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Predictions & Projections
By David M. Dorey
 
The Huddle
WEEK 6
October 8, 2003
Season Ticket
Sun 1 PM *TB at WAS Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM Bye Week:
*CAR at IND MIA at JAX *BUF at NYJ SF at SEA Cincinnati
CHI at NO *NYG at NE *PIT at DEN Mon 9 PM Detroit
HOU at TEN OAK at CLE Sun 4 PM *ATL at STL Minnesota
KC at GB PHI at DAL *BAL at ARZ *updated San Diego
   
Oakland vs Cleveland Sun, Oct 12; 1 PM on CBS at Cleveland Browns Stadium
  Oakland Rush Catch Pass
QB Rich Gannon 0 0 190,1
RB Charlie Garner 50 30 0
RB Tyrone Wheatley 30 0 0
RB Zack Crockett 10,1 0 0
TE Doug Jolley 0 40 0
WR Tim Brown 0 30 0
WR Ronald Curry 0 20 0
WR Jerry Rice 0 50,1 0
  Cleveland Rush Catch Pass
QB Tim Couch 0 0 240,2
RB William Green 100,1 0 0
RB Jamel White 20 0 0
TE Steve Heiden 0 20 0
WR Kevin Johnson 0 60 0
WR Dennis Northcutt 0 70,1 0
WR Quincy Morgan 0 50,1 0

Game Prediction: OAK 17, CLE 24

Oakland Notes

Quarterbacks: After throwing for 348 yards and three scores against the decimated Chargers secondary, Rich Gannon looked like he was back to form for several days until he went to Chicago and completed only 16 of 34 passes for 183 yards and two interceptions. Let's stick the Charger game into the aberration folder. File the Bears game in the "that one leaves a mark" folder. Not only is Gannon throwing poorly, his receivers are dropping passes when they do hit the mark.

Running backs: The Raiders ran for 108 yards on 21 carries in the first half and then, having an 18-3 lead decided to only run six more times in the second half. Charlie Garner had 92 yards on 15 carries though he gained 33 on one run. Tyrone Wheatley ran six times for only 21 yards while Zack Crockett took all the short yardage runs by the goalline and scored the only Raider touchdown. Justin Fargas now twiddles his thumbs on the bench. The running game helped the Raiders to reach the Bears territory but was unable to advance the ball to the goalline.

One oddity this year, particularly considering the passing problems, is that the Raiders are rarely using Garner on passing downs. In five games he only has 16 catches for 160 yards and yet had 25 for 297 last year after five games.

Wide Receivers: After a nice 118 yard effort the previous week, Jerry Rice only had three catches for 51 yards and Tim Brown (2-39) is still a non-factor. He likely is having problems running routes because the tight ends are running so much faster than he is that they get in the way. Jerry Porter may be cleared to play this week but until later word I am assuming he misses one more week.

Tight Ends: Quietly amidst the smoke and flame, Doug Jolley continues to contribute and had five catches for 35 yards last week.

Match against the defense: This is not good news. The Raiders are stumbling in the passing game and yet the Browns are excelling in coverage. They held Maddox to only 136 yards and Garcia to 198 yards with no scores. In the one clunker game, Jon Kitna did throw 215 yards and three scores. They held Manning to only 211 yards and no scores in week one. Ask the Bucs how easy that was.

By the numbers it appears that the Browns are susceptible to the run, after all they did give 295 yards to Jamal Lewis. However, that was 60 more yards than they have allowed rushing to ALL running backs that they faced in the four other games. Throw out their worst game (and it was truly the worst) and they have a top rated rushing defense.

The only mitigating factor is that the Browns return home where they have so far fallen flat this year. The Raiders are without any Jamal Lewis clone, let alone his blocking, so running will be tough.

Cleveland Notes

Quarterbacks: There may be a quarterback controversy in Cleveland and even if there is not, there should be. Tim Couch was nearly flawless last week against the Steelers. He ended 20 of 25 for 280 yards and tow touchdowns. He was 16 of 17 in the first half. After two weeks, Couch has 488 yards and four touchdowns against a meaningless interception. In three starts, Kelly Holcomb had three touchdowns against five interceptions. Holcomb is still coming back from his broken fibula, but may find himself asking Brenda Warner to represent him as well.

