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

Prediction: CAR 24, OAK 10

Update: Jonathan Stewart did not practice this week and while he is still reported as questionable. I am removing him from the projections though he has not been ruled out. If he does play he would be limited and there is a very good chance he rests his heel this week since the Panthers should win this one without him anyway.

JaMarcus Russell is considered questionable but he was limited yesterday and then held out of practice today because of a sore knee. Being held out on a Friday is not ideal for a quarterback and there is a chance that Russell will not play. But if Walter cannot play, Andrew Walter is also nursing a calf strain so it is not certain who would be playing between those two and Marques Tuiasosopo. I am removing quarterback from this projection and would avoid starting any Raiders this week. Darren McFadden appears to be a no show again this week. He is considered a gametime decision and was limited in practice this week and then held out on Friday.

The Panthers maintain their half game lead over the Buccaneers but are only 1-2 in road games this year. The Raiders are only 1-3 at home though and have been demolished in the last two games. Time for the traditional beat up on Oakland before they change coaching staff again.

Carolina Panthers (6-2)
Homefield: Bank of America Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @SD 26-24 +9 42
2 CHI 20-17 -3 37
3 @MIN 10-20 +3.5 37
4 ATL 24-9 -7 39.5
5 KC 34-0 -9.5 38.5
6 @TB 3-27 +1.5 36.5
7 NO 30-7 -3 44
8 ARZ 27-23 -4.5 43.5
9 BYE - - -
10 @OAK - -9 38
11 DET - - -
12 @ATL - - -
13 @GB - - -
14 TB - - -
15 DEN - - -
16 @NYG - - -
17 @NO - - -
CAR @ OAK Rush Catch Pass
QB Jake Delhomme     190,1
RB Jonathan Stewart 40,1
RB DeAngelo Williams 110,2 10  
TE Dante Rosario   10  
WR Steve Smith   80,1  
WR Muhsin Muhammad   50  
WR Dwayne Jarrett   20  
PK John Kasay 1 FG 3 XP  
Pregame Notes: The Panthers have won four of their last five games in a division where no one likes to win on the road and yet of the four teams, the Saints are the only one with a home loss (and just one). So the Panthers have to take advantage of winnable games on the road to get any advantage and losing to the Buccaneers is no help. The team is all healthy now and the challenge is to score away from home.

Quarterback: Jake Delhomme has been playing at a high level lately - as long as the Panthers are at home. He has thrown for exactly two touchdowns in each of the last four home games. But in the three away games, he only had one touchdown and five turnovers. Delhomme is coming off a bye week and should be ready for the trip to Oakland. And with only the visiting Lions next week, there should be no overlooking the Raiders.

Running Backs: Jonathan Stewart still leads the team with five rushing scores but he has been getting reduced carries as of late and in particular in road games where the last two combined only served up a total of 13 carries for 27 yards and one touchdown.

DeAngelo Williams has hung onto his job and now has two efforts over 100 rushing yards but he too has been affected on the road since his two last trips only netted 21 carries for 54 yards and no scores. But the Buccaneers and Vikings have far better rushing defenses than most and this week should be a good test to see if the Panthers are going to break out of their home and away trends or not.

Wide Receivers: Steve Smith is singular on this team because it doesn't matter where they play to him. He has been top notch every week no matter where and has been over 110 yards for the last three games including the trip to Tampa Bay. Muhsin Muhammad is just a possession receiver who rarely scores but always picks up 40 or more yards each week.

The entire offense seems to rise and fall according to venue of the game and outcome except for Smith. Without him the Panthers would be just another wannabe team looking for a .500 record.

Tight Ends: No fantasy value since week one.

Match Against the Defense: Here is a defense that should heal whatever ails you. The Panthers need a road win badly and the Raiders like to play badly so it should be a nice match this week. The Raiders have already allowed a dozen rushing touchdowns and plenty of big games. Expect a nice one this week from Williams with enough action to give Stewart fantasy value this week if you are replacing a week ten bye player.

Delhomme faces a secondary that usually allows a passing touchdown or two and he needs some success on the road. Look for the obligatory score to Smith but beyond that is unlikely. Both teams are going to mostly run.

Gaining Fantasy Points CAR 22 13 14 23 11 26
Preventing Fantasy Points    OAK 25 29 13 28 18 11

Oakland Raiders (2-6)
Homefield: McAfee Coliseum
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 DEN 14-41 +3 41.5
2 @KC 23-8 +4 34.5
3 @BUF 23-24 +9.5 36.5
4 SD 18-28 +7 46
5 BYE - - -
6 @NO 3-34 +7.5 47.5
7 NYJ 16-13 +3 42.5
8 @BAL 10-29 +7 36
9 ATL 0-24 +3 41
10 CAR - +9 38
11 @MIA - - -
12 @DEN - - -
13 KC - - -
14 @SD - - -
15 NE - - -
16 HOU - - -
17 @TB - - -
OAK vs CAR Rush Catch Pass
QB JaMarcus Russell 130,1
RB Justin Fargas 50    
TE Zach Miller   40,1  
WR Ashley Lelie   20  
WR Chaz Schilens   20  
WR Johnnie Lee Higgins   30  
PK Sebastian Janikowski 1 XP 1 FG  

Pregame Notes: Yeah, it just doesn't get any prettier in Oakland. The Falcons dismantled them last week in an ugly shutout in Oakland. The Raiders are now so into the dysfunction that rules their front office that they are considering releasing their big offseason moves of Javon Walker and DeAngelo Hall. That would mean throwing away millions of dollars but saving even more . The Raiders are turning mean with no where to go. So far two of the most coveted players in the last two drafts are either wearing a walking boot for his bad toe or he just completed six of 19 passes for 31 yards in an entire game. Not a great place to be.

Quarterback: Yeah, JaMarcus Russell was looking like he might be coming around and then last week was absolutely throttled by the Falcons. His 49% completion rate this year rates the worst of all starting quarterbacks and whatever gains he has made so far will no doubt be meaningless next year with more new players, coaches and schemes. Would have been interesting to see what he could have done on a team with even an ounce of stability. One has to be concerned if long term damage is being done.

Running Backs: Darren McFadden is still bothered by his toe and was wearing a boot last week. He is quickly becoming a lost cause for 2007 and a painful fantasy draft pick since he did not come cheaply. Justin Fargas continues as the primary back but that hasn't meant much this year. He has never scored and has only been above 50 yards once in the last seven weeks.

Michael Bush is even worse without double digit yardage since week four. This is a team that was supposed to run first and run well. But the team is nearing collapse.

Wide Receivers: The Raiders should have allowed Javon Walker to retire last summer when he wanted to. He has been little more than a mediocre tight end in terms of production and has done nothing to justify the King's ransom that was paid to him (that we all thought correctly was insane at the time). Ronald Curry is losing his starting spot and did not play last week. Chaz Schilens was given his first start and he had no catches. It is no wonder why the passing game is so inept - there are no wideouts and a quarterback who is not developing in a good environment.

Tight Ends: Zach Miller has been a good tight end and he will be again. But currently no so much. He has been the most productive receiver for the Raiders this year but that only equates to about 50 yards per week and one touchdown a month ago.

Match Against the Defense: You can forget matching up the defense here - there are bigger things afoot than merely matching up cornerbacks to wideouts. The Raiders slipped into a funk last week and were blasted and now apparently Mad Al is getting ready to start pruning the team here in mid-season. I would not touch a Raiders player this week.

Gaining Fantasy Points OAK 30 25 31 18 27 22
Preventing Fantasy Points    CAR 3 8 4 25 5 4

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