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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
The Huddle
December 14, 2005
Season Ticket
Saturday Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM
KC at NYG CAR at NO* SD at IND CLE at OAK* Mon 9 PM
  NYJ at MIA SF at JAC* Updated* Times ET

Prediction: Kansas City 24, NY Giants 27

The Chiefs come off a disappointing loss in Dallas and now at 8-5 cannot afford a loss and yet may have the worst schedule in the NFL left to play. The Chiefs are only 3-4 on the road this year and the Giants are 6-1 at home with only a one point loss to Denver as a mark. Neither team can afford to lose here but only one is playing at home.

Kansas City Chiefs (8-5)
1 27-7 NYJ 10 3-14 @BUF
2 23-17 @OAK 11 45-17 @HOU
3 10-30 @DEN 12 26-16 NE
4 31-37 PHI 13 31-27 DEN
5 Open Bye 14 28-31 @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 at NYG Rush Catch Pass
QB Trent Green 0 0 230,1
RB Larry Johnson 120,2 20 0
TE Tony Gonzalez 0 60 0
WR Eddie Kennison 0 80,1 0
WR Samie Parker 0 50 0
WR Dante Hall 0 20 0
PK Lawrence Tynes 1 FG 3 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Chiefs are enjoying near prolific offense now since Larry Johnson = Priest Holmes. Problem is that the defense has been unable to stop the big play when it mattered most and both the recent losses to the Broncos and Cowboys were only by four points or less. With this game and then hosting the Chargers and Bengals left to go, the road could not be bumpier to the playoffs.

Quarterback: Trent Green comes off his second best yardage game when he turned in 340 yards against the Cowboys and he has been scoring at least once in each of the last four games. It may have taken almost a full season, but the Chiefs are back to where they ended up last year - a great offense with a top runner that can post more points than any other team other than the one facing them that week.

Running Backs: Larry Johnson not only has replaced Priest Holmes, he is slowly erasing Holmes from the collective fantasy memory. Since becoming a starter in week nine, Johnson has not failed to run for at least 107 yards and has racked up 852 rushing yards in only six games. That is an average of 142 yards a game. Extrapolated over 16 games would be 2272 yards. And it is not that he has feasted on a weak schedule with games that included DEN and @DAL. Johnson has already scored 11 touchdowns this year with ten coming in those six games as a starter. That equates to a 27 touchdown season, AKA Priest Holmes record.

Wide Receivers: The rushing game by Johnson has freed up the passing game whenever the Chiefs have found themselves needed to catch up in a game. Eddie Kennison comes off a 92 yard, one touchdown game against the Cowboys and remains above 60 yards in almost every game since Johnson started tearing up the NFL. Samie Parker rarely scores, but he has become a solid sidekick for Kennison that can turn in upwards of 80 yards in a game when needed.

Tight Ends: Tony Gonzalez comes off a 95 yard effort against the Cowboys and he has been good for at least 60 yards in almost every game since the magic week eight when Johnson took over.

Match Against the Defense: The Giants rushing defense has not been nearly as good in the second half of the season allowing four big games to runners thanks to a schedule that included Tomlinson and Alexander. Johnson is running better than his opposition can stop as he showed in Dallas last week. Expect a good game here - he has yet to have a bad one. He hasn't even had an average one yet unless you can consider 120 yards and a score as average.

Until Green had his big game in Dallas, he had not been as effective on the road this season. Look for Green to settle back to just one score this week that favors Kennison the most. The Giants have been effective recently against tight ends.

New York Giants (9-4)
1 42-19 ARI 10 21-24 MIN
2 27-10 @NOR 11 27-17 PHI
3 23-45 @SDC 12 21-24 @SEA
4 44-24 STL 13 17-10 DAL
5 Open Bye 14 26-23 @PHI
6 13-16 @DAL 15 Dec 17 KCC
7 24-23 DEN 16 Dec 24 @WAS
8 36-0 WAS 17 Dec 31 @OAK
9 24-6 @SFO . . SAT
NYG vs KC Rush Catch Pass
QB Eli Manning 0 0 300,2
RB Tiki Barber 90 20 0
RB Brandon Jacobs 10,1 0 0
TE Jeremy Shockey 0 100,1 0
WR Amani Toomer 0 80,1 0
WR Plaxico Burress 0 70 0
WR Tim Carter 0 20 0
PK Jay Feeley 2 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Giants needed overtime to outlast the Eagles last week in a trap game of epic dimensions. This is the final home game of the regular season and with a trip to Washington next week, the Giants need to take the win here and again in Oakland in week 17. The Redskins will be looking for major revenge and yet the Giants do not have the luxury of looking past this game and still expect a win.

Quarterback: Over the last three weeks, Eli Manning is developing a troubling habit. While he has won two of the three games and twice topped 300 yards, he has thrown six interceptions against only three touchdowns during that time. None were more surprising than the three he turned in last week against the Eagles. Manning also failed to throw a touchdown for the first time this season in week 13 when they hosted the Cowboys. The Giants lead the NFC East and have the inside track to the title, but ending stronger than this would better serve the Giants playoff aspirations.

Running Backs: One good new feature of the recent weeks is that Tiki Barber no longer is saving himself for home games only. Barber ran for 124 yards on 32 carries against the Eagles and added a season high 71 yards on five receptions last week. In Seattle, he ran for 151 yards so there are no concerns with the rushing game.

Wide Receivers: Plaxico Burress has cooled down from a hot start to the season and has only scored once in the last seven games with only two games over 80 yards. Amani Toomer had been had for a three game span of scoring touchdowns but has down little in the last two weeks. Some of this is a function of the focus on running Barber but it all plays into lower fantasy numbers from Burress and Toomer.

Tight Ends: If any tight end can give Antonio Gates a run for the money, it is Jeremy Shockey has ranks second in the NFL with catches (60), yards (840) and touchdowns (7) by a tight end. Shockey can throw in a bad game every now and then, but he typically sandwiches them with big outings. Shockey comes off a ten catch game with 107 yards and that is only his third highest game of the year.

Match Against the Defense: This will be a test for Barber this week against a defense that has been very good against the run this year and not allowed any runner to top 100 yards. They have only allowed three rushing scores in the last eight games. Expect a more moderate game here from Barber but he could add some receiving yards like last week if Manning will throw to him.

Manning should be a lock for at least two scores in this game and maybe three. The Chiefs are not going to allow Barber alone to keep pace and Manning will have to answer with the pass. Most of the top teams they have faced have managed multiple scores if not 300 passing yards and the Chiefs are weak against tight ends. Expect a very big game here from Shockey with another score favoring the flanker Toomer.