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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
The Huddle
Wildcard Round
January 3, 2007

Saturday, January 6th
Sunday, January 7th
Kansas City at Indianapolis, 4:30 PM New York Jets at New England, 1:00 PM
Dallas at Seattle, 8:00 PM New York Giants at Philadelphia, 4:30 PM

Prediction: NYG 17, PHI 27

This is the third time these teams play this year and both have won as visitors. The Giants mounted a comeback to win 30-24 in Philly back in week two and the Eagles won 36-22 in New York just three weeks ago. But the difference now is that the Eagles have won their last five games and are peaking at the right time. The Giants have only won two of their last eight games.

New York Giants (8-8)
1 21-26 IND 10 20-38 CHI
2 30-24 @PHI 11 10-26 @JAX
3 30-42 @SEA 12 21-24 @TEN
4 Open Bye 13 20-23 DAL
5 19-3 WAS 14 27-13 @CAR
6 27-14 @ATL 15 22-36 PHI
7 36-22 @DAL 16 7-30 NO
8 17-3 TB 17 34-28 @WAS
9 14-10 HOU - MON SAT
NYG at PHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Eli Manning 0 0 220,1
RB Tiki Barber 70 30 0
RB Brandon Jacobs 20,1 0 0
TE Jeremy Shockey 0 30 0
WR David Tyree 0 40 0
WR Plaxico Burress 0 70,1 0
WR Tim Carter 0 40 0
PK Jay Feeley 1 FG 2 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Giants managed to make the playoffs but there's nothing about this team that suggests they are good for more than "one and out". Tiki Barber has taken the team on his shoulders and willed them to win to get here but the defense has allowed at least 28 points to each of the last three opponents and apparently the best cure for Manning's recent stumbles has been to just hand off to Barber.

Quarterback: Since mid-season, Eli Manning has been inconsistent at best and a drive killer at worst. He's thrown at least one score in every road game this year but has only once had more than 190 passing yards in the last six games on the road. In the last meeting with the Eagles, Manning threw for 282 yards and two interceptions with no scores.

Running Backs: Talk about ending with a bang. In his final regular season game, Tiki Barber ran for 234 yards and three scores against the Redskins to set the Giants franchise single game rushing record. That was only the third game this year in which Barber managed to score at all. He ran for 51 yards on 21 carries in Philly this year and then had just 75 yards on 19 carries when the Eagles visited three weeks ago.

Wide Receivers: Plaxico Burress had six catches in each game against the Eagles this year, turning in 114 yards and one score on the road and then 120 yards in New York three weeks ago. No other wideout had more than 30 yards in either game besides the now gone Amani Toomer who had two scores and 137 yards in Philly back in week two.

Tight Ends: was held out of the game last week because of a swollen ankle but he had eight catches for 70 yards in the last meeting with the Eagles. He never practiced last week so his availability is obviously in question this Sunday. I will project for him to play but be limited by his ankle. He still may not play. He was not allowed to travel with the team last week just so he could rest his ankle more.

Match Against the Defense: Two games this year and Barber has never had more than 75 yards against the Eagles. He seems to be on a mission to be sure, but he'll still need blocking to get into the open. No reason why this road game should end differently than the last two efforts.

Manning will need to win this game and do so with a gimpy Shockey (if he even plays) and Burress since those are about the only two receivers he has used since Toomer left. Look for a game in the low 200's with one score that would have to favor Burress - no other wideout here seems capable of being more than an occasional catch.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM    QB   RB   WR   TE   PK  DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NYG 20 7 17 11 17 21
Preventing Fantasy Points PHI 18 22 6 11 21 17


Philadelphia Eagles (10-6)
1 24-10 @HOU 10 27-3 WAS
2 24-30 NYG 11 13-31 TEN
3 38-24 @SF 12 21-45 @IND
4 31-9 GB 13 27-24 CAR
5 38-24 DAL 14 21-19 @WAS
6 24-27 @NO 15 36-22 @NYG
7 21-23 @TB 16 23-3 @DAL
8 6-13 JAX 17 24-17 ATL
9 Open Bye - - MON
PHI vs NYG Rush Catch Pass
QB Jeff Garcia 10 0 240,2
RB Brian Westbrook 90,1 40 0
TE L.J. Smith 0 40,1 0
WR Donte Stallworth 0 50 0
WR Reggie Brown 0 70,1 0
WR Greg Lewis 0 20 0
PK David Akers 2 FG 2 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Eagles are on a five game winning streak and are playing better than they did before McNabb was injured. That brutal three game road stretch through the NFC East clipped by without a loss and the Eagles are peaking right when they need to most. With a 14 point win in New York three weeks ago, this home field version should prove just as good.

Quarterback: Six games as a starter and Jeff Garcia has never failed to throw at least one score per game and averages about two touchdown passes. Garcia has only thrown two interceptions so far and had 237 yards and one score in New York three weeks ago. Garcia hasn't looked this good since his days with the 49ers when he had talent around him. Then again, this is the first time he has had talent around him since his time in San Francisco.

Running Backs: For a player that was rumored to have a degenerative knee condition at the start of the season, Brian Westbrook has dispelled any notion that he's less than he has ever been - in fact he is more. His 1,217 rushing yards ranks 8th best in the NFL this season and only Steven Jackson had more than Westbrook's 699 receiving yards. Westbrook has even scored 11 touchdowns in 2006. He ran for 97 yards on 10 carries with two scores in New York three weeks back and had 69 rushing yards and one touchdown back in week two against these Giants.

Wide Receivers: Reggie Brown has been the primary wideout this year and has scored eight touchdowns in 2006. Brown scored once and gained 77 yards against the Giants in week 14 and also scored once in week two against them. Donte Stallworth is much less consistent but he has mixed in three games over 100 yards this season with three games of less than ten yards. Stallworth had five catches for 81 yards and a score in the week two meeting with the Giants. Hank Baskett usually doesn't do much but comes off a career high 177 yards on seven catches last week.

Tight Ends: L.J. Smith was inactive last week in the meaningless game but he'll play this week. Smith had four catches for 54 yards against the Giants in week 14 and reeled in seven passes for 111 yards back in week two against them.

Match Against the Defense: This match-up should follow what transpired in week 14 in New York which means Westbrook should have a very solid game here, limited only if the Eagles get a big lead and they let him rest.. Garcia was already successful against the G-Men and back at home should be even better. Look for good passing yardage against one of the worst secondaries and for two scores that will mostly likely favor Smith and Brown.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM    QB   RB   WR   TE   PK  DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points PHI 1 10 9 7 24 8
Preventing Fantasy Points NYG 32 14 17 25 17 10