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

Prediction: NE 23, MIA 20

The last two road trips have been brutal for the Patriots who saw the Colts slip past by a point and then on Monday night the Saints handed down an ass-whooping on the Patriots like has not been seen since... long time.. I think I was alive... Anyway, the Pats fall to 7-4 which in the AFC East still gets you a two game lead over these Dolphins and the Jets. The Patriots are only 1-4 in road games though. The Fins lost last week to drop to 5-6 and their shot at post season play is starting to become really hypothetical at best. The Fins are 3-2 at home so far this year. More than anything, Ronnie Brown is gone and with him the best parts of the Wildcat formation.

The Patriots won 27-17 when the Dolphins visited in week nine.

New England Patriots (7-4)
Homefield: Gillette Stadium
  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 35-7 -15.5 44.5
8 BYE BYE - -
9 MIA 27-17 -10.5 47
10 @IND 34-35 +1 48
11 NYJ 31-14 -10.5 45
12 @NO 17-38 +3 56
13 @MIA - -6.5 47
14 CAR - - -
15 @BUF - - -
16 JAC - - -
17 @HOU - - -
NE at MIA Rush Catch Pass
QB Tom Brady     300,1
RB Laurence Maroney 70,1 10  
TE Ben Watson   40  
WR Randy Moss   80,1  
WR Wes Welker   90  
WR Sam Aiken   40  
PK Stephen Gostowski 3 FG 2 XP  
Pregame Notes: Tough times for the Patriots but even with the losses, they still remain the lock to win the AFC East as long as they can get past this week. The rushing game has been better than it has in years and Brady has been passing well outside of the state of Louisiana. There is not a team with a winning record left on the schedule either so this week is the only real barrier to waltzing away with the division.

Quarterback: The Saints ended Tom Brady's five game streak of 300 + yard games and his eight game streak of scoring as well. Aside from the butchering in New Orleans, Brady has been one of the most productive quarterbacks and already has 20 passing scores against eight interceptions. On the road, Brady has tended to be more prolific because os a reduced ability to rush.

Brady threw for 332 yards and one score in week nine against these Dolphins. He should get near the 300 yard mark again with at least one score if not two.

Running Backs: Laurence Maroney has been so successful rushing the ball that HC Bill Belichick apparently will ignore his three fumbles over the last three weeks and having lost three on the season. But Maroney bought some goodwill by scoring in the last six games including twice in the most recent two matchups. His yardage has remained moderate - around 70 yards in most games - but he's the one they call near the goal line.

Sammy Morris returned after missing time since week six but he only had five carries for 18 yards and posed no threat to Maroney as the goal line runner. I will project for Maroney but Kevin Faulk is also involved along with Morris.

Maroney had one of his better games in week nine when he rushed for 82 yards on 20 carries and scored once against the visiting Dolphins.

Look for another score from Maroney and decent yards since the Dolphins without Ronnie Brown are losing their ability to control the clock and field position.

Wide Receivers: Randy Moss just ended his three game scoring streak when he was held to three catches for 67 yards in New Orleans but has eight scores on the year already and four games over 100 yards including the 147 yard effort he had against the Fins in week nine. Wes Welker turned in nine catches for 84 yards in that game but has not scored since week seven despite having 39 catches in the four games since.

The Patriots went to using Sam Aiken more last week when he had a career best seven receptions for 90 yards while Julian Edelman and Isaiah Stanbach are used far less.

The biggest game allowed to a wideout by the Fins was what Moss did four weeks ago. At home they have not allowed more than 72 yards to any wideout though five have scored there. This should be a standard showing of Moss and Welker.

Tight Ends: Ben Watson had four scores on the season and two have come in road games but he only produced four catches for 49 yards in the last meeting with the Dolphins and has been limited to one or two catches in almost every game this year.

Gaining Fantasy Points NE 3 10 1 23 4 15
Preventing Fantasy Points MIA 27 9 12 25 32 21

Miami Dolphins (6-5)
Homefield: Dolphins Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @ATL 7-19 +4 43.5
2 IND 23-27 +3 42
3 @SD 13-23 +6 42
4 BUF 38-10 +2.5 37
5 NYJ 31-27 +1.5 36.5
6 BYE - - -
7 NO 34-46 +6 48
8 @NYJ 30-25 +3.5 40
9 @NE 17-27 +10.5 47
10 TB 25-23 -10 43
11 @CAR 24-17 +3 43.5
12 @BUF 14-31 -3.5 38
13 NE - +6.5 47
14 @JAC - - -
15 @TEN - - -
16 HOU - - -
17 PIT - - -
MIA vs NE Rush Catch Pass
QB Chad Henne     190,1
RB Ricky Williams 70,1 20  
TE Anthony Fasano   20,1  
WR Brian Hartline   40  
WR Greg Camarillo   40  
WR Davone Bess   30  
PK Dan Carpenter 2 FG 2 XP  

Pregame Notes: Two weeks without Ronnie Brown and the Fins are 1-1 with their toughest game of the year about to happen. The road trips to Jacksonville and Tennessee are no cakewalks though and these Fins cannot afford to fall behind in games because they lack the quick strike passing attack. It's been an uphill battle all year for the Fins and losing Brown only makes it that much harder. Winning three of the last five would be a winning season but that's going to be a very big challenge.

Quarterback: They should call Chad Henne "Robo-QB". He's a machine. Not a particularly good one but how else to describe the three most recent games that were a 2 and seven point win and a 17 point loss and yet Henne passed exactly 17 completions for one score and between 172 and 175 yards in each game? Does he notice what the game situation is?

The problem is that the Fins are weak in the passing game and cannot handle much more than a ball control game with plenty of rushing.

Henne passed for 219 yards and no scores in the last meeting with the Patriots. It was right before his three game mirror images. The Patriot s can obviously be beaten by the pass, the Fins just have no tools for the job.

Running Backs: Since Ronnie Brown left, Ricky Williams has been up to the task for two games. He has logged efforts of 119 and 115 rushing yards and scored a total of four times over those two weeks. There is a concern that he has not rushed over 20 times for three straight games and they cannot afford to have Williams break down. Lex Hilliard has stepped in for for or five carries in the last two weeks but may need to be used more to save Williams from wearing down.

Back in week nine, Brown rushed for 48 yards on 15 carries and added 16 yards on two receptions against the Pats while Williams had 33 yards on seven runs and scored once.

This depends on if the Pats are tired and/or emotionally drained from their spanking on Monday night. The Pats have only allowed three runners to score against them this year but one was Williams. Look for at least decent yardage and likely one score from Williams this week but watch to see how Hilliard is used.

Wide Receivers: The Dolphins are mixing and matching four wideouts each week though rarely do any of them have more than 40 yards let alone any reliable fantasy value. Davone Bess and Greg Camarillo still have never scored this season and Ted Ginn Jr. has just one touchdown back in week five. The rookie Brian Hartline leads the group with just two touchdowns though one was just last week.

In the previous meeting with the Pats, Camarillo actually led the group with a season high 71 yards on five catches and Bess turned in an unusually high six receptions for 56 yards. None of these wideouts have fantasy relevance.

Tight Ends: Anthony Fasano missed two weeks but had a season best five catches for 74 yards in his return last week in Buffalo. Fasano has only one score on the year while Joey Haynos has three scores and almost no catches. I like a score to end up here and I will credit Fasano though Haynos is just as likely to catch it. Haynos had two catches for 20 yards and a score in the last meeting with the Pats while Fasano only had one reception for 20 yards.

Gaining Fantasy Points MIA 29 3 26 27 13 6
Preventing Fantasy Points NE 11 5 20 8 2 3

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