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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
   
Green Bay vs Detroit Thu, Nov 27; 12:30 PM on FOX at Ford Field
  Green Bay Rush Catch Pass
QB Brett Favre 0 0 180,1
RB Ahman Green 130,2 10 0
TE Bubba Franks 0 20 0
WR Javon Walker 0 50,1 0
WR Donald Driver 0 40 0
WR Robert Ferguson 0 50 0
  Detroit Rush Catch Pass
QB Joey Harrington 0 0 200,1
RB Shawn Bryson 40 20 0
TE C. Fitzsimmons 0 20 0
WR Bill Schroeder 0 50 0
WR Az-Zahir Hakim 0 70,1 0
WR David Kircus 0 20 0

Game Prediction: GB 24, DET 10

The Lions host the Packers in this early Turkey Day matchup and Green Bay already defeated the Lions 31-6 earlier this season before the Lions were decimated by injuries and the Packers realized they would have free running lanes every week.

Green Bay Notes

The Packers rise to 6-5 and are only one game behind the Vikings in the NFC North. They come off a solid win over the 49ers.

Quarterbacks::Brett Favre threw two early touchdowns last week but only ended with 138 yards and had three interceptions. He has at least one pick in the last six games and has not thrown for over 200 yards since week seven. When he played the Lions in week two, he only had 132 yards passing but scored twice.

Combining Favre's thumb injury, his tendency to throw interceptions and the fact the Packers rushing attack cannot be slowed with barbed wire and antipersonnel mines means the passing game scores but the yardage is not there for fantasy teams.

Running Backs: Last week against one of the better rush defenses, the Packers ran 44 times for 241 yards though they did not score on the ground. Ahman Green had 154 yards on 27 carries and both Tony Fisher (6-25) and Najeh Davenport (11-62) added to the pile on against the 49ers. For the first time, the Packers never completed a pass to the backs.

Ahman Green now has ran for over 100 yards in eight of his eleven games this season and when he faced Detroit earlier this season he had 160 yards and one score. Green has gone two games without losing a fumble.

Receivers: With minimal passing yards lately, the wideouts have been largely nonfactors in the fantasy world though Favre still throws touchdowns. Last week Javon Walker and Robert Ferguson both scored though it was only Ferguson's second on the year and Walker only had two catches for 15 yards in the previous two games combined.

Donald Driver ended with only 12 yards on two catches last week and that makes the sixth straight game with declining yardage. Take away his 72 yard, one touchdown game in week five and he adds up to little more than an average tight end in production.

The Packers have also left the tight ends out of the game plan and ask them to block now. It is almost unimaginable that the Packer offense has not used a tight end to score since week six of the season.

Match against the Defense: There is a good chance that the Packers will try to run and maybe an even better chance than that of Keyshawn Johnson thinking that he was not to blame for his troubles in Tampa Bay. As noted, Green ripped the Lions for 160 yards and a score in the previous game this season and the Lions have given up a rushing score in four of the past five games.

Favre has not been throwing much nor particularly well lately and he will most likely have a lower than average game here as the Packers concentrate on the run and Favre looks to minimize his interceptions since the Lions have been good this season against the pass since they score little and even against lower passing teams they have almost always had at least one interception.

CB Dre Bly may be questionable to play with a hamstring strain and that would make scoring via the pass even more likely.

Detroit Notes

The Lions ratchet down once again this season, falling to 3-8 with their 21st consecutive road loss in Minnesota last week when they had to throw two interceptions that were returned for scores in order to be beaten.

Quarterbacks:: Joey Harrington comes off one of his worst games, which is truly saying something, when he ended last week with 167 yards passing, one trash time touchdown and four interceptions of which two were returned for scores. HC Steve Mariucci is repeating that he is committed to Harrington as he struggles through growing pains and Mariucci had one of his best lines this past week when he was asked what he was doing to help Harrington. He said "lately I have been telling him to try to throw it to one of our own players".

