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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
Player Projections by Team
Game Predictions Summary
The Huddle
October 25, 2006
Season Ticket
Sunday Late
Sunday night
On Bye
BAL at NO SF at CHI NYJ at CLE NE at MIN  
HOU at TEN TB at NYG PIT at OAK   updated

Prediction: ATL 17, CIN 23

The Falcons thrilling overtime win over the Steelers keeps them one game behind the Saints in the NFC South while the Bengals nipped the Panthers last week and are now tied with the Ravens in the AFC North. Important game for both but only the third road trip for the Falcons who are 1-1 away from Atlanta. The Bengals are 2-1 at home.

Update: Chris Henry is off suspension and eligible to play but he has not been announced as the starter yet. The Bengals have until 4 P.M. Saturday to activate him onto the 53 man roster. Problem this week is that Kelley Washington has already been called out this week because his hamstring strain and Antonio Chatman is doubtful to play with a groin strain. So although the Bengals have not even activated him onto the 53 man roster yet, it is looking like they won't have any other option but to add him to the roster and use him this week. He'll possibly be a little rusty and HC Marvin Lewis could certainly elect not to throw to him, but it is looking likely that Henry will play this week.

Atlanta Falcons (4-2)
1 20-6 @CAR 10 --- CLE
2 14-3 TB 11 --- @BAL
3 3-23 @NO 12 --- NO
4 32-10 ARZ 13 --- @WAS
5 Open Bye 14 --- @TB
6 14-27 NYG 15 --- DAL
7 41-38 PIT 16 --- CAR
8 --- @CIN 17 --- @PHI
9 --- @DET - MON SAT
ATL at CIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Michael Vick 80,1 0 130,1
RB Warrick Dunn 60 10 0
TE Alge Crumpler 0 50,1 0
WR Ashley Lelie 0 40 0
WR Michael Jenkins 0 20 0
WR Roddy White 0 10 0
PK Morten Andersen 1 FG 2 XP -
Pregame Notes: As a complete surprise, a passing war erupted in Atlanta last week and the winner was - Michael Vick! The Falcons needed that win to smooth over that loss to the Giants the previous week and now you have to think Michael Vick is rather full of himself having finally put down his critics for one week. The Falcons pass defense was shredded though and that's not a good sign heading to Cincinnati.

Quarterback: Michael Vick had never even thrown three touchdowns in any game so when he ended with 232 yards and four scores, it was a career best of gigantic proportions. Vick only had three passing scores total in the previous five games. He has never exceeded 154 yards. He still found time to run for 40 yards last Sunday but that was a season low. On the road this year, Vick has two scores and two games with around 140 passing yards.

Running Backs: Warrick Dunn comes off a 26 carry game against the Steelers but he only gained 69 yards. Other than his one long run against the visiting Giants, he's been turning in only 50-70 yards per game for the last month though he has scored in each of the last two games.

Jerious Norwood had eight carries for 64 yards last Sunday but the key to him is that he only plays in games that Atlanta wins. In those four games, he has a total of 33 carries for 281 yards and one score. In the two losses? Just five carries for nine yards. Make sure it looks like a winnable game before trotting out Norwood to replace a bye week player.

Wide Receivers: How disappointing must it be to play in the greatest passing game ever by Michael Vick and be Roddy White (2-10) or Ashley Lelie (4-58) or even Michael Jenkins (2-25). Jenkins did score in the game on an incredible catch but only had 25 yards on two receptions. And that was the first score by a Falcons wideout all year long.

Tight Ends: Alge Crumpler, on the other hand, joined Vick in turning in a career best when he hauled in six catches for 117 yards and three touchdowns. After a four game drought for scoring, Crumpler made up time pretty fast. Important to note - the tougher the game, the better Crumpler does. In the two losses, he still went 5-49 and 5-66 for his other two best games of the year.

Match Against the Defense: The Bengals rush defense has been pretty good at home though Maroney had no trouble there. Otherwise, no other runner has turned in more than 59 rushing yards there but almost every team scores a rushing touchdown. The Bengals have not faced a running quarterback either (because there really is no other one) which has to be considered.

