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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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The Huddle
WEEK 12
~ 2008 ~
Season Ticket
Thursday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday Late
Sunday
Monday
*updated

Prediction: NE 17, MIA 20

This is quite a rematch of the game in week three when the Dolphins went to Foxboro and beat the Patriots 38-13. That set the league off to copying the wildcat formation and spanked the Patriots in front of the home crowd. These teams both enter the week just one game behind the Jets for the AFC East lead and a loss here will make a major uphill battle for the loser. The Patriots are only 2-2 on the road and the Dolphins are 4-2 at home.

New England Patriots (6-4)
Homefield: Gillette Stadium
FieldTurf
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 KC 17-10 -16.5 45
2 @NYJ 19-10 +1.5 39
3 MIA 13-38 -13 34.5
4 BYE - - -
5 @SF 30-21 -3 41.5
6 @SD 10-30 +6 44.5
7 DEN 41-7 -3 46.5
8 STL 23-16 -7 43.5
9 @IND 15-18 +5.5 45
10 BUF 20-10 -4 41
11 NYJ 31-34 -3.5 41.5
12 @MIA - +2 42
13 PIT - - -
14 @SEA - - -
15 @OAK - - -
16 ARZ - - -
17 @BUF - - -
NEP @ MIA Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Cassel     220,2
RB Kevin Faulk 40 20,1  
RB Sammy Morris 30 10  
TE Ben Watson   20  
WR Randy Moss   50,1  
WR Jabar Gaffney   30  
WR Wes Welker   70  
PK Stephen Gostkowski 1 FG 2 XP  
Pregame Notes: This could prove to be a tough game since the only road wins were over the Jets (who just beat them last week) and the 49ers. The Chargers and Colts both extracted their revenge with the Patriots showed up this year. The Pats have little room for error but nor does anyone else in the AFC East this year. The Pats won't be surprised by the wildcat this time but that doesn't address how the Fins held them to 13 points in their own stadium this year.

Quarterback: Matt Cassel had been little more than a caretaker quarterback and other than his three scores against the Broncos, there was no reason to expect more than his standard 200 yards and a score every week. But against the visiting Jets last Thursday, Cassel passed for 400 yards and three scores with no turnovers. Instead of being limited to passes in the ten yard zone and shorter, Cassel made deeper throws with much success other than Moss having a down game. This new development will make a big difference if Cassel can make it more than just one game at home that they lost anyway.

Cassel passed for 131 yards and one score against the Dolphins in week three.

Running Backs: The never ending musical chairs for the Patriots had Kevin Faulk take the biggest share with only eight carries for 38 yards last week and Sammy Morris rushed five times for 14 yards. BenJarvus Green-Ellis was expected to be the primary carries so naturally only had two runs for nine yards.

The Patriots rushed for 59 yards and no scores in week three against the Fins. I will project for Faulk and Morris but there is no confidence in this backfield and the results should be minimal anyway.

Wide Receivers: Randy Moss-Lite continues to play for the Patriots and though he had a score last week he only caught three passes for 26 yards and that was his first score in four games. It takes a very soft secondary for Cassel to have enough confidence to throw deep and into coverage for Moss who only has two games over 69 yards and four scores with Cassel playing.

Wes Welker has fared far better and comes off consecutive games over 100 yards. Cassel is not comfortable throwing to Moss but has spent nearly every game throwing around ten passes at Welker who is second only to Houshmandzadeh in catches (72 vs. 73). Welker only has one score but fantasy owners are still cleaning up in PPR leagues.

Jabar Gaffney had a big game last week but that was his only one of the season.

Moss was held to only 25 yards on four receptions while Welker had six catches for 55 yards against the Fins this year. Gaffney had the lone touchdown catch and gained 51 yards on six receptions.

Tight Ends: Out of the blue, Benjamin Watson went from never gaining more than 15 yards in a game to catching eight passes for 88 yards against the Jets. Unless he does that twice, it is forgettable as Gaffney's game last week. Watson only had 84 yards on the season until last week.

Match Against the Defense: The Patriots struggled against the Dolphins in the first meeting on both sides of the ball but that was when the loss of Brady was still very fresh and the Pats suffered a natural letdown after winning the week immediately following Brady's injury. Cassel is a better passer naturally though he still won't force much into Moss and has only one game where someone other than Welker actually mattered.

