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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
The Huddle
WEEK 16
December 21, 2005
Season Ticket
Sat 1 PM Sat 1 PM Sat 1 PM Sat 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM
ATL at TB JAC at HOU* SF at STL* PHI at ARI MIN at BAL
BUF at CIN NYG at WAS TEN at MIA* IND at SEA* Mon 9 PM
DAL at CAR PIT at CLE Sun 5 PM OAK at DEN NE at NYJ
DET at NO* SD at KC* CHI at GB Updated* Times ET

Prediction: Chicago 24, Green Bay 7

The Bears won 19-7 when the Packers visited Chicago in week 13. Since that time, the Bears defense remains nothing short of awe-inspiring and the Packers offense has become less than most team's practice squads. The big Monday night loss by the Packers in Baltimore was a three hour version of the fat lady singing. Knowing what the Packers have been in the past, it is almost too painful to watch.

Chicago Bears (10-4)
1 7-9 @WAS 10 17-9 SFO
2 38-6 DET 11 13-3 CAR
3 7-24 CIN 12 13-10 @TBB
4 Open Bye 13 19-7 GBP
5 10-20 @CLE 14 9-21 @PIT
6 28-3 MIN 15 16-3 ATL
7 10-6 BAL 16 Dec 25 @GBP
8 19-13 @DET 17 Jan 1 @MIN
9 20-17 @NOR . . .
CHI at GB Rush Catch Pass
QB Rex Grossman 0 0 190,1
RB Thomas Jones 100,1 10 0
RB Adrian Peterson 30 10 0
TE Desmond Clark 0 10 0
WR Muhsin Muhammad 0 70,1 0
WR Justin Gage 0 50 0
WR Bernard Berrian 0 20 0
PK Robbie Gould 1 FG 3 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Bears quickly went back to their winning ways when they spanked Michael Vick last week and the return of Rex Gross suddenly made the Bears seem to have a 'gasp' - passing game. Bad news for the rest of the league.

Quarterback: Rex Grossman relieved Kyle Orton last week and he completed nine of 16 passes for 93 yards and looked good in the process. Much better than Orton who has spent his entire rookie season as care-taker for the offense with the directive of not throwing interceptions (which he almost always did once per game). Grossman could not have timed a better game to return as a starter.

Orton only threw for 68 yards and one interception in the previous meeting with the Packers.

Running Backs: Thomas Jones still has not ran for over 100 yards in a game since week seven but he has scored in each of the last two games and comes off a 91 yard performance thanks to 27 carries. Jones has not been electric, he has not been exciting. But he has been solid enough that coupled with the defense, makes the Bears a hard team to beat.

Jones ran for 93 yards on 19 carries and Peterson added 48 yards on 11 runs against Green Bay this year.

Wide Receivers: This group has been lackluster at best with Orton but Grossman gives some promise here of possible moderate games by Muhsin Muhammad if not even Justin Gage. The Bears will never be a big passing team but at least with Grossman the chance is there for some fantasy significance from the wideouts.

Bernard Berrian had 59 yards on three catches in the last meeting with the Packers. The only other wideout catch was made by Bobby Wade for three yards. Muhammad - no catches.

Tight Ends: Even Grossman could not make Desmond Clark matter. Peyton Manning facing the Bulldogs of Johnson Middle School with only Clark as a receiver probably still couldn't make Clark matter.

Match Against the Defense: Oh happy days.

The Packers have the distinct look of a team that has lost all will to live and has no means for life support anyway. Expect a nice game here from Thomas Jones who could embrace 30 carries and finally top that 100 yard from sheer volume of carries. Even Adrian Peterson may end up with some numbers here from the spill over.

Grossman will want to show that he is back in form this week and the Packers secondary is tailor made for giving out big games but there won't be much of a need for it. The defense will be enough to win the game and Grossman will stop with one touchdown pass only because he doesn't call the plays.

And yes, I like a defensive score to happen here. Seems like it almost has to happen.

Green Bay Packers (3-11)
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 3-48 @BAL
7 20-23 @MIN 16 Dec 25 CHI
8 14-21 @CIN 17 Jan 1 SEA
9 10-20 PIT . . MON
GBP vs CHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Brett Favre 0 0 200,1
RB Noah Herron 10 0 0
RB Tony Fisher 5 20 0
TE Donald Lee 0 40 0
TE David Martin 0 30 0
WR Donald Driver 0 50,1 0
WR Robert Ferguson 0 30 0
WR Antonio Chatman 0 20 0
PK Ryan Longwell 0 FG 1 XP -

Pregame Notes: Just when it seems it cannot get uglier, it really does. A lot more. The flat performance by the Packers last week in Baltimore was one of the more sad games to watch this year and Favre has turned into little more than dink and dunk punctuated by the occasional long completion to a wide open safety. Now Gado is lost for the rest of the year and the green and gold is going out with a whimper.

Quarterback: Brett Favre threw for 277 yards and two interceptions in the last meeting with the Bears. He also lost two fumbles. He also was replaced by Aaron Rodgers last week when it was apparent that only bad things were going to happen. Expect Favre to get banged around here and a good chance that Rodgers to get a chance to finish so that he can experience the difference between the Chicago defense and that from Fresno State. Favre will play the full game in week 17 - it will likely be his final game at Lambeau.

Running Backs: Samkon Gado tore his MCL and now the only bright spot in a dismal season is gone. The Bears are coming to town with the #1 defense and the Packers will rely on undrafted free agent pick-up Noah Herron. Run Noah! Run away! OUCH!... Calling number #7 running back to the white courtesy phone...

Gado ran for 75 yards on 20 carries against the Bears this year and actually scored once in Chicago unlike all other running backs. And now the magic is gone.

Wide Receivers: Donald Driver had eight catches for 64 yards and Robert Ferguson only managed 37 yards against the Bears this year. Antonio Chatman added four catches for 41 yards in that game. That all seems rather high side now with the way the Packers are playing.

Tight Ends: Donald Lee and David Martin combined for 54 yards in Chicago in week 13. Franks played sparingly and did not have a catch. That all seems rather high side now with the way the Packers are playing.

Match Against the Defense: No running game now with Gado out and the Bears coming to town. Everyone hide.

Favre will have a moderate game here with some fantasy significance if you do not get negative points for interceptions. The question at hand is if Favre will finish the game or if Rodgers gets some playing time. Safest bet - stay away from all Packers this week.