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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
  JAX at TEN WAS at NO STL at OAK *updated

Prediction: CLE 7, BAL 20

The recent losses by the Colts have put the Ravens into contention for a first round bye and this week should do nothing to change that. The Browns are only 2-4 on the road and the Ravens are 5-1 at home. The Browns usually play them tough but this game should never be in question. The Ravens come off a big win in Kansas City and head to Pittsburgh next week, so a down game here would not be a surprise. But a win by the Browns would be.

The Ravens barely won 15-14 when they visited the Browns in week three.

Update: No changes to the projections but a few notable items. Charlie Frye still has not returned to practice because of his wrist and will likely miss this week. Dennis Northcutt is also questionable with a shoulder sprain and has been held out of some practice but will likely play - his production has waned so much he is a nonfactor now anyway.

Derrick Mason has been held out of practice and is questionable with a thigh injury but is expected to play this week. Jamal Lewis was held out of practice on Thursday due to illness but is listed as probable and is not expected to be limited on Sunday.

Cleveland Browns (4-9)
1 14-19 NO 10 17-13 @ATL
2 17-34 @CIN 11 20-24 PIT
3 14-15 BAL 12 0-30 CIN
4 24-21 @OAK 13 31-28 KC
5 12-20 @CAR 14 7-27 @PIT
6 Open Bye 15 --- @BAL
7 7-17 DEN 16 --- TB
8 20-13 NYJ 17 --- @HOU
9 25-32 @SD - - THU
CLE at BAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Derek Anderson 0 0 190,1
RB Reuben Droughns 30 10 0
TE Kellen Winslow 0 60 0
WR Joe Jurevicius 0 50,1 0
WR Braylon Edwards 0 50 0
WR Dennis Northcutt 0 10 0
PK Phil Dawson 0 FG 1 XP -
Pregame Notes: After their thrilling win against the visiting Chiefs in week 13, the Browns were reminded that they are not nearly "there" yet when the Steelers crushed them in Pittsburgh last week. The Browns made the Ravens work for their win back in week three so there's not even the luxury of having the Ravens discount their effort. The Derrick Anderson magic apparently was good for only one game.

Quarterback: With Charlie Frye on the sideline, Derek Anderson turned in a nice 276 yard, one touchdown performance for his debut and he only threw for one interception. For a debut game, it was impressive enough though most of his yardage and the lone touchdown came later in the game.

Frye threw for 298 yards and one score when the Ravens came to Cleveland in week three but he's never had anything close to that since. Frye also ran in a score for the third straight week and has not managed a rushing touchdown since. Last year in Baltimore, Trent Dilfer only had 147 passing yards and no scores for the Browns.

Frye's wrist prevented him from playing last week and I am assuming that he will miss this week as well until he practices and appears ready to return.

Running Backs: Just when it looked like Reuben Droughns was getting back on track with a touchdown and 118 total yards against the Chiefs in week 13, he only gained six yards on five carries in Pittsburgh last week. His last 100 rushing yard game was seven weeks ago and in most games this year he has struggled to get above just 50 yards. The only factor in his favor currently is that Jason Wright is also looking just as bad.

Droughns did not play in the week three game against the Ravens and Jason Wright ran for only 31 yards on 15 carries in that game. Last year in Baltimore, Droughns only gained 55 yards on 15 carries and did not score.

Wide Receivers: Anderson has already shown nice chemistry with Joe Jurevicius who comes off two of his best games of the year with the second-year quarterback at the helm. Jurevicius had 75 yards on six catches against the Chiefs and turned in 111 yards on seven receptions in Pittsburgh. Braylon Edwards has been less successful though he ended with 86 yards on four catches last Thursday thanks to a 45-yard touchdown pass late in the game. The oddity with Frye out is that the wideouts have never looked more productive.

Edwards caught seven passes for 116 yards and one score against the Ravens this year. Jurevicius did not play and Northcutt only had 32 yards on three catches in that meeting. In 2005, the Browns had Northcutt as the best wideout with just 60 yards.

