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Predictions & Projections
By David M. Dorey
 
The Huddle
WEEK 11
November 12, 2003
Season Ticket
Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM
ARZ at CLE JAX at TEN WAS at CAR NYJ at IND DAL at NE
ATL at NO KC at CIN Sun 4 PM GB at TB Mon 9 PM
BAL at MIA NYG at PHI DET at SEA MIN at OAK PIT at SF
HOU at BUF STL at CHI SD at DEN Updated Times EST
   
Arizona vs Cleveland Sun, Nov 16; 1 PM on FOX at Cleveland Browns Stadium
  Arizona Rush Catch Pass
QB Jeff Blake 10 0 200,1
RB Marcel Shipp 90,1 30 0
TE Freddie Jones 0 40 0
WR Bryan Gilmore 0 10 0
WR Bryant Johnson 0 40 0
WR Anquan Boldin 0 70,1 0
  Cleveland Rush Catch Pass
QB Kelly Holcomb 0 0 230,2
RB William Green 60 10 0
RB James Jackson 60 20 0
RB Jamel White 10 20 0
TE Darnell Sanders 0 10 0
WR Andre Davis 0 50,1 0
WR Dennis Northcutt 0 50,1 0
WR Quincy Morgan 0 40 0

Game Prediction: ARZ 17, CLE 20

Update: William Green just gets worse and worse. Now he will be serving a four game suspension since he was evidently already in the substance abuse program with the NFL. James Jackson will take the start and there is a chance that recently reactivated Lee Suggs may play. The safest bet at this point is that Jackson resumes the bulk of the carries and Suggs is only in for a few plays which would detract more from White than Jackson.

This could be a coin flip game - it features a terrible road team against a bad home team. While they are even in record, the Cardinals are much happier with 3-6 than the Browns are. There is much dissension in the lockerroom for Cleveland and it could play out on the field but the Cardinals have not won on the road since week five of last season.

Cleveland should be able to turn the game into pitch and catch with Boldin for the Cardinals and take advantage of the Arizona secondary with their multiple receiver sets.

Arizona Notes

The Cardinals fall to 3-6 with their loss to the Steelers and are on the road again where they are winless.

Quarterbacks: Jeff Blake comes off a big 307 yard, two touchdown effort against Pittsburgh, his first return to the 300 club since week one. Blake is now a product of the rushing game. When Shipp runs well, he is likely to not meet 200 yards passing and when Shipp cannot get going, Blake airs it out. He also has gone three games now without an interception.

Running backs: After two big efforts of 165 and 141 yards, Marcel Shipp only managed 61 on 14 carries in Pittsburgh since the running game was abandoned later in the game. He did tack on 40 yards on six receptions to keep his total yardage over the century mark. Emmitt Smith is not back yet but will be soon and already graciously has stated that he is willing to share with Shipp. This is sort of like getting into a pickup game of basketball and agreeing to pass it to Michael Jordan.

Wide Receivers: Last week finally saw some passing yardage and the wideouts shared in the bounty. Anquan Boldin had eight catches for 118 yards and a score while Bryant Johnson snared three passes for 76 yards and a touchdown as well. The rookie tandem looks great against a weak secondary and Boldin continues to look good against anyone. Bryan Gilmore did not catch his two passes and is only a sidenote to the rookie duo.

Tight Ends: Freddie Jones comes off a nice four catch, 66 yard effort and has at least three catches in his past five games with two scores during that time span.

Match against the defense: The Cardinals face a defense that comes off a humiliating loss in Kansas City where they surrendered 368 yards and three scores to Trent Green. The unit is quite good in some games and horrible in others not unlike the Browns offense. When they have faced good runners like Lewis (295) and Tomlinson (200), they have been a sieve. At other times they have stuffed runners well.

The most interesting statistic is that only Tomlinson has done anything as a visitor in Cleveland where no other runner has gained more than 67 yards on the ground. The success of Shipp will come from the game situation - if the Cards can stay in the game and give him 25+ carries, he will come close to the 100 yard mark.

The Browns secondary has been bad the last two games in overall numbers, but Eddie Kennison last week was the first 100 yard wideout against them. It is notable that the last two games - NE and KC - offered much more complicated offenses than what Arizona will bring to town. Marcel Shipp will get his carries and Anquan Boldin will get his catches but the Browns should be able to hold the two to lesser numbers since they are the only two that really matter for Arizona.

