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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
The Huddle
November 23, 2005
Season Ticket
Thanksgiving Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM
DEN at DAL CHI at TB* SF at TEN* MIA at OAK Mon 9 PM
Sun 1 PM CLE at MIN STL at HOU GB at PHI* PIT at IND
BAL at CIN NE at KC   NYG at SEA Times ET

Prediction: New England 27, Kansas City 31

Since the rest of the AFC East cannot buy a win these days, the Patriots moved ahead by two games in their division and the Chiefs scrambled back into wildcard contention with their dominating win over the hapless Texans. The Patriots are 3-2 on the road this season while the Chiefs are 3-1 at home.

New England Patriots (6-4)
1 30-20 OAK 11 23-16 @MIA
2 17-27 @CAR 12 24-17 NOR
3 23-20 @PIT 13 Nov 27 @KCC
4 17-41 SDC 14 Dec 4 NYJ
5 31-28 @ATL 15 Dec 11 @BUF
6 20-28 @DEN 16 Dec 17 TBB
7 Open Bye 17 Dec 26 @NYJ
8 21-16 BUF 7 Jan 1 MIA
9 21-40 IND M THU SAT
NEP at KC Rush Catch Pass
QB Tom Brady 0 0 300,3
RB Heath Evans 40 20 0
RB Patrick Pass 30 20 0
TE Ben Watson 0 30,1 0
TE Daniel Graham 0 20 0
WR David Givens 0 60 0
WR Deion Branch 0 90,1 0
WR Andre Davis 0 30,1 0
WR Troy Brown 0 30 0
PK Adam Vinatieri 1 FG 3 XP -
Pregame Notes: The visiting Saints offered only marginal resistance to the Patriots last week and the Pats have now won three of their last four games. Brady has been hotter than a $5 set of hubcaps while Dillon has been resting comfortably healing up from his apparent high ankle sprain. With one more game remaining against each of the divisional rivals left to play, the Patriots don't have to win here.

Quarterback: Tom Brady has been outstanding over the last three games, scoring eight touchdowns and covering up the absence of Dillon by sending opposing secondaries running. Brady has thrown a score in all but one game this season and has topped 265 yards in eight games this year.

Running Backs: With Dillon still out, Heath Evans had 74 yards on 16 carries last week on top of 84 yards the previous week, He even adds about 20 yards receiving in each game. Patrick Pass had 13 carries for 53 yards as well in his first game back since his injury in week eight. Now there is a choice between three possibilities in the Patriot backfield-o-mystery.

Wide Receivers: While the typical scheme in New England never allows any receiver to do well in consecutive weeks, Deion Branch has been very consistent for the last six games and scored three times while turning in over 80 yards in the non-scoring games. The only other notable change has been the use of Andre Davis who had only one catch last week but it went for 60 yards and a score and Brady attempted six other passes to the speedy receiver. Judging by last week, Davis is being considered for the deep routes and already has scored on one.

Tight Ends: While Daniel Graham had an injured shoulder and was a late scratch from the week ten game, he returned last week but had no catches. Ben Watson had 66 yards and that makes three straight weeks over 30 yards - pretty consistent for a Patriot tight end.

Match Against the Defense: Chances are whichever running back plays - or all of them - the Patriots won't get much going against a defense that has not allowed a visitor to score a rushing touchdown this season. Expect only moderate yardage.

Brady will throw for at least two scores here and could easily reach three with high yardage since the Chiefs weakest link is the passing game. Expect around 300 yards and the two scores and know there could be more if the Pats can slow down Larry Johnson from eating up the clock. Any wideout could score here but Branch has been the closest player to a predictable game. Even tight ends do well against the Chiefs.

Kansas City Chiefs (6-4)
1 27-7 NYJ 10 3-14 @BUF
2 23-17 @OAK 11 45-17 @HOU
3 10-30 @DEN 12 Nov 27 NE
4 31-37 PHI 13 Dec 4 DEN
5 Open Bye 14 Dec 11 @DAL
6 28-21 WAS 15 Dec 17 @NYG
7 30-20 @MIA 16 Dec 24 SDC
8 20-28 @SDC 17 Jan 1 CIN
9 27-23 OAK . MON SAT
KCC vs NE Rush Catch Pass
QB Trent Green 0 0 270,2
RB Larry Johnson 120,2 10 0
TE Tony Gonzalez 0 80,1 0
WR Eddie Kennison 0 100,1 0
WR Samie Parker 0 40 0
WR Chris Horn 0 20 0
WR Dante Hall 0 20 0
PK Lawrence Tynes 1 FG 4 XP -

Pregame Notes: Priest Holmes may be gone but so is the record for most rushing yards in a game by a Chiefs runner. The Texans offered little resistance last week and the win kept the Chiefs post season hopes alive. Back home in Arrowhead, the Chiefs have to fight the urge to start thinking ahead to next week when the Broncos come calling.

Quarterback: Trent Green had his first game with three touchdown passes when he went to Houston last week but Green has been all over in production this season. He's been as high as 347 yards and two scores and as low as 181 yards. This week the worst secondary in the league is coming to town and that should help the stats.

Running Backs: Larry Johnson gained 211 yards on 36 carries for a franchise record last week and he has been over 100 rushing yards in each of the three games since Holmes left. While Holmes never did have a 100 rushing yard game this year, Johnson has already had four. No problems here.

Wide Receivers: Eddie Kennison had two scores last week but only 57 yards and he's only had three big yardage games this season. No doubt he will welcome the visiting Patriots since Kennison is not only the primary wideout, the others do so little that he just about has become the only wideout for the Chiefs. Samie Parker did score last week but he only had 23 yards and hasn't otherwise been a factor this year.

Tight Ends: Though he only has one touchdown on the season, Tony Gonzalez comes off his season best game of 98 yards on nine catches against the Texans and he's been consistently around 70 yards in each of the last five games.

Match Against the Defense: Johnson should have success here against a team that has regularly allowed big games to runners and with the way Brady is passing, the Chiefs will want to hold on to the ball all they can this week. Expect a big game here.

Green should have a sterling effort as well since every team does when they throw against the Pats. Expect one of his bigger games this week against a team that has allowed the last four road opponents to throw for two or more scores. That will strongly favor both Kennison and Gonzalez.