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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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The Huddle
WEEK 7
~ 2009 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday Late
Bye Week
DEN, JAC
Monday
DET, BAL
SEA, TEN
*updated

Prediction: NE 27, TB 14

Late Update: Clayton is listed as questionable but has been through full practices the last two days and will play.

Early Update: Sammy Morris remains out of practice and won't be playing. Michael Clayton was limited on Wednesday but had a full day on Thursday and is expected to play without limitation.

First the Brits agree to take Madonna and now we give them this game? Will the revolutionary war ever end? The Bucs were the best we could find? Really? And it is only going to be about 14 degrees at game time with... no wait... okay. That was celsius. So this game goes off around 55 degrees or so. Hey, that's not that bad. And it is not supposed to rain this time either.

The NFL makes curious choices about what games to send abroad and they usually go off differently over there than they would here. What should be interesting is what Bill "No Mercy" Belichick will do when the Pats have a nice lead by the second half. We should give the Brits advance warning that this one will be the "Granada" bowl. Maybe too it was an interesting choice to send the Pats when their mascot is the one that defeated the British.

New England Patriots (4-2)
Homefield: Gillette Stadium
FieldTurf
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 BUF 25-24 -10.5 47
2 @NYJ 9-16 -6 46
3 ATL 26-10 -4 44.5
4 BAL 27-21 -2 44.5
5 @DEN 17-20 -3.5 41.5
6 TEN 59-0 -9.5 43
7 @TB - -14.5 35
8 BYE BYE - -
9 MIA - - -
10 @IND - - -
11 NYJ - - -
12 @NO - - -
13 @MIA - - -
14 CAR - - -
15 @BUF - - -
16 JAC - - -
17 @HOU - - -
NE vs TB (London) Rush Catch Pass
QB Tom Brady     270,2
RB Laurence Maroney 80,1 10  
WR Randy Moss   100,1  
WR Wes Welker   90,1  
PK Stephen Gostkowski 2 FG 3 XP  
Pregame Notes: On the plus side, the Pats have a bye week waiting on the other side so after stomping the Titans 59-0, all they have to do is beat one of the other remaining teams without a win. With the Jets suddenly crashing to earth, the Pats now are in the lead in the AFC East and will have their defining stretch of games for the month after the bye. Hopefully Brady and company will give the United Kingdom an idea of what it is like to play a game where there is more passing than in a basketball game.

Quarterback: Tom Brady owners are probably still giggling after he threw for 380 yards and six touchdowns against the Titans last week. That was merely the same number of score he had in the first five games combined and his first 300+ yard effort since week one.

The Buccaneers have a horrible secondary that has allowed 14 touchdowns already this year - more than Brady has thrown. The yardage has been less in most games because they score so easily and mix in rushing success as well but last week was the first and only time an opponent did not have at least two passing scores against them. Look for three scores from Brady and decent yardage. It is always tough to forecast how the game goes off because it is supposed to be a calling card game about the excitement of NFL football but why they sent grumpy Belichick and the listless Bucs remains to answered. Have to think Brady has a long score or two just because he can and it looks good to the crowds.

Running Backs: Sammy Morris had an undisclosed leg injury last week which means forget about him until suddenly he appears with two scores and 100 yards in some future game. Laurence Maroney comes off his best effort since 2007 when he gained 123 yards on 16 carries against the Titans and scored for the first time this year. With both Taylor and Morris out, it makes Maroney almost attractive to rely on and this week on the road in London, the Pats will want some sort of ground game. BenJarvus Green-Ellis also got into the act late last week with 67 yards on seven carries but it was his first playing time. Thanks to injuries, he should get some work this week as well.

The Buccaneers have a bad rushing defense and while the Patriots are unlikely to just run the entire game, Maroney is a risky and yet promising start this week. Look for a rushing score since pretty much every opponent gets at least one and decent to good yardage as well. This could be the closest you will every find for a safe start for Maroney.

