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Predictions & Projections
David M. Dorey
The Huddle
September 9, 2004
Season Ticket
Thu 9 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM
Sun 1 PM SD at HOU OAK at PIT NYG at PHI Mon 9 PM
JAX at BUF TEN at MIA TB at WAS Saturday no byes
  Cincinnati Rush Catch Pass
QB Carson Palmer 0 0 230,1
RB Rudi Johnson 110,1 10 0
TE Kelly/Stewart/Schobel 0 30 0
WR Peter Warrick 0 50 0
WR Kelly Washington 0 30 0
WR Chad Johnson 0 90,1 0
PK Shayne Graham 2 FG 2 XP -
  New York Jets Rush Catch Pass
QB Chad Pennington 0 0 270,3
RB Curtis Martin 90 30 0
RB Lamont Jordan 10 0 0
TE Anthony Becht 0 20 0
WR Jericho Cotchery 0 30 0
WR Justin McCareins 0 60,1 0
WR Santana Moss 0 110,2 0
PK Doug Brien 1 FG 3 XP -

CIN (0-0) vs NYJ (0-0)

Game Prediction: CIN 20, NYJ 24

Pre-Game Notes - CIN

The Bengals embark on a new season sporting a new quarterback and running back from last year and the defense gets year two of HC Marvin Lewis' influence. This game could post some decent points given the potential of both offenses. The Bengals have the offense to compete already, the question is if Lewis has found the defensive players to keep them in games. The Jets just want to start a season in the "W" column.

Quarterback: Carson Palmer gets his first start after a year of seasoning on the bench even though Jon Kitna excelled last season. Palmer comes in with a cannon arm that will send Chad Johnson running and a good enough offensive line to keep the rush out. In his first game as a starter, this road game will be a good test.

Running Backs: Rudi Johnson begins the season as the starting running back and memory serves to recall his monster games of 182, 165 and 174 yards against the soft defenses of KC, HOU and SF who were all visitors. He was dramatically less productive on the road and as proof of less than 100% confidence, the Bengals only signed Johnson to a one-year contract and drafted Chris Perry in a big hurry. The interesting factor here is the use of Chris Perry if the game is tough and Johnson is not effective. The Bengals used both Dillon and Johnson last year when Dillon was hurt or pouting, so much depends on how effective Johnson will be. With the two following games of MIA and BAL, he'll have a tougher time staying hot.

Wide Receivers: Chad Johnson returns from his stellar 2003 season and finally Peter Warrick is recovered from the surgery to his right knee in the offseason. Warrick had five catches in the final preseason game to show he is back in action. Kelly Washington enters his second season as the #3 wideout. With a gunner in Palmer, this trio should prove to be as effective as 2003 barring interception problems from the new quarterback.

Tight Ends: Let's start this out the right way for the season. The Bengals do like to use their tight ends and with a newer quarterback learning the ropes, the closest guy in a pattern could be more attractive. Problem is that between Reggie Kelly, Tony Stewart and Matt Schobel, counting on the same tight end two weeks in a row usually brings disappointment. They send fantasy team owners scurrying to the waiver wire after a nice week by an individual, and then they're back on the waiver wire as soon as it is realized - "well, there is not real order here at all".

Match Against the Defense: CB Donnie Abraham has a bruised knee but is expected to play against Chad Johnson who will test that knee the entire game. Nickel back Ray Mickens will likely miss the game because of a sprained knee which will force the Jets to go with rookie Derrick Strait which could mean god things for either Washington or Johnson on a deep route. The biggest weakness from 2003 was the ability to stop the run. The Jets are getting younger each year in an attempt to strengthen their defense and likely will still have problems against Rudi Johnson who will be relied on a bit more heavily as a way to keep Palmer out of tough situations.

Pre-Game Notes - NYJ

This season finally looks like a chance to start off in a most unusual manner for the Jets - by winning. The Jets have long started terribly and then looked great later in the season but the deficit has always proven too much to overcome. They lost their first four games last season but this year the team should have different fortunes all together. They open with CIN, then SD before having an early week 3 bye. Then they face a changed Dolphins team before finally slamming into NE. There's reasons to believe this will be a much better year for the Jets indeed.

Quarterback: Hopefully this will be Chad Pennington's first full season as the starting quarterback and Pennington signed a lucrative contract that said they believe this is the guy to take them to the Promised Land. With an improved receiving corps from 2003, Pennington should start the season off with a bang at home against the Bengals.

Running Backs: The good news is that Lamont Jordan remained a Jet this season to provide a good backup for Curtis Martin. The bad news for Jordan is that Martin enters this season healthier than he has in the past three seasons. At the age of 31, Martin still is in good shape and spent the off-season carefully preparing for the year with actually getting more work instead of less in order to hit the ground running. Every year there is the promise of Jordan as stealing time and scores from Martin. It just does not happen.

Wide Receivers: Santana Moss comes off a great year where he scored in seven consecutive games and he is joined by Justin McCareins this year. While new receivers to a team typically take time to get into synch, McCareins could well be the exception since he has looked great in camp and already seems to have chemistry with Pennington. The Jets are also excited with McCareins height in the red zone which could add a new dimension to the offense and help maintain Martin's pedestrian touchdown count from last season.

Wayne Chrebet missed the entire preseason with groin, calf and knee injuries but is back in practice now. If he cannot play, the Jets plan on using rookie Jerricho Cotchery as the #3 receiver this week.

Tight Ends: For some reason, many fantasy fans were intrigued by Mikhael Rick's acquisition in the offseason but he was recently cut so Anthony Becht will again be the primary with Chris Baker also figuring in. Becht has never been more than an occasional target for Pennington and with McCareins there this season, is more likely to do less than 2003 from a reduced need.

Match Against the Defense: The good news here is that Deltha O'Neal is having ankle problems and likely the rookie safety Madieu Williams will shift over and cover for him. That pits a rookie corner against Santana Moss. He'll get help to be sure, and he will be needing it. MLB Nate Webster is also getting his first start in the NFL which should help Martin's numbers. This game could post some points and if the Bengals stay in it or get the lead late, look for some nice passing numbers from Pennington.






Statistical Comparisons begin after Week 1

Bengals (0-0)
Score Opp.
Week 1 @NYJ
Week 2 MIA
Week 3 BAL
Week 4 @PIT
Week 5 bye
Week 6 @CLE
Week 7 DEN
Week 8 @TEN
Week 9 DAL
Week 10 @WAS
Week 11 PIT
Week 12 CLE
Week 13 @BAL
Week 14 @NE
Week 15 BUF
Week 16 NYG
Week 17 @PHI
Jets (0-0)
Score Opp.
Week 1 CIN
Week 2 @SD
Week 3 bye
Week 4 @MIA
Week 5 BUF
Week 6 SF
Week 7 @NE
Week 8 MIA
Week 9 @BUF
Week 10 BAL
Week 11 @CLE
Week 12 @ARI
Week 13 HOU
Week 14 @PIT
Week 15 SEA
Week 16 NE
Week 17 @STL

* Fantasy point rankings calculated using standard Huddle fantasy points