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

Prediction: SF 14, CLE 27

Update: Shaun Hill is having back spasms and is questionable to play. He will be a game time decision and Chris Weinke may end up being the fourth 49er quarterback to start this year.

The 49ers are making a move in these final games to at least depreciate that draft pick that they traded away and which ended up with the Patriots. With wins in the last two games - both at home - the 49ers can feel better about themselves heading into the offseason. The Browns lost in Cincinnati last week and that could prove to be the most painful of all. Now the Browns have have the Titans lose to the Colts in order to grab the final wild card. Problem is that the Colts have no reason to want to win that game. But even without the postseason consideration, ending 10-6 this year would be exceeding all expectations for the Browns this year. The Browns are 6-1 at home and the 49ers are just 2-5 on the road. And they will not know if this game matters until the Titans play in the late game.

San Francisco 49ers (5-10)
Homefield: Monster Park
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 ARI 20-17 -3.5 45
2 @STL 17-16 +3 44
3 @PIT 16-37 +9 35.5
4 SEA 3-23 +1.5 40.5
5 BAL 7-9 +3.5 34.5
6 BYE - - -
7 @NYG 6-33 +9.5 40
8 NO 10-31 +2.5 40
9 @ATL 16-20 +3 37
10 @SEA 0-24 +10 39.5
11 STL 9-13 +2.5 41
12 @ARI 37-31 +10 38
13 @CAR 14-31 +3 35.5
14 MIN 7-27 +7.5 39
15 CIN 20-13 +8.5 43
16 TB 21-19 +7 37.5
17 @CLE   +10 39
SFO at CLE Rush Catch Pass
QB Shaun Hill     220,2
RB Frank Gore 80 10  
TE Vernon Davis   40,1  
WR Darrell Jackson   50  
WR Arnaz Battle   70,1  
WR Ashley Lelie   30  
PK Joe Nedney   2 FG  
Pregame Notes: The 49ers are winding down their season on a nice, if not very surprising, roll with two wins over the Bucs and Bengals in the last two weeks. A quarterback controversy is brewing because Shaun Hill is being compared to Alex Smith and let's be serious - most anyone would look better. Frank Gore is winding down a bitterly disappointing season but the defense has been much improved thanks in no small part to the rookie linebacker Patrick Willis. Ending the year with a couple of wins plays huge for this team that had been struggling since week three.

Quarterback: Shaun Hill hasn't done that much to warrant being admired in San Francisco other than being there during two surprising wins and not being Alex Smith. Hill has passed for a score in every start and had three against the Buccaneers but has never thrown for more than 197 yards. But he only has one interception so far and at least has given the 49ers something to think about in the offseason. Alex Smith was rookie year bad in 2007 and it's hard to imagine the will be back as the starter in 2008.

Running Backs: Frank Gore's dream of a 2000 rushing yard season quickly became a nightmare but he has just topped 1000 yards on the season and had two 100+ rushing yard games over the last five weeks. Gore only scored in three games this season and only once since week two. Recent games have increased his rushing average up to 4.3 yards per carry but this has been a sadly disappointing season with only 237 carries so far thanks to most games limiting him to less than 15 runs.

Wide Receivers: The addition of Darrell Jackson did little to help this unit and he only has two scores on the year. Jackson topped out at 86 yards in a game and usually struggled to exceed even 40 yards in most weeks but he has improved slightly in the recent home game wins. Arnaz Battle led all wideouts with five receiving touchdowns but his biggest advantage was that he was not Jackson and secondaries rarely bothered with more than single coverage on him. The quarterback play has been so bad in San Francisco that it is hard to evaluate the wideouts.

Tight Ends: Like the wideouts, Vernon Davis has never met the expectations of this season but has improved in recent weeks with a score in each of the most recent two games. He only has four scores on the year and has been stuck around 40 yards each week. Not bad for an average tight end but hardly what the highly drafted supposed playmaker was supposed to add to the offense.

Match Against the Defense: The problem for the 49ers is that the Browns have to win this game and the 49ers on the road have been even worse than they are at home. Gore has a shot at decent yardage here but only if the Browns do not get a big lead early and force the 49ers to pass which pretty much describes most games this year.

