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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
   
Oakland vs Chicago Sun, Oct 5; 1 PM on CBS at Soldier Field
  Oakland Rush Catch Pass
QB Rich Gannon 0 0 230,2
RB Charlie Garner 80 30,1 0
RB Tyrone Wheatley 50,1 0 0
TE Doug Jolley 0 40 0
WR Tim Brown 0 60 0
WR Ronald Curry 0 10 0
WR Jerry Rice 0 70,1 0
  Chicago Rush Catch Pass
QB Kordell Stewart 50 0 150,1
RB Anthony Thomas 90,1 20 0
RB Adrian Peterson 20 0 0
TE Desmond Clark 0 30,1 0
WR Marty Booker 0 20 0
WR Dez White 0 40 0
WR David Terrell 0 30 0

Game Prediction: OAK 27, CHI 20

The AFC Champion Raiders only needed 15 quarters of play to wake up this year.

Against the Chargers, the Raiders trailed in the fourth quarter by the amazing deficit of 20-31 in a game that by all rights they should have been coasting to victory. San Diego was without David Boston, Reche Caldwell and Tim Dwight. The Chargers had little more than LaDainian Tomlinson and a lockerroom full of dissension to throw at the Raiders and not until the fourth quarter did the Raiders regain any resemblance to the team of last season.

Rich Gannon ended with 348 yards and three touchdowns, a bit better than the 252 yards and no scores from the last two games combined. Jerry Rice had seven catches for 118 yards, more than he had in the previous two games combined. Tim Brown even gained 110 yards and one touchdown. It was like the Raiders were back, even if it was mainly in the fourth quarter in a game they had to tie in order to get to overtime. Gannon threw for 163 yards in that final quarter.

Even Charlie Garner busted off a 24 yard scoring run to tie the game. After looking a bit lost this season, the Raiders finally gave something for the fans to cheer about - at least for those who stayed for the fourth quarter.

Notable too is the use of Doug Jolley (7-55, 1 TD) who has become a bigger part of the passing game the past two weeks.

The Raider defense still has not prevented every opponent quarterback from throwing at least one touchdown and they were absolutely carved apart by LaDainian Tomlinson who gained 187 yards on the ground. While the box score looked good again for the offense, there is little partying going on in the lockerroom. The Raiders would have accomplished those numbers by halftime last season considering how decimated the Chargers team was.

Fortunately, the Raiders catch another break this week when they travel to Chicago where their opponent will have weapons but apparently has no idea how to use them anymore.

The Bears fell to the Packers on Monday, offering a great reason why they are never on Monday night football. Hard to get excited about a team that offers a new stadium as their main accomplishment.

Kordell Stewart threw for 201 yards which is his best as a Bear though he had no scores other than his one yard goal line leap. Kordell put on a clinic for how to miss receivers and the wideouts were nice enough to drop several of the passes he did manage to throw well.

The game plan was obviously slanted towards David Terrell who had 12 passes for seven receptions that gained 48 yards. Terrell also was flagged for holding on a 60 yard touchdown run by Anthony Thomas. Marty Booker only had three catches for 34 yards. He is now averaging about three catches for 30 yards a game, less than half of what he did last year when he had 98 catches for the year.

Anthony Thomas turned in his best effort of 2003, gaining 110 yards on only 13 carries with one touchdown and not counting the other 60-yard scoring run that Terrell caused to be held back. Thomas had only one more carry in the game than Kordell Stewart did. Adrian Peterson is not yet out of the picture since HC Dick Jauron repeated that he will go with the hotter hand but one more decent game by Thomas should cement his hold on the #1 spot.

The Bears continue to be limited by an offensive line that is not able to hold off a pass rush nor consistently open holes in the running game. Anthony Thomas looked good against the Packers but mainly on long runs since he was distancing himself from the rest of the offense. The Bears have now de-evolved into using the QB option play which will eventually get either Stewart or Thomas flattened. In searching for something that works, Chicago has opted to make use of Stewart's rushing ability evidently unaware that all previous attempts to use that style of offense have never been successful. If Quincy Carter could not make it work with Emmitt Smith and a good offensive line, what are the chances that Stewart can succeed?

This week pits two teams that are not in synch and the outcome largely depends on which Raiders show up this week. Chicago comes off a short week and a winless record but with some glimmer of hope that the running game has some life and that if they can break the scoreboard, maybe the Raiders will not notice that the fourth quarter has started.

Look for Chicago to revisit their success running the ball and against Oakland they should gain some reward. The Raiders now have to make a choice between running the ball to beat the Bears or reverting to their passing attack to beat the Bears. In the end, the result is the same and neither will be very pretty.

OAK
CHI
2003 Averages
CHI
OAK
Gains
Allows
QB's
Gains
Allows
225
212
Pass yards
147
239
1.3
2.3
Pass TDs
0.7
1.5
0.5
0.7
Interceptions
2
1.0
4
18
Rush yards
39
17
0.0
0.3
Rush TDs
0.3
0.3
----
----
RB's
----
----
74
157
Rush yards
66
131
0.8
1.3
Rush TDs
0.3
1.0
46
50
Receive yards
16
26
0.3
0.7
Receive TD's
0.0
0.0
----
----
WR's
----
----
142
137
Receive yards
96
172
0.8
1
Receive TD's
0.3
1.0
----
----
TE's
----
----
37
26
Receive yards
35
42
0.3
1
Receive TD's
0.3
0.5
----
----
PK's
----
----
2.0
2.3
Field Goals
1.7
2.0
2.3
4.3
Extra Points
1.3
3.0
----
----
DEF/ST
----
----
0.5
0.7
Fumbles
0.7
0.5
1.0
2
Interceptions
0.7
0.5
0.3
0.3
Touchdowns
0.0
1.0
1.3
4.3
Sacks
1
2.0
0.0
0.0
Safeties
0.0
0.0
Raiders (2-2)
Score Opp.
20-25 @TEN
23-20 CIN
10-31 @DEN
34-31 SD
Week 5 @CHI
Week 6 @CLE
Week 7 KC
Week 8 BYE
Week 9 @DET
Week 10 NYJ
Week 11 MIN
Week 12 @KC
Week 13 DEN
Week 14 @PIT
Week 15 BAL
Week 16 GB
Week 17 @SD
Bears (0-3)
Score Opp.
7-49 @SF
13-24 @MIN
Week 3 BYE
23-38 GB
Week 5 OAK
Week 6 @NO
Week 7 @SEA
Week 8 DET
Week 9 SD
Week 10 @DET
Week 11 STL
Week 12 @DEN
Week 13 ARZ
Week 14 @GB
Week 15 MIN
Week 16 WAS
Week 17 @KC
(Statistics are game averages from current season )