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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
   
Washington vs Chicago Sun, Dec 21; 1 PM on FOX at Soldier Field
  Washington at CHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Tim Hasselbeck 0 0 140
RB Rock Cartwright 60,1 0 0
RB Chad Morton 40 10 0
TE Z. Flemister 0 20 0
WR Lavernues Coles 0 30 0
WR Rod Gardner 0 30 0
WR Darnerian McCants 0 40 0
  Chicago vs WAS Rush Catch Pass
QB Rex Grossman 0 0 130
RB Anthony Thomas 120,2 10 0
TE Desmond Clark Q Q Q
WR Marty Booker 0 30 0
WR Dez White 0 20 0
WR David Terrell 0 40 0

Game Prediction: WAS 13, CHI 19

Update: Now that Coles has admitted to his foot problem that is getting worse, the Redskins will be using more of McCants and possibly even Patrick Johnson. Gardener is also banged up and this passing attack is facing a good secondary - that's a bad equation.

Redskins come off a demoralizing loss and hit the road where they are only 2-5. With both the running and passing game a shambles, the weakness against the run will again be their downfall.

Washington Notes

The Redskins come off the very worst of all loses - a 0-27 shutout at home by the Cowboys. Washington is now 5-9 on the season.

Quarterbacks:: HC Steve Spurrier told the press that he was keeping Tim Hasselbeck next season as the #2 quarterback. He needed to state that since Hasselbeck comes off a game for the ages (the dark ages that is). He only completed 6 of 26 passes for 56 yards and four interceptions. On the same day that Trent Green turned in a perfect 158.3 passer rating, Hasselbeck ended with a perfect 0.0.

Running Backs: Rock Cartwright gained 94 yards on 21 carries last week and Chad Morton had only 11 on three carries. That sharing scheme will be needed again as Betts is still out and Canidate is considered unlikely to play with a bad ankle. Look for Chad Morton to increase his carries this week since Spurrier has said he does not like using the fullback to run the ball as much.

Receivers: Laveranues Coles had nine passes last week and caught nary a one. Zero. To prove he was on the field, he had one run that lost a yard. This group will likely not see great improvement this week in Chicago though with only 56 yards passing last week, it is bound to get better. Not enough for fantasy purposes, but better.

Match against the Defense: As noted, the Chicago secondary is underrated and has allowed opponent quarterbacks to throw for more than one score only once in the past ten games and that was to Bulger. Half of their opponents failed to reach 200 yards passing.

The wideouts that have scored against the Bears have been among the more talented - Randy Moss, Rod Smith, Torry Holt - but none of those receivers had Hasselbeck throwing the ball. The tight end position has been as productive scoring against the Bears as the wideouts this season (6 versus 7 TDs) but the Redskins rarely use a tight end.

Where the Bears have been most hurt is by the running game and that does not play into Washington's style of play which is predominantly for the quarterback to drop back, throw it away or get smeared.

Chicago Notes

The Bears rise to 6-8 on the season with their win over the Vikings. With being 5-2 at home, only eight teams in the NFL have a better home record.

Quarterbacks:: Rex Grossman is a perfect 1-0 as a starting NFL quarterback but he was more there while it happened than an active contributor. Grossman threw 13 of 30 for 157 yards with no scores but also with no turnovers. Considering what Kordell had done, that was pretty good and enough to give him the next start this week.

Running Backs: Anthony Thomas had 79 yards on 19 carries last week and scored once. After a slow start to the season, Thomas has either scored or gained over 100 yards in five of the last nine games. His rushing average is back about four yards a carry now and his job is safe.

Receivers: Marty Booker had a beautiful 39 yard catch at the start of the game to allow the Bears to score their first touchdown. He only had two more catches for nine yards and David Terrell caught three passes for 42 yards while Dez White only had a single catch. White is falling from the favor of the coaches and may not be back next season.

Desmond Clark aggravated a toe injury and is questionable this weekend.

Match against the Defense: Look for a similar gameplan as the Cowboys had last week - run the ball as much as you can. Against the Redskins, that has meant a lot in the latter part of this season. Thomas should be a near lock to top 100 yards and score at least once.

Grossman faces a team that has good cornerbacks and since he wants to keep the mistakes low, expect a minimal output as the Bears concentrate on rushing the ball and playing good defense. Marty Booker draws Champ Bailey so he should do little this week.

Team Comparisons - Current team rankings (1-32) for FF points scored or allowed by position
Rank (1-32)
QB
RB
WR
TE
PK
DEF
WAS Scores
31
25
22
32
17
12
CHI Allows
8
10
16
23
14
23
WAS AP
-23
-15
-6
-9
-3
11
Rank (1-32)
QB
RB
WR
TE
PK
DEF
CHI Scores
15
29
13
22
18
19
WAS Allows
7
29
3
5
11
14
CHI AP
-8
0
-10
-17
-7
-5
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.
WAS
CHI
2003 Game Averages
CHI
WAS
Gains
Allows
QB's
Gains
Allows
150
202
Pass yards
195
177
1.0
1.0
Pass TDs
0.8
0.6
1.4
1.2
Interceptions
1.0
3.2
5
7
Rush yards
16
5
0.0
0.0
Rush TDs
0.4
0.4
---
---
RB's
---
---
112
117
Rush yards
81
146
0.4
0.2
Rush TDs
0.6
1.0
29
35
Receive yards
15
40
0.0
0.0
Receive TD's
0.0
0.2
---
---
WR's
---
---
110
128
Receive yards
148
119
1.0
0.8
Receive TD's
0.8
0.2
---
---
TE's
---
---
10
39
Receive yards
32
18
0.0
0.2
Receive TD's
0.0
0.2
---
---
PK's
---
---
1.6
1.6
Field Goals
1.2
1.2
1.6
1.6
Extra Points
2.4
2.4
---
---
DEF/ST
---
---
1.2
0.6
Fumbles
0.4
1.2
1.0
1.4
Interceptions
1.2
1.4
0.2
0.4
Touchdowns
0.2
0.0
2.2
2.0
Sacks
1.8
1.6
0.0
0.0
Safeties
0.0
0.0
Redskins (5-9)
Score Opp.
16-13 NYJ
33-31 @ATL
21-24 NYG
20-17 NE
25-27 @PHI
13-35 TB
7-24 @BUF
Week 8 BYE
14-21 @DAL
27-20 SEA
17-20 @CAR
23-24 @MIA
20-24 NO
20-7 @NYG
0-27 DAL
Week 16 @CHI
Week 17 PHI
Bears (6-8)
Score Opp.
7-49 @SF
13-24 @MIN
Week 3 BYE
23-38 GB
24-21 OAK
13-20 @NO
17-24 @SEA
24-16 DET
20-7 SD
10-12 @DET
21-23 STL
19-10 @DEN
28-3 ARZ
21-34 @GB
13-10 MIN
Week 16 WAS
Week 17 @KC

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