Hill has been only average at best but gets to face the worst secondary in the league so he should at least end with his first game over 200 yards and possibly two scores. Those have to favor Davis and likely Battle.

Gaining Fantasy Points SF 30 27 31 16 32 32
Preventing Fantasy Points CLE 32 11 30 31 31 9


Cleveland Browns (9-6)
Homefield: Cleveland Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 PIT 7-34 +4.5 37
2 CIN 51-45 +7 41.5
3 @OAK 24-26 +3 40.5
4 BAL 27-13 +4 40
5 @NE 17-34 +15.5 48
6 MIA 41-31 -4 45
7 BYE - - -
8 @STL 27-20 -3 43.5
9 SEA 33-30 -1 47
10 @PIT 28-31 +9.5 47.5
11 @BAL 33-30 -2.5 43.5
12 HOU 27-17 -3.5 51
13 @ARI 21-27 +1 51.5
14 @NYJ 24-18 -3.5 47.5
15 BUF 8-0 -5.5 45
16 @CIN 14-19 +-3 46.5
17 SF   -10 39
CLE vs SF Rush Catch Pass
QB Derek Anderson     250,2
RB Jamal Lewis 90,1 20  
TE Kellen Winslow   70,1  
WR Braylon Edwards   100,1  
WR Joe Jurevicius  


WR Josh Cribbs   20  
PK Phil Dawson 2 FG 3 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Browns really blew it last week when they lost to the Bengals and now must hope the Titans lose to the Colts who will be resting many of their starters. The way it works out, it doesn't matter if the Browns win this week or not, the Titans have to lose and with that ensure that at worst the Browns have a tie breaker at 9-7. That's a tall order and a bitter way to end an otherwise tremendous season that has witnessed the Browns offense come to life. The less spoken reality of this team that has been instrumental to the surprising season - the offense line has not only been better than any recent year, it has remained largely unaffected by the stream of injuries that doomed previous season.

Quarterback: Derek Anderson has been the biggest surprise of any NFL quarterback this season and he enters into the final game with 3635 yards and 28 touchdowns despite being a second string player as of week one. His level of play has left Brady Quinn on the bench and little more than a trivia question about the 2007 NFL draft. There is even speculation that the Browns may try to deal away Quinn in the offseason because this is now Anderson's team and there's no reason to make any changes here to the first good passing attack that the Browns have had in many years.

Running Backs: Jamal Lewis has enjoyed a rejuvenation of his career with the move to Cleveland and while he has benefited from a vastly improved offensive line, he has a new bounce in his step and is running harder than we've seen in years. He has topped 100 rushing yards in four games this year and enters the last week with 1176 rushing yards on 272 carries for a respectable 4.3 yards per carry average. He has scored nine rushing scores and even had two receptions for a score as well. He only signed a one-year deal but the Browns are already planning on getting him back for next year.

Wide Receivers: One of the many breakthrough players of 2008 has been Braylon Edwards who was already good coming into the season but has joined the ranks of elite receivers with a phenomenal year. Edwards has scored 14 times this year and has 1222 receiving yards on 77 catches. He's been nearly unstoppable and has been amazing even in windy, snowy games with incredible catches. Let Marvin Harrison fade off into the sunset, Edwards has stepped up to being a top five wideout and is only starting his career.

Tight Ends: Kellen Winslow is winding up a great season that is ending on a lower note that it began with. He just topped 1000 yards on the season and has 78 receptions but only scored five times and none in the last month of the season. His yardage per game also has waned in recent weeks but Winslow has laid claim to being a top three tight end in the NFL. he just needs to show up better in road games since his five best yardage efforts all came at home.

Match Against the Defense: The 49ers on the road have always played worse defense and virtually all of their opponents have one rushing score. Look for a nice game here by Lewis to end the year with one touchdown and at least close to 100 rushing yards.

Anderson faces a secondary that has allowed at least one passing score in each of the last five road games and that against teams that did not have the passing ability of the Browns. There is never much reason to look beyond Edwards and Winslow for scores or yards but both should end their season with a good game here. Weather could depress the yardage here though. The Browns must win this game.

Gaining Fantasy Points CLE 6 9 12 5 6 21
Preventing Fantasy Points SF 19 19 25 17 26 32

The Huddle
~ 2007 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday Late

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