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

Prediction: PHI 20, DAL 30

Update: Reggie Brown practiced on a limited basis on Thursday and Friday after being held out on Wednesday. He is still likely to miss this week and since it is a Monday night game, you could not make other roster moves so do not plan on using him this week. Marion Barber gave his owners a scare with his rib injury but he has been in full practices every day this week and says it feels so good that he is not bothering to wear any padding. He is good to go so Felix Jones owners can get rid of those stars in their eyes thinking he would be primary this week.

What a great Monday night game! The Cowboys won 38-17 in the Philadelphia game last year but lost 10-6 when the Eagles came to Dallas in week 15. Both teams are back to high-octane offense this year and the Eagles come off a trifecta with three wideouts all gaining over 100 yards last week. Throw in the obligatory Terrell Owens vs. The Eagles and maybe the announcers will skip talking about Brett Favre.

Philadelphia Eagles (1-0)
Homefield: Lincoln Financial Field
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 STL 38-3 -7 44
2 @DAL - +7 47
3 PIT - - -
4 @CHI - - -
5 WAS - - -
6 @SF - - -
7 BYE - - -
8 ATL - - -
9 @SEA - - -
10 NYG - - -
11 @CIN - - -
12 @BAL - - -
13 ARZ - - -
14 @NYG - - -
15 CLE - - -
16 @WAS - - -
17 DAL - - -
PHI at DAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Donovan McNabb     260,1
RB Brian Westbrook 80,1 70  
TE L.J. Smith   50,1  
WR DeSean Jackson   60  
WR Hank Baskett   20  
WR Greg Lewis   40  
PK David Akers 2 FG 2 XP  
Pregame Notes: The Eagles entered 2008 with healthy players in all positions except one - wide receivers. Both starters were gone last week (and Curtis for much longer) but a star was born with the diminutive DeSean Jackson playing like he was years more experienced and twice as big. It didn't hurt that the Rams were struggling in all facets of the game but at least McNabb showed that he was back and that the system could still produce points despite missing a couple of players.

Quarterback: During the offseason, Donovan McNabb claimed to feel better than he had in years and week one did not dispute that contention. McNabb passed for a league leading 361 yards and three scores against the visiting Rams and eventually let Kevin Kolb complete five more passes for 53 yards. This week is a far bigger test obviously, but McNabb could not be entering the game on a higher note.

McNabb passed for 264 yards and one score at home against the Cowboys last year and later threw for 208 yards and one touchdown in Dallas.

Running Backs: The coaching goal of getting Brian Westbrook less work so far only resulted in him running 19 times for 91 yards and a score against the Rams and adding two catches for a net of one yard and a second touchdown. But Westbrook rushed for 65 yards and had 14 (yes FOURTEEN) receptions for 90 yards when the Cowboys visited in 2007. He gained 81 yards on 18 rushes and added nine catches for 63 yards in the away game. He'll be no secret weapon to be sure.

Even in the blowout last week, Lorenzo Booker only had five carries and gained just nine yards. Oh sure, Westy's going to rest this year...

Wide Receivers: The Rams had a secondary that was a sieve last week and Hank Baskett (2-102, 1 TD), Greg Lewis (5-104) and DeSean Jackson (6-106) all tripped the century mark. Reggie Brown was held out last week with his lingering hamstring injury and could miss Monday as well. Updates as warranted but I will count him out until he practices. Jackson remains a starter with Greg Lewis for now.

No Eagles wideout had more than 55 yards against the Cowboys last year. This could be a huge step down from the ridiculous stats of last week.

Tight Ends: While the wide receivers were having marathons with their catches last week, L.J. Smith only had 39 yards on five receptions but the ten passes thrown to him were as many as any other player and Smith scored once. He will provide far more consistent numbers than probably any team wideout this year.

Match Against the Defense: Big game that should be unlike last week for both teams. Expect heavy doses from Westbrook who will get back to his role as the premier receiving running back and likely manage one score. McNabb never scored more than once in both meetings last year but the team overall is healthier this year outside of those wideouts. Expect McNabb to have decent yardage and one touchdown, and to rely more on Westbrook and Smith this week. If DeSean Jackson can excel in Dallas, he will remain a start in Philly for his entire career.

Gaining Fantasy Points PHI 1 6 1 5 8 18
Preventing Fantasy Points DAL 7 3 3 29 12 9

Dallas Cowboys (1-0)
Homefield: Texas Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @CLE 28-10 -5.5 49
2 PHI - -7 47
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 vs PHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Tony Romo     280,2
RB Felix Jones 50 20  
RB Marion Barber 80,1 20  
TE Jason Witten   80,1  
WR Terrell Owens   80,1  
WR Patrick Crayton   60  
WR Isaiah Stanback   20  
PK Nick Folk 3 FG 3 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Cowboys started the season on a high note and this week is even more important with the always pesky Eagles coming to town. The Cowboys blew out the Eagles in Philly but then lost to them in Dallas late last year. That will be remembered and there's always the Terrell Owens angle worthy of note. The NFC East is shaping up to be a big fight this year other than the Redskins and the Boys cannot afford to let a home game like this get away.

Quarterback: Tony Romo suffered an bruised hand and got 13 stitches on his chin against the Browns last week but he never left the field and ended with 320 yards and one score. He's already in tune for this year and passed for 324 yards and three scores at Philly last year. But he only managed 214 yards and no scores in the home meeting. He even had three interceptions in that game. Romo has a reason to play well this week and make up for 2007.

Running Backs: Marion Barber suffered damaged rib cartilage last week but he is still expected to practice on Wednesday and play this week even if he needs a flak jacket. He suffered no breaks or fractures and should be good to go this week even if it means a shot of novocain to get him out there.

When he left the game last week the Cowboys were still in good hands with Felix Jones gaining 62 yards and a touchdown on only nine carries. Even Tashard Choice had five runs for 26 yards but this remains Barber's team primarily and Jones is not expected to detract much from what Marion does. At least not in the early parts of the season.

Barber and Julius Jones both had around 55 rushing yards and one score in Philadelphia last year but Barber only managed 32 yards in the second meeting.

Wide Receivers: Terrell Owens caught 10 passes for 174 yards and one score in Philadelphia last year but only had two catches for 37 yards in the home meeting. He may be the kinder and gentler Owens now but the Eagles visiting is always going to be a treat. Especially these Eagles that are healthy and a big threat unlike last year. Patrick Crayton had six catches for 82 yards last week and remains a solid #2 option at wideout,.

Tight Ends: Jason Witten gained 77 yards on three receptions and scored once in Philadelphia last year but then caught eight passes for 113 yards in the home meeting with the Eagles last year. He just had six catches for a team high 96 yards last week so there is no changes in how he is used this year.

Match Against the Defense: The Eagles come off a thrashing of the Rams but how much of that was just the Rams is about to be proven. The Cowboys rarely run well against the Eagles and Barber has a sore rib. Expect a decent game here by Barber but likely no score and some help by Felix Jones as well.

Romo trashed the Eagles early last year and then struggled later on at home. Expect that game to serve as a wake up call. Look for a solid game from Romo with at least two touchdowns passing and healthy yardage. I also like the chance for a defensive score in this game. On Monday night, both teams will be bringing their "A" game.

Gaining Fantasy Points DAL 9 2 6 8 24 27
Preventing Fantasy Points PHI 2 2 2 22 5 1

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