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

Prediction: SF 14, DAL 34

The 49ers ended their six game losing streak when they beat the Rams but are now on the road where they are 1-3. The Cowboys come off a season-saving win over the Redskins in Washington and have no margin for error the rest of the year. Could be a trap game but Dallas doesn't have the luxury of overlooking any opponent.

San Francisco 49ers (3-7)
Homefield: Monster Park
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 ARZ 13-23 +2.5 41.5
2 @SEA 33-30 +8 38.5
3 DET 31-13 -4 46
4 @NO 17-31 +6 48.5
5 NE 21-30 +3 41.5
6 PHI 26-40 +5 43
7 @NYG 17-29 +10.5 45
8 SEA 13-34 -4.5 42.5
9 BYE - - -
10 @ARZ 24-29 +9.5 47.5
11 STL 35-16 -6 44.5
12 @DAL - +11 48
13 @BUF - - -
14 NYJ - - -
15 @MIA - - -
16 @STL - - -
17 WAS - - -
SF @ DAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Shaun Hill     200,1
RB Frank Gore 60,1 30  
TE Vernon Davis   20  
WR Isaac Bruce   40  
WR Jason Hill   40  
WR Bryant Johnson   60,1  
PK Joe Nedney 2 XP    
Pregame Notes: It was a major weight lifted from the shoulders when the 49ers finally got their win last week and it was by a good margin thanks to a Rams team that is exploring how bad it can get. The rest of the schedule for the 49ers is plenty challenging and short of a big upset, the 49er may have seen their last win of the year unless they can sweep the Rams by winning in week 16 in St. Louis.

Quarterback: After two weeks of Shaun Hill as the starter, the results seem to suggest it was a good move. He has thrown for two scores in both games and had over 200 passing yards in each (though barely). Then again, those came against the Cardinals and Rams. And in Arizona, Hill lost a fumble and threw two interceptions. Hill is just the next guy in San Francisco but he can make a case for being on the roster next year.

Running Backs: Rather predictably, Frank Gore comes off his best game of the season when he ran for 106 yards on 18 carries and scored twice against the visiting Rams last week. That was only his third game over the century mark and all three have come in home games. In fact, of the seven touchdowns that Gore has scored this year, only one came in a road game (Seattle). The plus side about this week is that Gore should return to being a more heavily used receiver than he has recently in the easier games. So far Hill has not used Gore for more than two catches in a game.

Wide Receivers: With only two games for measure, the wideouts seem to be doing better under Hill but that could change this week. Josh Morgan scored in week ten but suffered a groin injury that kept him out last Sunday and likely this weekend as well. Bryant Johnson was the lead receiver in week 11 but only had four catches for 56 yards though he scored once. The moderate passing yardage is made even worse here because the scheme likes to spread the ball around. That is stripping this group of all reliable fantasy value and makes starting any a big risk in any given week.

Tight Ends: He's just teasing you now. Vernon Davis may still be the poster child for unrealized potential but he has scored in each of the last two games. They were his only catches in each game and they came with almost no yardage but he has scored twice on the season now. That's entirely too unreliable for fantasy consideration but at least he has showed up in the box score recently.

Match Against the Defense: The Cowboys rank around average in most categories but have returned a few defensive players which should make a difference (Like Terrence Newman shutting down Santana Moss last week). The Cowboys have been tough against the run at home this year but Gore should end up with a decent game if Hill will use him more as a receiver. That is a small risk of happening since Hill has not done that so far. I am crediting Gore with a touchdown since it helps with the total score I like in this game but the confidence is only luke warm since only Westbrook has rushed in a score in Dallas.

Hill goes against a secondary that plays better at home and has back some players now. But most teams score at least one passing touchdown and four opponents have two or more against them. Expect at least the one with only moderate yardage

Gaining Fantasy Points SF 10 21 16 20 13 21
Preventing Fantasy Points DAL 14 16 15 7 25 22

Dallas Cowboys (6-4)
Homefield: Texas Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @CLE 28-10 -5.5 49
2 PHI 41-37 -7 47
3 @GB 27-16 -3 51
4 WAS 24-26 -11.5 46
5 CIN 31-22 -17.5 44
6 @ARZ 24-30 -5 50
7 @STL 14-34 -7 44
8 TB 13-9 -2 42
9 @NYG 14-35 +8.5 41
10 BYE - - -
11 @WAS 14-10 -1.5 43
12 SF - -11 48
13 SEA - - -
14 @PIT - - -
15 NYG - - -
16 BAL - - -
17 @PHI - - -
DAL vs SF Rush Catch Pass
QB Tony Romo     280,3
RB Marion Barber 90,1 20  
TE Jason Witten   30  
WR Terrell Owens   100,2  
WR Patrick Crayton   30  
WR Roy Williams   60,1  
PK Nick Folk 2 FG 4 XP  

Pregame Notes: The return of Romo led to a much needed win over the Redskins but the 14 points scored was the fourth game in a row that the Cowboys have not had more than those 14 points. This week is an excellent spot for the Cowboys to pick up with a high points game again and only the Seahawks wait on the other side so no worries about a trap game here. The Cowboys have four of their last six games at home and have a shot a postseason play even though the Giants have all but locked up the division title.

Quarterback: After missing three games, Tony Romo finally made it back and had a decent game of 198 yards and a score against the Redskins. It was hardly an offensive explosion but came on the road against an always problematic opponent so the lower production and the two interceptions were no surprise. The important part was that the Cowboys won the game and that Romo had a few impressive plays while not making his normal game-killing mistake.

Running Backs: The Washington rematch wasn't Marion Barbers best game of the year but he had more impact in that one than any other. He rushed 24 times for 114 yards and one score and then added six catches for 39 yards as well. That really made up for the paltry 24 rushing yards that Barber had in the first meeting with the Skins. What Barber needs now is a 100 yard rushing effort this week since his three big games this year all happened on the road.

Felix Jones remains out for the undetermined future with a hamstring issue and his explosive presence has been missed and not replaced.

Wide Receivers: The amazing fact here is that Terrell Owens has not had more than 89 yards in any game this year and has not been above 40 yards since week five. That's five straight weeks of 38 yards or less and only one touchdown in that time. Romo's return should help Owens get back to form and the presence of Roy Williams should reduce the attention that Owens garners. But so far, not much Owens to point at this year. Last week he only had 38 yards on five receptions from Romo.

Williams hasn't done much yet but had 36 yards on two catches in his first playing time with Romo.

Tight Ends: Jason Witten has fallen on hard times this year as soon as Romo left but even last week he only had two catches for 24 yards. Witten only has two scores on the year and while he had decent yardage every week until Romo's injury, his owners have suffered through three straight games with almost no production.

Match Against the Defense: The 49ers rushing defense has generally been much better than the rankings suggest though they do give up rushing scores and the Cowboys are getting good returns on running Barber. Look for one rushing score a solid yardage here.

Romo faces a secondary that has been giving up a couple of scores per opponent lately and the Cowboys really need a big home win. Expect Romo to come back to form this week with up to 300 passing yards and three scores that should see Owens with at least one if not two against one of his old teams. There is no animosity there so the 49ers are not extra motivating, but Owens needs a big game pretty badly. The 49ers have ranked #1 against tight ends so Witten will be challenged to get out of his current funk.

Gaining Fantasy Points DAL 9 12 15 1 29 13
Preventing Fantasy Points SF 20 24 29 1 32 31

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