VOTED #1 FANTASY FOOTBALL SITE
1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 & 2002
PRIORITY NEWS   MESSAGE BOARDS JOIN   
HOME ARTICLES STATISTICS WEEKLY FEATURES TEAM LINKS NFL RESOURCES  
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
   
San Diego vs Pittsburgh Sun, Dec 21; 4 PM on CBS at Heinz Field
  San Diego at PIT Rush Catch Pass
QB Drew Brees 0 0 230,1
RB L. Tomlinson 80,1 40 0
TE Antonio Gates 0 50 0
WR David Boston 0 70,1 0
WR Reche Caldwell 0 20 0
WR Kaseem Osgood 0 20 0
  Pittsburgh vs SD Rush Catch Pass
QB Tommy Maddox 0 0 240,2
RB Amos Zereoue 10 20 0
RB Jerome Bettis 90,1 0 0
TE Jay Riemersma 0 20 0
WR Hines Ward 0 100,1 0
WR Antwaan Randle El 0 30 0
WR Plaxico Burress 0 50,1 0

Game Prediction: SD 17, PIT 24

The Chargers are nearing a merciful end to their season and have not scored more than 14 points in their last three road games. The Steelers are coming off a shutout and need to feel good about their season. When one of the worst defenses comes to town, it's time to spread the cheer.

Bad weather may drive the numbers lower.

San Diego Notes

The Chargers fall to only 3-11 on the season.

Quarterbacks:: Drew Brees finally returned to the field after a five week stay on the bench and against the Packers threw for a career best 363 yards and two touchdowns. The Chargers lost the game by 17 points and those were coincidentally the exact same amount as the Packers scored after Brees threw an interception and lost two fumbles. Brees will start again this week.

Running Backs: Since all opponents know that LaDainian Tomlinson is about the extend of concerns for them, they have held him to only one 100 rushing yard game in the past five weeks. But Tomlinson now has spent the last two weeks producing bookend receiving games when he had over 140 yards and two scores in both. Watching Tomlinson play for the Chargers is like seeing a Hell's Angel hanging out with guys on Mopeds. (Pssst... gimmee ten bucks on the Biker).

In the last two weeks, Tomlinson has 431 total yards and four touchdowns.

Receivers: Antonio Gates led all non-Tomlinson players with 117 yards and five catches last week while David Boston ended with only two receptions for 29 yards in spite of being thrown 12 passes. Boston had his best game as a Charger with Brees back in week five when he had 181 yards and two scores but that was the only scoring game he had in seven weeks with Brees.

Match against the Defense: Other than the one freak home game against the Browns in week five, the Steelers at home have never allowed a visiting runner to gain over 81 yards and only Wheatley has scored there since week ten. No runner has had over 40 yards receiving either but then again, Tomlinson has not played the Steelers yet.

The Steelers will be loaded up to stop Tomlinson in all facets of the game and in doing so force the Chargers to throw the ball and allow Brees to make mistakes. He will have a great chance to throw for over 230 yards since almost all quarterbacks have and of the last quarterbacks there, Blake (307, 2) and Kitna (271, 3) turned in big games. Only Rick Mirer has failed to score with the pass in Pittsburgh.

The biggest games receiving have gone to the primary wideout like Chad Johnson, Boldin, Owens, Jackson and Holt. The only reason that Boston will not turn in a good game will be if Brees is the cause. He had connected well with him in the past at least once and the Steeler secondary should provide at least moderate if not good numbers for Boston.

If the weather is bad, and it may be, it will slow down Tomlinson and lower passing numbers as well.

Pittsburgh Notes

The Steelers come off a 6-0 shutout in the snow by the Jets. They are now 5-9 on the season.

Quarterbacks:: Tommy Maddox was stopped in the cold of New York last week and finally failed to throw a touchdown pass after seven straight games with a score. Maddox has played best at home during these last two months and had either had big yardage or multiple touchdowns in the last four homestands.

Running Backs: Jerome Bettis had 16 carries for 68 yards last week but injured his knee in the process. He had an MRI this week which showed only a bone bruise and he is expected to play. Amos Zereoue stepped in and had seven carries last week for 24 yards, the most action he has had in almost two months.

Receivers: The receivers were not a factor last week in the bad weather but Hines Ward still had five catches for 68 yards. No other had more than 22 yards.

Match against the Defense: This should make for a feel good finale to the season in the last home game for Pittsburgh. The Chargers are in the top five worst against all scoring positions. It's like Christmas four days early.

The Chargers have already allowed 33 passing touchdowns this season and in four of the seven road games they allowed either two or three scores through the air. Maddox needs a good game here and should be able to turn in at least 240 yards if he tries and upwards of 300 is possible since four teams had managed around that number.

The Chargers have allowed a ridiculous 11 scores to tight ends this season but that position is not really featured by the Steelers. Wideouts can score on them and the most successful ones have been whichever receiver gets the most passes - Hines Ward should manage at least one score here. Burress could as well since against the Chargers - it's all good.

Bettis may be bothered by his sprained knee but could join the lengthy role call of the many runners that had big games against San Diego. Making this more likely is the fact that Sunday will likely be the last home game that Bettis will ever play for the Steelers. You have to love emotional angles during the Holidays.

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
10
7
24
9
25
31
PIT Allows
5
19
10
9
12
6
SD AP
-5
12
-14
0
-13
-25
Rank (1-32)
QB
RB
WR
TE
PK
DEF
PIT Scores
23
24
10
30
24
27
SD Allows
29
21
28
32
23
18
PIT AP
6
-3
18
2
-1
-9
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
PIT
2003 Game Averages
PIT
SD
Gains
Allows
QB's
Gains
Allows
220
194
Pass yards
228
227
1.8
1.0
Pass TDs
0.8
2.8
1.0
1.0
Interceptions
0.6
1.0
27
3
Rush yards
1
9
0.0
0.0
Rush TDs
0.0
0.0
---
---
RB's
---
---
77
129
Rush yards
90
133
0.4
0.4
Rush TDs
0.8
0.6
76
47
Receive yards
32
32
0.8
0.2
Receive TD's
0.0
0.2
---
---
WR's
---
---
106
128
Receive yards
187
162
0.8
0.6
Receive TD's
0.6
1.4
---
---
TE's
---
---
38
19
Receive yards
8
33
0.2
0.2
Receive TD's
0.2
1.2
---
---
PK's
---
---
1.0
1.6
Field Goals
1.2
1.2
2.2
1.4
Extra Points
1.6
3.6
---
---
DEF/ST
---
---
0.4
0.6
Fumbles
1.0
1.2
1.0
0.6
Interceptions
0.8
1.2
0.0
0.0
Touchdowns
0.0
0.2
0.8
2.0
Sacks
1.6
1.4
0.0
0.0
Safeties
0.0
0.0
Chargers (3-11)
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
21-38 GB
Week 16 @PIT
Week 17 OAK
Steelers (4-10)
Score Opp.
34-15 BAL
20-41 @KC
17-10 @CIN
13-30 TEN
13-33 CLE
14-17 @DEN
Week 7 BYE
21-33 STL
16-23 @SEA
28-15 ARZ
14-30 @SF
13-6 @CLE
20-24 CIN
27-7 OAK
0-6 @NYJ
Week 16 SD
Week 17 @BAL

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