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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
   
Cincinnati vs Pittsburgh Sun, Nov 30; 1 PM on CBS at Heinz Field
  Cincinnati Rush Catch Pass
QB Jon Kitna 0 0 230,2
RB Rudi Johnson 30 10 0
RB Corey Dillon 60,1 10 0
TE Stewart/Schobel 0 20 0
WR Peter Warrick 0 60,1 0
WR Kelly Washington 0 30 0
WR Chad Johnson 0 90,1 0
  Pittsburgh Rush Catch Pass
QB Tommy Maddox 0 0 250,2
RB Amos Zereoue 20 20 0
RB Jerome Bettis 70,1 10 0
TE Jay Riemersma 0 20 0
WR Hines Ward 0 80,1 0
WR Antwaan Randle El 0 40,1 0
WR Plaxico Burress 0 60 0

Game Prediction: CIN 21, PIT 24

The Steelers already won 17-10 in Cincinnati in week three but these two teams have gone in different directions since then. Steelers got it together in Cleveland last week even if Maddox forgot to contribute. No matter - the Bengal secondary is not as good and this game could end up a shoot-out of sorts.

This game could go either way but regardless, it either continues to muddle the AFC North with a Steeler win or provides a final stamp of approval for the Bengals with a Cincy win.

Cincinnati Notes

The Bengals come off a win in San Diego and at 6-5 are still tied for the division lead. Heading into week 13, the Bengals have a winning record. Really.

Quarterbacks:: Not unlike so many, Jon Kitna left San Diego with his best game of the season. He threw for 243 yards and a personal best four touchdowns. That makes 13 touchdowns in the last six games with only three interceptions.

Running Backs: Corey Dillon finally played a full game with no problems and gained 108 yards on only 18 carries. Since it was the Chargers, Rudi Johnson also had 65 yards on 16 runs. Look for the ratio to continue and in games that the running is lessened by the need to pass, that Dillon will get a bigger share.

Receivers: Chad Johnson not only made it back over 100 yards last week, he scored three times in the process giving him eight scores on the season with five weeks left to play. He leads the AFC with 988 yards receiving and is tied for the lead with 65 receptions. While Kelly Washington had his second score of the season against the Chargers, Peter Warrick had his worst game of only two catches for 14 yards.

Reggie Kelly has been upgraded to questionable this week and may be able to play on Sunday.

Match against the Defense: These teams played each other in week three and the Steelers won 17-10.

Kitna had his season worst then with only 157 yards passing and one score against one interception. Since then the Bengals have vastly improved while the Steelers have only won twice in the seven games since.

Look for Kitna to light up the Steelers that have allowed a passing score in every game this season except last week in Cleveland. Since these teams last played, Pittsburgh has allowed five different quarterbacks to score multiple touchdowns.

Dillon only had seven carries for 26 yards in their first meeting but he is healthy again and brings along his mini-me of Rudi Johnson, either of which that have ran better than the Steelers. This will be a tough game in a difficult venue, but the Bengals have everything to win.

Pittsburgh Notes

The Steelers climb back up with the win in Cleveland and now are 4-7 along with Cleveland in the AFC North cellar.

Quarterbacks:: The Steeler's win covers up a lot, but last week Tommy Maddox was horrible. He only completed nine of 24 passes for 73 yards and one score. This after two nice games against the 49ers and Cardinals. Thanks to the win, there is no talk of changing starters and Maddox has scored in each of his last five games.

Running Backs: Jerome Bettis had his best game of the season in Cleveland when he ran for 93 yards on 24 carries. Since the Steelers won, there are no changes here though Bettis continues to nurse a shoulder sprain.

Receivers: The 93 yards passing assured that no receiver mattered and Hines Ward (1-13) had his worst game as a starting wideout. Unfortunately, Plaxico Burress (2-16) actually had two worse games in the past five weeks.

To illustrate what an odd game transpired in Cleveland, the only touchdown was caught by Mark Bruener on his only pass of the entire season.

Match against the Defense: When these teams played before, Maddox had 240 yards passing with one score to Hines Ward. Since then he has banged around from 73 yards up to 327 yards. What is favorable here is that the Bengals have allowed multiple passing scores in each of the last six games, including three 300 yard efforts by Boller, Hasselbeck and Green.

Maddox will be able to throw successfully and the wideouts will be the main recipients.

Bettis also goes against a defense that has allowed nice games and the last three road trips by Cincinnati allowed rushing scores in each.

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
14
31
7
15
20
28
PIT Allows
23
5
27
24
22
19
CIN AP
9
-26
20
9
2
-9
Rank (1-32)
QB
RB
WR
TE
PK
DEF
PIT Scores
27
29
12
29
23
20
CIN Allows
27
20
26
31
15
1
PIT AP
0
-9
14
2
-8
-19
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.
CIN
PIT
2003 Game Averages
PIT
CIN
Gains
Allows
QB's
Gains
Allows
201
231
Pass yards
207
246
1.8
1.6
Pass TDs
1.0
1.9
0.4
0.7
Interceptions
1.0
0.8
7
8
Rush yards
2
6
0.0
0.1
Rush TDs
0.0
0.0
---
---
RB's
---
---
84
80
Rush yards
76
102
0.3
0.6
Rush TDs
0.6
0.6
20
30
Receive yards
32
35
0.1
0.1
Receive TD's
0.0
0.3
---
---
WR's
---
---
146
159
Receive yards
157
165
1.4
1.2
Receive TD's
0.9
1.0
---
---
TE's
---
---
35
42
Receive yards
18
46
0.2
0.2
Receive TD's
0.1
0.6
---
---
PK's
---
---
1.2
1.8
Field Goals
1.3
1.4
2.3
2.3
Extra Points
1.8
2.4
---
---
DEF/ST
---
---
0.6
0.4
Fumbles
0.7
0.2
0.7
1.1
Interceptions
0.7
0.6
0.1
0.2
Touchdowns
0.1
0.0
1.9
2.6
Sacks
2.6
1.8
0.0
0.1
Safeties
0.0
0.0
Bengals (5-6)
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
14-17 @ARZ
34-27 HOU
24-19 KC
34-27 @SD
Week 13 @PIT
Week 14 @BAL
Week 15 SF
Week 16 @STL
Week 17 CLE
Steelers (3-8)
Score Opp.
34-15 BAL
20-41 @KC
17-10 @CIN
13-30 TEN
13-33 CLE
14-17 @DEN
Week 7 BYE
21-33 STL
16-23 @SEA
28-15 ARZ
14-30 @SF
13-6 @CLE
Week 13 CIN
Week 14 OAK
Week 15 @NYJ
Week 16 SD
Week 17 @BAL

* Fantasy point rankings calculated using standard Huddle fantasy points