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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: SF 10, KC 21

The 49ers come off a big loss to the Eagles that only looked close thanks to ample trash time scores. The Chiefs come off a bye week rested but still without Trent Green. No matter - the 49ers on the road should make that absence okay at least this week. With an 0-2 record, the Chiefs cannot afford to drop an easy game at home.

Update: Frank Gore was listed as questionable with bruised ribs but has been upgraded to probable, has returned to practice and will play. I am leaving his projections as is but the touchdown I have credited to him will now go to Michael Robinson. It is not normal for Turner to use specialists but Gore has bruised ribs and a nasty habit of fumbling at the goal line so at least this week, I would expect for Robinson to get that score if it comes near the goal line. If Robinson is not used this week - he won't in the future but even if he does play a short yardage role now that doesn't neccessarily mean he always will. Gore just needs to get past his fumbling and sore ribs.

San Francisco 49ers (1-2)
1 27-34 @ARZ 10 --- @DET
2 20-13 STL 11 --- SEA
3 24-38 PHI 12 --- @STL
4 --- @KC 13 --- @NO
5 --- OAK 14 --- GB
6 --- SD 15 --- @SEA
7 Open Bye 16 --- ARZ
8 --- @CHI 17 --- @DEN
9 --- MIN - - THU
SFO at KC Rush Catch Pass
QB Alex Smith 0 0 180
RB Frank Gore 70 40 0
RB Michael Robinson 20,1 0 0
TE Eric Johnson 0 40 0
WR Antonio Bryant 0 40 0
WR Bryan Gilmore 0 20 0
WR Arnaz Battle 0 30 0
PK Joe Nedney 1 FG 1 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Eagles proved far too much for the 49er defense to handle last week but the offense continues to look improved, even if it only comes when games are already decided. Alex Smith is progressing well and Frank Gore has a handle on the new Norv Turner offense. Soon as the defense steps up, the 49ers can become competitive again.

Quarterback: Alex Smith comes off his career best game, throwing for 293 yards and one score against the Eagles last week with just his first interception on the season. Smith has scored in every game so far - though only once - and had remained above 230 passing yards in each.

Running Backs: Frank Gore exploded the first two weeks with three touchdowns and 214 rushing yards added to 99 receiving yards. Against the eagles he was limited to just 52 yards on 16 carries though he added 22 more yards on six receptions. Gore also bruised his ribs last week but is expected to play here. Updates as warranted.

The downside to Gore remains his penchant for losing the football in every game so far. Michael Robinson scored twice on short runs against Philadelphia last week and gained 29 yards on just five carries. There is no move to create an RBBC situation and that would be unlike the typical Turner offense but it's only reasonable to look for Robinson to get some time near the goal line. It's not an official move by any means, but something to pay attention to for Gore owners.

Wide Receivers: While Arnaz Battle had one good game against the Rams, this unit begins and ends with Antonio Bryant which has been noticed by the defense when Philly limited him to a season low 36 yards on four catches last week. Bryan Gilmore had 75 yards but that all came on one catch. As Smith develops, he'll use the other wideouts more in games but until then he's using Bryant or turning to tight ends or backs.

Tight Ends: Vernon Davis is out for the next month with a crack in his fibula so Eric Johnson rolls out as the new starter. He already gained 87 yards on seven catches with one score last week and is sure to be one of the hot commodities on the waiver wire this week.

Match Against the Defense: The Chiefs rushing defense is good but not great so far this year and Gore should end up with at least decent numbers in this match-up even if he relies on receptions to get there. His ribs have to hold up of course, but unless they prove a bigger problem than they currently seem, Gore should score once this week with good total yards.

Alex Smith has been scoring once a week but the Chiefs have yet to allow a passing score, holding both Carson Palmer and Jake Plummer to under 180 yards each. Look for a lower effort here from Smith without the fun trash time of last week because the Chiefs do not have the luxury of taking any game as being over before the final gun.

Kansas City Chiefs (0-2)
1 10-23 CIN 10 --- @MIA
2 6-9 @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 vs SF Rush Catch Pass
QB Damon Huard 0 0 180,1
RB Larry Johnson 130,2 20 0
TE Tony Gonzalez 0 40 0
WR Eddie Kennison 0 50 0
WR Samie Parker 0 50,1 0
WR Dante Hall 0 10 0
PK Lawrence Tynes 0 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Chiefs have not started their season quite as hoped with an 0-2 record and with Trent Green sent to the hospital after a brutal head injury. Herman Edward's new regime got no favors from a schedule that opened against the Bengals and Broncos and should find the next two weeks against the 49ers and Cardinals much easier.

Quarterback: Damon Huard stepped in against the Bengals after Trent Green suffered a severe concussion but was unable to do more than throw a touchdown late in the game when the Bengals already had the win locked down. Against the Broncos, Huard could only comes up with 133 passing yards and one interception while the Chiefs tried to rush their way to a win. He's actually been efficient with a 74% completion rate.

Running Backs: The fantasy world feared for the worst when Larry Johnson only gained 68 yards on 17 carries in the first game but he added 80 yards on five catches. In Denver, he ran for 126 yards on 27 carries and had 41 yards on five more receptions but still has yet to score a touchdown this year. He's still turning in around 150 total yards per game, he just needs to find the endzone.

Wide Receivers: With minimal passing numbers and the absence of Trent Green, neither Eddie Kennison or Samie Parker have turned in more than 39 yards in a game. Huard has more time with the first team so far but he's been with the Chiefs for three years so it's not as if he has to develop chemistry and learn the players. This should be the week that Huard makes the wideouts matter, but it still may not happen if all the action goes to Larry Johnson.

Tight Ends: Tony Gonzalez opened with a big game - ten catches for 81 yards and one score but with only Huard and a close match-up in Denver, he was limited to just two catches for seven yards.

Match Against the Defense: This should be a very nice game for the rested Larry Johnson who faces a defense that has allowed over 100 rushing yards to both Steven Jackson and Brian Westbrook. Johnson should have a big yardage effort here with two scores if only to control the game and run out the clock.

Damon Huard faces a secondary that gives up big chunks of yardage and around two scores each week. Huard won't need to risk throwing enough to get that second score but he should end with one touchdown that favors either Samie Parker or Gonzalez.