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Predictions & Projections
By David M. Dorey
 
The Huddle
WEEK 7
October 15, 2003
Season Ticket
Sun 1 PM TEN at CAR Sun 4 PM Mon 9 PM Bye Week:
*BAL at CIN *NE at MIA *WAS at BUF KC at OAK Arizona
DAL at DET *NO at ATL *CHI at SEA   Indianapolis
*DEN at MIN *PHI at NYG NYJ at HOU Times EST Jacksonville
GB at STL *SD at CLE *TB at SF *updated Pittsburgh
   
Baltimore vs Cincinnati Sun, Oct 19; 1 PM on CBS at Paul Brown Stadium
  Baltimore Rush Catch Pass
QB Kyle Boller 10 0 110
RB Jamal Lewis 130,2 20 0
TE Todd Heap 0 30 0
WR Travis Taylor 0 20 0
WR Frank Sanders 0 10 0
WR Marcus Robinson 0 10 0
  Cincinnati Rush Catch Pass
QB Jon Kitna 0 0 230,2
RB Corey Dillon 60 10 0
TE Kelly / Stewart 0 30,1 0
WR Peter Warrick 0 70 0
WR Kelly Washington 0 20 0
WR Chad Johnson 0 80,1 0

Game Prediction: BAL 17, CIN 20

Ravens Notes

Update: Corey Dillon is still questionable with a groin strain though he has been at practice and is expected to play. I am lowering his numbers because he does not appear to be 100% and the Bengals will likely use Rudi Johnson a bit more than usual to give Dillon a rest.

Quarterbacks: Only in Baltimore can a quarterback throw for 75 yards in an entire game and get a thumbs up from the head coach. Kyle Boller now is five games into his NFL career and has totaled 543 yards, two touchdowns and six interceptions. Still he receives the vote of confidence from HC Brian Billick that Boller is getting better and learning all the time. As the lowest rated passer in the NFL, he has no where to go but up.

Running backs: Only in Baltimore can a rushing game produce more yardage than the passing game - every week this season except the opener and the bye week. Jamal Lewis comes off a predictable 131 yard effort over the Cardinals and was rested by Chester Taylor who also had 45 yards on 10 carries. The running game is so hot in Baltimore, perhaps Boller should try bootlegs?

The Ravens have literally gone to using a "U" formation with two tight ends and two backs and only one wideout in order to run better.

Wide Receivers: Not surprisingly, the absence of a passing game has had a rather noticeable effect for all players sporting jersey numbers that start with "8". Boller tried to pass to Travis Taylor eleven times last game and only completed three for 29 yards. Travis absolutely dropped three passes which is not advisable when there are not many passes to go around. The only reason that the Ravens split out receivers is to make them run farther to tackle Lewis.

Tight Ends: Sadly the absence of any passing has led to the demise of Todd Heap as a fantasy factor. Last week, Heap had one catch for two yards. It was his only pass. It even came late in the game.

Match against the defense: Throwing away the notion that Baltimore is going to pass successfully, the matchup against the rushing defense gets a major thumbs up this week. Other than one freak game against the Browns, everyone runs on the Bengals still. Even Oakland ran for 133 yards and a score. Pittsburgh gained 128 yards and a score.

Look for more of the same from Baltimore.

Cincinnati Notes

Quarterbacks: The Bengals come off a bye week and so far have not unveiled Carson Palmer. Jon Kitna has so far had games ranging from 157 to 303 yards this season and in true Bengal fashion has managed to throw six interceptions with two being returned for touchdowns. Kitna has been adequate at the least, but at 1-4 it will not take too many more losses before Palmer might start taking some work to prepare for 2004.

Running backs: Corey Dillon is expected back this week from his groin injury and the Bengals still have not had a rusher gain 100 yards this season. Same thing will likely be true next week.

Wide Receivers: The receiving cast is better than in years for Cincinnati, with Chad Johnson and Peter Warrick combining for a passing game that must be respected. Johnson has three touchdowns and Warrick has two score while no other receiver has scored.

The rookie Kelley Washington has only been good for around two catches a game but T.J. Houshmandzadeh has a realistic chance at finally playing this week after missing the season with a hamstring injury.

