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

Prediction: DAL 20, WAS 19

Update: Felix Jones is out for the Cowboys but everyone else is back in a fantasy sense. Jason Witten was limited on Wednesday and Thursday to rest his ribs but had a full practice on Friday while Tony Romo had a full week of practice and should not be limited at all this week.

Santana Moss has been very effective against the Cowboys and will play this week despite appearing on the injury report because of his hamstring. Moss had full practices and should be fine this week. Of course the biggest question mark is Clinton Portis who did not practice at all this week and yet has not been ruled out yet. Portis himself wants it to go to gametime to see if he can play but it appears unlikely to happen and he'd be very limited if he did somehow play. It looks like Ladell Betts is the play here and he is listed as probable after Being limited on Wednesday and Friday but having a full day on Thursday. Shaun Alexander and even Rock Cartwright could figure in as well. I am not changing the projections since this is where I thought it would end up but even the projection for Betts has a lower confidence since he is returning from a sprained knee and could lose a little to other runners potentially.

Big game in the NFC East with the Cowboys in the cellar at 5-4 and the Skins 6-3 still lagging the Giants. Thanks to the NFC South, even wild cards are going to be going for a premium this year so every game counts. The Redskins won 26-24 in Dallas during week four and now may be without Clinton Portis while the Cowboys hope to greet Tony Romo back.

Dallas Cowboys (5-4)
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 14-35 +8.5 41
10 BYE - - -
11 @WAS - OFF -
12 SF - - -
13 SEA - - -
14 @PIT - - -
15 NYG - - -
16 BAL - - -
17 @PHI - - -
DAL @ WAS Rush Catch Pass
QB Tony Romo     270,2
RB Marion Barber 40 10  
TE Jason Witten   50  
WR Terrell Owens   80,1  
WR Patrick Crayton   40  
WR Roy Williams   60,1  
PK Nick Folk 2 FG 2 XP  
Pregame Notes: The Cowboys are hardly coasting to the playoffs this year but that may be a blessing since the last two seasons have seen them open the playoffs with an uninspired, dull loss. The Cowboys should be plenty sharp this year since they are going to have to really fight the rest of the way but that is only if they even get there. The wheels were already wobbling from losses to the Skins and Cardinals before Romo was injured.

Quarterback: Tony Romo is expected to be back from his broken pinkie and practicing this week. Even if he is not completely 100%, the Cowboys have run out of "save it for next week" and Romo will play if possible. HC Wade Phillips said Romo has his zip on the ball back in practice on Monday and should be good to go, The Cowboys need Romo back since the Cowboys could not score more than one passing touchdown per game without him. Romo had thrown for three scores in four of his last five games.

Romo passed for 300 yards and three touchdowns against the Skins in week four.

Running Backs: Marion Barber may be without Felix Jones again this week. Jones has missed playing since week six with a torn hamstring and while there was speculation that he would be back on Monday, he was not at practice. Barring his practicing, I will assume that Barber takes the reins by himself this week and he has been productive even in road games with Romo to worry the defense. Barber ran only eight times for 26 yards against the Redskins this year which was the second season in a row that the Cowboys choked when the Redskins came to town.

Even last year, Barber never rushed well against the Skins though. He lost six yards on six carries in the meeting in Washington last season.

Wide Receivers: Roy Williams already has two touchdowns with the Cowboys and still has yet to play with Tony Romo. The true impact of Williams will start to unfold with Romo back and no one can be happier to see Romo than Terrell Owens who has never had more than 36 yards in a game since week five. The passing game will be critical this week in Washington and this will be a new for the Skins as well who have not played against Owens and Williams at the same time.

Owens caught seven passes for 71 yards and one touchdown against the Skins this year. Austin Miles added a score while Crayton turned in 87 yards on seven receptions.

Tight Ends: Jason Witten tried to play with bad ribs in week nine but never had a catch but with the bye week to mend, should be close to healthy again. I will assume he plays with little or no limitation and update if needed.

Witten caught seven passes for 90 yards and one score against the Redskins this year.

