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

Prediction: DET 7, HOU 31

The Lions came close to that elusive first win against the Vikings but destiny says it is not time. The 0-5 Lions travel to Houston where the Texas are enjoying their first win of the season and that required a last second quarterback draw to get. The Lions have lost Kitna to injured reserve and shipped off Roy Williams to Dallas in exchange for 2009 draft picks. That is the proverbial white flag and a pity that HC Rod Marinelli will not be around to use those draft picks.

Detroit Lions (0-5)
Homefield: Ford Field
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @ATL 21-34 -3 41
2 GB 25-48 +3 45
3 @SF 13-31 +4 46
4 BYE - - -
5 CHI 7-34 +3.5 44.5
6 @MIN 10-12 +13.5 47
7 @HOU - +9 48
8 WAS - - -
9 @CHI - - -
10 JAX - - -
11 @CAR - - -
12 TB - - -
13 TEN - - -
14 MIN - - -
15 @IND - - -
16 NO - - -
17 @GB - - -
DET at HOU Rush Catch Pass
QB Dan Orlovsky     160,1
RB Rudi Johnson 60    
TE Michael Gaines   20  
WR Mike Furrey   30  
WR Calvin Johnson   50,1  
WR Shaun McDonald   50  
PK Jason Hanson 1 XP    
Pregame Notes: Rocking the Lions world. It is a season of change when the Lions finally fire Matt Millen and trade away Roy Williams - both in the middle of a season. The Lions are yet again 0-5 and the prospect for wins has decreased even more with Jon Kitna going on injured reserve. At this rate, the Lions best hope is that opponents do not take them seriously, do not prepare to play them and the referees do not check Detroit players for stun guns because all three things need to be present for the Lions to win a game.

Quarterback: Now that Jon Kitna has been sent to pasture this season - if not for good as far as the Lions are concerned - what will happen? Dan Orlovsky is the starter now and his one game had him completing 12 of 21 passes for 150 yards and one score. Oh yes, and he was sacked six times. At some point the Lions may opt to see what Drew Stanton can do but that will not happen for a few more losses. The Lions are now on a second string quarterback with one less decent wideout and no real rushing game. That is the Lions we know and love.

Running Backs: In keeping with the futility theme, Kevin Smith started out in Minnesota with 62 yards on five carries and injured his shoulder at the end of the 50 yard run in the second quarter. He was replaced by Rudi Johnson who only managed 38 yards on 17 carries. The rushing game here has been lethargic at best but as least Kevin Smith scored twice. I am assuming that he will be out this week and that Rudi Johnson gets the start. Updates as warranted and this could matter since the Texans are terrible at stopping the run.

Wide Receivers: After the flurry of first round picks going to wide receivers, now only Calvin Johnson remains. Roy Williams was shipped off to Dallas in exchange for draft picks and the Lions are already dismantling for next year's annual rebuilding plans. The loss of Williams will move Shaun McDonald up to being the starting split end and allow Mike Furrey to spend time in the slot. Williams had not been very productive this year and it was evident that the coaching staff made getting Johnson the ball a big priority. But the move further strips talent from a team that did not start the year with nearly enough.

The remaining schedule is pretty daunting here so grabbing McDonald may not reward you with much.

Tight Ends: Blockers and not even that great at it.

Match Against the Defense: The Texans defense is weak to be sure and has allowed no less than 28 points per game. But the Lions are already stripped down and ready for beating so expect only moderate rushing yards where there should be better productions and likely no score. The Lions are a team in complete disarray now. They lost their quarterback, they traded away Williams and the writing is on the wall for Marinelli with a winless team and no decent way to win.

I can see one passing score possible here and that probably favors Johnson but he is going to be blanketed so much now that he may not have another decent game. All we can be sure of is that the Texas are anxiously awaiting them and will not take them lightly.

Gaining Fantasy Points DET 19 29 17 25 29 29
Preventing Fantasy Points    HOU 27 30 7 24 18 30

Houston Texans (1-4)
Homefield: Reliant Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @PIT 17-38 +6.5 43
2 BYE - - -
3 @TEN 12-31 +5 38.5
4 @JAX 27-30 +7.5 42
5 IND 27-31 +3 47.5
6 MIA 29-28 -3 45
7 DET - -9 48
8 CIN - - -
9 @MIN - - -
10 BAL - - -
11 @IND - - -
12 @CLE - - -
13 JAX - - -
14 @GB - - -
15 TEN - - -
16 @OAK - - -
17 CHI - - -
HOU vs DET Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Schaub     300,3
RB Ahman Green 40    
RB Steve Slaton 70,1 10  
TE Owen Daniels   60,1  
WR Andre Johnson   140,2  
WR Andre Davis   20  
WR Kevin Walter   50  
PK Kris Brown 1 FG 4 XP  

Pregame Notes: That win over the Dolphins at least should silence the Schaub critics for a while. It may have even saved his job when he led the final drive that was capped by a last second quarterback draw. Now that the Texans have their first win - what do they get in reward? Two straight home games against teams that are the only remaining winless teams. Does it get any better than that? For a team that still has no discernible defense and that has allowed at least 28 points per game, they now get to face the two worst teams. It is like Christmas in October. It may head back south in three weeks but the Texans can and should enjoy a three game winning streak.

Quarterback: Matt Schaub has struggled this year but only against the best defenses in the league. These last two weeks have seen Schaub pass for over 300 yards and score a total of five touchdowns. He even finally had Andre Johnson turn in a monster game with him quarterbacking instead of Sage Rosenfels. Last week was a bit of confidence and the next two weeks should be plenty of points for Schaub.

Running Backs: Steve Slaton had a nice game against the Colts when he had 93 yards and two scores but last week he only gained 58 yards on 15 runs when the Dolphins showed up. He has also been sharing with Ahman Green these last two weeks and Green has been fairly productive with his eight to 12 carries per week. What is perplexing though is that Slaton had 83 yards and a score on eight receptions in Jacksonville but since then the Texans have only thrown him one pass in each of the last two games. Seems a waste of talent and a great way to get him out into open space. Slaton is too small for much work between the tackles but anything to get him the ball in the open should be used. Problem is that the Texans will probably not use him much in that capacity because they will not need to for the next two weeks.

Wide Receivers: Andre Johnson is back in form with two games over 100 yards and a score in each. These last two home games have seen him turn in 309 yards on 19 catches. With the Lions and Bengals up next, it is AJ time.

Kevin Walter still has some fantasy value but usually most when the defense is good and they commit too much to stopping Johnson. Otherwise, there are only so many passes and most are heading to Johnson.

Tight Ends: Owen Daniels has been rock solid this year with around 50 to 70 yards in almost every game. But he has not scored yet and has seen more action in weeks against tough road defenses. But regardless - Daniels is worthy of a fantasy start no matter where the venue.

Match Against the Defense: Here's the deal. There is no contesting that the Lions are not a bad defense - they rank worst in almost every category. It is about how the Texans will want to score. Expect a nice game here by Slaton with a score if Green does not hawk it. Schaub should have healthy yardage here as well and Andre Johnson may be the #1 scoring wideout this week. This is a wonderful respite after a brutal start to the year for the Texans.

Gaining Fantasy Points HOU 8 23 10 13 10 28
Preventing Fantasy Points    DET 32 28 31 21 24 32

The Huddle
~ 2008 ~
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Bye Week
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