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

Prediction: ARI 16, WAS 20

Update: Malcolm Kelly sprained his ankle last week and was held out of practice on Wednesday. He was limited on Thursday and Friday and is not a safe play this week. James Thrash also has a sprained ankle and is not a lock to play this week either. The #3 wideout could be one of several players so I will not project for one.

The Cardinals are flying high but they've only beaten the 49ers and Dolphins. This road trip should be close and the Skins are hardly a great team so far but should be just good enough thanks to their defense, Portis and playing at home.

The Redskins beat the visiting Cardinals 21-19 last year.

Arizona Cardinals (2-0)
Homefield: University of Phoenix Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @SF 23-13 -2.5 41.5
2 MIA 31-10 -7 38.5
3 @WAS - +3 42
4 @NYJ - - -
5 BUF - - -
6 DAL - - -
7 BYE - - -
8 @CAR - - -
9 @STL - - -
10 SF - - -
11 @SEA - - -
12 NYG - - -
13 @PHI - - -
14 STL - - -
15 MIN - - -
16 @NE - - -
17 SEA - - -
ARI at WAS Rush Catch Pass
QB Kurt Warner     230,1
RB Edgerrin James 50    
TE Leonard Pope   10  
WR Anquan Boldin   70  
WR Larry Fitzgerald   90,1  
WR Steve Breaston   40  
PK Neil Rackers 3 FG 1 XP  
Pregame Notes: The Cardinals rise to 2-0 and take sole possession of the NFC West. Of course playing against the 49ers and Dolphins may not be the most challenging of opponents but then again both were wins by 10+ points. The schedule is not going to get any kinder over the next month but these Cardinals look a cut above previous versions including more importantly on defense. With the decline of the injury-ravaged Seahawks, the Cardinals actually have the inside track on the division at this early juncture.

Quarterback: The decision to opt for Kurt Warner as the starter has been richly rewarded yet again. He comes off a perfect quarterback rating against the Dolphins which was the third of his career and tied with Peyton Manning for best in the history of the NFL. When the Cardinals forgo the desire to have a balanced offense and just allow Warner to throw, he's as good as any quarterback in the game thanks to Fitzgerald and Boldin.

Warner passed for 282 yards and two touchdowns against the Redskins last year. He also had two interceptions and lost a fumble. Tim Rattay also threw for a touchdown on a trick play.

Running Backs: After barely notching 100 yards in San Francisco, Edgerrin James only had 55 yards on 18 carries against the visiting Dolphins and has been absent in the passing scheme. The Cardinals have scored a rushing touchdown in each game but Tim Hightower has already assumed that role. He has no fantasy value outside those touchdowns thanks to only showing up for short yardage and goal line plays. Last week there were 28 rushing plays but even as a team the Cardinals only had 79 rushing yards against the Dolphins. This should strongly suggest that even less rushing is to be expected in the future with the next five games all against formidable opponents.

James rushed for 83 yards on 27 carries against the Skins last season.

Wide Receivers: In the first week, the Cardinals wanted to establish the run and that left Larry Fitzgerald with only three catches for 31 yards but one touchdown. Last week he had six receptions for 153 yards at home against the Fins. Anquan Boldin had no catches in the first half of week one but eight receptions for 82 yards. Last week he only had six catches but had 140 yards and three scores. Fitzgerald had a 75-yard completion for a score while Boldin had a 79-yard touchdown and both were career bests for the duo. No matter what the Cardinals try to do, it always ends back with Fitzgerald and Boldin.

Fitzgerald caught six passes for 97 yards in Washington last year while Boldin had eight receptions for 29 yards and two scores.

Tight Ends: only has one catch per week so far and remains without fantasy value.

Pope only had three catches for 35 yards against the Skins last year but also had one touchdown.

