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

Prediction: SEA 21, CLE 23

This game would have been a laugher in years past but the Seahawks are no longer the powerhouse in the NFC West and the Browns have just decided to accept that they have no defense and try to score a lot of points. This will be a fascinating game since it will say more about where these two teams truly are now. Seattle is only 1-2 on the road this year while the Browns are 3-1 at home. The delightful part of this game will be a nearly certain shootout between Anderson and Hasselbeck with both having the weapons to score. It will also feature two of the greatest running backs in the last decade who now are almost worthless.

Update: Deion Branch has not practiced this week and is likely to miss this week with his badly sprained foot. I am removing him from the projections and changing the game score because Branch would have added much to this offense had he been healthy. His absence shifts Engram into the starting flanker spot and Burleson becomes the slot with Obamanu as the #4.

Seattle Seahawks (4-2)
Homefield: Qwest Field
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 TB 20-6 -6 41
2 @ARI 20-23 -2.5 42.5
3 CIN 24-21 -3 50
4 @SF 23-3 -1.5 40.5
5 @PIT 0-21 +6 41
6 NO 17-28 -6 43
7 STL 33-6 -9 40
8 BYE - - -
9 @CLE   +1 47
10 SF 12-Nov MON 8:30 PM
11 CHI 18-Nov SUN 8:15 PM
12 @STL 25-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
13 @PHI 2-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
14 ARI 9-Dec SUN 4:05 PM
15 @CAR 16-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
16 BAL 23-Dec SUN 4:15 PM
17 @ATL 30-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
SEA at CLE Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Hasselbeck     240,3
RB Shaun Alexander 80 10  
TE Will Heller   30,1  
WR Deion Branch 80,1
WR Nate Burleson   30  
WR Bobby Engram   80,1  
WR D.J. Hackett   80,1  
PK Josh Brown   3 XP  
Pregame Notes: The Seahawks reversed a two game slide by hosting the Rams (the NFL's version of a sure thing) and they come off a bye week with a chance to finally have the offense back to health. D.J. Hackett and Deion Branch are expected back and that makes the first time since week one that Hasselbeck opens a game with the right players in their place. While there are a few tough games ahead, overall the Seahawks have a lighter schedule and are likely to win the NFC West division one more time.

Quarterback: Matt Hasselbeck will undoubtedly love getting Hackett and Branch back on the field but even with the injuries of this year, he still has scored in all but one game and has multiple touchdowns in four of the last five match-ups. He's enjoyed a light schedule to this point but with minor exceptions still has a nice slate before him. The rushing game has taken a nosedive in Seattle this year but Hasselbeck has been good enough even with replacements for wideouts. Now he has the full stable for the first time since week one.

Running Backs: Shaun Alexander has been playing with a cast on his hand but that is hard to rely on as the only reason why he has been so bad in the last three games where he turned in just 107 yards on 44 carries. That and a pathetic 2.4 yard average and he has not scored since back in week two. HC Mike Holmgren said it was about resting Alexander in a game they did not need him, but Maurice Morris was given ten carries against the Rams and gained 42 yards. Alexander only had 47 yards on 19 carries. It appears he has not only hit the 30-year old wall, he has crumpled to the ground and cannot get back up.

Wide Receivers: As noted, D.J. Hackett is expected back this week after recording one catch in week one and then leaving with a high ankle sprain for the next six weeks. Deion Branch sprained his foot and has missed the last two games but also is slated to return. So far this year Bobby Engram has been the primary receiver and that is with him playing from the slot. Facing the Browns this week should be the opportunity for season-high marks from this crew that badly needs to step up and stay up. Branch had three straight big games before his injury - this should be a much improved second half of the season coming up.

Tight Ends: Marcus Pollard was out in week seven with a badly sprained knee but he's only been good for around 20 yards per game at best this year. He has no fantasy value and cannot stay healthy. I will assume that he is still out this week and that Will Heller takes his place with even worse results.

Match Against the Defense: The Seahawks get to face a defense that is equally poor at stopping the rush and the pass but Alexander has done little to promote confidence that he will suddenly return to form and take advantage here. While most teams manage to top 100 rushing yards, one two has scored against them. Expect a moderate to good game here from Alexander and anything big on yardage or a score will be an unexpected bonus. The rest should have helped Alexander but then again only gaining as little as he has the last three weeks says he may need much more than a mere week.

