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

Prediction: DEN 20, DET 24

The Broncos head out on only their third road game of the season on the heels of a spirit-crushing defeat against the Packers on Monday night. The Lions come off a road win in Chicago where they used rushing and good defense to take down their old nemesis and win their first divisional road game in six years. This should be a close game as almost all involving the Broncos inevitably are but the Lions are favored. Think back to any recent year and realize what a sign of the times that is.

Update: Travis Henry has been in full practices this week and is expected to play. He will still share with Selvin Young and it wil depend on how his ribs hold up as to how big his workload will be. He has been added back into the projections.

Calvin Johnson has been bothered by his injured back this week and was limited on Wednesday but had a full practice on Thursday. He is expected to play but will not be 100% when he faces Champ Bailey this week. I am slightly lowering his projections.

Denver Broncos (3-4)
Homefield: Invesco Field
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @BUF 15-14 -3.5 37
2 OAK 23-20 -10 37.5
3 JAC 14-23 -3 35.5
4 @IND 20-38 +10 46.5
5 SD 3-41 +1 43
6 BYE - - -
7 PIT 31-28 +3.5 38.5
8 GB 13-19 -3 44
9 @DET   +3 45.5
10 @KC 11-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
11 TEN 19-Nov MON 8:30 PM
12 @CHI 25-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
13 @OAK 2-Dec SUN 4:05 PM
14 KC 9-Dec SUN 4:15 PM
15 @HOU 13-Dec THU 8:15 PM
16 @SD 24-Dec MON 8:00 PM
17 MIN 30-Dec SUN 4:15 PM
DEN at DET Rush Catch Pass
QB Jay Cutler     270,2
RB Selvin Young 40 30  
RB Travis Henry 50 10  
TE Tony Scheffler   40  
WR Glenn Martinez   30  
WR Brandon Stokley   80,1  
WR Brandon Marshall   100,1  
PK Jason Elam 2 FG 2 XP  
Pregame Notes: After barely winning in Buffalo to start the year, the Broncos took the golden opportunity of five home stands over the next six games and wasted it with an inability to punch the ball into the endzone. All wins came via last second kicks by Jason Elam or Denver would be 0-7 right now. The rushing defense is the worst in the league and for all the yards gained, the offense still has problems getting touchdowns. A microcosm of this was when they reached the one-yard line on Monday and Cutler lost a fumble. Now Denver gets to work on their problems while hitting the road six times in the next eight weeks.

Quarterback: There is no doubt that Jay Cutler will become a very good quarterback in the NFL. He is already completing 66% of his passes and has scored in all but one game this year. He shows amazing arm strength and zips the ball on a rope to receivers. But until he gets Javon Walker back and the offense can stop making drive-killing mistakes, this season is turning into just a learning experience for him. He has remained above 230 passing yards in all but one game but goes on the road for only the third time this year. That one bad game was the tilt in Indianapolis.

Running Backs: Travis Henry not only has his "pee in the cup" transgressions hanging over his head, he also missed last week with sore ribs that would not respond to pain killers. That left Selvin Young to gain 71 yards on 18 carries and add six catches for 49 yards, along with several long gainers called back on penalties. I will project for Young to start again this week pending further information but the Broncos running game doesn't appear to lose much if anything with Young playing.

Wide Receivers: This unit could become scary good once Javon Walker returns to play. Brandon Marshall has been good for around 70+ yards in most weeks and the same for Brandon Stokley. Both players have two scores on the year and once Walker is combined, that will overload most secondaries with quality wideouts catching passes from an emerging quarterback.

There is word from Javon Walker that he will not require six weeks to recover from his knee surgery but it still will be several more weeks and by that time the Broncos will long be out of contention this year.

Tight Ends: Cutler is renewing his relationship with second year player Tony Scheffler who has scored in both of the most recent games and had eight catches for 78 yards in those two games. Daniel Graham still figures in but Scheffler is the one to watch.

Match Against the Defense: The Lions rushing defense is ranked lowly but not so much because of rushing yards allowed - only one runner has topped 100 rushing yards and that was on the road in Philly. But the Lions have given up six rushing scores and three receiving scores to running backs who have often had big yardage games as receivers as well. That still benefits Young who can add big value with his role as a receiver in this game. The Lions have not allowed a running back to rush in a score while in Detroit so don't expect a score here but look for decent yardage thanks to receptions.

