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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
Sortable Player Projections
Game Predictions Summary

Projections by Team
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WEEK 3
2010
BUF at NE DAL at HOU* CIN at CAR* SD at SEA*
ATL at NO SF at KC PHI at JAC* IND at DEN*
DET at MIN* TEN at NYG WAS at STL* NYJ at MIA
*updated CLE at BAL* PIT at TB* OAK at ARI* GB at CHI

Prediction: PIT 20, TB 6

Update: The Steelers named Charlie Batch as the starter over Byron Leftwich and the projections are adjusted. Kareem Huggins has practiced in full this week and is slated to get some playing time finally. He's at least worth watching to see if he can generate anything more than Carnell Williams but against the Steelers is a bad place to start.

Update #2 - Huggins was limited on Friday and listed as questionable. He may not play much.

The Steelers rise to 2-0 and while they cannot keep a quarterback on the field, it hasn't mattered with a dominating defense. The Buccaneers are also 2-0 and got their victories the old fashioned way - both CLE and CAR are 0-2 and cannot beat anyone. The Bucs are improved to be fair, and the Steelers are struggling to pass, but the bottom line is the Steelers defense that is playing lights out right now.

Pittsburgh Steelers (2-0)
Homefield: Heinz Field
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 ATL W 15-9 10 NE --
2 @TEN W 19-11 11 OAK --
3 @TB -- 12 @BUF --
4 BAL -- 13 @BAL --
5 Bye - 14 CIN --
6 CLE -- 15 NYJ --
7 @MIA -- 16 CAR --
8 @NO -- 17 @CLE --
9 @CIN -- - - -
Steelers Report | Statistics | Roster
PITTSBURGH at TB Rush Catch Pass
QB Charlie Batch - - 160
RB Rashard Mendenhall 90,1 20 -
TE Heath Miller - 10 -
WR Hines Ward - 50 -
WR Antwaan Randle El - 10 -
WR Mike Wallace - 50 -
PK Jeff Reed 2 FG 2 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Steelers are 2-0 without their starting quarterback and with a very daunting schedule ahead. The week four matchup with the Ravens will be the biggest test to date and then in the second half of the season it gets much tougher. But the defense has been enough to control games and should continue to be the deciding factor at least until Roethlisberger returns to shift the offense into a higher gear.

I like the Steelers to get a defensive score in this game.

QUARTERBACK: Dennis Dixon suffered a torn left meniscus and will be out for at least three weeks or more. That's beyond the time Ben Roethlisberger returns so you have now already seen the best of Dennis Dixon. Rather than opt for Charlie Batch, the Steelers brought back Byron Leftwich who will start this week.

Tampa Bay is living right. They have only faced Jake Delhomme and Matt Moore so far and now get Byron Leftwich. Expect nothing special from Leftwich on this team that has been bereft of any fantasy value in the passing game.

RUNNING BACKS: Rashard Mendenhall opened with a big 120 yard game with one score on 22 carries against the Falcons but then fell to only 69 yards on 23 carries in Tennessee last week. The Buccaneers have been very good against the run but both CLE and CAR gained around 100 rushing yards and Peyton Hillis ran in one score.

Look for at least a decent showing here by Mendenhall who could open up a big game if the Steelers can get an early lead to protect. Mendenhall remains an every week starter.

WIDE RECEIVERS: The season opener had Hines Ward with 108 yards and Mike Wallace pitched in 62 yards but neither scored and last week on the road were crushed by the Titans. Ward had one catch for nine yards and Wallace only 25 yards on two receptions. The problem this week is that Leftwich brings yet another new variable into the mix and you cannot rely on what will happen here. Steve Smith scored once last week and from Matt Moore no less. But that hardly spawns confidence that this will be a big passing game or that either receiver is anything more than a big risk.

TIGHT ENDS: Heath Miller has been stripped of all fantasy value. Leftwich has never used tight ends much either.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points PIT 31 20 28 29 2 1
Preventing Fantasy Points TB 9 20 8 18 1 5


Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-0)
Homefield: Raymond James Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 CLE W 17-14 10 CAR --
2 @CAR W 20-7 11 @SF --
3 PIT -- 12 @BAL --
4 Bye - 13 ATL --
5 @CIN -- 14 @WAS --
6 NO -- 15 DET --
7 STL -- 16 SEA --
8 @ARI -- 17 @NO --
9 @ATL -- - - -
Buccaneers Report | Statistics | Roster
TAMPA BAY vs PIT Rush Catch Pass
QB Josh Freeman 30 - 150
RB Carnell Williams 20 10 -
TE Kellen Winslow Jr. - 40 -
WR Mike Williams - 40 -
WR Michael Spurlock - 30 -
WR Sammie Stroughter - 30 -
PK Conner Barth 2 FG - -

Pregame Notes: The Buccaneers have been one of the biggest surprises at 2-0 since they only won three games in all of 2009. This week should change their fortunes since the Browns and Panthers are both 0-2 without a clue where their offense is and the Steelers show up with enough defense for two teams. This would be a huge win if it happened but even 2-1 at their bye is not a bad thing.

QUARTERBACK: Josh Freeman has thrown for two scores in each of the first two games while hanging out right around 180 yards each time., He only has one interception on the season and still tosses in 30 or 40 rushing yards each week. He also hasn't faced a defense like the Steelers yet. Some would say he hasn't faced a defense at all.

The Steelers have only allowed one passing score so far and no rushing touchdowns. Chances are that Freeman won't score this week and certainly not twice. This is his worst matchup of the year.

RUNNING BACKS: The Bucs are getting very little from Carnell Williams who rolled up 49 carries for only 126 yards and a 2.6 yard rushing average. And that is about to go lower after this week. Earnest Graham has actually been even worse in spot duty and Kareem Huggins has been out with a groin injury.

For now, it will be just more rushing by Williams. But soon either Huggins or LeGarrette Blount will get playing time because this ground attack is lethargic at best and ineffective at most. They need a younger player to step up and make a difference. That could still be the injured Huggins but others will get a shot as well.

The Steelers held Chris Johnson to 34 yards on 16 carries. What are the odds that Carnell Williams is going to have 100 yards? Sorry... did not realize you were drinking something. Here's a napkin.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Freeman has two decent wideouts and Mike Williams in particular has been encouraging. He scored in both games and while seven catches for 84 yards is not much over two weeks, it is on this team. And it will look like even more after the Steelers leave. Sammie Stroughter has been little used but the coaches want to work him in more and he had brief moments of good play in 2009. But Williams is perhaps the lone player on the offense that spawns optimism about the future.

TIGHT ENDS: Kellen Winslow Jr. is going to be a risk every week this year because he will hardly practice because of his painful knee and then usually play. He missed most of last week but then recorded four catches for 83 yards in San Diego. At some point he is not going to answer the bell but so far - he still deserves a weekly start.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points TB 10 25 18 18 12 11
Preventing Fantasy Points PIT 8 1 18 10 14 12

WEEK 3
2010
BUF at NE DAL at HOU CIN at CAR SD at SEA
ATL at NO SF at KC PHI at JAC IND at DEN
DET at MIN TEN at NYG WAS at STL NYJ at MIA
  CLE at BAL PIT at TB OAK at ARI GB at CHI
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