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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: TB 13, CLE 20

Just to remind everyone about "Any given Sunday", the Bucs shocked the world by scoring 31 points in Chicago last week but still could not pull out a win. The Browns have lost their last two games and are only 2-5 at home this year but the Buccaneers are 0-7 on the road and burned up their four leaf clover last week. This should prove to be quite the yawner of a game since it pits the #31 scoring offense on the road against the #30 scoring offense at home.

Update: Carnell Williams has a foot sprain and has not practiced this week. He remains questionable but could suit up. WIlliams has been of little fantasy value this year and with a bum foot could be even worse. Since he did not tracel with the team, I am removing him from the projections. Mike Alstott would likely figure in more if Williams cannot play. Alex Smith sprained his ankle in practice on Thursday and is now questionable. I am leaving his numbers alone but be aware he may be a problem this weekend.

The Browns have listed Joe Jurevicius (concussion) and Kellen Winslow (knee) as questionable but both practiced on Thursday and are expected to play.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-11)
1 0-27 BAL 10 10-24 @CAR
2 3-14 @ATL 11 20-17 WAS
3 24-26 CAR 12 10-38 @DAL
4 Open Bye 13 3-20 @PIT
5 21-24 @NO 14 6-17 ATL
6 14-13 CIN 15 31-34 @CHI
7 23-21 PHI 16 --- @CLE
8 3-17 @NYG 17 --- SEA
9 14-31 NO - MON THU
TBB at CLE Rush Catch Pass
QB Tim Rattay 0 0 220,1
RB Carnell Williams 20 10 0
RB Michael Pittman 50 30 0
TE Alex Smith 0 20 0
WR Joey Galloway 0 70,1 0
WR Maurice Stovall 0 40 0
WR Ike Hilliard 0 40 0
PK Matt Bryant 2 FG 1 XP -
Pregame Notes: It was so close. The change to Tim Rattay last week suddenly had the Buccaneers offense looking formidable - in Chicago no less! The Bears were up by 21 points and already packing up the equipment boxes when the Buccaneers suddenly had an explosion in the passing game but in the end, the Bears just took the overtime win. No doubt it all left Bucs fans with the question - "why'd we wait so long to play Rattay?" This week will likely answer that question. The nice part about the 31 points last week is that is safely made the Raiders as the lowest scoring team in the NFL.

Quarterback: The Buccaneers spent a sixth round pick in trade to acquire Tim Rattay last year and finally got around to seeing what they bought when they were in Chicago last week and Gradkowski was having another horrible game. Rattay responded with an astounding 268 yards and three scores and completed 20 of 35 passes with just one interception. Rattay won't come as a surprise this week and it's highly unlikely the Browns will get a 21 point lead and drop back into a prevent defense.

Running Backs: All that fun last week and Carnell Williams only came up with 26 yards on 11 carries and that was only his third worst game this year. In seven road games this year, Williams has never scored and four times turned in less than 45 rushing yards. He only has one score on the year. Mike Alstott scored last week and has three touchdowns on the season even though he only has 32 carries on the year.

Wide Receivers: What happened last week was a fluke - clearly - unless Rattay actually has been a hidden super weapon. Ike Hilliard scored once on Sunday but only has two touchdowns on the season and never more than the 55 yards he had last week. Joey Galloway ended with 107 yards and a score in Chicago but had only scored once in the previous five games and had not topped 100 yards since week five. This unit has been woefully unproductive this year outside of a few long catches by Galloway.

Tight Ends: Alex Smith scored last Sunday but that was his first since week six. He has been locked at around ten or 20 yards in every game this year.

Match Against the Defense: The Browns rush defense is about average at home but against the Bucs should look stellar. Expect more of less from Carnell Williams again this week.

Rattay was a treat in his late game heroics last week and he faces a secondary that has given up a couple of scores at least to the last thee visiting quarterbacks. But expecting much more than one score and moderate yardage by Rattay is hard to do with so little to go on than one quarter of surprising play. Look for a decent game here by Galloway but it is all a risk with Rattay on the road this week. The lack of a rushing game should spark more passing.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM    QB   RB   WR   TE   PK  DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points TB 30 25 20 23 31 31
Preventing Fantasy Points CLE 18 20 24 18 22 30


Cleveland Browns (4-10)
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 17-27 @BAL
7 7-17 DEN 16 --- TB
8 20-13 NYJ 17 --- @HOU
9 25-32 @SD - - THU
CLE vs TB Rush Catch Pass
QB Derek Anderson 0 0 220,2
RB Reuben Droughns 60 10 0
TE Kellen Winslow 0 70,1 0
WR Joe Jurevicius 0 50,1 0
WR Braylon Edwards 0 60 0
WR Dennis Northcutt 0 20 0
PK Phil Dawson 2 FG 2 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Browns have struggled lately to be sure, but their schedule has been a killer and these last two games come against two of the weakest teams in the NFL. This is the chance to end the year on a high note and the final home game for the Browns. The defense has been giving up 24+ points for the last five games but the Buccaneers are even worse at scoring than the Browns are. This is the big chance for a win.

Quarterback: Charlie Frye has been out for three games with a wrist injury and in his place Derek Anderson has started against three tough opponents - KC, @ PIT and @BAL - and come away with at least one score in every game and a total of five touchdowns as a starter. Anderson threw for 223 yards in Baltimore last week and 276 yards in Pittsburgh. The Browns lost those games largely due to a defense that allowed 27 points in each, but Anderson has been generally impressive as a starter.

Running Backs: Thanks to injury, Reuben Droughns has only played in five home games this year and he scored in two of the last three. Droughns is likely to be replaced by next year but in a home game against a very weak opponent is exactly what has helped Droughns in the past. He ran for 125 yards against the visiting Jets and even had 70 yards and a score against the Chiefs in week 13.

Wide Receivers: Perhaps the most encouraging and surprise aspect of Anderson is that he has not relied on backs and tight ends as new quarterbacks often do. Instead, he has actually depressed with what Winslow has done while using Braylon Edwards and Joe Jurevicius better than Frye ever has. Edwards has caught a score in each of the three starts by Anderson while only notching three in the seven games without him. Jurevicius scored last week and had a season high 111 yards in Pittsburgh two weeks ago.

Tight Ends: With Anderson as the starter, Kellen Winslow has never had more than the 61 yards he turned in last week and has only averaged about 35 yards per week. Winslow has not scored since week eight.

Match Against the Defense: The Buccaneers rush defense has been about average but mainly because they allowed 13 scores by opposing running backs this year. Only three runners have topped 100 rushing yards against them and Droughns will not be the fourth. Expect just moderate yardage by Droughns with a chance for one score.

Anderson faces a secondary that has taken a huge nosedive in the second half of the season and the last four road opponents have thrown at least two touchdowns if not up to five. This should be yet another week for Anderson to look impressive and going against the #29 defense against tight ends could mean Winslow finally shows up in the end zone again. CB Ronde Barber should match up on Edwards which will make Jurevicius look more attractive this week.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM    QB   RB   WR   TE   PK  DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CLE 12 32 24 3 27 22
Preventing Fantasy Points TB 30 19 14 29 17 22