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

Prediction: ATL 20, CAR 24

Late Update: Jonathan Stewart had full practices the last two days and will play with no limitation. DeAngelo Williams knee has continued to be an issue and after a limited day on Thursday he was back on the sideline on Friday. He is now considered a game time decision but at least it is an early game and you can know if he is active or not with time to make other moves if needed. I am changing the projections to reflect the risk that Williams has this week and realize that he still is not a lock to play at all.

Early Update: Both Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams missed practice on Wednesday and Stewart was just doing his standard resting of his Achilles injury and came back for a full day on Thursday. Williams was back but limited because of a sore knee that HC John Fox termed as a "tweak". If he does not practice fully on Friday, I will be dropping his projections sharply since he would have a big game here if healthy.

Roddy White was limited both days in Falcon's practices but it is the same sore knee from last week when he played.

This is an interesting inter-divisional battle. The Falcons are 5-3 and won 28-20 when they hosted the Cardinals in week two. The Panthers are just 3-5 on the season and only 1-2 at home. But there have only been three home games so far for the Panthers who are scoring much better recently. And the Falcons are 1-3 on the road though losses to the Pats, Cowboys and Saints are understandable. This is a coin flip game but the Falcons can remain a strong contender for an eventual wildcard by winning a game like this. But the Panther have a few advantages in an upset.

Atlanta Falcons (5-3)
Homefield: Georgia Dome
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 MIA 19-7 -4 43.5
2 CAR 28-20 -6 43
3 @NE 10-26 +4 44.5
4 BYE -    
5 @SF 45-10 +2.5 41
6 CHI 21-14 -3 45.5
7 @DAL 21-37 +5 47.5
8 @NO 27-35 +10 54
9 WAS 31-17 -10 41
10 @CAR - -1.5 44.5
11 @NYG - - -
12 TB - - -
13 PHI - - -
14 NO - - -
15 @NYJ - - -
16 BUF - - -
17 @TB - - -
ATL at CAR Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Ryan     200,1
RB Michael Turner 110,1 10  
TE Tony Gonzalez   60  
WR Michael Jenkins   40  
WR Roddy White   50,1  
WR Marty Booker   10  
PK Jason Elam 2 FG 2 XP  
Pregame Notes: The offense has taken a significant step forward with Michael Turner not only being a scoring machine, but now starting to run over everyone, everywhere. Turner's knock last year and even this season initially was not being able to run as well in road games. His success has impacted Matt Ryan's need to throw but more importantly allowing the Falcons to have a balanced offense in away games. The Falcons are not likely to catch up to the 8-0 Saints this year but could make a strong showing as a wildcard team. That needs to start this week in this game.

Quarterback: Matt Ryan has passed for at least one score in each of the last five games and has 13 passing touchdowns here at midseason. His yardage has varied significantly depending on game situation but he did pass for 220 yards and three touchdowns against the Panthers in week two. He is much more likely to throw an interception on the road but again - the Falcons have faced a very bad stretch of road games so far.

The Panthers have not allowed any other team to have three passing scores and in home games they have been even stingier. Expect Ryan to settle down more this week and pass for moderate yardage and no more than two scores with one touchdown being most likely.

Running Backs: This is where the Falcons will prove themselves and win the game. Michael Turner has scored in each of the last seven games and has ten touchdowns on the year. he has been particularly effect in recent games with 151 yards in New Orleans and 166 yards against the stout Redskins rushing defense. Turner gained 105 yards on 28 runs with one touchdown versus the Panthers earlier this year but at home the Panthers have not allowed more than 64 rushing yards to an opposing runner.

But that was only PHI, WAS and BUF who showed up so far. Turners previous effort is still the most they have allowed though the Cowboys ran for 176 yards but split it between Tashard Choice and Felix Jones. Have to expect a rushing score here though two would be a first for the Panthers to allow. I like Turner's direction and recent success to continue.