Tight Ends: Kellen Winslow has suffered with Anderson around - he comes off his worst game of the year with just one catch for 26 yards and he has not scored in the last six games.

Winslow caught seven passes for 92 yards against the Ravens this year.

Match Against the Defense: The Ravens have only allowed one opposing runner to score a touchdown and even Tomlinson was denied when he visited back in week four. Look for the standard minimal yards from Droughns this week.

The Ravens have only allowed one visiting quarterback to exceed 200 passing yards and only five passing touchdowns have been allowed to visitors. Give Anderson - or even Frye if he makes it back - the chance for one score but anything more would be a huge success. Since no tight end has caught a touchdown against the Ravens, consider Jurevicius as the most likely to score if Anderson plays.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM    QB   RB   WR   TE   PK  DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CLE 14 32 28 3 25 22
Preventing Fantasy Points BAL 10 1 13 3 1 1


Baltimore Ravens (10-3)
1 27-0 @TB 10 27-26 @TEN
2 28-6 OAK 11 24-10 ATL
3 15-14 @CLE 12 27-0 PIT
4 16-13 SD 13 7-13 @CIN
5 3-13 @DEN 14 20-10 @KC
6 21-23 CAR 15 --- CLE
7 Open Bye 16 --- @PIT
8 35-22 @NO 17 --- BUF
9 26-20 CIN - THU MON
BAL vs CLE Rush Catch Pass
QB Steve McNair 0 0 190,1
RB Jamal Lewis 80,1 10 0
TE Todd Heap 0 40 0
WR Derrick Mason 0 60 0
WR Mark Clayton 0 70,1 0
WR Demetrius Williams 0 10 0
PK Matt Stover 2 FG 2 XP -

Pregame Notes: The win in Kansas City lands the Ravens in contention for a first round bye and the rest of the schedule includes two teams they have already beaten and a home game against the Bills. The Ravens are heading towards a 13-3 finish unless an upset happens.

Quarterback: Steve McNair has made a big difference to the Ravens offense this year but his fantasy value at home is almost nil thanks to a dominating defense and an adequate rushing game. Over the last three home games, McNair has only thrown for one touchdown and only moderate yardage. McNair threw for 261 yards and one touchdown in Cleveland this year.

Running Backs: Jamal Lewis ran for 86 yards on 21 carries in Cleveland this season. He never gained more than 89 yards against the Browns in two games last year and never scored. But the rushing game has perked up in recent weeks and he has scored in each of the last three homes games and never had less than 66 rushing yards. Lewis only has one game over 100 rushing yards this year but he offers a solid - if only average - complement to the passing game.

Wide Receivers: Mark Clayton has made strides this year, he has turned in three games over 100 yards and scored in each but he balances that still with more games of minimal yardage. He can post the numbers when the need is there and he had 74 yards on eight catches in Cleveland earlier this year. Derrick Mason had seven catches for 134 yards against the Browns but that has been his only game over 100 yards this season. Mason only has two scores this year.

Tight Ends: Todd Heap started the year out on a hot streak but he has cooled since week nine and only has one score over the last six games. In the last two games, Heap has been held to 33 yards or less.

Heap caught five passes for 36 yards in Cleveland this year and scored once. Last year in Baltimore, he had six receptions for 79 yards and one score against the Browns.

Match Against the Defense: This game smacks of a low scoring affair. Look for one rushing score by Lewis against the 20th ranked defense. He's been on a scoring streak lately and a home game against the Browns should keep that active.

McNair won't need to throw much to win here but should end with at least one score that favors Clayton slightly. The Ravens defense should be enough to win this game and the offense will just fill in the spaces.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM    QB   RB   WR   TE   PK  DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points BAL 17 24 24 4 9 2
Preventing Fantasy Points CLE 19 20 22 18 22 29