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Predictions & Projections
By David M. Dorey
 
The Huddle
WEEK 9
September 3, 2003
Season Ticket
Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM Bye Week:
CAR at HOU NYG at NYJ CIN at ARZ GB at MIN Buffalo
IND at MIA OAK at DET PIT at SEA Mon 9 PM Cleveland
JAX at BAL SD at CHI PHI at ATL NE at DEN Kansas City
NO at TB WAS at DAL STL at SF *updated Tennessee
   
Cincinnati vs Arizona Sun, Nov 2; 4 PM on CBS at Sun Devil Stadium
  Cincinnati Rush Catch Pass
QB Jon Kitna 0 0 250,2
RB Corey Dillon 60 10 0
RB Rudi Johnson 30 10 0
TE Reggie Kelly D D D
TE Schobel/Stewart 0 30 0
WR Peter Warrick 0 80,1 0
WR Kelly Washington 0 20 0
WR Chad Johnson 0 100,1 0
  Arizona Rush Catch Pass
QB Jeff Blake 0 0 220,2
RB Marcel Shipp 80 20 0
TE Freddie Jones 0 40,1 0
WR Bryan Gilmore 0 20 0
WR Bryant Johnson 0 40 0
WR Anquan Boldin 0 90,1 0

Game Prediction: CIN 20, ARZ 14

Update: Reggie Kelly is out this week since his foot is in a cast and and leaving drag marks when he goes on pass routes. Tony Stewart and Matt Schobel will continue their rotation without Kelly.

Corey Dillon is still questionable to play though he has looked better in practice. The final decision on his status for the game will not be made until gametime depending in part on the condition of the field. At this point, I am assuming that he can play but that Rudi Johnson offers more carries than normal when Dillon plays. There is a chance that Dillon is limited or even is held out.

This season the Cardinals have either been trounced - this includes by Detroit - or in two cases they have managed to catch the Packers and 49ers in a trap. The Bengals are on a two game winning streak and have already won on the road in Cleveland this season. This game has the potential for some good passing yardage but the Cardinals will feel better served running the ball and having some success.

The Bengals are actually favored on the road in this matchup and the last time the Cards pulled off a win at home they followed that up with a 13-37 spanking by the Rams. The only reason I can be comfortable with favoring the Bengals here, on the road with two wins in a row is that otherwise the Cardinals start a winning streak. The world will never be the same regardless of the outcome.

Cincinnati Notes

The Bengals rise to 3-4 on the season with their win over the Seahawks and are only one game back of the Ravens for the AFC North lead.

Quarterbacks: Jon Kitna has made sure that there is no reason to throw Carson Palmer into the mix anytime soon. Kitna has thrown for at least 240 yards in each of the past two games and has five touchdowns against no interceptions during that time. This was against the Ravens and the Seahawks. Sit down Palmer before you get your shirt dirty.

Running backs: Corey Dillon has brought a new level of drama to the Bengals, it just would be nice if any of it happened on the field. After stating he wanted to be traded last week, Dillon was involved in a car accident on the way to the stadium and was held out of the game. In his place, Rudi Johnson had fun running 27 times for 101 yards and one touchdown. The fans now love chanting "Rudi " and the Bengals are winning. I am assuming that Dillon returns this week but will update as needed.

Wide Receivers: While the defense knows he is coming, Chad Johnson still manages to shine. Last week he caught a critical 53-yard touchdown and the previous week he had 130 yards receiving. When Kitna gets hot, Chad is there to stoke the flames. Peter Warrick (5-61) continues to add a great complement and last week even the rookie Kelley Washington (3-42) scored his first touchdown as a pro.

Tight Ends: With the wideouts and Rudi Johnson doing well, not much need from the trio last week. Matt Schobel never even had a pass while Tony Stewart and Reggie Kelly only had one catch each.

Match against the defense: The Cardinals have won two of their last three home games in the sand trap that has become Arizona, but there is not much chance of the Bengals taking anyone for granted.

Only Jamal Lewis has a 100 yard effort against the Cardinals who are fairly tough on the run comparative to most years. Jon Kitna should be the player with the most to gain against one of the worst pass defenses in the league. Arizona is losing their advantage as the weather cools and like Quincy Carter (272, 2 TDs) and Marc Bulger (272, 2 TDs), the Cardinals are susceptible against the pass.

