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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
The Huddle
October 9, 2005
Season Ticket
Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM Mon 9 PM
CHI at CLE SEA at STL* CAR at ARI On Bye:  
NE at ATL TEN at HOU* WAS at DEN MIN, NYG Updated*

Prediction: Indianapolis 30, San Francisco 3

The 4-0 Colts showed last week that their offense was as good as it has ever been and the 49ers proved in Arizona that their defense may be one of the worst of all time. While this equation should equal out to about a 104-3 win by the Colts, it never happens that way (sadly though). Until last week, the Colts had only been playing well enough to win and are more likely to do that again this week than to roll up some obscene score (sadly though).

Indianapolis Colts (4-0)
1 24-7 @BAL 10 Nov 13 HOU
2 10-3 JAC 11 Nov 20 @CIN
3 13-6 CLE 12 Nov 28 PIT
4 31-10 @TEN 13 Dec 4 TEN
5 Oct 9 @SFO 14 Dec 11 @JAC
6 Oct 17 STL 15 Dec 18 SDC
7 Oct 23 @HOU 16 Dec 24 @SEA
8 Open Bye 17 Jan 1 ARI
9 Nov 7 @NE . MON SAT
IND at SF Rush Catch Pass
QB Peyton Manning 0 0 270,2
RB Edgerrin James 90,1 20 0
TE Dallas Clark 0 30 0
WR Marvin Harrison 0 110,1 0
WR Reggie Wayne 0 60 0
WR Brandon Stokley 0 40,1 0
PK Mike Vanderjagt 3 FG 3 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Colts finally left the warning track and took the offense out for a spin last week and Peyton Manning finally became the good Manning once again. Add in the fourth straight game over 100 total yards by James and the offense can still hit top speed when it wants. Problem for opponents is that no team has scored more than 10 points against the Colts this year. This week could be a fun blowout if only the Colts would take the offense out of second gear.

Quarterback: After three unimaginable weeks of little production, Peyton Manning finally came back to life last Sunday against the Titans when he threw for 265 yards and four touchdowns. His two best games of the year were both on the road, so there is some hope for more fireworks this week. Manning has only thrown scores when he is away from home.

Running Backs: Edgerrin James has been a model of consistency this season and has yet to not top at least 100 total yards in a game. He has scored in the last two match-ups and should manage to make that three after this weekend.

Wide Receivers: Marvin Harrison comes off a 109 yard, two touchdown effort against the Titans which shockingly was the first 100 yard effort from any wideout this year. Reggie Wayne only had two catches for 48 yards but scored for the first time this season.

The only player that remains a complete bust from last year is Brandon Stokley who has only 116 yards on the season and had no catches last week. So far the offense has never needed to dip down to the #3 wideout to win a game.

Tight Ends: Dallas Clark had his most active game of the year last Sunday when he caught four passes for 47 yards which in itself shows how disappointing the tight ends have been for Indianapolis this year.

Match Against the Defense: Man - if this was last year you know Manning would top 500 yards and eight scores against this secondary. You can figure on James gaining at least 100 total yards and a score this week and write it down in ink. Or chisel it in your driveway for that matter.

Manning could throw for obscene yardage here against a secondary that AVERAGES allowing 392 yards per game and at least two scores. This is the worst secondary in all the land including parochial high schools in Montana. Everything could work here if Manning wanted it to but the Colts just have not been playing that way. Expect that Manning has at least a decent game here but know it could be a monster if he wants. Like the 82nd Airborne invading a frat party after midnight.

San Francisco 49ers (1-3)
1 28-25 STL 10 Nov 13 @CHI
2 3-42 @PHI 11 Nov 20 SEA
3 31-34 DAL 12 Nov 27 @TEN
4 14-31 @ARI 13 Dec 4 ARI
5 Oct 9 IND 14 Dec 11 @SEA
6 Open Bye 15 Dec 18 @JAC
7 Oct 23 @WAS 16 Dec 24 @STL
8 Oct 30 TBB 17 Jan 1 HOU
9 Nov 6 NYG . . SAT
SFO vs IND Rush Catch Pass
QB Alex Smith 0 0 150
RB Kevan Barlow 40 10 0
RB Frank Gore 10 10 0
TE Trent Smith 0 1 0
WR Brandon Lloyd 0 60 0
WR Johnnie Morton 0 40 0
WR Rasheed Marshall 0 20 0
PK Joe Nedney 1 FG 0 XP -

Pregame Notes: The 49ers can take some solace in knowing they beat the Rams in week one and almost defeated the Cowboys in week three. Other than those two games, the best they can hope for now is a moral victory and a sandwich on the trip home. The defensive injuries have decimated the team and once the wheels wobble here, they fly off into interstellar orbit.

Quarterback: There's trouble brewing here. Tim Rattay was unable to get anything going last week in Arizona and after throwing 11 of 21 for 126 yards and one interception, the 49ers inserted rookie Alex Smith for the final ten plays. HC Mike Nolan decided on Tuesday to promote Smith to being the starter this week and with IND, WAS and TB up next, he'll be getting a trial by fire.

Smith was the first player taken in the NFL draft last April and comes in with an impressive resume. Now he'll find out about on the job training.

Running Backs: Kevan Barlow actually has been a decent enough runner this year, but he has yet to get more than 14 carries in a game. Frank Gore carries just enough to eliminate Barlow from fantasy relevance and yet not enough to make Gore have any value. That 65 yards against the Cowboys by Barlow may be a season high.

Wide Receivers: If there is any bright spot, and there really isn't, it has been Brandon Lloyd who had topped 100 yards in each of the last two games. Arnaz Battle was inactive last week and Johnnie Morton (3-46) reminded everyone why the Chiefs dumped him in the offseason. Battle was out with a knee strain and I am projecting him to miss another week until practice reports suggest he has improved.

Tight Ends: Okay - get this. The 49ers have had only one catch by a tight end this entire year. Trent Smith caught one pass for zero yards. Say goodnight to the fantasy that anyone was going to replace Eric Johnson.

Match Against the Defense: This just hurts really. The Colts have not allowed a rushing score this year and Barlow will be lucky to get 50 yards in this game. The only saving grace is that the Colts could (and likely should) completely overlook this game and try to just mail in a win. That is the only way that Barlow matters.

Smith goes against a secondary that has only allowed two scores all year and never more than 220 yards. The Colts do not even allow trash time anymore. If anything happens here it will be because the Colts are playing poker at midfield instead of covering receivers. Those two scores allowed by the Colts both went to tight ends - the 49ers do not have any. For his first start, Smith could have chosen a far better opponent than the Colts.