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

Prediction: DET 10, BAL 24

Thursday Night Update: Mark Clayton has missed both practices because of his knee and hamstring and is likely to miss the game this week. HC Jim Schwartz has already ruled out Matt Stafford and Daunte Culpepper will take the start.

The Lions head to Baltimore with their 0-6 road record where the 6-6 Ravens need a win to stay in the hunt for a wildcard. Let's not waste time here. The Lions have not lost by less than 10 points in a road game all year and that is with teams not preparing to play them.

Detroit Lions (2-10)
Homefield: Ford Field
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @NO 24-45 +13.5 49
2 MIN 13-27 +10 47
3 WAS 19-14 +6.5 38
4 @CHI 24-48 +10.5 38.5
5 PIT 20-28 +10.5 44
6 @GB 0-26 +13.5 47.5
7 BYE - - -
8 STL 10-17 -3.5 43.5
9 @SEA 20-32 +10 43.5
10 @MIN 10-27 +17 47.5
11 CLE 38-37 -3.5 37.5
12 GB 12-34 +11 48
13 @CIN 13-23 +13.5 42
14 @BAL - +12.5 43
15 ARI - - -
16 @SF - - -
17 CHI - - -
DET at BAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Matthew Stafford 190,1
QB Daunte Culpepper     190,1
RB Kevin Smith 50 20  
TE Will Heller   10,1  
WR Calvin Johnson   80  
WR Bryant Johnson   20  
WR Dennis Northcutt   40  
PK Jason Hanson 1 FG 1 XP  
Pregame Notes: Yet another bad seasons passes for the Lions but there has been at least some minor progress made with Matt Stafford showing more promise than decades worth of quarterbacks has seen. They have already won twice this year and if nothing else, we'll always have the Cleveland game. One day the Lions will be good and have a great defense. That will truly be a happy day in the United States of Canamerimexico.

Quarterback: Matt Stafford re-injured his non-throwing shoulder in the fourth quarter last Sunday and he was noncommittal as to the severity. HC Jim Schwartz has been purposefully evasive as if a 2-10 coach is going to shock an opponent with anything, much less a rookie quarterback. I will assume he can play and update if warranted. He has been a warrior so far

Stafford has been on a streak of scoring every week even if the yardage has not usually remained around 220. He is also throwing interceptions more with eight in just the last three weeks. The Ravens have only allowed five passing scored in Baltimore this year so expect very little from Stafford this week if he even plays.

Running Backs: Kevin Smith comes off one of his better games of the year when he gained 75 yards on 16 carries and scored once in Cincinnati, along with 29 yards on three receptions. He has only scored five times this year and yet all but one came in a road game. Smith only has one game with over 100 rushing yards but has been better than 80 total yards in most games.

The Ravens have been very good against the run in Baltimore and the Lions rarely travel well. Expect no score and just his normal moderate total yardage.

Wide Receivers: No changes here - Calvin Johnson remains the entirety of the passing game and all others only acts as decoys. He has four touchdowns and three have come in each of the last three games. He has topped 100 yards three times and regularly gets a dozen passes per game. The only fantasy question here every week is if Johnson can score?

Probably not and especially if Ed Reed is back from his hip injury. The primary wideout for each team has never scored in Baltimore and on this team there is no one else to worry about.

Tight Ends: The Lions use the tight ends for scores on a rare occasion and Will Heller has three touchdowns despite virtually no yardage. I like either Heller or Casey Fitzsimmons to score but have no yardage.

Gaining Fantasy Points DET 20 18 25 11 29 25
Preventing Fantasy Points BAL 13 5 13 10 14 4

Baltimore Ravens (6-6)
Homefield: M&T Bank Stadium
Sport Turf
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 KC 38-24 -12.5 36
2 @SD 31-26 +4 41
3 CLE 34-3 -13 38.5
4 @NE 21-27 +2 44.5
5 CIN 14-17 -8.5 42
6 @MIN 31-33 +3 44.5
7 BYE - - -
8 DEN 30-7 +4.5 42.5
9 @CIN 7-17 -3 43.5
10 @CLE 16-0 -11 39
11 IND 15-17 +1 44
12 PIT 20-17 -6 20
13 @GB 14-27 +3 44
14 DET - -12.5 43
15 CHI - - -
16 @PIT - - -
17 @OAK - - -
BAL vs DET Rush Catch Pass
QB Joe Flacco     250,1
RB Ray Rice 110,1 50  
TE Todd Heap   20  
WR Kelley Washington   40  
WR Derrick Mason   100,1  
PK Billy Cundiff 1 FG 3 XP  

Pregame Notes: The loss to the Packers sets the Ravens teetering on the brink of obscurity but the schedule may finally be a friend. Home games against the Lions and Bears will see them favored and the finale in Oakland is a coin flip this season may come down to the week 16 game in Pittsburgh where the Ravens sweep with a win. But a sweep of the final four games may be needed to get that wildcard bid.

I like a defensive score in this game.

Quarterback: The struggles of Joe Flacco continue to be a major limiter to the team and that was never more apparent than when he only passed for 137 yards and a score in Green Bay with three interceptions. He's only thrown for two touchdowns in the last five weeks so a chance to play the Lions could be a nice boost of confidence for a quarterback who is fighting through the learning curve.

The Lions have been very weak against the pass this year but are also bad against the run so some teams are just running and not passing against them. Flacco needs a feel good game badly though and the Lions always allow at least one touchdown. Five of their last seven games had the opponent passing for over 300 yards.

Look for a better game from Flacco that has upside to get bigger but should be relied on for good yardage and at least one passing score.

Running Backs: Willis McGahee has done almost nothing for yardage since week three but in the last two games he came in for a short touchdown while Ray Rice has not scored since week ten. Rice has maintained very good value between rushing and receiving yardage each week but the loss of scores to McGahee is not a good development here in the late season when you need Rice the most.

This should not be a problem this week unless the coaches really want to deny Rice the scores. The Lions have allowed a rushing score and over 100 rushing yards to most of the road opponents so consider Rice a safe - and profitable - start this week.

Wide Receivers: Mark Clayton injured his hamstring during the loss to the Packers.That comes on the heels of his 129 yard effort against the Steelers that dwarfed all else this season. I will count him out until he practices. Kelley Washington scored in Green Bay for the first time since week two and he has been well below fantasy significance all season. Derrick Mason had a surprising clunker last week when the Packers took him out of the equation and Mason only totaled 13 yards on two catches but has been the only decent play at wideout with five scores on the year and decent yardage in most games.

Look for a decent to good game here for Mason who should notch a score as well.

Tight Ends: Todd Heap has not scored since week two but he shows up best in tough road games where the wideouts are covered and Flacco is forced to check down to him. Heap had a season high ten targets last week in Green Bay and gained 52 yards on five catches but remains well below that mark in most other games. His last three home games never produced more than 16 yards per week.

Gaining Fantasy Points BAL 21 2 19 26 18 12
Preventing Fantasy Points DET 32 27 31 28 32 30

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