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Predictions & Projections
By David M. Dorey
 
The Huddle
WEEK 8
October 22, 2003
Season Ticket
Sun 1 PM *DET at CHI Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM Bye Week:
CAR at NO NYG at MIN HOU at IND BUF at KC Atlanta
*CLE at NE SEA at CIN *NYJ at PHI Mon 9 PM Green Bay
DAL at TB *STL at PIT *SF at ARZ *MIA at SD Oakland
*DEN at BAL TEN at JAX   *updated Washington
   
Detroit vs Chicago Sun, Oct 26; 1 PM on FOX at Soldier Field
  Detroit Rush Catch Pass
QB Joey Harrington 0 0 140,1
RB Shawn Bryson 30 0 0
RB Olandis Gary 60,1 10 0
TE Mikhael Ricks 0 50,1 0
WR Bill Schroeder 0 30 0
WR Az-Zahir Hakim 0 30 0
  Chicago Rush Catch Pass
QB Chris Chandler 0 0 210,2
RB Anthony Thomas Q Q Q
RB Rabih Abdullah 60 10 0
TE Dustin Lyman 0 20 0
WR Justin Gage 0 50,1 0
WR Marty Booker Q Q Q
WR Dez White 0 80,1 0
WR David Terrell 0 30 0


Game Prediction: DET 14, CHI 16

Update: The Bears are having injury problems this week and Marty Booker is likely to miss this week again with an ankle injury. Anthony Thomas is still not 100% in practice and might miss this week as well. Both he and Adrian Peterson have foot injuries. I am assuming that Rabih Abdullah takes the start though Thomas may still play in a limited fashion. At the rate this game is heading, it maybe one of the lower scoring affairs this season. This would also be the Lions best shot at ending their road curse if they had an actual offense to use. Joey Harrington has been named the starter, which in itself hurts since he has always supposed to have been.

Desmond Clark now appears less likely to play and I am projecting for Dustin Lyman instead and changing the projections for CHI a bit on that news.

If there is any motivating force above all others in the NFL, it is not winning a Superbowl or trying to keep Parcells from yelling at you. It is avoiding ending up as the team that the Lions beat on the road. This will be the 20th attempt by Detroit to break their streak and Chicago is coming together just well enough with Chandler to keep it from happening.

Detroit Notes

With the latest pasting by the Cowboys, Detroit falls to 1-5 on the season. The Lions Club of America is suing for defamation of character.

Quarterbacks: Joey Harrington looked pretty good in week one against the Cardinals. Now he doesn't even look like a starter. Since "The Win", Harrington has thrown ten interceptions against three touchdowns. After throwing 5 of 13 for 30 yards and two interceptions last week, he was benched for Mike McMahon who completed 5 of 20 passes for 51 yards and only one interception and a real touchdown too. Oh wait - I'm sorry. Wrong column. It was a fumble too.

Harrington ended last week with a passing rating of 7.1. McMahon shined with his 18.8

I am assuming that Harrington holds onto the job this week but Mariucci may opt to use McMahon and with that follow the time honored Detroit tradition of "yes, we are losing but look - I am trying to do something about it". Sort of like the guy bailing water with his Dixie cup on the Titanic.

Running Backs: Maybe it is Shawn Bryson this week, maybe it is Olandis Gary. The past two weeks Gary has been getting double the carries of Bryson. But why not swap the two again? What is it going to hurt? Not like either has been particularly productive and they are on the road again.

Wide Receivers: With Charles Rogers out, it was proven that he is irreplaceable since no receiver stepped up to fill the void. Scotty Anderson had three catches for 27 yards to lead all receivers. Az-Zahir Hakim still has not regained his speed from before the hip injury last year and Bill Schroeder is always an injury waiting to happen. This crew goes to Chicago with an unsettled quarterback situation and faces a defense that has good cornerbacks if nothing else. The receivers have been dropping balls lately anyway in the odd event one is thrown well.

Tight Ends: Surprisingly, the tight ends were not a part of the 81 total passing yards last week. Mikhael Ricks has a better chance this week.

