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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
Player Projections by Team
Game Predictions Summary
The Huddle
September 13, 2006
Season Ticket
Sunday Late
Sunday night
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DET at CHI OAK at BAL STL at SF   updated

Prediction: KC 10, DEN 20

The Chiefs dropped a rare home loss to open the season and even worse, they lost their quarterback in the process. Perhaps Dick Vermeil is a master of timing or maybe it's just that Herman Edwards is cursed when it comes to healthy quarterbacks. The Broncos come of yet another surprising opening loss and this time let the brand new Rams take them down. The Broncos are going to be mad this week and the Chiefs understandably sad.

These teams traded home wins with the Chiefs winning 23-17 in week 3 and the Broncos winning in Denver 31-27 during week 13.

Kansas City Chiefs (0-1)
1 10-23 CIN 10 --- @MIA
2 --- @DEN 11 --- OAK
3 Open Bye 12 --- DEN
4 --- SF 13 --- @CLE
5 --- @ARZ 14 --- BAL
6 --- @PIT 15 --- @SD
7 --- SD 16 --- @OAK
8 --- SEA 17 --- JAX
9 --- @STL - THU SAT
KCC at DEN Rush Catch Pass
QB Damon Huard 10 0 180,1
RB Larry Johnson 70 60 0
TE Tony Gonzalez 0 60,1 0
WR Eddie Kennison 0 20 0
WR Samie Parker 0 20 0
WR Dante Hall 0 10 0
PK Lawrence Tynes 1 FG 1 XP -
Pregame Notes: The offense was already not performing to standard against the Bengals last week and then Trent Green was clobbered in a scary hit that slammed his head to the turf. Suddenly that left Larry Johnson standing all alone and his 100 yard rushing game record fell. The loss of Green cannot be understated in this offense and will have a ripple effect until he returns healthy once again.

Quarterback: Trent Green's return date in unknown currently bit it is certainly not going to be this week. Damon Huard becomes the starter but in this case, he's one of those back-ups you keep to finish games or play for a half, not a young up-and-comer ready to take the reins as start a career. He is already 33-years old and has not started an actual game since 2000 for the Dolphins. In a nine year career, he has only started six games ever. He's supposed to be a game filler, not a replacement player.

Trent Green threw for 221 yards and once score in Denver last year while managing 253 yards and two scores during the game in Kansas City.

Running Backs: Larry Johnson only managed to gain 68 yards against the Bengals last week but that was still a 4.0 yard average and he never had only 17 carries in any game as a starter last year. Johnson added five catches for 80 yards as well and should be no less as important to the offense with Green out.

Important to note - almost every catch made by Johnson came from Huard last week. He's already providing an immediate outlet for the back-up quarterback and should help to maintain his fantasy value even if the rushing decreases.

In the first meeting in Denver, Priest Holmes and Johnson combined for only 74 yards and no score but in Kansas City, Larry Johnson was the starter in week 13 and had 140 yards and two scores.

Wide Receivers: The one area that Huard is likely to be a big negative is with the wideouts. Eddie Kennison only had one catch for 14 yards last week and Samie Parker settled for two receptions and 24 yards. Hall actually led the group with five grabs for a mere 31 yards. That won't get much better in Denver this week.

Kennison had two very good games against the Broncos last year, hauling in eight catches for 112 yards in Denver and later four catches for 108 yards while at home. Samie Parker scored once in the Denver game while Dante Hall had a touchdown in the game at Kansas City.

Tight Ends: Tony Gonzalez had one of his better games in recent history when he turned in 10 catches for 81 yards and one score.

Important note #2 - almost every catch made by Gonzalez was thrown by Huard including the touchdown. He too is the outlet that Huard searches for most.

Gonzalez never had more than 29 yards against the Broncos last year though he scored once in the home game.

Match Against the Defense: Denver is coming off a loss and at home will have no sympathy for the recent tribulations of the divisional rival Chiefs. Expect Johnson to turn in a decent total yardage game here with one rushing score possible but unlikely. He'll tend to having receiving yardage to keep his fantasy value up.