Wide Receivers: Roddy White has scored six times in the last seven games and facing the Redskins killed his streak of four straight weeks with a touchdown. White has only two big games for yardage and both came on the road. Other than Eric Weems in Dallas, no other wideout has scored any touchdowns for the Falcons this year besides White.

White had 53 yards on six catches for one score against the visiting Panthers this year which was one of only three touchdowns allowed to the position this year. No player has topped 100 yards against the Panthers this year and White won't likely do much more than he did in the home meeting. The one score to a wideout obviously favors White.

Tight Ends: Tony Gonzalez caught seven passes for 71 yards and one touchdown versus the Panthers back in week two but all four of his touchdowns this year came in home games, He's been productive in yardage everywhere but on the road - no scores.

Gaining Fantasy Points ATL 17 6 20 11 22 5
Preventing Fantasy Points CAR 10 25 5 10 14 32

Carolina Panthers (3-5)
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 9-20 -7 37
8 @ARI 34-21 10 43.5
9 @NO 20-30 +14 52
10 ATL - +1.5 44
11 MIA - - -
12 @NYJ - - -
13 TB - - -
14 @NE - - -
15 MIN - - -
16 @NYG - - -
17 NO - - -
CAR vs ATL Rush Catch Pass
QB Jake Delhomme     180,1
RB Jonathan Stewart 80,1    
RB DeAngelo Williams 70    
TE Dante Rosario   20,1  
WR Steve Smith   80  
WR Muhsin Muhammad   40  
PK John Kasay 1 FG 3 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Panthers slide back to 3-5 with their loss in New Orleans even though they led that game 14-0. The Panthers have been at home for only three games this year and for reasons unknown have yet to play a good game there. Even the sole win was squeaking past the Redskins. But lately the rushing game has caught fire and DeAngelo Williams is playing like its 2008 all over again. This is a very good spot for a tough win by the Panthers who are back at home for only the fourth time all year.

Quarterback: Jake Delhomme has been highly inconsistent this year and while he has thrown for over 300 yards twice, he also has turned in sub-100 yard games three times. That is three games that had less than 100 yards. And he has never passed for more than one touchdown in any game. The recent rediscovery of the rushing game won't make Delhomme any more productive as a quarterback.

Delhomme passed for 308 yards and one score in Atlanta back in week two.

The Falcons have allowed at least one passing score in all but one game this year and ample yardage to those teams with good passing attacks. There have already been four passers with over 300 yards against them. But Delhomme is not likely to need to throw that much and he'll rely on the rushing attack to do the damage. I like one passing score here but even that may be optimistic.

Running Backs: Not unlike Michael Turner for the Falcons, DeAngelo Williams has really reasserted himself as a runner this year and has topped 140 rushing yards in three of the last four games. He takes first cut at scoring and may leave some for Jonathan Stewart. Williams has seven rushing scores so far and Stewart has four. But Williams has been really tearing up the field in recent weeks. Five of his scores and all three big games are in just the last month.

Williams rushed for 79 yards and a score while Stewart added 65 yards on nine runs in Atlanta.

The Falcons rank only 22nd against running backs and that is considering that they have faced several poor rushing teams. I like both Williams and Stewart to improve on their week two results and Williams to score at least once. I am crediting Stewart with a score but it could just as easily be the second one for Williams.

Wide Receivers: Steve Smith finally got his first touchdown of the year in week eight but his only big yardage game came when he turned in eight catches for 131 yards in Atlanta while no other receivers had more than 47 yards. Smith has been a marginal start this season that has turned in less than 30 yards on three occasions. The Falcons secondary is nothing special but neither is the Carolina passing game. Expecting more than moderate yardage is optimistic.

Tight Ends: Dante Rosario scored once and had 31 yards in the previous meeting with the Falcons and Jeff King has also mixed in during recent weeks. Both tight ends have two scores each which dwarfs all other positions. Like the one passing touchdown to end up with a tight end. The Panthers have been victimized by tight ends almost every week.

Gaining Fantasy Points CAR 30 4 28 16 28 18
Preventing Fantasy Points ATL 23 22 18 28 18 13

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