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

Prediction: NYJ 21, CIN 27

This game pits two 1-4 teams that are spinning out of control and contention. The next loss will just about break the back of the franchise for the season while a win probably only delays the inevitable. This is like the team with no offense (NYJ) going against the team with no defense (CIN). Since HC Eric Mangini is sticking with Pennington and the Jets are 0-3 in road games, the Bengals finally catch a break.

Update: Laveranues Coles and Chad Pennington have both been limited in practice this week but both are expected to play without limitation. But Rudi Johnson sat out both practices on Wednesday and Thursday and remains questionable for this game. I am lowering his projections and it is still not certain if he will play. If you really need Johnson this week, check the inactives but this will be a later afternoon game so you cannot know at first kick-off for sure if he will play. Watson is a much safer bet this week. Chad Johnson did not practice on Thursday to rest his ankle but it is not considered an issue.

Despite calls for Kellen Clemens, Pennington will start this week and also interesting was Thomas Jones publicly grousing about his lack of carries. They may try to appease him with more work this week but then again, an early lead by the Bengals may end up giving him even less.

New York Jets (1-4)
Homefield: Giants Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 NE 14-38 +6.5 40.5
2 @BAL 13-20 +9.5 33
3 MIA 31-28 +3 35.5
4 @BUF 14-17 -3 37.5
5 @NYG 24-35 +3 41
6 PHI 9-16 +4.5 43.5
7 @CIN   +5.5 46.5
8 BUF 28-Oct SUN 4:05 PM
9 WAS 4-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
10 BYE - - -
11 PIT 18-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
12 @DAL 22-Nov THU 4:15 PM
13 @MIA 2-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
14 CLE 9-Dec SUN 4:15 PM
15 @NE 16-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
16 @TEN 23-Dec SUN 4:15 PM
17 KC 30-Dec SUN 8:15 PM
NYJ at CIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Chad Pennington     280,2
RB Thomas Jones 70,1 20  
TE Chris Baker   30  
WR Laveranues Coles   90,1  
WR Jerricho Cotchery   100,1  
WR Brad Smith   30  
PK Mike Nugent   3 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Jets hit the road where they have yet to win a game and have elected to stick with Chad Pennington despite his less than impressive results lately. That actually could save his job going against the soft Bengals secondary that has made every quarterback look better than they really are. The rushing game with Thomas Jones looked good again for at least one week and the defense held the Eagles to only 16 points last week. But put it all together and every week it just is not good enough. After an encouraging first year under Mangini, the sophomore slump is rather deep.

Quarterback: Mangini is sticking with Chad Pennington even though last week only had him completing 11 of 21 passes for 128 yards and no scores with one interception. He had scored in every game prior though and this will easily be the softest secondary that he has yet faced. Fans are calling for Kellen Clemens who has looked very impressive in limited play but Pennington has the chance this week to post some numbers and silence critics if only for a week. And if only in a losing effort.

Running Backs: The good news is that Thomas Jones comes off his second 100 rushing yard effort of the season but both did come in home games and he has yet to score this year. On the road, he has never had more than 67 rushing yards and did not even top 36 rushing yards at BUF and NYG.

Wide Receivers: Other than the home game against the Browns in week 14, playing against the Bengals is as good as it is going to get for this crew. Laveranues Coles only had one catch last week but has four scores on the year. He is the most consistent of the wideouts. Jerricho Cotchery started the year with two 100 yard games but since not been as effective and has not scored. Brad Smith is making his conversion to wideout from college quarterback and is making catches in every game but so far remains a bit player in the offense.

Tight Ends: Chris Baker has a couple of scores on the year and varies between ten and 50 yards each week depending on the needs of the offense.

Match Against the Defense: Make no mistake, the Bengals defense is bad. But so is the Jets offense, particularly on the road. The Bengals always give up plenty to running backs but so far Jones disappears in road games or the team falls far enough behind to abandon the run. Look for a moderate game here that could be big if the Jets can keep this close. That likely won't happen. I do like Jones to get his first Jets touchdown in this game. Everyone else has.

