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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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The Huddle
~ 2008 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday Late
Bye Week

Prediction: SD 20, BUF 24

Update: Chris Chambers and Craig Davis are both expected to miss this game and they both missed all practices. Malcolm Floyd will replace Chambers and has a decent chance at a score here. Legedu Naanee will replace him but is not worth adding to the projections.

The Chargers come off a nice home win over the Patriots but are only 1-2 in road games this year. The Bills come off their bye week having last been trashed by the Cardinals in their first loss of the season. They are 2-0 at home so far. This is a coin toss game but we are in the sort of season that favors the home team coming off a loss.

San Diego Chargers (3-3)
Homefield: Qualcomm Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 CAR 24-26 -9 42
2 @DEN 38-39 -1.5 45.5
3 NYJ 48-29 -9 44
4 @OAK 28-18 -7 46
5 @MIA 10-17 -6.5 45.5
6 NE 30-10 -6 44.5
7 @BUF - -1 46.5
8 @NO - - -
9 BYE - - -
10 KC - - -
11 @PIT - - -
12 IND - - -
13 ATL - - -
14 OAK - - -
15 @KC - - -
16 @TB - - -
17 DEN - - -
SD at BUF Rush Catch Pass
QB Philip Rivers     230,2
RB LaDainian Tomlinson 60 30  
TE Antonio Gates   40  
WR Vincent Jackson   90,1  
WR Craig Davis 20
WR Malcolm Floyd   40,1  
WR Chris Chambers 50,1
PK Nate Kaeding 2 FG 2 XP  
Pregame Notes: Nothing like rolling up a big win over the visiting Patriots last week and despite being 3-3 the Chargers are only one game out of first place in the AFC West. The defense has been better these last two weeks and Rivers has been on fire all year. That will come into play in week eight in New Orleans right before the bye week. The Chargers are only 3-3 on the season and yet have been favored in every game so far. This week is the toughest one to date.

Quarterback: Philip Rivers is tied with Tony Romo for the NFL lead with 14 passing touchdowns and his 1489 passing yards are sixth best in the league. He's thrown for three scores in four different games and there is one commonality to his two bad games - they were both on the road. His last two efforts away from San Diego were in Oakland (180 yards, 1 TD) and Miami (159 yards, 1 TD). And those were not nearly as good of defenses as the Bills.

Running Backs: The concern about LaDainian Tomlinson has not waned. He limped to the sidelines late in the New England game and said his toe was in pain for the entire time. Tomlinson only gained 74 yards on 20 carries last week and had just 35 yards in Miami the previous weekend. Darren Sproles suffered an ankle injury late in that game as well.

The lack of a rushing game has spawned bigger numbers for Rivers passing but Tomlinson's toe continues to be an issue. The bye week is not for two more games and the Chargers cannot afford to rest him until then.

Wide Receivers: There is a chance that Chris Chambers can play this week after sitting out the Patriots game with a bad ankle. I will update if warranted but assume he can play at least on a limited basis this week. Malcolm Floyd replaced Chambers and had a nice three catch, 75 yard game with one score last Sunday. Vincent Jackson had his biggest effort of the year when he reeled in five catches for 134 yards and one score. Jackson has been consistent around 60 yards every week and just exploded against the Patriots since he had roughly twice the number of passes that he normally would get.

Buster Davis suffered a groin injury and may not play. I will project minimal numbers for him and update if warranted. Davis rarely has more than one catch anyway.

Tight Ends: Antonio Gates has scored four touchdowns but his yardage really lags from previous seasons and it is evident that he is playing at less than 100%. Gates has not turned in over 60 yards in any of the last four games and has 61 yards as his best of the year.

Match Against the Defense: The Chargers are not rushing nearly as well this year and yet the Bills defense at home has been tremendous against the run. No runner there has scored this year or has gained more than 55 rushing yards. Tomlinson is the most talented back to show up but he's not playing healthy. Expect no scores and only a moderate game.

