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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
   
Oakland vs San Diego Sun, Dec 28; 4 PM on CBS at Qualcomm Stadium
  Oakland at SD Rush Catch Pass
QB Rick Mirer 20 0 200,1
RB Charlie Garner 40 20 0
RB Tyrone Wheatley 80,1 10 0
TE O.J. Santiago 0 20 0
WR Tim Brown 0 50 0
WR Jerry Porter 0 50 0
WR Jerry Rice 0 70,1 0
  San Diego vs OAK Rush Catch Pass
QB Drew Brees 0 0 190,1
RB L. Tomlinson 170,2 30 0
TE Antonio Gates 0 40,1 0
WR David Boston 0 50 0
WR Reche Caldwell 0 20 0
WR Kaseem Osgood 0 50 0

Game Prediction: OAK 20, SD 25

Update: Jerry Porter continues to suffer from the calf injury that forced him from the game last week and is not expected to play against the Chargers. I have removed his numbers.

This game should prove to be a close repeat of the week four matchup, except most of the players have changed and no one will watch the game anyway.

Oakland Notes

The Raiders fall to 4-11 on the season after getting stomped in the Irving Favre Tribute game on Monday night. They would have had a better chance of getting a kiss from Suzy Kolber than holding Brett Favre in check.

Nothing says "we are losing" like trotting out Rob Johnson and then Tee Martin in a game. Rick Mirer looks to finish the season still chasing that elusive two touchdown game and in eight starts he only totals three passing and one rushing score. Even against bad secondaries like Detroit, Minnesota and Pittsburgh - still not happening here.

Tyrone Wheatley had 56 yards on ten carries in the game before the parade of bad quarterbacks was over but still only has one 100 yard effort against the Vikings this season. He has four touchdowns which is one more than Charlie Garner.

Jerry Rice turned in his second 100 yard game of the season last week when the game finally became "Find Jerry" and he had 15 passes that turned into ten receptions for 159 yards. Still he never scored and has only two touchdowns on the season. Jerry Porter was a late scratch for the game but I am assuming he will play this week.

Match against the Defense: This is almost like what happens when an unstoppable force meets an unmoveable object, only like opposite. Oakland has a bad offense across the board to match against a terrible defense across the board.

The only safe assumption is that Wheatley and Garner will get plenty of carries and should produce at least respectable numbers since everyone does. Beyond that? Depends on how quickly Tomlinson can get the lead for the Chargers.

San Diego Notes

The Chargers have a realistic shot at getting the first overall pick in the 2004 NFL draft with their 3-12 record but will likely even mess that up by winning here. HC Marty Schottenheimer has been told that he will be back next year so everyone has to still play hard. When you cannot even tank the last meaningless game of the season, you are in Martyville.

Drew Brees threw for 198 yards and one score last week before getting yanked from the game for turning the ball over. Flutie mopped up while Brees got into a minor disagreement with Schottenheimer but as Marty later said in his post game interview, " you do not lose the ball and play for Marty Schottenheimer". Had I been there I would be the one raising their hand and asking "what if it was Tomlinson fumbling?"

There is some speculation that Brees could be gone after this season since Schottenheimer benched him earlier this season and then yanked him last week. He seemed rather uncaring about the reasonings or sentiments expressed by Brees.

For the first time in five games, LaDainian Tomlinson did not produce over 100 yards of offense but he did gain 91 yards on 22 carries and scored twice. He now has 15 total touchdowns on the season. And he does not fumble. He suffered a shoulder sprain last week and did not finsh the game but is expected to play in this finale.

Rookie tight end Antonio Gates had a nice 64 yards on five carries and shows far more from the position than any other tight end has done this season. He will figure in next season.

Reche Caldwell is expected to return to practice and could play this week but keep expectations to a minimum where they belong.

David Boston, the prized free agent acquisition, earned his keep last week by catching not one but two passes for a total of nine yards. He is ending his season with six touchdowns and only two 100 yard efforts. This will be his first game against the Raiders since he was suspended back in week four.

Match against the Defense: The Raiders come off a short week after their defense spent Monday night looking like a casting call for "Dumb and Dumbester". The Raider secondary is pretty bad lately and even Brees could light it up but the safest bet here is that Tomlinson reprises the 187 yards he gained against them in week four of the season.

Both teams are fighting throwing in the towel but the Chargers still know who their coach will be next season.

Team Comparisons - Current team rankings (1-32) for FF points scored or allowed by position
Rank (1-32)
QB
RB
WR
TE
PK
DEF
OAK Scores
29
13
28
25
30
16
SD Allows
28
19
28
31
27
24
OAK AP
-1
6
0
6
-3
8
Rank (1-32)
QB
RB
WR
TE
PK
DEF
SD Scores
10
9
20
10
24
32
OAK Allows
27
28
22
32
24
11
SD AP
17
19
2
22
0
-21
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.
OAK
SD
2003 Game Averages
SD
OAK
Gains
Allows
QB's
Gains
Allows
172
216
Pass yards
223
267
0.3
2.8
Pass TDs
1.7
1.5
0.7
0.8
Interceptions
1.2
1.0
15
7
Rush yards
26
10
0.2
0.0
Rush TDs
0.0
0.2
---
---
RB's
---
---
115
135
Rush yards
79
133
1.2
0.7
Rush TDs
0.7
1.2
26
31
Receive yards
65
57
0.0
0.2
Receive TD's
0.7
0.0
---
---
WR's
---
---
121
158
Receive yards
116
160
0.3
1.7
Receive TD's
0.8
0.7
---
---
TE's
---
---
26
28
Receive yards
42
51
0.0
1.0
Receive TD's
0.2
0.8
---
---
PK's
---
---
0.8
1.3
Field Goals
1.0
1.5
1.8
3.8
Extra Points
2.3
2.8
---
---
DEF/ST
---
---
1.0
1.2
Fumbles
0.3
1.2
1.0
1.3
Interceptions
0.8
0.8
0.2
0.3
Touchdowns
0.0
0.0
1.8
1.5
Sacks
1.0
2.3
0.2
0.0
Safeties
0.0
0.0
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
7-41 GB
Week 17 @SD
Chargers (3-12)
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
24-40 @PIT
Week 17 OAK

* Fantasy point rankings calculated using standard Huddle fantasy points