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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
Player Projections by Team
Game Predictions Summary
The Huddle
December 13, 2006
Season Ticket
Sunday Late
Sunday Late

Prediction: CIN 27, IND 31

This is bound to be a great Monday night game. The Bengals have won their last four games and at 8-5 are on a roll and in strong contention for a wild card. The Colts are 10-3 but have lost three of their last four games - winning only the one home game against the Eagles. But the Colts are still 6-0 at home this year and are in jeopardy of losing their chance for a first round bye or more than one home game in the playoffs. This is a desperation game despite the 10-3 record.

The Colts won 45-37 when they visited Cincinnati in week 11 last year in what was a wonderful game for fantasy points.

Update: No changes to the projections but both Dominic Rhodes (wrist sprain) and Joseph Addai ( foot sprain) are listed as questionable this week and have been held out of some drills but both are currently expected to play on Monday.

Cincinnati Bengals (8-5)
1 23-10 @KC 10 41-49 SD
2 34-17 CLE 11 31-16 @NO
3 28-20 @PIT 12 30-0 @CLE
4 13-38 NE 13 13-7 BAL
5 Open Bye 14 27-10 OAK
6 13-14 @TB 15 --- @IND
7 17-14 CAR 16 --- @DEN
8 27-29 ATL 17 --- PIT
9 20-26 @BAL - MON THU
CIN at IND Rush Catch Pass
QB Carson Palmer 0 0 260,1
RB Rudi Johnson 110,2 20 0
TE Reggie Kelly 0 10 0
WR Chad Johnson 0 90,1 0
WR Houshmandzadeh 0 80 0
WR Chris Henry 0 0 0
PK Shayne Graham 2 FG 3 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Bengals have won their last four straight games and the biggest difference has not been Chad Johnson coming back to life or Palmer playing well. It has been the play of the defense that has not allowed more than 16 points to any opponent in the last month including the Saints. The win over the Ravens was huge and the Raiders were just schedule filler last week. With a game in Denver and against the Steelers left to play, the Bengals are in a nice position to control their own destiny.

Quarterback: When Carson Palmer was last on the road, he was throwing three scores in both New Orleans and in Cleveland with back-to-back 275 yards games. The last couple of weeks have seen him fall back with a tough win over the Ravens and then last week's "mail it on in" against the Raiders. But in big games lately, Palmer has been turning in big numbers including 440 yards and three scores against the visiting Chargers in week ten.

Palmer threw for 335 yards and two touchdowns against the Colts last year.

Running Backs: Rudi Johnson comes off a 117 yard, two touchdown game against the Raiders last Sunday and that gives him six touchdowns over the last seven weeks. That gave him four efforts over 100 rushing yards on the season and a total of ten scores on the season. Johnson ran for 76 yards on 16 carries and scored two touchdowns when the Colts came to Cincinnati last year.

Wide Receivers: With the Bengals on a roll lately, both wideouts are turning in big games every week. Chad Johnson has not fallen below 91 yards in any of the last five match-ups and continues to be the highest scoring wideout in most leagues. He has not scored in the last thee weeks but had five scores in the two previous games. T.J. Houshmandzadeh looked like he was going to take a back seat when Johnson caught fire but has scored in each of the last three games with an average of around 100 yards in each. Chris Henry has been left out in terms of yardage but even he has three scores in the last three weeks. It is all working here lately.

Houshmandzadeh only had 47 yards on four receptions against the Colts last year but Chad Johnson turned eight catches into 189 yards and one touchdown. Chris Henry caught the other passing score on his three catches for 31 yards.

Tight Ends: No fantasy value

Match Against the Defense: There is no secret - the Colts rush defense has been demolished lately and that was with Bob Sanders playing. There is no doubt that Rudi Johnson will be expected to play a big role here and the more the Bengals can run, the lower this potential shootout becomes in points scored from a lack of playing time. Johnson already had 76 yards and two scores in the previous game, look for him around the 100 yard mark with at least one and likely two scores again. It could go higher of course, all depending on how well the Bengals can keep Manning from getting ahead on the scoreboard.