The Falcons only have two road efforts so far and both were very different so relying on either as a key is likely inaccurate. I like Vick to run in a score this week and to pass for another - that would have to go to either Crumpler or Dunn because the CIN secondary is very good against wideouts. Vick should return to his normal self this week with minimal passing yardage though.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM    QB   RB   WR   TE   PK  DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points ATL 3 17 32 6 10 10
Preventing Fantasy Points CIN 16 19 2 24 5 14


Cincinnati Bengals (4-2)
1 23-10 @KC 10 --- SD
2 34-17 CLE 11 --- @NO
3 28-20 @PIT 12 --- @CLE
4 13-38 NE 13 --- BAL
5 Open Bye 14 --- OAK
6 13-14 @TB 15 --- @IND
7 17-14 CAR 16 --- @DEN
8 --- ATL 17 --- PIT
9 --- @BAL - MON THU
CIN vs ATL Rush Catch Pass
QB Carson Palmer 0 0 250,2
RB Rudi Johnson 70 10 0
TE Reggie Kelly 0 10 0
WR Chad Johnson 0 90,1 0
WR Houshmandzadeh 0 100,1 0
WR Chris Henry 0 30 0
WR Kelley Washington 0 20 0
PK Shayne Graham 3 FG 2 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Bengals turned the losing tide when they finally beat the Panthers after dropping games to the Patriots and Buccaneers. It was very close though and only a late game interception turned the Panthers away. What has been encouraging is that Palmer has not turned the ball over in the last two weeks and Rudi Johnson finally started to get back into gear. The next week in Baltimore will be very tough but the Falcons will demand complete focus this week.

Quarterback: Carson Palmer stumbled against the Patriots but he has thrown at least one score in each of the last four games and had two or more three times. Palmer is connecting with Chad Johnson better the last couple of weeks but still relies on Houshmandzadeh the most. Palmer has never thrown for less than 240 yards in any home game this year.

Running Backs: After a three game dry spell, Rudi Johnson finally started running well against last week when he gained 101 yards on 26 carries though most of that came in the second half. It was his first game over 20 carries since week two and, not coincidentally, his first good game since that time. Johnson is not flashy and he is not a great break away runner. But he is a pounder that gets better with more carries. The only question each week is if he will get those 20 carries.

Chris Perry returned last Sunday but he only had two runs for four yards. But he added 26 yards on three receptions - something Johnson has only done once this year. Johnson had only one catch in the last two weeks.

Wide Receivers: Chad Johnson still has not scored since week two but he has turned in games of six catches in each of the last three weeks with yardage of 64, 99 and 73. He's a factor again, just not as big as he wants or we expected. T.J. Houshmandzadeh continues to amaze, scoring his fourth touchdown on the season and out producing Chad in every game they have played together this year. If Hines Ward can rip the Falcons for 171 yards and three scores, Johnson should manage one. Or... Houshmandzadeh will just steal yet another touchdown.

Chris Henry is eligible to return this week after a two-game suspension by the NFL but there hasn't been any statement by the Bengals if they intend on activating him this week or adding onto the suspension. I will assume he won't play for how and update as needed. Kelley Washington has done little in relief of Henry.

Tight Ends: Reggie Kelly scored a touchdown last week but like Chad Johnson, he only has one on the season.

Match Against the Defense: Look for just a moderate yardage game from Johnson this week that won't get big unless the Falcons really fall apart - that's unlikely. With only one rushing score surrendered this year by Atlanta, forget about Johnson scoring this week.

Palmer goes against a secondary that had been great this year until Eli Manning showed up and scored twice. And then the Steelers had five passing scores last week. Have to like the chance that Palmer can score at least twice in this game and find BOTH Houshmandzadeh AND Chad Johnson.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM    QB   RB   WR   TE   PK  DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CIN 15 24 11 27 8 14
Preventing Fantasy Points ATL 11 3 22 14 15 21