fantasy football     JOIN THE HUDDLE    


Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
Player Projections by Team
Game Predictions Summary
The Huddle
December 27, 2006
Season Ticket
Sunday Late
ATL at PHI DET at DAL NE at TEN STL at MIN Sunday Nite
BUF at BAL OAK at NYJ updated GB at CHI

Prediction: PIT 16, CIN 27

The Steelers bid for respectability ended with the spanking by the Ravens last week and yet a win this week could mean a .500 season for what could be Cowher's finale with the team. But the Steelers are only 2-5 on the road and the Bengals won 28-20 in Pittsburgh in week three. Cincinnati can still reach the playoffs with a win here but would need either a Jets loss to the Raiders (as if) or a Denver loss to the 49ers (as if) and a Chiefs win. Imagine - the playoffs all went away with one extra point snap in Denver last week.

Pittsburgh Steelers (7-8)
1 28-17 MIA 10 38-31 NO
2 0-9 @JAX 11 24-20 @CLE
3 20-28 CIN 12 0-27 @BAL
4 Open Bye 13 20-3 TB
5 13-23 @SD 14 27-7 CLE
6 45-7 KC 15 37-3 @CAR
7 38-41 @ATL 16 7-31 BAL
8 13-20 @OAK 17 --- @CIN
9 20-31 DEN - MON THU
PIT at CIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Ben Roethlisberger 0 0 230,1
RB Willie Parker 60 20 0
TE Heath Miller 0 30 0
WR Hines Ward 0 70,1 0
WR Santonio Holmes 0 80 0
WR Nate Washington 0 30 0
PK Jeff Reed 3 FG 1 XP -
Pregame Notes: The recent three game winning streak made it appear that maybe the Steelers were getting back to form but then again who hasn't beaten the Buccaneers, Browns and Panthers lately? Roethlisberger fell back into his interception tossing ways last week while the Ravens had their way against the worsening Steelers secondary. The season is now over and this could likely be Cowher's final game.

Quarterback: Those last three games have been a blessing for Ben Roethlisberger since the soft defenses only netted one interception while he threw for one score in each game. But last week had the Ravens coming to town and Roethlisberger only managed to complete 15 of 31 passes for 156 yards and one score against two interceptions. Roethlisberger threw for 208 yards and three interceptions against the Bengals earlier this year.

Running Backs: Wile Parker ran for 133 yards on 31 carries and scored twice when the Bengals came to town in week three. But Parker has been far less effective in almost every road game this year and only has three rushing scores versus eight at home this year. His 132 yards in Carolina was a true surprise since otherwise he had been held to less than 60 yards in five road trips this season.

Wide Receivers: Hines Ward has turned into just another possession receiver as the season winds down and hasn't scored since week ten. The rookie Santonio Holmes comes off a solid 90 yards on five catches last week but has scored only once this year. Holmes will be the starter next year and has given enough reasons to expect a better season is in store for 2007. Nate Washington has managed to turn in 30 or 40 yards in most games and has four scores on the season but rarely produces any significant fantasy value.

Cedrick Wilson had 73 yards on three catches against the Steelers this year but Ward only managed 17 yards on two receptions.

Tight Ends: Heath Miller ends his second season with five scores but they seem to come almost exactly once every three week and he just scored against the Ravens. Miller has never had more than 35 yards in any game this year.

Miller turned in 34 yards on three catches against the Bengals this season.

Match Against the Defense: Parker typically struggles in road games and the Bengals will be in a foul mood after last week's extra point debacle - expect only moderate yardage gains here and likely no touchdown.

Roethlisberger was just starting to look back on track until last week and now a road game won't help matters. The Steelers will want to end their year on a high note but so will the Bengals who will not be in a good mood after letting last week get away from them. Expect at least one passing score here but more will likely happen only if there was much trash time and the Bengals had a huge lead - probably not that likely. The Bengals are weak against tight ends but Ward is way over due for a score.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM    QB   RB   WR   TE   PK  DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points PIT 7 10 8 18 19 10
Preventing Fantasy Points CIN 31 13 15 30 8 8


Cincinnati Bengals (8-7)
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 16-34 @IND
7 17-14 CAR 16 23-24 @DEN
8 27-29 ATL 17 --- PIT
9 20-26 @BAL - MON THU
CIN vs PIT Rush Catch Pass
QB Carson Palmer 0 0 260,3
RB Rudi Johnson 70 20 0
TE Reggie Kelly 0 10 0
WR Chad Johnson 0 60,1 0
WR Houshmandzadeh 0 90,1 0
WR Chris Henry 0 70,1 0
PK Shayne Graham 2 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Bengals season in a nutshell. That best describes what the missed extra point was like last week when they mounted a comeback in Denver to score at the end of the game to, supposedly, force overtime. There's still a chance that the Bengals could reach the playoffs but realistically this week will be the final chapter for a season that featured three losses by two points or less.

Quarterback: Carson Palmer's season has been above expectations for a quarterback who had torn ligaments in his knee less than 12 months ago. Palmer has thrown for 26 scores this year and has been good for around 250 yards and two scores in most games this season.

Palmer threw for 193 yards and four touchdowns in Pittsburgh this year.

Running Backs: Rudi Johnson has also turned in a fine season as well. Though he only had five games over 100 rushing yards, his 1261 rushing yards ranks 7th best in the league going into the final week and he has scored 12 touchdowns along the way.

Rudi Johnson ran for only 47 yards on 19 carries in Pittsburgh this season.

Wide Receivers: Bad Chad is back. While Chad Johnson exploded in week 10 and quickly regained the lead as best fantasy wideout this year, he has not scored since week 11 and in the last two weeks only had 37 and 32 yards during the two most critical fantasy weeks of the year. T.J. Houshmandzadeh has been more consistent though without the monster yardage games and has nine scores on the year. This remains one of the best passing attacks in the league and Chris Henry's seven touchdowns this year has made it even more dangerous.

Chad Johnson was held to just one catch for 11 yards in week three against the Steelers but Houshmandzadeh had nine catches for 94 yards and two scores while Chris Henry also scored twice on five receptions for 69 yards.

Tight Ends: No fantasy value. In the last meeting with the Steelers, the Bengals did not even throw a pass to a tight end.

Match Against the Defense: The Steelers have a solid rush defense but at home Rudi always runs better - expect moderate yardage here with a chance it could become good if the Bengals get a nice lead.

Palmer faces a secondary that he has already torched earlier this year in Pittsburgh. After last week, I like the Bengals to come out angry, not deflated. Look for at least two passing scores with a chance for even more. The weakness against the wideouts bodes poorly in this game.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM    QB   RB   WR   TE   PK  DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CIN 8 19 1 31 7 18
Preventing Fantasy Points PIT 15 5 28 21 12 29