Pennington faces a secondary that ranks as the worst in the league overall. The last four opponents have all turned in at least two passing scores or more with healthy yardage. If you had to start Pennington any week this year, this would be the game (and condolences on having to use him). Look for Pennington to toss for two scores and good yardage that will involve both Cotchery and Coles. The best that can happen here is for the Bengals to get an early lead and turn this into a shootout via the pass as so many Bengals game become.

Gaining Fantasy Points NYJ 23 31 12 23 29 25
Preventing Fantasy Points CIN 30 25 32 29 31 24


Cincinnati Bengals (1-4)
Homefield: Paul Brown Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 BAL 27-20 +3 40.5
2 @CLE 45-51 -7 41.5
3 @SEA 21-24 +3 50
4 NE 13-34 +7.5 54
5 BYE - - -
6 @KC 20-27 -3 42
7 NYJ   -5.5 46.5
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 vs NYJ Rush Catch Pass
QB Carson Palmer     260,2
RB Rudi Johnson 30    
RB Kenny Watson 70,1 20  
TE Reggie Kelly   20  
WR Chad Johnson   100,1  
WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh   80,1  
WR Glenn Holt   20  
PK Shayne Graham 2 FG 3 XP  

Pregame Notes: After opening the year with a win, it has been one heart break after another this season. The offense has been solid even without Rudi Johnson but just cannot keep pace with what their defense is giving up every week. Other than road trips to BAL and PIT left on the schedule, the rest is within reach if the defense can start to show up even just occasionally. The season is not lost yet, but a loss here probably makes it difficult to pretend the rest of the games matter.

Quarterback: Carson Palmer has thrown a score in each game this year and has a total of 12 touchdowns. He has three games over 300 yards - all of them on the road. But he has thrown two interceptions every week since the second game. This year is no different than most with only Houshmandzadeh and Johnson as productive receivers and the boost that Chris Henry brought in 2006 has never been replaced. All game long it is just about Palmer looking for the two wideouts and eventually throwing two interceptions along the way.

Running Backs: Rudi Johnson returned after missing one game with a hamstring injury but only carried the ball four times for eight yards. He should be better this week but still is getting back into the groove. Kenny Watson has been a good replacement and relief for Johnson but will see reduced carries from here on out as Johnson reclaims his workload.

Johnson left the game early in Kansas City because of tightness in his hamstring. He later said he had not re-aggravated it and that he expected to play this week.

Wide Receivers: Chad Johnson hasn't scored since week two or had more than 83 yards in a game which just came against the Chiefs. He is the first read on most pass plays and when he is covered - and he is always the focus of attention - that means that T.J. Houshmandzadeh gets to feast on passes every week. He has scored in every game this year and has seven scores already after just five games. He has also topped 100 receiving yards in each of the last three games. It's not that Houshmandzadeh is that much more talented than Johnson because he isn't. Apparently the defenses would just rather see him score quietly than for Johnson to celebrate anything.

Tight Ends: Surprisingly, Reggie Kelly has turned in games of 41 and 45 yards in the last two weeks after never having more than one inconsequential catch per week. Facing the NE and KC defenses made even Kelly more attractive than a wideout.

Match Against the Defense: Just like the Jets, the Bengals get to feast on one of the weaker defenses in the league this week. Unlike the Jets, there's more firepower on this side. The Jets rushing defenses has been bad and getting worse with three consecutive 100 rushing yard games allowed most recently and six rushing scores on the year. A healthy Johnson would rip this unit up for 100+ but for now expect more of a split between he and Watson that will decrease potential production for Johnson.

Palmer gets to throw against a secondary that has allowed at least one passing score every week this year and half the time opponents post multiple scores. Expect a healthy game here by Palmer that favors both wideouts. This should finally be a week that Johnson has more than Houshmandzadeh.

Gaining Fantasy Points CIN 3 29 1 28 11 15
Preventing Fantasy Points NYJ 24 28 22 24 21 16

The Huddle
~ 2007 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday night
On Bye


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