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

Prediction: HOU 24, CLE 30

Update: Kellen Winslow was held out of practice this week before finally having a limited day on Friday. His sprained shoulder isn't expected to keep him out this week but there is guarantee that he will not be affected in the game if in fact he even plays. This is an early game so you can know in advance if Winslow is going to play and make other moves if he ends up inactive. But he appears more likely to play. I am lowering his projections because I am concerned that he may be limited in the game.

Jerome Harrison missed practice most of this week and was limited by his hamstring but has not been ruled out. He may end up as a gametime decision. Brady Quinn has a fracture on the end of his index finger but never missed practice and will play.

The Browns are coming off a short week but are at home and they just finally won a game. The Texans are on the road again where they have never won this year and are on a three game losing streak. This should have nice fantasy points from two weaker defenses but the Browns at home will take this win.

The Browns win 27-17 when these teams during week 12 of last year.

Houston Texans (3-7)
Homefield: Reliant Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @PIT 17-38 +6.5 43
2 BYE - - -
3 @TEN 12-31 +5 38.5
4 @JAX 27-30 +7.5 42
5 IND 27-31 +3 47.5
6 MIA 29-28 -3 45
7 DET 28-21 -9 48
8 CIN 35-6 -10 44-
9 @MIN 21-28 +4.5 47
10 BAL 13-41 -1.5 41.5
11 @IND 27-33 +9 50
12 @CLE - +3 50
13 JAX - - -
14 @GB - - -
15 TEN - - -
16 @OAK - - -
17 CHI - - -
HOU at CLE Rush Catch Pass
QB Sage Rosenfels     260,2
RB Ahman Green 20,1    
RB Steve Slaton 100 10  
TE Owen Daniels   70,1  
WR Andre Johnson   110,1  
WR David Anderson   10  
WR Kevin Walter   50  
PK Kris Brown 1 FG 3 XP  
Pregame Notes: A close loss to the Colts last week lends only more frustration for the Texans who only have a three game home stretch against MIA, DET and CIN to save them from being the AFC Lions. This week won't be easy but it may be as easy as it will get for the rest of the season outside of a road trip to Oakland. The Texans are on a path to no better than a 4-12 season and that will almost certainly call for an offseason shake up.

Quarterback: Sage Rosenfels has been getting worse every week and comes off a season worst 192 yards and no touchdowns last Sunday. But he has also been facing great defenses with the Ravens and Colts holding him down much as they have every team they have met. Rosenfels is a perfectly capable backup quarterback who played well enough last season - with a softer schedule - that there was some call to keep him as the starter this year. That all said, this weekend will be the last soft secondary that Rosenfels faces so you may want to move him after Sunday and get someone else. His schedule will be brutal and even Schaub would have struggled.

In other news, Matt Schaub's knee is not healing well and he may not make it back for four more weeks.

Schaub passed for 256 yards and two scores in Cleveland last year.

Running Backs: Steve Slaton comes off a career best game with 156 rushing yards and one score on just 14 carries in Indianapolis. There was a concern that Slaton was wearing down this late in to the season and that could still be valid but he had runs of 71 and 23 yards so his legs are fresh enough so far. Ahman Green only had nine carries for 17 yards but scored twice against the Colts and will continue to be the touchdown hawk that steals the scores from Slaton. Oddly enough, Slaton has not had much role as a receiver in the last two games and that bodes poorly for the future if tough matchups cause Slaton to not be used on passes.

The Texans rushed for 78 yards and no scores in Cleveland last season.

Wide Receivers: Same as Rosenfels, Andre Johnson has seen his stats plummet in the last two weeks thanks in no small part to facing the Colts and Ravens. Johnson only had a total of 11 catches for 111 yards over those two games and no scores. It is a reason for alarm for fantasy owners but mainly because so many of the upcoming opponents are bringing great secondaries with them. The good news is that this week should be a good one for Johnson.

These last two games are not great measuring sticks for Rosenfels and this week will be far easier than the rest of the schedule. At least the attention that Johnson has received has given Kevin Walter marginal value since he has turned in around 80 yards in both of the games that Rosenfels started.

Johnson only caught three passes for 37 yards against the Browns last year while Walter had six receptions for 65 yards and one touchdown.

Tight Ends: One very realistic cause for concern is that Owen Daniels has been held to only one catch in each of the last two games. He had four or five passes in each - already lower than other weeks - and only managed to catch one. But here is the reality - that was related to game situation. In week nine when Rosenfels came into the Vikings game, he completed eight passes for 101 yards in less than three quarters of playing time. Daniels has struggled these last two games but that doesn't mean he has lost all fantasy value.