Hasselbeck goes against a secondary that regularly doles out multiple touchdowns and that has allowed three teams to top 300 passing yards. Look for a very solid game here especially with Branch and Hackett back on the field. This should end up to be a shootout because almost every game ends up as such against the Browns. But surprisingly a lot of the action has gone to the tight ends against the Browns and the Seahawks are trying to make do with Will Heller.

Gaining Fantasy Points SEA 9 22 9 19 10 9
Preventing Fantasy Points CLE 32 19 31 32 29 14


Cleveland Browns (4-3)
Homefield: Cleveland Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 PIT 7-34 +4.5 37
2 CIN 51-45 +7 41.5
3 @OAK 24-26 +3 40.5
4 BAL 27-13 +4 40
5 @NE 17-34 +15.5 48
6 MIA 41-31 -4 45
7 BYE - - -
8 @STL 27-20 -3 43.5
9 SEA   -1 47
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 SEA Rush Catch Pass
QB Derek Anderson     270,2
RB Jamal Lewis 60    
TE Kellen Winslow   100,1  
WR Braylon Edwards   90  
WR Joe Jurevicius   50,1  
WR Josh Cribbs   20  
PK Phil Dawson 3 FG 2 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Browns come off a nice win over the Rams and at 4-3 they have already exceeded expectations so far. But their wins so far this year have been against CIN, BAL, MIA and STL - not exactly the toughest of foes. This week is a good test at home against a team that is leading their division over in the NFC. The defense is one of the worst in the league but the visiting Seahawks are not the power they once were. The last two wins were good but also came against teams that have yet to win a game - nice stretch of the schedule. Not so for the next month when they will be facing SEA, @PIT, @BAL and HOU. Still even with this poor defense, the offense has been pumping out points and can lay claim to only being beaten by the Patriots by 17 points.

Quarterback: Derek Anderson has been on a very hot roll over the last month with his last four games never posting less than two passing scores and in total he has ten touchdowns in those games. He's rushed for two scores as well. Anderson has never failed to score in any game and has become one of the most productive fantasy quarterbacks in the NFL - not bad for a guy on the bench during week one.

Running Backs: After missing week six, Jamal Lewis returned from his foot injury and ran for 61 yards on 17 carries against the Rams last week. Other than his one freak big game against the Bengals, he's not turned in more than 65 rushing yards in any game and he hasn't scored since week four. He's just a very average back that merely gives Anderson a few breathers during the game.

Worth noting is that Jerome Harrison has looked impressive in limited play the last two weeks. Granted those did come against the Fins and Rams, but he gained 89 yards on 13 carries and offered a speedy complement to Lewis.

Wide Receivers: Braylon Edwards has been on fire this year thanks to Anderson and already has nine touchdowns on the year including three games with more than one score. He has topped 100 yards three times already and even against the Patriots he still managed to gain 110 yards on six receptions. Joe Jurevicius has his occasional decent game but usually only posts around 30 or 40 yards each week. This game will be a little different though since he last played for the Seahawks and will want to look better than usual. Basically this unit is a lot of Edwards and a little Jurevicius with very little else.

Tight Ends: One of the keys to Kellen Winslow is that in four games at home, he has never turned in less than 83 yards while his road efforts have been much less. His three scores have been in the road games other than the Bengals match-up but he always does well in yardage in Cleveland.

Match Against the Defense: The Seahawks rushing defense has been the bigger problem but Jamal Lewis hardly seems up to the tasks like others to face the Seahawks. There's no reason to expect more than the mediocre showing by Lewis against a team that has only allowed three runners to score this year anyway.

Anderson has been better than most of his match-ups and comes off a hot streak but goes against a very good secondary that has limited opponents to only five scores over seven games. Figure the home game lets Anderson reach two scores but likely no more than that. This should provide Winslow with a good chance to get a home touchdown as well.

Gaining Fantasy Points CLE 3 19 4 6 8 27
Preventing Fantasy Points SEA 5 18 14 10 9 8

The Huddle
~ 2007 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday night
On Bye

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