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

Prediction: DEN 17, OAK 16

Update: This is likely to be a sticky situation this week, but that's what you get for relying on Denver running backs. Andre Hall has not practiced because of his ankle and is not likely to play. But - both Selvin Young and Travis Henry practiced and should be available. Of course, this assumes that Travis Henry is not suspended is supposed to know this afternoon. I am splitting the carries between Young and Henry which is likely during the game should be be available, but if Henry is suspended, then Young becomes a very attractive play against the Raiders #32 defense against running backs.

Brandon Stokley was limited on Thursday but is expected to play. Javon Walker was limited on Wednesday but returned for a full practice on Thursday. He is obviously not yet 100% healthy from his knee injury.

The Broncos barely clipped the Raiders in week two when Elam kicked a last second field goal to win 23-20. Now they are the road team and are only 2-3 away from Denver. The Raiders are only 1-4 at home though and these teams know each other very well. Broncos have to win here to hope for a division title shot which at 5-6 is still entirely possible. A loss would be the catastrophic.

Denver Broncos (5-6)
Homefield: Invesco Field
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @BUF 15-14 -3.5 37
2 OAK 23-20 -10 37.5
3 JAC 14-23 -3 35.5
4 @IND 20-38 +10 46.5
5 SD 3-41 +1 43
6 BYE - - -
7 PIT 31-28 +3.5 38.5
8 GB 13-19 -3 44
9 @DET 7-44 +3 45.5
10 @KC 27-11 +3 37.5
11 TEN 34-20 -2.5 38
12 @CHI 34-37 +2.5 41
13 @OAK   -3 41.5
14 KC 9-Dec SUN 4:15 PM
15 @HOU 13-Dec THU 8:15 PM
16 @SD 24-Dec MON 8:00 PM
17 MIN 30-Dec SUN 4:15 PM
DEN at OAK Rush Catch Pass
QB Jay Cutler     210,1
RB Andre Hall 120,1 10
RB Selvin Young 70,1 10  
RB Travis Henry 60    
TE Tony Scheffler   40,1  
WR Javon Walker   30  
WR Brandon Stokley   50  
WR Brandon Marshall   70  
PK Jason Elam 1 FG 3 XP  
Pregame Notes: Tough loss last week to the Bears who they outplayed thoroughly all expect for that "let's kick to Hester" concept coming back to bite them. The team's fortunes rely on these next four games that include rematches with each divisional opponent. and the Broncos have to not only win here, but they have to knock off the Chargers in San Diego in week 16 to have a shot at the division because there will be no wildcards coming from the AFC West this year.

Quarterback: Jay Cutler already passed for 269 yards and one touchdown against the Raiders this season and has been solid even in losing efforts. He passed for 262 yards in Chicago with one score and one interception and notable is that he has only has three interceptions over the last six games. In true Shanahan fashion, Javon Walker practiced last week, was dressed for the game and was active. And he never played. When Walker catches passes, he's a big lift to this passing offense.

Running Backs: The Broncos went with Andre Hall last week and he was impressive running for 98 yards and a score on 26 carries with two catches tagging on 69 more yards. Nice free agent pick-up in fantasy leagues that had owners crossing their fingers. Hall sprained his ankle on the first play but remained in before leaving in the fourth quarter. He is expected to be fine this week but Selvin Young may be back since he practiced at the end of last week before being inactive for the game. There is still a chance that he will be back this week but I will exclude him from the projections until it appears more likely he will play.

And of course, Travis Henry remains out with a knee injury while waiting to hear if the NFL drops the suspension or the axe on him. Should know this week, just like we should have known last week.

Henry ran for 128 yards on 26 carries when the Raiders came to town in week two.

Wide Receivers: He was ready, but not just ready-ready. Javon Walker was active but did not play last week no doubt just to mess with the Bears preparations and your fantasy team. Assumedly he will actually catch a pass this week but his exclusion from the game illustrates that he is not 100% healthy yet. Brandon Marshall continues to shine with scores in each of the last two games and 97 yards in Chicago. With Brandon Stokley there as well, this will be a formidable group when all are playing.

Javon Walker caught eight passes for 101 yards against the Raiders this year while Brandon Marshall had five receptions for 82 yards and Stokley scored once on his three catches for 43 yards.

Tight Ends: Tony Scheffler continues to make strides toward becoming one of the elite tight ends in the league and comes off a career best 82 yards on five catches with a score in Chicago. Since week five, he has always been good for at least 35 yards and has scored three times. He did not play in the first meeting with the Raiders.

