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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
Player Projections by Team
Game Predictions Summary
The Huddle
November 8, 2006
Season Ticket
Sunday Late
Sunday night
GB at MIN NYJ at NE     Updated

Prediction: DAL 24, ARZ 20

It's one step forward and two steps back for the Cowboys after their bitter loss in Washington, D.C. (note - improbable plays count the same as probable ones). Now Dallas staggers back to 4-4 and trail the Giants by two games. The Cardinals come off their bye week with an NFL leading seven game losing streak and are looking to just win. Hopefully Denny Green used the bye week to find new ways of saying "this just sucks".

The Cowboys won 34-13 in Arizona last year in week 8.

Update: Terry Glenn is only listed as probable on the injury report but has been held out of practice with a condition now stated as "bone on bone" in the back of his knee. If he does not practice on Friday, then it will almost be certain that he will not play and that Sam Hurd will replace him. HC Bill Parcells likes Patrick Crayton in the slot and if Glenn does not play, then it would most likely be the more reliable Crayton getting more action than Hurd. Of course that all comes after Owens takes his share. I am lowering Glenn's numbers and he may not play at all.

Dallas Cowboys (4-4)
1 17-24 @JAX 10 --- @ARZ
2 27-10 WAS 11 --- IND
3 Open Bye 12 --- TB
4 45-14 @TEN 13 --- @NYG
5 24-38 @PHI 14 --- NO
6 34-6 HOU 15 --- @ATL
7 22-36 NYG 16 --- PHI
8 35-14 @CAR 17 --- DET
9 19-22 @WAS M THU SAT
DAL at ARZ Rush Catch Pass
QB Tony Romo 0 0 260,2
RB Julius Jones 90 0 0
RB Marion Barber 20,1 10 0
TE Jason Witten 0 50 0
WR Terrell Owens 0 110,1 0
WR Terry Glenn 0 30 0
WR Patrick Crayton 0 50,1 0
PK Mike Vanderjagt 2 FG 3 XP -
Pregame Notes: Perhaps the Cowboys did not take the wounded Redskins serious enough last week or maybe they just are not at the level that the Panthers game suggested, but the Cowboys are once again soul searching after allowing a winnable game to get away from them. Romo still looks like a change for the good but until Owens starts catching those bombs and all linemen block on field goal attempts, the losses may not be over. The Colts loom in week 11 but no way can Dallas look past this game.

Quarterback: In two full starts, Tony Romo has been more than adequate with both efforts exceeding 270 passing yards and scoring in both games with only one interception as a starter. Romo has brought both Owens and Witten in to better use even if it means that Terry Glenn remains a bit player. Romo adds all new mobility to the position and has a much quicker release than Bledsoe - both bode well for the rest of the season.

Bledsoe only threw for 220 yards and one score against the Cards last year.

Running Backs: Julius Jones was held to only 73 yards on 20 carries against the Redskins but he's been an effective runner most weeks even if he rarely scores a touchdown. One of the directions that the team would like to pursue is more rushing and that directly benefits Jones.

Marion Barber did not score last week but that was his first blank in five weeks. He plays just enough to ensure that Jones never has a monster game and primarily serves to steal touchdowns.

With Jones injured, Marion Barber ran for 127 yards and two touchdowns against Arizona last season.

Wide Receivers: Terrell Owens is making his mark with the team since Romo took over but it is hard to see if it is a good thing or just a bruise. His endzone antics last week cost the Cowboys 15 yards on the kickoff and he dropped a certain 72 yard touchdown pass. But he came up with seven catches for 76 yards and one score. Terry Glenn has been little more than a possession receiver since week two and while he only had 26 yards on three catches last week, he did score for the first time in six games. Patrick Crayton comes off a season high 84 yards on four catches from the slot but had just one catch for 13 yards in the previous game - his production depends entirely on game situations.

Glenn only had 65 yards and no scores against the Cardinals last year though Keyshawn Johnson had 54 yards and one touchdown.

Tight Ends: Jason Witten only had 50 yards on five catches for his lowest output with Romo behind center, but that was still as good as any game with Bledsoe this year. He still had ten passes thrown to him in that game and remains a preferred target for Romo second only to Owens.

