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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
The Huddle
October 19, 2005
Season Ticket
FRI 7 PM Sun 1 PM SF at WAS* Sun 4 PM Sun 4 PM
KC at MIA* NO at STL Sun 4 PM DEN at NYG TEN at ARI*
Sun 1 PM PIT at CIN* DAL at SEA* On Bye: Mon 9 PM
GB at MIN* IND at HOU BUF at OAK CAR, TB Updated*

Prediction: Buffalo 20, Oakland 17

The Bills hit the road where they are winless this season and have yet to score more than seven points as a visitor. The Raiders are at home where they have their only win of the year when they beat the Cowboys back in week four in what looks more like a trap game than a turnaround. The Bills have been better with Kelly Holcomb but the Raiders are back to living without Randy Moss. This should be a close game since neither team has the big punch to put opponents away.

The Raiders beat the Bills 13-10 last season.

Buffalo Bills (3-3)
1 22-7 HOU 10 Nov 13 KCC
2 3-19 @TBB 11 Nov 20 @SDC
3 16-24 ATL 12 Nov 27 CAR
4 7-19 @NOR 13 Dec 4 @MIA
5 20-14 MIA 14 Dec 11 NE
6 27-17 NYJ 15 Dec 17 DEN
7 Oct 23 @OAK 16 Dec 24 @CIN
8 Oct 30 @NE 17 Jan 1 @NYJ
9 Open Bye . . SAT
BUF at OAK Rush Catch Pass
QB Kelly Holcomb 0 0 220,1
RB Willis McGahee 100,1 20 0
TE Mark Campbell 0 20 0
WR Eric Moulds 0 70 0
WR Lee Evans 0 60,1 0
WR Josh Reed 0 30 0
PK Rian Lindell 2 FG 2 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Bills may only be 3-3 on the season, but this year it means they share the division lead with the Patriots and the last two games have been wins over divisional opponents. There's a chance that the Bills could overlook this matchup with another road trip coming up to New England the following week, but then again, Buffalo is hardly so good they can afford to overlook anyone. The defense is still giving up the run with Takeo Spikes gone but the offense is running better than it was thanks to Holcomb at the helm.

Quarterback: Kelly Holcomb has been consistent in his two starts, throwing for 170 yards in each with a total of three touchdowns but his two interceptions against the Jets gave away points. Facing Miami and the Jets have been two good tests for him and he'll catch a break this week in Oakland against a far softer secondary.

Running Backs: The Bills offense is predicated on running Willis McGahee and he's been the man the last four weeks, scoring once in every game and gaining at least 84 yards per week with two efforts topping 140 yards. His 143 yards on 29 carries against the Jets shows just how central the offense is around him and how well he is responding.

So far the two worse games that McGahee has on the year have come in the two road games. He only had 84 yards in New Orleans and managed a mere 34 yards in Tampa Bay.

Wide Receivers: While Lee Evans only had three catches for 22 yards last week, Eric Moulds had another seven catch game with a touchdown and it is as if Holcomb stepped in, snapped his fingers, and made Moulds once again a valuable possession receiver with a nose for the endzone. The passing game is too light to incorporate more than the two starting wideouts, but at least Moulds is turning in fantasy relevant numbers each week with Holcomb there. Evans had 65 yards in the previous game but had a bad matchup last week. He's likely to see numbers rise this week and possibly sharply.

Tight Ends: Even the tight ends have caught a little benefit from Holcomb starting. Mark Campbell has caught five passes for 49 yards in the last two games - he had no catches in the three previous weeks.

Match Against the Defense: There's no reason to not expect at least one rushing score from McGahee this week against a defense that has already allowed eight scores by running backs (nine if you count Tomlinson's pass). Look for a big ground game here that should see McGahee net close to 100 yards and he could end up with more if he gets over 25 carries - very possible if the game goes well.

This will be the best matchup yet for Holcomb but his production always depends on what the ground game does and the game situation created by the Bills defense. The only passing score allowed by Oakland while at home has been to either tight ends or running backs other than Crayton's 63-yard bomb, so while there should be one passing score, figure an even chance it goes to either Moulds on a short pass or Evans on a bomb. With Moulds already hot, Evans is slightly more likely to catch it though the split ends have not been very successful this year against the Raiders.

