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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: NE 27, HOU 24

Update: The Patriots claim to be playing this one out but there is a risk in relying on it. Tom Brady and Bell Belichick both have stated this one will be played out but game situation may change it. I am not changing any projections but you are taking a risk using the Pats.

The Patriots have clinched the AFC East and have nothing to play for this week other than potentially nailing down the #3 seed instead of the #4 seed. Assuming a win in the first round, the difference is facing the Chargers (#3) or the Colts (#4). Not much difference really. But Bill Belichick says he will play the game out and go into the post season on a high note which is just what he did in 2006 under similar circumstances. The Texans remain in the hunt but to advance they must win and have at least two 8-7 teams lose.

New England Patriots (10-5)
Homefield: Gillette Stadium
FieldTurf
  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 20-10 -12.5 43.5
15 @BUF 17-10 -6.5 41.5
16 JAC 35-7 -9.5 44
17 @HOU - +8 43
NE at HOU Rush Catch Pass
QB Tom Brady     260,2
RB Sammy Morris 60,1 10  
TE Ben Watson   10,1  
WR Randy Moss   80,1  
WR Wes Welker   100  
WR Sam Aiken   30  
PK Stephen Gostowski 2 FG 3 XP  
Pregame Notes: The Patriots have clinched the AFC East and really have nothing to play for but insist they will give it a full effort and back in 2006, the Patriots creamed the Titans even though they had nothing to gain. Belichick says you have keep playing hard and enter the postseason on a high note. Were the game to surprisingly turn into a Texans rout there could be players pulled but all you can do is go with their history of playing out games. It does make sense. What matters more here is that the Patriots are only 2-5 on the road. That's a reason to want to win one away from home before the playoffs.

Quarterback: Tom Brady winds down the regular season with 4212 yards and 28 touchdowns going into this game which is well off the mark of 2007 but still in lofty company. He had been on a downslide in recent weeks with only five passing scores over the five previous games but then bombed the Jaguars with four scores last week. Many of Brady's biggest games have been on the road.

The Texans defense is average in almost every measure but almost every opponent has scored at least one passing touchdown against them and five have turned in two or more. At home, the Texans have not allowed more than 250 pass yards since week one.

Brady wants to end on a high note and should post a couple of scores here. When Manning visited Houston, he passed for 244 yards and three scores.

Running Backs: Whatever fantasy value there was in this backfield is gone now that all four backs are getting carries. Laurence Maroney has faded once again and last week Sammy Morris had most of the work but add in Kevin Faulk and even Fred Taylor now and there is no reason to rely on any aspect of this backfield - you cannot rely week to week what will happen unless three of them are injured.

The Texans are about average against the run and their ranking reflects having to face Chris Johnson twice a year. I will project for Sammy Morris but there is almost no confidence on who does what with rushing.

Wide Receivers: Randy Moss now has 78 catches for 1189 yards and 13 touchdowns which already ties him for third best in his career. Moss has been off in yardage with only 14.6 yards per catch but his five games over 100 yards is his second best of his career. Wes Welker rarely scores with only four touchdowns but he already has 122 catches for 1336 yards and he missed two games. Welker has not scored since week seven.

The Texans have only allowed four scores to wide receivers in Houston but have faced almost no decent passing attacks there. The Colts had two scores split between Reggie Wayne and Pierre Garcon.

Tight Ends: Both Chris Baker and Benjamin Watson contribute and together they have seven touchdowns but neither have much yardage in any game. I like a tight end touchdown here but it could go to either player.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NE 5 10 1 25 7 23
Preventing Fantasy Points HOU 12 16 15 24 9 11


Houston Texans (8-7)
Homefield: Reliant Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 NYJ 7-24 -4.5 44
2 @TEN 34-31 +7 40.5
3 JAC 24-31 -4 46.5
4 OAK 29-6 -9.5 41
5 @ARI 21-28 +5.5 48
6 @CIN 28-17 +5.5 46
7 SF 24-21 -3 44.5
8 @BUF 31-10 -3.5 42
9 @IND 17-20 +9 48
10 BYE - - -
11 TEN 17-20 -4 48.5-
12 IND 27-35 +3 48
13 @JAC 18-23 +1 47.5
14 SEA 34-7 -7 44.5
15 @STL 16-13 -14 43.5
16 @MIA 27-20 +1 47
17 NE - -8 46
HOU vs NE Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Schaub     310,3
RB Arian Foster 50 30  
TE Joel Dreesen   30  
WR Andre' Johnson   110,2  
WR Kevin Walter   50  
WR Jacoby Jones   60,1  
PK Kris Brown 1 FG 3 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Texans still have a chance to make the playoffs and it doesn't rely on meteor showers or the mafia but it's a long shot to happen. But what could transpire this week is the first ever winning season by the Texans. That would be an accolade for HC Gary Kubiak who has a rather bare "accolade shelf". The Texans have never had a winning season ever.

Quarterback: Matt Schaub has buried his previous best season by remaining healthy and throwing for 4523 yards and 27 touchdowns. He has scored in all but one of the last 14 games and had eight 300 yard games. It has been a very productive season and really only used Andre Johnson to get there.

The Patriots have always allowed at least one passing score in a road game and gave up nine between just Manning and Brees. This could be a nice game for Schaub against a secondary that has faced few good passing teams and paid dearly when they did. Look for high yardage and at least two scores if not three.

Running Backs: Gary Kubiak did not punish Arian Foster with the bench last week and the rookie responded with 97 yards on 19 carries and one score in Miami last week. And yet still Ryan Moats was given eight runs and only gained 23 yards. The sharing scenario will always hurt this backfield but not as much as off the cuff changes made by Kubiak.

The Patriots have only allowed three rushing scores all season so no reason to expect the fourth one here. Look for moderate yardage at best and the split of work to ruin the value of either backs.

Wide Receivers: Andre Johnson topped the 1500-yard mark and joined joining Marvin Harrison as the only receivers in NFL history to accomplish the feat in back-to-back seasons. Johnson already had 95 catches for 1504 yards and nine scores and has been nearly the entire passing game for the Texans, particularly since Owen Daniels left. Kevin Walter has never been more than a possession receiver and Jacoby Jones has been occasionally good and yet held to no catches three times this year. This offense is not only all about Johnson, secondaries have not been able to stop him.

The Pats were destroyed by the Colts and Saints and are getting worse. Expect another big effort by Johnson and for one other score to likely end up with Jones or Walter.

Tight Ends: Joel Dreesen has never scored but has been a factor in recent games. He had a season best 65 yards on four catches just last week.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points HOU 6 9 6 15 14 25
Preventing Fantasy Points NE 10 5 21 5 1 2

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