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

Prediction: NYG 23, ARI 27

Update: This should be interesting but maybe not great for fantasy owners. Brandon Jacobs is now listed as probable to play and after being held out on Wednesday and being limited on Thursday, Jacobs had a full practice on Friday and appears likely to play. How much he will play could be the question since the Giants have three straight NFC East games waiting immediately after this week and do not need to get him dinged up against the Cards. I am going to insert him into the projections because it appears he will play but it remains to be seen if he will carry the full load.

Plaxico Burress is a different situation. He was held out of practice on Thursday and Friday and is questionable to play this week. Same as Jacobs, will using Burress jeopardize the next three games if his hamstring worsens at all? I am lowering Burress' projections and he may not play this week - check the inactives for both players.

The Giants are three games in the lead in the NFC East and 3-1 on the road this year. The Cardinals are 7-3 with a four game lead in the NFC West and are 4-0 at home. This should be a great game and the Giants are on a five game winning streak with a trip to Washington looming next week and then the Eagles and Cowboys come next. If there was a spot for a letdown, this might be it.

New York Giants (9-1)
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 30-10 -6.5 42
12 @ARZ - -3 49
13 @WAS - - -
14 PHI - - -
15 @DAL - - -
16 CAR - - -
17 @MIN - - -
NYG @ ARI Rush Catch Pass
QB Eli Manning     250,2
RB Ahmad Bradshaw 20 20  
RB Brandon Jacobs 50    
RB Derrick Ward 30 10  
TE Kevin Boss   30,1  
WR Plaxico Burress   40  
WR Domenick Hixon   30  
WR Amani Toomer   50  
WR Steve Smith   50,1  
PK Lawrence Tynes 3 FG 2XP  

Pregame Notes: The Giants offense has been cruising and the rushing game has become #1 in the league with that rare status of "it doesn't matter where they play." But the Giants have won five straight and may be without Jacobs this week. They already matchup with any team in the NFL so a loss is going to almost need to be a special situation and this week could be that. Even if the Giants lost, they would still be at least two games ahead in the NFC East.

The Giants decided to go with Lawrence Tynes as kicker last week in a bit of a surprise on game day. Now they are saying that both Tynes and Carney will be kept and a decision on who will be used made potentially on game day. I will assume Tynes kicks again this week but realize the risk you assume when you use a Giants kicker. It makes little sense, but there it is.

Quarterback: Eli Manning continues to cruise through the season enjoying a dominating ground game that has allowed him to remain under 200 passing yards for six weeks now but he has still scored in every game. He has 16 passing touchdowns on the season against only seven interceptions. He has just not been challenged to win games this year and as a result the passing numbers are mediocre every week.

Running Backs: Brandon Jacobs faced the vaunted Ravens rushing defense last week and scorched it for 73 yards on 11 carries and scored twice before leaving the game early because of a knee injury. A later MRI revealed no structural damage but his playing status this week is still undetermined. Jacobs says that he is good to go and yet mentions that the final decision is not his. His knee was described as being just swollen and sore but now is not time to risk Jacobs. I will assume that he is held out of this week's game if only because he faces the entire NFC East in the three successive weeks and doesn't need to worsen it in Arizona.

Neither Derrick Ward or Ahmad Bradshaw can come close to Jacob's ability to score but they have both consistently turned in good yardage when relieving him. I will expect a split of carries with the majority for Ward who is completely capable to carry the torch as he did last season.

Wide Receivers: A week where Manning has to throw and Jacobs doesn't just steamroll the defense would be rather refreshing for every Plaxico Burress owner who felt smart in week one when he had ten catches for 133 yards and now a bit fooled since he has never had more than 58 yards in a game since week two. He has four scores on the season but the success of the rushing game has just negated the need for Burress to matter much. Amani Toomer has been even worse of course so while this unit has not been needed and the Giants keep on winning, it may come back to haunt them later on when they will have to pass in a game to win. Assuming that ever happens this year.

Tight Ends: Kevin Boss has been the leader in receiving touchdowns over the last month with a score in three straight games but then he had no catches against the Ravens. Boss can figure in and generally does more in tougher matchups. But evidently not too tough like the Ravens.

