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

Prediction: CAR 20, NYG 24

Update: There is a chance of snow here and a cross wind of about 16 mph but the temperatures are around 28 so it won't be as cold as it could have been. Brandon Jacobs was limited in all practices this week but is still expected to start so long as he has no setbacks with his knee. Domenik Hixon has also been limited this week but should play with sore foot. I am lowering his projections slightly since the weather is cold and he won't be 100%.

This should be a most interesting game to watch. The Giants were soaring along as the team to beat and the certain NFC representative in the Super Bowl. And after losing Plaxico Burress to paranoid stupidity and Brandon Jacobs was dinged yet again, suddenly the Giants are looking less like the toast of the conference and more like just toast. The Giants are still 11-3 but have lost their last two games. They are now tied with these Panthers and this game decides who gets the #1 seed and homefield throughout the playoffs.

Carolina Panthers (11-3)
Homefield: Bank of America Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @SD 26-24 +9 42
2 CHI 20-17 -3 37
3 @MIN 10-20 +3.5 37
4 ATL 24-9 -7 39.5
5 KC 34-0 -9.5 38.5
6 @TB 3-27 +1.5 36.5
7 NO 30-7 -3 44
8 ARZ 27-23 -4.5 43.5
9 BYE - - -
10 @OAK 17-6 -9 38
11 DET 31-22 -14 39.5
12 @ATL 28-45 +1 42.5
13 @GB 35-31 +3 43
14 TB 38-23 -3 40
15 DEN 30-10 -6.5 45
16 @NYG - +3 39.5
17 @NO - - -
CAR @ NYG Rush Catch Pass
QB Jake Delhomme     180,1
RB DeAngelo Williams 75,1 20  
WR Steve Smith   80  
WR Muhsin Muhammad   40,1  
WR Dwayne Jarrett   20  
PK John Kasay 2 FG 2 XP  

Pregame Notes: One significant notable here. The Panthers are 8-0 at home and yet only 3-3 on the road. Road losses were Atlanta, Tampa Bay and Minnesota - the only road teams with a winning record. They beat the Chargers, Raiders and Packers like most everyone else has. A win here would be huge but the Giants at home will play tough and are rocked by their two losses. The Panthers can get a win this week but all cylinders will need to be firing to make it happen.

The Panthers have been on a roll but their road games have really not gone nearly as well and the Saints await after this week.

Quarterback: The road version of Jake Delhomme has not been that effective since six games produced only three passing scores and only one game over 250 passing yards. Delhomme has scored on a run in each of the last two away games but the passing has been much better at home where he has scored 11 touchdowns versus just the three away.

Running Backs: DeAngelo Williams missed nearly half of the Denver game because of a mild concussion but he still scored for the seventh straight week and gained 88 yards on only 12 carries. Even the recent road games have been good for Williams who had 101 yards in Atlanta and 140 yards in Oakland.

Jonathan Stewart also scored last week and had 16 carries for 52 yards to keep his pattern intact. He goes off and scores in home games (8 TDs) and then plays a minimal role on the road (1 TD). At home he regularly has 15 carries each week. On the road he has had more than seven runs only once. That suggests that Stewart's fantasy value has already ended for the year.

Wide Receivers: The Panthers have once again promoted Dwayne Jarrett to the #3 role while D.J. Hackett is no longer active for games. Jarrett has done almost nothing but he is on the field now catching the one pass per game.

Steve Smith is the only Panthers player that has been immune to the road versus home problem but even he has scored all six times at home and never on the road. He does have three games over 100 yards including the most recent two, but he never scores away from Carolina so far. That will come back to haunt the Panthers.

Tight Ends: No fantasy value.

Match Against the Defense: The Giants at home have been great against the run and only allowed two runners to score. Until Brian Westbrook pasted them with 131 yards two weeks ago, no visiting runner had rushed for more than 84 yards there. I will not project for Stewart who tends to disappear on the road but Williams could manage to get a score here and have at least moderate rushing numbers. If he can turn in a big game, might as well print the tickets to the Super Bowl.

Delhomme has not been very good on the road and the Giants have never allowed more than one passing score to a visiting quarterback. Expect very moderate numbers from Delhomme and the score to more likely end up with Muhammad than Smith.

Gaining Fantasy Points CAR 26 2 11 27 11 20
Preventing Fantasy Points NYG 11 4 23 2 2 3

New York Giants (11-3)
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 37-29 -3 49
13 @WAS 23-7 -3.5 41.5
14 PHI 14-20 -8 44
15 @DAL 8-20 +3 44
16 CAR - -3 39.5
17 @MIN - - -
NYG vs CAR Rush Catch Pass
QB Eli Manning     180,1
RB Brandon Jacobs 90,2 10  
RB Derrick Ward 40    
TE Kevin Boss   20  
WR Domenik Hixon   40  
WR Amani Toomer   50,1  
WR Steve Smith   40  
PK John Carney 1 FG 3 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Giants have hit hard times with two losses to divisional foes but the team has now had time to adjust to their new situation and Brandon Jacobs is expected to return. The overriding value of this team is in the defense and that still has been tough at least when at home where opponents are regularly stopped from scoring more than 20 points. The Giants just need to use this final regular season home game to get the win and then they can cruise next week in Minnesota not caring what happens. The fight now is to show they have not already peaked.

Quarterback: Eli Manning made the Pro Bowl thanks to voters who must have stopped watching football after the Super Bowl last January. Manning has been decent and even occasionally very good but several other contenders were exponentially more deserving to go. Manning has passed for 22 touchdowns this year but rarely more than one per game and his yardage has been sub-200 in most games.

Running Backs: While HC Tom Coughlin has hemmed and hawed about Brandon Jacobs this week many sources contend that he will be playing this week and the Giants really need him. He typically carries only 15 to 20 times but sets the pace for the offense and does almost all the scoring with 12 rushing touchdowns on the year.

Just as important for this week, until he was injured when the Eagles came to town, Jacobs has scored in every home game since week one. Derrick Ward has been a solid relief player but only when he can complement the bruising Jacobs. Ward was bottled up in Dallas as the featured runner,

Wide Receivers: No wideout has scored in the last two games and Domenik Hixon has struggled to adjust to being a starter. He has 60 yards on six catches in Dallas but should have had more. Amani Toomer has been nearly ignored in these last two games and while there is speculation that he is playing out his final year as a Giant, he remains the only veteran on the squad now that Burress is gone.

The recent switch has seen Steve Smith getting marginally more action but the coaching staff likes him and expects him to grow into a bigger starting role. He should see increased work for the rest of the year.

Tight Ends: The loss of Burress has not resulted in any more use of Kevin Boss. Actually the opposite since Boss has only had one catch in each of the last two games.

Match Against the Defense: The Panthers rushing defense has been average at best away from home and Michael Turner burned this unit for four touchdowns and 117 yards. The Giants will get a nice effort from Jacobs if he is indeed healthy that should merit at least one rushing score if not two and decent yardage.

Likewise the Panthers secondary has not played many big time passers this year but the last road opponent was Aaron Rodgers who threw three scores and 298 yards. Warner and Garcia both had 300+ yard games against them. The transition in the receivers is no help but look for one passing score that should favor Toomer slightly if not Hixon if he will hold on to it. Manning can match if this turns to a shootout but it should remain mostly about the run and defense.

Gaining Fantasy Points NYG 18 4 15 18 1 12
Preventing Fantasy Points CAR 7 12 11 16 8 4

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