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

Prediction: CHI 16, WAS 17

Here's a potentially messy game. The Bears are only 3-3 on the road and coming off a home loss while the Redskins are only 3-3 at home and also coming off a home loss that should have been a tribute to Sean Taylor but instead only showed that HC Joe Gibbs hasn't read the rules about calling consecutive timeouts. Portis is apparently banged up and since this is a Thursday game, neither team has much time to prepare.

Chicago Bears (5-7)
Homefield: Soldier Field
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @SD 3-14 +5.5 42.5
2 KC 20-10 -12 34.5
3 DAL 10-34 -3 41
4 @DET 27-37 -2.5 46
5 @GB 27-20 +3 41
6 MIN 31-34 -5 35.5
7 @PHI 19-16 +4.5 40.5
8 DET 7-16 -5 44
9 BYE - - -
10 @OAK 17-6 -3 38.5
11 @SEA 23-30 +5.5 37.5
12 DEN 37-34 -2.5 41
13 NYG 16-21 +1.5 43
14 @WAS   +3 37.5
15 @MIN 17-Dec MON 8:30 PM
16 GB 23-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
17 NO 30-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
CHI at WAS Rush Catch Pass
QB Rex Grossman     240,1
RB Adrian Peterson 50 40  
TE Desmond Clark   50  
WR Bernard Berrian   70,1  
WR Muhsin Muhammad   40  
WR Devin Hester   20  
PK Robbie Gould 3 FG 1 XP  
Pregame Notes: The Bears are still alive in the playoff race but only mathematically. Road trips to Washington and Minnesota should crush that dream and the season following a Super Bowl appearance now looks to be a guaranteed losing record. The loss of Benson has not been felt if only because his presence did not do much anyway but the defense continues to be the larger problem anyway. The Bears are starting games well but then losing them in the second half when talent versus talent comes to light.

Quarterback: Rex Grossman is doing his part to ensure mediocrity this year with only four passing scores in his seven games played and never more than one per week. He's been much improved with only one interception over the last four games but he's also getting sacked more than ever and was brought down14 times over just the last three contests. He just holds onto the ball now more than throwing it to a safety or cornerback.

Running Backs: Adrian Peterson took the start last week and ran for 67 yards on 22 carries so he is the perfect replacement for Benson. But notable is that he caught seven passes for 82 yards and allowed the offense to p0st season high passing yardage (296). He's not going to wow anyone with his legs but at least the Bears have used him as a receiver as well, unlike what they had done with Benson.

Garrett Wolfe gained 29 yards on just three carries last week but there is no word that his role will be increasing, particularly in what should be a tougher road game this week. The bigger surprise is that the Bears have never used him as a receiver.

Wide Receivers: This unit is still little more than Bernard Berrian on the deep route. He only has one game over 100 yards this year and only three scores on the season but at least you know Grossman will toss at least half a dozen deep passes his way. It just depends on whether he catches them or not. A little more favorable this week is that Berrian's three biggest games of the year all came on the road.

Muhsin Muhammad is back to being just a ho-hum possession receiver since Grossman took the start again. He rarely has more than 60 yards in a game with Grossman as the quarterback.

Tight Ends: The use of Grossman has killed the fantasy value of Greg Olsen who was having a nice rookie season with Griese but rarely has more than 10 yards with Grossman around. Desmond Clark has returned to being the primary tight end here and has turned in games of 61 and 76 yards in the last two weeks.

Match Against the Defense: The Redskins rushing defense has been solid this year even with Fred "Who?" Jackson gaining 82 yards last week. Only two opposing runners have scored in Washington this year and Peterson is highly unlikely to become the third. Look for moderate rushing yardage at best and no score though Peterson can have fantasy value if they continue to use him as a receiver.

No reason to expect that Grossman fails to get his one passing score per game and little reason to expect anything more. The Skins passing defense is a soft spot for them and this could be one of those weeks that Berrian catches a bomb for a score. This is a short week so neither team will have much in the way of fancy plays, just bread and butter stuff.

