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

Prediction: DAL 20, PHI 27

Early Update: Brian Westbrook is back to full practices and is expected to play though he will share with LeSean McCoy. I am adding Westbrook back in already since there are no questions about his status.

This is one of the big games of the weekend with the Eagles and Cowboys fighting for the division lead since the Giants started imploding three weeks ago. The Cowboys are 2-1 on the road and the Eagles are 3-1 at home. Both teams have almost the exact same points for and against. The winner of this gets into the driver's seat in the NFC East but it may not be until week 17 in Dallas when the Eagles visit that the division is decided.

The Cowboys won 41-37 when the Eagles visited in week two of last year but then were crushed 44-6 in Philly during week 17 in a game that sent the Eagles to the playoffs instead of the Cowboys.

Dallas Cowboys (5-2)
Homefield: Texas Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @TB 34-21 -5 39
2 NYG 31-33 -3 43.5
3 CAR 21-7 -9 46
4 @DEN 10-17 -3 43
5 @KC 26-20 -9 42.5
6 BYE - - -
7 ATL 37-21 -5.5 47.5
8 SEA 38-17 -10 46
9 @PHI - +3 47.5
10 @GB - - -
11 WAS - - -
12 OAK - - -
13 @NYG - - -
14 SD - - -
15 @NO - - -
16 @WAS - - -
17 PHI - - -
DAL at PHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Tony Romo     250,1
RB Marion Barber 50,1    
RB Felix Jones 30 20  
TE Jason Witten   70,1  
WR Roy Williams   50  
WR Patrick Crayton   40  
WR Miles Austin   60  
PK Nick Folk 2 FG 2 XP  
Pregame Notes: The three game winning streak has made losing in Denver a little better but the other loss was to the visiting Giants and any more losses in the division are going to sink playoff hopes. The challenge this week is that while Dallas has won twice away from home, the Buccaneers are still searching for a win and the Chiefs brought them into overtime before the Cowboys squeaked past. The problem too is that the Cowboys two biggest failings - turnovers and penalties - almost always show up in big games away from home. This could be a revenge game since the Eagles demolished the Cowboys and denied them a playoff berth. But played in Philly will be very tough for a team that hasn't looked great away from home.

Quarterback: Tony Romo has been the "Good Tony" for three weeks now with over 250 yards and two or three scores each week. What remains to be seen is which Romo shows up in Philly where the defense is very familiar with him and may even have heard about Miles Austin. When Romo is good, he is really good and plays like an elite quarterback. And when he is bad, the opposing defense usually scores more than the Cowboys do.

While Romo passed for 312 yards and three scores when the Eagles visited in 2008, he only managed 183 yards and no scores in the home meeting.

The Eagles are allowing at least one passing score and often two for opponents with 250 or more yards. They have not faced many decent passing attacks so far other than Drew Brees who had a predictably big game. Look for decent to good yardage from Romo since he'll be playing catch up at the end of the game.

Running Backs: The Cowboys are back to their tandem backfield shuttling Marion Barber and Felix Jones in and out. Barber has been running about 15 times per game while Jones is apparently capped right at eight runs. Tashard Choice shows up for a token few carries at the end of games and mostly hopes for one of the other two to get injured so he can play.

Barber ran for 63 yards and a score in the home meeting with the Eagles but only turned in 13 yards on three carries in the road matchup. Tashard Choice had 56 yards but no Dallas runner scored in Philly.

The Eagles have been very good against the run in Philly with only two runners topping 40 rushing yards in the four games played there. Expect down games for both Barber and Jones but a chance that Barber could score once.

Wide Receivers: The Miles Austin show continued last week with his third straight game with a score. He settled for 61 yards on five receptions against the Seahawks and scored late to preserve his string. Roy Williams also scored but as usual had a couple of dropped passes and seemed out of place on other throws. Patrick Crayton returned a punt for a touchdown but he muffed another one and also had a drop in the game. Long as Austin gets clear, the unit can get the job done. When he cannot - we get to see what happens.

While Terrell Owens had good efforts in both meetings with the Eagles last year, no other wideout had more than 34 yards or scored in those games.