Running backs: Last week William Green did what was once thought impossible. He ran for 115 yards in Pittsburgh (though he needed 33 carries to get there). Coming off a nice stat game, heading to another against a far easier rush defense gives reason to hope for Green this season.

Wide Receivers: Couch spread out the defense exceptionally well last week, sharing the load between Quincy Morgan (4-51), Kevin Johnson (3-20, 1 TD), Dennis Northcutt (5-58) and Andre' Davis (3-32, 1 TD). It was a recipe that worked well and will be repeated, even if it means all fantasy teams have to flip coin on which receiver to start each week.

Tight Ends: Though Steve Heiden remains the primary starter, Darnell Sanders saw his first action with one catch.

Match against the defense: The Browns need to get a game right at home for a change and the Raiders have the defense that could comply. The only time the Raiders did not give a big game to a running back was when Clinton Portis could not play due to injury. Otherwise, they have given smiles to Corey Dillon (90 yards, 1 TD), Mike Anderson (75 yards, 1 TD), LaDainian Tomlinson (211 yards, 1 TD) and even Anthony Thomas (123 yards).

I look for the Browns to run.

The Raiders have also allowed every quarterback to score at least once and up to three times.

I look for the Browns to throw.

Game Prediction: The Browns have new found confidence but there is that concern that they come off a emotional win in Pittsburgh to lay yet another egg at home. The Raiders are struggling to find a rhythm of any sort and other than one quarter in the SD game, have not really managed to get on track.

I like the Browns to play a controlled game, running the ball and spreading the passes out while the Raiders try a bit of everything to prove what doesn't work. The Browns defense is coming together well while the Raiders just lost to Kordell Stewart. It could be a close game and should be lower scoring, but I like the home Brownies to finally find a "W" without an "@" sign.

Team Comparisons - Current team rankings (1-32) by position for FF points scored or allowed by position
Rank (1-32) QB RB WR TE PK DEF
OAK Scores
27
17
22
15
3
19
CLE Allows
1
17
1
16
27
17
OAK AP -26 0 -21 1
24
-2
Rank (1-32) QB RB WR TE PK DEF
CLE Scores
16
30
9
27
23
15
OAK Allows
26
26
23
26
29
24
CLE AP 10 -4 14 1
6
9
Offensive ranks - lower = gains more points, Defensive Ranks lower = allows less points

OAK CLE 2003 Game Averages CLE OAK
Gains Allows QB's Gains Allows
216
173
Pass yards
208
223
1.0
0.6
Pass TDs
1.4
1.4
0.8
1.2
Interceptions
1.4
1.2
3
11
Rush yards
4
24
0.0
0.0
Rush TDs
0.2
0.2
----
----
RB's
----
----
83
113
Rush yards
73
134
0.8
0.6
Rush TDs
0.0
1.0
43
30
Receive yards
23
21
0.2
0.0
Receive TD's
0.2
0.0
----
----
WR's
----
----
133
111
Receive yards
165
165
0.6
0.4
Receive TD's
1.2
1.0
----
----
TE's
----
----
40
32
Receive yards
20
37
0.2
0.2
Receive TD's
0.0
0.4
0
----
PK's
0
----
2.6
2.6
Field Goals
1.6
2.2
2.0
1.2
Extra Points
1.6
2.8
----
----
DEF/ST
----
----
0.6
0.6
Fumbles
0.6
0.4
1.2
1.4
Interceptions
1.2
0.8
0.2
0.2
Touchdowns
0.2
0.8
1.4
1.8
Sacks
2.0
1.8
0.0
0.0
Safeties
0.0
0.0
Raiders (2-3)
Score Opp.
20-25 @TEN
23-20 CIN
10-31 @DEN
34-31 SD
21-24 @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
Browns(2-3)
Score Opp.
6-9 IND
13-33 @BAL
13-12 @SF
14-21 CIN
33-13 @PIT
Week 6 OAK
Week 7 SD
Week 8 @NE
Week 9 BYE
Week 10 @KC
Week 11 ARZ
Week 12 PIT
Week 13 @SEA
Week 14 STL
Week 15 @DEN
Week 16 BAL
Week 17 @CIN

* Fantasy point rankings calculated using standard Huddle fantasy points