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

Prediction: DAL 31, ARZ 27

The Cowboys hit the road after a two game stretch when the Skins beat them and the Bengals could have. Now that the Giants are undefeated, the Cowboys are still playing catch up. The Cardinals remain home after giving the Bills their first loss of the season and at 3-2 they stand alone atop the NFC West. On paper it may seem the Cowboys have an advantage but out in the desert the Cardinals do not give them away easily. Over the last ten regular season meetings between these teams, only once has the visitor won (Dallas - 2006).

Dallas Cowboys (4-1)
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 31-22 -17.5 44
6 @ARZ - -5 50
7 @STL - - -
8 TB - - -
9 @NYG - - -
10 BYE - - -
11 @WAS - - -
12 SF - - -
13 SEA - - -
14 @PIT - - -
15 NYG - - -
16 BAL - - -
17 @PHI - - -
DAL at ARZ Rush Catch Pass
QB Tony Romo     310,3
RB Felix Jones 50,1    
RB Marion Barber 70 20,1  
TE Jason Witten   70  
WR Terrell Owens   90,1  
WR Patrick Crayton   70,1  
WR Miles Austin   40  
PK Nick Folk 4 XP 1 FG  
Pregame Notes: The Bengals proved surprisingly game last week and the Cowboys are just happy to get back on the winning track after that Redskins fiasco. The offense continues to shine with never less than 24 points in any game but there are still mistakes and turnovers that make games where blowouts should have been. The defense that was drafted far too early in fantasy drafts this summer has been a disappointment at best. The Cowboys are still dangerous to be sure, but there are enough chinks in the armor to prevent any game from being a given.

Quarterback: In fairness, Tony Romo doesn't make a lot of mistakes since he only has exactly one interception per game, it is just that he too often figures out how to make the one mistake really hurt. He currently leads the league in consecutive games with an interception (8) but has thrown for 11 scores this year and topped 300 yards three times. So far he has played well enough to win games and just poor enough to make them even more interesting to watch.

Running Backs: After the horrible showing against the Redskins when the Cowboys mysteriously abandoned the run, Marion Barber returned to form with 84 yards on 23 carries against the Bengals and Felix Jones had his third touchdown this season while gaining 96 yards on nine runs. This tandem backfield has worked beautifully this year so long as they do not just shelve it for little reason. While Barber is a banger inside the tackles, Jones is pure excitement when he gets around end and into the open.

Wide Receivers: Terrell Owens only had two catches last week but one went for a 57-yard touchdown tying him with Boldin and Chambers for the league lead with five touchdowns on the season. Miles Austin has caught a score in consecutive games thanks to his snatching of a carom shot from Patrick Crayton who also had a score last week.

This unit does begin and end with Owens but both Crayton and Austin can tack on the additional yards and scores if needed. They offer too little consistency to warrant a fantasy start in almost all leagues though.

Tight Ends: When we were debating which fantasy tight end to select last summer, we should have either grabbed Jason Witten or just waited until the end of the draft. Witten has been highly productive again this year unlike most all other tight ends. He has 35 catches on the season for 442 yards - both #1 in the NFL by a large margin. He's been golden every week since the worst he has done is seven catches for 67 yards.

Match Against the Defense: The Cardinals have a very good rushing defense and even better when they are at home. No runner has topped 100 yards against them and in Arizona none have ran for more than 55 yards (Lynch). Expect a lower effort this week from Barber and Jones but with a chance that there is one rushing score.

The Cardinals secondary has been their downfall thanks to Brett Favre ruining their ranking. But CB Rod Hood may miss this week with a bad groin anyway so expect a decent showing here by the Cowboys who will throw for two scores that will favor Owens and Crayton the most. This could end up as a shootout with some luck.

Gaining Fantasy Points DAL 6 3 7 1 20 19
Preventing Fantasy Points    ARI 27 10 25 23 14 19

Arizona Cardinals (3-2)
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 17-24 +3 42
4 @NYJ 35-56 +3 45
5 BUF 41-17 -1 45
6 DAL - +5 50
7 BYE - - -
8 @CAR - - -
9 @STL - - -
10 SF - - -
11 @SEA - - -
12 NYG - - -
13 @PHI - - -
14 STL - - -
15 MIN - - -
16 @NE - - -
17 SEA - - -
ARI vs DAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Kurt Warner     300,3
RB Edgerrin James 50 20  
RB Tim Hightower 30 10  
TE Leonard Pope   10  
WR Larry Fitzgerald   110,2  
WR Steve Breaston   80,1  
WR Early Doucet   60  
PK Neil Rackers 3 XP 2 FG  

Pregame Notes: Big win over the visiting Bills helped to wash away the big loss to the Jets and the Cardinals find themselves still in the lead for the NFC West. There has always been a big difference between the road and home Cardinals and usually the same can be said for opponents playing in the desert. The Cardinals hold their own destiny in their hands this year. They lead the division and still have five of the six interdivisional games left to play. And the Rams and Seahawks have never looked so weak.

Quarterback: it is has been reported that Kurt Warmer contemplated retirement after Anquan Boldin's injury in week 4 but later changed his mind. True or not, Warner was in fine shape last week when he completed 33 of 42 passes for 250 yards and two touchdowns against the Bills. Warner currently ranks second only to Jay Cutler in passing yardage with 1472 yards this year. He is tied for third with ten passing scores and has turned in at least two scores in each of the last four weeks. Warner has been passing very well each week and other than his six turnover game in week five, he has been nearly error free this year.

Warner suffered a cut on his chin on Sunday that required stitches and also reinjured his sore little finger but is expected to play without any limitation this week.

Running Backs: Edgerrin James has scored in the last two games but that happens only in addition to Tim Hightower and not in place of him. James has languished around 60 rushing yards in most games and has a minor role as a receiver for a couple of catches most weeks but he is only averaging 3.6 yards per carry. Hightower has scored in all but one game this year but has a minimal role as a runner away from the endzone. This team has remained a pass-first scheme and James only supports the passing game. And Hightower is there to punch in any that come close.

Wide Receivers: Anquan Boldin missed last week and likely won't play in this game as he heals from sinus surgery. In his place, Steve Breaston moved over from the slot and caught seven passes for 77 yards against the Bills which was second only to his big 120 yard game the previous week. Breaston is still waiting for his first NFL touchdown.

Larry Fitzgerald still did not suffer at all without Boldin there. He had seven catches for 52 yards and scored twice last Sunday. That gives him four touchdowns on the year and ended his three game stretch of 100+ yard games. Notable too was that the rookie from LSU was given his first chance to play and Early Doucet caught six passes for 42 yards. The offense is better with Boldin there but still has the talent to keep the chains moving without him.

Tight Ends: No fantasy value here from a unit that still has not scored or had more than around 20 yards in a game. Ben Patrick injured his knee but he was the #2 tight end anyway. He had a bigger role as a blocker though. Leonard Pope is nursing a sore foot but is back playing after missing three weeks.

Match Against the Defense: The Cowboys have been solid against the run this year with only one runner exceeding 65 rushing yards and only once allowing a rushing score. Expect a lower effort here by James without the short yardage chance for Hightower to score.

Warner faces a secondary that can be beaten and both Roy Williams and Terence Newman will miss this week. This should turn into a shootout eventually that will heavily favor the wideouts. Both teams will give the rushing game a prominent role until the game situation dictates more passing - that could come earlier than later.

Gaining Fantasy Points ARI 5 9 1 31 19 13
Preventing Fantasy Points    DAL 21 7 20 10 29 8

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