Palmer has been playing well and already had a big game against the Colts last year. But the rushing should depress then need to pass. The best bet for fantasy points here is that the Colts get a decent lead and a shootout happens. At worst, Palmer will have a good game here and should throw for moderate yardage and one score. No team has thrown for more than 247 yards against the Colts this year.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM    QB   RB   WR   TE   PK  DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CIN 6 21 1 29 7 16
Preventing Fantasy Points IND 7 32 1 13 10 11


Indianapolis Colts (10-3)
1 26-21 @NYG 10 17-16 BUF
2 43-24 HOU 11 14-21 @DAL
3 21-14 JAX 12 45-21 PHI
4 31-28 @NYJ 13 17-20 @TEN
5 14-13 TEN 14 17-44 @JAX
6 Open Bye 15 --- CIN
7 36-22 WAS 16 --- @HOU
8 34-31 @DEN 17 --- MIA
9 27-20 @NE - - MON
IND vs CIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Peyton Manning 0 0 310,3
RB Dominic Rhodes 40 10 0
RB Joseph Addai 40,1 30 0
TE Ben Utecht 0 40,1 0
WR Marvin Harrison 0 80,1 0
WR Reggie Wayne 0 110,1 0
WR Ricky Proehl 0 30 0
PK Adam Vinatieri 1 FG 4 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Colts were 9-0 and the world was their oyster. Now they are just 10-3 and looking more like they peaked far too early this year and have lost all ability to stop the run. With only games against the Texans and Dolphins left to play, a win here should secure a first round bye. More importantly, a win here reverses the dramatic turn for the worse that has plagued the Colts for the last four games. In their favor - the Colts are still perfect at home.

Quarterback: Peyton Manning was cruising through the season with multiple touchdown games and good yardage but the last several weeks have been much different. Manning has only thrown three touchdowns in the last four games and never more than one per match-up. But at home he has only thrown two interceptions versus six in the last four road games and the only time Manning has not had a big game at home was because the rushing effort was enough to win the game.

Manning threw for 365 yards and three touchdowns in Cincinnati last season.

Running Backs: Joseph Addai was held to 22 yards last Sunday and got limited playing time after suffering an apparent ankle injury. The recent struggles of the Colts only mirror what has happened in the rushing game in road games. The duo of Joseph Addai and Dominic Rhodes have turned in far better games at home than on the road this year. Those last three road games had the duo never turning in more than 56 yards per runner and often less than 20 yards. But at home, at least one of them has run for 80 or more yards in each of the last four home games. This week answers the question - are the Colts just bad on the road suddenly or just plain bad everywhere?

The Colts had two scores and 89 rushing yards from Edgerrin James when they played the Bengals last year.

Wide Receivers: Brandon Stokley suffered an Achilles' tendon injury and is likely out for the season. That "only" leaves Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne along with likely Ricky Proehl who had two catches for 23 yards last week. Harrison only had five catches for 42 yards against the Bengals last season while Wayne had five receptions for 117 yards and one touchdown.

Tight Ends: Ben Utecht is getting more passes with Dallas Clark out but he still has no fantasy value since he rarely has more than 20 yards in a game. The tight ends came up huge in Cincinnati last year, with Dallas Clark turning in six catches for 117 yards and one score and Bryan Fletcher catching a touchdown as well. That could happen again if the Colts opt for two tight end sets without Stokley again.

Match Against the Defense: The Bengals only have an average rush defense but with the duo splitting time in Indy, look for only moderate games from both with a chance for no more than one score if that.

Manning will have to win this game and likely will want to get points on the board as quickly as he can to prevent the Bengals from trying to run the ball all game. The Bengals secondary is nothing special that has already allowed six opponents to throw for multiple scores and Drew Brees racked up 510 passing yards in one game against them. Look for a very nice effort here from Manning. The Bengals are very soft against tight ends but the Colts have not been using them as much.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM    QB   RB   WR   TE   PK  DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points IND 4 12 7 6 5 23
Preventing Fantasy Points CIN 27 17 8 30 5 9