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Predictions & Projections
David M. Dorey
The Huddle
September 19, 2004
Season Ticket
Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM
STL at ATL DEN at JAX* Sun 4 PM IND at TEN Mon 9 PM
CLE at DAL* CAR at KC* SEA at TB* NYJ at SD MIN at PHI*
HOU at DET SF at NO* BUF at OAK* Times ET *updated
  Carolina Rush Catch Pass
QB Jake Delhomme 0 0 200,1
RB Stephen Davis 100,1 10 0
RB DeShaun Foster 100,1 30 0
TE Kris Mangum 0 10 0
WR Muhsin Muhammad 0 50 0
WR Ricky Proehl 0 40 0
WR Keary Colbert 0 60,1 0
PK John Kasay 2 FG 2 XP -
  Kansas City Rush Catch Pass
QB Trent Green 0 0 190,1
RB Priest Holmes 90,2 10 0
TE Tony Gonzalez 0 40 0
WR Johnnie Morton 0 30 0
WR Dante Hall 0 50,1 0
WR Eddie Kennison 0 40 0
PK Lawrence Tynes 2 FG 3 XP -

CAR (0-1) vs KC (0-1)

Game Prediction: CAR 20, KC 27

Here's an interesting matchup - a top defense against a top offense and with the injury to Steve Smith, this could be a bad defense against a bad offense.

Pre-Game Notes - CAR

The Panthers were handled all too easily by the Packers on Monday night but that was just one game. They'll feel the loss of Steve Smith all season.

Quarterback: Jake Delhomme threw for 284 yards and two scores against one interception and generally looked sharp when he wasn't being harassed by Packer blitzes. Now that his favorite receiver is gone, Delhomme will have to make an adjustment.

Running Backs: Stephen Davis was thwarted by the Packer defense all night and only gained 26 yards on nine carries. With the Panthers trailing and unable to run, Davis had very little play but that should change against one of the softest rush defenses this week.

Update: Stephen Davis has swelling in his knee after practice on Thursday and has now discovered a cartilage tear that will require arthroscopic surgery. He will miss several weeks and De'Shaun Foster will take the start.

Running back Stephen Davis will not play at Kansas City after having swelling in his knee following practice on Thursday. Davis, who led the Panthers with 1,444 yards rushing last season, will have the knee scoped on Friday to repair a cartilage tear and will miss several weeks. Running back DeShaun Foster, who rushed for 428 yards in 2003, will start against the Chiefs.

Wide Receivers: Steve Smith had a great preseason and already had six catches for 60 yards when he broke his left leg. This will put a big dent in the fender for the Panthers. Muhsin Muhammad had 65 yards and one touchdown last week and looked good and Ricky Proehl gained 56 yards on only two catches, but this passing offense will be shifting now that Smith is gone.

Early word is that the rookie Keary Colbert will be stepping up into Smith's spot and Colbert was very impressive this summer. If there is an Anquan Boldin in this season's crop of rookie receivers, suddenly Colbert has a shot at being the big surprise.

Tight Ends: Kris Mangum had a catch for 15 yards and that is actually one of the better efforts by Carolina tight ends.

Match Against the Defense: This should be interesting. Stephen Davis has a chance to make amends for his poor showing in week one against a defense that was ripped apart by Quentin Griffin last week. Look for Davis to get at least 25 carries and maybe more, particularly since the Panthers will want to control the ball and keep the Chiefs offense from making this into a shootout.

If it does become a shootout - and it easily could be - then Muhammad, Colbert and Proehl will get as many passes as last week. It's likely now that Smith is out that KC will commit even more to stopping the run which should give good opportunities for the receivers. Rod Smith had seven catches last week in the spot likely filled by Colbert now.

Pre-Game Notes - KC

The more things change, the more they remain the same. The Chiefs rush defense still is as effective as hiring Beavis and Butthead for concert security,

Quarterback: Trent Green looked sharp on the first series against the Broncos but went downhill quickly. He ended with only 174 yards passing, completed only 50%, had no touchdowns, one interception and a 53.4 QB rating. Avoiding Champ Bailey meant locking onto Eddie Kennison but no other receiver had more than 30 yards. If the defense is going to be that bad, then the offense will have to continue to post obscene points to win games and so far the passing game is not giving confidence that will happen.

Running Backs: Priest Holmes, as always, turned in a big game with 151 yards on 26 carries and three touchdowns. He was only throw to three times and had a net of two yards lost. In typical fashion, he had every carry in the game other than one by Tony Richardson.

Wide Receivers: Eddie Kennison had a big game with six catches for 101 yards but Johnnie Morton (3-30) and Dante Hall (2-17) were non-factors. While they don't face Champ Bailey again, the Panthers overall still have a better secondary than the Broncos of last week.

Tight Ends: In a fashion similar to last season, Tony Gonzalez is again starting slowly. He ended with only two catches for 17 yards and last year his first game only produced two catches for 18 yards. If he is following a pattern, he'll take two more weeks before returning to form.

Match Against the Defense: Typically the Panther defense is very stout against the run but Ahman Green ran all night over them last Monday. Rest assured that the Chiefs will be using Holmes heavily and last year Holmes still produced touchdowns even if his yardage waned. The Panthers have a top-notch front defensive line and with the passing problems last week, the Chiefs will want to feature the run as much as they can.

The Panthers also have good linebackers which should focus on cloaking Gonzalez. The best bet for receiver here is for either Morton or Hall, depending on which one gets the split end start.

CAR KC 2003 Averages KC CAR
Gains Allows QB's Gains Allows
284 174 Pass yards 174 143
2 0 Pass TDs 0 1
1 1 Interceptions 1 0
1 3 Rush yards 3 -1
0 0 Rush TDs 0 0
--- --- RB's --- ---
37 164 Rush yards 164 153
0 3 Rush TDs 3 2
63 9 Receive yards 9 22
0 0 Receive TD's 0 1
--- --- WR's --- ---
206 148 Receive yards 148 81
1 0 Receive TD's 0 0
--- --- TE's --- ---
15 17 Receive yards 17 40
0 0 Receive TD's 0 0
--- --- PK's --- ---
0 1 Field Goals 1 1
2 3 Extra Points 3 3
--- --- DEF/ST --- ---
0 1 Fumbles 1 1
0 2 Interceptions 2 1
0 0 Touchdowns 0 0
2 2 Sacks 2 2
0 0 Safeties 0 0
Panthers (0-1)
Score Opp.
14-24 GB
Week 2 @KC
Week 3 bye
Week 4 ATL
Week 5 @DEN
Week 6 @PHI
Week 7 SD
Week 8 @SEA
Week 9 OAK
Week 10 @SF
Week 11 ARI
Week 12 TB
Week 13 @NO
Week 14 STL
Week 15 @ATL
Week 16 @TB
Week 17 NO
Chiefs (0-1)
Score Opp.
24-34 @DEN
Week 2 CAR
Week 3 HOU
Week 4 @BAL
Week 5 bye
Week 6 @JAX
Week 7 ATL
Week 8 IND
Week 9 @TB
Week 10 @NO
Week 11 NE
Week 12 SD
Week 13 @OAK
Week 14 @TEN
Week 15 DEN
Week 16 OAK
Week 17 @SD

* Fantasy point rankings calculated using standard Huddle fantasy points