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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
 
The Huddle
Divisional
~ 2007 ~
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Prediction: SEA 14, GB 34

The Seahawks had little trouble dispatching the Redskins last week but now will be facing perhaps the biggest surprise team of the season. The Packers have an advantage since they are 7-1 at home this year while the Seahawks are also 7-1 at home. But the Seahawks are only 3-5 on the road and come in with the worst rushing attack of any of the remaining eight playoff teams. The weather is expected to be around 26 degrees at game start with a chance of snow. If weather is a factor in any game this weekend, it will be this one.

Seattle Seahawks (10-6)
Homefield: Qwest Field
FieldTurf
  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 28-24 +3 43
14 ARI 42-21 -7 44.5
15 @CAR 10-13 -7 38
16 BAL 27-6 -10 40
17 @ATL 41-44 +2.5 38
P1 WAS 35-14 -3.5 40
P2 @GB   +8 41.5
SEA at GB Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Hasselbeck     250,2
RB Shaun Alexander 40 10  
RB Maurice Morris 20 20  
TE Marcus Pollard   30,1  
WR Deion Branch   50  
WR Bobby Engram   70  
WR D.J. Hackett   70,1  
PK Josh Brown   2 XP  
Pregame Notes: No doubt the Seahawks got a nice charge of confidence from soundly beating the Redskins and finally undoing their impressive mojo post-Sean Taylor. This week goes against a team that has had the mojo all season long and yet the Seahawks have never been that impressive away from Seattle. They have been plenty bad in a few games but never that good outside of the one trip to San Francisco. The rushing game has given way to Hasselbeck doing an impression of Favre but an imbalanced offense rarely succeeds on the road. It hasn't five times this year already.

Quarterback: Matt Hasselbeck has already enjoyed a career best season with 4195 passing yards and 28 touchdowns. But 18 of those scores came at home and only ten were produced in road games where the Seahawks were only 3-5 on the season and that includes games in ARI, SF, CLE, STL, CAR and PHI. Against the Steelers he only had 116 yards and no scores. Against the Buccaneers and Redskins (both at home), Hasselbeck only had around 220 yards and one score in each. Those were the only three playoff teams that the Seahawks faced during the regular season. He's had a good year to be sure but thanks in no small part to a very easy schedule.

Running Backs: So evidently Shaun Alexander wasn't just saving himself for the playoffs. Against the Redskins, he only ran for 46 yards on 15 carries and even had a rare two receptions that only netted a one yard loss. Maurice Morris was given four carries but only gained 13 yards. Fullback Leonard Weaver had the rushing touchdown last week on his only carry. The Seahawks are content with using Alexander as the primary back with little help from Morris despite the continued ineffective results. The one-time NFL record single season touchdown scorer only had four this year.

Wide Receivers: Deion Branch was held out of the game last week because of a calf strain though he tried to convince the coaches to let him onto the field. Branch is expected to play this week but there's always the chance of a relapse. D.J. Hackett was back in high gear when he gained 101 yards and scored once against the Redskins - his first decent game since week 11. There have only been three games this year that both Hackett and Branch have played so this should be a better set of receivers this week. One interesting note though - Hackett has turned in three games over 100 yards and scored in each and all were in home games. In three road games, he has never had more than 58 yards and only scored once.

Branch had his best three games all come on the road but then again, that was against ARI, STL and SF. In Pittsburgh he only had two catches for 14 yards.

Tight Ends: Marcus Pollard hasn't been much of a factor in the passing game this year with only two scores and never more than 39 yards in any game but he did supply a two point conversion last week. He has never had more than three catches in a road game.

Match Against the Defense: The Packers rushing defense has been stellar at home with only one rushing touchdown allowed to a visiting running back and never more than 87 rushing yards. That's enough of a concern that the Seahawks may not even pretend to mount a rushing attack this week - it wouldn't be successful anyway. The weather calls for cold and potential snow which would be nice to have for a running back but not on this team anymore. Look for only mediocre yardage here though the Packers have allowed opponents to often get about 30 receiving yards from opponents. The Seahawks rarely rely on their backs as receivers though.

