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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
Player Projections by Team
Game Predictions Summary
The Huddle
December 20, 2006
Season Ticket
Sunday Late
Sunday Late
updated IND at HOU TEN at BUF CIN at DEN NYJ at MIA

Prediction: SD 31, SEA 24

This late game Sunday looked like a winner back last summer but the roles have reversed. Now the Chargers have the great record and a record-setting rushing game and the Seahawks are on a two game losing streak and have already lost two home games. Seattle will win the NFC West without this game but the Chargers need this one to remain the #1 seed. The entertaining aspect here is that the Chargers can treat the Seahawks to the same treatment that the Seahawks were doling out last year.

Update: Eric Parker is questionable this week because of a sore neck and has not practiced. I am removing him from the projections and shifting the numbers to Vincent Jackson who has emerged as the only Chargers wideout with any fantasy value.

San Diego Chargers (12-2)
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 24-21 @BUF
5 23-13 PIT 14 48-20 DEN
6 48-19 @SF 15 20-9 KC
7 27-30 @KC 16 --- @SEA
8 38-24 STL 17 --- ARZ
9 32-25 CLE - - MON
SDC at SEA Rush Catch Pass
QB Philip Rivers 0 0 230,2
RB L. Tomlinson 120,2 30 0
TE Antonio Gates 0 60,1 0
WR Keenan McCardell 0 30 0
WR Eric Parker 0 40 0
WR Vincent Jackson 0 70,1 0
PK Nate Kaeding 1 FG 4 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Chargers were 4-2 coming off a road loss in Kansas City but it's been a golden road since week seven that has been paved with eight consecutive wins thanks to LaDainian Tomlinson. With a home game against the Cardinals in week 17, this is the final week the Chargers have to put forth a big effort until the second week of the playoffs in January. Simply put, the Chargers are the team to beat and no one has been able to for the last two months. And maybe for the next six weeks as well.

Quarterback: While Philip Rivers had a horrible game last week, it came in a win and he never needed to throw one pass to win thanks to Tomlinson. But Rivers had 266 yards and two scores in Kansas City anyway so that was just one odd game. Rivers on the road has been good for two scores in any match-up against a winning record, so he should bounce back this week.

Running Backs: What is left to say about the highest scoring running back - nay, player - in the history of the NFL? One of the great things about Tomlinson is that after four games this year he only had three scores, was coming off two games without a touchdown and the buzz was all about grabbing Michael Turner. How things change, mi amigo. How things change...

Wide Receivers: There is no fantasy value in either Keenan McCardell or Eric Parker and neither have scored this entire season. Where the excitement comes is with Vincent Jackson who is grossly overshadowed by Tomlinson and Gates but who has scored three times this year and gained 95 and 66 yards in the last two games. Next season - expect Jackson to be the wideout to own for the Chargers. He's tall, he's fast and he's another weapon for a team that already is an offensive superpower.

Tight Ends: To the extreme disappointment of every fantasy owner in the playoffs last week, Antonio Gates only had one catch for seven yards. Every owner can no doubt quote you that exact statistic. But Gates remains the #1 tight end in the league and had scored in each of the three previous games.

Match Against the Defense: The Seahawks are getting no better and six runners have topped 130 yards against them this year. I am recommending that Tomlinson starts for you this week. He is truly worth the risk in the same way that. well.... dang. You just cannot compare Tomlinson to anything anymore.

