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

Prediction: DAL 13, NYG 20

The much anticipated game for the NFC East is a little less interesting with the Cowboys struggling on offense and the Giants asserting themselves even in Pittsburgh last week. Dallas is only 2-2 on the road and the Giants are 4-0 at home. The Cowboys swept the Giants during the regular season last year, winning 45-35 in the season opener and later 31-20 in New York during week 10. The Giants pulled the upset in the Divisional Round of the playoffs when they won 21-17 in Dallas.

Dallas Cowboys (5-3)
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 24-30 -5 50
7 @STL 14-34 -7 44
8 TB 13-9 -2 42
9 @NYG - +8.5 41
10 BYE - - -
11 @WAS - - -
12 SF - - -
13 SEA - - -
14 @PIT - - -
15 NYG - - -
16 BAL - - -
17 @PHI - - -
DAL @ NYGS Rush Catch Pass
QB Brad Johnson     210,1
RB Marion Barber 60 40  
TE Martellis Bennett   20  
WR Terrell Owens   60,1  
WR Patrick Crayton   30  
WR Roy Williams   50  
PK Nick Folk 2 FG 1 XP  
Pregame Notes: The Cowboys managed to hold off the Buccaneers last week but the offense was no major contributor to the effort. Brad Johnson has played so un-Romo-like that there are calls for Brooks Bollinger but HC Wade Phillips has already confirmed that Johnson is the starter this week and then the week 10 bye should be all the Cowboys need to get Romo back. A loss here really impacts the chance that the Cowboys can win the division but in a weak NFC, a loss hardly precludes Dallas from getting a wildcard later on. With Brad Johnson not stepping up and Jason Witten tending a broken rib, it would be a major success for a win here.

Quarterback: As mentioned there were calls for Brooks Bollinger and while Brad Johnson may not be Tony Romo, he is probably every bit as good as Bollinger. Johnson has passed for only one score in each of his two starts and been sacked three times in both. He's just holding the place warm for Romo and not doing that great of a job. Both Jason Witten and Terrell Owens have seen major drops in production for these two weeks.

Romo passed for four touchdowns in both regulate season meetings with the Giants and averaged around 300 yards in those games but then only managed 201 yards and one score in the playoff game.

Running Backs: Two weeks without Felix Jones and Marion Barber has only one score and just average yardage. Against the Rams he gained 100 yards and a score on just 18 carries and last week he turned 25 carries into only 71 yards. Without Romo there to concern the secondary, defenses are just teeing off on Barber every play.

Jones is not expected back from his hamstring injury until after the bye week.

The Cowboys typically rushed for right around 120 yards and a touchdown in all three meetings with the Giants last year.

Wide Receivers: Ouch. Terrell Owens has only caught seven passes for 64 yards over the two weeks that Romo has been out. But remarkably there has been only one game over 100 yards for any Dallas receiver this year and that went to Miles Austin. Owens has yet to gain more than 89 yards and since week three has only two efforts with more than 40 yards in them.

Roy Williams didn't show up until Romo was out but has already scored his first Cowboys touchdown during his meager two catches for 10 yards last Sunday.

Owens led all wideouts in each meeting with the Giants last year. He had two scores and around 100 yards in both the regular season games and then just one score in the playoff meeting with 49 yards.

Tight Ends: Jason Witten suffered a broken rib last week and still maintains that he wants to play. While he is a huge part of the offense, Witten is probably better served by sitting this out and using the bye week to heal for the rest of the season. I will assume that he misses the game and update as needed.

Witten had nearly 100 yards in both home games against the Giants last year but was held to only 12 yards on two catches in the New York game.

Match Against the Defense: The Giants rushing defense has only allowed one rushing score to an opposing runner in New York and no player has run for more than 84 yards against them this year. Expect only moderate yardage at best and no scores. He should keep his fantasy value thanks to receptions this week.

Johnson faces a secondary that has allowed a score to almost every quarterback but the yardage usually remains sub-200. I like him to toss one score that should end up with a wide receivers which has to favor Owens.

Gaining Fantasy Points DAL 7 8 13 1 24 22
Preventing Fantasy Points    NYG 8 2 17 2 5 2

New York Giants (6-1)
Homefield: Giants Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 WAS 16-7 -3.5 41
2 @STL 41-13 -8.5 41.5
3 CIN 26-23 -13.5 42
4 BYE - - -
5 SEA 44-6 -7 43.5
6 @CLE 14-35 -8 43
7 SF 29-17 -10.5 45
8 @PIT 21-14 +2.5 42
9 DAL - -8.5 43
10 @PHI - - -
11 BAL - - -
12 @ARZ - - -
13 @WAS - - -
14 PHI - - -
15 @DAL - - -
16 CAR - - -
17 @MIN - - -
NYG vs DAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Eli Manning     190,1
RB Brandon Jacobs 90,1 20  
TE Kevin Boss   20  
WR Plaxico Burress   70  
WR Amani Toomer   30,1  
WR Steve Smith   40  
PK John Carney 2 FG 2 XP  

Pregame Notes: Big win over the Steelers keeps the Giants on the top of the NFC East and all alone in the NFC with the best record. The Giants defense limited the Steelers to only 14 points in Pittsburgh for yet another impressive defensive showing. Unlike last year, the Giants are following a reverse path of looking like the team starting in week one. That will be hard to sustain for nine more weeks and there will be no sneaking into the playoffs to surprise anyone this year.

Quarterback: At least Eli Manning is following his traditional path of a hot start - six scores in the first four weeks and all games over 200 yards and then a cool down - last three weeks all had one touchdown and less than 200 passing yards. But the Giants keep winning thanks to a great ground game and terrific defense. One area that Manning has made major strides in this year is throwing interceptions in only two games and not yet losing a fumble.

Running Backs: Brandon Jacobs had his four game scoring streak end in Pittsburgh when he only managed 47 yards on 18 carries against one of the very best defenses in the league. But he scored six times over the previous four weeks with decent yardage each game. Derrick Ward still offers plenty of relief and yet never scores. Jacobs has never failed to gain either 100 yards and/or a touchdown in a home game this year.

Wide Receivers: Plaxico Burress was suspended for the first quarter last week and ended with a season low 15 yards on three carries. But he scored in three of the previous four games and his lone effort over 100 yards came at home. Burress has really lagged previous seasons with only 28 catches for 356 yards after seven games.

Steve Smith and Amani Toomer still provide a critical difference for the offense though they rarely have more than 40 yards in a game and Toomer has the only touchdown between them.

Tight Ends: Kevin Boss comes off his busiest game yet with four catches for 34 yards and one touchdown last week. But he still remains too unreliable and unproductive for fantasy consideration. Boss only has three games with over 10 yards in them.

Match Against the Defense: Nice time to play against the Cowboys without Romo or Witten. Look for a big rushing effort here that rivals what happened in S. Louis. Jacobs should score at least once and possibly twice and the Giants will want to hold on to the ball - and they probably can.

Manning won't look to pass that much this week but he will have the one passing touchdown that should favor the flanker Toomer but it's hard not to expect Burress to be the one. This game should be more about rushing and not passing.

Gaining Fantasy Points NYG 13 3 7 25 1 7
Preventing Fantasy Points    DAL 15 10 22 3 28 16

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