Match Against the Defense: The Cardinals have been solid against the run and much better when at home where they have allowed only one rushing touchdown and all but Frank Gore (23-99) was held to less than 45 rushing yards - including Ronnie Brown, Marion Barber, Felix Jones and Marshawn Lynch. Since it appears likely that Jacobs could miss this week, expect just moderate yardage from Ward and likely no touchdown.

Manning faces a secondary that is a bit banged up and a chance to finally air it out again. I like this game to post some decent points so look for at least two passing scores and possibly three that should get Burress back into the endzone at least once and rack up some nice yards along the way,

Gaining Fantasy Points NYG 15 1 13 18 1 4
Preventing Fantasy Points ARI 29 11 28 14 5 20

Arizona Cardinals (7-3)
Homefield: University of Phoenix Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @SF 23-13 -2.5 41.5
2 MIA 31-10 -7 38.5
3 @WAS 17-24 +3 42
4 @NYJ 35-56 +3 45
5 BUF 41-17 -1 45
6 DAL 30-26 +5 50
7 BYE - - -
8 @CAR 23-27 +4.5 43.5
9 @STL 34-13 -3 49
10 SF 29-24 -9.5 47.5
11 @SEA 26-20 -3.5 47.5
12 NYG - +3 49
13 @PHI - - -
14 STL - - -
15 MIN - - -
16 @NE - - -
17 SEA - - -
ARI Rush Catch Pass
QB Kurt Warner     300,3
RB Tim Hightower 30 10  
WR Anquan Boldin   90,1  
WR Larry Fitzgerald   110,1  
WR Steve Breaston   60,1  
PK Neil Rackers 2 FG 3 XP  

Pregame Notes: It is an unfamiliar spot to be at the top of the NFC West with no other team even remotely close. The road version of the Cardinals still needs some work but at home they've been a scoring machine and taken down MIA, DAL and BUF. The passing attack is now the #1 ranked for both quarterbacks and wide receivers and a win here will propel the Cardinals forward with all new confidence. This is an exciting time to be a Cardinals fan - how often has that been said?

Quarterback: Kurt Warner has thrown for 3155 yards this year and remains #2 to Drew Brees by only 17 passing yards. His 20 passing scores is also #2 in the NFL. Warner has thrown for over 300 yards in four consecutive games to set a Cardinals franchise record and if he throws for two more it would tie him with Steve Young, Rich Gannon and... Kurt Warner. The Rams may have crumbled but the Greatest Show on Turf thrives in the Phoenix sun.

Running Backs: Tim Hightower had a nice showing in St. Louis but the last two weeks against the 49ers and Seahawks only produced 24 carries for 57 yards in total and no scores. Worse yet, J.J., Arrington is horning in and scoring touchdowns instead of Hightower. This remains a pass-first team and Hightower's main value will be in how many times the Cardinals end up with first down inside the five yard line. He has scored seven rushing touchdowns this year but none in the last two weeks since Edgerrin James has been phased out.

Wide Receivers: It could be argued that the Cardinals have the best set of wideouts in the NFL. Throw in Steve Breaston and make the argument bump up to the best three wideouts. In non-PPR leagues, the duo of Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin are #1 and #2 in fantasy scoring currently. As if having an NFL leading ten passing scores was not enough for Boldin, they are trying to incorporate him in a special formation backfield so he has even more touches.

Larry Fitzgerald already has five 100 yard games and six scores and has never had a bad game this year. Not one. This is one of the best passing attacks in many years and everything that the Cardinals offense does goes through Boldin and Fitzgerald first.

Tight Ends: Leonard Pope is back after missing four games but with one catch per week, he has no fantasy value anyway.

Match Against the Defense: There is no team as good at stuffing the rushing game as the Giants and it is just as well that Hightower has already diminished enough to make bending him this week easy. Minimal yards and likely no scores.

Warner faces a good secondary but they face the #1 passing attack in the league and in Phoenix. Derek Anderson had 310 passing yards and two scores against the visiting Giants. Two weeks ago McNabb passed for three scores against them so do not shy away at all from this normal players here. I like the upset and the situation is right for the Cards to have a good game here.

Gaining Fantasy Points ARI 1 18 1 32 8 6
Preventing Fantasy Points NYG 11 1 19 3 2 3

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