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Predictions & Projections
By David M. Dorey
 
The Huddle
WEEK 14
December 3, 2003
Season Ticket
Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM
CHI at GB IND at TEN TB at NO KC at DEN CAR at ATL
CIN at BAL OAK at PIT WAS at NYG MIA at NE Mon 9 PM
DAL at PHI SD at DET Sun 4 PM NYJ at BUF STL at CLE
HOU at JAX SEA at MIN ARZ at SF *updated Times EST
   
Chicago vs Green Bay Sun, Dec 7; 1 PM on FOX at Lambeau Field
  Chicago Rush Catch Pass
QB Kordell Stewart 40 0 180,1
RB Anthony Thomas 70 10 0
TE Desmond Clark 0 30 0
WR Marty Booker 0 40,1 0
WR Dez White 0 30 0
WR Justin Gage 0 50 0
WR David Terrell 0 10 0
  Green Bay Rush Catch Pass
QB Brett Favre 0 0 200,1
RB Ahman Green 140,2 20 0
TE Bubba Franks 0 10 0
WR Javon Walker 0 60,1 0
WR Donald Driver 0 40 0
WR Robert Ferguson 0 30 0

Game Prediction: CHI 16, GB 24

Update: Anthony Thomas has practiced this week and shows no ill effects from his viral pneumonia of last weekend. I am slightly increasing his numbers on the good news.

These two teams already have played in week four when the Packers won 23-38 in Chicago. The Packers continued to be hampered by Favre's interceptions and come off a bad loss but back at home in a divisional game they need and with Ahman Green able to carve up the Bears defense, the Packers will take this one.

Chicago Notes

The Bears rise to 5-7 and have won their last two games. They are only two games out of first in the NFC North.

Quarterbacks:: With Chris Chandler on the shelf, Kordell Stewart had the start last week and turned in his best game of the season against the visiting Cardinals. Kordell passed for 284 yards and two touchdowns and added 26 yards on the ground and scored once on a run. On one series near the goal line, the Bears literally allowed Stewart to run three consecutive times.

Chandler may be back from his shoulder injury this week but until that word is given, I am assuming that Stewart takes another start. Back in week four against the Packers, Kordell Stewart was still the quarterback and only had 201 yards and no scores. Early word is that Stewart's play last week earned him another start regardless of how Chandler feels.

Running Backs: Since Anthony Thomas was held out due to viral pneumonia last week, Brock Forsey was the sudden starter and turned in the best rushing game by a Bear in the past two years when he ran for 134 yards on 27 carries and scored once. HC Dick Jauron was quick to quell the fans call for Forsey to get another start - Thomas is the #1 when healthy and it appears for now that Thomas should be back on Sunday.

Last time these teams played, Anthony Thomas ran only 13 times but gained 110 yards and one touchdown.

Receivers: Stewart was not the most accurate passer last week, but he played much better than he had (thank you, Arizona cornerbacks). The rookie Justin Gage had four catches for 100 yards - his first century mark of his career and fellow rookie Bobby Wade had a catch for 24 yards. Dez White scored once on his four receptions for 55 yards. Even Marty Booker had a touchdown and 44 yards on five catches. The Bears had a productive receiving corps with Stewart at the helm. Surreal, eh?

With Stewart as the quarterback, the best receiver in week four against Green Bay was David Terrell who had seven catches for 48 yards while Marty Booker only managed 34 yards on three receptions and Dez White only had two catches for 26 yards. The receivers will need to mirror last week in order to win in Green Bay.

Match against the Defense: Stewart had 201 yards passing back two months ago when these teams played and that was his high with Chicago until last week. But the Packer secondary has been far better in the last month. Their numbers allowed for passing are heavily slanted up by a three game stretch where they allowed 8 TDs and big yardage to KC, STL and MIN. The same unit held PHI, TB, SF and DET to under 200 yards passing and never more than one touchdown. This means that in Green Bay, Stewart will have a far tougher time passing than last week and while he rushed for 71 yards and a score before, the homefield advantage and weather may take away his apparent improvement.

Green Bay's rushing numbers are also tilted up thanks to facing Holmes, Alexander and Arlen Harris but no runner has had over 63 yards against them since week seven except for Thomas Jones with two 50 yard runs that gave him 134 on the day. With Thomas returning from pneumonia, he should be able to turn in an average game but very unlikely to be more than that.

Green Bay Notes

The Packers fall to 6-6 with their upset loss to the Lions on Thanksgiving.

