The Huddle on Facebook Facebook   The Huddle on Twitter Twitter   The Huddle Mobile Mobile Welcome, GuestJOINHELP


Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
Print this page
The Huddle
~ 2008 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday Late

Prediction: DAL 31, CLE 20

Update: Jamal Lewis has battled a hamstring strain this week and will be a true gametime decision. If he cannot play, Jerome Harrison will fill in but this is a late game and you cannot be sure if he is going to play until 4 PM EST which could be too late depending on your roster. I am lowering his numbers and changing the game score as result and Lewis could still miss the game. At the least, he won't be 100%.

The Cowboys, yet again, embark on making the playoffs AND winning a game once they get there. What seemed to be their best shot yet was derailed by the Giants during their quest for destiny. The Browns also had a very respectable 10-6 season that just missed the playoffs and discovered they had both a rushing and a passing game. Now the Cowboys hit the road to again make amends and get a trip to the Super Bowl done before Terrell Owens turns 40. The Browns just have to try to stay as good as last year.

Dallas Cowboys (0-0)
Homefield: Texas Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @CLE - -5.5 49
2 PHI - - -
3 @GB - - -
4 WAS - - -
5 CIN - - -
6 @ARZ - - -
7 @STL - - -
8 TB - - -
9 @NYG - - -
10 BYE - - -
11 @WAS - - -
12 SF - - -
13 SEA - - -
14 @PIT - - -
15 NYG - - -
16 BAL - - -
17 @PHI - - -
DAL at CLE Rush Catch Pass
QB Tony Romo     280,3
RB Felix Jones 20 30  
RB Marion Barber 80,1 20  
TE Jason Witten   70,1  
WR Terrell Owens   90,2  
WR Patrick Crayton   40  
WR Isaiah Stanback   20  
PK Nick Folk 1 FG 4 XP  
Pregame Notes: The Cowboys were relatively unchanged in the offseason other than losing Julius Jones and replacing him with a higher profile rookie of Felix Jones. The defense should be better now that it is stocked with malcontents who have no current "timeouts" sanctioned by the league and the schedule includes facing the NFC West as an added treat. It's no cakewalk but all the same players in the same high-powered offense should be making fantasy owners happy this year.

Quarterback: Tony Romo comes off a career year (easily) when he passed for 4290 yards and 36 scores last year. He would have been the QB stud of the year had it not been for Tom Brady. The same set of receivers return and Felix Jones could show up on pass routes as well. Long as there are no new Jessica Simpson curses, Romo should be in for another great year.

Running Backs: The big question that starts to get answered is how many carries will Marion Barber get, and how much will Felix Jones play? Barber has never had more than 204 carries in an NFL season though he has been durable and never injured. Felix Jones was drafted instead of Rashard Mendenhall because Jones is the complement to Barber - not the replacement or relief. Jones brings in speed and open field ability along with a good set of hands for pass receptions. No doubt that Barber gets virtually all the short touchdowns, but how much Jones plays remains to be seen and could change from game to game depending on situation.

Wide Receivers: Terrell Owens turns 35 on Pearl Harbor Day but he's a work out warrior who has already extended his career beyond where most falter. He's adamant that he has at least one or two more good years in him and Patrick Crayton mans the flanker with far less fanfare (and points). The Cowboys are down to using Isaiah Stan bach as the #3 this week and the ex-quarterback has yet to catch a regular season pass. No matter - this offense is all about Owens and Witten.

Tight Ends: Jason Witten certainly enjoyed the new offense ushered in by Jason Garrett. He merely went from a decent tight end to being the highest scoring player in his position in almost all leagues. Witten scored seven times and had 96 catches for 1145 yards - only eight wide receivers had more catches than Witten did.

Match Against the Defense: Have to like facing one of the worse pass defenses in the NFL. Barber should manage a respectable game here but the Cowboys offense will look to start with a bang against a soft secondary. Expect a nice showing by the regulars getting ready for another playoff run.

