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David Dorey
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The Huddle
WEEK 5
~ 2009 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday Late
Bye Week
CHI
Monday
SD
GB
*updated
NO

Prediction: TB 3, PHI 31

Friday Update: Both Donovan McNabb and Brian Westbrook have been in full practices and are certain to play this week. Ernest Graham remains out with his hamstring strain and Antonio Bryant was limited in practice as he was last week and he's expected to have light practices for the forseeable future to rest him up. He is still expected to play.

This is one of the mismatches this week since the Eagles are coming off a bye week with all the players healthy again while the 0-4 Buccaneers have not been as good as their record suggests. No need to drag this one out since Philly needs the win and is at home.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-4)
Homefield: Raymond James Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 DAL 21-34 +5 39
2 @BUF 20-33 +4 41
3 NYG 0-24 +7 44
4 @WAS 13-16 +7 37
5 @PHI - +13 42.5
6 CAR - - -
7 NE - - -
8 BYE - - -
9 GB - - -
10 @MIA - - -
11 NO - - -
12 @ATL - - -
13 @CAR - - -
14 NYJ - - -
15 @SEA - - -
16 @NO - - -
17 ATL - - -
TB at PHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Josh Johnson 30   130
RB Carnell Williams 40 20  
TE Kellen Winslow Jr.   30  
WR Antonio Bryant   30  
WR Michael Clayton   0  
WR Sammie Stroughter   20  
PK Shane Andrus 1 FG    

Pregame Notes: Times are tough in Tampa Bay where the offense just gets worse and the defense only looks as good as it does because opponents stop trying by the second half. Take away the one game against the Redskins and and average margin of loss is 17 points per game. The Bucs defense has disintegrated and the offense never took shape. HC Raheem Morris looks more and more like a coach who is coming to terms with how bad his team is and yet without any idea how to correct the problems.

The Buccaneers have released Mike Nugent and brought on Shane Andrus as the new kicker.

Quarterback: The Buccaneers are sticking with Josh Johnson at least this week and he's hardly the only problem on this team anyway. Johnson had his first start last week against the Redskins and only completed 13 of 22 for 106 yards and one score with one interception and three sacks. There is always the hope for trash time in games to pad stats. One added plus - he rushed for 41 yards on seven runs on Sunday.

The Eagles gave up plenty to Drew Brees but Johnson is not exactly in that category. With the Eagles needing to have a nice game, forget about Johnson.

Running Backs: Derrick Ward was held out last week with his sore knee and has not been a factor since week one anyway. Carnell Williams had a surprisingly effective game in Washington when he ran for 77 yards on 16 carries but he had only 17 yards on nine carries in the previous two games combined. This week in Philly is not likely to see him have a breakout game.

The Eagles have allowed three rushing scores but all but one opposing runner has been held to 38 rushing yards or less. That fits neatly into the futility of the Buccaneers backfield.

Wide Receivers: This group has been a fantasy desert so far but at least Antonio Bryant was able to play in Washington despite his lingering knee condition and he actually scored a touchdown on his four catches for 44 yards. Each receiver has managed to have one - and only one - decent yardage game but none of them have any reliability or consistency. Bryant's score last Sunday was the first by a wideout on this team. Michael Clayton hasn't had a single catch in two weeks now.

The Eagles defense is not going to make this enjoyable or productive. Forget about Bryant for at least this week and likely the rest of the year anyway.

