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Predictions & Projections
By David M. Dorey
 
The Huddle
WEEK 16
December 17, 2003
Season Ticket
Saturday Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM
ATL at TB 1 BAL at CLE NYG at DAL ARZ at SEA DEN at IND
KC at MIN 5 CIN at STL NO at JAX SD at PIT Mon 9 PM
NE at NYJ 8:30 DET at CAR TEN at HOU SF at PHI GB at OAK
Times EST MIA at BUF WAS at CHI *updated
   
Green Bay vs Oakland Mon, Dec 22; 9 PM on ABC at Network Associates Coliseum
  Green Bay at OAK Rush Catch Pass
QB Brett Favre 0 0 230,1
RB Ahman Green 100,2 30 0
TE Bubba Franks 0 20,1 0
WR Javon Walker 0 50 0
WR Donald Driver 0 40 0
WR Robert Ferguson 0 40 0
  Oakland vs GB Rush Catch Pass
QB Rick Mirer 10 0 190,2
RB Charlie Garner 30 20 0
RB Tyrone Wheatley 60 10 0
TE O.J. Santiago 0 10 0
WR Tim Brown 0 50,1 0
WR Jerry Porter 0 40 0
WR Jerry Rice 0 50,1 0

Game Prediction: GB 24, OAK 20

This is the final Monday night game of the season and looked much better back last April. The Raiders play far better at home where they are 4-3 than on the road where they are 0-7. The Packers are only 4-3 on the road and this game is a much closer matchup than the records suggest.

The Packers give up the pass but the Raiders do not pass much (imagine saying that a year ago). The national audience will make the game bigger than it should be but the Packers have everything to play for on Monday. The Raiders are coming off a sneak attack last week and while Favre throws interceptions with the best of them, he connects with his own players far better than Wright did last week.

Green Bay Notes

The Packers rise to 8-6 and are tied with the Vikings for the NFC North lead.

Quarterbacks:: Down in San Diego, the Chargers blanketed Ahman Green and dared Brett Favre to throw. In turn, Favre had his best game of the year throwing for 278 yards and four touchdowns. Favre is one game away from having a perfect string of all 16 games with a passing score. He currently has 27 touchdowns on the season. Old man? We should all grow old so well.

Running Backs: Ahman Green was held to 75 yards on 19 carries but scored on both a run and a pass. He has gone three weeks without a 100 yard game but this late in the season with potential playoffs, Sherman already has said he is not worried and wants a healthy Green in January.

Receivers: Just to keep the fantasy world on their toes, Favre's big passing game last week did the exact opposite of what he had been doing this season. He had Donald Driver catch eight passes for 112 yards and one score - his first 100 yard game of the year. He throw two scores to Robert Ferguson who had only scored once in the previous nine weeks. And he did not use his tight ends.

Javon Walker suffered a knee contusion in the game last week and missed some time before returning to the game. It tightened up on him some after the game but he is expected to play this week.

Match against the Defense: Favre will face a secondary that has allowed a score in each of the last seven weeks but only once has any quarterback thrown for two in that time (Pennington). The yardage allowed has been as low as 105 yards and as high as 396 yards. It has just depended on what opponents have wanted to do.

The Raiders have only allowed three wideouts to score in the last nine weeks and it has always been on the Ferguson side. More common has been the tight end to score though in fairness Oakland has faced Heap, Gonzalez and Sharpe in the last four weeks.

Ahman Green can have a nice game here and may need to do it in order to win. The Raiders have allowed six runners to exceed 125 yards this season and 14 different ones have scored a touchdown. Since the Vikings have to face KC this week, there is a good chance that winning the last two games nets the Packers the division. With that to win, holding back Green does not make sense.

Oakland Notes

The Raiders rise to 4-10 with their win over the Ravens.

Quarterbacks:: Rick Mirer did an impression of an NFL quarterback at the Raider Christmas party in the Coliseum last Sunday and it was pretty good. Mirer faced the Ravens defense and came away with 186 yards passing with one touchdown and no turnovers. Just like that. Considering he only threw for 68 yards against the Steeler defense the previous week, it was quite a turnaround.

