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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
Player Projections by Team
Game Predictions Summary
The Huddle
September 27, 2006
Season Ticket
Sunday Late
Sunday night
On Bye
MIA at HOU SF at KC NE at CIN   updated

Prediction: CLE 20, OAK 17

Here's one of those "someone has to win" sort of games. The Browns have actually played competitively against the Saints and Ravens but could not pull out a win. The Raiders have been so far out of games so far that they should have stayed on the team bus. But the Raiders have been working on their bye week to fix all their problems and while it was a longer list than a week could resolve, some improvement is almost certain if only because they will not be facing two of the best defenses in the league this week.

Cleveland beat the Raiders 9-7 in Oakland during week 15 of last season.

Update: Kellen Winslow is questionable again this week and has been held out of practices but he is still likely to play this week. His knee condition will be an ongoing thing so it could become worse at any time but he's playing on it currently and the team is trying to manage it by limiting his practice time.

Reuben Droughns was also held out of practices and is questionable but is expected to play this week. He was a game time inactive against the Ravens last week. I am not changing the projections for either player but neither will be 100% for the game in the best scenario.

Cleveland Browns (0-3)
1 14-19 NO 10 --- @ATL
2 17-34 @CIN 11 --- PIT
3 14-15 BAL 12 --- CIN
4 --- @OAK 13 --- KC
5 --- @CAR 14 --- @PIT
6 Open Bye 15 --- @BAL
7 --- DEN 16 --- TB
8 --- NYJ 17 --- @HOU
9 --- @SD - - THU
CLE at OAK Rush Catch Pass
QB Charlie Frye 30 0 250,2
RB Reuben Droughns 40 10 0
TE Kellen Winslow 0 80,1 0
WR Josh Cribbs 0 20 0
WR Braylon Edwards 0 100,1 0
WR Dennis Northcutt 0 30 0
PK Phil Dawson 2 FG 2 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Browns are getting good at heartbreak losses this year and come off a close loss to the undefeated Ravens last week even though they had no shred of a rushing game. Charlie Frye is taking the team on his back but so far that has not quite been enough. This week - should be.

Quarterback: Charlie Frye is starting his NFL career with some encouraging results. True - he has five interceptions and two lost fumbles but he only had one turnover against the Ravens last week and he threw for 298 yards and a score. He also ran in a touchdown for the third straight week, propping up his fantasy value that exceeds his NFL worth so far.

Frye had 198 passing yards in the meeting with the Raiders last year. He did not score and lost a fumble and threw one interception.

Running Backs: Reuben Droughns was inactive last week because of a shoulder injury and rookie Jerome Harrison started in Droughns' place. But Droughns has been nothing short of horrible this year with games of 27 and 32 rushing yards in the first two weeks. He scored once against the Bengals but even a blind squirrel finds a nut every now and then. He is averaging a hefty 2.1 yards per carry so far this year.

Harrison certainly didn't do much with his start against the Ravens, gaining only one yard on two carries. Jason Wright came in and managed just 31 yards on 15 carries for that same 2.0 average carry which is the Browns standard this year. I will project for Droughns to play this week but if you start him, you probably deserve what you get.

Droughns ran for just 53 yards on 18 carries against the Raiders last year.

Wide Receivers: There's apparently no hint left of the knee injury that sidelined Braylon Edwards last year. In the last two games, Edwards has nine catches for 226 yards and one score and don't forget - he had a 75 yard touchdown called back in week one or he would have all three games posting 100 yard efforts. This is fortunate too because without Jurevicius there, no other wideout has done more than 37 yards.

Tight Ends: Sometimes whining works. After complaining that he was under-used in week two, Kellen Winslow turned in a career best 92 yards on seven catches last week.

