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

Prediction: PHI 27, CIN 13

Update: Cedric Benson was held out of practice on Thursday to rest his back and had a full practice on Friday. He is expected to play without limitation other than being on the Bengals team and playing against the Eagles.

The Eagles are still trailing the Giants by three games in the NFC East and they are only 2-2 on the road this season but the Bengals are still just 1-8 and that only thanks to the Jaguars kind donation in week nine. No time for the Eagles to fall into a trap themselves while still in contention.

Philadelphia Eagles (5-4))
Homefield: Lincoln Financial Field
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 STL 38-3 -7 44
2 @DAL 37-41 +7 47
3 PIT 15-6 -3 45
4 @CHI 20-24 -3 45
5 WAS 17-23 -5 43
6 @SF 40-26 -5 43
7 BYE - - -
8 ATL 27-14 -8.5 46.5
9 @SEA 26-7 -6.5 43
10 NYG 31-36 -3 43.5
11 @CIN - -9


12 @BAL - - -
13 ARZ - - -
14 @NYG - - -
15 CLE - - -
16 @WAS - - -
17 DAL - - -
PHI @CIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Donovan McNabb     240,2
RB Brian Westbrook 90,1 40  
TE L.J. Smith   20  
WR Reggie Brown   40  
WR DeSean Jackson   60,1  
WR Kevin Curtis   50,1  
PK David Akers 2 FG 3 XP  
Pregame Notes: The Eagles put up a valiant fight against the Giants last week but came up short and that reversed a nice three game winning streak against a soft spot in the schedule. Other than hosting the Browns in week 15, this should be the easiest remaining match-up for the year and one that they cannot let get away from them.

Quarterback: This has not been a banner year for Donovan McNabb but it has been improving recently while slipping through a lighter stretch of the schedule and then even against the Giants, he passed for three touchdowns. McNabb has 13 passing scores on the year and only five interceptions. Most of his best games have come in road venues particularly when facing a soft team like these Bengals.

Running Backs: Brian Westbrook started the year with his predictably hot streak and then was injured (predictably) and came back to a monster game against the Falcons. But in the two successive games, Westbrook has neither scored nor cracked 100 total yards. Against the Seahawks he was held to 61 yards on 20 carries and then the Giants limited him to only 26 yards on 13 runs. Westbrook needs this week to get back on track before the schedule gets significantly harder.

Wide Receivers: This group has been very productive over the last several weeks but in true Philly fashion, it has never been the same guy twice. DeSean Jackson scored last week but it was on a run. Jason Avant has been almost invisible but he too had a score on two catches for 25 yards against the Giants. Reggie Brown faded back to one catch after scoring the previous game and Kevin Curtis scored once but only had three catches for 25 yards.

Throw in Hank Baskett and this group produces well but individually is too inconsistent to warrant a fantasy start.

Tight Ends: After L.J. Smith missed week nine and Brent Celek had six catches for 131 yards, Smith returned on Sunday and had his standard three receptions for 36 yards while Celek had no catches. No reliable fantasy points here.

Match Against the Defense: The Bengals remain weak against the run and the Eagles would like to see Westbrook get back on track. Look for a solid game here by Westy with one score and over 100 total yards and as always the chance for a monster game. This should have Buckhalter involved as well but not enough to merit projecting for him.

McNabb goes against a secondary that almost always allows one passing score if not three so look for no less than two touchdowns that should favor no receiver. I will award that but realize the confidence level is low.

Gaining Fantasy Points PHI 7 11 6 17 2 3
Preventing Fantasy Points    CIN 17 23 20 8 20 27

Cincinnati Bengals (1-8)
Homefield: Paul Brown Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @BAL 10-17 -1 39
2 TEN 7-24 -1 37.5
3 @NYG 23-26 +13.5 42
4 CLE 12-20 +3.5 44
5 @DAL 22-31 +17.5 44
6 @NYJ 14-26 +6 45
7 PIT 10-38 +9.5 37
8 @HOU 6-35 +10 44
9 JAX 21-19 +7.5 40
10 BYE - - -
11 PHI - +9 42
12 @PIT - - -
13 BAL - - -
14 @IND - - -
15 WAS - - -
16 @CLE - - -
17 KC - - -
CIN vs PHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick     190,1
RB Cedric Benson 70 10  
TE Reggie Kelly   10  
WR Chad Johnson   50  
WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh   70,1  
WR Chris Henry   20  
PK Shayne Graham 2 FG 1 XP  

Pregame Notes: Nothing like basking in the glow of a win for the last two weeks thanks to the bye. The Bengals finally countered futility with the Jaguars who tried to mail in a road game and was caught. That may not happen again this year and the schedule is about to get even worse with PHI, @PIT, BAL and @IND on the horizon. So far Marvin Lewis remains the head coach and there is even some optimism about the future there but the present remains at the bottom of the NFL.

Quarterback: The Bengals continue to hold out hope that Carson Palmer is able to play this year but at this rate - what is the purpose? So he can be injured again? Ryan Fitzpatrick is the starter again this week and he had a career best two scores last week against the Jaguars though only 162 yards. He has never had more than 164 yards in a game. In fact, over five starts he has never had more than 164 or less than 152. Pretty much locked in around ground zero for mediocrity.

Running Backs: The Windy City was never fond of Cedric Benson but Philly is actually taking a shine to the ex-Bears running back. In the last three weeks, he has gained 205 yards on 51 carries and scored once. His 104 yards against the Jaguars helped the Bengals stay in the game and his score helped to win it. Benson only signed a one-year contract but the Bengals are already talking about a contract extension.

Wide Receivers: T.J. Houshmandzadeh remains the primary receiver here but he hasn't scored since week five and never has more than around 65 yards in a game since week five. Chad Johnson had done no better with yardage that has remained below 60 yards in every game this year but he has scored three times in the last three games. The passing attack with Fitzpatrick has not been engaging or productive beyond a few scoring strikes.

An weird pattern is that Houshmandzadeh has three scores on the season - all in road games. Ocho Cinco has four touchdowns - all at home.

Tight Ends: No fantasy value. Ever.

Match Against the Defense: The Eagles defense has been middle of the road this year and the trademark blitzing defense has not been wildly effective overall. But the Bengals are hardly an average team.

Look for Benson to have a moderate game here but it would be a surprise if he scored since only four big-name runners have done that against the Eagles this year. There this game has to turn is with the pass and the Eagles have largely been effective at stopping the pass. Look for a sub-200 yard game this week and a chance for one score which would be success enough if it happens.

Gaining Fantasy Points CIN 28 32 21 28 29 30
Preventing Fantasy Points    PHI 7 14 6 29 19 4

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