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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
Player Projections by Team
Game Predictions Summary
The Huddle
October 11, 2006
Season Ticket
Sunday Late
Sunday night
On Bye
HOU at DAL TEN at WAS     updated

Prediction: SD 20, SF 7

The Chargers remained tied with the Broncos for the AFC West lead while the 49ers come off their second win of the year. Chances for back-to-back victories by the 49ers? Not very good at all.

San Diego Chargers (3-1)
1 27-0 @OAK 10 --- @CIN
2 40-7 TEN 11 --- @DEN
3 Open Bye 12 --- OAK
4 13-16 @BAL 13 --- @BUF
5 23-13 PIT 14 --- DEN
6 --- @SF 15 --- KC
7 --- @KC 16 --- @SEA
8 --- STL 17 --- ARZ
9 --- CLE - - MON
SDC at SF Rush Catch Pass
QB Philip Rivers 0 0 210,1
RB L. Tomlinson 100,1 20 0
TE Antonio Gates 0 80,1 0
WR Keenan McCardell 0 40 0
WR Eric Parker 0 50 0
WR Vincent Jackson 0 30 0
PK Nate Kaeding 2 FG 2 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Chargers opened with monster wins over the Raiders and Titans but no one believed this team was for real after struggling against the Ravens in Baltimore and losing their first game of the year. With a solid win over the Steelers, the Chargers are once again heading up the power rankings and what's more important is that Marty Schottenheimer kicked off the training wheels for Philip Rivers and he didn't fall down.

Quarterback: Philip Rivers comes off his best game of the season (and career for that matter) when he threw 24 of 37 for 242 yards and two scores against the Steelers. It was the first time against a solid defense that Rivers was throwing deep and finally connecting with Gates and the wideouts. Rivers will continue to be limited in some games by virtue of a very effective ground game but so far - he's showing up when they need him. Against the Ravens in a close game, he only had 22 pass attempts but with 37 last week, he's ready to roll - when called on.

Running Backs: LaDainian Tomlinson was clearly the focus of the Steelers last week who limited him to just 36 yards on 13 carries though he added a season high eight catches for 34 yards. It was the worst game yet for Tomlinson though hardly unexpected. The Chargers are mixing in Michael Turner around ten times a game this year and the second-year player is getting a lot done with limited action. He had 56 yards on just 11 runs and already has 277 yards on 41 carries this year - an average of 6.8 yards per carry.

Wide Receivers: While Keenan McCardell has been invisible this year, the better passing numbers last week favored Eric Parker who hauled in five passes for 86 yards. That was easily the best performance by any Charger wideout this year and the team is opting to include both Vincent Jackson and the lanky Malcolm Floyd. The passing numbers will never be very high for this unit with Tomlinson, Turner and Gates taking so many touches but at least Eric Parker is starting to show up.

Tight Ends: While Antonio Gates is lagging his 2005 numbers, he comes off a 55 yard, one touchdown game against the Steelers and has been consistently catching three or four passes each week for around 50 yards. It's great for a tight end, but not yet "Gates quality."

Match Against the Defense: Look for a nice rushing effort from Tomlinson against a defense that has allowed most teams to top 100 rushing yards if not score twice as well. As always, Turner could horn in on the action as well, particularly if this game gets away from the 49ers early enough.

Rivers will throw at least one score but he may not need much more than that. The 49ers secondary always allows at least one touchdown and could end up with nice yardage for Gates against a team that is #32 in the league against tight ends. Gates needs a big game to get back in stride and this is tailor made for him to succeed.

San Francisco 49ers (2-3)
1 27-34 @ARZ 10 --- @DET
2 20-13 STL 11 --- SEA
3 24-38 PHI 12 --- @STL
4 0-41 @KC 13 --- @NO
5 34-20 OAK 14 --- GB
6 --- SD 15 --- @SEA
7 Open Bye 16 --- ARZ
8 --- @CHI 17 --- @DEN
9 --- MIN - - THU
SFO vs SD Rush Catch Pass
QB Alex Smith 0 0 170,1
RB Frank Gore 50 40,1 0
TE Eric Johnson 0 20 0
WR Antonio Bryant 0 40 0
WR Bryan Gilmore 0 20 0
WR Arnaz Battle 0 30 0
PK Joe Nedney 0 FG 1 XP -

Pregame Notes: The 49ers finally get another win for the standings thanks to hosting the Raiders last week and with the Chargers and Bears up next, they will have to make that one last for a while. The offense here still shows life at least when playing at home but the defense has given up 146 points this season - dead last in the league. The new offensive coordinator Norv Turner has done wonders for the offense but head coach Mike Nolan has yet to rekindle the Raven's defense that he left in 2005.

Quarterback: Maybe it took finally facing the Raiders, but Alex Smith comes off his first ever three touchdown game when he threw for a very efficient 15 of 19 for 165 yards last week. He's never even had a two touchdown game before. Smith has struggled on the road this year but at home, he's always had at least one score.

Running Backs: Frank Gore comes off a career high 134 rushing yards on 27 carries against the Raiders that had 38 more yards on three receptions. He hasn't scored since week two and was turning in around 70 total yards in the two games before last week. That was his second 100 yard game of the year but his only game against a better than average defense this year resulted in just 65 yards on 14 carries against the Chiefs. Perhaps more important than any number was the "0" that Gore accomplished when he actually played a game without losing a fumble.

Michael Robinson has been getting more work lately and had 12 carries last week but only gained 21 yards. His two touchdown game against the Eagles looks more like a freak event every week.

Wide Receivers: Arnaz Battle was banged up coming into last week but he managed to catch four passes for 37 yards - two of them going for touchdowns. Antonio Bryant comes off his worst game of the year with just three catches for 27 yards and that makes three straight weeks under 40 yards. Bryant started out with two 100 yard games and one score but has done almost nothing since.

Tight Ends: With Vernon Davis sidelined, Eric Johnson has taken the starting role and done almost nothing with it. He has just six catches for 40 yards in the last two weeks.

Match Against the Defense: This will likely be a problem. The Chargers cannot afford to look past this week though the trip to Kansas City in week seven will make it tempting. But the defense has been stellar against the run this year with no runner turning in more than the 57 yards that Parker had just last week. Look for Gore to have a very moderate rushing game here but to figure more heavily into the passing game.

Smith faces a secondary that has been brutal this year with three scores allowed against six interceptions. He can hope for some trash time which could happen but look for a very moderate game this week with a chance for one score and no more. The Chargers corners are excellent, so a passing score would more likely go to Johnson or Gore.