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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
The Huddle
~ 2007 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday night

Prediction: BUF 10, PIT 27

The Bills come off a heart-breaking loss to the Broncos while the Steelers were never challenged by the Browns. At least it shouldn't be nearly so close a lose this week for the Bills. The Steelers offense looked great (of course Cleveland contributed to that) and back at home their defense alone should be enough in this game.

Update: Josh Reed did not practice the last two days because of a thigh contusion but has not been ruled out for the game. I am lowering his numbers and there is a chance that he does not play.

Buffalo Bills (0-1)
Homefield: Ralph Wilson Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 DEN 14-15 +3.5 37
2 @PIT 16-Sep +9.5 37.5
3 @NE 23-Sep SUN 1:00 PM
4 NYJ 30-Sep SUN 1:00 PM
5 DAL 8-Oct MON 8:30 PM
6 BYE - - -
7 BAL 21-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
8 @NYJ 28-Oct SUN 4:05 PM
9 CIN 4-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
10 @MIA 11-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
11 NE 18-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
12 @JAC 25-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
13 @WAS 2-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
14 MIA 9-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
15 @CLE 16-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
16 NYG 23-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
17 @PHI 30-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
BUF at PIT Rush Catch Pass
QB J.P. Losman 10   200,1
RB Marshawn Lynch 70 10  
TE Robert Royal   10  
WR Lee Evans   70,1  
WR Josh Reed   20  
WR Peerless Price   30  
PK Rian Lindell 1 XP 1 FG  
Pregame Notes: Not a lot to take from the Broncos loss other than the decision to draft Marshawn Lynch has already paid off and the idea that this is J.P. Losman's breakout season is maybe premature. The Bills defense and special teams played bend but don't break last week but it will be harder on the road in Pittsburgh to expect their opponent to only score 15 points. If Losman throws another 97 yard game, the Steeler defense alone may score that much.

Quarterback: J.P. Losman had to open his season hosting one of the very best secondaries in the league and it showed. He did complete 14 of 21 passes but only gained 97 passing yards with one interception. His passing numbers should increase this week but so could the interceptions.

Running Backs: Forget the loss, Marshawn Lynch was more than a little impressive against the Broncos when he set the Bills rookie record by gaining 90 yards on 19 carries and scored once on a 23-yard open field "jets on" run. Lynch was only used for two receptions for nine yards but his running showed power and moved - everything you hope to get with a high first round pick. Now he just has to wait for the rest of the offense to catch up.

The notion that Anthony Thomas was going to do anything this year was incorrect. Thomas only had three carries for a net loss of one yard. It's either going to be Lynch or no one here. You can swap Thomas for some other stiff on the waiver wire now.

Wide Receivers: Amazingly the Bills elected to not upgrade the wideouts this year and that means Lee Evans has to carry the load. At least unless the defense decides to just cover him like Denver did and limit him to only five yards on two catches. Josh Reed (4-37), Peerless Price (1-(-2)) and Roscoe Parrish (2-25) isn't going to scare anyone. Parrish scored on a punt return but this unit has a screaming need for someone besides Evans to matter. And that doesn't appear likely to happen this season.

Tight Ends: Robert Royal actually makes the wideouts look productive.

Match Against the Defense: Now the Bills are two-faceted on offense with Marshawn Lynch and Lee Evans but the Steelers at home are always a tougher defense. Lynch already exceeded expectations but anything more than moderate numbers here means the Bills truly drafted a gem.

Losman should have better results this week by not facing the top secondary in the league but the Steelers at home present a challenge bigger than just Lee Evans. Look for moderate passing numbers and one score eventually once the game is out of reach. That has to favor Evans who will be constantly moved around if necessary. Also expect turnovers here that could translate into a score for the Steelers.

Gaining Fantasy Points BUF 32 16 29 28 29 11
Preventing Fantasy Points PIT 17 8 9 29 1 3


Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0)
Homefield: Heinz Field
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @CLE 34-7 -4.5 37
2 BUF 16-Sep -9.5 38
3 SF 23-Sep SUN 1:00 PM
4 @ARI 30-Sep SUN 4:15 PM
5 SEA 7-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
6 BYE - - -
7 @DEN 21-Oct SUN 8:15 PM
8 @CIN 28-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
9 BAL 5-Nov MON 8:30 PM
10 CLE 11-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
11 @NYJ 18-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
12 MIA 26-Nov MON 8:30 PM
13 CIN 2-Dec SUN 8:15 PM
14 @NE 9-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
15 JAC 16-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
16 @STL 20-Dec THU 8:15 PM
17 @BAL 30-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
Steelers Projections Rush Catch Pass
QB Ben Roethlisberger     200,2
RB Willie Parker 130,1 10  
TE Heath Miler   30  
WR Hines Ward   50,1  
WR Santonio Holmes   90,1  
WR Nate Washington   20  
PK Jeff Reed 3 XP 2 FG  

Pregame Notes: The Steelers pulled an ace by opening against the Browns and by the final gun, the offense looked as good as anything that the Cowher years produced and maybe better in the passing game. Sure, it was only the Browns but Roethlisberger threw for four touchdowns while Willie Parker had no problem rushing on the road thanks to so many carries. Even more favorable was that Steeler defense completely shutting down the Browns offense even more than the Browns would have done to themselves. A solid opening win and now a rather nice schedule leading up to the week six bye that could see the Steelers undefeated.

Quarterback: The new offensive scheme still has some kinks to work out since Ben Roethlisberger only completed 12 of 23 passes but he had 161 yards and four scores. Any offense that can score every three completions has to be considered on the right track. A softer slate in the first month gives Big Ben time to get that completion ratio up before hitting the meat of the schedule.

Running Backs: Willie Parker gained 109 yards last week but it did require 29 carries for the standard 4.0 yards per carry. That's favorable considering that Parker struggled on the road last year before starting to be more complete by the end of the year. Back at home this week is where Parker was electric in 2006.

Wide Receivers: Hines Ward snared three passes for 51 yards and the first score last week but equally as encouraging was Santonio Holmes catching two passes for 55 yards and a score as well. Holmes is the one to watch in this offense since the second year player has all the signs of an early breakout year. No other Steeler wideout even had a catch last week with the minimal passing though Cedrick WIlson turned an end around into a 37 yard gain. With only 12 completions it is still too early to get a handle on what this new passing game can do but four scores says it's almost certainly to be very good things.

Tight Ends: Heath Miller was nearly forgotten in drafts this summer but he showed up with four catches for 35 yards and a score already. He will remain a part of this passing offense. Even back-up Matt Spaeth had a score on his only catch.

Match Against the Defense: This is looking pretty good. In just one game, the Bills lost CB Jason Webster to a broken forearm and he would have covered Holmes this week. The Bills also lost their starting free safety Ko Simpson to a broken ankle. And the BIlls had already lost an outside linebacker before the game and then lost his replacement to a sprained knee. Home opener this week means that Parker should have one of those really big games.

Roethlisberger won't have huge yardage totals again this week because he won't need them but still should throw for a couple of scores that favors the wideouts the most but could end up with Miller yet again. Look for a solid home game here with the Steelers still working on their passing game against a banged up secondary. .

Gaining Fantasy Points PIT 6 15 8 3 4 4
Preventing Fantasy Points BUF 24 21 26 11 26 8

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