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

Prediction: TB 20, DET 13

Update: Mike Furrey remains out this week as well because of his concussion but Calvin Johnson is expected to play without limitation after missing practice on Wednesday and part of Thursday but then returned for a full day on Friday.


The Lions won, yes - they actually won 23-16 against the visiting Buccaneers last year. It happened. The Buccaneers are currently one game behind the Panthers in the NFC South and are only 2-3 on the road. But the 0-10 Lions are 0-4 at home and have turned into little more than a team predicated on throwing to Calvin Johnson every play. It could happen here, it has happened before but the Bucs should sneak out of here with a win.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-3)
Homefield: Raymond James Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @NO 20-24 +3.5


2 ATL 24-9 -8 38.5
3 @CHI 27-24 +3 35.5
4 GB 30-21 -1.5 43
5 @DEN 13-16 +3 48
6 CAR 27-3 -1.5 36.5
7 SEA 20-10 -11 39
8 @DAL 9-13 +2 42
9 @KC 30-27 -8.5 37.5
10 BYE - - -
11 MIN 19-13 -4 39.5
12 @DET - -8.5 41
13 NO - - -
14 @CAR - - -
15 @ATL - - -
16 SD - - -
17 OAK - - -
TB at DET Rush Catch Pass
QB Jeff Garcia     270,2
RB Warrick Dunn 70 20  
TE Alex Smith   20  
WR Joey Galloway   40  
WR Ike Hilliard   70,1  
WR Antonio Bryant   110,1  
PK Matt Bryant 2 FG 2 XP  
Pregame Notes: This could be a trap game to be sure since the Buccaneers know they can win this and had a three game stretch waiting on the other side where they play each NFC South opponent again with the division title on the line. These next two weeks should see a spark for the offensive scoring but the loss of Earnest Graham for the rest of the season will be more apparent right when the Bucs need a rushing game most.

Quarterback: No real changes to the game manager of Jeff Garcia who has never thrown for more than one score in any game so far. But his yardage has been on the upswing for the last month and that should come into play this week against the always horrible Detroit defense. This should be the best game of the year for Garcia.

Garcia passed for 316 yards and two touchdowns versus the Lions last year.

Running Backs: Earnest Graham has been lost for the rest of the year with an ankle injury and that moves Warrick Dunn into the starting spot with some help from Clifton Smith and even 'gasp' Carnell Williams. The Bucs placed Williams on the active roster but that doesn't necessarily mean that he'll get on the field this week or in the near future. This will be primarily Warrick Dunn as the only Buccaneers back with any appreciable fantasy value for at least the near future.

Graham rushed for 92 yards and added an incredible 13 catches for 99 yards in Detroit last year.

Wide Receivers: Facing the Lions is always the week to consider wideouts. Joey Galloway has been back for two weeks now with almost nothing to show and may have seen the last of his decent games in his career. If he was to do anything in a game this year, this week would be a nice place but there is nothing so far to suggest that Galloway will have any greater role.

Antonio Bryant has taken over and should see heavy use this week not only because of facing Detroit, but because the Buccaneers are down to just Warrick Dunn now as a rusher. Bryant already has three games over 100 yards this year and two with a score.

Hilliard had nine receptions for 92 yards and a score in Detroit last season. Galloway only had 46 yards on five catches.

Tight Ends: Last week was another Jerramy Stevens sighting with a season high 84 yards on six catches but he had no receptions in the previous game. No reliability at all in this group and Alex Smith is the more likely player to catch a score.

Match Against the Defense: The Lions are bad at defending everything so picking the poison this week means that Warrick Dunn should have a decent game at the very least with a chance for a big one if the Lions fall behind early on.

Garcia gets to go against the worst overall passing defense and one that always gives up at least one passing score if not two or three. There is no reason for Garcia to go nuts here on the yardage but look for two scores and solid stats at the least. Bryant should be a lock for one score and the other could go anywhere. Galloway could even show up here but remains a bigger risk so I will credit Hilliard with the score.

Gaining Fantasy Points TB 20 17 23 7 4 5
Preventing Fantasy Points DET 30 29 27 28 24 30

Detroit Lions (0-10)
Homefield: Ford Field
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @ATL 21-34 -3 41
2 GB 25-48 +3 45
3 @SF 13-31 +4 46
4 BYE - - -
5 CHI 7-34 +3.5 44.5
6 @MIN 10-12 +13.5 47
7 @HOU 21-28 +9 48
8 WAS 17-25 +8 43.5
9 @CHI 23-27 +13 43
10 JAX 14-38 +6.5 44.5
11 @CAR 22-31 +14 39.5
12 TB - +8.5 41
13 TEN - - -
14 MIN - - -
15 @IND - - -
16 NO - - -
17 @GB - - -
DET vs TB Rush Catch Pass
QB Daunte Culpepper     180,1
RB Kevin Smith 70 30  
TE Michael Gaines   20  
WR Mike Furrey 20
WR Calvin Johnson   60,1  
WR Shaun McDonald   40  
PK Jason Hanson 2 FG 1 XP  

Pregame Notes: It is safe to say that fate is not the friend of the Lions. Already 0-10, the remaining schedule has no opponents with a losing record and actually takes a tour of some of the better defenses in the league.The Lions are getting the benefit of being the team everyone knows they can beat by getting under-prepared opponents and then trash time in every game to show up as apparently decent stats. But we could be looking at a true 0-16 team here. We actually should be.

Quarterback: After two games, Daunte Culpepper has started to show his ability again when he passed for 207 yards and one score in Carolina last week though that was accompanied by a lost fumble, two interceptions and three sacks. That proves that Culpepper is back to the same form that prompted his departure from the league last summer. The Lions have accepted that this season was lost long ago and that all Culpepper can do is give Calvin Johnson real game reps to practice for next season.

The Lions passed for 147 yards and no scores against the Buccaneers last year.

Running Backs: Following the theme of "who cares, it is only the Lions", Kevin Smith comes off his first NFL 100 rushing yard game when he rumbled for 112 yards on 24 carries against the Panthers. Smith had 96 yards and a score the previous week against the Jaguars for another career best. As long as opponents do not take the Lions too seriously, Smith can continue to deliver surprisingly decent statistics each week The upcoming schedule appears brutal to a rushing attack but the Jags and Panthers both had good defenses that Smith had success against anyway.

The Lions rushed for 106 yards and one score against the visiting Bucs last season.

Wide Receivers: There is no surprise that the Lions constantly try to throw to Calvin Johnson but he has caught a touchdown in five of the last six games and had at least around 60 yards every week. Shaun McDonald has only been able to gain around 35 yards per game recently and Mike Furrey has missed time with a concussion. Johnson also had quadriceps injury in the game last week but HC Rod "Shortimer" Marinelli said that it was not a serious injury and that he expected Johnson to play this week. He may miss some practice time but should play. I will assume all can play this week and update if needed.

No wideout had more than 37 yards that Calvin Johnson produced against the Bucs last year though he ran in a 32-yard touchdown.

Tight Ends: No fantasy relevance.

Match Against the Defense: The Lions face a defense that is top ten in every category and that does not bode well unless the Bucs try to mail in the game this week. Look for a moderate game from Smith this week that could be bigger but probably won't since the Bucs need this game badly.

Culpepper goes against a very good secondary but one that has allowed at least one score to every road opponent. That has to favor Calvin Johnson the most because he gets such a high concentration of all passes. Johnson scores late in this game when the Buccaneers finally do not care.

Gaining Fantasy Points DET 16 30 12 27 30 32
Preventing Fantasy Points TB 10 4 10 4 14 8

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