Wide Receivers: Nothing like the visiting Titans to let all receivers get a healthy boost to their season stats. Randy Moss (8-129, 3 TD) and Wes Welker (10-150, 2 TD) both had their best fantasy game of the year. Consider that they combined for five touchdowns and yet only had one each on the season coming into the game. Julian Edelman had 43 yards on six catches but has not been significant since subbing for Welker back in week two. Late reports on Tuesday have Edelman out with a broken arm so he has been removed from the projections.

The Patriots also gave up on 38-year old Joey Galloway and released him on Tuesday.

Moss and Welker are every week starters anyway and the Buccaneers have already allowed nine touchdowns to wide receivers this year. Either could have a huge game but these foreign soil outings typically come off with lesser stats than they would at home. Both remain safe starts because the Pats will want to show what a real passing attack looks like.

Tight Ends: Ben Watson was a scratch last week and Chris Baker only had one catch. The tight ends are less attractive again this week and I am not projecting for them since reliable info on Watson will be nearly impossible to get unless he is inactive.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NE 2 6 3 20 4 23
Preventing Fantasy Points    TB 24 25 17 17 25 18


Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-6)
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 33-14 +16 42.5
6 CAR 21-28 +3 39
7 NE - +14.5 43
8 BYE - - -
9 GB - - -
10 @MIA - - -
11 NO - - -
12 @ATL - - -
13 @CAR - - -
14 NYJ - - -
15 @SEA - - -
16 @NO - - -
17 ATL - - -
TB vs NE (London) Rush Catch Pass
QB Josh Johnson 40   180,1
RB Derrick Ward 20 10  
RB Carnell Williams 60,1    
TE Kellen Winslow Jr.   40,1  
WR Antonio Bryant   50  
WR Michael Clayton   30  
WR Sammie Stroughter   40  
PK Mike Nugent   2 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Buccaneers season continues to swirl down the drain and no doubt Jon Gruden has to think the management did him a favor when they fired him. The Buccaneers have not been favored in any game this year and that should hold true the rest of the year. The schedule remains as brutal as any in the league and now the Bucs have to take a plane ride to London so they can have even less time to prepare to face the Patriots passing attack. On the plus side, this is a nice trip to take and it's not like any one on this team is going to Hawaii in February anyway.

Quarterback: There are already calls for the rookie Josh Freeman to get playing time but HC Raheem Morris continues to back Josh Johnson as the starter for now. Johnson had a decent showing in Philly when he passed for 240 yards and two scores but was back to only 147 yards and no touchdowns against the visiting Panthers last week. He's merely a placeholder for Freeman and gets to struggle though one of the toughest schedules in the NFL this year.

The Patriots have played only a few good passing teams and the Buccaneers are one of the worst. This is a foreign game so anything could happen but expecting a passing score and around 200 yards is the extent of being reasonable.

Running Backs: The Buccaneers gave Carnell Williams 16 carries last week and he gained 77 yards and one touchdown in his best showing since the season opener. That all came at the expense of Derrick Ward who only had one run but Ward has been without any real value since the first game of the season anyway. What little happens here now goes through Williams first if not exclusively.

The Patriots can be rushed on even thought they have only allowed one rushing score this season. This week will be hard to call but figure on Williams being a slight favorite to score a touchdown just to make it look like a game for the Londoners in attendance.

Wide Receivers: Antonio Bryant says his knee is feeling much better but he has constantly been limited in practice and only had two catches for 37 yards last week. He has one touchdown catch which was the only by a Tampa Bay receiver this year. There is no relying on any of these wideouts and even Bryant has marginal value at best.

This week could be an odd one but normally you would expect the Patriots to shut the wideouts down in a game like this. There should be marginal yardage to share but expecting a score is hard even with a need to make the game look good.

Tight Ends: Kellen Winslow had four of the six passing touchdowns by the Buccaneers and remains the most likely to score this week if it happens at all. It's all a risk but Winslow should have at least a decent showing here.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points TB 22 27 30 2 32 17
Preventing Fantasy Points    NE 6 10 9 8 5 6

The Huddle
WEEK 7
~ 2009 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday Late
Bye Week
DEN, JAC
Monday
DET, BAL
SEA, TEN
Other Features
Fantasy Statistics
Early Injury Report
Free Agent Forecast
Commentary From the Edge
Game Recaps
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