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

Prediction: CIN 27, CLE 10

This shouldn't be too tough for the Bengals who swept the Browns last year, winning 34-17 in week 2 at home and 30-0 in Cleveland during week 12. The Bengals are looking at least as good as last year while the Browns are at least as bad. In less than 24 hours, Charlie Frye went from being a starting quarterback to scanning rental homes in the Seattle Post Intelligencer classified ads. Doesn't bode well, really. Tells a story though.

Update: Shayne Graham did not practice on Wednesday with a sore hip but returned on Thursday and is expected to play this week. I am adding him back into the projections. T.J. Houshmandzadeh was held out to rest his knee on Wednesday but returned to full practice on Thursday and is expected to be good on Sunday.

Cincinnati Bengals (1-0)
Homefield: Paul Brown Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 BAL 27-20 +3 40.5
2 @CLE 16-Sep OFF OFF
3 @SEA 23-Sep SUN 4:05 PM
4 NE 1-Oct MON 8:30 PM
5 BYE - - -
6 @KC 14-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
7 NYJ 21-Oct SUN 4:05 PM
8 PIT 28-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
9 @BUF 4-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
10 @BAL 11-Nov SUN 4:05 PM
11 ARI 18-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
12 TEN 25-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
13 @PIT 2-Dec SUN 8:15 PM
14 STL 9-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
15 @SF 15-Dec SAT 8:15 PM
16 CLE 23-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
17 @MIA 30-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
CIN at CLE Rush Catch Pass
QB Carson Palmer     230,2
RB Rudi Johnson 100,1 10  
TE Reggie Kelly   10  
WR Chad Johnson   100,2  
WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh   80  
WR Tab Perry   20  
PK Shayne Graham 3 XP 2 FG  
Pregame Notes: The Bengals parlayed good defensive play with sharp passing by Palmer to take down the Ravens on Monday night. The rushing game suffered as it normally does against the Ravens but all other facets of the team had a nice showing and Chris Henry is not missed so far. This week should be an easy win and one the Bengals need with a tougher schedule coming up. Notable here is that Shayne Graham pulled a quad muscle before the game and may not play. That would lead the Bengals to scoring a touchdown instead of taking the three.

Quarterback: Carson Palmer didn't have Chris Henry on Monday and never needed him with both Houshmandzadeh and Johnson stepping up nicely against a solid secondary. Palmer enjoyed big games against the Browns last year, throwing for 352 yards and two scores at home and later 275 yards and three scores in Cleveland.

Running Backs: The Ravens held Rudi Johnson to only 50 yards on 18 carries but with Kenny Irons and Chris Perry playing dominos on injured reserve, he never shared carries with anyone. Johnson also turned three catches into 26 yards though he won't normally do that against average defenses.

Johnson demolished the Browns in week two when he ran for 145 yards and scores twice. Later in Cleveland he only managed 64 yards on 25 carries with one touchdown.

Wide Receivers: Ocho Cinco came to play and turned five catches into 95 yards and one jacket-donning touchdown. T.J. Houshmandzadeh had nine receptions as the primary receiver but only 50 yards and one score. The Bengals tried to involve Tab Perry who could not catch any of his four passes. With Chad Johnson and Houshmandzadeh both scoring, they really do not need him anyway.

Johnson almost always has great games against the Browns. He had 78 yards on six receptions and a score at home and later 123 yards on seven catches for one score on the road. Houshmandzadeh turned in almost mirror games against them last year when he had 78 and 79 yards and scored once in each contest.

Tight Ends: Nope. Keep moving.

Match Against the Defense: This won't be as big on the road as it would at home but the Browns are only one game into season and already look like they have lost their way. This should end up as a solid win but not a bad beat because there is no reason to run up the score too much with a two game road trip coming up. Look for nice yardage and a score from Rudi Johnson.

