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

Prediction: CIN 6, PIT 27

There's a chance that this could be a trap game. And there is a chance that a meteor crashes into the field at halftime erupting a flaming geyser from a previously unknown oil deposit. But I would not bet on either happening. This is a Thursday night game so at least if the meteor thing does happen everyone with the NFL channel can see it.

The Steelers won 38-10 in week seven when they met in Cincinnati.

Cincinnati Bengals (1-8-1)
Homefield: Paul Brown Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @BAL 10-17 -1 39
2 TEN 7-24 -1 37.5
3 @NYG 23-26 +13.5 42
4 CLE 12-20 +3.5 44
5 @DAL 22-31 +17.5 44
6 @NYJ 14-26 +6 45
7 PIT 10-38 +9.5 37
8 @HOU 6-35 +10 44
9 JAX 21-19 +7.5 40
10 BYE - - -
11 PHI 13-13 +9 42.5
12 @PIT - +10.5 35
13 BAL - - -
14 @IND - - -
15 WAS - - -
16 @CLE - - -
17 KC - - -

CIN @ pIt

Rush Catch Pass
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick     160
RB Cedric Benson 50 30  
TE Reggie Kelly   20  
WR Chad Johnson 30
WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh   60  
WR Chris Henry   20  
PK Shayne Graham 2 FG    
Pregame Notes: The Bengals latest gaff in a season rife with them was the weekly missing of the critical field goal. The Bengals have discovered so many ways to not win games that now they have resorted to not winning or losing a game. Pretty hard to do and for the last six years it had not been done. Lots of credit deserved for a team that has remarkably not quit yet but the next four weeks should pretty much beat the "want to" right out of them going against PIT, BAL, IND and WAS.

Quarterback: Carson Palmer is out this week (Part VI) and Ryan Fitzpatrick gets his second shot at the Steelers albeit in Pittsburgh this time. Playing against the Eagles last week, he finally broke out of his season long trend of passing for 150-160 yards and had 261 yards but only one score and he was sacked eight times which is high even for a Bengals quarterback. This will be the toughest venue so far for Fitzpatrick.

Fitzpatrick passed for 164 yards and one score against the Steelers this year.

Running Backs: The Bengals have been generally pleased with Cedric Benson so far which indicates the level of this offense when he has started four games and only once had more than 52 rushing yards. Last week against the Eagles, Benson ran 23 times but was held to only 42 yards.

A new development though was that he caught six passes for 37 yards after never having more than two catches in a game this season. That at least helps his fantasy value in a PPR league if they will continue it. Faced with four top defenses in a row, the Bengals would be wise to get rid of the ball quickly.

Benson ran for 52 yards on 14 carries in week seven against the Steelers.

Wide Receivers: After catching 12 passes for 149 yards and a score against the Eagles, T.J. Houshmandzadeh is the new NFL leader in receptions and he's been worth around 60 yards in the worst case. Of course Chad Johnson plods along with literally less than 60 yards in every week this year. This is no longer a feared passing attack other than the constant stream of short passes for Houshmandzadeh.

Antonio Chatman suffered a spinal cord contusion and will miss this week.

Houshmandzadeh gained 58 yards on eight receptions and Johnson turned in eight catches for 52 yards and one touchdown against the Steelers this year.

Tight Ends: No fantasy value.

Match Against the Defense: The only question here is how much the Steelers care. This is one of the worst offenses in the league on the road to one of the best defenses. No player here is worth a fantasy start.

Gaining Fantasy Points CIN 26 32 19 29 31 25
Preventing Fantasy Points PIT 2 2 3 10 10 23

Pittsburgh Steelers (6-4)
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 -3.5 38.5
11 SD 11-10 -4 43
12 CIN - -10.5 35
13 @NE - - -
14 DAL - - -
15 @BAL - - -
16 @TEN - - -
17 CLE - - -
PIT vs CIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Ben Roethlisberger     200,1
RB Willie Parker 130,2 10  
WR Hines Ward   70  
WR Santonio Holmes   60,1  
WR Nate Washington   40  
PK Jeff Reed 2 FG 3 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Steelers cannot afford a loss with the Ravens only one game back and the Bengals should pose no real obstacle other than it being hard to get motivated to play a team you already beat 38-10 in their stadium. This game is a must win but could turn into a trap game with NE, DAL, BAL and TEN waiting on the other side.

Nah, it is just the Bengals. But the meteor thing could still happen.

Quarterback: Ben Roethlisberger passed for 216 yards and two scores in Cincinnati this year and that was back in week seven. He has thrown for only one score since then even though he has turned in up to 308 yards in a game. But this week won't be about pressing to score much with a running game that should take center stage. Ben needs to become closer to his receivers near the endzone but not this week.

Running Backs: No need to share carries last Sunday when Willie Parker gained 114 yards on 25 carries against the Chargers and Mewelde Moore was limited to a single carry in the game. That was Parker's first decent game since week two and along with this week's matchup should be a good tune up for the stretch run into the playoffs.

Moore rushed for 120 yards and scored a total of three touchdowns in Cincinnati back in week seven. Parker is looking forwards to this weekend.

Wide Receivers: Hines Ward had a season best game last week when he caught a team high 11 passes for 124 yards against the Chargers. He had eight receptions for 112 yards against the Colts the previous week and remains the preferred target of Big Ben. Santonio Holmes still lags well behind Ward and rarely has more than around 65 yards in a game. But Holmes led the Steelers with 89 yards on five catches in the first meeting with the Bengals and Ward grabbed four receptions for 60 yards and one touchdown. Washington added 57 yards on two receptions and one score.

Tight Ends: Heath Miller is questionable to play again this week because of his ankle but rarely produces any fantasy points anyway.

Miller only had two catches for 13 yards in Cincinnati.

Match Against the Defense: This should prove to be a good place for Parker to run wild and a home game against the Bengals makes it even better. Expect the rushing game here to be effective enough to merit less passing and even Mewelde Moore could get involved if only to rest Parker.

This is a good place for Big Ben to connect up with Holmes again but not end up with a big passing game. The Steelers have several big games waiting after this week and there's no need to over-extend to turn this into another Bengals bloodbath.

Gaining Fantasy Points PIT 17 23 10 24 20 10
Preventing Fantasy Points CIN 17 23 21 11 18 28

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