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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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The Huddle
WEEK 15
~ 2009 ~
Season Ticket
Thursday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday Late
Saturday
Monday
*updated

Prediction: ARI 31, DET 13

Friday Night Update: Fitzgerald had limited practice and is expected to play this week. Calvin Johnson remains questionable to play and is considered a gametime decision. Check Sunday morning inactives to ensure he is playing but hte Lions are optimistic that he will.

Thursday Night Update: Calvin Johnson was limited on Wednesday and held out on Thursday because of his knee but so far is not expect to miss time and is likely just resting. Check back on Friday if you need Johnson. Neil Rackers has not practiced this week and has a tear in his groin that will take a week or more to heal. The Cardinals have signed Mike Nugent who will kick probably through the rest of the regular season. Larry Fitzgerald has been limited in practice but still is expected to play.

The Cardinals head to Detroit still wondering what the heck happened in San Francisco on Monday night. But they are 8-5 and two games ahead in their division with a 5-2 road record. The Lions are 2-11 but both wins came in Detroit. But the Lions are on a three game losing streak and look even worse than they have all year with Kevin Smith gone. Admit it. This game is the reason why you drafted Kurt Warner. I knew it!

Arizona Cardinals (8-5)
Homefield: University of Phoenix Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 SF 16-20 -6 46
2 @JAC 31-17 +3 43
3 IND 10-31 -2.5 48
4 BYE - - -
5 HOU 28-21 -5.5 48
6 @SEA 27-3 +3 47
7 @NYG 24-17 +9 46.5
8 CAR 21-34 10 43.5
9 @CHI 41-21 +3 44.5
10 SEA 31-20 -9 46.5
11 @STL 21-13 -9.5 46.5
12 @TEN 17-20 +3.5 44.5
13 MIN 30-17 -3.5 48
14 @SF 9-24 -3.5 48
15 @DET - -11 47
16 STL - - -
17 GB - - -
ARI at DET Rush Catch Pass
QB Kurt Warner     270,3
RB Chris Wells 70,1 10  
RB Tim Hightower 40 20,1  
WR Anquan Boldin   80,1  
WR Larry Fitzgerald   100,1  
WR Steve Breaston   30  
PK Mike Nugent 1 FG 4 XP  
PK Neil Rackers 1 FG 4 XP
Pregame Notes: Getting spanked by the 49ers was not in the script but the Cardinals can lock up the division with a couple of wins or a loss by the 49ers. Considering that they play the 2-11 Lions this week and then host the 1-12 Rams, things are looking up for the Red Birds so that the final week against the Packers may not even matter.

Quarterback: Kurt Warner picked an inopportune time to turn in his worst game of the year when fantasy playoffs were starting in some leagues last week. He only had 178 yards, no scores, two interceptions and one lost fumble.

Forget about it.

Warner had thrown a score in every other game this year and had multiple scores in all but three weeks including the five straight weeks leading up to the San Francisco disaster. The Lions have averaged over two scores allowed per visiting quarterback and seven times gave up over 300 passing yards. Look for a healthy game here from Warner who needs to get the taste of last week out of his mouth. The Lions are just the team to do it.

Running Backs: The Cardinals only gave Tim Hightower two carries on Monday and one was a lost fumble that apparently sent him to the sidelines for good. That gave Beanie Wells the full load and he was sharp rushing for 79 yards on 15 carries and scoring once. He added a 24-yard reception as well. He also added a lost fumble which was one of five that the Cards lost.

Barring word from the Cardinals, the assumption has to be a return to the committee work from the two even though it should favor Wells at least partially since he was such a more effective runner. This week in Detroit, that could be good things.

Oddly enough though, the Lions at home have been pretty good against the run. On the road they lay down like $5 hooker with rent due, but at home they have held most teams to reasonable rushing yardage. Only Stephen Jackson broke 100 rushing yards there.

I am projecting a decent game from both Hightower and Wells, but there is risk with that . The split is no longer a certain thing and the Lions can play rush defense as well at home.

Wide Receivers: Larry Fitzgerald had his knee awkwardly compressed against the 49ers but he returned to the game. He had no more catches though. I will assume that he can play this week with little or no limitation since he did return to the game. Updates as warranted since this is one of those Fitzgerald owner dream games. Anquan Boldin has continued to be a prime contributor and would stand to see an even bigger chunk if Fitzgerald does prove injured. The only change to this crew recently has been the lack of work going to Steve Breaston who has gone three straight games with no more than 26 yards and no score. He had been around 60 to 80 yards per week previous to this late development. Early Doucet is seeing playing time which had been a limit on Breaston.

Start your Cardinals of course. Both Fitzgerald and Boldin are great plays but beyond them there is a split of work between Breaston and Doucet that is reducing fantasy value.

Tight Ends: No fantasy value.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points ARI 12 10 2 32 18 14
Preventing Fantasy Points DET 32 31 29 28 32 29


Detroit Lions (2-11)
Homefield: Ford Field
FieldTurf
  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 3-48 +14 40.5
15 ARI - +11 47
16 @SF - - -
17 CHI - - -
DET vs ARI Rush Catch Pass
QB Matthew Stafford     200,1
RB Maurice Morris 50 40  
WR Calvin Johnson   70,1  
WR Bryant Johnson   20  
WR Dennis Northcutt   30  
PK Jason Hanson 2 FG 1 XP  

Pregame Notes: A brutal season is winding down while still sending players to the injured reserve list and this week is not likely to reverse the three game losing streak. That season finale against the visiting Bears holds promise but the loss of Kevin Smith made a bad situation even worse. On the plus side - Cardinals and 49ers are going to be getting some fantasy points right when you need them most.

Quarterback: Matthew Stafford is expected back this week after Daunte Culpepper spent last Sunday in Baltimore proving why he will never again be a starting quarterback in this league. Stafford has managed to score in every game he has played even of the yardage has been often minimal and wholly revolved around finding Calvin Johnson. The loss of Kevin Smith not only is one less receiver, but the rushing game is going to be even less successful now which only ratchets up the heat on the passing.

The Cardinals have been one of the weaker secondaries this year though not nearly in the same league as the Lions. All but two opponents have scored via the pass against them and five times had multiple scores. That's high side to expect this week. One score and moderate yardage is victory enough for this offense.

Running Backs: Maurice Morris will finish out the season as the Lions' starting tailback with Kevin Smith landing on injured reserve with at least one torn ligament in his knee. Morris has been used sparingly this year and will share at least some time with the rookie Aaron Brown. Put them both together and there is only two scores and rarely more than 20 yards per week.

The Cardinals have been gashed by the run in recent games but relying on that replicating in Detroit is optimistic. Of the two runners, Morris has the most promise since he has more experience as a receiver and the Lions are likely to be abandoning the running effort earlier than later anyway. It is very speculative with little to go on as to what Morris will do. I will limit the projections to him since Brown had rarely had more than one touch per game.

Wide Receivers: Calvin Johnson was held to only 37 yards in Baltimore trying to catch Culpepper passes but had scored in three straight games previous to last week. He had very big efforts against the Browns and in Cincinnati. By this point, the Lions rarely pretend to throw to anyone else. Bryant Johnson is on a single catch streak and Dennis Northcutt never tops 40 yards.

Johnson should get his one score here since the Cardinals are only average in the secondary and Johnson always gets a dozen or more targets every week. The return of Stafford should help.

Tight Ends: No fantasy value.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DET 23 22 26 12 29 27
Preventing Fantasy Points ARI 22 16 27 25 8 17

The Huddle
WEEK 15
~ 2009 ~
Season Ticket
Thursday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday Late
Saturday
Monday
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