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

Prediction: PHI 24, SF 20

Update: Both Brian Westbrook and Reggie Brown are already considered out this week. Kevin Curtis will accompany the team to San Francisco and may even get some playing time but he is not expected to start or have a significant contribution.

The Eagles are just about to hit the panic button with a 2-3 record and having Westbrook banged up is not a help. The 49ers are at home with the same record but have played a far easier schedule so far. The Eagles have to reach their week seven bye at 3-3 but it will not be easy.

Philadelphia Eagles (2-3))
Homefield: Lincoln Financial Field
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 STL 38-3 -7 44
2 @DAL 37-41 +7 47
3 PIT 15-6 -3 45
4 @CHI 20-24 -3 45
5 WAS 17-23 -5 43
6 @SF - -5 43
7 BYE - - -
8 ATL - - -
9 @SEA - - -
10 NYG - - -
11 @CIN - - -
12 @BAL - - -
13 ARZ - - -
14 @NYG - - -
15 CLE - - -
16 @WAS - - -
17 DAL - - -
PHI at SF Rush Catch Pass
QB Donovan McNabb     210,2
RB Brian Westbrook 30 30 GTD
RB Correll Buckhalter 80,1 30  
TE L.J. Smith   30,1  
WR Reggie Brown 60,1
WR DeSean Jackson   80,1  
WR Jason Avant   40  
PK David Akers 1 FG 3 XP  
Pregame Notes: The Eagles have lost their last two games despite being favored in each and that offense that was posting big points to open the season now has not been able to top 20 points in a game. Worse yet is that two of the losses have come against divisional foes and the best that the Eagles can hope for is to reach their week seven bye with a 3-3 record. The next three games will likely see the Eagles favored and they'll need to win all of them if they are to keep pace with a division that only has two losses from the other three teams combined.

Quarterback: Like the rest of the team, that hot start to the season has faded rather quickly and Donovan McNabb was stuck at scoring once per week until last Sunday when he failed to score at all. He also had no turnovers or sacks but McNabb only threw for 196 yards. In both road games this year he had one touchdown and around 270 passing yards and he needs to reverse this slow decline to his stats.

Running Backs: Brian Westbrook returned to the starting lineup last week after missing a game with an ankle injury but he suffered a big shot to the ribs in the first quarter against the Redskins that hampered him for the rest of the game. He had a pain-killing injection to help but comes off only 12 carries for 33 yards and six receptions for 51 yards with one touchdown. Still not bad compared to must backs but at home Westbrook should have produced more than 84 yards. His production this season is well off his 2007 pace even before his injury though he has maintained his fantasy value with six touchdowns scored this year and always at least one in each full game that he plays.

Westbrook fractured two ribs against the Redskins on Sunday and now his role this week is in doubt. I will assume that he can play on a limited basis and update as warranted. He is likely to be a gametime decision this week.

Correll Buckhalter had 90 total yards and a score replacing Westbrook in week four but then disappeared once again with Westbrook playing. Buckhalter only had two carries for no gain last week.

Wide Receivers: Kevin Curtis remains out with his groin injury though he has done some practicing with the scout team. But he still cannot make full speed cuts and is not a lock to play this week. I will count him out until he is cleared.

The lower passing numbers have hit this group but at least Reggie Brown is back and getting better. After catching six passes for 79 yards in Chicago, Brown had four receptions for 84 yards and added a six-yard run last week. He's been the only decent receiver other than Jackson for the Eagles for the last two weeks. DeSean Jackson comes off his worst game yet with only one catch for eight yards but he did have 71 yards and a score in Chicago.

Tight Ends: After missing a week, L.J. Smith returned to the playing field and had yet another forgettable performance with just three catches for 26 yards. He has not been a factor this year and has lost all fantasy value.

Match Against the Defense: The 49ers rushing defense has been nothing special even at home but Westbrook is banged up if he even plays. I like Buckhalter getting a rushing score regardless if Westy is there and for decent yardage.

