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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: TB 6, CAR 24

This is a replay game that the Panthers won 26-24 back in week three in Tampa Bay. The only difference now is that the Panthers are improved and the Bucs are even worse. Carolina comes off their bye week after getting spanked by the Cowboys and face the Bucs who are 0-3 on the road and have lost their last two games in decisive fashion. The Panthers are two games behind the Saints in the NFC South and cannot afford to lose this divisional match-up.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-6)
1 0-27 BAL 10 --- @CAR
2 3-14 @ATL 11 --- WAS
3 24-26 CAR 12 --- @DAL
4 Open Bye 13 --- @PIT
5 21-24 @NO 14 --- ATL
6 14-13 CIN 15 --- @CHI
7 23-21 PHI 16 --- @CLE
8 3-17 @NYG 17 --- SEA
9 14-31 NO - MON THU
TBB at CAR Rush Catch Pass
QB Bruce Gradkowski 10 0 170
RB Cadillac Williams 40 10 0
RB Michael Pittman 10 20 0
TE Alex Smith 0 20 0
WR Joey Galloway 0 40 0
WR Michael Clayton 0 40 0
WR Ike Hilliard 0 30 0
PK Matt Bryant 2 FG 0 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Buccaneers brutal schedule this year comes at a very bad time in history of the team - they have not looked weaker on either side of the ball for years. Each time it appears that Carnell Williams is back to form, he slides backwards into obscurity. Bruce Gradkowski has developed into just another mediocre rookie quarterback trudging through a learning curve while the defense hopes their opponent hasn't prepared for the game.

Quarterback: The final game for Chris Simms was this match-up in week three when he had just 139 yards and one touchdown. Bruce Gradkowski threw for 225 yards in his first game as a starter but hasn't been above 185 yards in any game since. Other than that first start in New Orleans when the Saints did not know what to prepare for, Gradkowski has only played in one other road game and that was in New York when the Giants held him to just 139 passing yards without any scores.

Running Backs: When Carnell Williams ran for 111 yards against the Saints in week five, it appeared that he was getting back on track. He turned in games of 94 and 82 yards in the next two efforts (both at home) but the last two weeks have only produced 20 and 39 yards. As soon as the Bucs fall behind, the rushing game is quickly abandoned and that has left Williams with just 20 carries total from the last two weeks. Other than the Saints game, Williams has never run for more than 37 yards in any road game this year.

Williams ran for just 48 yards on 19 carries but scored once against the Panthers this year. He added two catches for 16 yards.

Wide Receivers: Joey Galloway only had one catch for eight yards against Carolina in week three but it was a touchdown. He comes off a season high two touchdown game against the Saints with 97 yards but that was from only four catches. Of his four scores on the year, three came from playing against the Saints. Michael Clayton has only one score on the year and still has not had more than 55 yards in any game with Gradkowski as the quarterback. This unit has only Galloway as a fantasy relevant player and that has produced some wildly varying results because Galloway either catches long passes or he doesn't - there is no middle ground.

Tight Ends: As Gradkowski continues to struggle, Alex Smith has been of minimal value to the passing game since he has never had more than 16 yards in any game with Gradkowski as the starter. Smith started the year well with a 72 yard effort against the Panthers with Simms as the quarterback but he's mainly just a blocker for now.

Match Against the Defense: The Panthers rushing defense has been only average this year but Carnell Williams has been more than lackluster this season, particularly on the road. Expect just a minimal effort this week without a score because he will not get the volume of carries to matter this week.

Gradkowski could have a slight uptick in numbers this week if only from trash time efforts but the Panthers against a mediocre quarterback should be more than he can handle. Look for the Panthers to shut down Galloway for the second time this year and take the entire passing attack along with him.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM    QB   RB   WR   TE   PK  DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points TB 28 24 22 18 32 29
Preventing Fantasy Points CAR 21 14 7 31 20 8


Carolina Panthers (4-4)
1 6-20 ATL 10 --- TB
2 13-16 @MIN 11 --- STL
3 26-24 @TB 12 --- @WAS
4 21-18 NO 13 --- @PHI
5 20-12 CLE 14 --- NYG
6 23-21 @BAL 15 --- PIT
7 14-17 @CIN 16 --- @ATL
8 14-35 DAL 17 --- @NO
9 Open Bye - - MON
CAR vs TB Rush Catch Pass
QB Jake Delhomme 0 0 250,2
RB DeShaun Foster 60 10 0
RB DeAngelo Williams 60,1 0 0
TE Kris Mangum 0 10 0
WR Steve Smith 0 120,2 0
WR Drew Carter 0 30 0
WR Keyshawn Johnson 0 80 0
PK John Kasay 1 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Panthers come off their bye week and have lost their last two games - they cannot afford any more losses, at least not from games like this week when they should win handily. DeAngelo Williams should be back for this Monday night affair and Steve Smith gets a national audience. With two weeks to prepare, this should be a nice game for all the usual Panther offensive players.

Quarterback: Jake Delhomme had 272 passing yards and one score against the Bucs in week three this year. He hasn't changed much since until the last game played against the Cowboys in week eight when he only managed 149 yards and had no scores for the first time in five games. Until the Cowboys showed up, Delhomme had thrown for two scores in three of the last four games. One reality here - Delhomme has yet to throw for more than 186 yards in any home game this year.

Running Backs: DeShaun Foster has been a flop in the last three games when he went against good defenses of BAL, CIN and DAL and never had more than 59 rushing yards. The Panthers are already starting to sour on him this year which should result in more playing time for DeAngelo Williams. After missing the last four weeks, Williams should be ready to play this week after nursing a high ankle sprain, He only had two games this year when he was given more than a couple of carries and he responded with 74 yards and one touchdown on 13 carries against the Vikings and 62 yards on just eight carries against the Saints.

Mid-season is here and the Panthers have lost three of their last four games. Expect at least Williams to get some fantasy significant work from here on out and if he shows up Foster in a winning game, the Panthers could very well just say thanks to Foster and hand the starting job to Williams.

Foster ran for 82 yards on 20 carries against Tampa Bay this year. Williams had just four carries and lost one yard net.

Wide Receivers: Steve Smith comes off his worst game of the year when he was held to only 55 yards against the Cowboys but he was golden in even other game as a starter this year. He still has only two touchdowns this season but he's already turned in three efforts over 100 yards. Keyshawn Johnson had been nearly invisible over the last three games with never more than 46 yards per week. His production has been declining almost every week since the second game of the season.

Keyshawn Johnson had 97 yards and one score in Tampa Bay this year while Steve Smith turned in seven receptions for 112 yards in his first game of the season.

Tight Ends: No real fantasy value here.

Match Against the Defense: The Panthers face a soft rush defense that has given up a score to the opposing running back in each of the last three games. The Panthers are souring, finally, on Foster so expect a bigger split between Williams and Foster that could favor Williams if he is more successful - very possible.

Delhomme already had a big passing effort against the Buccaneers this year and Tampa Bay has never failed to allow less than one score. Look for two this week from Delhomme that could stretch into three if the rushing game is worse than expected. Monday night football is made for Steve Smith.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM    QB   RB   WR   TE   PK  DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CAR 27 22 10 29 17 27
Preventing Fantasy Points TB 31 23 16 16 14 14