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

Prediction: ARI 17, JAC 20

Saturday Update: Both Boldin and Breaston are listed as questionable to play and both were limited in practice the entire week. Breaston remains a gametime decision this week and he won't be 100% so I am removing him from the projections because he just is not safe to start. Jerheme Urban will take his place if needed. Boldin is more likely to play

Friday Update: Anquan Boldin was limited in practice on Wednesday and Thursday much as he was last week. He'll play this week since he has improved but he's still not 100% healthy so limit your expectations. Steve Breaston was a gametime scratch because he aggravated the injury in pregame warmups. He did not practice on Wednesday but was able to do some work on Thursday. He's likely to be another gametime decision this week as well. I am projecting a minimal game anyway but will update it tomorrow if anything significant happens on Friday. Do not expect it though.

Both teams come off close losses but the Cardinals hit the road where they were only 3-5 on the regular season last year. Of course the Jags were only 2-6 at home. The Jaguars defense played better but the offense was nothing more than Maurice Jones-Drew. But the Cardinals came out so obviously flat that it's hard to imagine a turnaround in one week in a road game.

Arizona Cardinals (0-1)
Homefield: University of Phoenix Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 SF 16-20 -6 46
2 @JAC - +3 43
3 IND - - -
4 BYE - - -
5 HOU - - -
6 @SEA - - -
7 @NYG - - -
8 CAR - - -
9 @CHI - - -
10 SEA - - -
11 @STL - - -
12 @TEN - - -
13 MIN - - -
14 @SF - - -
15 @DET - - -
16 STL - - -
17 GB - - -
ARI at JAC Rush Catch Pass
QB Kurt Warner     270,2
RB Chris Wells 40    
RB Tim Hightower 30 40  
WR Anquan Boldin   50,1  
WR Larry Fitzgerald   100,1  
WR Jerheme Urban   50  
WR Steve Breaston 20
PK Neil Rackers 1 FG 2 XP  
Pregame Notes: It seemed like the Cards were still only halfway through their hangover from celebrating last season. The reality is partially that and the fact that Anquan Boldin was playing with a bad hamstring and Steve Breaston was inactive. That left Warner with little more than Larry Fitzgerald and the 49ers are good enough now that opponents will require more than one good player to beat them. Next week is a home game against the Colts and then a bye. Chances are the Cards will be looking to "start fresh" come week five since the season is not beginning well.

Quarterback: Kurt Warner ended with 288 yards and one score last week but almost all that came in the second half and he had two interceptions and three sacks He looked clearly out of synch with his receivers on a few plays but was shaking off some rust as the game progressed. Not having a healthy Boldin and missing Breaston was a tough break but one that Warner would have been able to compensate for last year. Chalk it up to rust and the hangover for now but Warner looked out of sorts at times last week.

The Jaguars are coming off a game where they allowed Peyton Manning to pass for 301 yards and a score and the Jaguars were actually worse against quarterbacks during home games. Warner's numbers will depend in part of the health of his wideouts so until Breaston and Boldin look healthy, expect a bit more struggling from Warner.

Running Backs: The Cards started Tim Hightower last week but got very little from his as a runner - eight carries for 15 yards. Where Hightower made a shocking contribution was as a receiver when he had a team high 12 catches for 121 yards which reflected the problems Warner was having trying to find receivers downfield. It was purely a product of game situation but Hightower played an important role in passing downs.

Chris Wells only ran seven times but gained 29 yards and looked far superior to Hightower as a runner. But until the Cardinals find themselves in a game with the lead, chances are Wells won't be a huge factor. Hightower has no less than third down duty wrapped up and the Cardinals are not finding themselves near the goal line much so far. Wells is still not 100% over his sprained ankle but is playing well nonetheless.

The Jaguars rushing defense was a step up this year when they went to Indy and only allowed 75 yards on 28 carries between the two Indy runners. Back at home where they never allowed a 100 yard rusher in 2008, the Jags should keep Hightower and Wells to only moderate rushing totals that will be split between them.

Wide Receivers: Anquan Boldin played in a very limited fashion last Sunday and largely because the team was going to be without Steve Breaston anyway. Breaston was a scratch at game time when his PCL was bothering him. Boldin's hamstring is still not completely healed and he only had two catches for 19 yards. He'll be another practice watch this week but hopefully will be more recovered. Larry Fitzgerald had a decent showing against the 49ers with six catches for 71 yards and the lone touchdown but last week was proof how much better Fitzgerald could be when Boldin gives the secondary someone else to worry about. Jerheme Urban filled in but wasn't a big factor and Early Doucet also missed the game because of his own ribs injury.

