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

Prediction: HOU 17, ARI 31

Saturday Update: Steve Breaston was limited in practices this week and is still listed as questionable but is expected to play barring any unforseen setbacks. This is a nice matchup and Breaston should have at least a decent game here.

The Texans embark on only their second trip away from Houston and hope it is as much fun as the jaunt to Tennessee was. The Cardinals come off their bye week with a 1-2 record and a bit surly because they are still searching for their first home win after two tries. Cards re-establish their nest and reverse this odd trend for both teams. This could be a nice shootout.

Houston Texans (2-2)
Homefield: Reliant Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 NYJ 7-24 -4.5 44
2 @TEN 34-31 +7 40.5
3 JAC 24-31 -4 46.5
4 OAK 29-6 -9.5 41
5 @ARI - +5.5 48
6 @CIN - - -
7 SF - - -
8 @BUF - - -
9 @IND - - -
10 BYE - - -
11 TEN - - -
12 IND - - -
13 @JAC - - -
14 SEA - - -
15 @STL - - -
16 @MIA - - -
17 NE - - -
HOU at ARI Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Schaub     300,2
RB Steve Slaton 50


TE Owen Daniels   50,1  
WR Andre' Johnson   100,1  
WR Kevin Walter   70  
WR Jacoby Jones   30  
PK Kris Brown 1 FG 2 XP  
Pregame Notes: Knowing what we do now, the Texans beating the Titans and Raiders hardly qualify as a major feat though the road win was something new. The rushing game continues to lag last season though and Andre Johnson has been largely without his trademark big games. WIth all the same principals in the same positions, it seems the offense is being held back more from predictable play calling.

Quarterback: Matt Schaub had two monster 300 yard games in a row with seven touchdowns in all but last week fell to only 224 yards and one score against the Raiders. The sloppy secondaries of the Jaguars and Titans allowed much more than the Raiders did or even the Jets back in week one (166 yards and no scores). This week on the road, Schaub should have at least marginal success with a chance of big numbers again..

The Cardinals had allowed seven passing touchdowns in the three games they have played and that includes 280 yards and two scores by David Garrard. Peyton Manning scorched them for four scores and 379 yards. Knowing that the Texans have to pass and won't be able to run, figure on a decent game from Schaub that could be a big one.

Running Backs: Steve Slaton still has yet to catch fire though he augmented his 89 total yards against the Raiders with two touchdowns - his first of the season. He still has not rushed fro more than 76 yards and on the road in Tennessee was held to 34 yards on 17 carries. Slaton catches three passes per game and usually gains around 30 yards which is just enough to warrant his continued role as a fantasy starter but he's been a disappointment this season and it will only get worse this week. Slaton was temporarily benched last week because he fumbled and allowed Ryan Moats to gain 56 yards on 15 carries as the replacement for Chris Brown who had become ill and could not play.

The Cardinals have not allowed a rushing score since week one and no runner has gained more than 63 yards against them. Figure on another mediocre afternoon from Slaton.

Wide Receivers: Take away his big week two performance and Andre Johnson has been a big disappointment with no other scores and no more than four catches in a game. The leader in catches last year currently has 20 receptions in four weeks thanks only to a ten-catch effort in Tennessee. Facing the Jets ( 4-35) and the Raiders (2-66) took a toll but this week should see at least some bounce back for Johnson. Kevin Walter returned from a hamstring issue in week three and had a big game against the Jaguars but then only had one catch last Sunday. This passing attack needs desperately to get back on track.

This week should see success against the secondary that was lit up by Mike Sims-Walker (6-106, 1 TD) and Reggie Wayne (7-126, 1 TD). Look for both Walter and Johnson to have decent showings that could be big.

Tight Ends: The most consistent receiver on the team has been Owen Daniels who has scored twice and been good for at least 40 or 50 yards every week. The Cardinals are soft against tight ends too with both Dallas Clark and Marcedes Lewis both having 60 yards and a score against them in the last two weeks. Owens is a must start with a good shot at a score.

Gaining Fantasy Points HOU 9 27 5 11 18 13
Preventing Fantasy Points    ARI 30 14 29 25 19 20

Arizona Cardinals (1-2)
Homefield: University of Phoenix Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 SF 16-20 -6 46
2 @JAC 31-17 +3 43
3 IND 10-31 -2.5 48
4 BYE - - -
5 HOU - -5.5 48
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 vs HOU Rush Catch Pass
QB Kurt Warner     250,2
RB Chris Wells 70    
RB Tim Hightower 60,1 30  
WR Anquan Boldin   70,1  
WR Larry Fitzgerald   80,1  
WR Steve Breaston   50  
PK Neil Rackers 1 FG 4 XP  

Pregame Notes: The bye week was good to regroup and figure out how the Cardinals could go from being the NFC Champion to suddenly being a doormat in their own stadium. So far they have managed to lose when favored and win the one time they were the underdog. Perhaps success does not wear well with the Cardinals. Kurt Warner is looking like 38 years is the magic mark that quarterbacks not from Mississippi should never cross. The good news is that outside of a trip to New York, the next two months are packed with games the Cardinals could win.

At least the 2008 Cardinals could.

I like a defensive score in this game.

Quarterback: Kurt Warner had two stingers from the first two weeks of the season and that has affected his passing. He has still thrown for at least one score each week and has averaged around 280 yards per game but the long pass is mostly absent and he barely staying above ten yards per completion each week. The bye week should help heal Warner up but there has to be a genuine concern with him getting injured again as the season progresses.

Side note for the Warner owners - do you know where your Leinart is?

This week he faces a secondary that has been statistically good but mainly because they are horrible against the run and teams rarely throw against them. The Cardinals do not feature a rushing game as of yet so the expectation has to be that Warner will do as Warner does and throw a lot. Expect a decent game here that could be big if the Cards somehow ignore that the Texans cannot stop the run.

Running Backs: This is the matchup that Beanie Wells dreamed of as a small boy wanting to someday to play in the NFL. The question is if the Cards give him a chance. So far Wells had only had seven carries in a game at most and against the softer defense in Jacksonville he gained 44 yards for a 6.2 yard rushing average. But against the Colts he only had two carries for a net two yard loss and then watched the game from the sideline because Tim Hightower is in for the passing formations.

The expectation is that Wells sees an increase in his workload since he is clearly a better runner than Tim Hightower. But how quickly that accelerates depends on game situation and the comfort level of the coaches.

This week the Texans bring in a horrible rush defense that has given up eight rushing scores and three runners have already had 100+ rushing yards against them. They were #32 until the Raiders completely forgot to show up last week. Wells is a tempting start this week but only if you have no other options. Hightower - a must start. Wells could do himself a big favor by tearing up the Texans like everyone else has but he cannot do that from the sideline.

Wide Receivers: The bye week also helped Anquan Boldin who had been suffering from a hamstring injury though he played with in and had a score in week three. Larry Fitzgerald is off his 2008 pace with no more than 76 yards in any game this year. This is a good spot for a big game but Fitzgerald has been one of the few receivers bigger than their matchups. The leading receiver for the last two games has been Steve Breaston - that's just not right.

The Texans have only allowed three passing scores but that's all about sucking at stopping the run. Look for at least decent showings by the three amigos and a score for two of them.

Tight Ends: Not in Arizona, buddy.

Gaining Fantasy Points ARI 14 18 3 31 13 15
Preventing Fantasy Points    HOU 8 29 11 9 16 7

The Huddle
~ 2009 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday Late
Bye Week
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