Look for only moderate numbers running but good passing yards and scores.

Arizona Notes

The Cardinals rise to 2-5 on the season with the win over the 49ers and should seriously consider changing their logo to an ant lion that lures victims into his sandy hole.

Quarterbacks: Though they won the game, Jeff Blake only had 97 yards passing last week. He opted to handoff the ball 35 times to Marcel Shipp and since that recipe worked, is likely to try it again.

Running backs: As noted, Marcel Shipp has once again proven to be miscast as a backup running back. He gained 165 yards against the normally stingy 49er run defense and added 4 more yards on two catches. While it is not that rare for one player to gain 169 yards in Arizona, it is pretty special when he is wearing a Cardinals uniform.

Wide Receivers: The receivers took the hit when all Blake does is handoff. Anquan Boldin (3-29) led the group while both Brian Gilmore and Bryant Johnson each had two catches for 18 yards. No wideout has really ever mattered outside of Boldin but even he needs a good shoot-out in order to get the throws.

Tight Ends: Even when there is only 97 yards passing, Freddie Jones still picks up three catches for 22 yards.

Match against the defense: This will be another chance for Shipp to shine. The Bengals have improved over the course of the season against the run and held Shaun Alexander to 86 yards last week. Jamal Lewis only gained 101 which is relatively good.

But the Bengals have been lit up via the pass lately, allowing Kyle Boller to throw for 302 yards and Hasselbeck to gain 347 while giving up five touchdowns in the past two weeks. Blake should have a healthier cast to throw the ball to this week and Anquan Boldin stands to have his best game in several weeks.

Team Comparisons - Current team rankings (1-32) for FF points scored or allowed by position
Rank (1-32)
QB
RB
WR
TE
PK
DEF
CIN Scores
10
31
6
7
18
21
ARZ Allows
25
18
15
7
30
32
CIN AP
15
-13
9
0
12
9
Rank (1-32)
QB
RB
WR
TE
PK
DEF
ARZ Scores
15
32
20
13
27
32
CIN Allows
11
28
12
26
22
14
ARZ AP
-4
-4
-8
13
-5
-18
Offensive ranks lower = gains more points, Defensive ranks lower = allows less points
AP = Advatage Points, the net difference between a positional rank gained or allowed by the teams.
CIN
ARZ
2003 Game Averages
ARZ
CIN
Gains
Allows
QB's
Gains
Allows
240
199
Pass yards
206
228
1.6
1.4
Pass TDs
1.0
1.3
0.9
0.4
Interceptions
1.7
1.3
7
8
Rush yards
17
3
0.0
0.4
Rush TDs
0.3
0.0
---
---
RB's
---
---
74
100
Rush yards
78
109
0.4
0.3
Rush TDs
0.0
0.9
20
54
Receive yards
18
38
0.0
0.1
Receive TD's
0.1
0.4
---
---
WR's
---
---
166
120
Receive yards
150
149
1.3
1.1
Receive TD's
0.6
0.6
---
---
TE's
---
---
54
26
Receive yards
37
41
0.3
0.1
Receive TD's
0.3
0.3
---
---
PK's
---
---
1.6
2.0
Field Goals
1.3
1.7
2.1
3.0
Extra Points
1.4
2.4
---
---
DEF/ST
---
---
0.6
0.9
Fumbles
0.1
0.4
1.3
1.9
Interceptions
0.6
0.9
0.0
0.7
Touchdowns
0.1
0.3
1.9
1.6
Sacks
0.7
2.4
0.0
0.3
Safeties
0.0
0.0
Cardinals (2-5)
Score Opp.
24-42 @DET
0-38 SEA
20-13 GB
13-37 @STL
7-24 @DAL
18-26 BAL
Week 7 BYE
16-13 SF
Week 9 CIN
Week 10 @PIT
Week 11 @CLE
Week 12 STL
Week 13 @CHI
Week 14 @SF
Week 15 CAR
Week 16 @SEA
Week 17 MIN
Bengals (3-4)
Score Opp.
10-30 DEN
20-23 @OAK
10-17 PIT
21-14 @CLE
16-22 @BUF
Week 6 BYE
34-26 BAL
27-24 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