Cleveland Notes

The Browns fall to 3-6 and last lost their last three games. They are back at home where they are only 1-3 and the wheels are wobbling on this team.

Quarterbacks: Though he needed to throw the entire game, Kelly Holcomb only had 149 yards last week with one touchdown and one interception. He has only exceeded 200 yards passing in a game once this season.

Running backs: Since William Green was suspended from the game last week, James Jackson faced a fairly soft Chiefs defense and gained 66 yards on 17 carries with one score, roughly the same that Green had the previous week against the Chargers. Green will be back this week properly chastised and should be hungry for a good game. Then again, maybe he just has the munchies now and will spend the game eying the hot dog vendors.

Wide Receivers: Andre Davis replaced Kevin Johnson last week as he was promoted into the starting lineup. Davis only ended with three catches for 35 yards and Johnson's limited plays only had him with one catch for three yards. The Browns wideouts are many and the diversity of the attack has meant that only three times have any of them exceeded 65 yards this season. Dennis Northcutt gets the most passes but languishes around 50 yards in most games.

In other news, Kevin Johnson was just cut. Doesn't take long to fall out of favor in Cleveland.

Tight Ends: Darnell Sanders had three catches last week and had the lone tight end touchdown of the season back in week seven. The position only accounts for about 20 yards a game.

Match against the defense: Kelly Holcomb could do well here - the Cardinals pass rush has not been very good lately and with time and all those receivers, Holcomb should be able to connect. The Arizona defense has been great at home but on the road has never allowed less than two passing scores.

The Cardinal front four has changed around this year but the latest group of Dennis Johnson, Marcus Bell, Russell Davis and Calvin Pace have done a pretty good job. They held Bettis to only 54 yards on 18 carries and only Jamal Lewis has gone over 100 yards against them. That is also a function of the passing game working better against Arizona which de-emphasizes the run. Look for William Green to turn in a moderate game but for Holcomb to have one of his better performances of the season.

Team Comparisons - Current team rankings (1-32) for FF points scored or allowed by position
Rank (1-32)
QB
RB
WR
TE
PK
DEF
ARZ Scores
15
31
21
13
25
29
CLE Allows
8
15
7
29
26
17
ARZ AP
-7
-16
-14
16
1
-12
Rank (1-32)
QB
RB
WR
TE
PK
DEF
CLE Scores
20
30
16
22
17
26
ARZ Allows
19
7
13
7
24
28
CLE AP
-1
-23
-3
-15
7
2
Offensive ranks = #1 gains most points, Defensive ranks = #1 allows least points
AP = Advantage Points, the net difference between a positional rank gained or allowed by the teams.
ARZ
CLE
2003 Game Averages
CLE
ARZ
Gains
Allows
QB's
Gains
Allows
192
206
Pass yards
190
200
1.1
1.0
Pass TDs
1.3
1.3
1.0
0.6
Interceptions
1.0
0.7
17
8
Rush yards
3
8
0.3
0.0
Rush TDs
0.1
0.3
---
---
RB's
---
---
87
94
Rush yards
88
91
0.0
0.6
Rush TDs
0.3
0.3
25
44
Receive yards
27
45
0.1
0.0
Receive TD's
0.1
0.0
---
---
WR's
---
---
130
116
Receive yards
143
127
0.7
0.6
Receive TD's
0.9
1.0
---
---
TE's
---
---
38
46
Receive yards
20
28
0.3
0.4
Receive TD's
0.3
0.1
---
---
PK's
---
---
1.3
2.1
Field Goals
1.6
1.9
1.6
1.6
Extra Points
1.7
2.1
---
---
DEF/ST
---
---
0.3
0.6
Fumbles
0.6
0.7
0.9
1.0
Interceptions
0.6
1.0
0.1
0.1
Touchdowns
0.1
0.4
0.9
2.6
Sacks
1.6
2.0
0.0
0.0
Safeties
0.0
0.3
Cardinals (3-6)
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
17-14 CIN
15-28 @PIT
Week 11 @CLE
Week 12 STL
Week 13 @CHI
Week 14 @SF
Week 15 CAR
Week 16 @SEA
Week 17 MIN
Browns(3-6)
Score Opp.
6-9 IND
13-33 @BAL
13-12 @SF
14-21 CIN
33-13 @PIT
13-7 OAK
20-26 SD
3-9 @NE
Week 9 BYE
20-41 @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