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

Prediction: CAR 13, NE 34

Friday Night Update: Both Stewart and Williams are probable to play and Williams had yet another full day of practice and is good to go this week. Tom Brady had limited practice on Friday and is considered questionable on the injury report but it would be a surprise for him to not play even with the tight-lipped Patriots refusing to disclose the actual nature of injuries. Sam Aiken is another player in question this week much like Brady.

Thursday Night Update: Matt Moore gets the start again this week with Jake Delhomme missing practice. DeAngelo Williams has returned to full workouts and is expected to play. He has been added back into the projections. Randy Moss was allowed to practice today after being sent home for being late on Wednesday. Fred Taylor has returned to limited practice but it is too risky to expect him to return this week. Tom Brady was reported to be held out of both practices this week because of his finger and shoulder injuries. There has been nothing to indicate that he would miss the game this week so check on his official status tomorrow.

The Panthers are 5-7 but only 2-4 on the road and 0-3 outside their conference. The Patriots are pretty steamed now at 7-5 with a two game losing streak that includes the one point loss to the rival Dolphins. The Patriots are 6-0 at home and not in a good mood. Even Tom Terrific is calling out players for lack of preparation. This all smacks of one of those "step on the throat" games by the Patriots.

Carolina Panthers (5-7)
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 28-19 +1 43.5
11 MIA 17-24 -3 43.5
12 @NYJ 6-17 +3.5 41
13 TB 16-6 -3.5 40
14 @NE - +13.5 44
15 MIN - - -
16 @NYG - - -
17 NO - - -
CAR at NE Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Moore     160
RB DeAngelo Williams 80,1 10  
RB Jonathan Stewart 50 10  
TE Dante Rosario   20  
WR Steve Smith   60  
WR Muhsin Muhammad   40  
PK John Kasay 2 FG    

Pregame Notes: The Panthers season was already bad enough but now DeFranchise Williams is injured and the remaining four games go against three division leaders, an unbeaten team and a road trip to play the Giants as the "easy" game. Have the Panthers won their last game for the year?

Do not pick up that magic 8-ball.

Quarterback: Jake Delhomme was out last week and is expected to miss at least this game. Matt Moore will take his second start and hope for better results than the 161 yards he passed for on the Buccaneers. Last week he really only needed to hand the ball to Jonathan Stewart. This week he will be wishing that was all he had to do.

The Pats have only allowed three passers to score in Gillette Stadium and Moore is not likely to be the fourth. Figure on moderate yardage at most and only that from hopefully trash time being allowed.

Running Backs: DeAngelo Williams was a surprise scratch last week when his ankle became worse and he was made inactive against the Buccaneers. I will assume that he will be held out again this week and update as information is made available.

Jonathan Stewart was given his first NFL start and rumbled for 120 yards and a score on 26 carries against the visiting Buccaneers. That was his seventh rushing touchdown on the year which ties him with Williams. He now has two games over 100 yards this year - both against the Buccaneers. That is not the case this week.

The Patriots have only allowed three rushing touchdowns this season and allowed only three runners to top 100 rush yards. The question here is how long will the Panther have the luxury of just handing off? That could be over by halftime so expect only moderate rushing totals this week and no score.

Wide Receivers: Moore only found Steve Smith for three completions and 78 yards in a home game against the Buccaneers who were losing and getting run over by Stewart. This bodes poorly for this week in New England since Muhsin Muhammad is only there because no one wants to fire the old guy everyone likes even though he doesn't really do anything. No wideout has scored other than Smith this year and he only has four touchdowns.

In New England, only two receivers have scored on the Patriots. Smith is not likely to be #3 this week. No one else matters here.

Tight Ends: Dante Rosario has managed a few decent games this year and usually when the opponent is tough and covering the wideouts really well. But Moore only threw to him twice last week so no reason to expect a decent game here.

Gaining Fantasy Points CAR 31 6 29 16 25 16
Preventing Fantasy Points NE 15 4 24 8 3 3

New England Patriots (7-5)
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 21-22 -4.5 46
14 CAR - -13.5 44
15 @BUF - - -
16 JAC - - -
17 @HOU - - -
NE vs CAR Rush Catch Pass
QB Tom Brady     250,2
RB Laurence Maroney 60,1    
TE Ben Watson   20  
WR Randy Moss   60,1  
WR Wes Welker   100  
WR Sam Aiken   30,1  
PK Stephen Gostowski 2 FG 4 XP  

Pregame Notes: The loss to the Dolphins was just salt on the wound for a team that has lost three of the last four games. Playing twice in the stadiums of the leagues only undefeated teams stacked the deck against the Patriots but the Fins game should have and could have been a win. Now the Pats are just one game ahead of the Fins and Jets and likely hopelessly out of the running for a first round bye. Tom Brady was ticked on his radio show and the Patriots at 7-5 are in new territory. Fortunately there is not a remaining opponent with a winning record so running the table is very possible.

I like a defensive score in this game.

Quarterback: In fantasy terms, nothing wrong with Tom Brady who has thrown for over 300 yards in six of the last seven games and he has 22 passing touchdowns on the year. At home he has never failed to score and has turned in most of his best games. Brady has an injured finger that was visibly bothering him last week but he has other nicks and has made a point that everyone is hurt at this point in the year but that you prepare and play anyway. No worries from Brady.

The Panthers have been very good against the pass but mostly because they have been so soft against the run. McNabb, Warner and Ryan all had multiple scores on them and Brees lit them up for 330 yards and one touchdown.

Running Backs: Laurence Maroney has been a machine, scoring in six straight games and totaling eight touchdowns in that stretch. But it is over. Maybe for good. Last week Maroney only had 13 carries to gain 41 yards and no touchdown. Kevin Faulk had the rushing score - his first on the season. And Sammy Morris had his role expanded again with nine rushes for 40 yards. Factor in that Fred Taylor could be returning soon and the backfield is back to that undecipherable mess we all know and love.

I am projecting for only Maroney, but it is more "Patriots running back" than an actual person.

The Panthers are weak against the run and allowed twelve different running backs to score and solid yardage to teams that committed to the run. Look for one rushing score here but it could become two. The yardage sharing now makes this backfield too unreliable for fantasy starters.

Wide Receivers: Randy Moss scored in Miami and that gives him nine touchdowns on the season along with five efforts that exceeded 100 yards - four of which were at home. Wes Welker has not scored since week seven but comes off a ten catch, 167 yard game that was not even his best effort of the year. With two great wideouts to terrify secondaries, Sam Aiken has been able to have decent games lately with 80+ yards in the last two weeks.

The Panthers are very good against wide receivers and only three have scored on them this year. Several have produced decent yardage though and Moss at home in a game of this nature is only a matter of time. No reason to avoid using two of the best wideouts in the business.

Tight Ends: The tight ends here have marginal fantasy value at best and do not score often enough to be fantasy relevant.

Gaining Fantasy Points NE 3 9 1 23 7 20
Preventing Fantasy Points CAR 5 26 3 13 13 32

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~ 2009 ~
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