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

Prediction: DEN 24, NE 20

Update: Selvin Young will likely be a gametime decision since he was limited all week with his groin injury. I am removing him from the projections. Tony Scheffler may also be a gametime decision after being limited in all practices this week his his own groin strain as well. I am not removing him but will lower his projections. There is a chance he may not play and on Monday night, you would have no other options. This puts the game a little less on Denver's side but I still like them as the winner.

What a Monday Night game this would have been with Tom Brady still playing! Now the Broncos have to make amends for losing to the Jaguars while the Patriots are just shooting for their second home win. This is a coin flip game to be sure since it all depends on the Broncos ability to pass to Brandon Marshall versus the Pats ability to connect with Randy Moss. Both teams had great rushing games once upon a time but now are all about the pass. Hopefully there are some fireworks here with Pats finally getting a decent aerial show going.

Denver Broncos (4-2)
Homefield: Invesco Field
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @OAK 41-14 -3 41.5
2 SD 39-38 +1.5 45.5
3 NO 34-32 -5.5 51.5
4 @KC 19-33 -9.5 46.5
5 TB 16-13 -3 48
6 JAX 17-24 -3.5 48
7 @NE - +3 46.5
8 BYE - - -
9 MIA - - -
10 @CLE - - -
11 @ATL - - -
12 OAK - - -
13 @NYJ - - -
14 KC - - -
15 @CAR - - -
16 BUF - - -
17 @SD - - -
DEN at NE Rush Catch Pass
QB Jay Cutler     240,3
RB Michael Pittman 50 20  
RB Selvin Young 30 10
TE Tony Scheffler   30  
WR Eddie Royal   60,1  
WR Brandon Marshall   80,2  
PK Matt Prater 1 FG 3 XP  
Pregame Notes: Another year and the Broncos are still their inconsistent self. They can beat the Chargers and Buccaneers but not the Chiefs or Jaguars. This is only the third road game for the Broncos and only the second time they are not favored. With a bye week waiting on the other side, all eyes on on this game because now they are only one game ahead of the Chargers. That week 17 matchup in San Diego could prove very interesting.

Quarterback: After starting out red hot for the first month, Jay Cutler has cooled down with two home games against decent defenses. He has passed for 300+ yards in three of his first four games and scored nine times. These past two Sundays have only seen three scores and never more than 227 yards. Cutler threw for 300 yards in his two previous road trips but that was to Oakland and Kansas City. This week Cutler has to be on target for the Broncos to stay in this game.

Running Backs: Selvin Young was inactive last week because of a groin injury but there is hope he can play on Monday. Problem is that Michael Pittman ran for 109 yards on 20 carries against the Jaguars and will be the primary back this week whether Young plays or not. it is the Denver backfield so there is never any guarantee but Pittman ran so well last week that they never bothered with Andre Hall. I will project for Pittman and Young to split carries but again - the Broncos intentionally will make the backfield a mystery.

Wide Receivers: Eddie Royal sat out last week with a bone bruise despite HC Mike Shanahan saying he thought he would play. Royal had only limited practice and was a scratch. He is hoped to return this week so I will include him in the projections as starting but limited. Brandon Stokley also had a concussion last week and will be monitored before being allowed to play. I will count him out until he is cleared to play.

Darrell Jackson finally returned when he replaced Royal last week but only had three catches for 18 yards. Jackson won't play if Royal does.

Remarkably, Brandon Marshall is #1 in the NFL with 43 catches despite missing the first game due to suspension. Of course starting out with 18 in one game helped. Marshall has slowed down as of late with no scores in the last three weeks and about 70 yards on average.

Tight Ends: Tony Scheffler was a scratch last week because of a sore groin but is expected back this week. Daniel Graham had a score in his place last Sunday. In two road games this season, Scheffler has only caught one pass in each but one gained 72 yards and the other went for 26 yards.

Match Against the Defense: The Patriots rush defense has been great all except for that one little four touchdown game by Ronnie Brown. Ignore that one week and they have been stellar and not allowed any rushing scores. With Pittman and Young on the road, don't expect more than moderate yardage at best and no scores. Neither back is used much as a receiver.

Cutler goes against a secondary that has statistically been great at home but has only faced KC and MIA there. This is also the same defense that gave up three touchdowns in both of the last games including 306 yards in San Diego last week.

Gaining Fantasy Points DEN 4 21 3 3 4 23
Preventing Fantasy Points    NE 16 22 20 20 6 19

New England Patriots (3-2)
Homefield: Gillette Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 KC 17-10 -16.5 45
2 @NYJ 19-10 +1.5 39
3 MIA 13-38 -13 34.5
4 BYE - - -
5 @SF 30-21 -3 41.5
6 @SD 10-30 +6 44.5
7 DEN - -3 46.5
8 STL - - -
9 @IND - - -
10 BUF - - -
11 NYJ - - -
12 @MIA - - -
13 PIT - - -
14 @SEA - - -
15 @OAK - - -
16 ARZ - - -
17 @BUF - - -
NE vs DEN Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Cassell     210,1
RB Sammy Morris 60,1 10  
TE Ben Watson   10  
WR Randy Moss   80,1  
WR Jabar Gaffney   30  
WR Wes Welker   70  
PK Stephen Gostkowski 2 FG 2 XP  

Pregame Notes: Last week was very reminiscent of Patriots games from 2007 only this time they were the victim of a blowout. The loss drops the Patriots one game behind the Bills and there are some tough games on the horizon. Last week was everything that the Patriots were trying to fix - use Randy Moss, have a rushing attack, win a game. Nope, no, not. This will be a challenge this week against the best passing offense that the Patriots have yet faced.

Quarterback: Just when Matt Cassel seemed to be connecting with Randy Moss again he feel right back to square one when he only managed a mere three catches for 26 yards from him last week. Cassel passed for 203 yards and no scores in San Diego and has been sacked at least four times in each of the last four games. This week is on Monday night and is a great chance for Cassel to show up big against a surprisingly soft Denver secondary. But it would be the first time he had done so.

Running Backs: The Patriots rushing game has never been much this year and in week six had both Laurence Maroney and Lamont Jordan inactive for the game. That left Sammy Morris all alone and yet he still could only muster up ten carries for 26 yards though he did score once. All combined, this unit has used five different running backs that have averaged 3.7 yards per carry and only scored in one game - by Kevin Faulk no less. I will assume that Morris is alone again this week and that it still really doesn't matter anyway.

Wide Receivers: As stated, Randy Moss only had 26 yards last week and has only one decent game since Brady left. He has two games of 110 yards and a score in each and three efforts that were all around 25 yards with no scores. Back at home against the Broncos is a good opportunity to get back on track as will week eight with the Rams coming to town. Wes Welker has propped up his fantasy value by volume of catches. Even without Brady, he has turned in at least six catches every week for around 60 yards. He still has not scored this season.

Tight Ends: Ben Watson has lost all fantasy value. He only has three catches on the season.

Match Against the Defense: The Denver rushing defense has been weak this year and allowed numerous rushing scores. The last game away from Denver had them shredded by Larry Johnson for 198 rushing yards and two scores. There is no LJ on this roster but Sammy Morris should hang on for one score and decent yardage.

Cassell faces a secondary that been far below expectations. And that always gives up at least one passing score and good yardage. Expect that from the Pats and getting Moss back into the game. The Broncos are weak against tight ends but the Pats never use theirs. Back at home a score to Moss will be a treat for the fans.

Gaining Fantasy Points NE 25 18 19 32 9 32
Preventing Fantasy Points    DEN 22 29 10 28 21 7

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