthers depends on how quickly the Bucs sit players and judging by last week, it will be around halftime.

Gaining Fantasy Points CAR 28 25 22 19 25 28
Preventing Fantasy Points TB 1 17 2 2 4 7


Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-6)
Homefield: Raymond James Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @SEA 6-20 +6 41
2 NO 31-14 +3.5 41.5
3 STL 24-3 -4 38.5
4 @CAR 20-7 +3 39
5 @IND 14-33 +9 45
6 TEN 13-10 -2.5 37
7 @DET 16-23 +1.5 43
8 JAC 23-24 +4 32.5
9 ARI 17-10 -3.5 37
10 BYE - - -
11 @ATL 31-7 -3 35
12 WAS 19-13 -3.5 37.5
13 @NO 27-23 +3 42
14 @HOU 14-28 +1 40.5
15 ATL 37-3 -10 39
16 @SF 19-21 -7 37.5
17 CAR   +2.5 36
TBB vs CAR Rush Catch Pass
QB Jeff Garcia     120,1
QB Luke McCown     100,1
RB Earnest Graham 30
RB Michael Pittman 50    
TE Alex Smith   40,1  
TE Jerramy Stevens   40  
WR Joey Galloway 20
WR Ike Hilliard   50  
WR Michael Clayton   50,1  
PK Matt Bryant 2 FG 2 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Buccaneers have already started tanking their meaningless games which allowed the 49ers to beat them last week. With a first playoff game next week, the Bucs are likely to rest players even more this week. The only player on the team with consistent fantasy value has been Earnest Graham and maybe Joey Galloway but there's little chance that either will get much playing time this week. It would be nice to end with double-digit wins but it is even better to be healthy in the playoffs.

Quarterback: Jeff Garcia only played for the first half in San Francisco so expect Luke McCown plays at least a half again this week. Garcia will likely start just to get some reps and help him stay sharp but there's even less reason. Look for Luke McCown to take over at some point likely early. McCown passed for 185 yards and a score in one half of work last week.

Garcia passed for 176 yards and no scores in Carolina this year.

Running Backs: Earnest Graham only needs 102 yards to hit 1000 for the season but that may not happen with the Bucs likely to rest players. Last week, Graham only had nine carries while Michael Bennett was given 13. It would be nice for Graham to notch a 1000 yard season since he may never get the chance again but last week's game plan showed that the Buccaneers were mostly interested in keeping players fresh and healthy for the game next week. I will project yards for Graham but he may have little playing time here.

Back in week four, Carnell Williams ran for 41 yards on six runs and Graham had 48 yards on 17 carries with one score. Even Michael Pittman gained 90 yards on 15 carries.

Wide Receivers: Joey Galloway only had one catch for 29 yards last week and did not play in the second half. You can expect the same this week and since the Buccaneers have no other reliable fantasy wideout, there is no reason to look further for fantasy value here. Galloway scored six touchdowns this year and had all but two scores made by a wideout,

Galloway only had one catch for seven yards in Carolina this year. Ike Hilliard had a season high 114 yards on seven catches.

Tight Ends: Alex Smith came up big last week with a season high six catches for 79 yards but Jerramy Stevens was back on the field after a one-game suspension and caught four passes for 73 yards and two touchdowns. He also scored in week 15 and could be due for more work in the playoffs and even next season.

Match Against the Defense: The very messy question here is what will McCown, Bennett and a cast of no-name wideouts (sans Galloway) be able to do? There is no player for the Bucs that is a reliable start this week and I would recommend not using any. I expect the same as last week - about a half's worth of work from the starters.

Gaining Fantasy Points TB 19 6 20 18 15 11
Preventing Fantasy Points CAR 20 15 18 19 14 12

The Huddle
~ 2007 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday Late

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