Rivers goes against a secondary that has only allowed four passing scores in total and never more than two in a week. Rivers is going to have to keep the Chargers in the game and yet face a team that has been #1 against tight ends and solid in every other category. Chambers may not be healthy too. Look for a decent effort here with two scores at most and those should heavily favor Jackson and could involve Chambers if he proves healthy.

Gaining Fantasy Points SD 7 8 13 5 6 8
Preventing Fantasy Points    BUF 9 18 16 1 19 18

Buffalo Bills (4-1)
Homefield: Ralph Wilson Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 SEA 34-10 -1 39
2 @JAX 20-16 +6 38
3 OAK 24-23 -9.5 36.5
4 @STL 31-14 -8 41.5
5 @ARZ 17-41 +1 45
6 BYE - - -
7 SD - +1 46.5
8 @MIA - - -
9 NYJ - - -
10 @NE - - -
11 CLE - - -
12 @KC - - -
13 SF - - -
14 MIA - - -
15 @NYJ - - -
16 @DEN - - -
17 NE - - -
BUF vs SD Rush Catch Pass
QB Trent Edwards     230,2
RB Marshawn Lynch 80,1 20  
TE Robert Royal   20,1  
WR Lee Evans   80,1  
WR Josh Reed   50  
WR Roscoe Parrish   20  
PK Rian Lindell 1 FG 3 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Bills were undefeated and the surprise team of the NFL until week five when they were thrashed by the Cardinals in Arizona. But with a bye week to think it over the Bills return to what should be a rather easy schedule for the rest of the year. There are a few more losses coming before it is over but the team could not complain about getting perhaps the easiest remaining schedule there is.

Quarterback: Trent Edwards received a concussion back in week five at the start of that loss to the Cardinals. But after a bye week to shake out the cobwebs, Edwards has returned to practice and is likely to play this week. He's been remarkably consistent with exactly one passing score per game and around 230 passing yards. J.P. Losman replaced him in Arizona but committed three turnovers during the blowout loss. Edwards greatly increases the Bills chance of winning this week.

Running Backs: Marshawn Lynch has been decent so far but only thanks to an increased role as a receiver and even then, he has only broken 100 total yards once so far. He started the season out with four rushing scores in the first three weeks but has been far less effective in the two most recent games that were both on the road. Lynch has been solid in most weeks with some yardage but has fallen short of expectations. The schedule should be producing more yardage if not more scores. So far his best effort was 83 yards on 23 carries against the visiting Raiders and Lynch only has a 3.5 yards per carry average.

Wide Receivers: The good news here is that Lee Evans has turned in consistent fantasy production every week and even when Losman was playing, he still managed 100 yards and a touchdown plus a 22 yard run. Evans has not had more than four catches in any game so far but has never had less than 65 yards. So far has 432 yards on only 16 catches for an average catch of 27 yards!

Another piece of good news is that Roscoe Parrish will return this week which not only upgrades the #3 receiver slot but also has a great bearing in the punt return game. He has been out with a bad thumb but may play this week.

Tight Ends: Robert Royal still has one catch per game. No fantasy value.

Match Against the Defense: Lynch faces a decent rushing defense that had held all runners to sub-100 yard games until Ronnie Brown in week five. Lynch has not been running with much authority even though he gets nearly 20 carries in most games. Look for yet another moderate showing with a chance for one rushing score.

Edwards goes against a secondary that has been the source of most problems for the Chargers. They have never had less than 228 passing yards or a score in road games this year and that fits well into what Edwards has been doing. Evans will get his yardage this week with a good chance for a score but a second passing throw should end up with Royal even if he only gets one catch per week. The Chargers are ranked dead last against tight ends and have already allowed five scores to that position.

Gaining Fantasy Points BUF 14 17 14 24 12 14
Preventing Fantasy Points    SD 30 14 17 32 17 12

The Huddle
~ 2008 ~
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