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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
The Huddle
November 30,, 2005
Season Ticket
Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM
BUF at MIA* HOU at BAL TEN at IND* DEN at KC Mon 9 PM
CIN at PIT JAC at CLE* Sun 4 PM NYJ at NE SEA at PHI
DAL at NYG MIN at DET* ARI at SF* Updated* Times ET

Prediction: Houston 10, Baltimore 24

After falling to 3-8 on the season and going through a six game stretch against CHI, PIT (2), CIN (2) and JAX, HC Brian Billick looked at the calendar and saw the Texans were coming this week. "Now THAT's what I'm talking about!"

The Ravens actually put together a shockingly great offensive showing last week (but lost) while the Texans managed to squander a 21 point lead to a third string rookie quarterback from Harvard (note - franchise record in the process). Sure, the Texans will win a game eventually but there is no law or reasonable argument that says it has to be this year.

Houston Texans (1-10)
1 7-22 @BUF 10 17-31 @IND
2 7-27 PIT 11 17-45 KCC
3 Open Bye 12 27-33 STL
4 10-16 @CIN 13 Dec 4 @BAL
5 20-34 TEN 14 Dec 11 @TEN
6 10-42 @SEA 15 Dec 18 ARI
7 20-38 IND 16 Dec 24 JAC
8 19-16 CLE 17 Jan 1 @SFO
9 14-21 @JAC . . SAT
HOU at BAL Rush Catch Pass
QB David Carr 0 0 170,1
RB Domanick Davis 60 30,1 0
TE Marcellus Rivers 0 10 0
WR Andre Johnson 0 50 0
WR Corey Bradford 0 40 0
WR Jabar Gaffney 0 30 0
PK Kris Brown 1 FG 1 XP -
Pregame Notes: If losing to the Rams last week wasn't the biggest humiliation for the season, the Texans must be in store for something biblical in size. Like the Ravens last week, the Texans had a great offensive showing. Unlike the Ravens, they choked against an unknown third string rookie quarterback instead of one of the elite signal callers in the NFL. What is even worse is that the Texans cannot rely on the Ravens to overlook them this week because this may be all the Ravens can beat.

Quarterback: David Carr feasted on the weak Rams last week and had a season high of 293 yards and three scores which is two, oh maybe three times what he has been normally managing to gain. Carr has been good for one score in all but one game this year but until last week, it had never been more than one score.

Running Backs: Domanick Davis racked up 120 yards and a score last week and he's been the lone consistency to the offense. More notable is that the Texans are throwing more passes to him lately and he had 42 yards on three catches last week with the touchdown coming on a swing pass.

Wide Receivers: Sort of a shame that the finest game by the Texans wideouts had to come in the most humbling of all games this year. Andre Johnson finally had a breakout game when he caught 12 passes for 159 yards and one score but that was only the second time this season he has exceeded 42 yards in a game and his only touchdown for the year. Both Corey Bradford and Jabar Gaffney have scored more than Johnson this year though their five combined touchdowns always come on some odd play in a game where they usually have less than 30 yards.

Tight Ends: Still waiting for the first game over 20 yards by a Houston tight end. Or the first score.

Match Against the Defense: Even without Ray Lewis and Ed Reed, the Ravens have remained good against the run at home with only one rushing touchdown allowed to a visiting rusher and only around 60 or so yards to runners other than James and Rudi Johnson. Expect a lower game from Davis this week but with the receiving yardage to give him a moderate output this week.

Carr faces a secondary that has been beaten by Palmer and Manning but no one else this year. Almost every opponent has thrown for at least one score but most remain well below 200 yards passing. That fits the Carr we came to know until last week. That passing score actually favors Davis the most in this scheme.

Baltimore Ravens (3-8)
1 7-24 IND 10 3-30 @JAC
2 10-25 @TEN 11 16-13 PIT
3 Open Bye 12 29-42 @CIN
4 13-3 NYJ 13 Dec 4 HOU
5 17-35 @DET 14 Dec 11 @DEN
6 16-3 CLE 15 Dec 19 GBP
7 6-10 @CHI 16 Dec 25 MIN
8 19-20 @PIT 17 Jan 1 @CLE
9 9-21 CIN . . MON
BAL vs HOU Rush Catch Pass
QB Kyle Boller 0 0 220,2
RB Jamal Lewis 100,1 10 0
TE Todd Heap 0 50,1 0
WR Derrick Mason 0 100,1 0
WR Mark Clayton 0 30 0
WR Randy Hymes 0 20 0
PK Matt Stover 1 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Ravens came off their big win over the Steelers and promptly lost to the Bengals again, but this time around there was more offense happening than in any game this season. It was a throwback game that had Jamal Lewis rushing well and Kyle Boller passing as if he had forgotten to limit himself to only 160 yards. No matter - the Bengals still took the win and this week matches two of the worst records in the NFL.

Quarterback: Kyle Boller threw for 211 yards and three scores against the Bengals which was well above his previous season high of only 163 yards and one score. Boller could surprise this week though since his only four starts of the year came against IND, JAX, PIT and CIN. Houston may be just the ticket to making last week look less like a major fluke.

Running Backs: Speaking of flukes, Jamal Lewis ran for 113 yards on 23 carries and scored once against the Bengals. He even added 36 yards on five receptions. I think I am the voice of millions when I ask "where the hell has that been?" It was more yardage than Lewis has totaled in the last three games combined. Like the rest of the Raven's team, Lewis has been facing a brutal schedule this season and this week may be his lightest match-up of them all.

Just to make last week seem even more odd, Lewis only gained 49 yards on 15 carries in the previous game against the Bengals.

Wide Receivers: Derrick Mason had only his second touchdown of the year when he caught three passes for 58 yards against the Bengals. Mason has never had less than 42 yards with Boller playing and his best game was week one when he collected 8 passes for 99 yards against the Colts. None of the other Raven wideouts have any fantasy value but Mason could see his best game of the year this week when the Texans visit.

Tight Ends: Todd Heap had 78 yards and one score last week and with 87 yards and two touchdowns the previous game, he's actually regaining fantasy value now that Boller is playing again.

Match Against the Defense: The Texans rank in the bottom three of almost every category defensively and if Lewis can run well last week against the Bengals, he should be able to replicate that success at home against the #31 defense against running backs. Look for another game over 100 yards and one score.

Boller faces one of the worst secondaries in the NFL and should be a lock for one score if not two in this match-up. That can only favor Heap and Mason because there are no other receivers of any significance.