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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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The Huddle
WEEK 15
~ 2008 ~
Season Ticket
Thursday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday Late
Sunday
Monday
*updated

Prediction: DET 3, IND 34

Update: Shaun McDonald is out and Culpepper is listed as doubful but he never practiced this week and is not expected to play. it gets worse - Kevin Smith has been limited in all practices this week because of a sore groin. He will still likely play but will not be 100%. Lastly, Calvin "the franchise" Johnson has been listed as questionable on the injury report because of his hand but you can be sure he will play. He will be surrounded by more defenders than the President visiting Iraq but he will be on the field. John Standeford and Keary Colbert will get more playing time but are not worth projecting.

Joseph Addai is listed as questionable because of his shoulder but never practiced this week and is more doubtful than questionable. Dominic Rhodes is likely to get the start and Addai may not even play. I am removing Addai and inserting Rhodes.

This is an apparent mismatch. This seems such a bad mismatch that it will probably be worth watching if only to see how it unfolds. Have to think that the announcers in this game either drew the short straws or were caught with the producer's wife. Is it possible to watch an entire football game while wincing?

Detroit Lions (0-13)
Homefield: Ford Field
FieldTurf
  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 20-38 +8.5 41
13 TEN 10-47 +11 44.5
14 MIN 16-20 +9.5 46
15 @IND - +17 45
16 NO - - -
17 @GB - - -
DET at IND Rush Catch Pass
QB Drew Stanton     110
RB Kevin Smith 60 20  
TE Michael Gaines   10  
WR Calvin Johnson   40  
WR Shaun McDonald 30
PK Jason Hanson 1 FG    
Pregame Notes: Well. probably the best shot for a win just left with the Vikings and now that Daunte Culpepper is out injured, the Lions are afraid if they take out an ad in the Detroit Free Press for a replacement that no one will answer the ad. That week 16 game against the Saints is about all that is standing between the Lions and infamy. And as has always been the case, do not bet on the side with the Lions this year.

Quarterback: As if any more challenges were needed, the Lions have probably lost Daunte Culpepper to a shoulder injury and if so the starter this week is not yet know. Drew Stanton is expected back from his concussion and is the most likely but Dan Orlovsky may be cleared to play with his bad thumb. It's not like anyone in this country is relying on starting the Lions quarterback this week but I will assume that Stanton gets his start and update on Friday for purely archival accuracy. No need to mention whoever it is will be facing the #1 defense against the pass in their stadium. What fun!

Running Backs: All things considered, Kevin Smith has turned in a tremendous year as the Lions starting tailback. He has topped 80 total yards in four of the last five games and even though he has stopped scoring since week ten, he adds a bit via receptions each week and has been a serviceable flex play at running back since the Lions will run him even though they need to be passing in the game. Smith has arguably manned the worst offense in the league and yet has gained 684 yards on 167 carries for a 4.1 yard average.

That's better than Matt Forte. Smith just doesn't get the workload to matter much.

Wide Receivers: Calvin Johnson may be quietly proving he is the greatest wide out of all time by playing for a team with no other weapons and with a carousel of castoff quarterbacks that never ends and yet Johnson still has nine touchdowns on the season and already has 1055 yards. Every play the entire defense knows that they want to throw to Johnson but at least three to five times each week, he catches long passes and normally scores. This week will be the supreme challenge using an injured quarterback with minimal playing experience against the toughest secondary in the league and on the road.

Don't bet against him. But don't bet on him this week.

Tight Ends: No fantasy value.

