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

Prediction: MIA 20, KC 17

Update: The weather is calling for a very cold game (8 degrees) and wind from 17 to 20 mph. That may affect the passing game and Thigpen in particular but I am not lowering his projections. The Chiefs should need to throw in this game regardless of the wind.

The Dolphins are on a three game winning streak to remain tied with the Jets and Patriots for the AFC East title. There is a chance that a wildcard could come from the East but not likely. That means the Dolphins can win out and take the division next week when they play the Jets. The Chiefs have lost two straight and by now have perfected the close loss. The Fins are 4-2 on the road while the Chiefs are 1-6 at home.

Miami Dolphins (9-5)
Homefield: Dolphins Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 NYJ 14-20 +3 36
2 @ARZ 10-31 +7 38.5
3 @NE 38-13 +13 34.5
4 BYE - - -
5 SD 17-10 +6.5 45.5
6 @HOU 28-29 +3 45
7 BAL 13-27 -3 36.5
8 BUF 25-16 +1.5 42.5
9 @DEN 26-17 +3 49
10 SEA 21-19 -9 43
11 OAK 17-15


12 NE 28-48 -2 42
13 @STL 16-12 -7.5 43.5
14 @BUF 16-3 +1 42
15 SF 14-9 -6.5 42
16 @KC - -4 41
17 @NYJ - - -
MIA @ KC Rush Catch Pass
QB Chad Pennington     170,1
RB Ronnie Brown 60,1 30  
TE Anthony Fasano   20,1  
WR Davone Bess   60  
WR Ted Ginn Jr.   40  
PK Dan Carpenter 2 FG 2 XP  
Pregame Notes: The Dolphins are just 12 months removed from being the team that went 1-15 last year. Now they are contending for the divisional title and are assured a winning season. Pretty heady stuff for the worst team only a year ago. Two road trips will not be easy and the season finale in New York against the Jets could be for a playoff spot or nothing - for both teams. No need to look ahead though since any loss likely drops them from the playoffs. The Dolphins are in the hunt but it has nothing to do with their offense anymore. The Miami defense has been dominating in recent weeks and only the Patriots were able to score more than 19 points against them in the last nine games.

Quarterback: Chad Pennington has been a solid contributor this year and has scored in almost every game - if he is at home. On the road, Pennington has only manage to score in two of six matchups His yardage has remained solid enough in most games but the scoring is noticeably absent when he leaves Miami to play. All other measurements remain relatively the same except for scoring.

Running Backs: The dynamic duo has morphed into just being a couple of guys that run the ball. The wildcat formation has largely been lost to a season footnote and the eye-opening numbers from Ronnie Brown are barely able to keep owners awake anymore. He has scored in just one of the last five weeks and been nothing more than a mediocre back. Brown is just 173 yards short of a 1000 yard season but he'd need to improve his numbers for the last two games to get there.

Ricky Williams has been little more than a relief player for the last five games and has lost all fantasy value. He usually ends with around 30 of 40 yards lately and is not worth projecting.

Wide Receivers: Marginal passing numbers lead to minimal value here. Davone Bess has actually been less effective replacing Greg Camarillo than when he was the slot receiver. But the first two weeks were both road games like this one and had him with about 80 yards in each contest. He only has one score on the year but Bess is turning in yardage lately.

Ted Ginn Jr. has been very quiet these last two weeks but had been on a run of 50+ yard efforts. The wideouts need to come to life more if the Fins are going to win out.

Tight Ends: David Martin had a freak 60-yard touchdown catch against the 49ers but had not scored since week one. Anthony Fasano has been more reliable but even he has only scored once in the last six weeks and been blanked twice in a row.

Match Against the Defense: Ronnie Brown gets to face one of the worst rushing defenses in the league in a must win game. Look for good rushing numbers and a chance for one score like eight other runners who have visited the Chiefs. Williams will see a bump in his stats too but mostly just as a drain on Brown.

Pennington should remain with his one touchdown per game routine since that is the least of what opponents do against the Chiefs. But it's hard to award since they never go the same place twice and rarely end up with the wide receivers. I'll award it to Fasano but that has low confidence.

