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Predictions & Projections
David M. Dorey
The Huddle
December 22, 2004
Season Ticket
Friday Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM
GB at MIN CHI at DET ATL at NO * NE at NYJ * CLE at MIA
Saturday NYG at CIN * BAL at PIT BUF at SF * Mon 9 PM
DEN at TEN 8:30 HOU at JAX * CAR at TB WAS at DAL PHI at STL
OAK at KC 5 * SD at IND * Good Luck!!! ARZ at SEA *updated
  Cleveland Rush Catch Pass
QB Luke McCown 0 0 160
RB William Green 20 10 0
RB Lee Suggs 80,1 20 0
TE Steve Heiden 0 20 0
WR Frisman Jackson 0 30 0
WR Dennis Northcutt 0 40 0
WR Antonio Bryant 0 40 0
PK Phil Dawson 1 FG 1 XP -
Miami Rush Catch Pass
QB A.J. Feeley 0 0 170,1
RB Sammy Morris 80,1 10 0
RB Travis Minor 40,1 20 0
TE Randy McMichael 0 30 0
WR Chris Chambers 0 50,1 0
WR Derrius Thompson 0 20 0
WR Marty Booker 0 40 0
PK Olindo Mare 1 FG 4 XP -

CLE (3-11) vs MIA (3-11)

Game Prediction: CLE 10, MIA 31

Here's a certain treat for the late ESPN game on Sunday. The Dolphins come off an incredible defeat of the reigning World Champion Patriots while the Browns have lost their last eight games and are 0-6 on the road. Forget the records - I like Miami in this one.

Pre-Game Notes - CLE

Someone in Cleveland looked at the boxscores from the 37-7 Buffalo debacle and said "it can't get any worse than this". Wrong again, Dog Boy. The Browns come off a 21-0 shutout by the Chargers that was played in weather which the Chargers had only previously seen in pictures.

Quarterback: Luke McCown continues the folly, completing only 11 of 27 passes last week for 108 yards and one interception. This was marginally better than the 62 passing yards of the previous week. Marginally. The glass is not "half full" even for Cleveland optimists. Now they have to pretend it is even wet inside.

Running Backs: The faintest glimmer of hope came last week when Lee Suggs returned to play and gained 105 yards on 21 snowy carries though 17 yards came on the final run in the game. All it really did was to make William Green become even more worthless. Green is now refusing to talk to the media and may not even be interested in talking to himself.

Wide Receivers: The last two weeks have proven brutal for the wideouts. Antonio Bryant's little two game span of four scores and 246 yards has turned into only 67 yards and no scores over the last two weeks. Dennis Northcutt ended with 61 yards on four catches last week but only because he managed one 39 yard catch. Wait until they meet up with the Dolphin secondary in Miami this week.

Tight Ends: Well. There's always Kellen Winslow next year.

Match Against the Defense: If the Browns can score more than one touchdown in this game it will be a big success. Miami is motivated in their final home game to play well and are full of confidence after last week. This is the exact opposite of the Browns.

Suggs actually has a shot at some decent yardage here and the Browns will want to run as much as possible. If any player from Cleveland has any fantasy value this week, it is Suggs but even that may be hoping for too much.

With no defense to support him, Luke McCown will eventually be pressed into throwing the ball but that only will lead to turnovers more than scores. He'll have a chance at one score in the game but more likely he'll be like the five other quarterbacks this year that never scored against Miami. This is a beaten-down team on the road and the season just cannot end too quickly.

Pre-Game Notes - MIA

It is not too hard to figure which 2004 game stands out for the Dolphins. Coming back and beating the Patriots last week was a high point for them of almost unimaginable proportions. The last home game is an audition for 2005 and the visiting Browns are just the ticket for the elusive two game winning streak before winding up in Baltimore.

Quarterback: A.J. Feeley is rarely good for more than one score and about 190 yards which is exactly what he did last week. The important aspect was that he finally had no turnovers. He has scored in the last five games but this week won't be called on to win the game with a comeback.

Running Backs: There's precious little rushing in Miami anymore. Now Sammy Morris and Travis Minor almost exactly split the carries and even together never amount to much yardage. Morris did score twice on short runs last week and Minor also ran one in. The Dolphins have to rely on passing to get there but once they are inside the 5-yard line, Morris has the ability to bull it in or leap it over.

Wide Receivers: Chris Chambers killed his three game scoring spree when he ended with only 24 yards on three catches. He was the target in the endzone but the Patriots opted for pass interference rather than letting Chambers score. Marty Booker remains good for no more than about 45 yards per game though that could see a bump this week. Feeley is doing a better job at spreading the passes around lately and even found Derrius Thompson for a score last week.

Tight Ends: Randy McMichael is no longer the focus of the passing game and has only one score in the last six games. He usually hangs around 30 yards per game.

Match Against the Defense: This is a good chance for the Dolphins to conclude a horrible 2004 season on a high note with two home wins. There's no reason why the Browns should mount much defensive pressure since they have allowed less than 30 points in most of their recent games and on the road they'll likely be swamped again.

Expect that Morris and Minor show some life in the running game that should net at least a couple of touchdowns and total well over 100 yards with Morris the heavier used back.

Feeley could likely hurt this defense as well but most teams pass for only minimal yardage since they are well ahead and the run works well enough. He won't be able to resist passing for one score but more than that is just piling it on. I like the chance for a defensive score here.

CLE MIA 2004 Averages MIA CLE
Gains Allows QB's Gains Allows
179 Pass yards 207
1.3 Pass TDs 1.2
0.9 Interceptions 1.6
7 Rush yards 5
0.1 Rush TDs 0.1
---- RB's ---
133 Rush yards 71
0.7 Rush TDs 0.5
27 Receive yards 24
0.1 Receive TD's 0.1
--- WR's ---
130 Receive yards 128
0.7 Receive TD's 0.8
--- TE's ---
23 Receive yards 58
0.4 Receive TD's 0.4
--- PK's ---
1.2 Field Goals 1.3
2.7 Extra Points 1.6
--- DEF/ST ---
1.1 Fumbles 0.6
1.3 Interceptions 1.1
0.6 Touchdowns 0.1
3.1 Sacks 2.6
0.0 Safeties 0.0
Score Opp.
20-3 BAL
12-19 @DAL
10-27 @NYG
17-13 WAS
23-34 @PIT
34-17 CIN
31-34 PHI
Week 8 bye
13-27 @BAL
10-24 PIT
7-10 NYJ
48-58 @CIN
15-42 NE
7-37 @BUF
0-21 SD
Week 16 @MIA
Week 17 @HOU
Dolphins (3-11)
Score Opp.
7-17 TEN
13-16 @CIN
3-13 PIT
9-17 NYJ
10-24 @NE
13-20 @BUF
31-14 STL
14-41 @NYJ
23-24 ARI
Week 10 bye
17-24 @SEA
24-17 @SF
32-42 BUF
17-20 @DEN
29-28 NE
Week 16 CLE
Week 17 @BAL