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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
   
Green Bay vs San Diego Sun, Dec 14; 4 PM on FOX at Qualcomm Stadium
  Green Bay Rush Catch Pass
QB Brett Favre 0 0 200,2
RB Ahman Green 110,1 10 0
TE Bubba Franks 0 20,1 0
WR Javon Walker 0 80,1 0
WR Donald Driver 0 30 0
WR Robert Ferguson 0 50 0
  San Diego Rush Catch Pass
QB Drew Brees 0 0 170,1
RB L. Tomlinson 100,1 40 0
TE Josh Norman 0 10 0
WR David Boston 0 50,1 0
WR Reche Caldwell 0 20 0
WR Kaseem Osgood 0 30 0

Game Prediction: GB 24, SD 20

Update: HC Marty Schottenheimer has still not named a starting quarterback for this weekend but early signs indicate that he may be leaning towards starting Drew Brees again. There is a chance that he might actually use both in the game though less likely. Schottenheimer once said he would always use the quarterback that gave them the best chance of winning (Flutie) but now that Brees has had a chance to "step back" and look at things, Marty admitted that it may be in the best interest of the 3-10 team to see if Brees should be a part of the future.

Based on that, I am changing the projections to Brees but Flutie could end up playing.

The Chargers come off a win which makes it even more likely that the Packers can beat them so long as they keep Tomlinson bottled up at least most of the time. Green Bay will be able to score whatever they need to win but the Chargers face a team that has not bee stellar against the pass and can get beaten by the long run. All makes for a Packer win but in a slightly better game then expected.

Green Bay Notes

The Packers climb to 7-6 and remain one game behind the Vikings in the NFC North.

Quarterbacks:: Brett Favre threw for 210 yards and one score last week but had one interception returned for a touchdown, giving him 18 for the season and putting him on a pace to exceed the 19 he threw last season. On the plus side, Favre has thrown at least one touchdown in every game this year and has 23 in total

Running Backs: Ahman Green only gained 80 yards on 30 carries against the Bears, less than half of what he did the previous time they met. Green now has turned in consecutive games of 80 and 57 yards and has dropped off his blistering pace of earlier this season. Blocking is suspect, along with defenses committing safeties to cutting down any breakaway runs.

Green is only 12 yards away from breaking the Packers record of 1,474 yards rushing set by Jim Taylor in 1962. He may have that on the first offensive play this week.

Receivers: Robert Ferguson had a personal best seven receptions last week for 79 while Javon Walker scored the only passing touchdown for Green Bay. Walker now has scored in the last three straight games and has become Favre's favorite target deep.

Match against the Defense: Load 'em up and run 'em.

Ahman Green has an excellent opportunity to get back into the 100 yard club this week even if his blocking has been spotty. The last runner to visit San Diego was Priest Holmes who had 162 yards and two scores.

Brett Favre should also be assured of a great game since five of the last six quarterbacks have thrown at least two scores and there have been six games against San Diego that saw three touchdowns thrown by the opposing quarterback. Since the Chargers are beaten in so many ways, the yardage has varied from around 200 up to three games over 300 yards.

Consider Walker as a near lock for one touchdown but the Chargers are also terrible against tight ends so either Franks or Walls has a chance to score as well. It's San Diego. It's all good.

San Diego Notes

The Chargers rise to 3-10 and the entire team should chip in half their paychecks each week to Tomlinson. Whenever he comes up for a new contract, they probably will have to do that anyway.

Quarterbacks:: Marty Schottenheimer is once again playing the "guess the starter" game with no apparent reason beyond the fact that he can. Since the Packers are fairly kind to passers, the winner of Marty's guessing game should be able to post at least respectable numbers.

I am assuming that Schottenheimer wants to build on his career winning record and will use Flutie. It's not likely either will be around next season anyway.

Running Backs: LaDainian Tomlinson is languishing behind a poor offensive line and most of the yards he gains are on his own effort. Tomlinson only gained 88 yards on 25 carries but turned in nine catches for 148 yards and two scores to provide almost the entirety of the offense. Once again.

Receivers: David Boston had 66 yards on four catches last week and scored once. He has scored in three of the last four games and between he and Tomlinson, they made up 90% of the yardage and 100% of the scoring for the Chargers last week. Boston sprained his neck last week but will be fine to play on Sunday.

Reche Caldwell has lost his starting job to rookie Kassim Osgood but when the rest of the team scrambles for less than 10% of the yardage, it does not amount to much.

Match against the Defense: Tomlinson faces a defense that has been good against the run overall, but has allowed two runners on the road to ding them. Anthony Thomas (110, 1 TD) and Thomas Jones (134) had nice games thanks to long breaking runs. That is exactly what Tomlinson is good at providing. Watch for a good game from Tomlinson that will come in chunks rather than consistent gains.

The Packer secondary has been tough in recent weeks and only Kordell Stewart exceeded 202 yards against them (much of that on one pass). Most teams come in below 200 yards and most teams score once.

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
18
1
25
9
13
15
SD Allows
31
24
26
32
21
9
GB AP
13
23
1
23
8
-6
Rank (1-32)
QB
RB
WR
TE
PK
DEF
SD Scores
12
5
20
23
27
29
GB Allows
29
7
22
21
25
11
SD AP
17
2
2
-2
-2
-18
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
SD
2003 Game Averages
SD
GB
Gains
Allows
QB's
Gains
Allows
200
238
Pass yards
193
225
1.8
2.3
Pass TDs
1.2
1.2
1.3
0.9
Interceptions
1.2
1.2
1
9
Rush yards
17
17
0.0
0.0
Rush TDs
0.2
0.4
---
---
RB's
---
---
157
118
Rush yards
109
95
1.0
0.6
Rush TDs
0.9
0.5
48
42
Receive yards
50
29
0.7
0.4
Receive TD's
0.2
0.1
---
---
WR's
---
---
116
158
Receive yards
123
155
0.7
1.0
Receive TD's
0.7
0.9
---
---
TE's
---
---
36
39
Receive yards
20
41
0.4
0.9
Receive TD's
0.3
0.2
---
---
PK's
---
---
1.4
1.4
Field Goals
0.9
1.6
3.0
3.1
Extra Points
2.4
2.6
---
---
DEF/ST
---
---
0.4
0.5
Fumbles
0.5
0.5
1.2
1.3
Interceptions
0.9
1.3
0.2
0.1
Touchdowns
0.1
0.2
2.3
1.7
Sacks
1.8
1.5
0.0
0.1
Safeties
0.0
0.0
Packers (7-6)
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
34-21 CHI
Week 15 @SD
Week 16 @OAK
Week 17 DEN
Chargers (3-10)
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
14-7 @DET
Week 15 GB
Week 16 @PIT
Week 17 OAK

* Fantasy point rankings calculated using standard Huddle fantasy points