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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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The Huddle
WEEK 17
~ 2009 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Late Sunday
 
 
*updated

Prediction: ATL 17, TB 20

Update: Matt Bryant has a hamstring strain and will be a game time decision. Tony Gonzalez is a game time decision with a calf strain.

The Falcons have a chance to end with a winning season if they can take down the Buccaneers. The Bucs have been plenty bad this year with a 3-12 record but have won their last two games in an impressive fashion. The Falcons won 20-17 when they hosted the Bucs in week 12.

Atlanta Falcons (8-7)
Homefield: Georgia Dome
FieldTurf
  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 19-28 -1 43.5
11 @NYG 31-34 +7 46
12 TB 20-17 -12 46
13 PHI 7-34 +4 43.5
14 NO 23-26 +10 50.5
15 @NYJ 10-7 +5.5 36.5
16 BUF 31-3 -9 40.5
17 @TB - -2.5 41.5
ATL at TB Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Ryan     220,1
RB Jason Snelling 40,1 10  
RB Jerious Norwood 30 20  
TE Tony Gonzalez   50  
WR Michael Jenkins   40  
WR Roddy White   70,1  
WR Eric Weems   20  
PK Matt Bryant 1 FG 2 XP  
Pregame Notes: The season wasn't really a success with no playoff games but Matt Ryan got one year better and Tony Gonzalez should hang on for at least one more season. The Falcons had a touch schedule this year and it showed in their 2-5 road record. The team is on the right path and just needs to get more from the defense.

Quarterback: Matt Ryan is healing up from his turf toe and he's been playing with it anyway. Ryan has already thrown for 20 touchdowns this season and should end up right around 3000 passing yards. That means in two years he has become an average quarterback and looks to have another step up next season.

Ryan did not play against the Bucs earlier this year but Chris Redman filled in with 243 yards and three touchdowns that week. The Buccaneers have been allowing two or three touchdowns per visiting opponent but have been winning games later and could stand up again in this final home game in Tampa Bay. Expect just a moderate showing by Ryan with a couple of touchdowns.

Running Backs: Michael Turner remains out with a high ankle sprain. He is no lock to play this week so I will not include him and currently he would need 129 more rushing yards to reach 1000 for the year. Barring his return - and he won't be healthy if he does - Jason Snelling and Jerious Norwood will again split the load.

Turner did not play in the previous matchup with the Bucs and that left Jason Snelling who and Jerious Norwood who only combined for 30 rushing yards on ten carries because the Bucs had no fear of the pass.

Having Ryan play should help but these Bucs have been better recently and are in their final home game. Neither Snelling nor Norwood are attractive plays in the finale.

Wide Receivers: The season winds down with Roddy White just as effective as last year. White goes into the final week with 1087 yards and two touchdowns but only has 79 catches. He still has room to grow into a heavier workload. He also needs to find a complement since Michael Jenkins only scored once this year and had 590 yards. Tony Gonzalez acts as a psuedo-wideout but White - and the offense - could be helped if the starting flanker concerned the defense.

Back in week 12, White caught five passes for 57 yards and one score against the Bucs. Jenkins had 80 yards on seven catches for one of his busiest games of the year. This time no reason not to expect White to show up again. WIth Ryan passing, he should be a bit better than a month ago.

Tight Ends: Tony Gonzalez did add an entirely new aspect to the offense and it really did not come at the expense of anything else - White still got his catches. He enters his final game with 837 yards and six scores so a really big effort could top 1000 yards on the season. He caught nine passes for 83 yards against the Buccaneers last time.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points ATL 13 11 16 6 23 22
Preventing Fantasy Points TB 19 23 22 23 27 22


Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-12)
Homefield: Raymond James Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 DAL 21-34 +5 39
2 @BUF 20-33 +4 41
3 NYG 0-24 +7 44
4 @WAS 13-16 +7 37
5 @PHI 14-33 +16 42.5
6 CAR 21-28 +3 39
7 NE 7-35 +15.5 44.5
8 BYE - - -
9 GB 38-28 +10 43.5
10 @MIA 23-25 +10 43
11 NO 7-38 +10.5 51
12 @ATL 17-20 +12 46
13 @CAR 6-16 +3.5 40
14 NYJ 3-26 +3.5 36.5
15 @SEA 24-7 +6.5 39
16 @NO 20-17 +14 48.5
17 ATL - +2.5 41.5
TB vs ATL Rush Catch Pass
QB Josh Freeman     220,2
RB Carnell Williams 50 10  
TE Kellen Winslow Jr.   70,1  
WR Antonio Bryant   90,1  
WR Michael Clayton   40  
PK Conner Barth 2 FG 2 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Buccaneers are ending their season on a high note with two surprise wins - both on the road no less - and the offense is showing signs of life. For reasons unknown, the Bucs have been far more competitive when they leave home than when they play in Tampa Bay. The last three home games never scored more than seven points. Suddenly playing the Buccaneers is not just a free win. Ask the Saints.

Quarterback: Josh Freeman had an encouraging rookie season though he is ending with only 1683 yards and nine scores against 16 interceptions going into the final game. As a team the Bucs had 17 touchdowns and Freeman showed much more promise than either Josh Johnson or Byron Leftwich.

In week 12, Freeman passed for 250 yards and two scores in Atlanta. Four of the last five road games for the Falcons have allowed two or more passing touchdowns as well. Look for a lower passing game here since the Falcons have Ryan and will play better.

Running Backs: Earnest Graham is on injured reserve now because of a torn ligament in his leg but he's been a nonfactor all year. Derrick Ward has never done much more than drain fantasy value from Carnell Williams who has never been better than marginal anyway. Williams had a season high 129 rushing yards and a score on 24 carries in New Orleans but that dwarfs everything else he did this year.

In the previous meeting with the Falcons, Williams only gained 30 yards on ten carries. The Falcons are only average on the road but the Bucs can only dream of having an average rushing attack. No reason to rely on Williams this week.

Wide Receivers: Antonio Bryant has finally become healthy after spending most of the season with a chronic sore knee and has turned in a few nice games here down the stretch. He still is a franchise player who only has produced three touchdowns and 585 yards this year. That is almost double what the other wideouts had. The only interesting development here was the rookie Sammie Stroughter who ended up on injured reserve.

Bryant had one of his best games of the year in Atlanta when he caught three passes for 91 yards and one touchdown. He remains the most likely to score again this year and should have at least a decent showing.

Tight Ends: The addition of Kellen Winslow was a success - the ex-Brown leads the team with 72 catches for 828 yards and five scores. The season would have been even more dire without Winslow. In Atlanta, he caught seven passes for 81 yards. I like him to match that and to score this time.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points TB 25 30 31 7 31 19
Preventing Fantasy Points ATL 29 17 20 26 12 9

The Huddle
WEEK 17
~ 2009 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Late Sunday
 
 
 
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