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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
The Huddle
October 2, 2005
Season Ticket
Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM
DEN at JAC* PHI at KCC* Sun 4 PM On Bye: Mon 9 PM
HOU at CIN SEA at WAS DAL at OAK PIT, CHI *Updated

Prediction: Houston 7, Cincinnati 31

Let's see here. One team can only score once per game while always giving up 20+ points and is 0-2. The other team is at home, 3-0 on the season and has never scored less than 24 points or allowed more than one touchdown in a game. By the numbers, this should be a blowout game but games never go "by the numbers". At least not until now.

Houston Texans (0-2)
1 7-22 @BUF 10 Nov 13 @IND
2 7-27 PIT 11 Nov 20 KCC
3 Open Bye 12 Nov 27 STL
4 Oct 2 @CIN 13 Dec 4 @BAL
5 Oct 9 TEN 14 Dec 11 @TEN
6 Oct 16 @SEA 15 Dec 18 ARI
7 Oct 23 IND 16 Dec 24 JAC
8 Oct 30 CLE 17 Jan 1 @SFO
9 Nov 6 @JAC . . SAT
HOU at CIN Rush Catch Pass
QB David Carr 0 0 190,1
RB Domanick Davis 70 40 0
TE Matt Murphy 0 10 0
WR Andre Johnson 0 60,1 0
WR Corey Bradford 0 30 0
WR Jabar Gaffney 0 10 0
WR Jerome Mathis 0 20 0
PK Kris Brown 0 FG 1 XP -
Pregame Notes: After two pathetic showings by the offense, offensive coordinator Chris Palmer was fired last week and replaced by offensive line coach Joe Pendry (which in itself seems unusual since there has been little blocking). The Texans have scored only 14 points total in two games this year and the passing game needs to improve to become merely anemic.

Quarterback: After two weeks, David Carr has completed a total of 25 of 47 passes for 237 yards, two lost fumbles and three interceptions. He does have one touchdown which, of course, went to Domanick Davis. No receiver for the Texans have managed more than 49 yards in any game this year which, sadly includes Andre Johnson (though the 49 yard game was not even his). The Texans hit a much softer stretch of the season now and Carr has to bust out of his funk before the second half of the regular season is just tryouts for 2006 and the new head coach.

Running Backs: Domanick Davis has been a disappointment as well but after a 57 yard game against the Bills (with one lost fumble), he redeemed himself a little for fantasy owners with a 92 yard effort against the Steelers with one touchdown. Until the passing game forces opposing defenses to adjust away from the line every down, figure on Davis seeing nothing but eight man fronts all season - if not all eleven defenders.

Wide Receivers: After two weeks, Andre Johnson had only caught seven passes for just 38 yards total - think maybe those are short passing routes? Other than a couple of long gainers to Derick Armstrong and Corey Bradford, this unit has made the Falcons look like wide receiver heaven. There is little difference here from last season - the offense still revolves around Davis and Johnson but with Carr continually harassed and Johnson dragging two and three defenders along where ever he goes, this passing attack is almost nonexistent.

Tight Ends: If you thought the wideouts were bad, don't even bother looking at the tight ends. Matt Murphy has one catch in each game. His only value is if somehow he could catch the one pass and then lateral it to Andre Johnson. Since that never happens, he has no value.

Match Against the Defense: While the Bengals offense has looked great so far this year, the defense deserves equal billing for the team's fast start in 2005. There has been only one passing touchdown allowed this season and that went to Frisman Jackson who was never heard from again. Expect Davis to run for moderate yards here but to add enough receiving yards to have decent fantasy merit this week.

David Carr has had a little problem with turnovers this year and now faces a defense that has 12 interceptions in only three games. Carr throwing a touchdown is the most likely score here but he's not been doing that very well. The best chance is that Andre Johnson finally comes down with a score but his advantage in matchup and preference hasn't made much difference so far this year. The Bengals offense makes there be plenty of trash time but the Bengals defense has taken all the fun out of it.

Cincinnati Bengals (3-0)
1 27-13 @CLE 10 Open Bye
2 37-8 MIN 11 Nov 20 IND
3 24-7 @CHI 12 Nov 27 BAL
4 Oct 2 HOU 13 Dec 4 @PIT
5 Oct 9 @JAC 14 Dec 11 CLE
6 Oct 16 @TEN 15 Dec 18 @DET
7 Oct 23 PIT 16 Dec 24 BUF
8 Oct 30 GBP 17 Jan 1 @KCC
9 Nov 6 @BAL . . SAT
CIN vs HOU Rush Catch Pass
QB Carson Palmer 0 0 280,3
RB Rudi Johnson 100,1 0 0
RB Chris Perry 10 10 0
TE Reggie Kelly 0 10 0
TE Matt Schobel 0 10 0
WR Chad Johnson 0 130,2 0
WR Houshmandzadeh 0 80,1 0
WR Chris Henry 0 40 0
PK Shayne Graham 1 FG 4 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Bengals have feasted on a light schedule to open the season and they have not faced a winning team yet this year. This week? The 0-3 Texans and perhaps the easiest matchup of all. Palmer is looking all-world and is supported by a defense that would be all the talk were it not for all those offensive points by Palmer. After this week, the schedule starts to tighten up with games against the Jaguars, Steelers, Ravens and Colts pending but for the moment, it has never been a better time to be a Bengals fan.

Quarterback: This is exactly what you have to love about young gunslingers. Even though the Bengals defense has literally won games by themselves, Carson Palmer still won't stop throwing touchdowns. He already has eight on the season and while he dipped down to only 169 yards last week, he still had three scores. Compare this to the new Peyton Manning who only plays as well as he needs to for the win and you have to love how Palmer is coming into his own this season. Oh look - it's another touchdown because he can...

Running Backs: Rudi Johnson opened the season with 126 yards and one score but only has around 90 in each of the last two games and no scores. Only on the red hot Bengals could 90 yards be considered "only". With over 22 carries every week, Johnson is not racking up monster games but he is turning in a consistent, productive game every week.

Wide Receivers: While the "Big 3" in Indianapolis have turned into gang of "Mini-Me's", the Bengals are starting to develop their own triplets with some tremendous games and potential for the future. Chad Johnson was already a star and his three scores this year shows that tag holds true. T.J. Houshmandzadeh manages around 60 yards in most games with two scores so far in 2005 and now the rookie Chris Henry is coming on strong in the last two games with 96 yards and a score during that time.

This group is young and still developing but all arrows point upward for this crew.

Tight Ends: Okay, so someone has to block with everyone else doing so well. The tight ends in Cincinnati were good in combination last year though it changed which one would do well. This season - there's enough other weapons now that the tight ends have taken a back seat.

Match Against the Defense: Facing the visiting Texans defense - thank you, Santa.

Rudi Johnson has an excellent chance to finally break that 100 yard mark this week against a defense that has always allowed as much. Rudi could score but Carson is just as likely to throw the touchdowns.

Palmer faces a secondary that made Losman look good and Roethlisberger look great. Palmer could shred this secondary and certainly will but to what extent is hard to see. The best chance for the Texans not to get blown out by Palmer is to just let Rudi Johnson score every time he carries the ball. Figure Chad Johnson for a score here and two would be no shock. The tough aspect to this match-up is not finding the right strength against the right weakness, it's all good against mostly all bad. Expect the normal success from each of the passing game components with a shot at a big game by any of them.