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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
Player Projections by Team
Game Predictions Summary
The Huddle
October 4, 2006
Season Ticket
Sunday Late
Sunday night
On Bye
MIA at NE WAS at NYG DAL at PHI   updated

Prediction: KC 27, ARZ 10

The Chiefs opened the season roughly with losses to the Bengals and Broncos but then feasted on the visiting 49ers in a big-time shutout. The Cardinals have now lost their last three games and are opting to start the Leinart era now before Warner can give the ball away any more. The Cards are always tougher at home but the Chiefs defense is vastly better this season - the same cannot be said for the Arizona offense.

Kansas City Chiefs (1-2)
1 10-23 CIN 10 --- @MIA
2 6-9 @DEN 11 --- OAK
3 Open Bye 12 --- DEN
4 41-0 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 ARZ Rush Catch Pass
QB Damon Huard 0 0 170,1
RB Larry Johnson 110,2 30 0
TE Tony Gonzalez 0 30,1 0
WR Eddie Kennison 0 60 0
WR Samie Parker 0 20 0
WR Dante Hall 0 20 0
PK Lawrence Tynes 2 FG 3 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Chiefs still miss Trent Green but it didn't look that way last week with Huard turning in a great game against the 49ers. Johnson managed to just top 100 rushing yards and the whooping was thorough and complete. After this week the Chiefs go through a brutal stretch of games with PIT, SD and SEA to play so this week may be as good as the Chiefs will look for the next month.

Quarterback: Damon Huard bounced back from his 133 yard effort in Denver when he completed 18 of 23 for 208 yards and two scores against the 49ers last week. Make no mistake - Huard is just a placeholder for Green who is still out and his game against the 49ers was the worst they had allowed this year. Huard needs to post some numbers this week because for the next month they are going to be harder to find.

Running Backs: Larry Johnson ended with 101 rushing yards and two scores against the 49ers last week but that required 30 carries to get there (3.3 YPC). He only had 24 yards on 12 carries in the first half before the 49ers finally gave up fighting and laid down last week. Johnson has not been running nearly as well as last year but is getting enough carries in games to roll up decent production by virtue of volume of carries.

Wide Receivers: After two games of near invisibility, Eddie Kennison had six catches for 86 yards last week while Samie Parker (2-9) still remains almost unseen. Huard has not yet connected well with this unit other than a couple of catches by Kennison in a game that the Chiefs could have won without a single pass thrown.

Tight Ends: After a very disappointing two catches for seven yards in Denver, Tony Gonzalez bounced back last week with five catches for 59 yards. Again - in a game that the Chiefs did not need to pass. But Gonzalez did have his best game of the year - and only score - in week one with Huard looking for a quick outlet receiver.

Match Against the Defense: The Cardinals rushing defense had only given up one big game and that went to Jerious Norwood thanks to one long run. But Johnson is getting 25 carries a game so look for this to be a safe start that should produce at least one rushing score and possibly two if the Chiefs can get an early lead. With Leinart starting for Arizona and going against a touch secondary, there's reasons to believe that Johnson could top 30 carries in this game if only because there are bound to be turnovers that shorten the field.

Huard faces a secondary that is about average but since Huard himself is not, look for barely moderate passing numbers here. The Chiefs will want to win this game with defense and rushing - not via the pass. Kennison has a nice match-up here but it won't likely need to be used much.

Arizona Cardinals (1-3)
1 34-27 SF 10 --- DAL
2 10-21 @SEA 11 --- DET
3 14-16 STL 12 --- @MIN
4 10-32 @ATL 13 --- @STL
5 --- KC 14 --- SEA
6 --- CHI 15 --- DEN
7 --- @OAK 16 --- @SF
8 --- @GB 17 --- @SD
9 Open Bye - - MON
ARZ vs KC Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Leinart 0 0 170
RB Edgerrin James 70,1 20 0
TE Leonard Pope 0 20 0
WR Anquan Boldin 0 60 0
WR Larry Fitzgerald 0 50 0
WR Bryant Johnson 0 20 0
PK Neil Rackers 1 FG 1 XP -

Pregame Notes: That big opening win over the 49ers was the last time we've seen the Cardinals in the win column but they always play tougher at home. On the road - still lagging. Denny Green has opted to start Matt Leinart this week in a decision that he said became apparent as he was watching his team get throttled by the Falcons last week.

Quarterback: The Matt Leinart era has begun! After witnessing Warner lose yet another fumble and interception in Atlanta, HC Denny Green is pointing to his prized first round rookie to start the learning curve. Leinart came in last week and threw 5 of 8 for 49 yards and one lost fumble and one interception because he's been observing Warner for the last month. Leinart should likely help Boldin the most since he's been a highly accurate passer and yet not as noted for the deep ball that always favors Fitzgerald but with the Cards trailing in most games, he's going to be throwing a lot of passes of all kinds.

Running Backs: After turning in 94 rushing yards and one touchdown against the Rams, Edgerrin James returned to being a true Cardinal when he only had 41 yards on 20 carries against the Falcons. Playing at home this year he has scored in both games though and never had less than 73 rushing yards. With a rookie quarterback to protect, no doubt the Cards will want to run as much as they can until Leinart gets his bearings on the NFL game.

Wide Receivers: The passing game needed a change and that won't necessarily hurt the numbers here even with a rookie quarterback at the helm. Larry Fitzgerald has been stuck around 60 yards in every game for the last three weeks while Anquan Boldin had been all over the map with efforts between 42 and 129 yards. Bryant Johnson's production has already waned - he had no catches last week and won't likely improve with a quarterback that will be looking for Boldin and Fitzgerald almost exclusively.

Tight Ends: Leonard Pope comes off his best game of the year but two catches for 32 yards is not exactly fantasy relevant.

Match Against the Defense: James has scored in each of his home games and while he goes against a tough Chiefs defense, he should manage at least a moderate showing here from a higher volume of carries. With the defense salivating over hitting the rookie quarterback, they'll let James do a bit more than he should have.

What Leinart will do in his first start is highly speculative, but he faces a secondary that has not yet allowed a passing score - not good news there. No quarterback has topped 172 yards against the Chiefs and that includes Plummer and Palmer. Look for a rather inauspicious start for the rookie.