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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
The Huddle
December 21, 2005
Season Ticket
Sat 1 PM Sat 1 PM Sat 1 PM Sat 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM
BUF at CIN NYG at WAS TEN at MIA* IND at SEA* Mon 9 PM
DET at NO* SD at KC* CHI at GB Updated* Times ET

Prediction: Oakland 10, Denver 30

This is a replay of week 10 when the Broncos won 31-17 in Oakland. Since the Broncos have clinched the AFC West, they could consider mailing in this game but nah - it's the Raiders coming to town and they are looking as weak as ever. Plus there is that first round bye left to win.

Oakland Raiders (4-10)
1 20-30 @NE 10 17-31 DEN
2 17-23 KCC 11 16-13 @WAS
3 20-23 @PHI 12 21-33 MIA
4 19-13 DAL 13 10-34 @SDC
5 Open Bye 14 10-26 @NYJ
6 14-27 SDC 15 7-9 CLE
7 38-17 BUF 16 Dec 24 @DEN
8 34-25 @TEN 17 Dec 31 NYG
9 23-27 @KCC . THU SAT
OAK vs DEN Rush Catch Pass
QB Kerry Collins 0 0 230,1
RB Zack Crockett 50 20 0
TE Randall Williams 0 10 0
WR Randy Moss 0 60,1 0
WR Jerry Porter 0 40 0
WR Doug Gabriel 0 50 0
PK S. Janikowski 1 FG 1 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Raiders finally held an opponent to no touchdowns last week and yet still lost 9-7. That makes four straight losses and seven of the last eight. The final two games are merely against division leaders DEN and NYG so the eventual 4-12 start grants Oakland with a nice draft pick in April.

Quarterback: One of the warning flags of a desperate team that has ran out of ideas is playing musical quarterbacks. Kerry Collins was the starter, then Marques Tuiasosopo was named starter for the rest of the year. That lasted one week before Collins was reinstalled. Since both quarterbacks had around 130 yards and one score in the last two games, HC Norv Turner has declined to name a starter for this week. Rookie Andrew Walter is out of the question since he has a groin injury so the coin flip will happen eventually. I am assuming that Collins plays as the greater of two lessers.

Collins threw for 310 yards and two scores against the Broncos in week 10.

Running Backs: After failing to hit the 100 yard mark for seven straight games, Lamont Jordan had a season high 132 yards against the Browns with 40 yards on five catches. But Jordan only gained 48 yards on 14 carries five weeks ago when Denver came to visit but added 60 yards on seven receptions.

Jordan is suffering from turf toe and is doubtful to play this week. Pending any later news, I am projecting for Zack Crockett as the starting tailback.

Wide Receivers: Randy Moss caught six passes for 87 yards and one score in week 10 while Jerry Porter was held to only 27 yards on three catches. Doug Gabriel scored once and had five catches for 58 yards. Those 87 yards in week 10 remain the best game that Moss has managed since his week six injury. Gabriel has not scored since nor been over 37 yards.

Tight Ends: Courtney Anderson suffered a knee injury last week and it appears to be serious. That likely gives Randall Williams the start this week.

Match Against the Defense: Running in Denver has not been kind to opponents and it is safe to assume that Jordan returns to his less impressive play of the last seven weeks though he will be a factor in the passing game.

Collins had some success passing against the Broncos earlier this year and Denver has allowed visitors to throw for at least one score if not two. Since these are the Raiders, expect the Broncos to be up for the game and hold Collins to only one score that has to favor Moss. Porter draws Champ Bailey again which should result in another low game.

Denver Broncos (11-3)
1 10-34 @MIA 10 31-17 @OAK
2 20-17 SDC 11 27-0 NYJ
3 30-10 KCC 12 24-21 @DAL
4 20-7 @JAC 13 27-31 @KCC
5 21-19 WAS 14 12-10 BAL
6 28-20 NE 15 28-17 @BUF
7 23-24 @NYG 16 Dec 24 OAK
8 49-21 PHI 17 Dec 31 @SDC
9 Open Bye M THU SAT
DEN at OAK Rush Catch Pass
QB Jake Plummer 0 0 210,1
RB Mike Anderson 80,2 10 0
RB Tatum Bell 60 10 0
TE Jeb Putzier 0 50,1 0
WR Rod Smith 0 70 0
WR Ashley Lelie 0 40 0
WR Charlie Adams 0 30 0
PK Jason Elam 3 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: Denver needs to keep winning to get that first round bye and the visiting Raiders are always worth beating. Other than the one Cleveland game, the Broncos have been dominating at home and are 7-0 this season. Expect that to continue.

Quarterback: Jake Plummer had been turning in less than impressive games over the last five weeks but his 259 yard, two score game against the Bulls looked like the effective Plummer that started the season. Plummer threw for 205 yards and one score against the Raiders this year.

Running Backs: Mike Anderson ran for 65 yards and a score while Tatum Bell had 44 yards on 16 carries in the previous match-up against the Raiders. Nothing has changed here now that Ron Dayne is back on the bench waiting for his next call. Dayne had no carries last week.

Wide Receivers: Rod Smith comes off a season high 137 yards and a score on 11 catches against the Bills last week and he had 50 yards and one score against the Raiders earlier this year. Ashley Lelie turned three catches into 76 yards in that game but is on a string of 40 yard games the last few weeks.

Tight Ends: Other than his freakishly low game in week 14, Jeb Putzier remains a strong player in the passing game and has been turning in 50+ yards each week for the last month. That's better than Lelie.

Putzier had three catches for 33 yards against the Raiders this season.

Match Against the Defense: Denver has already thumped the Raiders once this year in Oakland and this time around they still have playoff motivation to win against the Raiders who have never looked weaker this year. Expect heavy doses of the running game here with good success from the volume of carries alone.

Expect Plummer to about match his week eight game which is just a standard for him and a sign that the defense and running game has everything well in hand.