Tight Ends: The change in quarterback hasn't helped out Kellen Winslow who had just two catches for 21 yards last week and has disappeared against the better defenses - like this week for instance.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points TB 25 23 30 6 31 26
Preventing Fantasy Points    PHI 9 23 20 4 10 22


Philadelphia Eagles (2-1))
Homefield: Lincoln Financial Field
Turf
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @CAR 38-10 -2.5 43.5
2 NO 22-48 -3 46.5
3 KC 34-14 -9.5 42.5
4 BYE - -13 42.5
5 TB - - -
6 @OAK - - -
7 @WAS - - -
8 NYG - - -
9 DAL - - -
10 @SD - - -
11 @CHI - - -
12 WAS - - -
13 @ATL - - -
14 @NYG - - -
15 SF - - -
16 DEN - - -
17 @DAL - - -
PHI vs TB Rush Catch Pass
QB Donovan McNabb 20   250,2
RB Brian Westbrook 80 30  
RB LeSean McCoy 60,1 10  
TE Brent Celek   50,1  
WR DeSean Jackson   90,1  
WR Jason Avant   30  
WR Jeremy Maclin   30  
PK David Akers 1 FG 4 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Eagles slipped to 2-1 thanks to the Saints but there's no shame in that anymore. The Eagles destroyed the Chiefs before heading onto their bye and it came at a good time since Brian Westbrook and Donovan McNabb both needed to heal up. This week is nearly an extension of the bye week with the Bucs coming to town and the next two games on the road are almost certainly wins as well. That means the Eagles could be 5-1 heading into their first matchup with both the Giants and Cowboys. Long as they can remain healthy, the Eagles are in a nice spot with a favorable schedule.

I love a defensive score this week.

Quarterback: Donovan McNabb has already returned to practice and his ribs appear healed enough to let him play this week. Kevin Kolb played well in relief with over 325 passing yards both weeks but McNabb takes the reins back this week without any question. Michael Vick will still get his handful of gimmick plays but McNabb is back to fulltime work and this is a nice matchup to get him back into gear.

Have to love facing a defense that has given up no less than two passing scores to every opponent so far this year. The yardage varies and this week could be pretty nice unless the Bucs lay down from the start and the Eagles just run the ball mostly. McNabb is still a great play either way because he should have at least those two touchdowns that every one gets.

Running Backs: The bye week was good for Brian Westbrook who is back in practice and will play this week. LeSean McCoy replaced him back in week three and had 84 yards and a score on 20 carries against the visiting Chiefs which is good enough to build confidence. The ongoing plan is to use both Westbrook and McCoy each week and it had been around a 2-to-1 ratio favoring Westbrook before he was injured. The exact ratio remains to be seen and will no doubt change with game situation but it is safe to assume that Westbrook is at least limited a little by McCoy.

What needs to show up soon too is Westbrook as the receiver. In his first two games he only had a total of six catches for 22 yards - hardly akin to his old standard and in no way leading the league as he once would.

The Buccaneers are really, really, really bad against the run. They have only allowed two rushing scores but each opponent has seen a rusher with a big game and on the road they are even worse. The split is going to limit Westbrook a bit but it should not show up this week as much. Both Westbrook and McCoy are decent plays this week though less likely the monster game that could be if they did not share.

Wide Receivers: The return of Donovan McNabb won't be any more of a boost than what Kolb was accomplishing in his two starts. And this week could be potentially lower too since the need to throw may not be that big. Kevin Curtis may be back but his balky knee may never improve this year so I will not project for him. The only wide receiver of note so far has been DeSean Jackson who rolled op 100+ yards and a score in each of the last two weeks. In week one with McNabb, he only had two catches because the Eagles thrashed the Panthers without resorting to the pass.

Still have to really like Jackson who should have at least one touchdown and maybe two. The Bucs have already given up eight touchdowns to opposing wide receivers. Heck, even Terrell Owens had a touchdown against them. If Brent Celek doesn't take one of the scores, Jackson could be looking at two scores. He is a must start.

Tight Ends: The interesting part of this game is how will McNabb treat Brent Celek? He already threw him one score on six catches for 37 yards and then the last two weeks with Kolb saw Celek explode with back-to-back 104 yard games with eight receptions. Until he falls off, Celek is a must start every week and the biggest surprise for fantasy tight ends this season.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points PHI 1 22 4 2 5 1
Preventing Fantasy Points    TB 25 21 30 16 31 9

The Huddle
WEEK 5
~ 2009 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday Late
Bye Week
CHI
Monday
SD
GB
NO
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