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Predictions & Projections
By David M. Dorey
 
The Huddle
WEEK 5
October 1, 2003
Season Ticket
Sun 1 PM *TEN at NE Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM Bye Week:
*ARZ at DAL *MIN at ATL DET at SF *CLE at PIT Ravens
CIN at BUF *NO at CAR WAS at PHI Mon 9 PM Texans
*DEN at KC OAK at CHI *SD at JAX *IND at TB Jets
MIA at NYG SEA at GB   *updated Rams
   
Detroit vs San Francisco Sun, Oct 5; 4 PM on FOX at San Francisco Stadium
  Detroit Rush Catch Pass
QB Joey Harrington 10 0 170,1
RB Shawn Bryson 40 10 0
TE Mikhael Ricks 0 10 0
WR Bill Schroeder 0 30 0
WR Az-Zahir Hakim 0 20 0
WR Charles Rogers 0 70,1 0
  San Francisco Rush Catch Pass
QB Jeff Garcia 0 0 230,2
RB Garrison Hearst 50 30 0
RB Kevan Barlow 60,1 0 0
TE Jed Weaver 0 20 0
WR Terrell Owens 0 110,2 0
WR Tai Streets 0 40 0
WR Cedrick Wilson 0 30 0

Game Prediction: DET 7, SF 24

This is like the greatest homecoming weekend ever. SEA at GB, Dungy in TB, Emmitt back in Dallas and maybe none more fun than Mooch back by the bay. Considering how the two teams are doing, this game needs to be watched just for the sideline shots. If just once Mariucci could call out to Terrell Owens - "hey Chuckles, how's your new boss?" we could stop watching the NFL having already seen the ultimate in entertainment.

The Lions come off their latest road loss but they actually made a game of it in Denver. For the Lions to lose on the road by only four points to an undefeated team, it should count like half a win. With 18 consecutive road losses, the Lions are only five games away from tying the all-time NFL record for futility involving air transportation. If they can remain winless on the road, they can set the new record in week 16 when they visit the Panthers - mark your calendars!

Joey Harrington opened the game with a 33 yard score to Charles Rogers and later battled back to regain the lead with a 43 yard strike to Scotty Anderson. Just as important - Harrington had no interceptions after tossing three in both the previous games.

Charles Rogers ended with four catches for 62 yards and the score, but was targeted an incredible 14 times by Harrington in the game. Other than Rogers, there was little else that mattered in the passing game outside of the one catch by Anderson. Bill Schroeder had one pass that went incomplete. Long baller Az-Zahir Hakim had two catches for nine yards.

The Lions have settled on Shawn Bryson as the most effective running back. Bryson gained 73 yards on 13 carries and had four catches for seven yards while Olandis Gary only received seven totes for 42 yards. The previous week Bryson had 49 yards against Gary's eight yards. Facing a tougher rush defense, likely neither will be fantasy gems this week.

I'll say it now - if the Mariucci Lions could win on the road in San Francisco, they are a lock for being the game of the week. As much fun as that would be, it is highly unlikely for many reasons.

The 49ers are in much disarray after getting waxed in Minnesota and are now tied with Arizona for the cellar of the NFC West. Jeff Garcia threw for only 108 yards and three interceptions last week before being yanked from the game. Terrell Owens, who by this point is publicly talking smack about all things not Terrell, had 12 passes but only caught five of them for 55 yards last week. Several were thrown poorly though Owens contributes a drop or two each game now.

Tim Rattay was allowed to enter the massacre and looked impressive with his 12 of 18 completions for 146 yards and one touchdown but in reality - the Vikings already had won the game by halftime and everyone was watching Owens blow up instead of the game.

Kevan Barlow (11-72) and Garrison Hearst (13-56) ran well in the game that San Francisco needed to be throwing anyway.

Jeff Garcia is still nursing a strained groin but should be fine for the game. Kevan Barlow sprained his neck but is also expected to play.

San Francisco is trying to avoid a meltdown right now as Owens rants unchecked, HC Dennis Erickson dreams of being a college big wig again and Jeff Garcia disassociates himself from everyone. A win is sorely needed and a win over their old coach would be a bonus. A loss in this game is unthinkable.

While ex-coaches often have critical information on how to scheme against their former team (witness Gruden in the Superbowl), the difference here is that Mariucci does not have the personnel to do much about it anyway. The Detroit secondary will be seeing plenty of Owens all game while both Hearst and Barlow should turn in a nice afternoon. In what should have been a nearly meaningless game, it is put up or shut up time for San Francisco. If they lose - Owens may, finally and for the first time, be speechless.

DET
SF
2003 Averages
SF
DET
Gains
Allows
QB's
Gains
Allows
205
205
Pass yards
226
265
1.5
2.3
Pass TDs
1.3
2.3
1.5
1.0
Interceptions
1.5
0.5
7
5
Rush yards
27
17
0.0
0.0
Rush TDs
0.3
0.5
----
----
RB's
----
----
77
64
Rush yards
105
107
0.3
0.5
Rush TDs
0.5
0.3
47
23
Receive yards
39
34
0.3
0.0
Receive TD's
0.3
0.3
----
----
WR's
----
----
124
168
Receive yards
165
181
1.3
2.0
Receive TD's
1.3
1.3
----
----
TE's
----
----
34
14
Receive yards
22
51
0.0
0.3
Receive TD's
0.0
0.5
----
----
PK's
----
----
1.3
0.5
Field Goals
2.5
1.3
2.5
2.8
Extra Points
2.3
3.0
----
----
DEF/ST
----
----
0.8
0.3
Fumbles
1.8
0.0
1.0
1.5
Interceptions
1.0
1.5
0.5
0.3
Touchdowns
0.3
0.3
1.8
1.5
Sacks
3.8
1.0
0.0
0.0
Safeties
0.0
0.0
Lions(1-3)
Score Opp.
42-24 ARZ
6-31 @GB
13-23 MIN
16-20 @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
49ers (1-3)
Score Opp.
49-7 CHI
24-27 @STL
12-13 CLE
7-35 @MIN
Week 5 DET
Week 6 @SEA
Week 7 TB
Week 8 @ARZ
Week 9 STL
Week 10 BYE
Week 11 PIT
Week 12 @GB
Week 13 @BAL
Week 14 ARZ
Week 15 @CIN
Week 16 @PHI
Week 17 SEA
(Statistics are game averages from current season )