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

Prediction: CLE 10, PIT 31

In theory this is the battle for the AFC North since a win by Cleveland means both teams are tied at 5-4. But the Steelers won their season opener 34-7 in Cleveland this year and they too know just how important this game is. The Browns are only 1-2 on the road this year and have only played in three away games.

Update: Not changing the projections but just to address the injury report, WIllie Parker and Ben Roethlisberger have been removed from the injury report and are expected to play without limitation this week. Santono Holmes practiced on Wednesday but then was held out on Thursday to rest his hamstring. He is still expected to play this week.

Cleveland Browns (5-3)
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 33-30 -1 47
10 @PIT   +9.5 47.5
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 at PIT Rush Catch Pass
QB Derek Anderson     220,1
RB Jamal Lewis 30    
TE Kellen Winslow   90,1  
WR Braylon Edwards   40  
WR Joe Jurevicius   30  
WR Josh Cribbs   10  
PK Phil Dawson 1 FG 1 XP  
Pregame Notes: It doesn't really matter what happens this week, the Browns have already had a dramatic turnaround this year and did it without a shred of defense. They are ranked #4 in total points scored this year and #3 in points allowed. That's just like fantasy nirvana but the easy part of the schedule ends with this game in Pittsburgh, then a road trip to Baltimore. Not to worry though, the Browns have a great schedule during fantasy playoffs of @NYJ, BUF and @CIN. The fun may be back burner for a few weeks but it is hardly over for the Browns. The only thing more amusing than trading a 2008 first round pick to the Cowboys that is getting worse every week is the fact that the Browns never needed to make that Brady Quinn draft pick in the first place.

Quarterback: Derek Anderson ends his streak of scoring in every game that he started but he still had 364 passing yards against the Seahawks and those four scores by Lewis could have all been passing touchdowns anyway. The only time that Anderson has dipped below 200 passing yards in a game was when he stepped in during the second half of the season opener against the Steelers and threw for 184 yards and one score. It was good enough for the Browns to cut Frye loose.

Running Backs: No doubt that Jamal Lewis leaves the waiver wires and benches in fantasy leagues this week after scoring four touchdowns against the Seahawks. And that would be a very bad idea since he only gained 35 yards on just 11 carries in the previous meeting with the Steelers. And he has only scored in home games this year and has not been over 64 yards since week two. Lewis only gained 37 yards on 20 carries last Sunday but the Browns found themselves on the goal line four times thanks mostly to Kellen Winslow always coming up a yard short on catches.

Wide Receivers: Braylon Edwards only had three catches for 49 yards in the game against the Steelers this year but has been on fire in most games since then. He has scored nine times and has three efforts over 100 yards. Week one was his worst game of the year, at least until he tries it again in Pittsburgh this week. Joe Jurevicius only had two receptions for 28 yards in that game.

Tight Ends: Kellen Winslow comes off a monster game of 11 catches for 125 yards last week but he had no scores thanks to three times ending on the two or one-yard line of Seattle. He's been a lock for around 80 yards in most games this year and caught four passes for 83 yards in the season opener against the Steelers.

Match Against the Defense: This will be a tough gig for the Browns who are used to both gaining and giving a lot of points each week. The Steelers are #1 against the run so forget about Jamal Lewis this week - please. Anderson faces one of the very best secondaries playing in Pittsburgh in a game the Steelers really need. Expect for Anderson to turn in his worst game as a starter and throw for only one score. In three home games in Pittsburgh, they have only allowed one passing score in total. That almost has to land with either Winslow or Edwards but at least Winslow still gets yards and catches.

Gaining Fantasy Points CLE 3 16 7 6 11 28
Preventing Fantasy Points PIT 2 1 5 5 1 11


Pittsburgh Steelers (6-2)
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 24-13 -3.5 48.5
9 BAL 38-7 -4 48
10 CLE   -9.5 47.5
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 vs CLE Rush Catch Pass
QB Ben Roethlisberger     240,3
RB Willie Parker 120,1 10  
TE Heath Miler   50  
WR Hines Ward   50,1  
WR Santonio Holmes   100,1  
WR Nate Washington   20,1  
PK Jeff Reed 1 FG 4 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Steelers are 4-0 at home this year and have not allowed more than 16 points to any visitor so far. They have also not won by less than 21 points at home and there is no taking the Browns lightly since they are just one game behind in the standings. Short of one remaining game in New England, the Steelers could very well cruise through the rest of the season, end up 14-2 and yet still not get a first round bye thanks to the Colts and Patriots. This week is all hands on deck though against a defense that left them score 34 points to open the season in Cleveland.

Quarterback: Ben Roethlisberger bruised his hip on Monday but is expected to return this week. He has scored in every game this year and had multiple touchdowns in three of the last four games. Big Ben was deadly against the Ravens with five passing scores in the first half and already has 20 touchdowns on the season. He already had 161 passing yards and four touchdowns in Cleveland this year in a near replay of what he did to the Ravens.

Running Backs: Willie Parker was held to only 42 yards on 23 carries by Baltimore on Monday but that was the first time that he failed to reach 100 rushing yards in a home game this year. He ran for 109 yards on 27 carries in Cleveland during week one and should be no less effective this week. His only shortcoming has been scoring with only two touchdowns on the season. Even Najeh Davenport has three scores.

Wide Receivers: Santonio Holmes is on his way to a 1000 yard season and has turned in five touchdowns over the last four games played. With every week, Roethlisberger has relied more on the speedy second-year wideout with nice results. Hines Ward only had 28 yards and no scores last week but both Ward and Holmes had one touchdown against the Browns in the season opener though they only had around 50 yards each in the game. The Steelers just did not need to throw much but scored when they did. That could happen again this week.

Tight Ends: Heath Miller comes off his third game with a touchdown in the last four games played and has five scores on the season. He usually turns in around 40 or 50 yards in most games and all but one score came in road efforts this year.

Miller gained 35 yards on four receptions and scored once against the Browns in week one.

Match Against the Defense: What's not to like here? The Browns already gave up 34 points in the home opener in Cleveland and the Steelers know they need to score to keep the Browns from mounting any comeback. Expect a very healthy game here from Willie Parker with one score and for Roethlisberger to have an efficient game like last week - and like he did in week one - with multiple scores but not a lot of yardage needed.

Gaining Fantasy Points PIT 5 15 10 5 12 8
Preventing Fantasy Points CLE 32 16 31 30 30 14

The Huddle
~ 2007 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday night
On Bye

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