Gaining Fantasy Points CHI 19 27 22 7 10 5
Preventing Fantasy Points WAS 24 11 10 12 17 19


Washington Redskins (5-7)
Homefield: FedEx Field
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 MIA 16-13 -3 35
2 @PHI 20-12 +7 38.5
3 NYG 17-24 -3.5 40.5
4 BYE - - -
5 DET 34-3 -4 44.5
6 @GB 14-17 +3 40.5
7 ARI 21-19 -7 37
8 @NE 7-52 +16 48
9 @NYJ 23-20 -3.5 35.5
10 PHI 25-33 -2.5 37.5
11 @DAL 23-28 +10.5 47
12 @TB 13-19 +3.5 37.5
13 BUF 16-17 -5.5 37
14 CHI   -3 37.5
15 @NYG 16-Dec SUN 8:15 PM
16 @MIN 23-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
17 DAL 30-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
WAS vs CHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Jason Campbell     240,1
RB Clinton Portis 60,1 30  
TE Chris Cooley   60,1  
WR Santana Moss   50  
WR Reche Caldwell   50  
WR Keenan McCardell   30  
PK Shaun Suisham 1 FG 2 XP  

Pregame Notes: That loss to the Bills last week could be a back-breaker. With so much to play for, the Skins suffered with bad coaching decisions and a surprisingly bad rushing effort against what had been one of the worst rushing defenses of the Bills. Further complicating this is that the short week is further compressed due to Sean Taylor's funeral. His death did not prove to be a motivator last week and the Skins dropped their fourth straight game. That could play into this week as well.

Quarterback: Jason Campbell had been playing at a higher level for three weeks before last Sunday resulted in just 216 yards and no score. He had six scores in those three previous games and had topped 300 passing yards in the previous two but along with the rest of the offense, he fell flat against the Bills last week. Campbell has also picked up a bad habit of losing a fumble every week for the past month and has eight on the year. His performances have been almost reverse of expectations - he plays better against great defenses and then worst against the easier ones.

Running Backs: The status on Clinton Portis may be hard to nail down prior to this Thursday game since he left Sunday's game in the fourth quarter with what appeared to be a knee or leg injury. He's been far less effective these last three weeks with never more than 68 rushing yards in a game and only 154 rushing yards on 57 carries during that time (2.7 YPC). He scored once against the Bills which was his first touchdown in the last four weeks.

I will assume a slightly limited Portis will play but check on his practice status for Wednesday to better determine his playing status. Ladell Betts would replace him if needed but Betts has done little this year.

Wide Receivers: Antwaan Randle El missed the first game of his career when his hamstring forced him out last Sunday. Reche Caldwell took his place but only had three catches for 26 yards. Santana Moss has been plugging along with distinctively lackluster year and comes off a five catch, 63 yard effort against the Bills which was one of his biggest games of the year. He only has one score so far and just one effort over 100 yards. Keenan McCardell now fills in as the slot guy since James Thrash has been injured.

Tight Ends: The passing offense this year has been little more than Chris Cooley who has enjoyed a career year so far. He has scored seven times already this season and has been particularly productive in the last two weeks with 89 and 96 yards gained and a score in each. He's been everything that the wideouts have failed to be.

Match Against the Defense: Oddly enough, the Bears rushing defense has been better on the road than at home this year and no runner has gained more than 87 rushing yards this year. But the Skins will always try to establish the run and Portis has a nice shot at one rushing score here even if his yardage is lower. Much depends on the health of Portis in this game that should be a cold one.

Campbell faces a secondary that has never allowed more than two passing scores but that has given up a surprising four games of over 300 passing yards. Look for at least one score here by Campbell and two if Portis does not rush one in. Moss should continue his less than stellar ways again this week against a secondary that has only allowed two receivers to top 100 yards this year.

Gaining Fantasy Points WAS 17 12 27 8 16 28
Preventing Fantasy Points CHI 9 30 17 19 20 28

The Huddle
~ 2007 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday Late

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