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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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DIVISIONAL
ROUND

~ 2009 ~

Saturday
Sunday
 
 

Prediction: BAL 17, IND 27

Yet again, this game is a replay of a previous matchup this year when the Colts won 17-15 in Baltimore during week 11. Now the Colts are back at home where they have been 7-1 and the Ravens are on the road where they have been just 4-5 this season. Vegas has the Colts favored by 6.5 points for this game.

Baltimore Ravens (9-7)
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 48-3 -14 40.5
15 CHI 31-7 -10.5 39.5
16 @PIT 20-23 +3 43
17 @OAK 21-13 -10 39
BAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Joe Flacco     190,1
RB Ray Rice 80,1 20  
RB Willis McGahee 20 20  
TE Todd Heap   20  
WR Mark Clayton   40  
WR Kelley Washington   20  
WR Derrick Mason   60,1  
PK Billy Cundiff 1FG 2 XP  
Pregame Notes: The Ravens had little problem taking down the Patriots last week thanks in part to injuries and associated struggles by the Patriots offense coupled with a dominating ground attack by the Ravens. There has been almost no passing to speak of recently but defense and rushing has carried the day. That probably won't be enough against Peyton Manning and the Colts this week.

Quarterback: No arguing that Joe Flacco has had a sophomore slump. He had a freakish four scores against the Bears but has not scored in the last two games including a paltry 34 yards in New England. To his credit he has only 13 interceptions on the year against 21 touchdowns but has been more likely to just produce a very mediocre game of around 200 yards and one score.

Flacco is also dealing with a hip and quad injury that has slowed him but is not expected to keep him out this week.

The Colts secondary has been hit with injuries but is getting a cornerback back this week and at home should be more than enough to handle this passing attack. If Flacco does more than his usual one score consider it a bad sign since the Ravens can only win games via the run and defense.

Running Backs: This unit remains one of the best in the league and last week even saw Le 'Ron McClain score once. But in most weeks and this one to be sure it will be Ray Rice as the primary with Willis McGahee as the short yardage back. Rice accounted for two rushing scores last week and 159 yards thanks to an 83-yard touchdown run. He's been good for around 100 yards or more if only with receiving added. He's been much less used as a receiver in the last month though and never had more than 20 yards via receptions in that time.

In most games, McGahee needs to score to offer any fantasy value. He has scored eight times over the last seven games but offered minimal yardage outside of playing the Lions or Raiders.

The Colts have never allowed more than one rushing score to a visitor though about half the teams that show up end with a runner over 90 yards. The yardage will get split to a small degree but Rice remains a solid play this week. The question is who will get the rushing score? Rice or McGahee?

Wide Receivers: Mediocre passing numbers makes this unit nearly devoid of fantasy value outside of Derrick Mason who has been the only receiver of any note. Mason has seven touchdowns on the year and over 70 yards in most games. That dwarfs all others on this team. Most receivers here do well enough to get one catch per game.

The Colts have been good against the pass at home versus average offenses like the Ravens. No reason to expect Flacco to turn into Tom Brady this week. If there is a passing score, it almost has to end up with Mason.

Tight Ends: Todd Heap ended the regular season with two games that had a couple of touchdowns in each. Last week he had no catches and suffered a "stinger" to his back and hyperextended his leg. He is still expected to play and start but should be a nonfactor against the #1 defense against tight ends.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points BAL 18 1 21 22 13 6
Preventing Fantasy Points IND 9 21 28 1 24 2


Indianapolis Colts (14-2)
Homefield: Lucas Oil Stadium
FieldTurf
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 JAC 14-12 -6.5 44.5
2 @MIA 27-23 -3 42
3 @ARI 31-10 +2.5 48
4 SEA 34-17 -10 43.5
5 @TEN 31-9 -3.5 46.5
6 BYE - - -
7 @STL 42-6 -14 45
8 SF 18-14 -13 45
9 HOU 20-17 -9 48
10 NE 35-34 -1 48
11 @BAL 17-15 -1 44
12 @HOU 35-27 -3 48
13 TEN 27-17 -6 47
14 DEN 28-16 -6.5 43.5
15 @JAC 35-31 -3 42
16 NYJ 15-29 -3 40.5
17 @BUF 7-30 +9 32.5
IND Rush Catch Pass
QB Peyton Manning     280,2
RB Joseph Addai 70,1 10  
RB Donald Brown 30 10  
TE Dallas Clark   50  
WR Reggie Wayne   80,1  
WR Austin Collie   30  
WR Pierre Garcon   70,1  
PK Matt Stover 2 FG 3 XP  

Pregame Notes: After 14 straight wins, the Colts took a rest in week 16 and allowed the Jets to win the game. The next week they were demolished by the Bills when only scrubs played. There have been past seasons when resting players like that resulted in a very flat performance and a loss in their first playoff game. This year was even worse when resting players meant giving up on what could have been with an undefeated season.

Quarterback: Peyton Manning won his fourth NFL Most Valuable Player award to set that record after passing for 4500 yards and 33 touchdowns, while completing a career-high 68.8 percent of his passes this season. Manning produced almost no numbers in the final two games but had 17 scores over the previous six weeks and had been over 250 yards in almost every other game.

Manning passed for 299 yards and one score in Baltimore this year.

The Ravens have been far less formidable on the road this year where opponents already had four game with multiple passing scores and five times allowed over 250 passing yards. This is where the Colts need to have a big game and Manning has to deliver, particularly with a game against the Chargers as a likely outcome of this week.

Running Backs: Donald Brown returned for the last two games but had minimal success, much the same as he has had all year long. Brown has rushed for more than 40 yards only twice this year and has been only good for about one catch per week. Joseph Addai has kept his grasp on the starting job and while he has never rushed for more than 80 yards in a game he has been very consistent around 60 to 70 yards along with 13 total touchdowns.

Addai rushed for 74 yards on 19 carries and scored once in Baltimore this year. It was one of his best games.

Look for a repeat of that week 11 outcome with a rested Addai scoring once and turning in decent yardage.

Wide Receivers: Reggie Wayne had eight scores through the first nine games but only has two in the seven matchups and other than week 15 in Jacksonville, Wayne has been held to less than 50 yards in each of the last six games. Wayne caught seven passes for 89 yards in Baltimore. Pierre Garcon has been of little importance in the last month thanks mostly to a hand injury but is expected to return this week ready to return to his level of play that saw him gain over 50 yards in most games. Garcon had six receptions for 108 yards in Baltimore this year.

The Ravens have been good against wideouts this year but mostly because they did not face many good passing teams. Look for Manning to have success as he did in the last matchup and up the scores to two this time.

Tight Ends: Dallas Clark comes into this game as the wildcard of the offense. He's been whatever the Colts need him to be. That means as many as 14 catches in a game and as few as just one. And that one catch was in Baltimore for only three yards but was a score. Clark is slightly less likely to score this week but could never be counted out.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points IND 8 17 7 1 22 22
Preventing Fantasy Points BAL 6 3 13 6 12 5

DIVISIONAL
ROUND

~ 2009 ~

Saturday
Sunday
 
 
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