What is favorable here is that the Colts last week lost their flanker (Gonzalez) and yet Reggie Wayne soldiered on to a monster game of ten catches for 162 yards. That should help Fitzgerald's numbers this week even if Boldin is not completely healthy. With a rushing attack likely to sputter this week, the passing game will be the focus and with that, a big game for Fitzgerald.

Tight Ends: Not one catch by either last Sunday and only two passes thrown their way. Not worth projecting.

Gaining Fantasy Points ARI 14 19 11 32 2 17
Preventing Fantasy Points    JAC 22 18 28 11 5 3

Jacksonville Jaguars (0-1)
Homefield: J'ville Municipal Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @IND 12-14 +6.5 44.5
2 ARI - -3.5 43
3 @HOU - - -
4 TEN - - -
5 @SEA - - -
6 STL - - -
7 BYE - - -
8 @TEN - - -
9 KC - - -
10 @NYJ - - -
11 BUF - - -
12 @SF - - -
13 HOU - - -
14 MIA - - -
15 IND - - -
16 @NE - - -
17 @CLE - - -
JAX vs ARI Rush Catch Pass
QB David Garrard 30   170
RB Maurice Jones-Drew 90,1 40  
TE Marcedes Lewis   30  
WR Torry Holt   50  
WR Mike Walker   20  
WR Troy Williamson   20  
PK Josh Scobee 2 FG 2 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Jaguars have to be somewhat pleased despite the loss when they played the Colts almost even in Indianapolis but that was thanks to the defense, not the offense. The Jaguars were almost nothing more than Maurice Jones-Drew and being so one-dimensional doesn't bode well for the rest of the season. The passing game went nowhere despite the offseason attempt to collect aged players on the downside of their career and opt to stand pat on the rest who had never done anything in the league in the past. This week can be a win thanks to the defense but the offense is not making it easy.

I like a defensive score this week.

Quarterback: David Garrard was playing at Indianapolis who fields a great secondary every season but still the expectation was more than 122 passing yards and 35 of those yards went to running back dump-offs. He completed only 14 of 28 throws but had no turnovers and just one sack. The passing game here has been substandard so long that sub-200 yard games seem normal. The addition of Torry Holt did nothing to upgrade this team so far.

Garrard back at home is even less likely to pass much so expect moderate numbers here as the high side of what will happen. He could tack on enough rushing yardage to make his fantasy points approach average.

Running Backs: Maurice Jones-Drew finally took over as the primary back and the results were good enough - 97 yards on 21 carries with one touchdown and five receptions for 26 more yards. Solid showing though unspectacular. The interesting aspect was that Jones-Drew had all but one carry in the game and the lone exception went to Montell Owens. Greg Jones only had one catch and Rashad Jennings was not used.

We'll see how well Jones-Drew holds up with that sort of workload but so far, he's delivering on his fantasy promised as the primary back. He showed up to the Monday press conference with his right arm wrapped but nothing was said and the assumption is that he'll be good to go this week.

What could be a problem is that the Cardinals rushing defense was outstanding last week when it held Frank Gore to only 30 yards on 22 carries. Playing this on the road should make the Cards less dominating though and while they were great at home last year, they still gave up several big games to running backs on the road. Jones-Drew will not have a huge game here but he should be serviceable at worst.

Wide Receivers: The addition of Torry Holt means little so far since his debut only saw him catch three of his five passes and gained only 47 yards with no score. Granted, that led the Jaguars and that is sort of the problem. The wideouts as a unit only had five receptions for 64 yards in Indy. Troy Williamson had just one catch for ten yards and Mike Sims-Walker had no receptions. The wideouts for this team actually have declined from last year when it was already bad.

No reason to expect much here against a secondary that average and therefore light years ahead of the wide receivers.

Tight Ends: Marcedes Lewis only had 23 yards on three catches last week but that is really notable on this offense. He comes into play more in games where the wide receivers are being handled which could be every week this year.

Gaining Fantasy Points JAC 32 12 31 27 21 23
Preventing Fantasy Points    ARI 9 13 10 14 25 20

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