The Eagles secondary has only allowed five touchdowns to wide receivers and two of those went to Marques Colston. There is no doubt that the Eagles will scheme against Austin so expect lesser numbers this week. Roy Williams actually is in the same role as the last three wideouts to score against the Eagles. His confidence level is low though and he has not proven to be reliable yet.

Tight Ends: Jason Witten has turned into a tight end this year with around 40 yards most weeks and only one score on the season. Hardly the same role that saw him lead the league for a tight end in 2008. But this week should see an uptick in Witten's numbers facing one of the worst defenses against tight ends - they have allowed five scores to the position and both Kellen Winslow and Zach Miller had over 100 yards against them. The situation is right for Witten to finally have a good game.

Witten enjoyed decent games against the Eagles last year. He caught seven passes for 110 yards in the home meeting and later had seven receptions for 50 yards in Philly.

Gaining Fantasy Points DAL 8 13 8 12 8 16
Preventing Fantasy Points PHI 12 8 6 31 6 9

Philadelphia Eagles (5-2))
Homefield: Lincoln Financial Field
  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 -    
5 TB 33-14 -16 42
6 @OAK 9-13 -14 40.5
7 @WAS 27-17 -7 37.5
8 NYG 40-17 -1 43
9 DAL - -3 47.5
10 @SD - - -
11 @CHI - - -
12 WAS - - -
13 @ATL - - -
14 @NYG - - -
15 SF - - -
16 DEN - - -
17 @DAL - - -
PHI vs DAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Donovan McNabb     240,2
RB LeSean McCoy 50 20  
RB Brian Westbrook 40 10  
TE Brent Celek   60  
WR DeSean Jackson   80,1  
WR Jason Avant   20  
WR Jeremy Maclin   50,1  
PK David Akers 2 FG 3 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Eagles first loss to the Saints no longer looks that bad and the Raider game was a classic trap. But otherwise this team has been very solid and now has two wins in the division with a chance to take the lead this week by beating the visiting Cowboys. The schedule still has several more challenges ahead - not the least of which games in Dallas and New York - but the Eagles can take a very big step this week.

I like a defensive score in this game.

Quarterback: This should be another good week for Donovan McNabb who has only played in two home games and won both with three passing touchdowns in each. He has not thrown for more than 270 yards in a game so far but he has consistently been at his best at home.

McNabb passed for 281 yards and one score in Dallas last season but later had two touchdowns and 175 yards in the home meeting that also included a rushing score as well.

The Cowboys secondary allows two passing scores to most any quarterback who wants it along with solid to very good yardage. Look for at least those two touchdowns and solid yardage that could grow big.

Running Backs: Brian Westbrook was held out last week because of his concussion but he may return for this game. I will project for LeSean McCoy as the starter for now but all going well, Westbrook will be added in during one of the updates.

Westbrook rushed for 58 yards and scored twice in Dallas but later only had 50 yards and no touchdown in the home meeting.

The Cowboys have been good against the run this year and no runner has topped 100 yards against them. With the sharing of the workload in Philly, it is a safe assumption that there is no big yardage gainer here and chances are that no runner will score. Leonard Weaver was added into the mix last week as a west coast fullback and he ran for 75 yards and one score against the Giants. Should Westbrook return, it would likely diminish Weaver's workload first. I am not adding Leonard into the projections because the backfield is still too volatile to rely on him.

Wide Receivers: What DeSean Jackson lacks in touches he makes up for in quality. Once again, Jackson scored a long touchdown and had 78 yards on just three receptions against the Giants. Add in his previous week and he had six touches worth 214 yards and three scores. Jeremy Maclin also scored against the Giants though he has only once been above 50 yards in a game,

The Cowboys secondary has been most kind to wideouts with seven allowed to score. Both Maclin and Jackson stand a good chance of a score here.

Jackson caught six passes for 110 yards in Dallas last year. He later only had two receptions for 26 yards in the home meeting.

Tight Ends: Brent Celek had a down week against the Redskins but bounced back with 61 yards and a score against the Giants. It was his first touchdown since week three but he remains solid in yardage almost every week.

Gaining Fantasy Points PHI 5 16 12 10 3 2
Preventing Fantasy Points DAL 22 13 29 14 11 6

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