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

Prediction: CIN 20, BAL 17

Update: Chad Johnson was limited in practice on Wednesday and then held out on Thursday. The Bengals are still optimistic that Johnson can play and he doesn't really need the practice so resting his neck is a good idea. I am adding him back into the projections but make sure you check on his pre-game status before using him to make sure he has not taken any steps backwards. This is a first round game on Sunday so info should be available on him playing. I am assuming he is only marginally limited though neck injuries are hard to call and can flare up easy as well. He is a risk but CB Samari Rolle will be out this week and that helps. There is a chance that S Ed Reed could also miss this week since he is limited in practice and still feeling the effects of his concussion and neck sprain from last week. I am changing up projections based on the inclusion of Chad Johnson and the injured nature of the Ravens.

Todd Heap has been back to practice on a limited basis and is not certain to play. I am not adding him into the projections but there is still a shot at him playing. His hamstring has been a big issue for the past month.

This battle between two AFC North rivals could be the most depressing game of the weekend. The Bengals are 0-4 on the road this year and just lost Chad Johnson to a neck injury. The Ravens are 3-0 at home but come off two painful road losses that realistically end their quest for the division title since the Steelers spanked them on national TV while Willis McGahee experienced his first NFL-quality concussion. This is the battle between the team with no defense and an injured offense on the road against a team with no offense, a gimpy tight end and a woozy running back. And 'click' goes the channel changer...

The Bengals won their home opener 27-20 over the Ravens.

Cincinnati Bengals (2-6)
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 13-24 +3.5 48.5
9 @BUF 21-33 -1 43.5
10 @BAL   +4.5 44.5
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 at BAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Carson Palmer     250,2
RB Rudi Johnson 30    
RB Kenny Watson 20 40  
TE Daniel Coats   20  
WR Chris Henry   40,1  
WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh   70,1  
WR Chad Johnson   60  
PK Shayne Graham 2 FG 2 XP  
Pregame Notes: The game serves as a reminder of a season squandered since the Bengals opened the year with a win over the Ravens and since then have gone 1-6 with only a home win over the Jets to prevent a seven game losing streak. The defense is perfecting "not quite good enough" while the offense may be without Chad Johnson this week. On the plus side, Chris Henry is slated to return to the playing field this week and his absence has never been replaced this year. Then again, he'll hardly be in game shape after missing half of the season.

Quarterback: Carson Palmer passed for 194 yards and two scores in the season opener against the Ravens. Since then he has managed to throw for at least one score in every game and he has never been below 200 passing yards. The problem hasn't been that the offense cannot score points so much as it is that the offense can not score as many points as the defense gives away.

Running Backs: Rudi Johnson tried to play last week after straining his hamstring in week three but he was limited to only nine carries for 11 yards against the Bills and said afterwards that his hamstring was very sore. Kenny Watson only had four carries in that game for a mere 11 yards but he did have a career high 90 yards on seven receptions and has been effective when replacing Johnson. This week should see both playing again with Johnson still limited by that hamstring that is slow to heal.

Rudi Johnson only gained 50 yards on 18 carries in the season opener.

Wide Receivers: Chad Johnson was taken from the field on a stretcher on Sunday and spent time in a hospital before flying back with the team. All scans were normal and it appears he had a bad neck sprain. He has not been deemed out this week but I will exclude him from the projections since anyone who rides in an ambulance should not play the following week.

Chris Henry has been placed on the active roster and Skyler Green was released to make room. This is a great time for Henry to return but there will be a concern that his half game layoff while suspended will have him rusty in his first start. Henry added a very valuable component to the offense last year and his presence greatly expands what Palmer can do in the passing game.

Of course T.J. Houshmandzadeh had one score against the Bills but only 45 yards on four catches. He's been more limited over the last three games but still always scores a touchdown. It's truly amazing by this point.

Chad Johnson turned five catches into 95 yards and one touchdown in the first game of the year while Houshmandzadeh had none catches for 50 yards and, of course, a touchdown.

Tight Ends: Reggie Kelly left the latest loss on crutches because of a bruised knee but he's rarely been good for more than one catch per game this year anyway. Daniel Coats will replace him if he cannot play but there is no fantasy value there.