Quarterbacks:: Brett Favre threw for his season best 296 yards and two touchdowns last week and yet had his second game in a row with three interceptions. The entire game was out of character for Favre and he completed more passes to his tight ends (9) than to his wideouts (5). Just as odd he only threw to Ahman Green for 10 yards on four catches. Favre claims his thumb is not a problem but six interceptions in the last two games says otherwise. When the power running game was taken away, Favre spent most his time throwing interceptions or shorter passes to his tight ends.

When these teams played in week three, Favre had a stellar game, throwing 21 of 31 for 179 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions.

Running Backs: Ahman Green's string of four straight games over 100 yards rushing never saw as far as the pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving. Green ended with only 57 yards on 13 carries though he did gain a healthy 4.4 yards per carry thanks to one 21 yard run. The Lions were lying in wait for Green and on last Thursday, were enough to keep him at bay.

When Green went against the Bears last time, he had 19 runs and gained 176 yards and three scores.

Receivers: The Lions magically had a secondary last week, but Javon Walker still managed to score once on a 45-yard pass and end with 93 yards on three catches to lead all receivers. Walker had a 66-yard touchdown the previous week against the 49ers and is developing into one of Favre's favorite targets in the now rare event that Favre throws downfield.

Bubba Franks scored his third touchdown of the season last week but Wesley Walls was the most heavily used receiver by catching five passes for 67 yards. Walls had the look of Favre's safety blanket when the pass rush drew close unlike Ahman Green who had been providing that outlet until the last two weeks of minimal receiving numbers. Franks scored once against the Bears in week three.

Donald Driver's importance continues to wane and he only managed 47 yards on four catches. That makes the fifth straight game of less than 50 yards receiving for Driver.

Back in week three, Favre was still hitting his wideouts more and scored once with Javon Walker (5-41) while Donald Driver turned in what was to become his high end - four catches for 50 yards.

Match against the Defense: Favre did have a big game in yardage last week, but in his four previous games he had not exceeded 200 yards and against the Bears he only had 179 the first time though with three touchdowns. He will get a touchdown passing - he has every game this season but for yardage he faces a secondary which is actually above average. Playing at home, Favre should be good for at least around 200 yards and at least one score. His numbers could be lower though if the running game takes off as it should.

Look for the passing score to likely go to Walker who has been hot lately and scored against Chicago once this season already.

The last game against the Bears had Green running for 176 yards and two scores and there is little reason to expect much less this week. Chicago's Achilles heel has been their run defense this season and they have allowed their unfortunate tour of the best runners in the NFL this season to produce big games against them. Top shelf runners have all gained 100 yards or scored a touchdown or both against them this season.

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
17
25
22
18
9
28
GB Allows
28
17
18
22
29
14
CHI AP
11
-8
-4
4
20
-14
Rank (1-32)
QB
RB
WR
TE
PK
DEF
GB Scores
14
1
27
8
15
31
CHI Allows
2
19
3
24
16
11
GB AP
-12
18
-24
16
1
-20
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
GB
2003 Game Averages
GB
CHI
Gains
Allows
QB's
Gains
Allows
181
222
Pass yards
199
186
0.7
1.2
Pass TDs
1.9
1
1
1
Interceptions
1.3
1.1
25
17
Rush yards
1
7
0.3
0.4
Rush TDs
0
0
---
---
RB's
---
---
100
102
Rush yards
164
103
0.8
0.5
Rush TDs
1
0.6
12
31
Receive yards
48
31
0
0.1
Receive TD's
0.8
0.1
---
---
WR's
---
---
135
149
Receive yards
114
122
0.6
0.9
Receive TD's
0.7
0.5
---
---
TE's
---
---
34
42
Receive yards
37
33
0.1
0.2
Receive TD's
0.4
0.4
---
---
PK's
---
---
1.9
1.8
Field Goals
1.3
1.8
2
2.6
Extra Points
2.9
1.7
---
---
DEF/ST
---
---
0.3
0.6
Fumbles
0.2
0.4
1.1
1.3
Interceptions
1
1.2
0.2
0.2
Touchdowns
0
0.1
1.2
1.6
Sacks
2.2
2.5
0
0
Safeties
0
0
Bears (5-7)
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
28-3 ARZ
Week 14 @GB
Week 15 MIN
Week 16 WAS
Week 17 @KC
Packers (6-6)
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
14-22 @DET
Week 14 CHI
Week 15 @SD
Week 16 @OAK
Week 17 DEN

* Fantasy point rankings calculated using standard Huddle fantasy points