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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
Player Projections by Team
Game Predictions Summary
The Huddle
November 29, 2006
Season Ticket
Sunday Late
Sunday night
ATL at WAS MIN at CHI   TB at PIT Updated

Prediction: SD 28, BUF 17

The Chargers are 4-2 on the road this year and won last week despite trying to mail in the game. The Bills are 5-6 and on a two game winning streak but are only 3-2 at home. The only question here is if the Chargers try again to mail in this week as well since they host the Broncos in week 14. Even then, just let Tomlinson play quarterback for one play and everything is okay.

The Bills lost 10-48 in San Diego last season.

San Diego Chargers (9-2)
1 27-0 @OAK 10 49-41 @CIN
2 40-7 TEN 11 35-27 @DEN
3 Open Bye 12 21-14 OAK
4 13-16 @BAL 13 --- @BUF
5 23-13 PIT 14 --- DEN
6 48-19 @SF 15 --- KC
7 27-30 @KC 16 --- @SEA
8 38-24 STL 17 --- ARZ
9 32-25 CLE - - MON
SDC at BUF Rush Catch Pass
QB Philip Rivers 0 0 180,1
RB L. Tomlinson 120,3 20 0
TE Antonio Gates 0 50,1 0
WR Keenan McCardell 0 40 0
WR Eric Parker 0 40 0
WR Vincent Jackson 0 30 0
PK Nate Kaeding 0 FG 4 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Chargers not only have the highest scoring team in the NFL, if they were shut out this week and the Cowboys or Colts both scored less than 42 points the Chargers would still be the highest scoring team. After this week come home games against the Broncos and Chiefs and then a road game to Seattle. The final week goes against the Cardinals as a respite before the playoffs but this week is the last lull before a tough three game challenge.

Quarterback: The Chargers came out flat last week and Philip Rivers comes off his worst game of the year with just 133 passing yards. Even the lone passing touchdown was thrown by Tomlinson who single-handedly beat the Raiders last Sunday. Home games against soft opponents like OAK or CLE have seen Rivers turn in very low efforts, particularly when Tomlinson is more than enough to win. No need to tip the hand to Denver this week.

Drew Brees has a great game against the Bills last year, throwing for 339 yards and four touchdowns.

Running Backs: LaDainian Tomlinson leads all running backs with 1,602 total yards and his 24 total touchdowns are nine more than Larry Johnson. He has scored in each of the last eight games and had fourteen scores in the four game stretch prior to last week when he "only" had two rushing scores and one passing that does not count towards his touchdown totals. As of this week, the Bills now have the worst defense against running backs.


Tomlinson only gained 67 yards on 19 carries but scored once against the Bills last season.

Wide Receivers: Keenan McCardell was a reluctant scratch with a sore calf last week and was replaced by Vincent Jackson who had just three receptions for 32 yards. That was basically the exact same sort of game he had when he was just the slot receiver though even then he had a touchdown against the Broncos the previous game. This unit only slightly comes to life in tough match-ups when Rivers has to throw and almost disappears when the games are easy.

Both Parker and McCardell had touchdowns against the Bills last year and both had around 70 - 80 receiving yards.

Tight Ends: After failing to score for four straight games, Antonio Gates reeled in one touchdown last week on a pass from Tomlinson. He ended with six catches for 81 yards for his best game of the year. Gates has been off this season, but mostly because Tomlinson has been so "on".

Gates had five catches for 77 yards and one score against the Bills in 2005.

Match Against the Defense: The Bills rush defense has declined this year to the point where they are now #32 against running backs and due to face the #1 running back. Tomlinson has tough games ahead and it would be sure nice to get a big jump on the remaining six scores he needs to set the new touchdown record. It's not that they won't see him coming, it is that they cannot stop him.

That leaves Rivers with likely a mediocre afternoon of handing off the ball and not showing anything new to the Broncos for week 13. Look for only moderate yardage here and likely no need to throw for more than one score.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM    QB   RB   WR   TE   PK  DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points SD 16 1 23 1 3 7
Preventing Fantasy Points BUF 13 32 15 13 8 20


Buffalo Bills (5-6)
1 17-19 @NE 10 16-17 @IND
2 16-6 @MIA 11 24-21 @HOU
3 20-28 NYJ 12 27-24 JAX
4 17-12 MIN 13 --- SD
5 7-40 @CHI 14 --- @NYJ
6 17-20 @DET 15 --- MIA
7 6-28 NE 16 --- TEN
8 Open Bye 17 --- @BAL
9 24-10 GB - - -
BUF vs SD Rush Catch Pass
QB J.P. Losman 10 0 150,1
RB Willis McGahee 60,1 10 0
TE Robert Royal 0 20 0
WR Peerless Price 0 30 0
WR Lee Evans 0 60,1 0
WR Josh Reed 0 20 0
PK Rian Lindell 1 FG 2 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Bills squeaked out a win last week over the Jaguars thanks to a punt return for a score and a late game drive that netted the winning field goal. That brings them to within realistic striking range of a .500 season with remaining games against the Jets, Dolphins and Titans. Willis McGahee is back and helping to cover up the fact that Losman has no receivers outside of Lee Evans.

Quarterback: The Jaguars decided to cover Lee Evans this week and unlike the monster game against the Texans, J.P. Losman was left with just 169 passing yards last week and no scores - pretty much the norm for him. in any game that Losman has faced a top defense, he has always struggled to reach even 150 passing yards.

Losman only threw for 168 yards and one score in San Diego last year.

Running Backs: Anthony Thomas twisted an ankle while rushing four times for no gain last week but Willis McGahee played and had an impressive 63 yards on only 12 carries with two touchdowns scored. That was only the second time this year that McGahee has scored in a game and he still has only one 100 yard rushing effort this year.

McGahee only carried the ball ten times for 39 yards in the meeting with the Chargers last season.

Wide Receivers: The Lee Evans report has him falling from 265 yards and three scores against the Texans in week 11 to just 58 yards on five catches last week. That was more akin to every other game he has played this year and he has only scored in three match-ups all season. Sign of the effectiveness of this offense - Josh Reed (1-6) and Peerless Price (3-10) combined for as much yardage as the tight end Robert Royal and the Bills only used him once in most games. It is Evans or nothing here and usually - it is nothing really.

No receiver had more than the 69 yards turned in by Evans in San Diego last year.

Tight Ends: No fantasy relevance but about as good as any non-Evans wideout.

Match Against the Defense: The four game suspension is up for LB Shawn Merriman so the defense will be better this week for the Chargers. Too bad for the Bills. But since the Bills will run McGahee even when the scoreboard screams for them to pass, look for a moderate yardage game from him with a shot at one touchdown.

Losman faces a secondary that usually gives up one score to a tight end but that would be a new wrinkle for the Bills to use Royal in the endzone. I am crediting Evans with one score because he gets such a disportionate amount of passes than the others. Anything more than one score here by Losman would be a major success. One score is a big enough success.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM    QB   RB   WR   TE   PK  DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points BUF 30 28 17 32 16 10
Preventing Fantasy Points SD 17 12 12 29 13 1