Whatever Rivers does is a function of what Tomlinson leaves undone and that hasn't been a lot lately. But Rivers needs a decent game after last week and the defense will be keying on Tomlinson anyway. Expect a decent game here by Rivers with at least one passing score and likely two as have the last three opponents for Seattle.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM    QB   RB   WR   TE   PK  DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points SD 20 1 28 1 2 6
Preventing Fantasy Points SEA 17 16 22 10 21 27


Seattle Seahawks (8-6)
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 23-20 @DEN
5 Open Bye 14 21-27 @ARZ
6 30-28 @STL 15 14-24 SF
7 13-31 MIN 16 --- SD
8 28-35 @KC 17 --- @TB
9 16-0 OAK - MON THU
SEA vs SD Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Hasselbeck 0 0 210,2
RB Shaun Alexander 80,1 0 0
TE Jerramy Stevens 0 50,1 0
WR D.J. Hackett 0 70,1 0
WR Deion Branch 0 50 0
WR Nate Burleson 0 30 0
PK Josh Brown 1 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: Any similarity to the squad that won the NFC last year ends around the opening kick-off each week. While there are those odd match-ups that seemingly favor the lesser teams - like Miami versus New England or Houston against Jacksonville. The Seahawks now are owned by the 49ers but the struggles this year go well beyond the garnet and gold. Hasselbeck has looked good only against the weakest of defenses while Shaun Alexander is running a mere 24 touchdowns short of 2005 with only one decent game this year. The defense has not held an opponent below 20 points for six weeks now and only once in the last thirteen games. The loss of Hutchinson explains much, but the overall drop in play is well beyond losing an offensive guard.

Quarterback: Sure, it was rainy last Thursday when Matt Hasselbeck only had 220 yards and one score but he also threw two interceptions, had several oddly bad passes and was shown up by Alex Smith playing in the same conditions. When Hasselbeck has faced weak defenses like the Rams, Packers and Cardinals, he has thrown for three scores. When he has faced tougher foes like Denver, Minnesota, Chicago and evidently the 49ers, he has only had two touchdowns in those four recent games and only once had more than 200 passing yards. This week he faces the red hot Chargers.

Running Backs: When Shaun Alexander ran for 201 yards on 40 carries against the Packers, everything seemed right with the world. And if you ignore that one game, he has gained 276 yards on 88 carries since he returned in week 11. That's just a 3.1 yards per carry average. Alexander is healthy now but only gained 73 yards on 23 carries last week against the 49ers. He had games of 108 and 119 yards against them last year with a total of three scores. Alexander still gets plenty of carries with over 20 in almost every game this year, he's just not doing nearly as much with them. He averaged 5.1 yards per carry in 2005 and 4.8 YPC in 2004. The blocking is just not there, he's been injured, he signed a big fat contract - there could be many reasons but whatever they are it all adds up to a lot less production this year.

LG Floyd Womack may return this week from his groin injury which would help Alexander.

Wide Receivers: When Darrell Jackson suffered from acute turf toe in week 14, the Seahawks lost a receiver that had scored ten times this season and seven of the last nine games. His only bad game in the last two months was against the Raiders because the Seahawks did not need to throw the ball. Otherwise, Jackson has been the gold standard in Seattle. Without him, D.J. Hackett took his spot and had 87 yards on eight receptions but Deion Branch only had four catches for 54 yards when he was needed to step up. The passing game here is great against bad defenses but mediocre against good ones. Without Jackson, the entire unit takes a step backwards because Hasselbeck does not have the chemistry with them as much has he does with Jackson.

Jackson is expected to miss the game again this week and will be replaced by Hackett.

Tight Ends: Jerramy Stevens comes off a season high game with 64 yards on five catches with one score against the 49ers last Thursday but 22 yards and the touchdown came with 18 seconds left to play in a game already decided. Prior to last week, Stevens had a high of only 29 yards this year.

Match Against the Defense: Alexander has been underwhelming much of this year and he faces a top ten rush defense but the Chargers have allowed seven rushing scores to the last four road opponents so expect at least one touchdown by Alexander who likely will end up below 100 rushing yards again this week.

Hasselbeck should manage to throw at least one touchdown if not two but the loss of Jackson hurts deeply as the go-to guy that also was the preferred target in the endzone. The Chargers are #32 against tight ends so Jerramy Stevens should have a nice game here if he can just hold on to the ball.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM    QB   RB   WR   TE   PK  DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points SEA 8 30 6 26 18 13
Preventing Fantasy Points SD 13 8 7 32 13 1