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

Prediction: BUF 9, CAR 17

Late Update: Stewart had a full day again on Friday and is fine to play this week. Edwards is officially out.

Early update: Jonathan Stewart was held out on Wednesday as usual and returned for a full day on Thursday. Trent Edwards still has not practiced and remains out with a concussion. He is not expected to play.

The Bills come off a huge win in New York over the Jets and land in Carolina where the Panthers have won two in a row and have rediscovered their rushing game just in time to face the #32 defense against running backs. This will likely be a low scoring, boring game unless the Panthers get obscene rushing stats which is a possibility.

Buffalo Bills (2-4)
Homefield: Ralph Wilson Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @NE 24-25 +10.5 47
2 TB 33-20 -4 41
3 NO 7-27 +5.5 52.5
4 @MIA 10-38 -2.5 37
5 CLE 3-6 -6 40.5
6 @NYJ 16-13 +9.5 37
7 @CAR - +7 -
8 HOU - - -
9 BYE - - -
10 @TEN - - -
11 @JAC - - -
12 MIA - - -
13 NYJ - - -
14 @KC - - -
15 NE - - -
16 @ATL - - -
17 IND - - -
BUF at CAR Rush Catch Pass
QB Ryan Fitzgerald     170
RB Marshawn Lynch 60 20  
RB Fred Jackson 40 20  
WR Lee Evans   50  
WR Terrell Owens   40  
WR Josh Reed   30  
PK Rian Lindell 3 FG    

Pregame Notes: The Bills defense answered the bell last week when it intercepted Mark Sanchez five times and held on to a 16-13 road win. That made up for the embarrassing loss to the Browns but also saw Trent Edwards get concussed. A win is a win but that that also made it four straight weeks with only one touchdown scored if even that happened. Long as the defense can come up huge, the Bills have a shot. Problem is that doesn't usually happen. Plus the offensive line is down to four first-year starters now because of injuries.

Quarterback: Trent Edwards had a concussion last week and his status is still unknown for this week largely because HC Dick Jauron just won't say much. Ryan Fitzpatrick came in last week and completed 10 of 24 for 116 yards and a score but never did connect with Terrell " DB magnet" Owens. Until Edwards is cleared to return, I am assuming that Fitzpatrick will be the quarterback ignoring Terrell Owens this week.

The Panthers have been very good against the pass and allowed only six passing touchdowns with no team passing for more than 250 yards. The Bills were already on a four week scoring drought and on the road this week with Fitzgerald at the helm hardly boosts any confidence.

Running Backs: When Marshawn Lynch returned, all he did was to kill off the fantasy value of Fred Jackson. Lynch had 121 total yards against the Browns but only 72 yards last week and Jackson has fallen to around 50 or 60 total yards per week. One runner could have nice stats from that but splitting it makes them both lose a lot of value and neither has rushed in a touchdown this year. Jackson caught a score back in week one but otherwise there are no touchdowns from these guys and the Cleveland game was easily as good as it was going to get this year.

The Panthers have been softer against the run than the pass but have also faced teams with a far better rushing attack than the Bills will be bringing. Look for a decent yardage game to be split up and neither to score since that trend hasn't been broken yet this season.

Wide Receivers: Terrell Owens continues to be a shell of his former self and has only caught ten passes for 117 yards over the last four games. He's not so much a glorified decoy though since no other wideout is doing much on this team. Lee Evans had his best game of the year with Fitzpatrick as the quarterback since he scored and had four receptions for 68 yards. That was actually the high game for any Buffalo wideout this year.

The Panthers have been outstanding against wideouts and allowed only one touchdown to the position. No wideout has gained more than 75 yards against them so expect all these receivers to turn in their standard minimal stats this week.

Tight Ends: No fantasy value.

Gaining Fantasy Points BUF 24 21 27 25 16 8
Preventing Fantasy Points    CAR 10 23 2 20 7 32

Carolina Panthers (2-3)
Homefield: Bank of America Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 PHI 10-38 +2.5 43.5
2 @ATL 20-28 +6 43
3 @DAL 7-21 +9 46
4 BYE - -3.5 37.5
5 WAS 20-17 -5 38
6 @TB 28-21 -3 39
7 BUF - -7 -
8 @ARI - - -
9 @NO - - -
10 ATL - - -
11 MIA - - -
12 @NYJ - - -
13 TB - - -
14 @NE - - -
15 MIN - - -
16 @NYG - - -
17 NO - - -
CAR vs BUF Rush Catch Pass
QB Jake Delhomme     170
RB Jonathan Stewart 70,1 10  
RB DeAngelo Williams 130,1 20  
TE Dante Rosario   20  
WR Steve Smith   50  
WR Muhsin Muhammad   30  
PK John Kasay 1 FG 2 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Panthers are on a two game winning streak thanks to playing against two of the worst offenses in the league. Now the Bills can make it three in a row. The good news is that the win over the Buccaneers was the first time this rushing attack resembled the 2008 juggernaut. The bad news is that Jake Delhomme is getting progressively worse every week. That won't come back to haunt the Panthers this weekend but will certainly limit the future.

Quarterback: After opening the season with a horrible performance against the Eagles, Jake Delhomme bounced back and had 308 yards and a score the next week. And in the next three games, he has continuously regressed and ended up throwing only 9 of 17 for 65 yards and a score last week in Tampa Bay. He had two interceptions as well. You could argue that Delhomme was not part of the solution this season. It's now getting hard to argue he is not just part of the problem. He has only thrown four touchdowns this year and every one went to a tight end.

The Bills may rank great against the pass but only because they have been horrible against the run. Leave Delhomme on your bench this week - maybe make that leave him on your waiver wire.

Running Backs: DeAngelo Williams finally had a big game when he rushed for 152 yards and two scores on 30 carries last week. That nearly doubled his previous best game and even Jonathan Stewart (17-110, 1 TD) had his best game of the year. While both have struggled this season, having the Bills bring in the #32 defense against the run means more fun is in store and that the Panthers do not have to worry about Delhomme killing them this week.

The Bills have allowed nine scores to running backs and five runners have been at or over 100 yards including last week when Thomas Jones gained 210 yards and a score on 22 carries. This is maybe the only week where Stewart is an attractive start and Williams is a must start. It will get no better than what this game provides.

Wide Receivers: This has been the year of the fantasy drought for these wide receivers. Steve Smith had 131 yards back in week two. Otherwise, all the receiver performances by all these wideouts this season have been little more than tight end stats. Smith comes off his worst game of the year with one catch for four yards in Tampa Bay. Not one wideout has scored at all this year. Not one. Smith has become nothing more than a mediocre fantasy play to get a few yardage points each week.

Sadly that is unlikely to change this week against a defense that will be battered by the running game. That is why the Bills currently rank #1 against wide receivers. They have only allowed one score to the position all season. For at least this week, consider other options or start Smith with the willingness to accept no score and 50 to 60 yards tops.

Tight Ends: Delhomme has now switched from using Dante Rosario to Jeff King for the single touchdown catch in a game. King has scored in the last two matchups and Rosario scored in weeks 2 and 3. Neither are reliable nor have any significant yardage.

Gaining Fantasy Points CAR 30 7 28 15 30 20
Preventing Fantasy Points    BUF 3 32 1 21 20 25

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