Running Backs: Shawn Bryson had a light concussion last week and only turned in 21 yards on seven carries while Olandis Gary had ten runs for 19 yards. On the plus side, the running game makes Harrington look good which again, is truly saying something.

Artose Pinner will likely be activated this week but it is too early now to consider him an option in the running game.

Receivers: Az-Zahir Hakim comes off his best game of the season when he had six catches for 61 yards and an actual touchdown. That makes two weeks in a row that he has scored and had around 60 yards. That makes him clearly the best receiving option in Detroit outside of opposing cornerbacks and since he is now the best they have, he is almost a guarantee to get injured.

David Kircus was activated last week and had three passes but is still in the hunt for that elusive first NFL reception.

Bill Schroeder had a mild concussion last week as well but is expected to play on Thursday.

Match against the Defense: The Lions are now battling their own heads after losing a great chance to kill their road demons last week and have a very short week to prepare for the Packers. Harrington comes off a tough game he threw away late in the game and now faces a team that intercepted him three times in week two and that was with Charles Rogers still playing. Harrington had 241 yards and no scores in that game and has a lesser cast around him now.

The Lions could catch a break of S Darren Sharper misses the game with a chest contusion but Detroit has not exactly been the luckiest team this season.

The Packers could be a little softer in Detroit after a big win but have the better defense and face a team that also has no time to prepare. The Lions could not run last time and with the Green Bay running game looking so dominant, they Lions may not have the ball that much anyway.

Team Comparisons - Current team rankings (1-32) for FF points scored or allowed by position
Rank (1-32)
QB
RB
WR
TE
PK
DEF
GB Scores
19
1
27
12
14
32
DET Allows
30
11
15
22
13
29
GB AP
11
10
-12
10
-1
-3
Rank (1-32)
QB
RB
WR
TE
PK
DEF
DET Scores
28
30
28
16
29
14
GB Allows
31
15
23
19
27
8
DET AP
3
-15
-5
3
-2
-6
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.
GB
DET
2003 Game Averages
DET
GB
Gains
Allows
QB's
Gains
Allows
188
211
Pass yards
184
226
1.9
1.3
Pass TDs
0.9
1.3
1.1
0.7
Interceptions
1.9
1.0
1
19
Rush yards
10
18
0.0
0.4
Rush TDs
0.0
0.4
---
---
RB's
---
---
175
92
Rush yards
72
103
1.1
0.6
Rush TDs
0.3
0.4
51
35
Receive yards
42
32
0.9
0.0
Receive TD's
0.1
0.1
---
---
WR's
---
---
107
142
Receive yards
108
155
0.7
0.9
Receive TD's
0.6
1.0
---
---
TE's
---
---
31
34
Receive yards
34
39
0.3
0.3
Receive TD's
0.2
0.2
---
---
PK's
---
---
1.4
1.1
Field Goals
1.2
1.9
3.0
3.1
Extra Points
1.6
2.3
---
---
DEF/ST
---
---
0.2
0.2
Fumbles
0.4
0.4
1.0
1.9
Interceptions
0.8
1.1
0.0
0.6
Touchdowns
0.3
0.2
2.1
0.8
Sacks
2.0
1.3
0.0
0.0
Safeties
0.0
0.0
Packers (6-5)
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
20-10 SF
Week 13 @DET
Week 14 CHI
Week 15 @SD
Week 16 @OAK
Week 17 DEN
Lions(3-8)
Score Opp.
42-24 ARZ
6-31 @GB
13-23 MIN
16-20 @DEN
17-24 @SF
Week 6 BYE
7-38 DAL
16-24 @CHI
23-13 OAK
12-10 CHI
14-35 @SEA
14-24 @MIN
Week 13 GB
Week 14 SD
Week 15 @KC
Week 16 @CAR
Week 17 STL

* Fantasy point rankings calculated using standard Huddle fantasy points