The Huddle on Facebook Facebook   The Huddle on Twitter Twitter   The Huddle Mobile Mobile Welcome, GuestJOINHELP


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

Prediction: PHI 13, BAL 23

Update: Brian Westbrook's knee has been a larger issue than he or the Eagles have let on and Westbrook was held out of all practices this week. He has not been ruled out this week but it is obvious that he is not going to be 100% for this week in the best case while playing in one of the worst venues in the NFL. Look for Correll Buckhalter to get more work this week and Westbrook is not a safe start. Even if he is active, his role in the game is in big questions.

The Eagles come off the first NFL tie in six years and had to share that honor with the Bengals. That dropped Philly to the NFC East basement and makes getting a wild card a bit harder despite having a winning record. The Eagles are only 2-2-1 in road games and the Ravens are 3-1 at home.

Philadelphia Eagles (5-4-1))
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 13-13 -9 42.5
12 @BAL - +1 38.5
13 ARZ - - -
14 @NYG - - -
15 CLE - - -
16 @WAS - - -
17 DAL - - -
PHI @ BAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Donovan McNabb     200,1
RB Brian Westbrook 30 10  
RB Correll Buckhalter 40 20  
TE L.J. Smith   20  
WR Reggie Brown   20  
WR DeSean Jackson   60,1  
WR Kevin Curtis   50  
PK David Akers 2 FG 1 XP  
Pregame Notes: Last week was clearly a trap situation since the Eagles had three of their last four games and the lone loss was a close decision with the Giants. But in the NFC there is no room for error in chasing a wildcard bid this year. The rest of the schedule remains fairly daunting and the Eagles have that look common to this year where old offenses are just looking old.

Quarterback: Donovan McNabb's production has been all over the map this year and against a solid defense of the Giants had three touchdowns but only194 yards. Against the soft Bengals secondary, he had 339 yards but only one score and three interceptions. And a lost fumble. The only potential trend that applies here is that he typically does not fare well against good defenses but usually gets at least one score.

Running Backs: No one is really asking the question but I will - what is wrong with Brian Westbrook? After scoring eight times in the first five games that he played, he has none in the last three weeks. He has not topped 100 total yards in those games and has only been catching three passes per week for the last two games. That's not Westbrook. His knee has been an issue and he has been limited in practice but that happens every year and then Westbrook explodes. Until now. The game against the Bengals in particular was a surprisingly pedestrian affair with only 14 rushes for 60 yards and three catches for 11 more yards. And now he goes to Baltimore?

Wide Receivers: No real changes here other than Reggie Brown has been back for three weeks and has only one catch in each game. Granted, he scored against the Seahawks but but he has lost all fantasy value in this offense. Kevin Curtis has been mildly effective as has DeSean Jackson but both players only have one touchdown on the season so far and the inconsistent use of wideouts means that you cannot rely on any of them in a given week. Jackson has upgraded the offense but only in the sense that he throws in around 60 or so yards per week on top of the wildly inconsistent numbers everyone else generates.

Tight Ends: L.J. Smith recorded his third touchdown of the year in the Bengals game last week but he has never had more than 36 yards in any game and has no fantasy merit. He never has more than three catches per week either so even his PPR value is negligible.

Match Against the Defense: The bad news for a struggling Westbrook is that the Ravens have not allowed any rushing scores by a visiting runner or more than 56 rushing yards. This is a bad week to need much from Westbrook who will do well enough to end with moderate total yardage and no score.

McNabb should manage to throw for one touchdown here since almost every opponent has but anything more than that would be a surprise and the first time the Ravens allowed it in a home game. The one passing score could go anywhere and I will award it to Jackson but the confidence level is very low. The Ravens are battling with the Steelers for their division and the Eagles are just in the way at the wrong time.

Gaining Fantasy Points PHI 6 14 6 16 2 3
Preventing Fantasy Points BAL 7 3 6 13 11 24

Baltimore Ravens (6-4)
Homefield: M&T Bank Stadium
Sport Turf
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 CIN 17-10 +1 39
2 BYE - - -
3 CLE 28-10 -2 38.5
4 @PIT 20-23 +6 34.5
5 TEN 10-17 +3 35
6 @IND 3-31 +4.5 39
7 @MIA 27-13 +3 36.5
8 OAK 29-10 -7 36
9 @CLE 37-27 +1.5 36.5
10 @HOU 41-13 +1.5 41.5
11 @NYG 10-30 +6.5 42
12 PHI - -1 38.5
13 @CIN - - -
14 WAS - - -
15 PIT - - -
16 @DAL - - -
17 JAX - - -
BAL vs PHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Joe Flacco     160,1
RB Ray Rice 30 20  
RB Willis McGahee 70,1 10  
TE Todd Heap   30  
WR Mark Clayton   20  
WR Derrick Mason   60  
PK Matt Stover 3 FG 2 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Ravens are 6-4 and one game being the Steelers but have just finished playing five of their last six games on the road against some heavy hitters of the Colts and Giants and went 4-2 over that stretch. Now the schedule gets no less challenging but at least four of the final six games happen at home and so far no visitor has scored more than 17 points in Baltimore.

Quarterback: No doubt that Joe Flacco is improving as the season progresses and he has scored at least once in each of the last five games and had double scores in three of them. His yardage remains below 200 in all but three games but he has been a decent game manager already with signs of stepping up to having a bigger impact. He threw two interceptions last week in New York but had gone four weeks without a turnover. He is on the right track and gaining speed slowly.

Running Backs: There is no changes here to one of the worst committee situations in the league. Willis McGahee remains the apparent primary back though he left the game last Sunday with an ankle injury that has been described as no big deal and that he should play this week. Ray Rice only has 15 carries for 36 yards over the last two weeks despite gaining 154 yards on 21 carries in Cleveland the previous week. Le'Ron McClain remains involved but with a minor role of no recent consequence.

The assumption is that McGahee is going to get most of the carries and that Rice remains worth about eight carries per week. If McGahee or Rice would become injured and not play it would really help clear this backfield up. Until or unless that happens, it is a risk to rely on any runner here.

Wide Receivers: Derrick Mason was a game time decision last week and played well enough to have a team high seven catches for 82 yards but he re-aggravated his shoulder injury and will likely miss some practice this week. But he continued to play with the injury and should suit up again this week even though he will miss time and likely be deemed a gametime decision. I will assume he is good to go and will be playing with only minor limitation if any.

No other wideouts here have much fantasy value though Mark Clayton has stepped up play recently in replacement of the injured Demetrius Williams. But bottom line - it either happens with Mason or it just doesn't happen.

Tight Ends: A expected, Todd Heap finally had a decent game when he scored twice against the Texans and then last week he was back to having only three catches for 16 yards. Hope you did not bite on that one.

Match Against the Defense: The Eagles have been decent against the run though a couple of backs had big games against them. The Ravens are so mix and match with runners that it's hard to see anyone have a big yardage game but one rushing score is certainly possible here.

Flacco faces a very solid secondary and one that delights throwing a blitz at a new quarterback. Flacco could have one score here but he'll have to work at it and even then it could go anywhere. I am calling for a defensive score in the game that makes the difference, not the passing game.

Gaining Fantasy Points BAL 19 6 28 26 24 8
Preventing Fantasy Points PHI 9 10 7 30 17 7

The Huddle
~ 2008 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday Late
Other Features
Fantasy Statistics
Tuesday Injury Report
Free Agent Forecast
Commentary From the Edge
Game Recaps
Tunnel Vision
a d v e r t i s e m e n t