Match Against the Defense: If you match up numbers allowed and gained, rankings and the like this is a monumental beatdown but the Colts have never been much for just rolling up a score. Look for no touchdown this week and moderate numbers from Smith as a rusher. This is the one week where Calvin Johnson can be benched. He's been a tremendous player but this is as bad as it gets.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DET 22 31 15 27 30 27
Preventing Fantasy Points    IND 1 25 1 7 24 5


Indianapolis Colts (9-4)
Homefield: Lucas Oil Stadium
FieldTurf
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 CHI 13-29 -9.5 44
2 @MIN 18-15 -2 43.5
3 JAX 21-23 -5.5 42
4 BYE - - -
5 @HOU 31-27 -3 47.5
6 BAL 31-3 -4.5 39
7 @GB 14-34 -1 47
8 @TEN 21-31 +4 42
9 NE 18-15 -5.5 45
10 @PIT 24-20 +3.5 38.5
11 HOU 33-27 -9 50
12 @SD 23-20 +3 49.5
13 @CLE 10-6 -4.5 45
14 CIN 35-3 -14 42.5
15 DET - -17 45
16 @JAX - - -
17 TEN - - -
IND vs DET Rush Catch Pass
QB Peyton Manning     260,2
RB Joseph Addai 70,1 10
RB Dominic Rhodes 90,1 20  
TE Dallas Clark   30  
WR Marvin Harrison   60,1  
WR Reggie Wayne   80,1  
WR Anthony Gonzalez   50  
PK Adam Vinatieri 2 FG 4 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Colts have won their last six games and those final three matchups could string it out to nine. The Colts have already lost the division to the Titans but will be the wildcard team that no one wants to play. Two more home games that includes the Titans who will have nothing to play for and a trip to Jacksonville right before they start to deconstruct the team and coaching staff. The Colts could be the team that sneaks through by peaking at the right time. Hard to think we couldn't see them coming though.

Quarterback: Peyton Manning had a slow start to the season but has made up for it with a vengeance by scoring two or more touchdowns in eight of the last ten games. The yardage is lower than past year with only one game over 300 passing yards but Manning has turned it up and had his best games against the toughest of opponents. Facing the Lions this week could be a wonderful orgy of passing touchdowns but that's not likely to happen. Manning doesn't do much more than he need to do in order to win.

Running Backs: Joseph Addai has been a major disappointment this year and has only one game over 100 rushing yards. Since week five, he has only scored in one contest even though the schedule has been rather weak with CLE, SD and CIN up most recently. Addai injured his shoulder last week and while HC Tony Dungy said he could have returned to play, he didn't. And the team has signed Najeh Davenport for depth.

This week should be an excellent chance to get some productive rushing but Addai's condition remains to be seen and Dominic Rhodes has mixed in and hawked scores to make the backfield even less appealing, I will assume a fairly healthy Addai can play and update as warranted.

Wide Receivers: As any Reggie Wayne owner can attest, the Colts wide receivers have really seen a drop in recent games. Wayne has gone three games without more than 50 yards and those were all soft secondaries - SD, CLE and CIN. No scores and only 11 catches for 128 yards combined on those three weeks. Wayne's best games have been against the Ravens (8-118, 1 TD) and the Steelers (6-114, 1 TD). And yet cream-puff matchups spawn almost no production. This week could be a monster game for Wayne and should be. But the last three weeks says it may not.

Both Marvin Harrison and Anthony Gonzalez scored last week but have otherwise been worse than Wayne.

Tight Ends: Dallas Clark just caught his fourth touchdown of the year but has remained below 30 yards every week for so long that he is not worth a fantasy start.

Match Against the Defense: The Lions present the "have it your way" defense and the Colts should try to get Addai and Rhodes some work this week if both are healthy. Barring practice news, I will assume both will be and that Addai has a shot at a nice game here. I will not project for Rhodes but he too could be involved.

Manning could carve this defense up for a season high game but he won't. Look for a solid win here to be sure but the Lions are likely to put up minimal fight which just means no reason to pass too much. Home game is a nice chance for some fantasy points and the defense should score at least once as well. The Colts won't try to roll up a big score but it will be hard to avoid.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points IND 9 26 8 6 29 15
Preventing Fantasy Points    DET 23 30 20 29 28 32

The Huddle
WEEK 15
~ 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
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