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

Prediction: CIN 10, IND 23

Update: T.J. Houshmandzadeh was held out of practice on Wednesday to rest his back but had full practices on Thursday and Friday and is now listed as probable to play. He'll be there this week though the Colts secondary will be scheming to stop him specifically.

Anthony Gonzalez was added to the injury report with a shoulder problem and missed practice on Friday. He has been listed as questionable to play but there has been no word that he will miss this week. Joseph Addai is in the same situation since he was added as questionable on the report because of his knee. But he did have limited practice on Friday and also has not been ruled out so expect both players to go against the Bengals this week but check the Sunday inactives just to make sure nothing has become worse. One minor complication here is if they are not healthy and the Colts get a nice lead like virtually every team that plays the Bengals, they may not get as much playing time.

I will not change anything but check the inactives on Sunday just to be certain.

Well, this looks like a mismatch but only because the Bengals are always a mismatch. They are a very clean 0-6 on the road this year and may be getting worse if that is possible. The Colts have scratched their way back up to 8-4 which won't be good enough to catchup to the Titans for the division but plenty good for a wildcard in the AFC. The Colts' five game winning streak is the longest in the AFC and about to get longer.

Cincinnati Bengals (1-10-1)
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 10-27 +10.5 35
13 BAL 3-34 +7.5 36.5
14 @IND - +14 42.5
15 WAS - - -
16 @CLE - - -
17 KC - - -
CIN @ IND Rush Catch Pass
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick     170
RB Cedric Benson 60,1 20  
TE Reggie Kelly   20  
WR Chad Johnson   40  
WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh   60  
WR Chris Henry   30  
PK Shayne Graham 1 FG 1 XP  
Pregame Notes: Turn out the lights and leave the cat outside. After somehow tying the Eagles three weeks ago, the last two games had the Bengals losing by a combined 13-61 and the games were not even that close. They haven't been less than a touchdown underdog in almost two months and the team just folds in the face of a good defense. Week 17 against the visiting Chiefs still looms as a light at the end of a very long tunnel.

Quarterback: Ryan Fitzpatrick struggles along curiously locked around a60 passing yards in most games with a touchdown coming every other week when the opposing defense no longer cares. Carson Palmer is on pace to return possibly as early as next week but by this point there is no fantasy value in him when he does. What would only be appropriate here is that Palmer ends up with just one good game this year - week 17 against the Chiefs when fantasy playoffs are over.

Running Backs: Cedric Benson is still playing hard and has even called out his teammates for "not finishing". But going against the Steelers and then Ravens meant a total of 26 carries for 52 rushing yards since Benson would often have to wrestle the handoff away from the defenders that were already in the backfield. He has not had much impact but it is not all his fault. At this point, Benson has probably done enough to merit consideration next year but the specter of a new coaching staff could impact that greatly.

Wide Receivers: Hard to see the touchdown machine from 2007 turn into a mediocre possession receiver but T.J. Houshmandzadeh has only scored once in the last eight games and only once had more than 70 yards in the last seven weeks. These last couple of games against great defenses has depresses his stats but he was good for around 7 or 8 very short catches in most weeks. With no score. Houshmandzadeh suffered a minor concussion last week but is expected to play with no problems here.

Chad "Irrelevant" Johnson produces numbers like a back-up tight end despite getting eight more more passes every week. His season high is 57 yards in a game. A split end with supposed elite talent has 57 yards as a high point to the season.

Tight Ends: Ben Utecht tore the plantar fascia in his foot and may miss the rest of the season but hasn't been a factor anyway. Reggie Kelly bounces around 10 or 20 yards per week with is not that bad compared to Chad Johnson.

Match Against the Defense: The good news is that Benson faces a far worse defense than the Ravens or Steelers of late so there is a chance that he could produce fantasy relevant numbers if only for one week. Bob Sanders could be back this week though and the road Bengals have hardly been an offensive force by any measure. Look for moderate yardage and the chance for a score here.

Fitzpatrick gets to play where no opponent has scored a passing touchdown and most remain under 200 passing yards. Consider this as a standard bad showing by Fitzgerald with no shot at a touchdown.

Gaining Fantasy Points CIN 27 32 21 29 32 31
Preventing Fantasy Points    IND 1 26 1 9 26 5

Indianapolis Colts (8-4)
Homefield: Lucas Oil Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 CHI 13-29 -9.5 44
2 @MIN 18-15 -2 43.5
3 JAX 21-23 -5.5 42
4 BYE - - -
5 @HOU 31-27 -3 47.5
6 BAL 31-3 -4.5 39
7 @GB 14-34 -1 47
8 @TEN 21-31 +4 42
9 NE 18-15 -5.5 45
10 @PIT 24-20 +3.5 38.5
11 HOU 33-27 -9 50
12 @SD 23-20 +3 49.5
13 @CLE 10-6 -4.5 45
14 CIN - -14 42.5
15 DET - - -
16 @JAX - - -
17 TEN - - -
IND vs CIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Peyton Manning     250,1
RB Joseph Addai 100,1 20  
TE Dallas Clark   40  
WR Marvin Harrison   50  
WR Reggie Wayne   80,1  
WR Anthony Gonzalez   30  
PK Adam Vinatieri 3 FG 2 XP  

Pregame Notes: since losing to the Titans in week eight, the Colts have been on a roll with five consecutive wins and now has three home games and just one road trip left to play. They could easily win out and end up 12-4 on a nine game winning streak since they face three bad teams in CIN, DET and JAC with the season finale against the Titans likely a meaningless game since the division and homefield bye would have already been wrapped up.

Quarterback: Peyton Manning really fell back in the Browns game last week when he only had 125 yards and no scores but he had been very consistent with two or more scores in seven of the last eight games and his yardage had been on the upswing as well. He has thrown for over 250 yards in all but one home game this year and has never failed to have at least one passing score there as well.

Running Backs: After two decent showings sparked optimism, Joseph Addai only managed to gain 57 yards on 15 carries in Cleveland last week and only had one reception as opposed to the eleven he collected in the two previous games. Dominic Rhodes continues to get enough work each week to keep Addai from being an automatic fantasy start. These next two games should be a high point for Addai this year - if the Colts will use him.

Wide Receivers: Reggie Wayne has surprisingly low numbers in these last two road games but he's back at home where he has never had less than 65 yards in a game. His scoring pace has fallen off with only five touchdowns on the season but he still remains the primary wideout in almost every game.

Marvin Harrison had been a shell of his former self with most games ending up under 50 yards but at least his three touchdowns all occurred in home games as well as his best yardage efforts. Anthony Gonzalez pops up about once per month with a touchdown but won't carry fantasy value until Harrison leaves him the flanker spot.

Tight Ends: Definitely a down year for Dallas Clark with only three touchdowns on the season and rarely more than 45 yards in a game. He was never that big in yardage in 2007 but his touchdowns led the league. Now he's just another tight end.

Match Against the Defense: The Bengals are a bad team and on the road won't put up that much fight but these Colts have never been one to exert themselves more than they need to in order to win. This is not the high scoring Colts team of old. Expect a decent showing by Addai here but Rhodes will keep him from having a big game. There could be a score but it could go to either runner.

Manning can beat this secondary and not break much sweat but he'll most likely do enough to win but not roll up the points or yardage. Expect at least one passing score that favors Wayne but there could be more. There just doesn't have to be more is the problem.

Gaining Fantasy Points IND 9 26 9 11 29 22
Preventing Fantasy Points    CIN 22 23 26 16 21 28

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