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

Prediction: CIN 13, PIT 27

Update: Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh both have taken a day off from practice this week but it is just to rest injuries that have existed for weeks. Expect both to play this week. Kenny Watson was limited in practice because of a new hip injury that is unclear when he suffered it but he still did drills and is expected to play. In Pittsburgh, he not an attractive start this week anyway and Rudi Johnson has moved back into the primary role anyway.

Santonio Holmes remains out with a high ankle sprain but Hines Ward will play after the team gave him off Wednesday.

This is a rematch of when the Steelers won 24-13 in Cincinnati back in week eight. The Bengals come in sporting a 1-4 road mark while the Steelers are 5-0 at home and still drying off from the Monday night game. Hopefully they have located all parts of the playing field.

Cincinnati Bengals (4-7)
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 27-35 -3 48.5
12 TEN 35-6 +1.5 42
13 @PIT   +7 46
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 PIT Rush Catch Pass
QB Carson Palmer     200,1
RB Rudi Johnson 40    
RB Kenny Watson 20 20  
TE Reggie Kelly   10  
WR Chad Johnson   50  
WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh   60,1  
WR Chris Henry   50  
PK Shayne Graham 2 FG 1 XP  
Pregame Notes: No doubt the big win over the Titans was a much needed shot of confidence but the Bengals have won only once on the road when they played the Ravens who have even less offense than the Bengals are missing defense. The Bengals offense has rediscovered their rushing attack for one week and Palmer has been solid but there's no escaping what remains one of the worst defenses in the league. The Bengals still have a shot at a .500 season after this loss week thanks to an ending schedule against the Rams, 49ers, Browns and Dolphins. Even if they fail, there's going to be a bevy of fantasy points for that final month.

Quarterback: Carson Palmer threw for just 205 yards and one score against the Steelers in week eight and that was the low point of his season. He has thrown for over 270 yards in each of the last four games and scored two or more times in three of the last four games. Once he is past this week, Palmer should be golden for the rest of the year.

Running Backs: Surprisingly, Rudi Johnson came to life last week when he gained 88 yards on 25 carries and scored once. That was his first week over 46 rushing yards since week two. Kenny Watson remains a factor with a score last week and around 30 or more receiving yards each week regardless if Johnson plays. Watson has been more productive than Johnson this year but now steps to the side as the third down back.

Watson gained 88 yards on 19 carries and had five receptions for 26 yards versus the Steelers earlier this season.

Wide Receivers: Not unlike last year, Chad Johnson was in a scoring funk since week two and then against the Titans - BOOM! - he has a career best 12 catches for 103 yards and three touchdowns. He has now broken the record for most receptions in Bengals franchise history (537).

T.J. Houshmandzadeh still leads all NFL receivers with 83 catches but comes off his second scoreless game in the last three weeks after rolling up ten scores in the first eight games. He's been far more consistent than Johnson who tends more to having average games and a couple of monster efforts each year.

Johnson caught five passes for 51 yards while Houshmandzadeh score once on his seven receptions for 81 yards when the Steelers visited this year.

Tight Ends: No fantasy value, no touchdowns this year and rarely more than one catch.

Match Against the Defense: The Bengals were already crushed in the first meeting with the Steelers and that came in Cincinnati. The Steelers are ranked top three defense against everything the Bengals have to offer so look for sub-par efforts across the board. The Steelers have only allowed four touchdowns to opponents in Pittsburgh so Palmer will do well enough to repeat the one he had earlier in the year. No quarterback has passed for more than 209 yards in Pittsburgh this year and that includes Hasselbeck and Anderson.

Gaining Fantasy Points CIN 5 19 2 32 6 13
Preventing Fantasy Points PIT 3 1 2 8 2 15


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 3-0 -16 35.5
13 CIN   -7 46
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 CIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Ben Roethlisberger     230,2
RB Willie Parker 100,1 10  
TE Heath Miler   50,1  
WR Hines Ward   80,1  
WR Cedrick Wilson   30  
WR Nate Washington   50  
PK Jeff Reed 2 FG 3 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Steelers come off a game for all the ages. It was almost a disappointment when Jeff Reed made that field goal to secure the 3-0 win and "The Punt" should be in every sports montage for the rest of time. The one where the punted ball just stuck in the mud with zero bounce. But the game underscores a small concern here. For the last two weeks, the Steelers have been playing well below expectations including the loss in New York to the Jets. With the a trip to New England looming next week, a solid showing here would be a nice send off.

Quarterback: Last week was the end of Ben Roethlisberger's ten game scoring streak but he had been on a nice roll until week ten when the Jets stole their momentum. Big Ben has thrown for 22 scores already this year against only eight interceptions. As long as he doesn't sink 6" into the Heinz Field turf, he's been solid this year and has multiple scores in half of his games.

Roethlisberger threw for 230 yards and two scores in Cincinnati this year.

Running Backs: Ends up that Willie Parker is not a "mudder". He gained a below average 81 yards on 24 carries in the driving rain last Monday and has been on a a bit of a downturn these last four weeks with two games now of less than 55 yards. He still only has two scores on the year and hasn't been involved much in the passing game. He ranks highly in most leagues since he is one of the few running backs left who has not missed a game this year.

Parker gained 126 yards on 22 carries and scored once versus the Bengals this year. This week is clearly the best chance Parker will have for a big game in the remaining schedule.

Wide Receivers: Santonio Holmes missed last week with a high ankle sprain and while there is "guarded optimism" that he may play this week, it would hardly be a high ankle sprain if he only stays out for one week. Without Holmes in the lineup, Hines Ward stepped up to a season high nine catches for 88 yards against the Dolphins but it's hard to take much away from that rain-slogged contest. Look for Cedrick Wilson to replace Holmes again this week and for Nate Washington be step up as well.

Ward logged eight receptions for 88 yards and two scores in Cincinnati this year while Holmes caught six passes for 87 yards.

Tight Ends: Heath Miller didn't score or even have a catch on Monday night, but he scored once in each of the three previous home games and averaged around 40 yards in each.

Miller only caught two passes but gained 42 yards against the Bengals this year.

Match Against the Defense: The Steelers could use a nice win this week after losing to the Jets and beating the Dolphins with the lowest score in NFL history. Parker ran well against the Bengals like most runners will, Expect him to get back to the century mark this week and a nice chance for a score unless Davenport snakes it from him.

Roethlisberger will be without Holmes but the Bengals secondary is always ripe for the picking. The success of Parker will control how much Roethlisberger passes, but it is safe enough to assume two passing scores here with solid yardage... weather willing.

Gaining Fantasy Points PIT 8 16 10 6 11 10
Preventing Fantasy Points CIN 28 19 31 26 27 16

The Huddle
~ 2007 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday night

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