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

Prediction: CHI 17, PHI 20

The Bears come into this game having lost three of their last four and the loss to the Vikings had to cut deeply. The Bears are also only 1-2 on the road this season. The Eagles are 2-3 but struggled to beat the Jets last week and outside of Westbrook the offense still only has one showing this year that bore any resemblance to 2006. Both teams need a win in a big way but only one is back at home.

Update: L.J. Smith experienced some inflamation in his groin from the injury that has plagued him the entire season. He has not practiced this week and I am just removing him from the projections.

Chicago Bears (2-4)
Homefield: Soldier Field
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @SD 3-14 +5.5 42.5
2 KC 20-10 -12 34.5
3 DAL 10-34 -3 41
4 @DET 27-37 -2.5 46
5 @GB 27-20 +3 41
6 MIN 31-34 -5 35.5
7 @PHI   +4.5 40.5
8 DET 28-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
9 BYE - - -
10 @OAK 11-Nov SUN 4:15 PM
11 @SEA 18-Nov SUN 8:15 PM
12 DEN 25-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
13 NYG 2-Dec SUN 4:15 PM
14 @WAS 6-Dec THU 8:15 PM
15 @MIN 17-Dec MON 8:30 PM
16 GB 23-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
17 NO 30-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
CHI at PHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Brian Griese     230,2
RB Cedric Benson 60 10  
TE Greg Olsen   50  
TE Desmond Clark   40  
WR Bernard Berrian   50  
WR Muhsin Muhammad   30,1  
WR Devin Hester   40,1  
PK Robbie Gould 1 FG 2 XP  
Pregame Notes: After searching for years for a productive passing game to couple with the league's best defense and a dominating rushing game, the Bears finally have found success through the air with Brian Griese. Okay - so, uh, where'd the defense and rushing game go to now? Three of the past four opponent s have scored at least 34 points against the Bears while Cedric Benson has become the most polite runner in the league by standing by patiently for the offensive line to open a hole. Take away the one win in Green Bay and it's hard to prove this is not a cellar team.

Quarterback: While every fantasy fan (and most Bears' fans) were clamoring for Brian Griese to become the starter since last year, the wait has been worth it since Griese has posted seven touchdowns in three games while Rex Grossman only totaled one in the same amount of time. Griese has yet to turn in less than two scores and had completely recharged the offense even if nothing else works anymore.

Running Backs: What Cedric Benson needs is to cut off the dreads and wear a blond mohawk ALA Chad Johnson in order to distance himself from... well... what he has been so far. He has been over 67 rushing yards only once this year and scored only twice. He is averaging almost 20 carries per game for around 62 yards. The holes are not there for him to run through and he apparently has no "make it happen myself" in him. For a team that prided itself on the ability to run, this unit can only dream of being considered average. All Benson needs to do is to change his look, get a new offensive line and perhaps the ability to break tackles and he is golden.

Wide Receivers: Griese has rediscovered Muhsin Muhammad this year who, as it ends up, had been hiding out downfield on pass routes. Muhammad still has yet to gain more than 49 yards in a game but he has scored twice in the last three weeks with Griese. With Grossman he had a combined four catches for 36 yards over three games. Bernard Berrian finally had his first score of the year when he collected five receptions for 78 yards last Sunday. This unit is hardly on fire but compared to life under Grossman, it looks like it is blazing now.

The success of Devin Hester last week has to spawn more involvement since Hester tied the game on an improbable 8- yard touchdown catch.

Tight Ends: The offense is moving better because Griese has turned to his tight ends. Desmond Clark has been averaging 50 yards per game with Griese and scored in the last two. The rookie Greg Olsen has 120 yards and nine catches with his first NFL score in the last two weeks. Griese has diversified the passing scheme to more than just "Where's Bernard?" and it would matter much more if the Bears' defense could hold opponents to less than 34 points.

Match Against the Defense: The Eagles have a solid rush defense that is even better at home so look for more of the same from Benson which means no score and marginal rushing yardage.

