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

Prediction: CIN 14, DAL 38

Update: Carson Palmer is listed as questionable after being limited in practices on Wednesday and Thursday and then finally have a full practice on Friday. HC Marvin Lewis said after the final practice that Palmer looked ready to play. I am adding Palmer into the projections now and this could be a really nice matchup for him (not that previous ones shouldn't have been as well). This is a late game so if you want to use Palmer you may lose other options but he is a gametime decision that appears almost a lock to play this week.

Chris Perry was reported to have a hamstring injury but Perry himself said he did not and he is probable to play. He'll suit up but have a bad match-up this week anyway. There is also a chance that Cedric Benson will get some carries and further reduce Perry's impact on the game.

The Bengals really could have timed this game better. The Cowboys come off an embarrassing loss to the visiting Redskins and will want to reassert themselves while managing to shut Terrell Owens up for a week. The Bengals faced their easiest matchup of the year last week and lost to the Browns while only scoring 12 points. Normally you would expect this game to have a bit of mercy in it later in the second half but after last week the fans will want blood.

Cincinnati Bengals (0-4)
Homefield: Paul Brown Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @BAL 10-17 -1 39
2 TEN 7-24 -1 37.5
3 @NYG 23-26 +13.5 42
4 CLE 12-20 +3.5 44
5 @DAL - +17.5 44
6 @NYJ - - -
7 PIT - - -
8 @HOU - - -
9 JAX - - -
10 BYE - - -
11 PHI - - -
12 @PIT - - -
13 BAL - - -
14 @IND - - -
15 WAS - - -
16 @CLE - - -
17 KC - - -
CIN at DAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick 160,1
QB Carson Palmer     250,2
RB Chris Perry 40 10  
TE Reggie Kelly   20  
WR Chad Johnson   60  
WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh   90,1  
WR Antonio Chatman   50,1  
PK Shayne Graham 2 XP    
Pregame Notes: Sadly the Bengals definitively answered who was worst in the AFC North when the visiting Browns won last week. Carson Palmer was a scratch for the game thanks to team doctors who were worried about his elbow. The problem with losing last week was that it probably was the best chance for a win this year. Consider the home games coming up are against PIT, JAX, PHi, BAL and WAS before ending the season hosting the Chiefs. This is going to be one very long year.

Quarterback: Carson Palmer missed making his 52nd consecutive start when he was held out last week because of an inflamed elbow on his throwing arm. There have been numerous reports that range between Palmer needing Tommie John surgery all the way to him playing this Sunday (which was only reported by Carson himself). Chances are very good that Ryan Fitzpatrick will get another start and I will project for that until Palmer is cleared to play.

This is a bad thing. Fitzpatrick had the most ideal situation of the year with being at home against the visiting and winless Browns. But he only managed to throw for 156 yards and one touchdown while losing a fumble and throwing three interceptions. Against the Browns. At home. Oh look, now the Bengals hit the road to Dallas where the Cowboys are still angry about losing to the Skins last week.

Running Backs: There has been no advantage to holding Kenny Watson on your team this year because he has yet to have more than four inconsequential runs in a game this year. Chris Perry remains the workhorse (such as it exists) for the Bengals and he did score once in the road trip to New York to play the Giants. But he is only averaging 52 rushing yards on 18 carries per week. His role as a receiver suddenly reappeared last Sunday when he reeled in five passes but only gained 15 yards. That was still more receptions than he had in the first three games combined.

Playing with Fitzgerald last week meant that Perry had a season low of just 12 runs for 28 yards and lost a fumble. Those numbers could happen again in Dallas on Sunday.

The Bengals signed Cedric Benson on Tuesday but he'll only add depth since DeDe Dorsey just went on injured reserve with a bad hamstring.

Wide Receivers: Playing with Fitzgerald limited T.J. Houshmandzadeh to only six catches for 50 yards against the Browns but Chad Johnson turned in his first touchdown of the season when he caught three passes for 28 yards. Fitzgerald actually favored Antonio Chatman the most with eight passes that only turned into two catches for 32 yards. The fantasy value of Houshmandzadeh and Johnson was already painfully low and with Fitzgerald has almost entirely disappeared.

