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

Prediction: CIN 20, MIA 24

This could be a good game. Make that an even game. No make that... sigh... who knows really. The problem here is that the Fins are at home with every reason to want to win the game (IE. that laughingstock thing) and even if they win they still get the #1 pick in the NFL draft anyway. The Bengals are just playing out a season gone bad and come off a big (relative term) win over the Browns. Now they are on the road against the NFL's worst team and who cares? Why wouldn't they come out flat this week? Granted everyone likes to end on a high note but they did that last week. This is a coin flip game that depends on which team cares the most. The Bengals are only 1-6 on the road while the Fins are 1-no-matter-where.

Cincinnati Bengals (6-9)
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 10-24 +7 46
14 STL 19-10 -7 47
15 @SF 13-20 -8.5 43
16 CLE 19-14 -3 46.5
17 @MIA   -3 45.5
CIN at MIA Rush Catch Pass
QB Carson Palmer     230,2
RB Kenny Watson 80 20  
TE Reggie Kelly   10  
WR Chad Johnson   90  
WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh   60,1  
WR Chris Henry   50,1  
PK Shayne Graham 2 FG 2 XP  
Pregame Notes: The Bengals kind of peaked in week one when they beat the Ravens and their loss in Cleveland was a harbinger of what was to come. Rudi Johnson went from being the most consistent running back on the planet to a wasted draft pick and Carson Palmer left his six touchdown game in week two and became little more than just an average quarterback. The defense has been a major problem for the entire year despite years of trying to improve.

Quarterback: Carson Palmer winds down a season that currently has 3815 yards and 23 scores but 401 yards and six scores came in week two and he only had 15 touchdowns over the final 13 games. That is hardly the Palmer we knew in seasons past. He only threw for two scores in the last four games. He threw for 19 interceptions and only topped 300 passing yards once in his final ten games. He was one of the previously consistent quarterbacks who just had a really bad year.

Running Backs: Rudi Johnson went from being rock solid for three seasons to being a huge disappointment that could never get healthy. He had a string of decent games near the end of the season but was gone again in the final two games when he was needed the most. Kenny Watson had the only games over 100 rushing yards (3) and looked just as good as Johnson ever had - maybe faster. The Bengals also picked up DeDe Dorsey who was cut by the Colts and while he never had more than seven carries in any game, the Bengals still liked to use him almost every week. The Bengals never did settle on just one running back because Johnson could not stay healthy or play well when he was.

Wide Receivers: T.J. Houshmandzadeh had a golden season and is #1 in the NFL with 103 catches. He was the magic man for the first eight weeks with at least one touchdown in every game but then only had two scores over the final seven and never had more than around 60 yards in a game. He was a huge benefit for fantasy teams that drafted him much lower than what he gave back in the first half of the season and then became a drag because owners had to start him every week even though his rarely had anything more than an moderately productive yardage game for the rest of the year.

Chad Johnson started the season with three scores and 304 receiving yards but then only scored in one more game for the rest of the year. As he so often does, he big games were monsters and were few and far between. He is ending with a very solid 1309 yards but only scored six times (over just three games) and rarely performed to expectations of those who drafted him.

Chris Henry sat out the first eight games and came back to log games of 99 and 81 yards with one touchdown. And then he went into the tank with the rest of the team only scoring one more time and never gaining more than around 55 yards in a game.

Tight Ends: Never scored a touchdown, rarely had more than one catch per game.

Match Against the Defense: The question here is will the Bengals come out on fire or come out flat? Sure, the team wants to win their final game in theory but this is the team that lost to the 49ers in their last road game. There is a good chance that this is Chad Johnson's final game as a Bengal. They are on the road. At least the weather should be decent.

Most teams have nice success rushing against the Dolphins and Watson should have at least a decent game in this one. The Fins only allowed three visiting teams to score a rushing touchdown though so look more for yardage than scores here.

Palmer faces a secondary that has played better at home this year and the final four home games have only given up two passing scores but then again, most teams knew they could win and did not go for the big score. I like Palmer to throw for two scores in this game but with yardage that will be only average. I still think the Bengals are in a situation for a loss here. The Bengals have not scored more than 19 points in the last four games.

