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

Prediction: CLE 3, PIT 17

The Steelers clinched the #2 seed and have nothing to play for here other than the sheer enjoyment of clubbing the Browns again. The Browns have all but imploded by this point and the Steelers effectively get two weeks off before their first playoff game. The Browns are officially out of quarterbacks now and even those who have hit injured reserve are still getting punched in the face by team mates. This will be the final trip as a Brown for many people on that plane.

Cleveland Browns (4-11)
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 6-16 -3 50
13 IND 6-10 +4.5 45
14 @TEN 9-28 +13.5


15 @PHI 10-30 +14 39
16 CIN 0-14


17 @PIT - +10.5 32
CLE @ PIT Rush Catch Pass
QB Josh Cribbs 30   80
RB Jamal Lewis 30    
WR Braylon Edwards   40  
WR Donte Stallworth   20  
PK Phil Dawson 1 FG    
Pregame Notes: The Browns have lost all spark, all punch and all hope. They have not scored more than ten points in the last five games and come off their first shutout. At home no less. By the Bengals. Ouch. And they lost their third quarterback. This is a low point for the organization and is just a week to get through before the packing boxes are distributed.

Quarterback: Ken Dorsey left the game last week with rib and a mild concussion and may not play this week. That would likely put wideout Josh Cribbs under center though Bruce Gradkowski is on the roster as well. Let's all hope they use Cribbs because it would be the only reason to watch this game.

Running Backs: That surprising 2007 season with a cakewalk schedule certainly is in the rearview mirror or Jamal Lewis. He's ending this year with no games over 88 rushing yards, four touchdowns and he needs 92 more yards to break 1000. Not likely his best game comes in Pittsburgh no matter how indifferent they will be to the results of this week. Lewis is not safe from review in the offseason - he brought nothing to the team beyond what any runner could do.

Lewis rushed for 38 yards on 19 carries against the Steelers this year.

Wide Receivers: Braylon Edwards only had three catches for 32 yards versus the Steelers this year and has been a major disappointment beyond the changing of quarterbacks. He has only scored three times this year and had three efforts with more than 100 yards have been balanced out by six games of 35 yards or less.

Then again, that is better than pricey free agent Donte Stallworth who usually has just one catch per game and is certain to once again spend the offseason looking for a new job.

Tight Ends: Kellen Winslow has been out with his ankle injury, Steve Heiden is gone and the Browns are down to Darnell Dinkins who has one catch per game.

Match Against the Defense: The only question is if the Browns can have any success against the PIT scrubs that will be in the game eventually. Lewis is a lock for a horrible game here and the only possible way this group gets on SportsCenter is if Josh Cribbs literally throws a touchdown to himself. It could happen. It's probably more likely than any other way.

Gaining Fantasy Points CLE 32 30 31 14 21 18
Preventing Fantasy Points    PIT 2 2 1 11 8 25

Pittsburgh Steelers (11-4)
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 27-10


13 @NE 33-10 +1 40
14 DAL 20-13 -3 41.5
15 @BAL 13-9 +2 34
16 @TEN 14-31 -2 34.5
17 CLE - -10.5 32
PIT vs CLE Rush Catch Pass
QB Byron Leftwich     210,1
RB Willie Parker 30    
RB Mewelde Moore 30 10  
TE Heath Miler   40,1  
WR Limas Sweed   50  
WR Santonio Holmes   40  
WR Nate Washington   60  
PK Jeff Reed 1 FG 2 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Steelers have clinched the #2 seed in the AFC and now have zero to play for in what could be the easiest match-up of the season. Some players like Hines Ward is lobbying to play knowing that the coaches will want to rest the stars.

Then again, if any player of note hurt in a meaningless game against the Browns the coaches would look pretty stupid. Expect that you cannot rely on any Steelers player this week.

Quarterback: Ben Roethlisberger had his ankle wrapped with ice after the Titans game. That places his chance of playing here at right around zero and him playing the entire game at less than zero. Somehow.

Running Backs: The good news is that Willie Parker is healthier than he has been all season. The bad news is that he has rushed 44 times for 91 yards over the last three games. Both he and Mewelde Moore should get at least cameo playing time and nothing worth a fantasy start.

Wide Receivers: Hines Ward in particular is lobbying to play this week knowing that a two week layoff can make anyone rusty but he is also the least likely wideout to see the field this week. Playing the starters here actually does little to help because it will not be Roethlisberger throwing the ball anyway.

This would be a nice spot to see what Limas Sweed could do along with Nate Washington.

Tight Ends: After a season of non-use, Heath Miller has caught a score in each of the last two home games even though his yardage is rarely above 30 yards in a week.

Match Against the Defense: The Browns defense doesn't care anymore knowing that their offense cannot actually score a touchdown. This would be a nice spot for any running back but who to rely on this week is harder to forecast since it could involve Gary Russell or Carey Davis. Too bad Rashard Mendenhall is not still around, this would have been a great place to let the rookie roll up some stats.

Most likely Leftwich will start and while he will want to have a decent showing, it would be hard to expect more than one passing score and basing a fantasy start on any Steelers this week is a bad idea. I like a defensive score though.

Gaining Fantasy Points PIT 14 25 7 21 19 9
Preventing Fantasy Points    CLE 12 23 23 5 6 23

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