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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
The Huddle
Divisional Round
January 10, 2007
Saturday, January 13th
Sunday, January 14th
Indianapolis at Baltimore, 4:30 PM Seattle at Chicago, 1:00 PM
Philadelphia at New Orleans, 8:00 PM New England at San Diego, 4:30 PM

Prediction: SEA 17, CHI 23

The Seahawks head to Chicago thanks to the inability of Tony Romo to field a field goal snap and bring their 4-4 road record to face the rested Bears who only lost once at home in the meaningless week 17 game against the Packers. The Bears already won 37-6 when the Seahawks came to Chicago in week 4.

Seattle Seahawks (9-7)
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 17-20 SD
8 28-35 @KC 17 23-7 @TB
9 16-0 OAK 18 21-20 DAL
SEA Projections Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Hasselbeck 0 0 190,1
RB Shaun Alexander 80,1 10 0
TE Jerramy Stevens 0 40 0
WR Bobby Engram 0 60,1 0
WR Deion Branch 0 40 0
WR Nate Burleson 0 30 0
PK Josh Brown 1 FG 2 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Seahawks squeaked past Dallas last week and head back to the site of their worst loss of the year. Last week saw Darrell Jackson try to return from turf tow only to re-aggravate the condition and D. J. Hackett suffered a sprained ankle but at least the replacement cornerbacks more than held their own against Owens and Glenn. Seattle has not been a great road team this year and facing a rested Bears squad that already beat them by 31 points won't make this week any easier.

Quarterback: Matt Hasselbeck has not been particularly productive for the last month but last week turned in 240 yards and two scores when Jerramy Stevens suddenly opted to actually catch passes instead of dropping them. Hasselbeck threw for only 196 yards and no scores in the previous game in Chicago. and had been struggling without Jackson until last week when Stevens showed up big.

Running Backs: Shaun Alexander was inactive back in week six when the Seahawks went to Chicago and his return in week 11 hasn't seen him return to the ways of 2005 other than against the Packers when he ran for 201 yards on 40 carries and the 140 yards on 31 carries he had against the Chargers in week 16 - both in home games. He has scored four times in the last four games but last week only had 69 yards on 24 carries and apparently turned his ankle in that game though he continued to play. Alexander has not been nearly as good this year whenever he faced a good defense.

Wide Receivers: When everyone is healthy, this unit can post some points and gain yards but most of that goes directly to Darrell Jackson who missed the last two games of the season with a turf toe condition and then tried to play last week only to re-aggravate it again. He may play this week but then again could just leave the game injured again as he did last week without a catch. D.J. Hackett also injured his ankle last week and could be limited this week. Bobby Engram led all receivers against the Cowboys when he had four receptions for 88 yards while Deion Branch continues to provide right at around 50 yards each week with no scores.

In week four, the best wideout was Jackson with just 62 yards against the Bears while Branch turned in 57 yards. No wideout scored that week.

Tight Ends: Jerramy Stevens was inactive when the Seahawks last played the Bears but he has scored six times in the 11 games played since then and his two scores last week help to provide the winning margin. Steven has been plagued with dropped passes this year but has been much more reliable for the last month.

Match Against the Defense: Shaun Alexander faces a defense that had allowed several visiting running backs to have decent games but Alexander 2006 is not the same dominating back. Expect a decent enough game here with a chance for one score but more than 100 rushing yards will be a pleasant surprise for the Seahawks. With Jackson and Hackett both at least gimpy if even available, the Bears will be even more committed to stopping the run.

Hasselbeck will face a better defense since the bye week has helped the Bears to get more healthy and SS Todd Johnson is expected to play for the first time in five weeks and LCB Charles Tillman is expected back after a two week absence. Hasselbeck had very little success in the first meeting but could manage one score this time. Stevens has looked better lately but the Bears have one of the top ranked defenses against tight ends.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM    QB   RB   WR   TE   PK  DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points SEA 12 29 7 26 15 14
Preventing Fantasy Points CHI 6 7 16 2 2 24


Chicago Bears (13-3)
1 26-0 @GB 10 38-20 @NYG
2 34-7 DET 11 10-0 @NYJ
3 19-16 @MIN 12 13-17 @NE
4 37-6 SEA 13 23-13 MIN
5 40-7 BUF 14 42-27 @STL
6 24-23 @ARZ 15 34-31 TB
7 Open Bye 16 26-21 @DET
8 41-10 SF 17 7-26 GB
9 13-31 MIA - - MON
CHI Projections Rush Catch Pass
QB Rex Grossman 0 0 160,1
RB Thomas Jones 90.1 10 0
RB Cedric Benson 40 0 0
TE Desmond Clark 0 30 0
WR Muhsin Muhammad 0 50 0
WR Rashied Davis 0 20 0
WR Bernard Berrian 0 40,1 0
PK Robbie Gould 3 FG 2 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Bears dominating defense took a hard hit in the final month of the season thanks to injuries and the defense that had been stuffing all opponents allowed 21 or more points to each of the last four opponents. But some of the players are back this week thanks to added time off from the bye week. The defense will play at least well if not great and the pivotal point in this game will go straight to which Rex Grossman showers up this week. After experiencing a "one and out" last year, the Bears are well aware of how tenuous a playoff spot is.

Quarterback: After turning in solid numbers for the first five games of the season, Rex Grossman quickly turned into an error-prone liability until finally the year ended with an easy stretch against the Rams, Buccaneers and Lions. And in the final game against the Packers, Grossman only threw 12 passes which resulted in two catches for 33 yards and three interceptions with one lost fumble. Not exactly how he wanted his year to end. No doubt that the Bears will try to minimize what Grossman needs to do this week but it only took 12 passes in week 17.

Grossman threw for 232 yards and two scores against the Seahawks in week four.

Running Backs: Starting in week 13, the Bears went to a nearly 50/50 sharing of carries between Thomas Jones and Cedric Benson mostly because Jones was nursing injuries but refused to take a week off. In the six games since, Jones has never had more than 76 yards in any game and scored only twice. Benson has also scored twice in that time and had a career best 109 yards in week 17 on just 13 carries.

In week four, Jones had almost every carry and ended with 98 yards and two touchdowns - his only two score game of the year.

Wide Receivers: None of the Bears wideouts have done much for the last month and Mark Bradley has the only wideout score in the last two games played thanks to one catch for 75 yards. The struggles of Grossman has lowered everyone in this unit but back in week four, Bernard Berrian had a season high 108 yards and one score while Muhsin Muhammad turned in one touchdown on just two catches for 42 yards.

Tight Ends: Desmond Clark's performances this season have been as good as 125 yards and as low as no catches (which he did twice). Clark caught three passes for 39 yards against the Seahawks this season.

Match Against the Defense: The Bears enjoyed a big win over the Seahawks back in week four but that was when Seattle was without Shaun Alexander and the Bears still had all defenders healthy. This time around expect the Bears to run the ball as much as possible in a game that should be around freezing and with winds that could be up to 20 MPH with possible snow. Jones already ran well in week four and is rested with Benson available as well.

Grossman is the wildcard here but only so far as the defense and rushing game are not enough to win. Expect a lower effort here by Grossman who the Bears will not want to rely on any more than needed.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM    QB   RB   WR   TE   PK  DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CHI 19 13 14 10 1 1
Preventing Fantasy Points SEA 19 13 25 6 15 27