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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
Player Projections by Team
Game Predictions Summary
The Huddle
November 15, 2006
Season Ticket
Sunday Late
Sunday night
CIN at NO PIT at CLE     updated

Prediction: CHI 23, NYJ 6

The Bears made a statement last week when they took down the Giants in a dominating fashion and at 8-1, they have a two game lead over the NFC to secure homefield advantage throughout the playoffs. The Jets come off a big win over the Patriots thanks in part to HC Eric Mangini knowing everything about his ex-team. The Bears had been squeaking past road opponents until last week but the Jets have no advantages in this game.

Update: Bernard Berrian's bruised ribs are healed enough to allow him to practice this week but there is still a concern about him getting contact in the game. I am adding Berrian back into the projections because it appears he will play but he is not a safe start with tender ribs and the Bears are more likely to run this week anyway.

Chicago Bears (8-1)
1 26-0 @GB 10 38-20 @NYG
2 34-7 DET 11 --- @NYJ
3 19-16 @MIN 12 --- @NE
4 37-6 SEA 13 --- MIN
5 40-7 BUF 14 --- @STL
6 24-23 @ARZ 15 --- TB
7 Open Bye 16 --- @DET
8 41-10 SF 17 --- GB
9 13-31 MIA - - MON
CHI at NYJ Rush Catch Pass
QB Rex Grossman 0 0 200,1
RB Thomas Jones 110,1 10 0
RB Cedric Benson 20 0 0
TE Desmond Clark 0 30,1 0
WR Muhsin Muhammad 0 60 0
WR Rashied Davis 0 30 0
WR Bernard Berrian 0 20 0
WR Mark Bradley 0 30 0
PK Robbie Gould 3 FG 2 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Bears came out lethargic last week but turned up the heat in the second half for a dominating win. The Bears rank #2 in points scored behind only the Chargers and they rank #1 in points allowed by a full 17 points over #2 Baltimore. There's always going to be the chance that the Bears take a week off and that won't even hurt their playoff aspirations, but so long as they can turn in a strong second half like last week, it's entirely possible we have seen their final loss for the calendar year.

Quarterback: Rex Grossman only had 107 yards and one score by halftime against the Giants but had a big second half effort. He ended with 246 yards and three touchdowns in what was easily his best road game of the year. Prior to last week, Grossman had never thrown for more than one touchdown as a visitor. That gives Grossman seven touchdowns over the last three games and only once has he failed to score in a game this year. Grossman was able to compensate for the absence of Bernard Berrian by just throwing strikes to Muhsin Muhammad.

Running Backs: Thomas Jones hasn't been a highly effective runner, but when he gets enough carries he can turn in nice fantasy value as he did last Sunday. Thomas ran 30 times for 113 yards and one touchdown against the Giants and has been turning in 100+ yard games every other game since week four of the season. Most of Thomas' production came in the second half while the Bears were running up and protecting their lead. Cedric Benson had six carries with almost no yards in the first half but then just watched Jones rack up the yardage at the end of the game. It was the first time this season that Jones had gained more than 63 yards in a road game and his first score as a visitor.

Wide Receivers: The Bears started last week with Rashied Davis replacing the injured Berrian but Davis only had one catch for 26 yards. Mark Bradley finally received some playing time for the first time in eight games and had four catches for 79 yards and one touchdown. Bradley had missed time with a hip pointer and a sprained ankle this year and just fell from favor with the effectiveness of Berrian. Muhsin Muhammad comes off his best game of the year when he had seven catches for 123 yards and a touchdown and that makes three consecutive games with a score. Muhammad was already the #1 receiver here but with Berrian out, he becomes even more valuable.

Tight Ends: Desmond Clark caught his fourth touchdown of the year last week but it was on his only catch in the game. Prior to last week, Clark was typically good for around 30 yards or more each week.

Match Against the Defense: No secret here - the Jets are horrible at stopping the run and there's no reason not to expect at least a good game from Thomas Jones in this one - possibly a very big game. Expect over 100 yards and a score.

