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

Prediction: CLE 23, BAL 17

Update: Demetrius Williams and Steve McNair have already been ruled out this week. Todd Heap has not been in practice because of his strained thigh and will likely miss this week. I am changing the players for the Ravens and giving the Browns one more field goal. It should be even more in favor of them now.

This is a replay of the Browns winning 27-13 when the Ravens visited Cleveland in week four. Since that time, the Browns have only gotten better and the Ravens are now almost without any offense and with a defense that no longer is feared. This is a "do or die" game for the Ravens but little recently has said that they are going to "do."

Cleveland Browns (5-4)
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 28-31 +9.5 47.5
11 @BAL   -2.5 43.5
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 BAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Derek Anderson     260,2
RB Jamal Lewis 60    
TE Kellen Winslow   90,1  
WR Braylon Edwards   90,1  
WR Joe Jurevicius   40  
WR Josh Cribbs   20  
PK Phil Dawson 3 FG 2 XP  
Pregame Notes: The Browns gave the Steelers about all they could handle in Pittsburgh last week and this 5-4 team may be the most improved in the league from 2006. Sure, their defense still ranks as one of the worst and no team has given up as many points (264) as the Browns have this year but the offense with Anderson has really bloomed and done so with nothing more than Jamal Lewis as the tailback. Catching Pittsburgh for the division is not likely to happen but a wildcard bid could be with what should be a easy schedule left to play. Even if they do fall short, you can be sure there will be plenty of fantasy points along the way.

Quarterback: Derek Anderson only threw for 123 yards against the Steelers but he had three touchdowns and the Browns falsely thought they were going to win. In retrospect, trying to control the clock with Lewis running wasn't the most prudent route. But Anderson has been a fantasy gold mine for someone who was not drafted in pretty much every fantasy league out there. He has thrown for multiple touchdowns in four of his last five and topped 360 passing yards in the one game without two more scores.

Anderson threw for 204 yards and two scores against the Ravens this year.

Running Backs: Oh yeah, plenty of fantasy owners out there thought they should start Jamal Lewis last week since he had four touchdowns against the Seahawks. He only ran for 37 yards on 20 carries in that game and in Pittsburgh he gained a hearty 35 yards on 16 carries only without the one-yard gimmee touchdowns. Since week two, Lewis has averaged 44 yards per game and turned in less than three yards per carry.

Lewis only gained 64 yards on 23 carries but scored once against his old team in week four.

Wide Receivers: Braylon Edwards had his obligatory touchdown last week but it came on his only catch in the game. Otherwise, he has been a lock to gain around 70 yards or more in every game and has ten touchdowns on the season. He has three games with more than one. Anderson has unlocked a beast in Edwards that few teams can stop. Joe Jurevicius plays the possession role for around 50 or so yards in most games but this unit is all about Edwards.

Edwards only caught three passes against the Ravens this year but gained 97 yards and scored once. Even Joe Jurevicius scored though he only had two catches for 10 yards.

Tight Ends: Kellen Winslow ranks #1 in the NFL for tight ends with 703 yards. With four scores, he's neck and neck with Antonio Gates as the best fantasy tight end. He has never had a down game this year and always had either 80+ yards or at least scored a touchdown.

Winslow turned in four receptions for 96 yards when the Ravens came to Cleveland this year.

Match Against the Defense: Jamal Lewis returns to his old haunt this week but the Ravens have been god against the run if nothing else. In theory he should be motivated this week but it is hard to expect much here beyond moderate yardage. Lewis scored one of only two rushing touchdowns allowed by the Ravens this year already.

Anderson goes against the weakness of the Ravens who have given up two or more scores in four games this year and allowed every visitor to Baltimore to pass for well over 200 yards. Look for a decent effort here that should have two scores - one for Edwards and the other could end up anywhere. I'll credit Winslow with it since you are going to start him anyway.

