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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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The Huddle
Divisional
~ 2009 ~
Season Ticket
Saturday
Sunday
   
   

Prediction: PHI 16, NYG 17

Update: The weather could be a small factor here. There is no expected precipitation or wind to worry about but it will be just below freezing the entire game.

Brian Westbrook did not practice on Wednesday or Thursday but came in for some work on Friday and is expected to play. The Giants enter this game at full strength.

This is the only game between divisional rivals this week and the teams traded road wins this year. The Giants won 36-31 in Philly during week 10 and later the Eagles won 20-14 in New York four weeks later. The Giants are the #1 seed and the second meeting could have been influenced by a less motivated Giants team going against the Eagles who were scrambling to grab a wildcard. That was the only loss at home by the Giants this season. The Eagles have been just 4-4-1 on the road though they ended the season on a high note that carried them past the Vikings last week.

The Giants are not as daunting without Plaxico Burress but playing at home, being rested and facing a very well known opponent should all grant them an important edge.

One oddity - in the last ten meetings between these teams, seven times it has been the visitor who won.

Philadelphia Eagles (9-6-1))
Homefield: Lincoln Financial Field
Turf
  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 7-36 +1 38.5
13 ARZ 48-20 -3 47
14 @NYG 20-14 +8 44
15 CLE 30-10 -14 39
16 @WAS 3-10 -5 38.5
17 DAL 44-6 -2.5 40.5
18 @MIN 26-14 -3 40.5
19 @NYG   +4 40
PHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Donovan McNabb     220,1
RB Brian Westbrook 60 30  
TE L.J. Smith   30  
WR Reggie Brown   20  
WR DeSean Jackson   40  
WR Kevin Curtis   30,1  
WR Jason Avant   50  
PK David Akers 3 FG 1 XP  

Pregame Notes: Each season seems to have one team that shockingly reaches the Super Bowl against all odds. The Giants, Steelers and the like. This year it could well be the Eagles who are playing great defense and getting improved play from Donovan McNabb. It has been six games since any team scored more than 20 points on the Eagles.

There is no arguing that McNabb has been more productive at home (17 TDs) than on the road (8 TDs) and in both games against the Giants this season he passed for around 190 yards. But he had three scores at home and then just one in New York. His 194 yards and one score on the road was after his "sit down and think about it" during week 12.

The previous meetings with the Giants have seen the normal results from the passing game. Kevin Curtis and Jason Avant both scored in the home game but never had more than 42 yards in either games. DeSean Jackson ran for a score in the home meeting and caught four passes for 61 yards in that first game but then was blanked in the road game of week 14.

L.J. Smith has been a minor factor in both games with six catches for 44 yards in New York and three receptions for 36 yards in Philly.

Brian Westbrook only managed 26 yards on 13 carries in the home meeting but then had his best game of the year in New York when he ran 33 times for 131 yards and one score and added six catches for 72 yards and a second touchdown. Westbrook has not rushed for more than 53 yards in the four games since and scored just once.

The Giants defense has been great against the run at home with only two exceptions - Westbrook and then DeAngelo Williams in week 16 when the Giants were wrapping up the #1 seed. Otherwise runners have been stifled there and even Westbrook only managed a more typical 26 yards on 13 carries in the first meeting.

McNabb threw for around 190 yards in both meetings which is also more typical of a visitor. Only two passers have topped 200 yards in New York this year and none have thrown for more than one score. The Giants never sacked McNabb this year but can bring the heat better in this home game.

As always, there are no Philly receivers that are likely to have a fantasy relevant game here since there should only be one passing touchdown and that could end up anywhere. Jackson had a decent game in the first meeting but then was shut down completely in New York which will be a problem again this week. Expect one score to a wide receiver and while I will give it to Avant there is low confidence in determining which wideout will catch the touchdown.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points PHI 8 13 9 20 3 1
Preventing Fantasy Points    NYG 6 9 22 1 3 3


New York Giants (12-4)
Homefield: Giants Stadium
FieldTurf
  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 34-28 -3 37.5
17 @MIN 19-20 +7 41
19 PHI   -4 40
NYG Rush Catch Pass
QB Eli Manning     180,1
RB Brandon Jacobs 100,1    
RB Derrick Ward 30 20  
TE Kevin Boss   40,1  
WR Domenik Hixon   30  
WR Amani Toomer   30  
WR Steve Smith   40  
PK John Carney 1 FG 2 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Giants went on as the #1 seed in the NFC by winning 11 of their first 12 games but then lost three of the last four games starting with the second matchup against the Eagles. And yet, they still won the #1 seed and beat the Panthers (#2 seed) to prove their superiority. The Giants have been hit with the Plaxico Burress situation and the general look that maybe they peaked too early. But the Giants have suffered through distractions and injuries that are now over. The team is healthy and ready to resume the pace that made them look unbeatable through the first 13 games of the regular season.

Eli Manning passed for 191 yards and two scores in Philadelphia this season with just one interception. In the second meeting, he was held to only 123 passing yards and one touchdown on the heels of all the hoopla surrounding Burress. Manning has thrown for at least one score in all but one game this year.

The heart and soul of this offense will be the running game and for the first time in many weeks, there are no running backs on the injury report and all are expected to be healthy and ready to play. Brandon Jacobs rushed for 126 yards on 22 carries with two scores in Philly this year while Derrick Ward had 53 yards on 17 carries in that game as well. The later match-up saw Jacobs with only 10 carries for 52 yards while Ward was held to only 39 yards on eight carries. He reaggravated a knee injury that week and has been limited in practices until now. A healthy Jacobs is a major benefit for this offense.

Domenik Hixon has taken over for Burress and turned in around 70 yards in each of the last four games other than only managed 30 yards on three catches against the Eagles in week 14. He only has two touchdowns on the season.

Amani Toomer has been largely phased out with only a couple of passes in most recent games but he can still contribute depending on what the offense needs. Toomer only has four scores on the season and just one since Burress left. Steve Smith bangs out around 20 yards in most games and has only one touchdown. Since Burress left, this offense has changed and Hixon has yet to really step up.

The Eagles are one of the best teams against the run but the Giants are healthy and feature one of the best attacks in the league - at home no less. Expect a very nice game here by Jacobs and Ward may end up with some fantasy relevant numbers if the Giants get a big enough lead to warrant using Ward more.

The Eagles passing defense has been been top notch in most game but has allowed multiple scores on six occasions, Have to like Kevin Boss more this week against a defense that is weak only against tight ends.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NYG 19 2 17 17 1 15
Preventing Fantasy Points    PHI 3 3 6 25 8 10

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