Match Against the Defense: If we can get the same Oakland team that showed up so far, then Droughns may actually have a fantasy significant game. But not guaranteed. Tomlinson tore up the Raiders but Jamal Lewis only had 70 yards on 19 carries playing at home. The Raiders defense showed a nice improvement from the week one butt-whooping to the week two ass-kicking even if the offense had none. On the road, Droughns seems like a decent start against the Raiders but likely won't be.

Frye goes against a secondary that is hardly tested yet because SD and BAL never needed to throw. Expect a decent yardage game here from Frye with two passing scores and the chance that he could make it four times with a rushing score if they end up on the one yard line.

Oakland Raiders (0-2)
1 0-27 SD 10 --- DEN
2 6-28 @BAL 11 --- @KC
3 Open Bye 12 --- @SD
4 --- CLE 13 --- HOU
5 --- @SF 14 --- @CIN
6 --- @DEN 15 --- STL
7 --- ARZ 16 --- KC
8 --- PIT 17 --- @NYJ
9 --- @SEA - MON SAT
OAK vs CLE Rush Catch Pass
QB Andrew Walter 0 0 190,1
RB Lamont Jordan 60,1 20 0
TE Courtney Anderson 0 10 0
TE Randal Williams 0 10 0
WR Randy Moss 0 70,1 0
WR Ronald Curry 0 40 0
WR Alvis Whitted 0 30 0
PK S. Janikowski 1 FG 2 XP -

Pregame Notes: Now we all know the answer - the bell tolls for the Raiders. Still in search of their first touchdown or even a sign of life on the offense, the Raiders come off a bye week which was either very well timed - they needed to regroup and fix the many, many things wrong, or it came at the worst moment when they had to stew for two seeks about just how badly they played. No matter, here is an opponent that should be easier than the Chargers or Ravens and possibly their best chance to win a game this year.

Quarterback: Aaron Brooks strained his pectoral muscle to start the week two fiasco against the Ravens but it may have been the kindest thing that could have happened to him in Baltimore after the beating he took by the Chargers in week one. Andrew Walter took over but could only complete 10 of 27 passes for 162 yards, three interceptions and one lost fumble. Until Brooks is cleared to play, I am assuming that Walter gets to be the Raider piñata again this week.

Running Backs: After two games, Lamont Jordan has 29 runs for 55 yards for a less than stellar 1.9 yards per carry. Amazingly this includes one 15-yard run to push up his average. The NFL's best running back in 2005 for receptions (70) has yet to actually catch either of the two passes he's been thrown so far. Evidently this little fact has finally been noticed by HC Art Shell who intends on passing the ball more (AKA at all) to the best receiving tailback of last year.

Lamont Jordan gained 132 yards and added 40 more yards on five receptions in the week 15 game against the Browns last year.

Wide Receivers: Randy Moss not only has totaled a mere six catches for 79 yards so far, he was pulled at the end of the Ravens game because... well.. the Raiders wanted the second string to be just as bruised as the first. Jerry Porter continues to be the subject of trade rumors and evidently he has been searching his couch cushions and under the seat of his car trying to come up with the $4 million signing bonus that the Raiders want refunded before they will agree to a trade.

Randy Moss only had one catch against the Browns last year but it was a 28-yard touchdown.

Tight Ends: Something will happen with Randal Williams and Courtney Anderson, but it certainly hasn't so far.

Match Against the Defense: The Browns actually have a worse rushing defense than the Raiders do (or certainly no better) and Jordan has been invisible so far this year. But with a promise to get him some receptions and a bye week to figure out why there is absolutely no blocking, look for a moderate game here from Jordan. Face it - this will likely be the easiest game of the season and if it doesn't happen here, it may never happen for Jordan.

Walter goes against a secondary that has allowed at least one passing score to each opponent and he's quietly (and slowly) improving. Randy Moss gets the same match-up that Mason turned into 132 yards last week though Moss will have more company in the secondary than Mason had. The Raiders have to turn it around at some point and this is the best week for it. Starting any Raider is a risky proposition but this week - it may not get any better than this.