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Predictions & Projections
By David M. Dorey
 
The Huddle
WEEK 4
September 24, 2003
Season Ticket
Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM Bye Week:
ARZ at STL KC at BAL ATL at CAR *IND at NO Miami
TEN at PIT *NE at WAS DAL at NYJ Mon 9 PM NY Giants
CIN at CLE *PHI at BUF *DET at DEN *GB at CHI Seattle
JAX at HOU *SF at MIN *SD at OAK *updated Tampa Bay
   
Detroit vs Denver Sun, Sep 28; 4 PM on FOX at Invesco Field
  Detroit Rush Catch Pass
QB Joey Harrington 0 0 230,1
RB Olandis Gary 10 0 0
RB Shawn Bryson 40 10 0
TE Mikhael Ricks 0 20 0
WR Bill Schroeder 0 50 0
WR Az-Zahir Hakim 0 60 0
WR Charles Rogers 0 80,1 0
  Denver Rush Catch Pass
QB Jake Plummer 30 0 190,2
RB Mike Anderson 70 10 0
RB Quentin Griffin 30 0 0
RB Clinton Portis 70 10 0
TE Shannon Sharpe 0 30 0
WR Rod Smith 0 50,1 0
WR Ed McCaffrey 0 30 0
WR Ashley Lelie 0 70,1 0


Game Prediction: DET 7, DEN 27

Update: Clinton Portis is still day-to-day and has not practiced. His chest bruise is still a problem and there is a very realistic chance that he will not play this weekend and allow himself to heal up during a week that the Broncos should be able to win without him anyway. Mike Anderson hurt is knee last week but is back at practice and would replace Portis and Quentin Griffin would also be given some carries as well. I am projecting that scenario as the most likely one.

The Lions fell to 1-2 with their loss to the Vikings and after their exciting win in the season opener, two road trips to Denver and San Francisco likely means the Lions hit their week six bye with a 1-4 record.

Last week, Joey Harrington threw for 235 yards but like week two, he had three interceptions. The week one bonanza when he had no picks and four touchdowns has now seen him throw six interceptions without a single score. Against the Vikings, Harrington threw 13 passes to Charles Rogers but only six were completed for 54 yards. Bill Schroeder (4-54) is doing little to detract from Rogers and Shawn Jefferson injured his ribs and is doubtful to play this week. Fortunately, Az-Zahir Hakim (3-16) is healthy again and will man the slot from now on.

Shawn Bryson turned in the best rushing performance by a Lion this season when he gained 49 yards on 17 carries and scored on a five yard run. Olandis Gary (5-8) is not the answer and those with season programs are starting to anticipate the possible appearance of Artose Pinner in a few weeks. It's not like he can be much worse than what the Lions have going right now.

The Detroit defense gave up 416 yards to the Vikings and their sense of giving may be increasing since CB Andre' Goodman has been lost for the season due to a shoulder dislocation. The left cornerback position seems cursed as three players have seen their season ended playing that spot this year.

Denver comes off a huge win over their hated rivals of the Raiders last Monday night in a game that they could do no wrong other than not keep Clinton Portis healthy. Portis reinjured his chest in the game but insisted that he is fine. He was called back to action for two plays later in the fourth quarter when Mike Anderson was hurt. The initial fears were that Anderson tore his ACL in the game but an MRI should reveal the extent of the sprain. Trainers later thought it was only a strain and not a tear.

I am assuming that Portis can play this week.

Jake Plummer waited for an opportune time to have his coming out party. At home for the first time, against the Raiders on Monday night, Plummer threw for 197 yards and two touchdowns and ran five times for 48 yards and one score. His scrambling ability adds a new dimension to the offense since his naked bootleg off a play action fake handoff to Portis fooled the entire Raiders defense and resulted in a six yard touchdown. Plummer showed good speed in running past linebackers and had no effects from his previous shoulder injury.

Rod Smith was ejected from the game for striking an official but the punch was clearly intended for a Raider. Rules are rules and he was out.

This week could have the Broncos lulled to a false sense of security with the stumbling Lions coming to town after a big emotional Monday win. But it is the Lions coming to town and the Broncos have to avoid looking past them at the Chiefs game in Kansas City the next week.

Look for the Lions to continue their rushing, passing and defensive woes while the Broncos ratchet the offense down a notch from last week. If Detroit has any trick plays, Mariucci is saving them for the next week in San Francisco.

DET
DEN
2003 Averages
DEN
DET
Gains
Allows
QB's
Gains
Allows
224
210
Pass yards
168
261
1.3
0.7
Pass TDs
1.7
2.3
2.0
1.3
Interceptions
1
0.7
6
2
Rush yards
19
9
0.0
0
Rush TDs
0.3
0.7
----
----- 
RB's
----- 
----
58
55
Rush yards
156
131
0.3
0.3
Rush TDs
1.3
0.3
61
10
Receive yards
26
32
0.3
0
Receive TD's
0.3
0.3
----
----- 
WR's
----- 
----
124
145
Receive yards
119
189
1.0
0.7
Receive TD's
0.3
1.3
----
----- 
TE's
----- 
----
38
55
Receive yards
24
41
0.0
0
Receive TD's
1
0.3
----
----- 
PK's
----- 
----
1.3
1.3
Field Goals
2.3
1.0
2.7
1
Extra Points
3.7
3.3
----
----- 
DEF/ST
----- 
----
0.7
0.3
Fumbles
0.7
0.0
1.3
1
Interceptions
1.3
2.0
0.7
0
Touchdowns
0.3
0.3
1.3
1.3
Sacks
3
1.0
0.0
0
Safeties
0
0.0
Lions(1-2)
Score Opp.
42-24 ARZ
6-31 @GB
13-23 MIN
Week 4 @DEN
Week 5 @SF
Week 6 BYE
Week 7 DAL
Week 8 @CHI
Week 9 OAK
Week 10 CHI
Week 11 @SEA
Week 12 @MIN
Week 13 GB
Week 14 SD
Week 15 @KC
Week 16 @CAR
Week 17 STL
Broncos (3-0)
Score Opp.
30-10 @CIN
37-13 @SD
31-10 OAK
Week 4 DET
Week 5 @KC
Week 6 PIT
Week 7 @MIN
Week 8 @BAL
Week 9 NE
Week 10 BYE
Week 11 SD
Week 12 CHI
Week 13 @OAK
Week 14 KC
Week 15 CLE
Week 16 @IND
Week 17 @GB
(Statistics are game averages from current season )