Daniels caught seven passes for 82 yards and one score in Cleveland last year.

Match Against the Defense: The Browns rushing defense is bad no matter where the game is played and the Texans will look to get Slaton established with some success. But the rushing score could go to Green more likely and the lack of passing to Slaton recently is a concern that he can take full advantage of what this game could provide. Expect a decent showing here that could go big if Slaton breaks another long one.

Rosenfels faces a far softer secondary that he has this year and that will show up with at least one passing score and good yardage. If there was any remaining game you could choose to use Rosenfels in, this would be it. Look for both Daniels and Johnson to show up with good numbers this week. It may not last beyond this week but the Browns will give up yards and catches.

Gaining Fantasy Points HOU 4 20 3 12 21 26
Preventing Fantasy Points CLE 21 21 31 16 4 5

Cleveland Browns (4-6)
Homefield: Cleveland Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 DAL 10-28 +5.5 49
2 PIT 6-10 +6 45
3 @BAL 10-28 +2 38.5
4 @CIN 20-12 -3.5 44
5 BYE - - -
6 NYG 35-14 +8 43
7 @WAS 11-14 +7.5 42.5
8 @JAX 23-17 +6.5 41
9 BAL 27-37 -1.5 36.5
10 DEN 30-34 -3 46
11 @BUF 29-27 +4.5 42
12 HOU - -3 50
13 IND - - -
14 @TEN - - -
15 @PHI - - -
16 CIN - - -
17 @PIT - - -
CLE vs HOU Rush Catch Pass
QB Brady Quinn     200,2
RB Jamal Lewis 90,1    
TE Kellen Winslow   50,1  
WR Braylon Edwards   70,1  
WR Donte Stallworth   20  
WR Josh Cribbs   20  
PK Phil Dawson 3 FG 3 XP  

Pregame Notes: The win over the Bills doesn't necessarily save the season or save anything other than a sense of sanity for now. But it was a very badly needed shot of something good finally happening and avoided them setting the record of losing three straight games after leading by 13 or more points in each. It took a "wide right" by Rian Lindell but the Browns will happily accept it no matter how it comes. The win gives then a shot of confidence going into this week but even optimistically these Browns will not finish better than 6-10 on the season.

Quarterback: Brady Quinn was sharp in his first game going against a weak Denver defense but the Bills presented a far tougher secondary. Quinn completed only 14 of 36 passes for 185 and no touchdowns. He still has not thrown an interception yet though he is getting awfully close. Quinn is also not helped by the numerous drops by receivers most notably Braylon Edwards. But winning in Buffalo is a definite plus for the young Brady and a good learning experience for him as well.

Anderson passed for just 137 yards against the Texans last year.

Running Backs: Jamal Lewis continues his plodding ways and if anything he is slowly getting worse each week though the Browns rely on him no less than before. The big spark last week came from Jerome Harrison who ran in a 72-yard touchdown against the Bills and even had 48 yards on just five carries against the Broncos. Lewis is a constant in the offense but Harrison should start showing up more in future games though likely not enough to warrant a fantasy start.

Lewis gained 163 yards on 33 carries against the Texans last season.

Wide Receivers: After only connecting on one pass against the Broncos, Quinn had success with Braylon Edwards in Buffalo when he had eight receptions for 104 yards. He also had several bad drops including one at the end of the game that would have allowed for a critical first down. There is still no fantasy value here outside of Edwards and Donte Stallworth has successfully extracted a salary from another NFL team for no apparent reason.

Edwards only had four catches for 64 yards against the Texans last year.

Tight Ends: Kellen Winslow had a monster effort in week ten when he had 10 catches for 111 yards and two touchdowns in Quinn's first start but settled for only 30 yards on three catches against the Bills. He wisely remains a primary passing target even with Quinn.

Winslow had ten receptions for 107 yards and one score against the Texans.

Match Against the Defense: The Texans rush defense has been poor the entire season and in just the last three games has allowed four rushing touchdowns and over 100 yards to each primary rusher. This should be an excellent opportunity for Lewis to get a touchdown and may be his final hope for an actual 100 rushing yard game.

Quinn faces a secondary that has always allowed at least one passing score in all road games if not three. The yardage varies greatly depending on how well the running back does but it should be more of a split here that allows Quinn to throw for two touchdowns this week with moderate yardage. It also depends on whether Edwards can hold on to the pass.

Gaining Fantasy Points CLE 27 26 30 4 17 20
Preventing Fantasy Points HOU 27 26 12 26 20 27

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