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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
The Huddle
WEEK 15
December 14, 2005
Season Ticket
Saturday Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM
TB at NE ARI at HOU* PIT at MIN CIN at DET ATL at CHI
KC at NYG CAR at NO* SD at IND CLE at OAK* Mon 9 PM
DEN at BUF DAL at WAS SEA at TEN* PHI at STL GB at BAL
  NYJ at MIA SF at JAC* Updated* Times ET

Prediction: Green Bay 13, Baltimore 20

Green Bay brings their 1-6 road record to Baltimore where the Ravens are 4-2 with losses only to the Colts and a trap game against the Browns. The Packers outlasted the Lions last week but it is doubtful that their constant sub-20 point games can produce a win here. This is bound to be a low scoring game with few fireworks.

Green Bay Packers (3-10)
1 3-17 @DET 10 33-25 @ATL
2 24-26 CLE 11 17-20 MIN
3 16-17 TBB 12 14-19 @PHI
4 29-32 @CAR 13 7-19 @CHI
5 52-3 NOR 14 16-13 DET
6 Open Bye 15 Dec 19 @BAL
7 20-23 @MIN 16 Dec 25 CHI
8 14-21 @CIN 17 Jan 1 SEA
9 10-20 PIT . . MON
GBP Projections Rush Catch Pass
QB Brett Favre 0 0 190
RB Sam Gado 90,1 10 0
TE Donald Lee 0 20 0
TE David Martin 0 30 0
WR Donald Driver 0 50 0
WR Robert Ferguson 0 30 0
WR Antonio Chatman 0 20 0
PK Ryan Longwell 2 FG 1 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Packers finally notch a win when they clipped the Lions last week but the effect on Brett Favre being injured and the team eroding around him is making each week more painful to witness. The defense has been keeping the Packers in most games, just not on the big side of the scoreboard.

Quarterback: Brett Favre continues to play with his bruised and swollen hand and he now leads the NFL with 21 interceptions on the season. Favre has only thrown for one score over the last three games against five interceptions and three lost fumbles. That'll bring the blitz.

Running Backs: As the lone bright spot in an otherwise bleak season, Samkon Gado has now turned in his career best game when he ran for 171 yards and one score against the Lions last week. That gives him three 100 yard games over the last five weeks and he has scored at least once in five of the six games he has started including in Chicago where even the Bears do not score. His heads-up "pass" before getting tackled in the endzone prevented a safety (though most are still confused at to why) and likely won the game. That and running for 171 yards, that is.

Wide Receivers: With Favre so banged up, his passes downfield have been hitting more cornerbacks and safeties than wideouts and tight ends. Donald Driver comes off a season low 32 yards and has scored only once in the last seven games. Robert Ferguson is back but has topped out at only 37 yards in the last four weeks. Antonio Chatman and Andrae Thurman suit up but rarely have more than one catch.

Tight Ends: Playing without Bubba Franks again, Favre relied more on both Donald Lee (3-20) and David Martin (5-38) last week. That should repeat again in Baltimore.

Match Against the Defense: The Ravens are without LB Ray Lewis and the effect on the rushing defense has been profound. Look for the Packers to enjoy some moderate success with Gado and a good chance that he will score once. The Ravens are not in a position to take any team lightly though and Gado won't get the benefit of playing in a "we know we can beat you" game.

Favre faces a secondary that has only allowed five passing scores at home and four of those went to Palmer and Peyton Manning. Consider Favre to be at a real risk of not throwing a touchdown this week and ending with less than 200 passing yards.

Baltimore Ravens (4-9)
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 16-15 HOU
5 17-35 @DET 14 10-12 @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 GB Rush Catch Pass
QB Kyle Boller 0 0 220,2
RB Chester Taylor 70 20,1 0
TE Todd Heap 0 60,1 0
WR Derrick Mason 0 50 0
WR Mark Clayton 0 70 0
WR Randy Hymes 0 10 0
PK Matt Stover 2 FG 2 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Ravens almost pulled off a big upset in Denver last week but at least Boller is connecting better with his receivers and the decision to not use Lewis due to a hand bruise did not really matter. The Ravens are just playing out their season and the defense has been hurt by injuries but back at home against a struggling Packers team should provide a win here.

Quarterback: Kyle Boller comes off his best game of the year when he threw for 251 yards and one score against the Broncos. But that game also had him throwing two interceptions and losing one fumble and his yardage came mainly on a couple of long passes. Boller also threw for 211 yards and three scores against the Bengals but his other games have all been below 200 passing yards and four other starts only produced one touchdown. Boller's future with the Ravens depends on these final games of the season, so he'll be motivated to perform.

Running Backs: Jamal Lewis had an injured thumb and while he was not made inactive last week, he never played. In his place Chester Taylor ran for 59 yards on 20 carries or roughly a little better than what Lewis would have done. Pending more information on Lewis, I am assuming that Taylor starts this week as well. The team might as well see what he has for deciding in the off-season what to do with both Taylor and Lewis.

Wide Receivers: Kyle Boller has just continued to use Derrick Mason the same as Anthony Wright had - using him for around 50 yards a week in possession catches. The most promising development on the entire Ravens team is the increased chemistry between Boller and the rookie Mark Clayton who has caught seven passes in each of the last two games and scored once. Clayton had been good for little more than one catch per week until recently and now has 191 yards over the last two games. If Boller wants to keep his job, there is no better way than start making a Boller to Clayton connection become consistently productive.

Tight Ends: No real surprise here - Boller loves Heap and has been targeting him heavily the last three weeks with two scores and no less than 51 yards per game.

Match Against the Defense: The Packers rushing defense had been good this year but recently has declined, especially on the road. While there have only been three runners to top 100 yards this year against the Packers, most teams manage to get at least moderate yardage from their runners with a small chance of a score. Only four runners have scored against Green Bay.

The Packers at home have been great against the pass but on the road have allowed two or three scores to five straight quarterbacks until Orton and McMahon played them. Boller has something to prove in these final weeks and the Packers secondary is soft enough to let him get away with it. Look for yardage just over 200 yards and two scores that will favor Heap and Chester Taylor on a pass. The Packers have been softer than most on those pass catching backs and have allowed four passing scores this season.