Match Against the Defense: The Raiders defense is all about chasing the running back and they now rank as the worst team against the run. Over the last six games, they have given up 14 rushing touchdowns and have already allowed seven different runners to record 120+ rushing yards. Just hope you are holding the starting tailback here when the Shanahan bottle stops spinning.

Cutler faces a very good secondary that like last year has great numbers because all opponents are so busy running all over them. He already had a solid game in week two but on the road look for the same one score with lesser yardage. It should not be needed this time.

Gaining Fantasy Points DEN 14 15 14 12 16 15
Preventing Fantasy Points OAK 2 32 4 10 14 23


Oakland Raiders (3-8)
Homefield: McAfee Coliseum
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 DET 21-36 -1 39
2 @DEN 20-23 +10 37.5
3 CLE 26-24 +3 40.5
4 @MIA 35-17 +3.5 40
5 BYE - - -
6 @SD 14-28 +9.5 44
7 KC 10-12 -3 37.5
8 @TEN 9-13 +7 41
9 HOU 17-24 -3 41.5
10 CHI 6-17 +3 38.5
11 @MIN 22-29 +5.5 35.5
12 @KC 20-17 +5.5 34.5
13 DEN   +3 41.5
14 @GB 9-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
15 IND 16-Dec SUN 4:05 PM
16 @JAC 23-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
17 SD 30-Dec SUN 4:15 PM
OAK vs DEN Rush Catch Pass
QB Daunte Culpepper     220
RB Justin Fargas 80,1 30  
TE Zach Miller   50  
WR Jerry Porter   50  
WR Ronald Curry   40  
WR Tim Dwight   50  
PK Sebastian Janikowski 3 FG 1 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Raiders stole one from the Chiefs last week to end their six game losing streak thanks to great running by Justin Fargas and the fact that Daunte Culpepper did not turn the ball over. Plus the Chiefs were decimated by injury but a win is a win. The Raiders are just playing out a bad season with a team that has not scored more than 22 points in the last seven games. They are bad enough, once again, that opponents tend to play down to their level. This week is the start of a brutal stretch too with the Broncos followed by trips to Green Bay and Jacksonville and home stands against the Colts and Chargers. Wonder what 3-13 will buy in April?

Quarterback: Oddly enough, this is only the second home game that Daunte Culpepper will have started as a Raider but he's still classic Culpepper - never more scores than turnovers, fumbles in most games and has been sacked ten times in the last two weeks. No word on when JaMarcus Russell will start but looking at the schedule and maybe he should just take it up next season.

McCown only had 73 passing yards but threw for one score in Denver this year.

Running Backs: Justin Fargas comes off an excellent game in Kansas City with 22 rushes for 139 yards and one score. The Raiders even allowed Lamont Jordan to have three carries in the game and he too scored (and only gained four yards). This remains Fargas' job and with the token carries to Jordan came the exclusion of Dominic Rhodes. Fargas has been at least adequate as a runner in his four starts with never less than 60 yards and two games over 100 yards with a score in each. But - he's hardly going to be in the same spot to start 2008.

Remember that April draft pick next year? I bet I know where they will spend it.

Lamont Jordan ran for a season high 159 yards on 25 carries in Denver this season.

Wide Receivers: Ronald Curry has been stuck at sub-50 yard games since week seven and then had 120 yards in Minnesota. And last week - back to only 39 yards on six receptions. Jerry Porter has been staying about the 50 yard mark most weeks and comes off his best two efforts of the year - 88 and 75 yards both in road games. However - there has only been one touchdown thrown to a Raiders wideout since week seven and that ended up with Tim Dwight three weeks ago. Not much fantasy value here.

The only notable receiver in the previous meeting with the Broncos was Porter who caught one pass for a 46 yard touchdown.

Tight Ends: Zach Miller still has only one score on the year but he has been hanging around 40 yards in each of the last three games. The rookie is starting slowly but is heading in the right direction.

Miller caught three passes for 18 yards in Denver.

Match Against the Defense: The Denver rushing defense has improved vastly from the start of the year and only allowed two rushing scores in the last six games - both on the road though. I like Fargas to notch a score here but he will not reach nearly the level of success that Jordan had early in the year in Denver. The Broncos are much better now.

Culpepper faces a secondary that will no doubt challenge him to use Porter and Curry, so I expect that Miller and Dwight should turn in better numbers than usual here. The Broncos are getting desperate and the Raiders won't be able to run as well this time and could not pass against them the first time.

Gaining Fantasy Points OAK 21 10 23 28 17 24
Preventing Fantasy Points DEN 25 22 11 30 26 31

The Huddle
~ 2007 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday night

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