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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
   
San Diego vs Detroit Sun, Dec 7; 1 PM on CBS at Ford Field
  San Diego Rush Catch Pass
QB Doug Flutie 30 0 220,1
RB L. Tomlinson 80,1 20 0
TE Antonio Gates 0 40 0
WR David Boston 0 60,1 0
WR Reche Caldwell 0 20 0
WR Kaseem Osgood 0 50 0
  Detroit Rush Catch Pass
QB Joey Harrington 0 0 240,2
RB Shawn Bryson 60,1 30 0
TE Mikhael Ricks 0 40,1 0
WR Bill Schroeder 0 50 0
WR Az-Zahir Hakim 0 80,1 0
WR David Kircus 0 30 0

Game Prediction: SD 20, DET 24

Update: Kaseem Osgood has passed Reche Caldwell on the depth charts and will likely take the start this week. Caldwell has been a disappointment even when he is healthy.

Artose Pinner has been practicing and may get a few carries this week but will more likely see the field the following week against the Chiefs.

The Lions are three point favorites which says volumes about how bad the Chargers defense is.

The Lions are not a good team, they are not even at the top of the really bad teams, but they are playing better now that they realize that there never really was a cavalry on the way to help them out of a messy season. More than anything, they are home where they are actually 4-2 (honest - look for yourself) while the Chargers are only 1-5 on the road.

San Diego Notes

The Chargers maintain their run for the first pick in the NFL draft by losing to the Chiefs. They are now 2-10.

Quarterbacks:: Doug Flutie ended last week with 213 yards and two scores but lost one fumble and threw two interceptions which killed their chances. He also ran for 53 yards on eight carries. That does give him three games in the last four where he scored at least twice.

Now that HC Marty Schottenheimer faces his brother Kurt who is the defensive coordinator for the Lions (there's something you want on your resume), he is playing games again about who the starting quarterback will be this week. Since the Lions have one of the worst secondaries, it is a likely fantasy gem for the starter but Marty will not say for now. I am assuming that Marty and Kurt will giggle in the back seat about the mind game but that Flutie will again start.

Running Backs: LaDainian Tomlinson gained 106 yards and one score last week and in doing so set a Chargers record for exceeding 100 yards rushing for the 16th time. That and about $150 will get him a seat in the stands to see a playoff game.

Receivers: David Boston had five catches for 85 yards and one score last week and he clearly has enjoyed Flutie being the starter. He has scored in three of the last four games and topped 80 yards three times as well.

The tight end Antonia Gates scored last week as well and gained 64 yards on four catches. The rookie has had spurts of productivity this season and now that Stephen Alexander is hurt again (I know - don't go there), Gates should continue to have a role in the passing game.

Match against the Defense: Flutie should really enjoy the 30th ranked defense against quarterbacks and unlike most other teams, the Chargers not going to be looking past this game to anything else. The Lions have been tough against the run, particularly at home where they come off their last game where Ahman Green only managed 57 yards. Tomlinson will gain his yards but will be challenged to top the 100 yard mark. No one has yet in Detroit as a visitor.

The Lions put together a great game against the Packers last week but the only visitors to Detroit that were not in their division have done well. Both Blake and Carter had big games early in the season there and the only other visiting non-divisional opponent was Oakland who lost Tuiasosopo in the game and unveiled Mirer.

The Lions have only allowed 14 points or less to opponents in the last three home stands and the Chargers on the road only had 15 points in their last two road games combined. Look for Flutie to have some success passing but not as much as it would seem he should. The Lions have been good against the running quarterbacks this season and the defense has shown it can intercept an errant pass.

Detroit Notes

The Lions rise to a lofty 4-8 mark with their Thanksgiving Day win over the Packers.

Quarterbacks:: Joey Harrington threw for only 183 yards and one interception with no touchdowns against the Packers but considering that he had six interceptions in the previous two games, it was a near flawless performance from him.

Running Backs: Shawn Bryson scored his second touchdown of the season last week and gained 50 yards on 16 carries while Olandis Gary ran for 37 yards on ten carries. Bryson had a few more carries than Gary last week and the two had almost the same number (13 vs. 12) the previous week. If there is any trend, and there really is not, it is that Bryson normally gets around two carries to every one for Gary. But since Gary often does more with his carries, the two are interchangeable and both have scored twice this year.

Receivers: Az-Hakim Zahir led receivers last week with six catches for 65 yards. That makes the third straight week that Hakim has gone over 60 yards receiving.

Mikhael Ricks (3-56) and the rookie Casey Fitzsimmons (3-13) share in the tight end duties though Ricks is much more likely to have a good receiving day.

Charles Rogers was just placed on injured reserve, ending his season and the less than shrewd gambit by someone in your fantasy draft last summer.

Match against the Defense: The problem, as always, is deciding if the Lions want to attack the worst passing defense or just run it against the 25th worst.

Chances are they will do both and find success since everyone does. Look for Harrington to find Mikhael Ricks or maybe Casey Fitzsimmons for one score since the Chargers are the worst against the tight end and for at least Hakim to have a decent game. Flip a coin on which runner scores, but most likely it will be Bryson.

Team Comparisons - Current team rankings (1-32) for FF points scored or allowed by position
Rank (1-32)
QB
RB
WR
TE
PK
DEF
SD Scores
16
6
17
21
27
21
DET Allows
30
6
15
27
9
27
SD AP
14
0
-2
6
-18
6
Rank (1-32)
QB
RB
WR
TE
PK
DEF
DET Scores
30
30
28
14
25
10
SD Allows
32
25
27
32
27
12
DET AP
2
-5
-1
18
2
2
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.
SD
DET
2003 Game Averages
DET
SD
Gains
Allows
QB's
Gains
Allows
188
219
Pass yards
184
241
1.1
1.4
Pass TDs
0.8
2.4
1.2
0.9
Interceptions
1.8
1
16
17
Rush yards
10
8
0.2
0.4
Rush TDs
0
0
---
---
RB's
---
---
110
89
Rush yards
74
125
1
0.5
Rush TDs
0.4
0.7
40
33
Receive yards
40
39
0
0
Receive TD's
0.1
0.4
---
---
WR's
---
---
128
145
Receive yards
106
163
0.8
0.9
Receive TD's
0.5
1.1
---
---
TE's
---
---
19
41
Receive yards
37
39
0.3
0.4
Receive TD's
0.2
0.9
---
---
PK's
---
---
1
1
Field Goals
1.2
1.5
2.4
3
Extra Points
1.9
3.3
---
---
DEF/ST
---
---
0.6
0.2
Fumbles
0.6
0.5
1
1.8
Interceptions
1
1.3
0.1
0.5
Touchdowns
0.3
0.1
2
1
Sacks
2.2
1.9
0
0
Safeties
0
0.1
Chargers (2-10)
Score Opp.
14-27 @KC
13-37 DEN
10-24 BAL
31-34 @OAK
21-27 @JAX
Week 6 BYE
26-20 @CLE
10-26 MIA
7-20 @CHI
42-28 MIN
8-37 @DEN
27-34 CIN
24-28 KC
Week 14 @DET
Week 15 GB
Week 16 @PIT
Week 17 OAK
Lions(4-8)
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
22-14 GB
Week 14 SD
Week 15 @KC
Week 16 @CAR
Week 17 STL

* Fantasy point rankings calculated using standard Huddle fantasy points