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

Prediction: PIT 30, CIN 20

Always an entertaining game and these teams traded road wins in 2006 with the Bengals winning 28-20 in Pittsburgh during week three and the Steelers winning 23-17 in Cincinnati in week 17. The 2007 version of the Bengals does not feature a defense though while the Steelers are coming off a painful loss in Denver and need this win to stay abreast of the Ravens who don't look all that good anyway. But a Cincy win not only would get them to within a game of the AFC North lead, it might actually save Marvin Lewis' job and do wonders to liven up the Bengals' locker room.

Pittsburgh Steelers (4-2)
Homefield: Heinz Field
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @CLE 34-7 -4.5 37
2 BUF 26-3 -10 37.5
3 SF 37-16 -9 35.5
4 @ARI 14-21 -6 42.5
5 SEA 21-0 -6 41
6 BYE - - -
7 @DEN 28-31 -3.5 38.5
8 @CIN   -3.5 48.5
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
PIT at CIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Ben Roethlisberger 10   280,3
RB Willie Parker 90 10  
TE Heath Miler   30  
WR Hines Ward   90,1  
WR Santonio Holmes   120,2  
WR Nate Washington   30  
PK Jeff Reed 3 FG 3 XP  
Pregame Notes: The Steelers looked a lot like 2006 when Big Ben was doling out turnovers and getting the team behind but they battled back to tie the game in Denver before letting the Broncos take the last second win. That loss throws the Steelers back awfully close to the rest of the AFC North but the next three games faces divisional opponents and the Steelers should be able to pull away within the next month - as long as the bad Roethlisberger doesn't reappear again.

Quarterback: The Steelers lost and Ben Roethlisberger was the source of much of the problem since he threw two interceptions, lost a fumble and was sacked four times. But this is fantasy football so it was a great game because Roethlisberger threw for four scores and 290 yards. He has scored in every game this year and best of all, he has never thrown more than one score in any home game this year but has never failed to have at least two touchdowns in road games. And now he heads to Cincinnati where everyone has multiple scores.

Roethlisberger threw for 280 yards and one score in Cincinnati last year. He had 208 yards and no scores in the home meeting.

Running Backs: It is sort of like 2006 really. Willie Parker is following the same trend he had for most of the games last year when he would tear it up in home games but then do much less on the road. At home he has always topped 100 rushing yards but on the road he only has once - in Cleveland in week one. He only had 37 yards in Arizona and while he did have 93 yards in Denver, that was against a soft rush defense and it wasn't enough to win the game. More troubling than his yardage is his scoring - or rather the lack of it. He has only one touchdown on the season while Najeh Davenport has three. Not to worry though, no Steeler runner has scored in a road game this season.

Parker had near mirror-image games against the Bengals in 2006, gaining 133 and 134 rushing yards and scoring twice in each.

Wide Receivers: Hines Ward returned after missing a game and recorded seven catches for 78 yards in Denver against an aggressive secondary that was without Champ Bailey. But Santonio Holmes had a touchdown on six catches for 54 yards and what plays even more important this week is that Holmes has scored in all three road games this year. He has not scored at home, but on the road - touchdown. He had two in Arizona and no doubt is salivating at the thought of playing the Bengals.

Holmes gained 124 yards on four catches with one score in Cincinnati last year. Hines Ward never had more than 57 yards in either game against the Bengals last year and never scored.

Tight Ends: Facing a solid secondary of the Broncos last week, Roethlisberger switched gears and went to his tight ends for three scores. Matt Spaeth has only caught a pass in three games this year but he scored in each one. Heath Miller comes off a season high of two touchdowns with five catches for 50 yards. The Steelers may not need him as much this week, but he is there and has the confidence of Roethlisberger if he is needed.

Miller did not have a catch in Cincinnati last year and only managed three receptions for 34 yards against the visiting Bengals.

Match Against the Defense: While this could be the chance for Parker to get on track in a road game, he hasn't been doing it this year so far and passing should be such an easier way to score. Look for solid rushing numbers from him that could turn big only if the Steelers get an early lead and then run the ball for most of the second half.

Roethlisberger is a must start this week facing a defense that has allowed no less than two scores to every opponent and four of the last five had thrown for three scores or more. Five different receivers have turned in multiple scores against the Bengals this year so make that Holmes and Ward as must starts as well.

Gaining Fantasy Points PIT 6 11 16 2 9 8
Preventing Fantasy Points CIN 29 21 32 28 30 22


Cincinnati Bengals (2-4)
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 38-31 -5.5 46.5
8 PIT   +3.5 48.5
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 PIT Rush Catch Pass
QB Carson Palmer     240,2
RB Kenny Watson 50 20  
TE Reggie Kelly   10  
WR Chad Johnson   70,1  
WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh   80,1  
WR Glenn Holt   40  
PK Shayne Graham 2 FG 2 XP  

Pregame Notes: The win over the Jets was much needed and this year it means that the Bengals are not done at only 2-4 on the season. But the defense ranks as the worst in the league at preventing opponents from racking up obscene point totals and the Steelers are going to be a far bigger test than the Jets were. The loss of Rudi Johnson has been amply covered by Kenny Watson but the loss of any shred of defense only serves to make every week a shootout. And that is a good thing for fantasy football.

Quarterback: Carson Palmer is another one of those frustrating players that has a big difference in production between home and road games. At home, he only has four touchdowns over three games and never more than 234 passing yards. On the road, he has never thrown for less than 320 yards and has scored nine touchdowns (of course the six in Cleveland help). It has also worked out that Palmer has faced this tougher defenses at home (BAL and NE) and this week falls into that category.

Palmer threw for 193 yards and four scores in Pittsburgh last year and had 251 yards and two scores when the Steelers visited Cincinnati.

Running Backs: Rudi Johnson missed week four with a hamstring strain, tried to come back in week six after the bye and only played for four meaningless runs. His hamstring continues to bother him so he sat on Sunday and allowed Kenny Watson to turn in a career best game of 130 rushing yards and three touchdowns. I will project for Watson again this week until it appears Johnson will play.

Johnson only gained exactly 47 rushing yards in both meetings with the Steelers last year and never scored.

Wide Receivers: Chad Johnson comes off a 102 yard game against the Jets but he only had three catches and has only scored in two games this year. That was the first time he had passed 100 yards in a home game though after having two such games on the road. T.J. Houshmandzadeh has been a fantasy gold mine this year after scoring in every game at least once. He comes off a season low of 43 yards on Sunday but he still caught a touchdown. He always catches a touchdown. He already has eight scores on the year and three games over 100 yards.

Johnson never had more than 53 yards against the Steelers last year but Houshmandzadeh turned in 94 yards and two scores in Pittsburgh. He only had 44 yards when the Steelers visited in week 17. Chris Henry did the most damage with three touchdowns over the two meetings with the Steelers.

Tight Ends: Just say no like Carson Palmer does.

Match Against the Defense: The Steelers are the toughest team to run on and have allowed only one rushing score this year. Expect moderate numbers here from Watson if he is lucky enough to break a decent run and minimal numbers are most probable.

Palmer faces a solid secondary and while he had two scores last year, the presence of Chris Henry was a big help that has never been replaced this season. I still like Palmer to manage two scores even if one comes late and is meaningless. The Bengals are at home and they will have to pass.

Gaining Fantasy Points CIN 4 21 2 31 11 11
Preventing Fantasy Points PIT 8 1 6 13 1 15

The Huddle
~ 2007 ~
Season Ticket
On Bye

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