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

Prediction: BAL 10, NYG 20

Update: Derrick Mason did not practice on Wednesday or Thursday because of his shoulder and was able to only have limited time on Friday. He remains a game time decision but not one I suggest you wait around for. Mason plays in the first round of games on Sunday who you can see if he will be active or not but it is a huge risk to expect much from him this week in any case.

The Ravens have won four straight games and are tied with the 6-3 Steelers for control of the AFC North. The Ravens are only 3-2 on the road this year while the Giants are still 5-0 at home. The Ravens have discovered a surprisingly potent offense in the past month but then again they come off a stretch of MIA, OAK, CLE and HOU. The world champs might prove a bit better than those.

Baltimore Ravens (6-3)
Homefield: M&T Bank Stadium
Sport Turf
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 CIN 17-10 +1 39
2 BYE - - -
3 CLE 28-10 -2 38.5
4 @PIT 20-23 +6 34.5
5 TEN 10-17 +3 35
6 @IND 3-31 +4.5 39
7 @MIA 27-13 +3 36.5
8 OAK 29-10 -7 36
9 @CLE 37-27 +1.5 36.5
10 @HOU 41-13 +1.5 41.5
11 @NYG - +6.5 42
12 PHI - - -
13 @CIN - - -
14 WAS - - -
15 PIT - - -
16 @DAL - - -
17 JAX - - -
BAL @ NYG Rush Catch Pass
QB Joe Flacco     170,1
RB Willis McGahee 50 10  
RB Ray Rice 30 20  
TE Todd Heap   40  
WR Mark Clayton   40,1  
WR Yamon Figurs   50  
PK Matt Stover 1 FG 1 XP  
Pregame Notes: Yeah, so the schedule was light and the Ravens feasted on some bad defenses but that still does not diminish the impact that the Ravens offense is bringing to the game now. The defense has remained potent all season and now that the offense is starting to show all new ability, these Ravens have reason for optimism. The Ravens have already passed by their easier part of the schedule and from here on out, they'll be challenged nearly every week.

Quarterback: The rookie Joe Flacco is showing signs of improvement already and has passed for two scores in each of the last two games. He has not thrown an interception in the last four games while always scoring at least once. Flacco has capped out around 250 yards so far and typically remains under 200 yards per week. That should continue since his favorite receiver Derrick Mason is ailing and may not play.

Running Backs: True to their word, Ray Rice was the starter last week and then he promptly handed the job back to Willis McGahee who ran 25 times for 112 yards and two scores. McGahee has scored in each of the last three contests and yet the Ravens are committed to mixing all three runners including Le'Ron McClain. What is key here is that the recent success has come in big scoring games against the Texans and Browns which won't likely continue given the schedule strength. Prior to this mini-run, McGahee was struggling to gain 65 yards per game and was not scoring.

McClain is largely the odd man out with less than six carries per week usually and yet Rice and McGahee will both figure in. I will project for both but realize the confidence level is low since the Ravens want to change up every week.

Wide Receivers: This could be catastrophic. Derrick Mason dislocated his shoulder last week and played with the injury but he is in a sling now and may not play this week. Mason has been the only Ravens receiver with any consistent amount of production and has been the safety net for Flacco. I will project for Yamon Figurs to replace him this week and update as needed. Facing a far better secondary this week will make Mason's absence even more apparent.

Tight Ends: Perhaps it was the injury to Mason forcing Flacco to look elsewhere or maybe it was just a freakish aligning of planets to never occur again, but Todd Heap had five catches for 58 yards and two touchdowns. That was his first time in the endzone in 12 games and the only time this year he has produced any fantasy relevant numbers. This is more an indictment of the Texans than a leap forward for Heap but Mason's injury this week could result in Heap getting more looks.

Match Against the Defense: The Ravens cannot decide which running back they want to use and the Giants really do not care since they do not like any of them. The Giants have only allowed one rushing score to a visiting runner this year and none have gained more than 74 rushing yards. Divide by three and the Ravens backfield is unappealing this week.