Palmer shredded the Browns last year and will have a very good game here but expect the Browns to throw in the towel early and leave the Bengals to mostly run the clock out in the second half. Two scores should get it here for the dynamic duo. It is a clear "start your Bengals" game to be sure but Cleveland looks like the new Oakland and that could depress scores.

Gaining Fantasy Points CIN 11 30 9 26 18 2
Preventing Fantasy Points CLE 27 18 25 30 29 29


Cleveland Browns (0-1)
Homefield: Cleveland Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 PIT 7-34 +4.5 37
2 CIN 16-Sep OFF OFF
3 @OAK 23-Sep SUN 4:05 PM
4 BAL 30-Sep SUN 1:00 PM
5 @NE 7-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
6 MIA 14-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
7 BYE - - -
8 @STL 28-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
9 SEA 4-Nov SUN 4:05 PM
10 @PIT 11-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
11 @BAL 18-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
12 HOU 25-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
13 @ARI 2-Dec SUN 4:05 PM
14 @NYJ 9-Dec SUN 4:15 PM
15 BUF 16-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
16 @CIN 23-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
17 SF 30-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
CLE vs CIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Derek Anderson     200,1
RB Jamal Lewis 40    
TE Kellen Winslow   80  
WR Braylon Edwards   80,1  
WR Joe Jurevicius   20  
WR Josh Cribbs   10  
PK Phil Dawson 1 XP 1 FG  

Pregame Notes: Not quite the glorious start to the season that HC Romeo Crennel was hoping for. The Browns were crushed by the Steelers and Charlie Frye was so bad he was not only replaced by Derek Anderson, he was shipped off to Seattle in exchange for a fistful of Starbucks coupons.

Quarterback: With Frye now out of the picture, the starting nod goes to Derek Anderson who managed to complete 13 of 28 passes for 184 yards and a score against the Steelers. And an interception. And a fumble. And the Steelers didn't care about one score anyway. The question is less about what Anderson may do this week as it is when Brady Quinn finally gets the starting nod. Pending further information that Crennel is unlikely to give, it will be Anderson this week. If you start Anderson this week, and my condolences in advance, you may want to notice how close Quinn is standing to Crennel on the sidelines. And if he is holding a helmet.

Not only did Frye only gain 244 and 186 yards passing against the Bengals last year, he never scored and had a total of six interceptions in those two games.

Running Backs: The misguided notion that Jamal Lewis was going to reinvigorate the rushing game was sidetracked when he only gained 35 yards on 11 carries last week. That was even lower on average than he was doing in Baltimore when he was a washed up back on a good team. Now you can just drop the "on a good team".

Lewis almost has to be an upgrade when he faces the Bengals because if he gains more than 32 yards, he will have done more than Droughns could in 2006.

Wide Receivers: Even with Anderson under center, the wideouts did not matter last week and Braylon Edwards only had three catches for 49 yards and a fumble while watching Kellen Winslow do better. Every week from now on until Brady is named the starter will have risk relying on the wideouts here which is Edwards and basically no one else in fantasy terms. On the plus side, Edwards gets a lot of passes when the games go bad but Anderson could not complete them last week anyway.

Edwards had 110 yards on four catches in Cincinnati last year but only managed two receptions for 29 yards at home.

Tight Ends: Despite playing for the Browns, Kellen Winslow still had four catches for 83 yards last week and is the most consistent fantasy performer for the Browns as long as you are in a league where yards matter. A touchdown-only league? Not so pretty.

Match Against the Defense: This game is hard to gauge since the Browns are already stumbling and changing up the depth chart. No big concern here that Lewis is going to even reach moderate numbers but for the passing game it depends on if the Bengals can get a big early lead and drop back the coverage by halftime. Chances are good - Winslow and Edwards remain decent starts even if no other Brown is.

Gaining Fantasy Points CLE 16 25 24 4 32 30
Preventing Fantasy Points CIN 9 24 14 14 22 25

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