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

Prediction: SD 20, PIT 30

Update: Willie Parker is not on the injury report and will play but will be wearing a vest that will make raising his arms up - like to catch a pass - more difficult. If you are in a points per reception league, this could be more germane since Parker will likely not be catching many passes this week.

The Chargers hit the road where they are only 1-4 and come off a paper thin win over the Chiefs. The Steelers are only 2-2 at home but thanks only to facing the Colts and Giants. Defense wins championships and it can win this game as well.

San Diego Chargers (4-5)
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 14-23 -1 46.5
8 @NO 32-37 -3.5 47
9 BYE - - -
10 KC 20-19 -15 48
11 @PIT - +4 43
12 IND - - -
13 ATL - - -
14 OAK - - -
15 @KC - - -
16 @TB - - -
17 DEN - - -
SD @ PIT Rush Catch Pass
QB Philip Rivers     230,2
RB LaDainian Tomlinson 50 30  
TE Antonio Gates   70,1  
WR Vincent Jackson   50  
WR Malcolm Floyd   40,1  
WR Chris Chambers   20  
PK Nate Kaeding 2 FG 2 XP  
Pregame Notes: it would be nice to think that the close win over the Chiefs was just a trap game averted but the Chargers have struggled to win most of their four victories and the defense has been unbelievably bad in recent weeks. The Chargers are only one game out of first place in the AFC West despite a 4-5 record but this week could the the toughest one of the year and even catches the Steelers at a bad time coming off a loss.

Quarterback: Philip Rivers remains #1 in the NFL with 21 passing scores and he has turned in multiple scores seven times so far. He has over 300 passing yards in three of the last four games and while the Chargers still struggle to win games, Rivers has been one of the best fantasy backs all year. This week will be a huge test against a great defense and Rivers has had his best - and worst - games both come on the road this season.

Running Backs: When LaDainian Tomlinson can only gain 78 yards on 22 carries against the visiting Chiefs, it is time to say all is not well in Boltville. And like maybe never again. Tomlinson had a nice showing in New Orleans with a touchdown and 105 rushing yards added to 65 receiving yards. But he only has two games over 100 rushing yards (and barely that) while having his three worst showings all coming in road games. Not a good sign for this week and maybe the first time owners can literally wonder - should I bench LT?

Wide Receivers: The passing numbers benefit this group almost every week and Vincent Jackson has far exceeded expectations for the last month with three scores and around 70 or more yards per game. Malcolm Floyd filled in for Chris Chambers and had a season high 76 yards. Chambers had no catches this past week thanks to his sore ankle keeping him from most of the game. Floyd will take over the #3 spot when Chambers is there since Craig Davis has fallen from favor.

I will assume that a limited Chambers can play this week and will update according to practice info.

Tight Ends: Antonio Gates may not be quite as big in yardage as in seasons past, but he already has six touchdowns and his yardage still keeps him in the elite tight end range. He hasn't topped 100 yards yet but has been consistently around 60 yards or so.

Match Against the Defense: Playing in Pittsburgh is never a treat and other than Gates, each Charger will be facing a top five defense against their position. In Pittsburgh no less. And after the Steelers lost to the Colts and will be extra motivated. There has only been one rushing touchdown allowed to an opposing runner in Pittsburgh and no runner has turned in more than 63 rushing yards. Tomlinson is no longer an elite back bigger than his competition so expect only moderate numbers here and no score.

Rivers faces a great secondary that had not allowed more than one score to a visiting passer until Manning had three last week. Rivers has the firepower to be sure so look for a couple of scores this week even though that is higher than the norm. Gates should be a lock for one of them and then Floyd from the slot has a better shot than the others at the second score.

Gaining Fantasy Points SD 5 12 12 4 6 21
Preventing Fantasy Points    PIT 3 3 4 13 10 24

Pittsburgh Steelers (5-4)
Homefield: Heinz Field
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 HOU 38-17 -6.5 43
2 @CLE 10-6 -6 45
3 @PHI 6-15 +3 45
4 BAL 23-20 -6 34.5
5 @JAX 26-21 +4 36
6 BYE - - -
7 @CIN 38-10 -9.5 37
8 NYG 14-21 -2.5 42
9 @WAS 23-6 +1.5 37
10 IND 20-24 OFF -
11 SD - -4 43
12 CIN - - -
13 @NE - - -
14 DAL - - -
15 @BAL - - -
16 @TEN - - -
17 CLE - - -
PIT vs SD Rush Catch Pass
QB Ben Roethlisberger     270,2
RB Willie Parker 50    
RB Mewelde Moore 30,1 20  
WR Hines Ward   80,1  
WR Santonio Holmes   90,1  
WR Nate Washington   60  
PK Jeff Reed 3 FG 3 XP  

Pregame Notes: Tough loss for the Steelers that drops them into a tie with the Ravens for the AFC North. This week should have no problem getting motivated to win with the Chargers coming to town and only the Bengals waiting on the other side. The Steelers control their own destiny this season and a win here will go a long way. The schedule is not easy but should see them favored in almost all remaining games.

Quarterback: Ben Roethlisberger left the game in Washington with a bad shoulder and after limited practice last week was able to start the game and pass for a respectable 284 yards though he had three interceptions and no scores against the Colts. He'll be similar this week with likely limited practice before playing but he goes from facing one of the very best passing defenses to one of the very worst. That's better than a bottle of aspirin at relieving pain.

Running Backs: Willie Parker did not suit up last week against the Colts because of his shoulder which has been deemed a season ending torn labrum or just a sprain depending on who you ask. Bottom line, Parker should be back this week even if he has to wear a shoulder harness because you should not be getting so many points out of Mewelde Moore. Parker's return really does nothing more than mess up a good thing for Moore who has looked at least as good as Parker has if not better.

I'll update later as warranted but expect both players to contribute this week.

Wide Receivers: No changes here with Hines Ward continuing to have a solid season and he comes off his first 100 yard game of the year when he had nine catches for 116 yards versus the Colts. Ward has five touchdowns on the year to lead the receivers. Santonio Holmes has scored only twice and has spend most weeks around 60 yards. He had one of his worst games of the year last week but with the Chargers showing up could well end up with a season high game on Sunday.

Tight Ends: Heath Miller remains out this week and in his place Matt Spaeth had six catches for 53 yards when the Colts played last week. But Spaeth only had one catch for six yards in the previous game so it was more situation that allowed him a decent showing.

Match Against the Defense: Now here is the fun part of playing the Chargers. The secondary is horrible and always allows at least one touchdown (or up to four) and over 230 yards in every away game. They have allowed two opponents to throw for 300+ yards. This is a bad secondary that just allowed Tyler Thigpen to score three times. Look for the rushing game to split carries and have one touchdown while Big Ben shoulder wince with a bad shoulder and yet still have at least two passing scores if not three. The Steelers need this one and the Chargers show up at the wrong time.

Gaining Fantasy Points PIT 16 20 10 25 23 11
Preventing Fantasy Points    SD 32 15 21 32 18 11

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