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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
   
San Francisco vs Green Bay Sun, Nov 23; 1 PM on FOX at Lambeau Field
  San Francisco Rush Catch Pass
QB Tim Rattay 0 0 230,2
RB Garrison Hearst 60 20 0
RB Kevan Barlow 40 10 0
TE Jed Weaver 0 10 0
WR Terrell Owens 0 100,2 0
WR Tai Streets 0 30 0
WR Cedrick Wilson 0 40 0
  Green Bay Rush Catch Pass
QB Brett Favre 0 0 240,2
RB Ahman Green 110,1 40 0
TE Bubba Franks 0 20 0
WR Javon Walker 0 60,1 0
WR Donald Driver 0 60 0
WR Robert Ferguson 0 50,1 0

Game Prediction: SF 20, GB 24

Update: I have switched the game scores on the news that Brett Favre is looking better in practice. The 49ers have not won in Green Bay since 1990 and they have not won on the road yet this season. While Rattay and company have looked great at home the past couple of games, the Packers should take this game in a close, well-fought battle.

Kevan Barlow and Garrison Hearst are both expected to play without limitation. The 49ers intend to stick with the rotational system even more so in colder weather games so I am changing the projections for the runners.

Brett Favre's thumb is a major concern, but the Packers won in Tampa Bay anyway. The biggest key statistic in this game is that the 49ers are 5-1 at home but 0-4 on the road and they have a short week and a road trip now.

Rattay has been hot and the Packers secondary is about as tough as a bratwurst bun, so the 49ers should be posting some nice points. This game could go either way and as unlikely as it seems, the 49ers are in a nice position to step up to their first road win by matching up a good rush defense against Ahman Green and being able to hide their secondary problems more thanks to Favre's reduced effectiveness.

Either way it should be yet another entertaining Packer-49er matchup.

San Francisco Notes

The 49ers rise to 5-5 on the season with their Monday night win over the Steelers.

Quarterbacks:: Tim Rattay is not making life any easier for Jeff Garcia. Rattay threw for 254 yards and two scores against the Steelers and completed 21 of 27 passes. In the two starts this season, he has 490 yards and five touchdowns and most importantly, he has thrown a score to Owens both games to keep him quiet.

Garcia may be ready to play this week but I am assuming here that Rattay will play.

Running Backs: Kevan Barlow ripped off a beautiful 78 yard touchdown run on Monday night but later suffered a concussion and was held out of the rest of the game. He ended with eight carries for 98 yards and the one score and came within two yards of his first 100 yard effort. Garrison Hearst ran 20 times for 67 yards which is more in line with what the Steelers typically would allow. Hearst only has one 100 yard game this year and has not scored in four weeks.

Receivers: As the hallmark of most 49er wins, Terrell Owens had an early touchdown grab and finished with eight catches for 155 yards, his best game of the season. Tai Streets had no catches on his two throws and Brandon Lloyd had three receptions for 15 yards. There was very little done by the wideouts outside of Owens because there was no need.

While Streets has caught two touchdowns in the past four games, he has not exceeded 34 yards during that time. Under Rattay, the ball has been spread around and last week Lloyd had four passes against Streets two. That will have to change this week in Green Bay.

Match against the Defense: Whether it is Rattay or Garcia, the quarterback should have success against one of the worst secondaries in the league. The Packers tightened up the last two weeks and held opponents to under 200 yards with only one passing score but allowed eight touchdowns in the three games before that.

The entire question comes down to Terrell Owens who has been the heart of the passing game. Owens plays the left side where previous opponents have fared very well. Morton (109,1 TD), Moss (150, 1 TD and 87, 1 TD), Holt (67, 2 TD) and even Pinkston (26, 1 TD) have done well. Owens is a lock to get one score in this game based on the fact that all split ends score on Green Bay. If there has been only one passing score in a game against the Packers, it is that position that scores it.

Garrison Hearst may have a decent game there as well since the Packers have only an average rush defense at best and allowed visitors like Alexander (115, 1 TD) and Holmes (140, 1 TD) to have good games.

Green Bay Notes

The Packers come off a big win in Tampa Bay and at 5-5 draw to within one game of the Vikings in the NFC North.

