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Predictions & Projections
By David M. Dorey
 
The Huddle
WEEK 13
November 26, 2003
Season Ticket
Thu 12:30 Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM
GB at DET ARZ at CHI MIN at STL CLE at SEA TB at JAX
Thu 4:05 ATL at HOU NE at IND NO at WAS Mon 9 PM
MIA at DAL BUF at NYG PHI at CAR DEN at OAK TEN at NYJ
*updated CIN at PIT SF at BAL KC at SD Times EST
   
Arizona vs Chicago Sun, Nov 30; 1 PM on FOX at Soldier Field
  Arizona Rush Catch Pass
QB Jeff Blake 20 0 180,1
RB Emmitt Smith 20 0 0
RB Marcel Shipp 70 10 0
TE Freddie Jones 0 30 0
WR Bryan Gilmore 0 30 0
WR Bryant Johnson 0 20 0
WR Anquan Boldin 0 70,1 0
  Chicago Rush Catch Pass
QB Kordell Stewart 40,1 0 160,1
RB Anthony Thomas 80,1 10 0
TE Desmond Clark 0 40 0
WR Marty Booker 0 30 0
WR Dez White 0 40,1 0
WR David Terrell 0 20 0

Game Prediction: ARZ 13, CHI 20

The Cardinals are 0-5 on the road and now head to a cold weather game while the Bears are actually 3-2 at home and feeling pretty good after last week in Denver. The decent corner play by the Bears will make the Cardinals only weapon (Boldin) have a tough game and the Cardinals will spend much of the game trying to run the ball anyway.

Arizona Notes

The Cardinals fall to 3-8 and have lost their last three games.

Quarterbacks:: Jeff Blake comes off a standard performance for him - 192 yards, two scores and two interceptions. Oddly he turns in a good game about every three weeks and while he is due now, he is on the road against a decent secondary which makes him more likely to flop again.

Running Backs: Emmitt Smith is due back for at least limited play this week. Marcel Shipp had 95 yards on 23 carries last week against the Rams, but has now gone three weeks since his two game explosions in homestands during weeks 8 and 9. Smith has graciously read the writing on the wall and does not expect to resume a starring role, but his inclusion will only serve to water down Shipp.

Receivers: Anquan Boldin turned in a nice 123 yard, two touchdown game against the softer corners of the Rams and by this point is the only Cardinal receiver that really matters. Bryan Gilmore only had three catches for 50 yards last week and this squad will do even less in Chicago this week.

Match against the Defense: The Bears defense can be ran on and gave up 100 yard games to runners the last two weeks but back in Chicago with probable cold weather against a sunshine team like the Cardinals will make running much tougher than most opponents have found. Tomlinson only had 61 yards on 16 carries in Chicago though other top backs have fared well. Since Shipp will likely be watered down with Emmitt, the run game is less likely to be attractive this week.

Jeff Blake generally has his bigger fantasy games on the road since they are always behind, but that will be much tougher here with a solid secondary. The Bears have never yielded over 240 yards passing in any game this season and in their last four home games the Bears have only allowed three passing scores and two were to Marc Bulger. Look for a lower day from Blake.

The only real receiver in Arizona has been Boldin but he will draw plenty of attention. The only two receivers that have turned in good games in Chicago have been Split Ends as is Boldin, so he could have at least a moderate day from the sheer of volume of probable passes.

Cold weather may play a bigger role here than most games since it puts a bad road team in a very unfamiliar setting.

Chicago Notes

The Bears rise to 4-7 with their exciting win over the Broncos.

Quarterbacks:: Chris Chandler suffered a probable separated shoulder against the Broncos and I am considered him out since he is Chandler and had gone six games without missing any. There was some confusion as to what his problem was since some thought he had a joint strain. HC Dick Jauron does not think it is serious and will start Chandler if he is healthy, but that remains to be seen.

Last week Kordell Stewart filled in for Chandler during the game and provided his normal numbers - 7 of 15 for 47 yards. His upside, and his only upside, is that he runs and gained 29 yards last week. When the Bears were near the goal line, Stewart ran the ball himself for four consecutive plays until he scored a touchdown.

Running Backs: Anthony Thomas only had 60 yards on 21 carries last week but in Denver against a good rush defense that was actually pretty good. The Bears are committed to running him around 20-25 times a game with minimal sharing so his production is a function of yards per carry.

Receivers: With Stewart back under center, this group take a hit and they were already fantasy duds with Chandler at the helm. The one player that will likely benefit is Desmond Clark who has been a favorite of Stewart. Clark had four catches for 33 yards last week and turned in his best games with Stewart. Then again, his best game is only 63 yards and he only has two scores on the season.

Match against the Defense: Thomas faces an average rush defense this week but since he is at home and getting 20+ carries, he should be a lock for around 80 yards or so and could see the endzone since the Cardinals have been better at limiting yards than scores. Even James Jackson scored twice against them and Faulk had one last week.

The secondary could be burned by a good quarterback but since Chicago does not have one of them, look for a lower producing passing game by Stewart that favors no receiver. Remember that Chicago was not scoring that well with Chandler and when Kordell played they were no better. If Chandler does return, then Dez White has the best matchup against CB Renaldo Hill but that normally matters little to one of the worst passing attacks in the NFL.

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
32
19
17
22
23
CHI Allows
4
19
8
21
21
12
ARZ AP
-11
-13
-11
4
-1
-11
Rank (1-32)
QB
RB
WR
TE
PK
DEF
CHI Scores
26
25
25
18
7
27
ARZ Allows
25
13
29
5
32
30
CHI AP
-1
-12
4
-13
-25
3
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
CHI
2003 Game Averages
CHI
ARZ
Gains
Allows
QB's
Gains
Allows
188
189
Pass yards
169
236
1.1
1.1
Pass TDs
0.6
1.4
1.3
1.0
Interceptions
1.1
1.0
18
7
Rush yards
25
8
0.2
0.0
Rush TDs
0.2
0.2
---
---
RB's
---
---
82
110
Rush yards
96
90
0.0
0.7
Rush TDs
0.8
0.6
24
31
Receive yards
10
40
0.1
0.1
Receive TD's
0.0
0.0
---
---
WR's
---
---
132
130
Receive yards
124
169
0.8
0.6
Receive TD's
0.4
1.2
---
---
TE's
---
---
33
27
Receive yards
36
27
0.2
0.4
Receive TD's
0.1
0.1
---
---
PK's
---
---
1.4
1.9
Field Goals
2.1
2.1
1.6
1.9
Extra Points
1.8
2.6
---
---
DEF/ST
---
---
0.3
0.3
Fumbles
0.2
0.7
1.1
1.1
Interceptions
1.0
1.1
0.2
0.1
Touchdowns
0.2
0.4
1.1
2.4
Sacks
1.2
1.9
0.0
0.0
Safeties
0.0
0.2
Cardinals (3-8)
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
6-44 @CLE
27-30 STL
Week 13 @CHI
Week 14 @SF
Week 15 CAR
Week 16 @SEA
Week 17 MIN
Bears (4-7)
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
19-10 @DEN
Week 13 ARZ
Week 14 @GB
Week 15 MIN
Week 16 WAS
Week 17 @KC

* Fantasy point rankings calculated using standard Huddle fantasy points