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

Prediction: CHI 20, OAK 17

The Bears have actually won more on the road than at home and coming off their bye should help. The Raiders are on a four game losing streak and the passing game has disappeared. At home the Raiders tend to play games close but at 2-6, they still lose most of them. This is a coin flip game between two struggling teams but the home advantage of Oakland is counteracted by the Bears still having players who were at least good once in the past.

Chicago Bears (3-5)
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 19-16 +4.5 40.5
8 DET 7-16 -5 44
9 BYE - - -
10 @OAK   -3 38.5
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 OAK Rush Catch Pass
QB Brian Griese     210,1
RB Cedric Benson 100,1 20  
TE Greg Olsen   60,1  
WR Bernard Berrian   30  
WR Muhsin Muhammad   40  
WR Devin Hester   40  
PK Robbie Gould 2 FG 2 XP  
Pregame Notes: The home loss to the Lions cements the shift in the NFC North and shows that the Bears are following the old trend of reaching the Super Bowl only to crumble the next year. Nothing is working well in any facet of the team and even the passing game took a week off from what should have been their best match-up of the season. No changes are planned on the team for now, but continuing losses could prompt a few switches. Coming off a bye week should produce a better effort and the Bears have won their last two trips away from Chicago.

Quarterback: Brian Griese still has at least one score in all of his five starts but his early magic seems to be fading. He only scored once in each of the last two games and comes off a season low 208 yards against the visiting Lions in a game where he threw four interceptions. He's still better than Rex Grossman was but he also is suspiciously starting to fade just like Grossman did last year.

Running Backs: Cedric Benson still only has two scores and more incredible is that he has not gained more than 67 rushing yards more than once this year. The ineffectiveness of the offense coupled with a defense that has slid backwards means that he just does get more than about 15 to 17 carries in most games and since he is only averaging only 3.1 yards per carry - worse than any other full-time primary runner. While it can be argued whether Benson is the problem or not in Chicago, it cannot be disputed that he is not part of the solution.

There has been a call for Adrian Peterson to get more carries but that's mostly from the notion that he cannot be any worse than Benson. HC Lovie Smith has already shot that idea down... for now anyway.

Wide Receivers: The nice bump that Muhsin Muhammad had from Griese left last week when he only managed two caches for 23 yards but he had scored in three of the previous four games. Bernard Berrian has actually seen a decrease from Griese as the starter though he still retains marginal fantasy value from his 50 or 60 yards each week. Devin Hester's introduction to the offense helped win the game against the Vikings but he's been of little value in the last two games with a total of only four catches for 60 yards.

Tight Ends: The rest of the offense may be languishing but at least the rookie Greg Olsen has come on well in the last month of the season when he has averaged around 50 yards every week and has scored twice. He's starting to make the progress that was hoped for when he was the Bears first round draft pick last April. As he improves, Desmond Clark has been declining.

Match Against the Defense: If Benson cannot get into gear here - and that is a distinct possibility - then stick a fork in him and bring on Adrian Peterson the lesser. The Raiders give up over 100 rushing yards and a score to every team that it faces. Six of the last seven opponents had runners top 120 rushing yards by their primary runner. This is as good as it gets for Benson.

Griese faces a secondary that is good statistically because like last year, opponents elect to run instead of pass to win. Look for a moderate game here from Griese that should see one passing score that will favor Olsen the most. The Oakland corners usually force opponents to rely on tight ends or slot receivers.

Gaining Fantasy Points CHI 18 30 22 7 17 9
Preventing Fantasy Points OAK 3 32 4 9 15 25


Oakland Raiders (2-6)
Homefield: McAfee Coliseum
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 DET 21-36 -1 39
2 @DEN 20-23 +10 37.5
3 CLE 26-24 +3 40.5
4 @MIA 35-17 +3.5 40
5 BYE - - -
6 @SD 14-28 +9.5 44
7 KC 10-12 -3 37.5
8 @TEN 9-13 +7 41
9 HOU 17-24 -3 41.5
10 CHI   +3 38.5
11 @MIN 18-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
12 @KC 25-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
13 DEN 2-Dec SUN 4:05 PM
14 @GB 9-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
15 IND 16-Dec SUN 4:05 PM
16 @JAC 23-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
17 SD 30-Dec SUN 4:15 PM
OAK vs CHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Josh McCown


RB Justin Fargas 100,1 30  
TE Zach Miller   30  
WR Jerry Porter   40  
WR Ronald Curry   40  
WR Johnnie Lee Higgins   10  
PK Sebastian Janikowski 2 FG 1 XP  

Pregame Notes: After jumping out to a 2-2 record with nice points each week, the Raiders again look suspiciously like the 2006 version except no one is complaining about the coaching staff so far. Josh McCown is the starter but looks rather similar to Culpepper. Lamont Jordan has been benched and Justin Fargas is back to starting like last year when the team was scraping the barrel. It as if the NFL only needed exactly four games worth of film to know exactly what the Raiders were going to do in every game.

Quarterback: Josh McCown has been named starter again this week but since his big week one effort, he has never had more than 158 passing yards in a game and scores exactly once per start. HC Lane Kiffen has already said that JaMarcus Russell will not be a consideration for a few more weeks because he doesn't want "the franchise"(singular) to have to play with "the franchise" (plural). That would just get him killed.

Running Backs: Lamont Jordan has been officially demoted and since his salary escalates to $4.7 million next year, he will be readily available on the NFL waiver wire starting in February. Justin Fargas takes the starts now and looked sharp gaining 104 yards on 23 carries against Houston and he scored once. That was his second game over 100 yards this season and he offers a small spark to the offense that is in need of a blowtorch.

Wide Receivers: This unit started the year with minor promise which quickly faded to absolute mediocrity. Ronald Curry has three scores on the year but has struggled to top 50 yards in any game since week one. Jerry Porter is consistently around 50 yards and almost never more. With Mike Williams released, the Raiders are giving a little playing time to the rookie Johnnie Lee Higgins and even recently signed Tim Dwight showed up last week for one catch that gained 28 yards and scored a touchdown. The team just is not passing well and no receiver here has much fantasy value beyond maybe 50 yards per week.

Tight Ends: The rookie Zach Miller was starting to show up but only had one catch last week in part because the Raiders could rush the ball in the game. He's worth keeping an eye on but mostly just for next year.

Match Against the Defense: Fargas faces a surprisingly soft Bears defense thanks to their injury problems and should be expected to have a higher number of carries this week. He should end up with 80 yards or more and a nice chance for one score.

McCown goes against a secondary that has been struggling a bit but only against teams that pass well - not the case in Oakland. Look for only moderate to minimal yardage here and likely no score. For all their woes on defense, the Bears still mount a good pass rush and that alone should keep McCown at bay this week.

Gaining Fantasy Points OAK 17 9 23 27 28 23
Preventing Fantasy Points CHI 8 29 18 24 22 31

The Huddle
~ 2007 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday night
On Bye

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