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

Prediction: MIA 3, PIT 23

Update: Jesse Chatman was limited in practice but HC Cam Cameron says that he expects Chatman to be available to play on Monday. But on Wednesday, Ricky Williams was splitting first team reps with Patrick Cobbs which should indicate that Williams is already being considered for playing time this week. Figure the Fins want other teams to see Williams so that his off-season trade value increases. I am adding in Ricky Williams but mainly just to lower Chatman's numbers. Playing in Pittsburgh is likely to be brutal and now there is a chance that all three tailbacks could get playing time. Best to avoid this situation if at all possible.

As expected, Santonio Holmes did not practice and is highly unlikely to play.

Can this be "the one?" The Steelers are 5-0 at home and come off a loss to the Jets, so the answer has to be "not yet."

The Steelers beat the Dolphins 28-17 in Pittsburgh last year.

Miami Dolphins (0-10)
Homefield: Dolphins Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @WAS 13-16 +3 35
2 DAL 20-37 +3.5 40.5
3 @NYJ 28-31 +3 35.5
4 OAK 17-35 -3.5 40
5 @HOU 19-22 +5.5 43
6 @CLE 31-41 +4 45
7 NE 28-49 +17 51
8 NYG 10-13 +9.5 48
9 BYE - - -
10 BUF 10-13 +3 41
11 @PHI 7-17 +10 40.5
12 @PIT   +16 41
13 NYJ 2-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
14 @BUF 9-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
15 BAL 16-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
16 @NE 23-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
17 CIN 30-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
MIA at PIT Rush Catch Pass
QB John Beck     140
RB Jesse Chatman 40 10  
RB Ricky Williams 20    
TE David Martin   20  
WR Derek Hagan   30  
WR Marty Booker   30  
WR Ted Ginn Jr.   40  
PK Jay Feeley 1 FG    
Pregame Notes: The poor Dolphins. No one is much taking them seriously this year and things are bad enough that opponents are now playing down to their level and yet still winning the game. It isn't that the Miami defense has magically turned great in the last three weeks, it is that their name on the schedule just evokes a smile and a chuckle. There is a chance that Ricky Williams returns this week and plays but so far that is undecided. If anything will knock him off the wagon again, it will be playing for this team.

Quarterback: Since the future is now, John Beck took his first NFL start and completed 9 of 22 passes for 109 yards in Philadelphia but at least he had no turnovers and for the first time all year the Miami quarterback was not sacked. Granted it was a rather small victory but this is not a team with many wins of any type this year.

Running Backs: Jesse Chatman injured his foot in last week's game but played through it and gained 72 yards on 22 carries. He's been an average to mediocre replacement for Ronnie Brown but at least does get over 20 carries in most games as a starter. That could end now that Ricky Williams has cleared his suspension and is apparently joining the team. HC Cam Cameron was noncommittal about Williams' role this week (if any) but I will update later if warranted. He is available for practice.

The rushing game is actually about the last thing that needs to get fixed on this team anyway.

Wide Receivers: While everything else goes to hell in a hand basket, at least Tedd Ginn comes off a career best game of 52 yards on four receptions. He is overtaking Derek Hagan as the starting split end but only has one touchdown on the season like the rest of the wideouts here. With sub-150 yard passing games for the last three weeks, this unit is devoid of fantasy significance anyway. Even Marty Booker is down to around 20 or 30 yards per week now.

Tight Ends: The wideouts are bad and the tight ends even worse. David Martin caps out at around 30 yards in a game and usually has half that much. Justin Peele shows up on occasion but there is no fantasy value here.

Match Against the Defense: Heading into Pittsburgh to face the #1 defense against running backs is no place to start Chatman and he could have Ricky Williams show up and reduce stats even further. Hands off this team this week.

John Beck faces one of the top secondaries as well so expect the rookie to struggle. He never even got to feel the frying pan before being thrown into the fire.

Gaining Fantasy Points MIA 20 10 29 16 25 31
Preventing Fantasy Points PIT 5 1 2 9 4 17


Pittsburgh Steelers (7-3)
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 31-28 -9.5 47.5
11 @NYJ 16-19 -9.5 40.5
12 MIA   -16 41
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 MIA Rush Catch Pass
QB Ben Roethlisberger     220,2
RB Willie Parker 110 20  
TE Heath Miler   50,1  
WR Hines Ward   60,1  
WR Cedrick Wilson   20  
WR Nate Washington   60  
PK Jeff Reed 3 FG 2 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Steelers rank #1 in points allowed with only 145 and play the Dolphins who have averaged only nine points per contest over the last three games. And they have a rookie starting quarterback now. This could be a classic trap game but the Fins "got nothing" to use to trap them with. The loss to the Jets last week already was the trap game for the year and now at 7-3, the Steelers have to win for a chance at home games in the playoffs. The Steelers offense was on a roll for four games until facing the Jets. Time to get back to business in a home game.

Quarterback: The Steelers were inexplicably bad last week when they lost and Ben Roethlisberger only had 195 passing yards and one score with seven sacks. He had not fallen below two scores in a game for the previous four games and that should have been his easiest match-up of them all. The potential loss of Santonio Holmes this week should not be a factor against the lowly Dolphins but games against CIN, NE and JAC coming up will need all hands on deck.

Running Backs: Another aspect to the surreal loss to the Jets was that Willie Parker only gained 52 yards on 21 carries. But Parker has been less effective in road games this year and yet has logged 100+ rushing yards in four of the five home games. He still only has two scores on the year and the Steelers as a team only has five touchdowns by running backs despite scoring 269 points on the season as a team.

Parker ran for 115 yards on 29 carries against the Fins last year.

Wide Receivers: Santonio Holmes breakout season may be sidetracked if his high ankle sprain keeps him out for an extended period of time. Nate Washington will replace him this week and Cedrick Wilson will get bumped up to #3 this week. Holmes has supplied the deep threat this year and could have his first 1000 yard season if he returns soon.

Without Holmes, Hines Ward gets more attention though Washington can play well enough to keep the offense moving.

Tight Ends: Heath Miller has been a solid part of the passing attack here and has scored six times this year. In most weeks he's good enough for 40+ yards and without Holmes, Miller could pick up a little more work.

Match Against the Defense: The Miami defense is actually even worse than the rankings suggest - most teams lose interest or play down to their level. Expect Parker to get back into gear in this home game with 100+ rushing yards but likely no score. Najeh Davenport may get the call if the ball ends up near the goal line.

Roethlisberger should bound back this week but there is no reason to press too much with the pass since it will not be needed. I like the chance for Ward to score at least once this week and Big Ben to have only moderate passing yardage.

Gaining Fantasy Points PIT 5 15 9 3 10 15
Preventing Fantasy Points MIA 25 26 21 5 25 7

The Huddle
~ 2007 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday Late

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