Hasselbeck has the chore of making any difference in this game. He faces a secondary that has been very opportunistic this year with both sacks and interceptions and only twice has any opponent passed for more than two scores or more than 260 yards. That all falls right into where Hasselbeck usually ends up with two scores and around 250 passing yards. He could go higher but it would be thanks to trash time if it happens.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points
SEA
7
19
5
29
6
5
Preventing Fantasy Points
GB
13
13
4
28
10
2

 

Green Bay Packers (12-3)
Homefield: Lambeau Field
Grass
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 PHI 16-13 +3 43.5
2 @NYG 35-13 +2.5 38.5
3 SD 31-24 +5 43
4 @MIN 23-16 -1 38
5 CHI 20-27 -3 41
6 WAS 17-14 -3 40.5
7 BYE - - -
8 @DEN 19-13 +3 44
9 @KC 33-22 +2.5 38.5
10 MIN 34-0 -6.5 40.5
11 CAR 31-17 -10 37.5
12 @DET 37-26 -3.5 48
13 @DAL 27-37 +6.5 52
14 OAK 38-7 -10.5 42
15 @STL 33-14 -9.5 44
16 @CHI 7-35 -8 40
17 DET 34-13 -3 37
P2 SEA   -8 41.5
GBP vs SEA Rush Catch Pass
QB Brett Favre     240,2
RB Ryan Grant 110,2 10  
TE Donald Lee   30,1  
WR Donald Driver   60  
WR Greg Jennings   70,1  
WR James Jones   40  
PK Mason Crosby 2 FG 4 XP  

Pregame Notes: This is the next step to satisfy the dream of Brett Favre - holding high the Lombardi and then walking away ALA John Elway. Aside from just an inexplicable problem with the Bears, the Packers have played at a high level on both sides of the ball and are angling for a return to Dallas next week to avenge week 13... or to host the Giants should there be an upset in Dallas. The Packers haven't scored less than 30 points for the last four home games.

Quarterback: The old man has a spring in his step after throwing for 4155 yards and 28 touchdowns and yet only threw 15 interceptions. The rushing game that blossomed after midseason served to make the team better but did lower the passing stats a bit. Brett Favre passed for over 300 yards in seven games this year but none came in the last five games. The oddity with Favre is also that he either throws two or three scores or has none. Only once did he end with just one passing score and four times had none. But 11 games served up at least two or three touchdowns.

Running Backs: Ryan Grant injured his shoulder in the season finale and since he only had six carries (for 57 yards) he fell just short of a 1000 yard season. Then again, he only had six carries for 27 yards before getting his first start in week eight. In just nine games, Grant ran for 956 yards on 188 carries for an average of 5.1 yards per carry. He has scored in each of the last six games and has given tremendous balance to a team that was already scoring well with just a passing game. He's rarely a factor as a receiver but then again, he rarely needs to be. What's even stranger is that he has rushed for over 100 yards in every other game since he first became a starter in week eight - and this week should be the sixth time in a row he has his every other 100 yard game.

Wide Receivers: Both Greg Jennings and James Jones were limited in practice on Wednesday but both are expected to play this week. Jennings is nursing a groin strain but has been central to the success of the passing game with 12 touchdowns on the season. Favre uses all his receivers and Donald Driver has really fallen off this year with only two scores and none since week three. He remains good for around 50 or 60 yards each week but just never scores anymore - that's what Jennings is for.

But Jennings is hardly alone. James Jones has two scores, Koren Robinson has one in just the last game of the year and Ruvell Martin has scored four times though he rarely has more than one catch in any game. Favre spreads the ball around as needed and only Jennings has been consistent. But even if he is somehow taken out of the game, the Packers still have plenty of other weapons to use.

Tight Ends: Donald Lee remains a valuable weapon though his last two games of the year only had one catch. He still ended up with 48 catches for 575 yards and six scores on the year. Bubba Franks is also expected to play this week and he has three scores on the year including the last game of the regular season.

Match Against the Defense: The Seattle defense has been decent this year but realize too that their rankings come after having played ARI, SF and STL twice each. One of the easiest schedules in the NFL this year allowed the Seahawks to seem better than they actually were and in road games, they were never that great anyway. The Seahawks allowed 12 rushing scores on the road this year and half of those opponents to feature a running back with at least 90 rushing yards. Expect Grant to both score and top 100 yards this week. He may score twice if it snows and the passing game is not needed. Especially if the Packers get a big lead and then control the rest of the game with the run.

Favre goes against a defense that has ranked fairly well thanks to those games against Leinart, Dilfer, Alex Smith, Frerotte, Feeley, Troy Smith, etc.. The Seattle corners have been solid but the Packers will use more than just two wideouts in the passing scheme which complicates coverage. Look for at least two passing scores here from Favre with a chance at three.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points
GB
5
14
6
10
1
8
Preventing Fantasy Points
SEA
6
22
14
13
8
4

 

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