Flacco faces a decent secondary for good quarterbacks and he is still learning the ropes. He has looked better in recent weeks against HOU and CLE but this will be a much tougher affair against a secondary that has only allowed three passing scores in NY this year. Forget about Flacco for now and in case you are excited about Todd Heap, temper that for the next couple of weeks at least. Losing Mason hurts this week to be sure.

Gaining Fantasy Points BAL 23 5 26 23 21 5
Preventing Fantasy Points    NYG 9 2 25 4 4 5

New York Giants (8-1)
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 35-14 -8.5 41
10 @PHI 36-31 +3 43.5
11 BAL - -6.5 42
12 @ARZ - - -
13 @WAS - - -
14 PHI - - -
15 @DAL - - -
16 CAR - - -
17 @MIN - - -
NYG vs BAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Eli Manning     190,1
RB Brandon Jacobs 80,1    
RB Derrick Ward 40 20  
TE Kevin Boss   40  
WR Plaxico Burress   40  
WR Amani Toomer   30,1  
WR Steve Smith   50  
PK John Carney 2 XP 2 FG  

Pregame Notes: The Giants continue to lead the NFC and even a trip to Philly last week couldn't untrack them. The Giants schedule is rough here on out but there's nothing that says they cannot handle it all anyway. They have a two game lead in the NFC East but have road trips to WAS and DAL left to play and home games against BAL, PHI and CAR as potential land mines. But the Giants have played so well that they could very well end up 15-1 or 14-2 this season which would be the opposite of how the won the championship last year.

Quarterback: Eli Manning continues to throw at least one score in every game and had five over the last two weeks but he hasn't topped 200 passing yards since week five. He has only six interceptions against 14 touchdowns this year though and has not made many mistakes. He's more of a game manager with top notch rushing attack and one of the best defenses. That doesn't do much in fantasy terms but it can get you to 8-1 in the NFL.

Running Backs: Brandon Jacobs has a horrible rushing schedule and all he does is spit out touchdowns every week. He now has nine rushing scores and four games over 100 rushing yards. And he seems to be getting better as the season progresses with his last two efforts topping the century mark and scoring three times. There is enough left over to give Derrick Ward a dozen or more carries each week and while he almost never scores, he has around 50 yards in most weeks. Even Ahman Bradshaw gets into the act around five times each week. The Giants are a run first team and despite continually facing top defenses, this team still ranks as #1 for running backs.

Wide Receivers: The sub-200 passing numbers every week has left this unit with only marginal fantasy value and in particular, Plaxico Burress has really fallen. He has scored four times on the year to salvage his value but hasn't gained more than 34 yards in a game for the last month. He only has one effort over 100 yards and that was back in week one. Burress will still catch touchdowns against softer defenses but his yardage has all but dried up.

Steve Smith and Amani Toomer haven't fared even that well with even rarer scores and lower yardage. As long as the running game and defense can rule games, this unit will be almost devoid of fantasy relevance.

Tight Ends: Oddly enough, Kevin Boss has come to life in the last three weeks with a score in each game and at least 30 yards or more. The passing game has shortened up a good bit this season and is now looking for Boss more often and in the endzone as well.

Match Against the Defense: Here we go - the #1 ranked set of running backs going against the #1 ranked defense against running backs. The Ravens have only allowed one rushing touchdown this season and no runner has topped 73 yards against them. But this is the #1 rushing attack so look for one score and the biggest game allowed by the Ravens so far. The Ravens are not going to move the ball nearly as well this week which means it should end up with plenty of rushing attempts for the Giants to control the ball.

Manning goes against a secondary that has been hit by injury (Chris McAllister just went on IR) and that has always allowed at least one passing score since week two. I like Manning to throw for one score in this game that could go to Boss even though he has already had three in a row so far. Burress should get all the attention and let Toomer or Boss end up with the score.

Gaining Fantasy Points NYG 13 1 11 18 1 8
Preventing Fantasy Points    BAL 10 1 8 10 12 22

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