Griese faces a secondary that has only given up four passing scores this year and usually only about 200 yards other than when Kitna went nuts throwing on literally every play in week three. Expect at least one score here and decent yardage since the Bears will be behind and probably two since Griese is getting the job done well so far. The Eagles have been the best in the league stopping tight ends which will impact what Griese can accomplish. What will impact this game will be how well the Eagles can rush Griese who has been sacked nine times so far.

Gaining Fantasy Points CHI 19 27 23 8 17 4
Preventing Fantasy Points PHI 6 8 19 1 13 28


Philadelphia Eagles (2-3)
Homefield: Lincoln Financial Field
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @GB 13-16 -3 43.5
2 WAS 12-20 +7 38.5
3 DET 56-21 -6.5 44.5
4 @NYG 3-16 -2.5 47
5 BYE - - -
6 @NYJ 16-9 -4.5 43.5
7 CHI   -4.5 40.5
8 @MIN 28-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
9 DAL 4-Nov SUN 8:15 PM
10 @WAS 11-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
11 MIA 18-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
12 @NE 25-Nov SUN 8:15 PM
13 SEA 2-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
14 NYG 9-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
15 @DAL 16-Dec SUN 4:15 PM
16 @NO 23-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
17 BUF 30-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
PHI vs CHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Donovan McNabb     240,2
RB Brian Westbrook 100,1 60  
TE L.J. Smith 20
WR Reggie Brown   50  
WR Kevin Curtis   100,1  
WR Jason Avant   20  
PK David Akers 2 FG 2 XP  

Pregame Notes: Talk about wild swings. The Eagles dismantled the Lions 56-21 but then were held to only three points against the Giants. They won in New York when the Jets could not score a touchdown but the Eagles only scored 16 points. Take away the one Lions game and this offense is one of the lowest scoring in the entire league. As long as Westbrook stays healthy, this team can compete but as long as McNabb continues to struggle, they won't be nearly good enough.

Quarterback: Coming off his bye week, Donovan McNabb faced a questionable Jets secondary but only managed one score and one interception. His 278 yards was encouraging since he had been well under that mark in the losses but he was still sacked three more times. Getting L.J. Smith back could help but McNabb is not getting enough time to make good throws anyway. It doesn't help matters when his next four games are the Bears, Vikings, Dallas and Washington.

Running Backs: Let the rest of the offense flounder, there is nothing wrong with Brian Westbrook who has turned in more rushing yardage with every game played and has topped 110 rushing yards for the last two weeks. He has a season high of 111 receiving yards and his three scores tops all but Kevin Curtis because he had three in one game. No problems here other than Correll Buckhalter occasionally taking carries and one score so far this year.

Wide Receivers: Last week was a minor break-through for this unit with Kevin Curtis turning in 121 yards and a score and even Reggie Brown coming up with six catches for 89 yards. Brown had never had more than 27 yards in any game and his appearance in the box score is needed to keep the passing game alive. If Brown can show up again, it will only serve to help Curtis from being so heavily covered.

Tight Ends: L.J. Smith managed to play for about a dozen plays last week after missing two weeks with his lingering groin injury. He only had one catch for eight yards but it was a sign that he is returning. Without him healthy, the tight end position has done almost nothing this year and none had produced more than about 20 yards in any game. Look for Smith to slowly increase his workload.

Match Against the Defense: Westbrook faces a defense that was ripped to shreds by Adrian Peterson last week and that has allowed a total of seven rushing scores this year. Look for a solid game here at the least that could turn into a big one with receptions included.

McNabb goes against a defense that has missed CB Nathan Vasher who would cover Kevin Curtis and the safety play has been lacking as well. Every opponent has scored at least one passing touchdown against the Bears though none have more than two. McNabb has to avoid the pass rush but can find some success here with Curtis.

Gaining Fantasy Points PHI 17 3 14 29 8 20
Preventing Fantasy Points CHI 13 31 16 23 15 31

The Huddle
~ 2007 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday night
On Bye


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