Match Against the Defense: The Ravens have been outstanding against running backs this year so Rudi Johnson won't do much this week even if his hamstring doesn't bother him. Watson had a nice role as a receiver last week and that could happen again here. Forget about expecting a rushing score since the Ravens have only allowed two this year and none while in Baltimore.

Palmer faces a secondary that is not nearly as good as past years and that has given up two scores in each of the three games where they faced a decent passing attack. By this point Houshmandzadeh is a lock for a score and could potentially manage two unless one goes to Holt or Henry. This is harder to predict with Chad Johnson a question mark and Henry coming back for his first game.

Gaining Fantasy Points CIN 6 20 2 32 14 16
Preventing Fantasy Points BAL 14 2 28 4 18 13


Baltimore Ravens (4-4)
Homefield: M&T Bank Stadium
Sport Turf
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @CIN 20-27 +3 40.5
2 NYJ 20-13 -9.5 33
3 ARI 26-23 -7 35.5
4 @CLE 13-27 -4 40
5 @SF 9-7 -3.5 34.5
6 STL 22-3 -9 36.5
7 @BUF 14-19 -3 35
8 BYE - - -
9 @PIT 7-38 +4 48
10 CIN   -4.5 44.5
11 CLE 18-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
12 @SD 25-Nov SUN 4:15 PM
13 NE 3-Dec MON 8:30 PM
14 IND 9-Dec SUN 8:15 PM
15 @MIA 16-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
16 @SEA 23-Dec SUN 4:15 PM
17 PIT 30-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
BAL vs CIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Steve McNair     200,1
RB Willis McGahee 120,1 30  
TE Quinn Sypniewski   30  
WR Mark Clayton   40  
WR Demetrius Williams   20  
WR Derrick Mason   80,1  
PK Matt Stover 1 FG 2 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Ravens suffered a crushing defeat in the rain in Pittsburgh on Monday night and even lost Willis McGahee to a concussion. Steve McNair returned to prove that he wasn't a washed up quarterback and failed to make his case. This week is a chance to make amends for that first loss of the season against a weak defense that could actually make the Ravens appear to have more than their usual punchless offense.

Quarterback: Steve McNair insists that he has only been bothered by injuries this year and that he has not lost any ability but in Pittsburgh on Monday, he only completed 13 of 22 for 63 yards and one interception. In five starts, he only has two scored and three interceptions. He also leads the entire league with five lost fumbles though three came in the season opener - against the Bengals. He only had 203 passing yards and no scores in that first meeting.

McNair remains the starter but only because Kyle Boller hasn't proven to be much of an upgrade anyway.

Running Backs: Willis McGahee came off his best game as a Raven with 114 rushing yards in Buffalo but was held to only 50 yards in Pittsburgh since he only had 12 carries. But he has scored a rushing touchdown in each of the three past games. He ran for 77 yards on 19 carries in Cincinnati this year but has been around 90 yards or better in five of the last six weeks..

Wide Receivers: This unit is all about throwing five yard outs, curls and slants to Derrick Mason. He had six catches for just 35 yards in Pittsburgh as the top receiver and has replaced Todd Heap as the short outlet for McNair and Boller. This was a new offensive scheme this year and apparently it was designed to constantly hit Mason short of the first down. There is no fantasy value here outside of Mason and not even one touchdown either.

Mason led all receivers with seven catches for 76 yards in the season opener against the Bengals.

Tight Ends: Todd Heap was held out again last week because of his hamstring strain and in his place Quinn Sypniewski had the 25 yards that normally would go to Heap. I will assume Heap is out again this week and update if needed.

Heap only gained 29 yards on four catches in the first game against the Bengals.

Match Against the Defense: Going against the Bengals is always a dream match-up but the Ravens cannot pass and McGahee has a concussion. But it is supposed to be a mild one that will not prevent him from playing this week so expect nice numbers here from McGahee with at least one rushing score and possibly two.

McNair gets to face the same soft Bengals secondary but he only had 203 yards in the first meeting and he has hardly improved as the season progresses. Expect one passing score here because the Bengals always allow at least one... if not five...

Gaining Fantasy Points BAL 28 18 26 15 9 17
Preventing Fantasy Points CIN 30 27 32 28 32 12

The Huddle
~ 2007 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday night
On Bye

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