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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey  

Sortable Player Projections | Game Predictions Summary | Projections by Team

WEEK 6
2011
BUF at NYG * HOU at BAL NO at TB * MIA at NYJ (mon)
CAR at ATL * IND at CIN * PHI at WAS ARI, DEN
CLE at OAK JAC at PIT SF at DET KC, SD
*Updated * DAL at NE * MIN at CHI STL at GB SEA, TEN

Prediction: SF 20, DET 27

Players to Watch: Alex Smith, Jahvid Best

Hard to imagine that in week six, a meeting between the 49ers and Lions brings together a combined record of 9-1. The 49ers hit the road after stomping on the Buccaneers by 45 points. So far they are only a field goal on Dallas away from also being unbeaten. The Lions are on a shorter week after taking down the Bears on Monday Night Football. Hard to believe but this will be a fascinating game to watch and one that is no lock either way.

San Francisco 49ers
Homefield: Monster Park
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 SEA 33-17 10 NYG -
2 DAL 24-27 11 ARI -
3 @CIN 13-8 12 @BAL -
4 @PHI 24-23 13 STL -
5 TB 48-3 14 @ARI -
6 @DET - 15 PIT -
7 Bye - 16 @SEA -
8 CLE - 17 @STL -
9 @WAS -      
49ers Report | Statistics | Roster
SAN FRANCISCO at DET Rush Catch Pass
QB Alex Smith - - 220,1
RB Frank Gore 90,1 40 -
RB Kendall Hunter 40 20 -
TE Vernon Davis - 60,1 -
WR Kyle Williams - 20 -
WR Ted Ginn - 20 -
WR Michael Crabtree - 40 -
PK David Akers 2 FG 2 XP -
Pregame Notes: The 49ers not only have started out 4-1 but have done that against a pretty challenging schedule. Even a loss here sends them 4-2 to their bye week and what should be a mostly easier schedule. The difference maker has been the underrated defense that has stepped up and the passing game that has really begun to take form. Losing Josh Morgan is going to hurt though along with Braylon Edwards remaining out. But this, finally, seems like a legitimately better 49ers team.

QUARTERBACK: We were already used to Alex Smith as a "game manager" who has to learn a new offense literally every year and rejustify why he should remain the starting quarterback. That held true the first three games but he turned in 291 yards and two scores in Philly when HC Jim Harbaugh said he was comfortable enough with Smith to let him use the entire playbook. And the rout of the Buccaneers saw Smith pass for only 170 yards but he had three touchdowns on just 11 completions. No doubt this will be a return to a need to throw against a very good Lions defense.

The Lions have only allowed six passing scores this year and three of those were to the Cowboys in Dallas. Back at home they have only given up one touchdown in two games and minimal yardage. Add in wide receiver injuries and Smith should be back to a lower production.

RUNNING BACKS: While the first three games were low, Frank Gore has really come to life in the last two weeks with 15-127 and a score in Philly and then 20-125 and a touchdown against the Buccaneers. And that was with Kendall Hunter taking nine carries in each of the last three weeks. Hunter has one score on the year and a high of 65 rushing yards. He makes a good change of pace from the more powerful Gore.

The Lions have only allowed one rushing touchdown and that was to Adrian Peterson. Matt Forte ran for 116 yards on 22 runs against them on Monday night but no other runner has been nearly as effective. But Gore has been on a roll and the 49ers will look to establish and stick with the run as much as they can. Figure Gore as a safe start for a decent game but likely not as big as the last two weeks.

WIDE RECEIVERS: The 49ers lost Josh Morgan to a fractured leg and he had been a big part of the last two victories with around 70 yards in each and a score in Philly. Braylon Edwards remains out until after the bye next week so it will be Michael Crabtree and his ever-sore foot paired with Ted Ginn who has one route - long and fast. The only one, by the way, that Alex Smith cannot throw. Kyle Williams takes over the slot for now but only has two catches on the season. That really puts a hole in the passing plans. Neither Ginn nor Williams have done anything in San Francisco for two years now. This would be a good spot for Crabtree to actually step up but he has not scored this year and only once had more than 40 yards in a game.