Match Against the Defense: The fundamental question to this game is if Portis is going to play since that will affect both sides in different ways. But regardless, Marion Barber has always struggled to run against the Redskins and Felix Jones appears likely to miss this week. Expect only moderate yardage at best and he is truly a hard start against the Redskins. In his four years of playing, Barber has never had more than 45 rushing yards against the Redskins and has scored only once in six meetings.

Romo goes against a secondary that has been great this year other than when they faced him and he had 300 yards and three scores. This time Portis may not be playing and that changes the dynamic of this game. Look for higher yardage and at least two passing scores this week that should both split out to the wideouts.

Gaining Fantasy Points DAL 9 13 14 2 28 13
Preventing Fantasy Points    WAS 5 5 11 3 11 16

Washington Redskins (6-3)
Homefield: FedEx Field
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @NYG 7-16 +3.5 41
2 NO 29-24 -1 42.5
3 ARZ 24-17 -3 42
4 @DAL 26-24 +11.5 46
5 @PHI 23-17 +5 43
6 STL 17-19 -13.5 44
7 CLE 14-11 -7.5 42.5
8 @DET 25-17 -8 43.5
9 PIT 6-23 -1.5 37
10 BYE - - -
11 DAL - OFF -
12 @SEA - - -
13 NYG - - -
14 @BAL - - -
15 @CIN - - -
16 PHI - - -
17 @SF - - -
WAS vs DAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Jason Campbell     220,1
RB LaDell Betts 70    
TE Chris Cooley   60  
WR Santana Moss   100,1  
WR Antwaan Randle El   30  
WR Devin Thomas   20  
PK Shaun Suisham 4 FG 1 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Redskins are currently one game behind the Giants for the division lead but could be without Clinton Portis this week which will put a major crimp in the offense since Jason Campbell and the passing attack are only there to support Portis and manage the game. The Redskins defense has been good enough to win most games and hold the score down in all cases but the run is fundamental in this offense.

Quarterback: Jason Campbell passed for 231 yards and two scores in Dallas this year and that has proven to be his season best game so far since he only has eight touchdowns on the season and only two in the last five games. Campbell has been outstanding as a manager since he has only two interceptions and one fumble against him but any absence of Portis places more importance on the passing.

Running Backs: Clinton Portis has 995 rushing yards and is second only to Adrian Peterson and he rushed for 121 yards on 32 carries in Dallas. But Portis currently has a second degree MCL sprain and he's likely to be a gametime decision this week at best. He may not even practice. Ladell Betts is returning to practice this week after missing three weeks with his own knee injury and would assume the bulk of work if Portis does not play.

There is also Shaun Alexander and Rock Cartwright available who could figure in as well. At this point, I will assume that Portis misses this week and that Betts can start and take the primary job. Updates as warranted on Friday.

Wide Receivers: Santana Moss has been enjoying a solid year with five touchdowns already and three games over 140 yards but pulled his hamstring back in week nine and has been resting it during the bye week. The early word is that he will be ready to play this week and he had 145 yards on eight receptions in Dallas this year.

Antwaan Randle El had 36 yards and one touchdown in that game and hasn't scored since or mattered much. Either Moss has a big game or no one does.

Tight Ends: Chris Cooley was held to only 26 yards on four catches in Dallas but has been better each week since while averaging 70 yards per game. He never catches touchdowns anymore but remains a solid part of the passing equation.

Match Against the Defense: The loss of Portis will hurt but if Betts can be relatively healthy he can fill in nearly as well based on the past. The Cowboys have been either great against the run or on a few occasions bad and Portis was a definite bad game. Look for Betts to have just moderate yardage here and likely not score.

Campbell can post the yardage in games but rarely more than one score. The Cowboys should be getting back Terence Newman this week which should have the defense but Santana Moss is the key to the entire passing game and already has topped 100 yards in the three most recent meetings with the Cowboys. Moss is a must start this week because he has been a Cowboy killer in the past. Cooley should add at least enough yardage to merit a fantasy start but likely not score.

Gaining Fantasy Points WAS 25 16 17 13 16 31
Preventing Fantasy Points    DAL 16 16 22 7 26 23

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