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Predictions & Projections
By David M. Dorey
 
The Huddle
WEEK 12
November 19, 2003
Season Ticket
Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM
CAR at DAL NE at HOU SF at GB CHI at DEN WAS at MIA
DET at MIN NO at PHI Sun 4 PM OAK at KC Mon 9 PM
IND at BUF PIT at CLE CIN at SD TEN at ATL NYG at TB
JAX at NYJ SEA at BAL STL at ARZ *updated Times EST
   
Chicago vs Denver Sun, Nov 23; 4 PM on FOX at Invesco Field
  Chicago Rush Catch Pass
QB Chris Chandler 0 0 170,1
RB Anthony Thomas 50 10 0
TE Desmond Clark 0 30 0
WR Marty Booker 0 50,1 0
WR Dez White 0 60 0
WR David Terrell 0 10 0
  Denver Rush Catch Pass
QB Jake Plummer 20 0 230,2
RB Clinton Portis 110,1 20 0
TE Shannon Sharpe 0 50,1 0
WR Rod Smith 0 60,1 0
WR Chris Cole 0 20 0
WR Ashley Lelie 0 50 0

Game Prediction: CHI 7, DEN 27

Bears have not won on the road this season and it looks to continue that trend. The Broncos are gaining back their form with Plummer under center and they have no margin for error. The Bears are fighting a quarterback controversy and sticking with the one that has a 62.9 rating. Denver could be caught looking ahead, but their next game in Oakland is no longer quite the matchup it has been anyway.

Chicago Notes

The Bears fall to 3-7 in the NFC North with their close loss to the Rams.

Quarterbacks:: Chris Chandler was given the full support of his HC Dick Jauron which is an indication of something when Jauron felt it was necessary to even do. Chandler comes off a 153 yard, one touchdown effort against the Rams and has a QB rating of only 62.9, better than only three other quarterbacks. While fans and even some teammates call for Rex Grossman to get a shot, Chandler remains the starter.

Running Backs: Anthony Thomas gained 71 yards on 17 carries in the first half but only had eight runs the rest of the game. He ended with 92 yards and scored once. Since the A-Train got his groove back on this season, he typically gets all but one or two carries in a game.

Receivers: Chandler's pedestrian passing numbers are preventing the wideouts from making a difference. Marty Booker had five catches for 60 yards last Sunday but has not scored since week five. Dez White caught his second score of the season and David Terrell remains awful.

Desmond Clark had his second consecutive four catch day, with 44 yards this week and 39 yards previously when he scored.

The wideouts remain a relative non-factor in this offense.

Match against the Defense: This game has the chance to get not pretty earlier than later.

Anthony Thomas goes to Denver where no rusher has exceeded 100 yards and in most games, they top out at around 50 yards. If Denver gets an early lead which is likely, Thomas may not get that.

The Denver secondary can be beaten and four times it has yielded multiple passing scores but Chandler and crew have not given an indication that he will be able to join the club. Just because the Bears will have to pass to stay in the game does not mean that they will do it particularly well. With Denver scratching for a wildcard, the Bears will not be overlooked.

Denver Notes

The Broncos rise to 6-4 and are now three games back in the AFC West with the Chiefs loss.

Quarterbacks:: Jake Plummer was sore after the game last week, but his three touchdowns were more than the Broncos had in the previous four games without him combined. It was only San Diego visiting, but then again this week it will only be the Bears visiting. Last week was a monumental drubbing of the Chargers.

Running Backs: Last week Clinton Portis ran so well - 25 carries for 106 yards - that they gave him almost the entire second half off to watch Quentin Griffin gain 55 yards on 15 carries. It was good for Denver to see their backup get some gametime experience, but less so if you were actually starting Portis on your fantasy team last week.

Receivers: With Plummer back, Rod Smith had ten catches for 84 yards and while Ashley Lelie only ended with two catches for 57 yards, Plummer was trying to hit him early when it still mattered. Both receivers ended up taking a back seat to Shannon Sharpe who turned seven catches into 101 yards and three touchdowns.

The offense clicks dramatically better with Plummer back and the wideouts are a big beneficiary.

Match against the Defense: The Bears on the road have yet to win and their inability to stop the run is a big reason why they are 0-5. Clinton Portis should enjoy a good game here but likely not a monster one as Plummer continues to shake off any rust.

Plummer faces a secondary that has yielded two scores on the road three times this season and only Brooks failed to go over 200 yards. Chicago has been good against wideouts up until last week when Holt had 122 yards but where they have been hurt is against tight ends as they have allowed six touchdowns from the position this season. And we are not talking Gonzo, Heap or Shockey. They gave up touchdowns to Franks, Kleinsasser, Conwell, Ricks and Manumaleuna.

Shannon Sharpe is a big thumbs up here again.

Team Comparisons - Current team rankings (1-32) for FF points scored or allowed by position
Rank (1-32)
QB
RB
WR
TE
PK
DEF
CHI Scores
25
22
22
17
10
21
DEN Allows
6
7
9
21
16
20
CHI AP
-19
-15
-13
4
6
-1
Rank (1-32)
QB
RB
WR
TE
PK
DEF
DEN Scores
11
17
29
2
7
16
CHI Allows
5
19
7
19
26
16
DEN AP
-6
2
-22
17
19
0
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.
CHI
DEN
2003 Game Averages
DEN
CHI
Gains
Allows
QB's
Gains
Allows
174
185
Pass yards
203
190
0.6
1.4
Pass TDs
1.5
1.1
1.3
1.9
Interceptions
1.3
1.1
24
4
Rush yards
17
6
0.1
0.0
Rush TDs
0.1
0.0
---
---
RB's
---
---
99
81
Rush yards
108
100
0.9
0.5
Rush TDs
0.5
0.8
8
36
Receive yards
37
32
0.0
0.1
Receive TD's
0.3
0.1
---
---
WR's
---
---
130
116
Receive yards
109
134
0.5
0.9
Receive TD's
0.4
0.5
---
---
TE's
---
---
36
33
Receive yards
57
24
0.1
0.4
Receive TD's
0.9
0.5
---
---
PK's
---
---
1.9
1.5
Field Goals
1.9
2.0
1.9
2.1
Extra Points
2.4
2.0
---
---
DEF/ST
---
---
0.3
0.6
Fumbles
0.4
0.4
1.1
1.3
Interceptions
0.6
1.3
0.3
0.3
Touchdowns
0.3
0.1
1.1
1.9
Sacks
2.4
2.5
0.0
0.0
Safeties
0.1
0.0
Bears (3-7)
Score Opp.
7-49 @SF
13-24 @MIN
Week 3 BYE
23-38 GB
24-21 OAK
13-20 @NO
17-24 @SEA
24-16 DET
20-7 SD
10-12 @DET
21-23 STL
Week 12 @DEN
Week 13 ARZ
Week 14 @GB
Week 15 MIN
Week 16 WAS
Week 17 @KC
Broncos (6-4)
Score Opp.
30-10 @CIN
37-13 @SD
31-10 OAK
20-16 DET
23-24 @KC
17-14 PIT
20-28 @MIN
6-26 @BAL
26-30 NE
Week 10 BYE
37-8 SD
Week 12 CHI
Week 13 @OAK
Week 14 KC
Week 15 CLE
Week 16 @IND
Week 17 @GB

* Fantasy point rankings calculated using standard Huddle fantasy points