Tight Ends: The Bengals are one team that actually does use the tight end position and in most weeks will throw five to ten passes to them. Problem is that the wealth is shared among Tony Stewart, Reggie Kelly and Matt Schobel.

Match against the defense: The Ravens are opportunistic on defense, but they have allowed passing yardage. Jeff Blake had 247 yards and two scores last week and Tommy Maddox hit them up for 260 yards and three touchdowns. Even Drew Brees connected for 270 yards. In 2002, Kitna shredded them for 272 and 308 yards in their two matchups, with two scores in each game. Kitna will throw because he must throw. Chad Johnson scored in both games and averaged about 90 yards receiving.

Even Corey Dillon recorded a 100 yard game last season but that was when Ray Lewis was out.

Game Prediction: This could be a very close matchup actually. The Bengals have a great pass defense against no passing game from Baltimore and the offense was able to throw on the Ravens last season. The games last year both resulted in 50+ total points but with Boller at the helm that is unlikely this season, not to mention Ray Lewis back in the middle. The Ravens swept the Bengals in 2003.

The Ravens are a tremendous running team but that is all they are on offense. Their losses to Kansas City and Pittsburgh underscored their inability to make up a deficit when they fell behind and their three wins were over CLE, SD and ARZ - not the highest caliber competition. I like the Bengals to snatch a close home win over the Ravens because they can offer a fairly balanced attack with a health Corey Dillon, a decent passing attack and a defense that is improving and only has to defend against the run. At home, coming off their bye week, they will never be any more prepared than they should for this game.

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
BAL Scores 32 3 32 15 10 5
CIN Allows 2 29 5 1 25 20
BAL AP -30 26 -27 -14 15 15
Rank (1-32) QB RB WR TE PK DEF
CIN Scores 18 30 10 8 25 30
BAL Allows 12 7 17 26 9 14
CIN AP -6 -23 7 18 -16 -16
Offensive ranks - lower = gains more points, Defensive Ranks lower = allows less points
AP = Advantage Points, the net difference between a positional rank gained or allowed by the teams.
BAL CIN 2003 Game Averages CIN BAL
Gains Allows QB's Gains Allows
109 190 Pass yards 233 217
0.4 0.8 Pass TDs 1.2 1.4
1.2 1.0 Interceptions 1.2 1.6
7 2 Rush yards 3 9
0.0 0.0 Rush TDs 0.0 0.0
---- ---- RB's ---- ----
178 109 Rush yards 70 85
1.0 1.0 Rush TDs 0.4 0.4
21 41 Receive yards 20 35
0.0 0.4 Receive TD's 0.0 0.0
---- ---- WR's ---- ----
44 135 Receive yards 158 152
0.2 0.4 Receive TD's 1.0 0.8
---- ---- TE's ---- ----
43 14 Receive yards 55 30
0.2 0.0 Receive TD's 0.2 0.6
---- ---- PK's ---- ----
2.0 2.0 Field Goals 1.4 1.4
2.0 2.2 Extra Points 1.6 2.0
---- ---- DEF/ST ---- ----
0.4 0.6 Fumbles 0.0 0.8
1.6 1.2 Interceptions 1.0 1.2
0.6 0.4 Touchdowns 0.0 0.0
2.4 2.2 Sacks 1.6 2.2
0.0 0.0 Safeties 0.0 0.0
Ravens (3-2)
Score Opp.
15-34 @PIT
33-13 CLE
24-10 @SD
10-17 KC
Week 5 BYE
26-18 @ARZ
Week 7 @CIN
Week 8 DEN
Week 9 JAX
Week 10 @STL
Week 11 @MIA
Week 12 SEA
Week 13 SF
Week 14 CIN
Week 15 @OAK
Week 16 @CLE
Week 17 PIT
Bengals (1-4)
Score Opp.
10-30 DEN
20-23 @OAK
10-17 PIT
21-14 @CLE
16-22 @BUF
Week 6 BYE
Week 7 BAL
Week 8 SEA
Week 9 @ARZ
Week 10 HOU
Week 11 KC
Week 12 @SD
Week 13 @PIT
Week 14 @BAL
Week 15 SF
Week 16 @STL
Week 17 CLE

* Fantasy point rankings calculated using standard Huddle fantasy points