On the plus side, Johnson claims his shoulder is all healed and that he isn't wearing a harness anymore. Then again he only has 11 catches for 116 yards on the season so it won't take much to show an improvement.

Tight Ends: No fantasy value for Ben Utecht who is nursing a sore chest anyway.

Match Against the Defense: As they say "well, what can you do?" The Bengals rushing attack has been mediocre with Chris Perry and only posted 28 yards on 12 carries with Fitzpatrick as the quarterback no one fears. Unless Palmer is able to play, don't bother with the rushing game here.

Fitzpatrick only passed for 156 yards and a score against the visiting Browns and while the Cowboys are much better, expect him to eventually get one touchdown that probably favors Chatman the most.

Gaining Fantasy Points CIN 28 32 22 27 28 27
Preventing Fantasy Points    DAL 20 10 16 18 29 7

Dallas Cowboys (3-1)
Homefield: Texas Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @CLE 28-10 -5.5 49
2 PHI 41-37 -7 47
3 @GB 27-16 -3 51
4 WAS 24-26 -11.5 46
5 CIN - -17.5 44
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 CIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Tony Romo     300,2
RB Felix Jones 40 20  
RB Marion Barber 110,2 10  
TE Jason Witten   80,1  
WR Terrell Owens   120,1  
WR Patrick Crayton   30  
WR Miles Austin   30  
PK Nick Folk 5 XP 1 FG  

Pregame Notes: The golden locomotive chugging towards the Super Bowl was knocked from its tracks by some giggling Redskins last week and with that brings up all the bad elements that have dogged the Cowboys - not able to win the big games and the defense turning into mush in the most unexpected ways. It was only one loss and the Cowboys can make amends for it starting this week. But it was far too reminiscent of the collapses from the last two years. Most inexplicable - why the rushing game was abandoned at home in a game the Cowboys should have and certainly could have won.

Quarterback: Although Tony Romo was unable to rally the Cowboys to a win, he did throw his third 300 yard game of the year and had three touchdowns to give him eight on the season. What gives this week even more meaning is that his best two games of three touchdowns both happened at home. Romo has yet to have a game without an interception but he has not yet had more than one in a game.

Running Backs: The Marion Barber owners were all given a big SHUT UP pill last week when he not only failed to score for the firs time this season, he only had a total of 37 yards in the game. For reasons still debated, the Cowboys abandoned the rushing game against the Redskins and Barber finished with just eight carries for 26 yards. Even more bizarre was that Felix Jones was never given a carry or thrown a pass. Not once. it was like the Cowboys were not aware they had a game on Sunday and were confused what to do.

Oddly enough, the Cowboys get bizarre like that every year. In 2007, when the Eagles showed up in week 15 Barber only had seven carries for 32 yards and no catches. No doubt Barber gets his groove back this week.

Wide Receivers: Losing games aside, this unit has been very good recently outside of Terrell Owens who was unhappy last week that he only was thrown 17 passes of which he snared seven for 71 yards and a score. Patrick Crayton showed up with 87 yards on seven receptions after being blanked the previous week and Miles Austin scored for the second game in a row. This offense can post the points and most come through these wideouts.

Tight Ends: It has been a down year for tight ends in the NFL except for Jason Witten who leads the league with both 27 receptions (Gonzalez is second with only 18) and 363 yards (Gates is second with just 205). Witten only has one touchdown so far but he's been the most productive and consistent tight end in the league again this year.

Match Against the Defense: The Bengals rushing defense is a weak spot that the Cowboys will exploit. Expect a nice game here for Barber with at least one score and Felix Jones should toss in some yardage as well. This is an excellent place to get Jones some work.

Romo has been hot with the 300 yard passing games and after last week, the Cowboys will want a big, clean win. Look for Owens to be appeased this week and score once as well as Witten who should score. I like the Cowboys to score a defensive touchdown as well.

Gaining Fantasy Points DAL 7 9 8 2 18 18
Preventing Fantasy Points    CIN 8 20 6 14 20 19

The Huddle
~ 2008 ~
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Bye Week
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