Oakland Raiders (1-4)
1 20-30 @NE 10 Nov 13 DEN
2 17-23 KCC 11 Nov 20 @WAS
3 20-23 @PHI 12 Nov 27 MIA
4 19-13 DAL 13 Dec 4 @SDC
5 Open Bye 14 Dec 11 @NYJ
6 14-27 SDC 15 Dec 18 CLE
7 Oct 23 BUF 16 Dec 24 @DEN
8 Oct 30 @TEN 17 Dec 31 NYG
9 Nov 6 @KCC . THU SAT
OAK vs BUF Rush Catch Pass
QB Kerry Collins 0 0 230,1
RB Lamont Jordan 80,1 40 0
TE Courtney Anderson 0 20 0
WR Jerry Porter 0 60 0
WR Doug Gabriel 0 80,1 0
WR Alvis Whitted 0 20 0
PK S. Janikowski 1 FG 2 XP -

Pregame Notes: Oakland finally notched a win in week four when they beat the Cowboys but a bye week did nothing to improve their offense. They come off a good beating by the Chargers and likely lost Randy Moss for at least this week. Lamont Jordan has been scoring touchdowns this season but he's only once managed any decent yardage (against Dallas) and Collins has now gone two games without a touchdown pass. While Jordan is a definite upgrade from last year, the Raiders passing game looked very similar to last season once Moss was out of the game.

Quarterback: After starting the season with six scores in the first three weeks, Kerry Collins had been unable to find the endzone again though he has only two interceptions on the season - a positive difference from 2004. Collins managed to throw 24 of 48 for 292 yards last week and did spread the ball around well, but there is no sugar coating the loss of Moss.

Also to consider - Collins has been good at not turning the ball over but the Bills secondary already has nine interceptions on the season. Perhaps significant is that all of them did come while at home and none were on the road this year.

Running Backs: Lamont Jordan has five scores already this year and picked up two of them against the Chargers last week, but he only gained 36 yards on 12 carries. His 126 yards against the Cowboys may have been more a case of catching Dallas looking ahead to playing the Eagles the next week and otherwise, Jordan has not exceeded 70 rushing yards in a game. Jordan provides decent numbers this season thanks largely to the big role he has had in the passing game and last week without Moss there, he had six catches for 58 yards - something that will likely continue.

Whatever carries there are will almost entirely go to Jordan. Zack Crockett and Justin Fargas rarely have more than one carry in any matchup.

Wide Receivers: Randy Moss caught a knee in the ribs and suffered a groin strain last week and he's likely to miss at least this game if not more. He was injured in the first quarter and ended without a catch. In his absence, Alvis Whitted only had 43 yards on four catches and Jerry Porter was targeted 12 times that resulted in five receptions for 63 yards, close to his season high of 68 yards. He still has no scores on the year.

Doug Gabriel enjoyed the biggest boost when Moss was gone, turning in five catches for 84 yards to lead all receivers. He makes an interesting free agent pick up in some deeper leagues and was targeted 11 times last week. This offense still uses Jordan a lot as a receiver and so far only Gabriel has stepped up at all since Moss was injured.

Tight Ends: There is nothing of note here other than the Raiders have converted Randall Williams to being a tight end and against the Chargers, he had two catches for 39 yards. That mainly just serves to water down anything that Courtney Anderson would have done.

Match Against the Defense: Jordan has a reasonable chance to score once again this week and the Bills rushing defense has not improved this season. Jordan will need a lot of carries to get there but it could happen. Expect at least a moderate game here rushing and his receptions will, as always, be a source for getting Jordan some decent fantasy numbers, especially with Moss out.

Collins goes against a secondary that had now allowed more than 226 yards to an opponent this season and usually under 170. In yet another oddity, they have not allowed a passing score while on the road though Collins could manage one here since there is no longer any clear receiver to load up against. Randy Moss would have had a nice matchup here but instead, likely Gabriel will be taking up the slack and once again turning in the bigger numbers than Porter who once again becomes the main guy for defenses to stop.