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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: SEA 17, DEN 24

Seattle had to battle on Monday to beat the Packers but by the time the snow cleared they made it look easy. Alexander is back in a big way and Hasselbeck got it going in the second half against the worst secondary in the NFL. But Seattle is only 2-3 on the road so far and last week was more like a warm up game. The Broncos come off a painful loss but unlike Seattle who has a short week, the Broncos have been preparing for this for the last ten days. A new quarterback likely won't hurt and could pretty easily help (ask any Denver fan). This game should help define if the Seahawks are truly back and what the Cutler Broncos will look like now that they have a quarterback who looks like a High School junior on a field trip.

Update: No changes to the projections but Darrell Jackson is being held out of practice to rest a sore knee but is expected to start this week. Tatum Bell is back at practice and will be playing this week.

Seattle Seahawks (7-4)
1 9-6 @DET 10 24-22 STL
2 21-10 ARZ 11 14-20 @SF
3 42-30 NYG 12 34-24 GB
4 6-37 @CHI 13 --- @DEN
5 Open Bye 14 --- @ARZ
6 30-28 @STL 15 --- SF
7 13-31 MIN 16 --- SD
8 28-35 @KC 17 --- @TB
9 16-0 OAK - MON THU
SEA at DEN Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Hasselbeck 0 0 210,2
RB Shaun Alexander 70 0 0
TE Jerramy Stevens 0 20,1 0
WR Darrell Jackson 0 50 0
WR Deion Branch 0 60 0
WR D.J. Hackett 0 60,1 0
PK Josh Brown 1 FG 2 XP -
Pregame Notes: Nothing could be more heart-warming to Seattle fans than to see Shaun Alexander run for 201 yards last week and Hasselbeck tossing touchdowns (ignoring all those interceptions). Seattle has a two game lead over the rest of the NFC West so a loss here likely won't hurt them too much. After this week, the only remaining game that should be challenging will be hosting the Chargers in week 16 so a 10-6 record should be the worst they can do.

Quarterback: Matt Hasselbeck's return on Monday posted three scores against the very bad Packers secondary but in the snowy first half he was obviously rusty. He threw three interceptions and completed just 17 of 36 passes for 157 yards. That sort of performance won't win the game against a top defense like Denver this week.

Running Backs: Okay, so it may have only taken 12 weeks, but those Shaun Alexander owners out there were pretty pleased with the 201 yards he gained last week against the Packers. His 40 carries says they are not concerned about his foot any longer and his production shows why. Still - he never scored. Alexander only has two touchdowns on the year and his only two road games this season never had more than 51 rushing yards and no touchdowns.

Wide Receivers: First week back and Hasselbeck looked for Deion Branch more than any other receiver. Branch ended with nine targets but only 38 yards on four catches. Darrell Jackson scored but only had two catches for 20 yards and D.J. Hackett actually led the team with 67 yards on five receptions with one score. All that against the worst secondary in the league. Not so this week.

Tight Ends: Jerramy Stevens had a touchdown last week on his only catch in the game but had three outright drops. That the Seahawks continue throwing to him shows confidence beyond reason.

Match Against the Defense: Much of this game will depend on what Cutler does - good or bad. But the Broncos had been stellar against the run at home until Tomlinson showed up a few weeks ago. Look for only a moderate game here by Alexander likely without a score since he just has not yet been effective on the road.

Hasselbeck faces a secondary that can be beaten by a top passer like Peyton Manning or Philip Rivers but Hasselbeck is still getting used to the speed of the game again. Look for two scores this week on the high side that will likely favor Stevens if he can hold on to the ball and one wideout like Hackett who can avoid either corner. Branch draws CB Darrent Williams that Manning exploited but he'll likely be getting help this week.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM    QB   RB   WR   TE   PK  DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points SEA 8 29 5 25 12 9
Preventing Fantasy Points DEN 4 16 1 17 22 4


Denver Broncos (7-4)
1 10-18 @STL 10 17-13 @OAK
2 9-6 KC 11 27-35 SD
3 17-7 @NE 12 10-19 @KC
4 Open Bye 13 --- SEA
5 13-3 BAL 14 --- @SD
6 13-3 OAK 15 --- @ARZ
7 17-7 @CLE 16 --- CIN
8 34-31 IND 17 --- SF
9 31-20 @PIT - MON THU
DEN vs SEA Rush Catch Pass
QB Jay Cutler 0 0 200,2
RB Tatum Bell 80,1 10 0
RB Mike Bell 20 20 0
TE Stephen Alexander 0 20 0
WR Rod Smith 0 50,1 0
WR Brandon Marshall 0 20 0
WR Javon Walker 0 70,1 0
PK Jason Elam 1 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: And so the Plummer years end, with a whimper instead of a bang. Actually there was a bang from the mercy killing. Jay Cutler starts his career and so far he has been awe-inspiring in preseason and in practice. And first debuts of quarterbacks often go very well since there is no game film on them. With Tatum Bell back this week, the Broncos have to win to entertain any notion of winning the division if not even a wild card. They travel to San Diego next week, but the 7-4 record will not allow them to look past this game.

Quarterback: Jake Plummer comes off one of his better statistical games and that only took 216 yards and one score in Kansas City. After ten starts, Plummer only has eleven touchdowns this year and now has been benched so the Jay Cutler future may begin. As with all "previously unseen" quarterbacks, what to expect is hard to forecast but the debuts of Leinart, Gradkowski and even Young to some extent exceeded expectations. Cutler has received nothing but rave reviews so far but this will be his first regular season action.

Running Backs: The never-ending turnstile at running back finally did not matter when last week saw the Broncos rush for only 28 yards against the Chiefs. That game saw Tatum Bell inactive, Mike Bell gaining 28 yards on 10 carries and Damien Nash gaining no yards after four runs. Tatum Bell has missed three of the last four games with turf toe on both feet but expects to play this week. Since the running game has not been particularly successful as of late, no doubt the Broncos will go back to Tatum. I will project for Tatum as the primary with a bit of relief from Mike Bell but as always - there's speculation in that.

Wide Receivers: Javon Walker comes off his worst game in a month when he only managed to gain 55 yards on six catches against the Chiefs. Other than his one season best effort in Pittsburgh, Walker has not gained more than 68 yards in a game over the last five weeks though he did score in weeks eight through ten. Rod Smith is down to being little more than a productive tight end in weekly stats and Brandon Marshall has never been more than a couple of catches per game.

Tight Ends: The rookie Tony Scheffler was inactive again last week and he has clearly fallen from favor. The Broncos are not writing him off by any means but he's not progressing in his first year and has been replaced by Stephen Alexander who caught the lone passing touchdown last week. That was his first score of the year.

Match Against the Defense: Look for at least a moderate to good game here from Tatum Bell if he is healthy again. The Seahawks have allowed nice games to opposing road running backs this year and the Broncos should score once via the run.

The Seahawks have allowed at least one passing score to each of the last four road opponents and should see Cutler throw for two - just like Gradkowski and Leinart did in their debuts. It's all speculation since there are no previous games to help predict this week but the Seahawks should give up at least one score to Walker. It will be interesting to see if Cutler can differ from Plummer by recognizing that more than Walker exists.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM    QB   RB   WR   TE   PK  DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DEN 24 18 18 29 23 25
Preventing Fantasy Points SEA 16 17 19 6 17 29