Grossman is a bit inconsistent at best, but he's managed to get the job done in almost every game. The rushing game should take up most of this one but there's enough time for at least one score - everyone does against the Jets. The yardage should be just moderate in this one and likely will favor Desmond Clark thanks to a weak defense against the tight end. Berrian would have been a nice play in this one but since he is likely out, Rashied Davis is less likely to catch a score though he has the most exploited match-up in the secondary.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM    QB   RB   WR   TE   PK  DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CHI 14 15 10 7 1 1
Preventing Fantasy Points NYJ 21 32 20 26 11 8


New York Jets (5-4)
1 23-16 @TEN 10 17-14 @NE
2 17-24 NE 11 --- CHI
3 28-20 @BUF 12 --- HOU
4 28-31 IND 13 --- @GB
5 0-41 @JAX 14 --- BUF
6 20-17 MIA 15 --- @MIN
7 31-24 DET 16 --- @MIA
8 13-20 @CLE 17 --- OAK
9 Open Bye - - MON
NYJ vs CHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Chad Pennington 0 0 140
RB Kevan Barlow 40 0 0
RB Leon Washington 50 20 0
TE Chris Baker 0 10 0
WR Laveranues Coles 0 40 0
WR Tim Dwight 0 20 0
WR Jerricho Cotchery 0 50 0
PK Mike Nugent 2 FG 0 XP -

Pregame Notes: Nothing like beating the divisional bully in his own backyard. The Jets rise to a winning record with the win over the Patriots last week but this will be easily the best defense that they have yet faced and the offense has been less than stellar lately anyway. The only nice thing about facing the Bears is that the ever-shifting backfield in New York isn't an issue this week - none of them should do much.

Quarterback: The Jets may have beaten the Patriots, but that didn't have a lot to do with Chad Pennington. He only had 168 yards and one score with one interception in the rainy, muddy mess in New England but it was just in line with every other game he's had for the last seven weeks. Pennington has only had one effort exceed 200 yards since week two and has six scores over the last seven games.

Running Backs: Just in case you think you have figured out the Jets backfield, consider that the starting tailback in the game wasn't Leon Washington or Kevan Barlow, it was Brad Smith who is listed as a wideout but played as a quarterback at Missouri where he was a double threat passing and running. Smith never had a carry in the game though he has 12 runs on the season against only three receptions. Leon Washington only gained 35 yards on nine carries and paled compared to Kevan Barlow who was much better in the mud. Barlow ran 17 times for 75 yards and scored once. Washington seems to be fading fast from his big game against the Lions and facing the Bears this week won't likely prompt a turnaround.

Barlow will continue to mix with Washington and game situations will dictate which gets more use. Cedric Houston is still recovering from his hyper-extended knee back in week four and could end up with playing time soon.

Wide Receivers: Laveranues Coles has been a total non-factor for the last three weeks with never more than 40 yards in those games. He's been second fiddle to Jerricho Cotchery lately which really isn't saying a lot though Cotchery finally scored a touchdown last week after being denied from the endzone for over a month. Cotchery has been the more productive wideout the last three games with two efforts over 70 yards. The minimal passing numbers by Pennington have naturally depressed the fantasy value of this crew.

Tight Ends: One catch per week - no value here.

Match Against the Defense: This is what it sounds like when doves cry. Pennington faces the #1 defense against quarterbacks and he's already been struggling. Forget the passing game other than some minimal production that mostly hopes not to give up a defensive score to the Bears.

When Brandon Jacobs scored against the Bears last week, it was the first time any running back had. Look for low numbers here from the motley crew and no touchdowns unless the Bears try to mail this game in. Having the Jets just beat the Patriots should help the Bears stay focused on this game.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM    QB   RB   WR   TE   PK  DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NYJ 27 19 16 28 29 13
Preventing Fantasy Points CHI 1 4 6 1 5 20