Damon Huard faces a defense that is going to come after him - make no mistake. And with Champ Bailey matched up on Eddie Kennison, you can consider him an unlikely target this week, especially after his lack of action with Huard last week. Gonzalez will come into play against this week because he will be the player most likely open. Look for Huard to manage one passing score that should go to either Gonzo or Johnson.

Denver Broncos (0-1)
1 10-18 @STL 10 --- @OAK
2 --- KC 11 --- SD
3 --- @NE 12 --- @KC
4 Open Bye 13 --- SEA
5 --- BAL 14 --- @SD
6 --- OAK 15 --- @ARZ
7 --- @CLE 16 --- CIN
8 --- IND 17 --- SF
9 --- @PIT - MON THU
DEN vs KC Rush Catch Pass
QB Jake Plummer 0 0 160
RB Mike Bell 70,1 20 0
RB Tatum Bell 80,1 10 0
TE Tony Scheffler 0 20 0
WR Rod Smith 0 50 0
WR Javon Walker 0 50 0
PK Jason Elam 2 FG 2 XP -

Pregame Notes: Deja-vu. The Broncos once again open their season on the road against a rebuilding team and get handed a loss for their efforts. What's worse in this case is that Jake Plummer has rarely looked worse than he did against the Rams and pretty much single-handedly lost the game. The Rams never scored a touchdown, they just kept getting a short field and settling for field goals - six of them no less.

Quarterback: Jake Plummer's last game of the 2005 season came in January when he flopped in the playoffs and led to the Broncos drafting Jay Cutler. Going against the Rams last week, he merely picked right where he left off - throwing three interceptions and losing one fumble. At this rate, Cutler appears a lock to play at some point this season.

Plummer threw for 152 yards and one score against the Chiefs at home last year but later turned in 276 yards and a score in Kansas City.

Running Backs: The newest version of the backfield you love to hate has Mike Bell and Tatum Bell now in almost perfect sharing. The duo traded off series and ended with Mike gained a healthy 58 yards on ten carries and scoring once. He also had four catches for 30 yards for a total of 14 touches. Tatum ended with 15 carries for 105 yards and no catches for 15 touches. Neither distinguished themselves to bench the other guy so expect more of this "be half of what you can be" approach by Denver. Both backs were effective.

Mike Bell fractured his middle finger in the first quarter and continued to play. He had all but one carry after the injury so he should be good to play this week with the same wrap job he had during the game. Updates if warranted but also realize that this is Denver and most any report will not only be incorrect potentially, it may be wrong intentionally by Shanahan.

Mike Anderson ran for 98 yards and a score when the Chiefs came to Denver last year.

Wide Receivers: Plummer's passing woes last week had Javon Walker end up as the lead receiver with only 41 yards on three catches. Walker also had a couple of bad drops in the game including a touchdown pass. Rod Smith only managed 34 yards on three receptions. The Chiefs have upgraded at cornerback this year so expect the lower numbers to continue this week.

Rod Smith had seven catches for 80 yards and a score when the Chiefs came to Denver last year and later had 79 yards in Kansas City.

Tight Ends: Stephen Alexander had two catches for 24 yards against the Rams and Tony Scheffler only had one reception for nine yards but Scheffler is the rookie that they are grooming to become the starter.

Match Against the Defense: With Green out, this game is going to progress on two levels for the Broncos. They will go for establishing the run and should have some success with Bell and Bell. Rudi Johnson scored once in KC last week and had 96 yards. Look for more yardage than that from the combo-Bells and at least once score that favors the bigger Mike.

The other aspect is that the Denver defense is going to go for the jugular against Huard. Whatever Larry Johnson can accomplish on the ground will help, but Huard will have to air it out and with the passing game limited mostly to Gonzo and Johnson, Denver will be coming on blitzes. If Denver is successful in holding the game score of the Chiefs down, and they should, then Plummer is not going to be asked to do much because lately about all he has done is hurt the team. Look for moderate numbers from Plummer at best and know that they could be very low if the Bells and defense are enough to win the game.