There is nary a fantasy starter here and potentially a barren landscape for fantasy points.

TIGHT ENDS: No secret here. The 49ers have to rely heavily on Vernon Davis if they can with the wideouts certain to struggle. The Lions have been dinged by the only two decent tight ends they have faced - Kellen Winslow (6-66) and Jason Witten (8-94, TD). I am crediting Davis with the score but it could just as easily be Delanie Walker again like it was last week. The shortage of wideouts is very likely to mean a bit more Walker and maybe a lot more this week.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points SF 25 9 32 5 8 2
Preventing Fantasy Points DET 7 7 11 24 22 4


Detroit Lions
Homefield: Ford Field
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @TB 27-20 10 @CHI -
2 KC 48-3 11 CAR -
3 @MIN 26-23 12 GB -
4 @DAL 34-30 13 @NO -
5 CHI 24-13 14 MIN -
6 SF - 15 @OAK -
7 ATL - 16 SD -
8 @DEN - 17 @GB -
9 Bye -      
Lions Report | Statistics | Roster
DETROIT vs SF Rush Catch Pass
QB Matthew Stafford - - 280,3
RB

Jahvid Best

50 50,1 -
TE Brandon Pettigrew - 40 -
WR Calvin Johnson - 110,2 -
WR Titus Young - 60 -
WR Nate Burleson - 20 -
PK Jason Hanson 2 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Lions are 5-0 for the first time in 50 years so yeah, you could say the season feel different. Along the way they won three away games after being the poster child for road futility most of the last decade. The Lions faithful are no doubt all saving their game tickets from Monday night when the beat the Bears. The schedule gets much tougher after the week nine bye but it could very well be an 8-0 team that takes a week off.

QUARTERBACK : Matthew Stafford has passed for two or more scores in every game this year with hefty yardage as well. He currently has 13 touchdowns against only four interceptions and with every week is sending the statisticians in Detroit scurrying to see what other record he is breaking or challenging.

The 49ers have faced a wide range of quarterbacks so far but the two best were Tony Romo (345, 2 TD) and Michael Vick (416, 2 TD). The 49ers are very good against the run so Stafford will have to pass for this win.

RUNNING BACKS: Jahvid Best had a career best game on Monday night when he ran for 163 yards and one score against the Bears that included an 88-yard touchdown run. He added four catches for nine yards as well. But Best has been more likely to gain around 50 or so yards in most games. One qualifier here though is that his only scores - two rushing and one receiving - all came in the only two home games so far.

Problem though is that the 49ers are very good against the run. No rusher has scored on them and all but one ended with less than 40 yards. Best should do his damage as a receiver more than a runner and is still a good start this week.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Sadly Calvin Johnson has fallen. After four opening weeks with two touchdowns in each, he was held to only 130 yards and one touchdown against the Bears. But he has set a record for nine touchdowns in the first five weeks of a season and his pace could still easily challenge the season touchdown record of Randy Moss (23). No other wideout has scored for the Lions and typically Titus Young and Nate Burleson remain well under the fantasy radar each week.

The 49ers have been good against wide receivers but have not faced any like Johnson so far. The closest they came was when Miles Austin tagged them for 143 yards and three scores. Sure, start Calvin and visit the Bank of Destiny again.

TIGHT ENDS: Brandon Pettigrew finally had his first score of the year when he collected four receptions for 39 yards against the Bears. he had been on a nice run for yardage as high as 112 yards but this was his first touchdown. One slight concern - his two lowest games were both the only two home games. He's averaged 78 yards on the road but only 23 yards in his two home games.

The 49ers have only allowed one score to the position so far and moderate yardage. This looks like a lesser game for Pettigrew this week based on the previous efforts.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DET 7 14 7 9 2 6
Preventing Fantasy Points SF 18 2 22 14 4 7

WEEK 6
2011
BUF at NYG HOU at BAL NO at TB MIA at NYJ (mon)
CAR at ATL IND at CIN PHI at WAS ARI, DEN
CLE at OAK JAC at PIT SF at DET KC, SD
  DAL at NE MIN at CHI STL at GB SEA, TEN

a d v e r t i s e m e n t