Quarterbacks:: Since Brett Favre broke his thumb in week seven, his passing numbers have decreased each week and in Tampa Bay, he only completed 13 of 28 passes for 92 yards and one score. Favre only had 109 yards the previous week. To make matters worse, he banged his thumb on a guard's helmet last week which only increased the pain.

Favre enjoys great blocking and last week he was not sacked - the first time that the Buccaneers had failed to reach a quarterback in 69 games.

There is no indication that he will be rested this week, but his thumb is obviously a problem.

Running Backs: Everyone knew last week that Ahman Green was going to be the focus of the offense, even the beer vendors were barking "Cold Beer and Ahman's going to run". But it did not matter. Green ran 21 times for 109 yards and one touchdown and Najeh Davenport added 70 more yards on 13 carries as the Packers simply bulldozed the Buccaneers flat. Green is now second in the NFL with 1172 rushing yards.

Receivers: Favre's battered thumb has slapped the brakes on the receivers and his last two touchdowns were to Tony Fisher and Ahman Green - not a wideout. Other than Javon Walker's two scores in week nine, the running backs have last six touchdowns.

Until his thumb improves, this unit is mainly becoming tall and lanky blockers. Robert Ferguson led receivers last week with only four catches for 46 yards.

Match against the Defense: The 49er cornerbacks are among the league's worst and Favre's thumb is the only thing that will get in the way of a big passing game. Problem is that probably Favre will not be able to take a great advantage. Look for Favre to throw mainly short passes that favors no one.

Ahman Green will go against one of the best rushing defenses that has been almost impenetrable at home but on the road has given up big chunks to Marcel Shipp (35-165) recently. The 49ers are not a good road team - they have not won on the road this season and the Packers will use enough of Ahman Green that he should be successful.

Team Comparisons - Current team rankings (1-32) for FF points scored or allowed by position
Rank (1-32)
QB
RB
WR
TE
PK
DEF
SF Scores
7
21
11
28
15
12
GB Allows
32
17
25
22
31
9
SF AP
25
-4
14
-6
16
-3
Rank (1-32)
QB
RB
WR
TE
PK
DEF
GB Scores
19
1
28
10
14
30
SF Allows
24
5
31
10
2
4
GB AP
5
4
3
0
-12
-26
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.
SF
GB
2003 Game Averages
GB
SF
Gains
Allows
QB's
Gains
Allows
214
237
Pass yards
195
246
1.3
1.4
Pass TDs
1.9
1.4
0.9
1.0
Interceptions
0.9
1.4
20
20
Rush yards
1
8
0.4
0.5
Rush TDs
0.0
0.1
----- 
---
RB's
---
----- 
117
107
Rush yards
167
78
0.4
0.5
Rush TDs
1.3
0.5
36
35
Receive yards
58
42
0.1
0.1
Receive TD's
1.0
0
----- 
---
WR's
---
----- 
157
160
Receive yards
105
177
1.0
1.0
Receive TD's
0.5
1.1
----- 
---
TE's
---
----- 
20
42
Receive yards
32
27
0.1
0.3
Receive TD's
0.4
0.3
----- 
---
PK's
---
----- 
1.5
2.0
Field Goals
1.4
0.9
2.3
2.5
Extra Points
3.1
2.0
----- 
---
DEF/ST
---
----- 
0.5
0.5
Fumbles
0.3
0.4
1.4
0.9
Interceptions
1.0
1.0
0.1
0.3
Touchdowns
0.0
0
2.4
1.4
Sacks
1.9
1.9
0
0.0
Safeties
0.0
0
49ers (5-5)
Score Opp.
49-7 CHI
24-27 @STL
12-13 CLE
7-35 @MIN
24-17 DET
19-20 @SEA
24-7 TB
13-16 @ARZ
30-10 STL
Week 10 BYE
30-14 PIT
Week 12 @GB
Week 13 @BAL
Week 14 ARZ
Week 15 @CIN
Week 16 @PHI
Week 17 SEA
Packers (5-5)
Score Opp.
25-30 MIN
31-6 DET
13-20 @ARZ
38-23 @CHI
35-13 SEA
34-40 KC
24-34 @STL
Week 8 BYE
30-27 @MIN
14-17 PHI
20-13 @TB
Week 12 SF
Week 13 @DET
Week 14 CHI
Week 15 @SD
Week 16 @OAK
Week 17 DEN

* Fantasy point rankings calculated using standard Huddle fantasy points