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

Prediction: DET 6, CAR 24

Update: Mike Furrey's concussion last week held him out of practice and he's not likely to play. I am removing him from the projections.

It this the one? Like some sloppy drunk guy trying to mooch a ride at a party, the Lions are looking to get a win every week and no one will play along. Sure, there have been a couple of games that could be argued to have been winnable, but the Lions are once again considered so bad that teams often mail it in and so far every one still wins. This team is actually much worse than the record couple imply. The Panthers look to remain at the top of the NFC West and the visiting Lions is about as good as it gets.

Detroit Lions (0-9)
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 21-28 +9 48
8 WAS 17-25 +8 43.5
9 @CHI 23-27 +13 43
10 JAX 14-38 +6.5 44.5
11 @CAR - +14 39.5
12 TB - - -
13 TEN - - -
14 MIN - - -
15 @IND - - -
16 NO - - -
17 @GB - - -
DET @ CAR Rush Catch Pass
QB Daunte Culpepper     180
RB Kevin Smith 50 30  
TE Michael Gaines   20  
WR Mike Furrey  


WR Calvin Johnson   60  
WR Shaun McDonald   40  
PK Jason Hanson 2 FG    
Pregame Notes: So far, so not so good. The Lions come off their third 20+ point loss of the season and head to Carolina where they will be favored even less than any other game this year. This whole team has the look of impending implosion and subsequent total rebuild but I guess we say that every year. So far HC Rod Marinelli still has an office.

Quarterback: Looks like Daunte Culpepper will again start this week though HC Rod Marinelli is being crafty and refusing to confirm who the losing quarterback will be. Culpepper has now had plenty of time to digest the playbook (Every page = THROW IT TO CALVIN). Culpepper completed five of the passes for 104 yards last week and Drew Stanton came in to throw 6 of 8 for 94 yards and one touchdown. Expect that to happen in most games - Culpepper starts and Stanton comes in. Both look for Calvin Johnson.

Running Backs: Kevin Smith has quietly improved as of late with a score in three of the last four games and a season high 96 yards last week against the Jaguars. He is nothing more than a low level RB2 for a fantasy team but he has not lost all value as has everyone else on this team outside of Calvin Johnson.

Oddly enough, Smith has five touchdowns and three of them came in road games though none against as good of a defense as Carolina has.

Wide Receivers: Since the departure of Roy Williams, this unit is all about Calvin Johnson who has been rewarding owners for the last five weeks with a touchdown or 90+ yards every game. Johnson gets a ridiculous amount of targets each week (up to 18) so by volume alone he eventually has production if only at the end of a game. Mike Furrey had a mild concussion last week but should play but neither he nor Shaun McDonald is proving to have any fantasy value. Reprising Daunte Culpepper is a culprit to be sure.

Tight Ends: John Owens caught the score last week that Stanton threw but there is no fantasy value here. Never many yards and only two scores to the position this year.

Match Against the Defense: They could always hope for a trap game. If fantasy, that is about all the Lions have left. The Panthers have only allowed four rushing scores this year so it is unlikely that Smith gets one unless the trash time is so plentiful that the Panthers no longer care at all. Expect only moderate yardage at best and that only because Smith tens to have more catches in tougher games.

Culpepper and Stanton are facing the #2 defense against quarterbacks and the #3 defense against Calvin Johnson. Look for a down week but Johnson could once again show up late in the game when the defense starts resting players.

Gaining Fantasy Points DET 17 27 13 27 30 32
Preventing Fantasy Points    CAR 2 7 3 24 3 7

Carolina Panthers (7-2)
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 17-6 -9 38
11 DET - -14 39.5
12 @ATL - - -
13 @GB - - -
14 TB - - -
15 DEN - - -
16 @NYG - - -
17 @NO - - -
CAR vs DET Rush Catch Pass
QB Jake Delhomme     230,2
RB Jonathan Stewart 30    
RB DeAngelo Williams 100,1 10  
TE Dante Rosario   10  
WR Steve Smith   120,2  
WR Muhsin Muhammad   50  
WR D.J. Hackett   20  
PK John Kasay 1 FG 3 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Panthers could potentially be caught in a trap game since week 12 is in Atlanta but at home they should remain safe even with a lack of preparation and focus. The Panthers are 7-2 and have a one game lead over the Buccaneers and Falcons. The game of the season will be in week 14 when they host the Buccaneers who beat them earlier this year. But until then the Panthers have to keep winning, especially freebies like this one.

Quarterback: Jake Delhomme comes off a freakish bad game in Oakland where he completed only 7 of 27 passes for 72 yards and one score with four interceptions. The Panthers still won because it was only the Raiders but Delhomme had been playing at a high level for the previous month. Just a bad game and a wake up call for this week that could also be ignored. Then again the Lions are #31 against the pass so it still likely would not matter.

Running Backs: DeAngelo Williams comes off a career best game in Oakland when he gained 140 yards on 19 carries and scored once. He had 108 yards against the visiting Cardinals the previous week and is thoroughly enjoying the diminished play and effectiveness of Jonathan Stewart who has been nursing a heel injury and lost a lot of ground on trying to overtake Williams as the starter.

The combination of the two runners has been effective this year but in easier matchups like this one, letting Williams take the bulk of work has finally produced a good, reliable fantasy player from this backfield.

Wide Receivers: If you want freakish, consider that Steve Smith only had nine yards on one catch last week after recording no less than 96 yards per game for the previous four games. Smith only has four scores on the season but has been solid with yardage and no doubt looks forward to the Lions this week.

A small change was the return of D.J. Hackett to the slot over Dwayne Jarrett. Neither player has proven effective at the position though.

Tight Ends: Hard to believe we all went nuts over Dante Rosario after week one. That was the end of the productive tight end games here and a lesson about week one players you never heard of before.

Match Against the Defense: Pick your pleasure. It's all bad and it is all there for the taking. I like the Panthers to have a solid win but nothing too flashy with a big game coming up next week. Look for a solid game and a score from Williams and then two scores for Delhomme that could both end up with Steve Smith. There is no matchups to consider here, just whatever the Panthers want to do.

Gaining Fantasy Points CAR 27 14 15 26 13 24
Preventing Fantasy Points    DET 31 27 31 28 24 30

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