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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
Player Projections by Team
Game Predictions Summary
The Huddle
November 22, 2006
Season Ticket
Sunday Late
  CIN at CLE NYG at TEN   Updated

Prediction: MIA 20, DET 17

The Dolphins are three games into a winning streak again this year and those came against some heavy hitters of KC and CHI. Realistically it would require the team to win out in order to have even a shot at the playoffs. The Lions have only won twice this year but both came at home while the only team the Dolphins can beat on the road was Chicago (it's been that sort of year). This is the Turkey opener, so grab a drumstick, loosen your belt and let's all wonder what happened to the rushing games. If this matchup seems odd, it is because these teams have not met since 2002. And the Lions have not beaten the Fins since 1991. Maybe more important - the Lions have only won once in the last five games on Thanksgiving.

Miami Dolphins (4-6)
1 17-28 @PIT 10 13-10 KC
2 6-16 BUF 11 24-20 MIN
3 13-10 TEN 12 --- @DET
4 15-17 @HOU 13 --- JAX
5 10-20 @NE 14 --- NE
6 17-20 @NYJ 15 --- @BUF
7 24-34 GB 16 --- NYJ
8 Open Bye 17 --- @IND
9 31-13 @CHI - MON THU
MIA at DET Rush Catch Pass
QB Joey Harrington 0 0 240,2
RB Ronnie Brown 50 0 0
TE Randy McMichael 0 30 0
WR Chris Chambers 0 60,1 0
WR Marty Booker 0 70,1 0
WR Wes Welker 0 50 0
PK Olindo Mare 2 FG 2 XP -
Pregame Notes: Miami is on a three game winning streak thanks mainly to their defense and the ability to take opponents by surprise. At least up until now. With a history of stringing together a big finish to the season, HC Nick Saban is striving to put a season back together that once was in shambles at 1-6 just three weeks ago.

Quarterback: While Joey Harrington has been all over the productivity map this year, when he hits the road he stays pretty consistent. Considering the Chicago game as the aberration, Harrington has not thrown for more than one score in games away from Miami and stays around 230 yards. That could slant upwards this week against a soft secondary and a potentially reduced ground game. Perhaps more important than anything is this - Harrington returns to Detroit where all his sorrows were never over. He wants a big game and the stands really want a reason to boo him again. In each of his three road games this year, Harrington has thrown two interceptions.

Running Backs: Ronnie Brown was hampered by a groin strain all last week and missed two days of practice. He still played against the Vikings but only had a ridiculous two net yards on 12 carries. He is not 100% healthy and won't be this week though he says he expects to play on Thursday. I will project for Brown but be aware he is not healthy as was obviously proven last Sunday.

Wide Receivers: Harrington has not been favoring any particular receiver lately and even Chris Chambers has gone two games without a score for the first time this year. Chambers has never turned in more than 66 yards in any game so far. Marty Booker enjoyed the rare big game last week when he had 84 yards on six receptions but that came after two weeks without more than 20 yards. Wes Welker throws in the occasional clunker but typically has around 50 yards each week.

Tight Ends: While Randy McMichael was hot earlier this year, his production has fallen off right when the Fins started winning. In the last three games - all wins - McMichael never had more than 37 yards. He still has no scores on the season though Justin Peelle reeled one in last week.

Match Against the Defense: The Lions rush defense had been stellar at home this year until Gore showed up two weeks ago. But Brown is still bothered by his groin a bit so expecting more than just moderate numbers is optimistic at best. The Lions secondary has been soft on the road but back at home has allowed only six passing scores over five games and three of those went to Favre back in week three.

Harrington has every reason to want to pass well this week. The Lions have every reason to want to stop him as the symbol of seasons wasted (not that 2006 is a banner year). This is a big game since it is national, on Thanksgiving with two teams hungry for wins vying for a victory. These teams never meet normally but all things considered, figure on Harrington to have enough motivation and opportunity to throw for two scores and nice yardage. The scores would favor McMichael but they never use him near the goal line. So look for Booker and Chambers as most likely - particularly Chambers.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM    QB   RB   WR   TE   PK  DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points MIA 21 26 12 15 24 7
Preventing Fantasy Points DET 25 21 18 27 30 28


Detroit Lions (2-8)
1 6-9 SEA 10 13-19 SF
2 7-34 @CHI 11 10-17 @ARZ
3 24-31 GB 12 --- MIA
4 34-41 @STL 13 --- @NE
5 17-26 @MIN 14 --- MIN
6 20-17 BUF 15 --- @GB
7 24-31 @NYJ 16 --- CHI
8 Open Bye 17 --- @DAL
9 30-14 ATL - - THU
DET vs MIA Rush Catch Pass
QB Jon Kitna 0 0 240,2
RB Arlen Harris 50 10 0
TE Marcus Pollard 0 10 0
WR Roy Williams 0 90,1 0
WR Mike Furrey 0 70,1 0
WR Corey Bradford 0 40 0
PK Jason Hanson 1 FG 2 XP -

Pregame Notes: It's been a horrible season so far and the Thanksgiving Day game is a chance for one shot at respectability for the Lions. But at 2-8, it will be hard to generate motivation on a season already lost. Not having Kevin Jones will hurt if he is inactive, but the Lions can look at this game and know that this is about as good as it will get for the rest of the year.

Quarterback: Jon Kitna comes off his first game without a score since week two but he still ended with 248 yards last week in Arizona. Kitna had been throwing at least one score per week and already has five efforts over 250 yards and two over 300 yards this year. The offense also seemed to move better last week with the newest incarnation of Corey Bradford.

Running Backs: Kevin Jones was knocked out of the Arizona game last week after only four carries with a sprained right ankle. It was initially described as a high ankle sprain - that would not be his first - but later is described as more of a "normal" ankle sprain. While there is a chance that Jones could play this week since he is going to be listed as questionable, I am expecting that the short week will not allow him enough time to regain his health enough for meaningful play. Check his status on Wednesday morning before considering him as a starter this week and realize he won't be 100% healthy in the best case.

Arlen Harris replaced Jones and ran for 40 yards on ten carries with one touchdown against the Cardinals. While hardly as good as Jones, he can fill in enough to help the offense.

Wide Receivers: Roy Williams continues to be the main target in Detroit but he has not scored in a couple of games. Still, he is good for around 70 or more yards in most games. Mike Furrey hasn't scored since week seven but supplies a decent complement for Williams. Corey Bradford is back again and had three catches for 54 yards last week - already better than the three games he played before being cut the first time.

Tight Ends: Marcus Pollard just catches one or two passes each week for almost no yardage.

Match Against the Defense: The Dolphins rushing defense has been solid this year and the Lions are likely short a big runner this week anyway. Expect only moderate yardage and no score from Harris.

The Fins secondary has always allowed at least one passing score to every road opponent and even up to three. But no one has thrown for much yardage and no opponent has turned in more than 260 yards - most ring in around 200. This is a big game and the rushing game should not be that productive so expect Kitna to throw more this week and end up with two passing scores and lower 200's in yardage. Look for a split between Roy Williams and Furrey.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM    QB   RB   WR   TE   PK  DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DET 9 18 13 18 16 30
Preventing Fantasy Points MIA 9 8 9 26 18 21