Running Backs: Tyrone Wheatley only gained 39 yards on 13 carries against the Ravens last week and Charlie Garner had seven runs for 28 yards with 41 more yards on four catches. Zack Crockett scored once on a short run. It was Wheatley's lowest game since taking over as the primary runner.

Receivers: Jerry Rice caught his second touchdown of the season last week though he only had 48 yards on three catches. Rice has not exceeded 51 yards receiving in the last six games. Tim Brown had 41 yards on four catches and may be playing in his final home game for Oakland if he ever retires. He only has one score on the season.

Match against the Defense: The Packer run defense has greatly improved in the latter stages of this season and held Tomlinson to only 51 yards last week. They have allowed only Thomas Jones to top 100 since week five of this season and he did it primarily on two long breaking runs. Wheatley is not likely to break many long gainers and as such will likely remain in the 60-80 yard range where most primary runners have ended up, and even less if Garner takes a bigger load.

Where the Packers defense falls short is in pass defense where they have allowed 12 scores in the seven road games to quarterbacks. Only Harrington failed to score on a pass. Even Blake, Stewart and Brees scored a touchdown. Mirer will likely hover around the 200 yard mark but should manage at least one score.

There will be at least one touchdown thrown to Tim Brown on Monday night. There has to be. This may be Brown's final home game as a Raider if he retires and regardless, he is on the national stage in the final homestand and he has been sitting at exactly 99 career touchdowns since week four. If the Raiders do nothing else offensively, they must give Brown #100 on Monday night football. If they have to set it up the entire game, so be it. They will do everything that they can to get him that one score.

CB Mike McKenzie has a turf toe injury and may miss practice all this week if not the game. He matches on Rice so the possibility is there for a score as well. But Brown must score.

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
14
9
9
13
12
3
OAK Allows
23
30
6
30
17
10
GB AP
9
21
-3
17
5
7
Rank (1-32)
QB
RB
WR
TE
PK
DEF
OAK Scores
30
10
28
23
28
8
GB Allows
15
7
7
22
10
12
OAK AP
-15
-3
-21
-1
-18
4
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
OAK
2003 Game Averages
OAK
GB
Gains
Allows
QB's
Gains
Allows
203
241
Pass yards
164
219
2.0
1.0
Pass TDs
0.4
1.0
1.8
1.2
Interceptions
0.4
1.6
1
12
Rush yards
13
11
0.0
0.2
Rush TDs
0.2
0.0
---
---
RB's
---
---
135
128
Rush yards
122
80
0.6
1.2
Rush TDs
1.2
0.2
25
60
Receive yards
26
45
0.4
0.0
Receive TD's
0.0
0.4
---
---
WR's
---
---
149
129
Receive yards
107
123
1.4
0.4
Receive TD's
0.4
0.6
---
---
TE's
---
---
28
52
Receive yards
31
50
0.2
0.6
Receive TD's
0.0
0.0
---
---
PK's
---
---
1.4
1.4
Field Goals
1.0
1.2
3.0
2.4
Extra Points
2.0
2.4
---
---
DEF/ST
---
---
1.2
1.2
Fumbles
1.2
0.4
1.6
0.6
Interceptions
1.2
1.6
0.4
0.0
Touchdowns
0.2
0.2
3.0
1.8
Sacks
2.0
1.0
0.0
0.0
Safeties
0.2
0.0
Packers (8-6)
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
38-21 @SD
Week 16 @OAK
Week 17 DEN
Raiders (4-10)
Score Opp.
20-25 @TEN
23-20 CIN
10-31 @DEN
34-31 SD
21-24 @CHI
7-13 @CLE
10-17 KC
Week 8 BYE
13-23 @DET
24-27 NYJ
28-18 MIN
24-27 @KC
8-22 DEN
7-27 @PIT
20-12 BAL
Week 16 GB
Week 17 @SD

* Fantasy point rankings calculated using standard Huddle fantasy points using only the last five games played