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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
The Huddle
December 28, , 2005
Season Ticket
Sat 4:30 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM SEA at GB*
DEN at SD* ARI at IND CHI at MIN* NO at TB WAS at PHI*
Sat 8 PM BAL at CLE CIN at KC Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM
Updated* CAR at ATL MIA at NE TEN at JAC* Times ET

Prediction: Detroit 3, Pittsburgh 27

The Lions come off their first road win of the year despite never scoring a touchdown while the Steelers come off the biggest win recorded this year. Chances that the Lions string two road wins together against a team that needs to win to get a wildcard? Not all that high really.

Update: Both Kevin Jones and Artose Pinner are listed as questionable to play this week and both missed practice on Wedndesay but returned to day. I am lowering Jones numbers slightly because they cannot get much lower anyway and neither runner appears to be destined for any significant numbers in Pittsburgh this week.

Detroit Lions (5-10)
1 17-3 GBP 10 29-21 ARI
2 6-38 @CHI 11 7-20 @DAL
3 Open Bye 12 7-27 ATL
4 13-17 @TBB 13 16-21 MIN
5 35-17 BAL 14 13-16 @GBP
6 20-21 CAR 15 17-41 CIN
7 13-10 @CLE 16 13-12 @NOR
8 13-19 CHI 17 Jan 1 @PIT
9 14-27 @MIN . THU SAT
DET at PIT Rush Catch Pass
QB Jeff Garcia 0 0 160
RB Kevin Jones 30 0 0
RB Shawn Bryson 10 20 0
TE Marcus Pollard 0 30 0
WR Roy Williams 0 50 0
WR Charles Rogers 0 10 0
WR Mike Williams 0 20 0
WR Scottie Vines 0 20 0
PK Jason Hanson 1 FG 0 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Lions finally conclude yet another season of disappointment and lost opportunity but on the good hand, they are already ahead of everyone else thinking about which new head coach to get for next year.

Quarterback: Joey Harrington took the start last week with Garcia banged up again and he had a decent enough game with 210 yards and only one interception. I am assuming that Jeff Garcia returns this week though neither quarterback will have any success this week in Pittsburgh.

Running Backs: Kevin Jones missed last week with a sprained elbow but could be back in time for this beating. If not, Artose Pinner will resume the primary role as starter who gains little.

Wide Receivers: Roy Williams comes off a 111 yard game last week, his second over 100 yards this year and he has been the only Lion wideout with fantasy value for the last month. In Pittsburgh, even Roy is likely to disappear. Mike Williams has not had more than one catch for the last four games and Scottie Vines had no catches last week just the same as Charles Rogers.

Tight Ends: Marcus Pollard has been around 40 yards in the last couple of games though it could rise this week with the wideouts covered. Then again, more blockers will be needed as well.

Match Against the Defense: The Steelers have a top five defense in most categories and they have to win this week to advance. The Lions are on the road and playing out a nightmare year without a head coach. Consider this a very probable shut out.

Pittsburgh Steelers (10-5)
1 34-7 TEN 10 34-21 CLE
2 27-7 @HOU 11 13-16 @BAL
3 20-23 NE 12 7-26 @IND
4 Open Bye 13 31-38 CIN
5 24-22 @SDC 14 21-9 CHI
6 17-23 JAC 15 18-3 @MIN
7 27-13 @CIN 16 41-0 @CLE
8 20-19 BAL 17 Jan 1 DET
9 20-10 @GBP . MON SAT
PIT Projections Rush Catch Pass
QB Ben Roethlisberger 0 0 190,1
RB Jerome Bettis 20,1 0 0
RB Willie Parker 90,1 20 0
TE Heath Miller 0 30 0
WR Hines Ward 0 80,1 0
WR Cedrick Wilson 0 40 0
WR Antwaan Randle El 0 20 0
PK Jeff Reed 2 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Steelers come off a 41-0 win on the road in Cleveland. The Steelers need this game to win a wildcard. The Lions are on the road again where they have never scored more than 14 points this season. Game. Set. Match.

Quarterback: Ben Roethlisberger had a huge game against the Bengals in week 13 but otherwise, he remains around 175 yards and one score in most games because the defense and running game lead this team. No different this week.

Running Backs: The Steelers are running better than they have at any time this year and have four healthy running backs to use. The Steelers should win this game handily enough that any of the rushers could profit and even, potentially, like last week when all of them had good fantasy performances.

Wide Receivers: Though Big Ben usually throws only one score per game, it always goes to one player - Hines Ward. Only Marvin Harrison has more touchdowns than Hines Ward (11) but that may not still be true next week. Quincy Morgan has showed up recently with two scores in the last four games but other than Randle El's touchdown in week one - all the scores go to Hines Ward.

Tight Ends: Heath Miller has not caught a score since week eight, but he shows up in weeks when the passing game matters most. That will not be this week.

Match Against the Defense: The Steelers need this win and the Lions just want to go home and pretend the season did not exist. This has the markings of a blowout that will likely follow last week's script - good defense and a lot of running with just enough time to hit Hines Wards with a score.