McNabb has really slowed down lately but he faces a secondary that has allowed at least one score in most games this year and decent yardage to those who want to take it. McNabb will be the one to win this game (or not) and I like him to toss two scores here. One should end up with Reggie Brown and the other favors Jackson slightly.

Gaining Fantasy Points PHI 10 13 9 23 12 3
Preventing Fantasy Points    SF 15 24 26 4 27 30

San Francisco 49ers (2-3)
Homefield: Monster Park
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 ARZ 13-23 +2.5 41.5
2 @SEA 33-30 +8 38.5
3 DET 31-13 -4 46
4 @NO 17-31 +6 48.5
5 NE 21-30 +3 41.5
6 PHI - +5 43
7 @NYG - - -
8 SEA - - -
9 BYE - - -
10 @ARZ - - -
11 STL - - -
12 @DAL - - -
13 @BUF - - -
14 NYJ - - -
15 @MIA - - -
16 @STL - - -
17 WAS - - -
SF vs PHI Rush Catch Pass
QB J. T. O'Sullivan     230,1
RB Frank Gore 80,1 40  
TE Vernon Davis   10  
WR Isaac Bruce   70  
WR Bryant Johnson   50  
WR Arnaz Battle   30,1  
PK Joe Nedney 2 FG 2 XP  

Pregame Notes: The 49ers were 2-2 before hitting a tough stretch of the schedule that won't stop for a couple of weeks. The defense has fallen back this year and allowed 30 points or more in three of the last four games while that pass-happy Mike Martz offense only seems to look good against really bad secondaries. But the 49ers offense has vastly improved from recent seasons if only in fantasy terms.

Quarterback: J. T. O'Sullivan reversed the normal trend of high yardage, low scores when he threw for only 130 yards against the Patriots and yet had a season high three touchdowns - along with three interceptions. He is inching towards being a decent fantasy starter each week thanks to trailing in most games. This week will be a big challenge since the Eagles are bringing their blitz-happy defense to town and O'Sullivan has already been sacked 20 times this year.

Running Backs: The new offense has certainly favored Frank Gore who hasn't been the highly productive rusher of past seasons but has made it up by being a great receiver and scoring in all but one game so far. Last week Gore only had 78 total yards but scored on a pass reception. Otherwise he has turned in over 100 total yards each week and typically has four or five receptions. He is also one of the very few backs in the league who almost never has any carries going to another back.

Wide Receivers: Although Isaac Bruce had no catches in the first game, he's been golden every week since. He has scored four times over the last three games though his yardage has been moderate at best since his week two high game of 153 yards. No other wideout on this team is worthy of fantasy attention since Bryant Johnson only had four catches for 52 yards over the last three weeks and Arnaz Battle had his freak high week of 120 yards in New Orleans return to just one catch for nine yards last Sunday.

The scheme is about spreading the ball around and no wideout here has much fantasy value outside of Bruce - and he only has it because he has scored every week.

Tight Ends: If you are still holding Vernon Davis in the hopes that good things are right around the bend, wake up and smell the coffee. And then dump Davis. Despite the hype this summer, Davis remains little more than a freakish physical specimen who cannot catch and runs poor routes. He comes off his second game of the year without a catch and he dropped his only pass in the game. Just let him go. It's over.

Match Against the Defense: The Eagles rush defense had been stellar this year until Portis last week but Gore mixes in receptions as well and should have at least a decent game here and likely a good one. Expect a rushing score but not more than one.

O'Sullivan goes against a secondary that has allowed three scores twice this year and yet the other three games allowed none. One key here is that those two good games allowed by the Eagles had one thing in common - they were both on the road. O'Sullivan has to avoid getting blasted on a blitz but should manage at least one passing score in this game that by trend goes to Bruce by a mile but he's not going to catch a score every week. I like that passing score to go elsewhere and that could be anyone. I will credit Battle with it but that has low confidence.

Gaining Fantasy Points SF 12 22 13 20 13 11
Preventing Fantasy Points    PHI 11 6 6 31 16 11

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~ 2008 ~
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