Witten turned in 71 yards on five catches against Arizona last year.

Match Against the Defense: The Cardinals may have a low ranked rush defense but that mostly stems from road games. At home, only one runner (Gore) has scored against them and no runner has topped 87 yards in Arizona. But the Cowboys will want to establish the run if only to keep Boldin and Fitzgerald off the field. Look for a good game here by Jones with Barber hawking the score.

Romo goes against a secondary that is worse than the ranking suggests, Three opponents in Arizona this year had over 280 passing yards and at least one score. Expect a healthy game here with at least one passing score and likely two. Time for Owens to make amends from last week and likely Glenn as well unless Owens makes it two scores. Witten goes against a defense that has been top notch against visiting tight ends.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM    QB   RB   WR   TE   PK  DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DAL 4 5 9 12 9 7
Preventing Fantasy Points ARI 14 28 9 15 31 29


Arizona Cardinals (1-7)
1 34-27 SF 10 --- DAL
2 10-21 @SEA 11 --- DET
3 14-16 STL 12 --- @MIN
4 10-32 @ATL 13 --- @STL
5 20-23 KC 14 --- SEA
6 23-24 CHI 15 --- DEN
7 9-22 @OAK 16 --- @SF
8 14-31 @GB 17 --- @SD
9 Open Bye - - MON
ARZ vs DAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Leinart 0 0 240,2
RB Edgerrin James 60 10 0
TE Leonard Pope 0 10 0
WR Anquan Boldin 0 100,1 0
WR Larry Fitzgerald 0 70 0
WR Bryant Johnson 0 40,1 0
PK Neil Rackers 2 FG 2 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Cardinals are beyond frustration with the worse losing streak in the league and a very consistent way to lose badly on the road and then let home games just barely get by them. In the three home losses, the Cardinals have never lost by more than three points. Getting Larry Fitzgerald back will help this week and the bye week gives the team more time to prepare. Matt Leinart is in all new territory with three straight losses as a starter. Something has to break soon if only Denny Green's mental state.

Quarterback: Three weeks as a starter and Matt Leinart has already assumed the standard role - play well at home and then stumble on the road. Leinart had two scores against both the visiting Chiefs and Bears but on the road to Oakland was held to only 203 yards and two interceptions. Back at home this week, Leinart is still searching for that ever elusive first win and he has never had less than 232 yards in Phoenix.

Running Backs: After four fruitless weeks, Edgerrin James finally found the endzone against the Packers and now has three touchdowns on the year - pretty heady stuff for a Cardinals running back. He's still only gaining around 3.5 yards per carry regardless where he plays but at least Leinart is starting to pass more to him. James had only one catch in the first two games with Leinart but turned in three receptions for 25 yards in Oakland. It's a start.

Wide Receivers: This should be fascinating since Leinart was so good without Larry Fitzgerald (in home games anyway) and now Fitzgerald is expected to return from the hamstring pull that kept him out he last month. Now Leinart has two top wideouts to use and that should make a huge difference for a team that won't be running much anyway. Anquan Boldin scored in both home games while Fitzgerald was gone and had 207 yards over those two match-ups. How much Fitzgerald benefits from Leinart starts to become apparent this week.

Fitzgerald only had 36 yards against the Cowboys last year but Boldin ended with 69 yards and one score.

Tight Ends: Leonard Pope. Now forget about him.

Match Against the Defense: The Cowboys have an above average rushing defense so expect the same moderate to minimal numbers from James this week and unlikely any score.

Leinart goes against a secondary that is good but that has given up at least one score in each of the last four road games. Terrence Newman matches up on Larry Fitzgerald and he can give up yards but never scores. Look for Boldin to still take the lead on the passing game and to have one score and good yardage here against CB Anthony Henry. The safeties for Dallas have been a problem as well, so a second score should end up with Bryant Johnson.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM    QB   RB   WR   TE   PK  DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points ARI 21 29 3 30 21 6
Preventing Fantasy Points DAL 8 13 13 22 11 27