Gaining Fantasy Points MIA 20 9 26 5 26 16
Preventing Fantasy Points KC 26 31 21 23 29 17

Kansas City Chiefs (2-12)
Homefield: Arrowhead Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @NE 10-17 +16.5 45
2 OAK 8-23 -4 34.5
3 @ATL 14-38 +5 36
4 DEN 33-19 +9.5 46.5
5 @CAR 0-34 +9.5 38.5
6 BYE - - -
7 TEN 10-34 +8 35.5
8 @NYJ 24-28 +13 38
9 TB 27-30 +8.5 37.5
10 @SD 19-20 +15 48
11 NO 20-30 +5.5 51
12 BUF 31-54 +3 43.5
13 @OAK 20-13 +3 41.5
14 @DEN 17-24 +9 48
15 SD 21-22 +5 46.5
16 MIA - +4 41
17 @CIN - - -
KC vs MIA Rush Catch Pass
QB Tyler Thigpen     240,2
RB Larry Johnson 50 10  
TE Tony Gonzalez   80,1  
WR Mark Bradley   30  
WR Devard Darling   20  
WR Dwayne Bowe   60,1  
PK Connor Barth 1 FG 2 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Chiefs have already started their deconstruction with the resignation of GM Carl Peterson. This week is the final home game in Arrowhead Stadium for the year and this is a franchise that was favored in only one game this year - and they lost that one. The way that the Chiefs can get close and then blow it is becoming worthy of study. They lost to the Chargers by one point each time. The defense has somehow always managed to remain just bad enough to win games and the offense has shown progress but could never produce the points when they had to be there.

Quarterback: Tyler Thigpen gets his final chance to show the hometown crowd that he belongs behind center next year and to his credit he has thrown for a score in all but one start. His last three games at home produced multiple scores and if nothing else he is helping Tony Gonzalez post stats that will be the tight end equivalent of Jerry Rice and Emmitt Smith. Just hard to imagine anyone will ever break them. Thigpen has been an upgrade but he's had very little help from the defense.

Running Backs: Hard to remember that this is Larry Johnson-Lite now who is little more than a support for the passing game and that himself never gets passes. Johnson has scored once since returning in week 11 and averaged only 66 rushing yards per game. Matchups that once would have been fantasy feasts like Denver and San Diego only produced 36 and 55 yards respectively. And no scores. And this is no Larry Johnson that you used to know.

Wide Receivers: Mark Bradley returned last week but was held without a catch. Granted the Chiefs never win anyway but when he is healthy (rare as that may be) he has been a solid contributor. His calf injury still is not completely healed.

Dwayne Bowe has an excellent shot at scoring this week since his last five touchdowns came in the last four home games. Bowe factors in with yardage on the road but has limited his scoring to home games since week three. Bowe has lost out a little on the man-crush that Thigpen has for Tony Gonzalez but still has been a worthy fantasy play every week.

Tight Ends: Thigpen had been zeroing in on Tony Gonzalez so much lately that HC Herman Edwards literally told him to not throw it to him so much since it shrinks the offense. So last week instead of 11 passes he was weaned down to just ten passes for only had six receptions for 62 yards to go along with his 8th touchdown of the year. Gonzo faces the #1 defense against tight ends. Can that slow him down?

Match Against the Defense: The Miami defense has been outstanding against the run this year and Johnson is only a fraction as productive as he once was. Shy away from him unless you are okay with another 50 yards and no score game.

Thigpen is the one that must keep the Chiefs in the game and the Dolphins have allowed over 300 passing yards to three road opponents (ARI, HOU and DEN). The Chiefs attack is limited without a healthy Bradley to mix it up but look for healthy yardage and two scores this week that should end up with Bowe and Gonzo. Sure, the Fins are #1 against tight ends but they have not met any yet. The AFC East has none and Owen Daniels managed 70 yards on them.

Gaining Fantasy Points KC 11 30 27 2 31 21
Preventing Fantasy Points MIA 17 6 27 1 21 5

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