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

Prediction: ARI 21, CIN 27

The Cards hit the road where they are only 1-4 this year and face the Bengals who are 2-2 at home. While the Bengals are safely out of contention already this year, the Cardinals have a realistic shot at the NFC West that no team really deserves. But this is hardly a good road team and the Bengals are back to full strength on offense.

Arizona Cardinals (4-5)
Homefield: University of Phoenix Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @SF 17-20 +3.5 45
2 SEA 23-20 +2.5 42.5
3 @BAL 23-26 +8 35.5
4 PIT 21-14 +6 42.5
5 @STL 34-31 -3 40.5
6 CAR 10-25 -6 38.5
7 @WAS 19-21 +7 37
8 BYE - - -
9 @TB 10-17 +3.5 37
10 DET 31-21 -1 45
11 @CIN   +3 48.5
12 SF 25-Nov SUN 4:05 PM
13 CLE 2-Dec SUN 4:05 PM
14 @SEA 9-Dec SUN 4:05 PM
15 @NO 16-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
16 ATL 23-Dec SUN 4:05 PM
17 STL 30-Dec SUN 4:15 PM
ARI at CIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Kurt Warner     270,3
RB Edgerrin James 60    
TE Leonard Pope   10  
WR Anquan Boldin   80,2  
WR Larry Fitzgerald   120,1  
WR Bryant Johnson   40  
PK Neil Rackers   3 XP  
Pregame Notes: Nice win over the visiting Lions and the 31 points finally reversed a three week trend of scoring less than 20 and losing the game. The Bengals provide a suitably soft defense this week but the Cards are also much more forgiving on the road to opponents. A loss here doesn't help the pursuit of the NFC West crown but with home games against SF, CLE, ATL and STL left to play, the Cards have a good shot at a .500 season and that alone may win the west.

Quarterback: Kurt Warner comes off his best game of the season with three scores and 259 yards against the Lions and the Cards even rolled out Tim Rattay for one play near the goal line where he threw a fourth team touchdown. Warner's torn tendon in his left arm makes the Cards uncomfortable with him handing off the ball so Rattay is trotted in to appear like it is a running play.

Running Backs: Edgerrin James hasn't been as productive as the season progresses and only managed to gain 60 rushing yards on 18 carries against the Lions last week. He hasn't been above 88 yards since week two and has been on an odd trend of scoring every other week for the last eight games. Oddly enough he did have three catches for 18 yards on Sunday but that equaled what he totaled in the previous six games. He just rarely catches the ball.

Wide Receivers: Anquan Boldin really peaked in week three before getting injured when he had 181 yards and two scores. In the three games since, he has only had 14 catches total and just 94 yards - barely 30 yards per game. Larry Fitzgerald has fared much better with never less than around 75 per week and usually right around 100. He scored twice last week but only has three scores on the season. Warner has much preferred throwing to Fitzgerald, even when Boldin is in the lineup. However - Boldin's five scores on the year all came in road games.

Tight Ends: The Cardinals do not always call on Leonard Pope who has four games of just one catch or none, but last week he had a career best five catches for 52 yards and two scores. Twice this year he had 30 yards and scored in both. He either does absolutely nothing or he scores and has decent yardage.

Match Against the Defense: The Cardinals rushing defense is bad and makes a matching set with their pass defense. If the Cardinals could commit to the run, James would have a good game here but the chances are too high that the Bengals will score and force the Cards to the pass earlier in the game. A chance that James could score here but likely he will just have one of his normal games with moderate yardage and no scores.

The Bengals have allowed 18 passing touchdowns this year and Warner will undoubtedly add to those totals. It depends on game situation but expect Warner to turn in healthy yardage here with a very good chance for at least two scores and possibly three. This should be all about the wide receivers and in particular Fitzgerald for yardage. Also expect better yardage for Boldin this time.

Gaining Fantasy Points ARI 13 26 7 21 21 21
Preventing Fantasy Points CIN 29 25 31 28 30 6


Cincinnati Bengals (3-6)
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 21-7 +4.5 44.5
11 ARI   -3 48.5
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 vs ARI Rush Catch Pass
QB Carson Palmer     260,2
RB Rudi Johnson 80    
RB Kenny Watson 30,1 30  
TE Daniel Coats   10  
WR Chad Johnson   90,1  
WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh   50,1  
WR Chris Henry   70  
PK Shayne Graham 2 FG 3 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Bengals come off their third win of the year and that was a sweep of the Ravens for 2007. Otherwise, the Bengals only have the win over the visiting Jets to hang their hat on. The addition of Chris Henry back made an immediate impact and Rudi Johnson finally took a heavy workload even if he didn't do much with it. Granted the Bengals needed seven field goals last week and never had a touchdown, but on the road in Baltimore with a 14 point win was more than satisfying. These next three games will be tougher for them but then the final month of the season is an absolute cakewalk going against STL, SF, CLE and MIA. The only bad team they do not face is themselves.

Quarterback: Last Sunday was the first time this year that Carson Palmer did not throw a touchdown but he still had 271 yard and brought the offense close enough for seven field goals. The potential problem this week is that Palmer has his four worst fantasy games this season all at home. That plays in part to the opponents and the success of the rushing game but he has never had more than 234 passing yards in a game in Cincinnati and not more than two scores. But notable as well is that Palmer threw for 271 yards against the Ravens this week when he opened the season with his lowest game of 194 yards against the same team. Chris Henry may have subpoenas and citations hanging out all his pockets, but he makes a difference on the field.

Running Backs: The good news is that finally Rudi Johnson was healthy enough to play a full game and ran the ball 22 times on Sunday - his heaviest load since back before he injured his hamstring in week three. But he only gained 46 yards against the always tough Ravens rush defense. So far this has been a very forgettable year for Johnson and while Kenny Watson has looked better, the Bengals only used him nine times. Watson will still figure in but this will be Johnson's primary role now.

Wide Receivers: After twiddling his thumbs for eight games, Chris Henry finally returned and turned in a team high five catches for 99 yards against the Ravens last week. His presence greatly expands the passing game since the Bengals do not use tight ends and rely solely on their wide receivers. Last week also marked the first time that T.J. Houshmandzadeh failed to score a touchdown this season though he finally passed Derrick Mason to stand #1 in the NFL with 68 catches. Chad Johnson was able to play after injuring his neck in week nine and while he was wincing after a few plays, he hung in to catch four passes for a very respectable 73 yards on Sunday.

Oddly enough, the wideout with the lowest outlook is Houshmandzadeh. True, he had been scoring in every game until last week but he also only had one of the last four games with more than 45 receiving yards. Without the touchdown, that's hardly the fantasy production that fantasy owners want to see.

Tight Ends: Reggie Kelly was inactive last week with his knee injury and the rookie Daniel Coats took the start. One catch for six yards - about what Kelly would have done anyway.

Match Against the Defense: The Cardinals rushing defense has been good this year though better at home than away. With Johnson still sharing some with Watson, expect just moderate yardage here but a good chance for one rushing score.

Palmer does less at home so far but should have no trouble with a solid game here thanks to Henry's return. The Cardinals have been blessed with facing mostly bad offenses and Palmer should lay down at least 250 yards and two scores in this match-up. Figure on Houshmandzadeh getting back to his scoring ways here since the Cards have allowed other possession type wideouts to score and the other touchdown is likely to end up with Johnson who should have a healthy game if his neck holds up.

Gaining Fantasy Points CIN 7 23 3 32 5 8
Preventing Fantasy Points ARI 14 13 27 1 19 19

The Huddle
~ 2007 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday night

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