Match Against the Defense: The Cardinals face a very solid defense that has not allowed a rushing score so far this year. The Cards do not rush that well and even less so on the road so expect moderate rushing yards at best from James and no rushing score. Warner goes against a secondary that has held the visiting Saints to only 216 passing yards last week. The dynamic duo should manage at least moderate receiving yardage if only from volume of passes but a really big game would be a surprise. The Redskins offense may have sputtered but defense has been strong. Expect a much lower game here from Warner and company than the 49ers or Dolphins allowed.

Gaining Fantasy Points ARI 7 21 1 25 10 8
Preventing Fantasy Points    WAS 17 20 16 3 21 18

Washington Redskins (1-1)
Homefield: FedEx Field
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @NYG 7-16 +3.5 41
2 NO 29-24 -1 42.5
3 ARZ - -3 42
4 @DAL - - -
5 @PHI - - -
6 STL - - -
7 CLE - - -
8 @DET - - -
9 PIT - - -
10 BYE - - -
11 DAL - - -
12 @SEA - - -
13 NYG - - -
14 @BAL - - -
15 @CIN - - -
16 PHI - - -
17 @SF - - -
WAS vs ARI Rush Catch Pass
QB Jason Campbell     190,1
RB Clinton Portis 110,1    
TE Chris Cooley   50  
WR Santana Moss   60  
WR Antwaan Randle El   50  
WR Malcolm Kelly 20
PK Shaun Suisham 2 XP 2 FG  

Pregame Notes: The Redskins pulled off a 14 point fourth quarter comeback over the Saints to salvage their start to the season. A win this week is almost mandatory with road games to Dallas and Philadelphia waiting on the other side. Those first five weeks will be as bad it gets for the Skins who will have already had all their interdivisional road games out of the way. If you are interested in trading for a Redskin - make an offer after week five.

Quarterback: Jason Campbell bounced back well from a poor showing in New York when he passed for a personal best 321 yards and one score against the Saints. Campbell still has yet to lose a turnover and has only been sacked three times this year. But Campbell's big game came in large part thanks to a late game 67-yard touchdown catch by Santana Moss that won the game. That and playing the visiting Saints is always a big help for quarterbacks.

Campbell only threw 12 of 18 for 95 yards and no score against the Cards last year.

Running Backs: The new offense has almost entirely ignored the running backs as a receiver but Clinton Portis has chugged along with decent numbers despite being publicly vocal about the offense. Portis is averaging right at four yards per carry and scored two rushing touchdowns last week. The scheme is still being installed, but so far it has rather standard use of the tailback.

Portis only gained 43 yards on 18 carries against the Cardinals last season but he scored two touchdowns and had two receptions for 14 yards.

Wide Receivers: The positive in the new offense so far is that Santana Moss has enjoyed more success than he has in several years. He has the only two passing scores on the year and comes off a seven-catch, 164 yard effort against the Saints. Moss only had 37 yards against the Giants though so they won't all be the visiting Saints. Surprisingly, Antwaan Randle El only managed four catches for 53 yards against those Saints.

Randle El had three receptions for 54 yards but Moss only gained eight yards on two receptions.

Tight Ends: After a one-catch season opener, Chris Cooley improved to five receptions for 72 yards against the Saints on Sunday. The jury is still out on how big a factor Cooley will be this year after his two seasons in the Al Saunders scheme that sent him to the Pro Bowl.

Cooley only had one catch for three yards against the Cards last year.

Match Against the Defense: The Cardinals rush defense was solid at home against the Dolphins but a better example is how they allowed Gore 96 yards and a score on just 14 carries. The Cards have never been a great road team and will offer the Skins a way to use Portis to control the game and reduce the possibility of any shootout since the Skins might not be able to win that. Look for at least one score from Portis and around 100 rushing yards. The pass defense has only faced the 49ers and Dolphins so it is not yet really that tested but there is no way that the Skins will want to have Campbell throw more than he needs to be a game manager. This should be a low scoring game that will also involve Cooley along with Moss. The passing numbers will remain only moderate here unless the Cards can get a couple of passing scores and force the Skins to throw.

Gaining Fantasy Points WAS 15 22 10 18 22 14
Preventing Fantasy Points    ARI 3 18 4 15 10 2

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