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Predictions & Projections
By David M. Dorey
 
The Huddle
WEEK 15
December 10 2003
Season Ticket
Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM
ATL at IND HOU at TB SF at CIN CLE at DEN NYG at NO
BUF at TEN JAX at NE SEA at STL CAR at ARZ Mon 9 PM
DAL at WAS MIN at CHI Sun 4 PM GB at SD PHI at MIA
DET at KC PIT at NYJ BAL at OAK *updated Times EST
   
Detroit vs Kansas City Sun, Dec 14; 1 PM on FOX at Arrowhead Stadium
  Detroit Rush Catch Pass
QB Joey Harrington 0 0 170
RB Shawn Bryson 50 20 0
TE Mikhael Ricks 0 30 0
TE C. Fitzsimmons 0 20 0
WR Bill Schroeder 0 30 0
WR Az-Zahir Hakim 0 50 0
WR David Kircus 0 10 0
  Kansas City Rush Catch Pass
QB Trent Green 0 0 240,2
RB Priest Holmes 110,2 30 0
TE Tony Gonzalez 0 60,1 0
WR Johnnie Morton 0 50 0
WR Dante Hall 0 30 0
WR Eddie Kennison 0 60,1 0

Game Prediction: DET 3, KC 36

Last season in week 12, the Chiefs lost a close one to Seattle and returned to Kansas City to throttle the Cardinals 49-0. This game has a chance to repeat that sort of game.

The Lions are playing with so many substitutes and injuries that even Mariucci does not know everyone's name. Chiefs need a confidence builder and it does not come any better than the Lions on the road.

Detroit Notes

The Lions fall to 4-9, missing their last chance-o-the-season to win an actual game.

Quarterbacks:: Joey Harrington threw for 208 yards and one touchdown against the Chargers which is the equivalent of only hitting a single in baseball. It was his first game in a month without a turnover and very possibly his last this season. Harrington has been much better on the road this season for some reason, scoring in his last five away games and yet only scoring in two of his last six home games.

Running Backs: Facing the worst rush defense in the land, Shawn Bryson ripped off a whole 28 yards on 10 carries while Olandis Gary had 20 yards on five runs. To make matters worse, LG Eric Beverly suffered a high ankle sprain and appears unlikely to play at Kansas City. The rushing game for Detroit is now in the throes of rigor mortis.

Receivers: Casey Fitzsimmons had the lone scoring pass last week but he only ended with nine yards on three catches. Az-Zahir Hakim was initially reported as inactive for the game last week but ended up playing and not catching any of this three throws anyway. Hakim has been bothered by a hand injury and muscle spasms in his back. He is expected to play this week.

Match against the Defense: The Lions have not won a road game since the NFL stopped using leather helmets and it is not likely to improve here. Sure, the Chiefs are terrible against the run but so what? Bryson hasn't gained over 73 yards rushing this season and nine of his games have been less than 50 yards.

The Chiefs are going to be a little sensitive after their abuse in Denver last week and will look to take it out on the visiting Lions. Look for Harrington to refresh his ability to throw interceptions.

Kansas City Notes

Kansas City falls to 11-2 but have now clinched a playoff spot. Homefield and the bye week is left to claim.

Quarterbacks:: Trent Green threw for 397 yards and one score last week and had a personal best of 34 completions. The yardage was actually his third best. Green has now thrown a touchdown in every game except one this season.

Running Backs: Priest Holmes started out the Denver game well enough and he did score twice for a total of 19 rushing scores this season. But he only gained 44 yards on 12 carries as the game quickly grew out of hand thanks to Portis running wild. It was Holmes worst rushing yardage of the season.

Receivers: The game plan centered around getting Dante Hall involved and he ended with 11 catches for 124 yards but Eddie Kennison had the lone score on his three catches for 83 yards. But the wideouts were still unable to provide enough. Almost half the completions went to Tony Gonzalez and Priest Holmes in a game that needed deep throws.

The lack of a deep passing game meant Kansas City was unable to mount a quick comeback.

Match against the Defense: The Chiefs need a "feel good" game and this should be it. The Lions give up plenty of yardage in all sorts of ways and Holmes should have a great game both rushing and scoring. The Lions are one of the worst teams at covering a tight end which should get Gonzalez a score and the Chiefs defense should provide excellent field position.

When facing a bad defense on a team that is losing their spirit, any number of players could shine but the safest bet is Holmes, Gonzalez and at least a decent game from Green. Wideouts have not scored much against the Lions lately because the long game has not been needed.

Team Comparisons - Current team rankings (1-32) for FF points scored or allowed by position
Rank (1-32)
QB
RB
WR
TE
PK
DEF
DET Scores
29
30
28
11
26
11
KC Allows
16
31
4
26
13
1
DET AP
-13
1
-24
-15
-13
-10
Rank (1-32)
QB
RB
WR
TE
PK
DEF
KC Scores
5
3
16
1
8
7
DET Allows
30
15
15
28
4
18
KC AP
25
12
-1
27
-4
11
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.
DET
KC
2003 Game Averages
KC
DET
Gains
Allows
QB's
Gains
Allows
186
214
Pass yards
264
222
0.8
1.1
Pass TDs
1.6
1.5
1.6
1.5
Interceptions
0.5
0.9
11
16
Rush yards
5
18
0.0
0.1
Rush TDs
0.2
0.4
---
---
RB's
---
---
72
136
Rush yards
108
90
0.4
1.2
Rush TDs
1.5
0.5
43
48
Receive yards
56
44
0.1
0.3
Receive TD's
0.0
0.2
---
---
WR's
---
---
106
133
Receive yards
144
139
0.5
0.5
Receive TD's
0.7
0.8
---
---
TE's
---
---
37
33
Receive yards
64
39
0.3
0.4
Receive TD's
0.9
0.4
---
---
PK's
---
---
1.1
1.3
Field Goals
1.3
0.9
1.8
2.5
Extra Points
3.7
2.9
---
---
DEF/ST
---
---
0.6
0.3
Fumbles
0.9
0.2
1.0
0.5
Interceptions
1.5
1.6
0.3
0.1
Touchdowns
0.4
0.5
2.0
1.4
Sacks
2.1
0.9
0.0
0.1
Safeties
0.0
0.0
Lions(4-9)
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
7-14 SD
Week 15 @KC
Week 16 @CAR
Week 17 STL
Chiefs (11-2)
Score Opp.
27-14 SD
41-20 PIT
42-14 @HOU
17-10 @BAL
24-23 DEN
40-34 @GB
17-10 @OAK
38-5 BUF
Week 9 BYE
41-20 CLE
19-24 @CIN
27-24 OAK
28-24 @SD
27-45 @DEN
Week 15 DET
Week 16 @MIN
Week 17 CHI

* Fantasy point rankings calculated using standard Huddle fantasy points