Cutler goes against a secondary that ranks as one of the worst in the league and that should allow at least two passing scores even with Denver's apparent reticence to score touchdowns. One should favor Brandon Marshall while the second will go to either Stokley or Scheffler. This is a very good week to start Cutler.

Gaining Fantasy Points DEN 12 18 16 15 18 24
Preventing Fantasy Points DET 29 32 21 12 5 32


Detroit Lions (5-2)
Homefield: Ford Field
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @OAK 36-21 +1 39
2 MIN 20-17 -3 42.5
3 @PHI 21-56 +6.5 44.5
4 CHI 37-27 +2.5 46
5 @WAS 3-34 +4 44.5
6 BYE - - -
7 TB 23-16 -1.5 43
8 @CHI 16-7 +5 44
9 DEN   -3 45.5
10 @ARI 11-Nov SUN 4:15 PM
11 NYG 18-Nov SUN 4:15 PM
12 GB 22-Nov THU 12:30 PM
13 @MIN 2-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
14 DAL 9-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
15 @SD 16-Dec SUN 4:15 PM
16 KC 23-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
17 @GB 30-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
DET vs DEN Rush Catch Pass
QB Jon Kitna     250,2
RB Kevin Jones 100,1 30  
TE Sean McHugh   10  
WR Roy Williams   60,1  
WR Mike Furrey   60  
WR Calvin Johnson   30  
WR Shaun McDonald   50,1  
PK Jason Hanson 1 FG 3 XP  

Pregame Notes: Here is the big chance for the Lions to win their third consecutive game for the first time in seven years and if that is not enough shock, realize that they are running more than throwing and that they defense has only given up 23 points over the last two weeks. The team is halfway to Jon Kitna's boast this summer of a ten win season and while it won't be easy, it could happen. The Lions are only one game behind the Packers and will face them twice in the remaining weeks. Imagine - the Lions could be contending for not only a wild card but for the actual division.

Quarterback: Jon Kitna hasn't thrown a touchdown in the last three games and his yardage waned until posting 268 yards in Chicago on Sunday. But he has dealt with some injuries to the receivers - principally Calvin Johnson - and Kevin Jones has really stepped up now that he is healthy again. He may not return to as heavy a passing load if Jones continues to rush well but it will only serve to make passing easier and to conserve on the wear and tear that Kitna has. He still has been sacked seven times over the last two wins and was taken down 22 times in the previous three games.

Running Backs: Not only is Kevin Jones back, but he is getting better every week and is averaging around 4.5 yards per carry. He has scored once in four of the five games that he played and on Sunday had 105 rushing yards on 23 carries in Chicago. He still works as a receiver though not as much as last season but his rushing has been strong and produces about a score every week. Tatum Bell hasn't had even one carry in the last two games.

Wide Receivers: The lower passing numbers the last few weeks has reduced the fantasy production here. Roy Williams turned in 77 yards on eight catches in Chicago but that was his best game in a month and he has not scored since week three. Calvin Johnson only had two catches for 44 yards but scored on a 32 yard run two weeks ago and had an 11 yard run last week. He aggravated his back injury in the game but is expected to be fine for this week. This entire unit was pumping out the yardage in earlier games but has settled down to just an average group that shares the ball too much to give anyone a big game for several weeks now.

Tight Ends: Sean McHugh chugs along with that one catch per week. No fantasy value.

Match Against the Defense: Matching up to the defense is surprisingly hard to do because the Broncos opened the season on the road in Buffalo against Losman and Lynch who was starting his first game. The only other road game so far was in Indianapolis and is therefore not necessarily an indicator of what to expect from the Broncos away from Denver.

But there is no getting around the soft rush defense that has regularly given up big yardage to backs even in Denver. Look for a very solid game here from Jones that should reach the 100 yard mark and score at least once.

Kitna faces what is considered a good secondary but that has also allowed eight passing scores over the last three weeks and never less than 270 passing yards. The Lions will want to run more and not press the pass but the Lions scheme also plays well into this since two good corners (who can be beaten anyway) cannot cover four different wideouts out in routes. I like Kitna to post a better game here with mid-200 yardage and two scores. They could still be a little punch-drunk about the win in Chicago but they are not nearly good enough to take anyone lightly either. Champ Bailey should draw Calvin Johnson on most plays.

Gaining Fantasy Points DET 10 24 3 31 9 4
Preventing Fantasy Points DEN 27 26 9 31 14 25

The Huddle
~ 2007 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday night
On Bye

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