Gaining Fantasy Points DAL 2 13 8 1 4 12
Preventing Fantasy Points CLE 31 11 26 30 29 9
Rank Advantage (-31 to 31) DAL 29 -2 18 29 25 -3

Cleveland Browns (0-0)
Homefield: Cleveland Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 DAL - +5.5 49
2 PIT - - -
3 @BAL - - -
4 @CIN - - -
5 BYE - - -
6 NYG - - -
7 @WAS - - -
8 @JAX - - -
9 BAL - - -
10 DEN - - -
11 @BUF - - -
12 HOU - - -
13 IND - - -
14 @TEN - - -
15 @PHI - - -
16 CIN - - -
17 @PIT - - -
CLE vs DAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Derek Anderson     240,2
RB Jamal Lewis 50    
TE Kellen Winslow   80,1  
WR Braylon Edwards   90,1  
WR Donte Stallworth   30  
WR Josh Cribbs   10  
PK Phil Dawson 2 FG 2 XP  

Pregame Notes: No arguing with the success that the Browns had last year. An offensive line that remained healthy finally allowed the offense the sort of production that was all new to the Browns. Jamal Lewis regained his stature as a bruising runner and Derek Anderson made Brady Quinn known only through commercials that amazingly still run. The Browns will have a far tougher schedule this year than in 2007 and that will have an obvious impact but the Browns turned an undeniable corner last year. Have to believe that Romeo Crennel went from waking up soaked in sweat to sleeping like a baby last year.

Quarterback: Derek Anderson went from being the guy that couldn't beat out Charlie Frye to being a superstar in the Browns offense. He ended with 29 touchdowns and passed for almost 3800 yards. Problem is that most of his production came in the early part of the schedule and now Anderson needs to show that he can resume his high octane ways from 2007. Stating against the Cowboys, Steelers and Ravens doesn't help nor does most of the rest of the schedule. But he has his own WR-TE tandem and an offensive line that rivals any in the league.

Running Backs: After being written off in Baltimore, Jamal Lewis came to Cleveland and brought a rushing attack that was ranked no better than 31st in rushing yards and scores in 2006, to being top ten in both just last year. It was clearly his best season since the 2064 yards in 2003. Much was related to the offensive line but Lewis himself brought a renewed passion to his running. He's also one of the few runners who almost never shares the ball.

Wide Receivers: Braylon Edwards already had a nice showing in his second season with 884 yards and six scores but his third year break out catapulted him into the ranks of elite wideouts. Edwards turned 80 catches into 1289 yards and twelve touchdowns. He made incredible catches and runs. In short, he made Anderson into a fantasy star last year and even when the passing numbers were down, Edwards continued to catch touchdowns. The Browns have added Donte Stallworth as a complement for Edwards but Stallworth is changing teams every year by now and wont' do much more than be there to pat Edwards on the back.

Tight Ends: Kellen Winslow also enjoyed a big year with Anderson as the helm. He ended with 82 catches for 1106 yards and five scores. He'll remain a big part of the offense that will have a greater need to throw this year.

Match Against the Defense: The Cowboys have upgraded their secondary with Adam Jones but how much that really changes remains to be seen. The Cowboys defense was solid last year and no less formidable in road games. Both teams could try running more early in the game to prevent a shootout but it's bound to happen eventually. Look for at least one if not two passing scores by Anderson who will rely on the obvious players. The difference here is that both offenses are similar in use of RB-TE-WR but the Cowboys have the better defense.

Gaining Fantasy Points CLE 9 9 15 5 9 21
Preventing Fantasy Points DAL 12 10 19 12 12 13
Rank Advantage (-31 to 31) CLE 3 1 4 7 3 -8
The Huddle
~ 2008 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday Late
Other Features
Fantasy Statistics
Tuesday Injury Report
Free Agent Forecast
Commentary From the Edge
Game Recaps
Tunnel Vision
a d v e r t i s e m e n t