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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
The Huddle
September 18, 2005
Season Ticket
Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM
BUF at TBB NE at CAR Sun 4 PM MIA at NYJ Mon 9 PM
JAC at IND* PIT at HOU* STL at ARI *Update Times ET

Prediction: Cleveland 10, Green Bay 24

Of the three new head coaches in the NFL, Romeo Crennel was the only one to open with a loss. Of the 29 veteran head coaches in the NFL, Mike Sherman was the only one who never saw his team score a touchdown. He is also the only one to drop to his knees before a picture of Vince Lombardi and cry out "Why hath thou forsaken me?" The Packer offense just lost their top wideout with Javon Walker out and the rest have little more to do than stand around and look at each other like they felt an earthquake but don't want to say anything. Time to circle the wagons.

Cleveland Browns (0-1)
1 13-27 CIN 10 Nov 13 @PIT
2 Sep 18 @GBP 11 Nov 20 MIA
3 Sep 25 @IND 12 Nov 27 @MIN
4 Open Bye 13 Dec 4 JAC
5 Oct 9 CHI 14 Dec 11 @CIN
6 Oct 16 @BAL 15 Dec 18 @OAK
7 Oct 23 DET 16 Dec 24 PIT
8 Oct 30 @HOU 17 Jan 1 BAL
9 Nov 6 TEN . . SAT
CLE Projections Rush Catch Pass
QB Trent Dilfer 0 0 200
RB Reuben Droughns 70,1 0 0
RB William Green 20 0 0
TE Steve Heiden 0 30 0
WR Antonio Bryant 0 60 0
WR Braylon Edwards 0 20 0
WR Dennis Northcutt 0 40 0
WR Frisman Jackson 0 40 0
PK Phil Dawson 1 FG 1 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Browns lost their opener, but there was plenty to feel positive about. The passing game was somewhat effective and Droughns ran well for what little time they had the luxury (that would be the first quarter). Compared to the disaster of 2004, it was actually a rousing success and an encouraging start. Plus - they get to play the Packers this week.

Quarterback: Trent Dilfer's re-transformation into a starting quarterback went reasonably well. He completed 26 of 43 passes for 278 yards and one touchdown with two interceptions. Considering he made a one day star of Frisman Jackson, the news is encouraging for the first season under the new regime until Charlie Frye gets a chance to play eventually.

Running Backs: Reuben Droughns got the start and was impressive racking up 78 yards on only 12 carries while William Green (4-12) did little to make the case that changes are warranted. They are both waiting for Lee Suggs to recover enough to start and then get injured again.

Wide Receivers: Frisman Jackson had a game he'll no doubt always treasure. He had eight catches for 128 yards and one 68-yard touchdown reception. Antonio Bryant managed five catches for 65 yards while Dennis Northcutt (4-16) and the rookie Braylon Edwards (2-16) chipped in.

Northcutt as the starting split end was ineffective but Bryant likely locked down his flanker role for the rest of the season.

Tight Ends: The tight end position only had three catches for 32 yards from Steve Heiden and that could be a high point from him depending on what OC Maurice Carthon wants to do as the wideouts start to develop.

Match Against the Defense: Though the Packer offense was invisible last week, the defense actually played well in holding Kevin Jones to only 87 yards on 25 carries. With Suggs still sidelines, expect Droughns to cap out around 60 yards since Lambeau should give some advantage to the Packers.

The Packer pass defense was also better than expected. This should end up as a low scoring, boring game as the Packers defense will strive to hold the game score down while the offense finds the pieces to pick up. What happened last week is most likely to repeat - except for that long run by Jackson.

Green Bay Packers (0-1)
1 3-17 @DET 10 Nov 13 @ATL
2 Sep 18 CLE 11 Nov 21 MIN
3 Sep 25 TBB 12 Nov 27 @PHI
4 Oct 3 @CAR 13 Dec 4 @CHI
5 Oct 9 NOR 14 Dec 11 DET
6 Open Bye 15 Dec 19 @BAL
7 Oct 23 @MIN 16 Dec 25 CHI
8 Oct 30 @CIN 17 Jan 1 SEA
9 Nov 6 PIT . . MON
GBP Projections Rush Catch Pass
QB Brett Favre 0 0 210,1
RB Ahman Green 80,1 20 0
RB Najeh Davenport 30,1 0 0
RB Tony Fisher 0 40 0
TE Bubba Franks 0 20 0
WR Donald Driver 0 70,1 0
WR Robert Ferguson 0 30 0
WR Antonio Chatman 0 30 0
PK Ryan Longwell 1 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: The poor offensive line play was already an issue long before Walker grabbed his knee and sent the Packer passing game reeling. Back at home against a new team likely to struggle is just what the doctor ordered for Green Bay who has to host the Buccaneers next week. Better figure it out quick this week.

Quarterback: This could prove to be a more challenging season for Brett Favre than when he was just a young gunslinger. The loss of Walker is deep and while Driver can hold his own, it is best done as a #2. The bad line play has Favre too often running for his life and as shown by his fumble and two interceptions last week, he too easily reverts to bad decisions when he tries to make something happen.

Running Backs: Ahman Green should be the answer this week. He ran for 58 yards on only 12 carries against Detroit but should have that level done by the second quarter. There is every reason for the Packers to want to run more this week and while the blocking is suspect, Green will get the volume to turn in a nice game here out of necessity.

That could also trickle into more use of Najeh Davenport and especially Tony Fisher as the pass catching back.

Wide Receivers: And then there was one.

Walker's absence will force Robert Ferguson to move up but he's already shown that he's not really up to the task during the last two years. Antonio Chatman will see increased play and the rookie Terrence Murphy may get some looks.

Tight Ends: Bubba Franks had four catches for 27 yards last week but he's never been more than an endzone gimmick. He's not likely to see many more passes than he already would.

Match Against the Defense: This would have already been a week of back to basics even without Walker's injury. Expect the Packers to play it conservatively with plenty of rushing and Favre trying out new things in the passing game. Driver is a lock for the most action but Favre will be spreading the ball around to see what is working.

Likely the only thing working will be Driver and the run game.