Match against the defense: Chicago has a terrible rushing defense and should provide some success for likely Olandis Gary and maybe even Shawn Bryson. With the quarterback spot in shambles, Detroit would be wise to run and take advantage of the biggest weakness of the Bears.

Whatever passing the Lions manage in the game will be primarily done in the hopes of drawing an interference call.

Chicago Notes

The Bears fall to 1-5 on the season and have similar points for and against to the Lions. However, they come off a close loss to the Seahawks with some reason to have hope.

Quarterbacks: Chris Chandler took his first start this season and ended with only 149 yards and two interceptions but completed 19 of 34 passes and worked without Marty Booker or Anthony Thomas. He kept the Bears in the game until the very end and gave a sense of consistency and accuracy that had been unknown to the position this season. Chandler suffered through several dropped passes and one interception came after a receiver let the ball pass through his hands.

Kordell Stewart has not been ruled out this week but there is an excellent chance that HC Dick Jauron sticks with Chandler regardless.

Running Backs: Adrian Peterson rushed 16 times for 55 yards but 50 were during the first half and Peterson left in the fourth quarter with a sprained ankle. Stanley Pritchett had four runs for 19 yards and scored a touchdown.

Anthony Thomas may be back this week and I am assuming that he is. His sprained foot is expected to fine this week.

Wide Receivers:Without Booker, Chandler spread the ball around equally to Dez White, David Terrell and Justin Gage but each dropped a pass and all their routes were short. Dez White led the group with six catches for only 35 yards.

Marty Booker missed last week with a sprained ankle but I am assuming that he returns this week.

Tight Ends: Desmond Clark had three catches for 19 yards last week but will benefit from Booker and Thomas getting back and giving the defense more to worry about.

Match against the defense: The Lions actually have an average rushing defense which plays out well when they face below average rushing offenses. Thomas should find some success but not a monster game.

The Lions are arguably the worst secondary in the league and are primed for the Bears to gain some good passing stats against. If Kordell wanted to look good, this is the game to do that. Unfortunately the Bears want to win and will likely retain Chandler who should turn in a nice game here with the wideouts.

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
DET Scores
28
26
26
16
29
12
CHI Allows
22
30
12
27
32
26
DET AP -6 4 -14 -11 -3 14
Rank (1-32) QB RB WR TE PK DEF
CHI Scores
25
29
27
19
8
31
DET Allows
32
16
29
29
17
15
CHI AP 7 -13 2 10 9 -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.

DET CHI 2003 Game Averages CHI DET
Gains Allows QB's Gains Allows
184
198
Pass yards
150
241
1.2
1.7
Pass TDs
0.7
2.3
1.8
0.8
Interceptions
1.7
0.5
8
14
Rush yards
36
19
0.0
0.2
Rush TDs
0.2
0.5
---
---
RB's
---
---
75
136
Rush yards
88
108
0.3
1.2
Rush TDs
0.5
0.3
43
38
Receive yards
9
36
0.2
0.3
Receive TD's
0.0
0.2
---
---
WR's
---
---
102
134
Receive yards
113
162
0.8
0.8
Receive TD's
0.5
1.5
---
---
TE's
---
---
39
25
Receive yards
28
43
0.2
0.7
Receive TD's
0.2
0.5
---
---
PK's
---
---
1.0
2.5
Field Goals
2.2
1.2
2.2
3.2
Extra Points
1.3
3.3
---
---
DEF/ST
---
---
0.7
0.8
Fumbles
0.5
0.2
0.8
1.7
Interceptions
0.8
1.8
0.5
0.2
Touchdowns
0.0
0.3
1.7
3.5
Sacks
1.0
0.8
0.0
0.0
Safeties
0.0
0.0
Bears (1-5)
Score Opp.
7-49 @SF
13-24 @MIN
Week 3 BYE
23-38 GB
24-21 OAK
13-20 @NO
17-24 @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
Lions(1-5)
Score Opp.
42-24 ARZ
6-31 @GB
13-23 MIN
16-20 @DEN
17-24 @SF
Week 6 BYE
7-38 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

* Fantasy point rankings calculated using standard Huddle fantasy points