Gaining Fantasy Points CLE 3 16 10 6 12 25
Preventing Fantasy Points BAL 11 2 28 3 29 20


Baltimore Ravens (4-5)
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 7-21 -4.5 44.5
11 CLE   +2.5 43.5
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 CLE Rush Catch Pass
QB Steve McNair 230,1
QB Kyle Boller     220,1
RB Willis McGahee 100,1 30  
TE Todd Heap 40
TE Quinn Sypniewski   30  
WR Mark Clayton   60,1  
WR Demetrius Williams 20
WR Derrick Mason   70  
PK Matt Stover 1 FG 2 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Ravens are on a three game losing streak and their last two wins came over the 49ers and Rams. The offense has lost almost all the punch and it's been week seven since this team has scored more than seven points in a game. The passing game is nonexistent and allows teams to load up against Willis McGahee. Worse than that, the Ravens defense is a relative nonfactor now with an average of 25 points allowed over the last three games. The schedule gets no better either with this game, then a trip to San Diego followed by home games against the Colts and Patriots. At least season ticket holders will get to watch the teams that are going to the playoffs.

Quarterback: It sort of tastes dirty to say it, but the Ravens need to change to Kyle Boller for starting quarterback if only because he's not going to be any worse than Steve McNair who has apparently just lost it. After missing two games because of injury, his last two efforts have prompted the Ravens to also use Kyle Boller in the games. Against the Cincinnati Bengals with their invisible secondary, McNair only managed 128 yards and an interception. He lost two fumbles and was sacked twice. McNair leads the NFL with seven lost fumbles and he's only played in six games this year and only once did he take all the snaps. His role was supposed to be as game manager, now he is giving games away.

I will project for McNair to start because HC Brian Billick has been noncommittal on the starter but do not be surprised to see Boller in there this week. He ends up in there every week anyway, might as well let him start.

McNair threw for 307 yards and one score in Cleveland this season. That week four game dwarfed any other and he has one interception with no fumbles amazingly enough..

Running Backs: The lone saving grace to this offense is Willis McGahee who rarely has more than moderate yardage but he has scored in each of the last four games. Often the only score at that. He is averaging almost 4.4 yards per carry despite being faced with eight man fronts on every play. He's also on pace for over 1300 rushing yards this year.

McGahee gained 104 yards on only 14 carries and added two catches for 32 yards against the Browns this year.

Wide Receivers: The only notable development in this unit was that Mark Clayton comes off an eight catch, 107 yard game against the Bengals which almost doubled his season totals. Sure, he hasn't scored this year but then again the wideouts here have only recorded two touchdowns over nine games and both went to Derrick Mason who ranks #2 in the NFL with 66 catches. Even Mason has been slowing down though and comes off his worst game of the year with just four receptions for 29 yards against the Bengals. It's almost hard to do that. Demetrius Williams has all but disappeared with only two catches total over the last three games.

Mason had 10 receptions for 78 yards and Williams turned in 63 yards on five catches in Cleveland this year.

Tight Ends: Todd Heap managed to return in week ten and had four catches for 38 yards. It was his first meaning full work since week three thanks to a hamstring strain that he aggravated whenever he tried to play. You can bet Heap would like to see Boller who once upon a time had a fondness for him that bordered on obsession. McNair was supposed to open up the passing game but so far he's just killed it all.

Heap had four catches for 36 yards against the Browns this year but Sypniewski scored a touchdown on his four catches for 34 yards.

Match Against the Defense: The Browns rank low in every category but so do the Ravens. Expect a decent to good game here by McGahee who should score at least once. They will run him as much as they can get away with.

McNair had a decent showing in the first meeting but that was before the injury and the loss of all his confidence. Again - If Boller does not start he still may well end up playing as he does most every week. I like one passing score here for Clayton and Mason should have nice yardage but this offense has been stuck in reverse for three weeks so far.

Gaining Fantasy Points BAL 29 17 24 16 13 18
Preventing Fantasy Points CLE 32 15 32 31 32 10

The Huddle
~ 2007 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday night

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