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Predictions & Projections
By David M. Dorey
 
The Huddle
WEEK 17
December 24, 2003
Season Ticket
Sat 1:30 PM Sat 8:30 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM
BUF at NE PHI at WAS CHI at KC JAX at ATL CAR at NYG
Sat 5 PM Sun 8:30 PM CLE at CIN NYJ at MIA MIN at ARZ
SEA at SF PIT at BAL DAL at NO STL at DET DEN at GB
  IND at HOU TB at TEN OAK at SD
   
Denver vs Green Bay Sun, Dec 28; 4 PM on CBS at Lambeau Field
  Denver at GB Rush Catch Pass
QB Jake Plummer 20 0 190,1
RB Mike Anderson 40 0 0
RB Quentin Griffin 50 10 0
TE Shannon Sharpe 0 40 0
WR Rod Smith 0 50,1 0
WR Ed McCaffrey 0 20 0
WR Ashley Lelie 0 50 0
  Green Bay vs DEN Rush Catch Pass
QB Brett Favre 0 0 240,2
RB Ahman Green 70,1 10 0
TE Wesley Walls 0 30,1 0
WR Javon Walker 0 80,1 0
WR Donald Driver 0 50 0
WR Robert Ferguson 0 30 0

Game Prediction: DEN 10, GB 24

This would have been a great game to watch if only the Broncos had something to play for - they do not since they have the wildcard and can do no better. The Packers must win here to stay in the race and even then must hope to win some yet undecided tie breaker if Seattle beats San Francisco.

Denver Notes

The Broncos come off an impressive win over the Colts and rise to 10-5 on the season. They have clinched a wildcard.

Jake Plummer was almost flawless last week when he threw 14 of 17 for 238 yards and one passing score with two more touchdowns rushed in as well. He was joined by a dominating rushing game that did not include Clinton Portis. Mike Anderson (19-56, 1 TD) and Quentin Griffin (28-136) provided Portis-like stats with Griffin displaying tremendous speed on the carpet at Indy. In a season that seemed devoid of rookie running backs, suddenly they are popping up everywhere.

Rod Smith had the touchdown catch last week but the story of the game was that Ashley Lelie turned in his best game of the season, gaining 115 yards on five catches. He had 71 yards the previous week against the Browns but only had nine total yards in the three previous games.

Clinton Portis continues to receive treatment for his high ankle sprain and coaches couldn't say whether he will play this week. Denver has the last wildcard locked up and there is little to gain by risking players so there is a good chance that some players will not play a full game or even could be rested all together. I am assuming that Portis sits out one more week and realize that any of the players may not play a full game regardless of the score.

Match against the Defense: This is entirely a guess since the Broncos are in a relatively meaningless game with more to lose to injury than to gain by winning. Green Bay has only an average defense in most measures, so any player could shine but the safest assumption here is that the Broncos put up a moderate effort to keep players sharp without risking them to injury.

Green Bay Notes

The Packers rise to 9-6 on the season and must win this game to qualify for the playoffs. If they win and Minnesota loses, then Green Bay takes the NFC North. If Minnesota wins, and let's be serious they are playing the Cardinals, then the Packers must win here and hope to take the final wildcard away from Seattle on possible tie breakers. They could win and still be out.

Brett Favre comes off one of the most inspired games played when he threw for over 300 yards in the first half against the Raiders. He ended with 399 yards and four scores, just a few points below a perfect quarterback rating. Favre now has 32 touchdowns on the season and the questions about his retirement are much less frequent.

Ahman Green scored last week to bring his season total up to 18 total touchdowns and has gained 1665 yards rushing this season. Though he had a fumbling problem earlier in the season, Green has not fumbled since week ten.

Javon Walker comes off his second two touchdown game of the year and now has nine on the season. He has gained 359 yards in the last five games with five touchdowns.

Match against the Defense: Since the Broncos will possibly be resting some players in this game that they do not need to win, the Packers may enjoy a better than suggested game here since they will be trying all sixty minutes. Denver has been very tough against the run this season while it mattered and will still likely hold Green to only moderate gains.

This game favors Favre more as the big play guy and but who that favors is hard to determine since which players that will be rested is not known, if in fact they will not play partial games.

Team Comparisons - Current team rankings (1-32) for FF points scored or allowed by position
Rank (1-32)
QB
RB
WR
TE
PK
DEF
DEN Scores
15
2
29
2
6
27
GB Allows
14
10
11
15
4
7
DEN AP
-1
8
-18
13
-2
-20
Rank (1-32)
QB
RB
WR
TE
PK
DEF
GB Scores
8
8
5
7
7
5
DEN Allows
11
2
7
16
22
6
GB AP
3
-6
2
9
15
1
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.
DEN
GB
2003 Game Averages
GB
DEN
Gains
Allows
QB's
Gains
Allows
213
218
Pass yards
236
179
1.2
0.8
Pass TDs
2.3
0.7
0.8
1.7
Interceptions
1.5
0.3
14
13
Rush yards
1
13
0.3
0.0
Rush TDs
0.0
0.3
---
---
RB's
---
---
184
80
Rush yards
139
64
1.7
0.3
Rush TDs
0.7
0.5
26
42
Receive yards
27
22
0.2
0.3
Receive TD's
0.3
0.0
---
---
WR's
---
---
120
134
Receive yards
177
124
0.3
0.5
Receive TD's
1.5
0.5
---
---
TE's
---
---
67
42
Receive yards
32
33
0.7
0.0
Receive TD's
0.5
0.2
---
---
PK's
---
---
1.5
1.0
Field Goals
1.5
1.8
3.3
2.2
Extra Points
3.3
1.5
---
---
DEF/ST
---
---
0.7
0.3
Fumbles
1.2
0.2
0.3
1.3
Interceptions
1.7
0.8
0.2
0.2
Touchdowns
0.3
0.2
2.2
1.0
Sacks
3.3
1.5
0.0
0.0
Safeties
0.0
0.2
Broncos (10-5)
Score Opp.
30-10 @CIN
37-13 @SD
31-10 OAK
20-16 DET
23-24 @KC
17-14 PIT
20-28 @MIN
6-26 @BAL
26-30 NE
Week 10 BYE
37-8 SD
10-19 CHI
22-8 @OAK
45-27 KC
23-20 CLE
31-17 @IND
Week 17 @GB
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
41-7 @OAK
Week 17 DEN

* Fantasy point rankings calculated using standard Huddle fantasy points