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

Prediction: SD 24, OAK 14

The Chargers hit the road for the final game of the regular season and at 10-5 they hold the #3 seed over the Steelers. A loss this week coupled with a Steelers win in Baltimore would drop them to #4 seed and force them to play in New England in the second round. But that isn't a major issue since the Colts are hardly a pushover and the Chargers would have to play in New England eventually anyway. The Chargers are on a five game winning streak but have only been 3-4 on the road this year. The Raiders have lost their last three games and are only 2-5 at home. They also intend on starting JaMarcus Russell so the Chargers should secure a win without too much effort here. And even if they lost, it would not matter in the long-term anyway.

The Chargers won 28-14 when the Raiders visited in week six.

San Diego Chargers (10-5)
Homefield: Qualcomm Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 CHI 14-3 -5.5 42.5
2 @NE 14-38 +3 47
3 @GB 24-31 -5 43
4 KC 16-30 -13 38.5
5 @DEN 41-3 -1 43
6 OAK 28-14 -9.5 44
7 BYE - - -
8 HOU 35-10 -11 45
9 @MIN 17-35 -7 41
10 IND 23-21 +3.5 49
11 @JAC 17-24 +3 41
12 BAL 32-14 -9.5 38.5
13 @KC 24-10 -3.5 43
14 @TEN 23-17 -1 41
15 DET 51-14 -10.5 45.5
16 DEN 23-3 -8.5 47
17 @OAK   -8 43
SDC at OAK Rush Catch Pass
QB Philip Rivers     140
RB LaDainian Tomlinson 60,1 10  
RB Darren Sproles 60,1 30  
TE Antonio Gates   30  
WR Vincent Jackson   30  
WR Craig Davis   20  
WR Chris Chambers   40  
PK Nate Kaeding 1 FG 3 XP  
Pregame Notes: The Chargers have been on an impressive role in the last five weeks with never less than 23 points and yet never allowing more than 17. The defense has been particularly sharp in the last month and the rushing game once again mirrors the dominating unit from last season. The Chargers have not said that they intend on benching players but for the last two weeks, they already started pulling players at half time and with a game next week looming, no doubt will rest players again.

Quarterback: Philip Rivers has not met fantasy expectations this year in the new offense installed by Norv Turner and Clarence Selmon and only has 18 touchdowns on the season. Rivers has only thrown for 2828 yards and has been little more than average despite having the premier tight end and the addition of Chris Chambers. He's only topped 300 yards twice and fell below 200 passing yards eight times already.

Rivers only passed for 156 yards against the Raiders this year.

Running Backs: For the last two weeks, LaDainian Tomlinson has run wild in the first half, suffered a "grab" or "twinge" in his hamstring and sat out the second half as has several other offensive players. There is no doubt that Tomlinson would not play for more than a half this week as well but with a balky hamstring, he may not get that much work. The one prevailing counter to him resting is that he currently has 1418 rushing yards which leads Adrian Peterson by 102 yards. You can be certain that Tomlinson wants the rushing record. And Peterson will be playing in Denver at the same time as Tomlinson. Best bet this week is that Tomlinson plays for a quarter or a half to get 50 yards or so and then rests, but could come back in late in the game if Peterson goes nuts in Denver.

Tomlinson rushed for 198 yards on 24 carries and scored four times against the visiting Raiders in week six.

Wide Receivers: Not much to look forward to this week since in the Raiders game prior to Chambers showing up, no wideout had more than two catches or 38 yards in week six. And the Raiders will be at home this week. Chris Chambers has stepped up to as many as 90 yards in a game as a Charger but against the Raiders there is no reason to rely on any Chargers wideout this week.

Tight Ends: Antonio Gates only has 898 yards so far and it is unlikely he will turn in 102 yards this week to reach 1000 yards. He already has nine scores but has been rested in the most recent games during the second halfs of games and only had one catch for eight yards against Denver. He's not a safe start this week.

Gates only caught three passes but gained 58 yards against the visiting Raiders this year.

Match Against the Defense: It depends on what the game situation is and how Tomlinson feels, but he wants the rushing title again this year and should get it potentially without any yards this week. But to be sure, I like him to roll up around 50 or so just to make his lead insurmountable. Look for Sproles and Michael Turner to get playing time as well.

Rivers has never had good games against the Raiders and it is likely he will spend the second half on the sideline again. There is no Chargers receiver worth starting this week because of the risk of sitting. I like the chance of a defensive score this week with Jamarcus Russell playing.

Gaining Fantasy Points SD 22 2 32 3 21 2
Preventing Fantasy Points OAK 2 31 3 13 13 21


Oakland Raiders (4-11)
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 34-20 +3 41.5
14 @GB 7-38 +10.5 42
15 IND 14-21 +10.5 45
16 @JAC 11-49 +13 40
17 SD   +8 43
OAK vs SD Rush Catch Pass
QB JaMarcus Russell 10   150,1
RB Dominic Rhodes 70,1 20  
TE Zach Miller   50,1  
WR Jerry Porter   40  
WR Ronald Curry   50  
PK Sebastian Janikowski   2 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Raiders have been in tank mode for the last three weeks and Jamarcus Russell gets his first start this week despite being criticized by HC Lane Kiffen for playing poorly last week. The Raiders are winding up another bad season and have only the promise of Russell and the change to get a new running back next year to look forward to. Once again, the defense ranks highly against the pass and horribly against the run and largely because most opponents just run all over them and never get around to passing much. It would be a nice time to win one for the home crowd but they'll have to hang on to the win over the Broncos in week 13 until next year.

Quarterback: JaMarcus Russell is slated to get his first start this week and while he needs the playing experience, it's likely to be a rocky road against the aggressive Chargers defense. Russell was given extensive playing time against the Jaguars but only completed 7 of 23 passes for 83 yards with one touchdown against a lost fumble and three interceptions. In a few cases, he looked every bit the rookie trying to throw difficult passes that landed no where near the intended target. It will be an interesting look for what 2008 may hold but he still has a lengthy learning curve.

Daunte Culpepper was the starter in week six against the Chargers and threw for 229 yards and one score.

Running Backs: Safe to assume that Lamont Jordan's time in Oakland is over. With Justin Fargas out last week and word that Jordan would share time with Dominic Rhodes, he was never give a single carry. Rhodes ran for 115 yards on 27 carries and likely helped his case to remain on the team next year. Jordan - all but gone.

Lamont Jordan was still the starter in the last meeting with the Chargers and only gained 42 yards on 18 carries.

Wide Receivers: The minimal passing yardage by Russell has left this mediocre group of wideouts even worse than before and they've really never been worth a fantasy start this year in the best case. Ronald Curry is ending the season with only 701 yards and four scores so far while Jerry Porter only gained 669 receiving yards and scored five times.

Curry had six catches for 73 yards while Porter only caught three passes for 28 yards in San Diego this year.

Tight Ends: Small glimmer of hope is the play of Zach Miller when Russell is playing. Miller caught a score last week and was targeted seven times. Miller only had minimal success during his rookie season but there are the seeds of a connection with Russell next year.

Miller only had three catches for 17 yards but scored once in San Diego this year.

Match Against the Defense: As if it wasn't already hard enough to forecast with the Chargers likely to rest some starters, the Raiders are going with Russell in his first start against a good defense. Look for Rhodes to have a decent game if only in the second half but what Russell can do is likely minimal given his play last week.

Gaining Fantasy Points OAK 21 11 25 25 23 27
Preventing Fantasy Points SD 12 18 17 27 3 11

The Huddle
~ 2007 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday Late

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