Gaining Fantasy Points CIN 11 20 3 32 5 17
Preventing Fantasy Points MIA 26 27 20 6 29 19


Miami Dolphins (1-14)
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 0-3 +16 35.5
13 NYJ 13-40 -1 38.5
14 @BUF 17-38 +7.5 36.5
15 BAL 22-16 +4 37
16 @NE 7-28 +22.5 43.5
17 CIN   +3 45.5
MIA vs CIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Cleo Lemon 30,1   190,1
RB Jesse Chatman 40 10  
RB Samkon Gado 60,1 10  
TE David Martin   10  
WR Derek Hagan   50,1  
WR Marty Booker   40  
WR Ted Ginn Jr.   40  
PK Jay Feeley 1 FG 3 XP  

Pregame Notes: Back to reality with the loss to the Patriots after beating the Ravens. It's been a horrible season that started with Ronnie Brown behind Jesse Chatman until finally given the green flag to be one of the best running backs in the league until week seven when he tore up his knee. Mass injuries followed and the Dolphins gave away Chris Chambers to further throw in the towel on 2007. The win over the Ravens was a much needed salve to a season gone horribly wrong and this week is a chance to actually end the year with a win. Imagine winning two of the final three games and having that erase a 0-13 start.

The recent hiring of Bill Parcells helps this team for 2008 but it may not help Cameron since Parcells would not commit to bringing him back next year.

Quarterback: After Trent Green was lost in week five, Cleo Lemon proved why he was a second-stringer who actually was better rushing in scores than passing for them. The rookie John Beck was given three starts with very little to work with and was finally replaced by Lemon just to make it appear the Fins were not blowing off the entire season. There's a chance that Beck comes back as the starter next year but Lemon is going to close this one out as the clear better chance to win the game.

Running Backs: The season is ending with a whimper but Ronnie Brown will be back to some level of healthy for next year. Jesse Chatman has been little more than expected as the starter and while he probably keeps his job as a back-up, he's rejuvenated his career only as far as getting to have one again. Lorenzo Booker has been the more interesting play once he was allowed to play and comes off 56 yards on seven rushes and has been a viable third down back for the last four weeks. He's been good enough that he may cut into Brown's role as a receiver next year.

Wide Receivers: The Dolphins did not cover much ground in assembling a wideout crew after trading away Chris Chambers to the Chargers. Tedd Ginn Jr. was the ninth overall pick in the draft and that returned a whopping 27 catches for 367 yards and just one touchdown way back in week eight. Derek Hagen used his rookie season to mirror Ginn with 27 receptions for 329 yards and one touchdown. Greg "who?" Camarillo is now the scoring leader of all wideouts on the roster because he has caught a touchdown in both of the last two games. The only veteran on the squad is Marty Booker and he is expected to be released in the offseason. Either the Fins hit the free agent market in the offseason or they once again have one of the worst wideout crews in the NFL.

Tight Ends: While HC Cam Cameron came from San Diego, there is no confusing David Martin with Antonio Gates. Martin scored in only one game this year and never had more than 35 yards in any game. The Fins have more pressing needs than tight end, but this is hardly a benefit to the offense.

Match Against the Defense: The Bengals are bringing a defense that has never allowed an opposing runner on the road less than 87 rushing yards and five times gave up over 100 rushing yards. The last two quarterbacks to face the Bengals on the road rushed in a score as well. The challenge in predicting the performances this week is that all three running backs played last week and likely will again. I like the Fins to score at least one if not two rushing scores here and have decent rushing yardage that will get split up between Chatman, Booker and Gado.

Lemon faces a secondary that has been one of the worst in the league and so bad that even Lemon should manage one passing score that should favor a wideout. I'll give it to Hagen but it could go anywhere.

Gaining Fantasy Points MIA 24 14 28 20 28 29
Preventing Fantasy Points CIN 27 16 29 21 24 14

The Huddle
~ 2007 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday Late

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