The Dolphins rush defense has been solid and should hold the Pats anemic crew at bay and force Cassel to throw. The Fins are very familiar with the Patriots attack of course and will make it a long day for Cassel with the pass rush. Expect just one passing score that should favor Moss the most if Cassel will throw it to him.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NE 13 11 11 28 3 29
Preventing Fantasy Points MIA 18 5 25 5 15 13


Miami Dolphins (6-4)
Homefield: Dolphins Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 NYJ 14-20 +3 36
2 @ARZ 10-31 +7 38.5
3 @NE 38-13 +13 34.5
4 BYE - - -
5 SD 17-10 +6.5 45.5
6 @HOU 28-29 +3 45
7 BAL 13-27 -3 36.5
8 BUF 25-16 +1.5 42.5
9 @DEN 26-17 +3 49
10 SEA 21-19 -9 43
11 OAK 17-15

-10.5

38.5
12 NE - -2 42
13 @STL - - -
14 @BUF - - -
15 SF - - -
16 @KC - - -
17 @NYJ - - -
MIA vs NE Rush Catch Pass
QB Chad Pennington     220,1
RB Ronnie Brown 80,1 10  
RB Ricky Williams 50 20  
TE Anthony Fasano   30  
WR Davone Bess   20  
WR Greg Camarillo   70,1  
WR Ted Ginn Jr.   60  
PK Dan Carpenter 2 FG 2 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Dolphins really need this home win with four of their final five games coming on the road. The Dolphins defense has really come to life over the last month with no opponents scoring more than 19 points against them. The first game with the Patriots was a true surprise in that the Dolphins won so easily, debuted the wildcat formation and showed the world that Ronnie Brown was healthier than initially believed. This is a big game this week though - the biggest one until week 17 against the Jets for what could be the division title.

Quarterback: Chad Pennington has been the game manager lately with a four game winning streak that has been largely predicated on the rushing attack. But Pennington can produce when he has to and has four efforts over 280 passing yards prior to these last two easy home wins.

Pennington passed for 226 yards in Foxboro this year.

Running Backs: The tandem backfield continues and Ricky Williams was even the starter last week but Ronnie Brown has out produced him in nearly every game and gets the biggest workload each week. But the two play significant number of snaps and truly decrease what either could do alone.

The Fins had their shocker this year when Brown ran for 113 yards on 17 carries and scored four times in New England. Even Williams had 16 carries for 98 yards in that game. No doubt that the Pats have spend a lot of time reviewing the tape from that game because Brown made them look like fools.

Wide Receivers: This is a run first team and even though Greg Camarillo has turned in a few decent games, he only has one touchdown on the season and usually ends up around 50 yards or so in most games. Ted Ginn Jr. plays almost the exact same with one score and just one game over 100 yards on the season. These wideouts are only in support of the rushing attack and show up really only when facing a sloppy secondary or if one pops one long catch.

Camarillo led the wideouts with 60 yards on four catches and Ginn turned five receptions into 49 yards in New England this season.

Tight Ends: Anthony Fasano had three catches for 66 yards against the Patriots this year and caught a touchdown during a trick play with Ronnie Brown throwing the pass. Since that week Fasano has only scored once in seven weeks and never been higher than 47 yards in a game.

Match Against the Defense: How will this game differ from the first one? The Patriots have only allowed one other runner to score against them all year and Ronnie Brown's four touchdowns won't soon be repeated. There is no doubt that the Pats will load up to stop the run but the Fins at home should have at least moderate success and score once on the ground.

Pennington faces a secondary that has allowed nine passing scores over the four previous road games. Look for Pennington to throw at least one touchdown that should favor Camarillo the most. He could throw another, but that would mean the rushing attack likely did not score.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points MIA 24 2 25 8 27 14
Preventing Fantasy Points NE 15 12 23 15 7 21

The Huddle
WEEK 12
~ 2008 ~
Season Ticket
Thursday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday Late
Sunday
Monday
Other Features
Fantasy Statistics
Tuesday Injury Report
Free Agent Forecast
Commentary From the Edge
Game Recaps
Tunnel Vision
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