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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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The Huddle
~ 2009 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday Late

Prediction: OAK 14, KC 17

Sunday Update: Jamaal Charles is a surprise inactive. Matt Cassel will play.

Saturday Update: Matt Cassel was limited in every practice this week and will be a game time decision. I am not adding him back in because the risk is high he will not play and even if he somehow did, it is unlikely he would have a decent game against the Raiders secondary.

Friday Update: Chaz Schilens remains out but there is a chance that Matt Cassel will play this week. He has been limited in practices so far but he is improving. Barring a setback in Friday practice, I will be adding him back into the projections.

This could be a strange game to call. The Raiders were certainly surprising when they almost beat the Chargers. The Chiefs were certainly surprising when they almost beat the Ravens ( or at least put up a good fight). Who are the real Raiders and Chiefs? We don't know yet. These divisional rivals swapped road wins in 2008. The Raiders won 23-8 in Kansas City while the Chiefs visited Oakland and won 20-13

Oakland Raiders (0-1)
Homefield: McAfee Coliseum
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 SD 20-24 +9.5 43
2 @KC - +4 41
3 DEN - - -
4 @HOU - - -
5 @NYG - - -
6 PHI - - -
7 NYJ - - -
8 @SD - - -
9 BYE - - -
10 KC - - -
11 CIN - - -
12 @DAL - - -
13 @PIT - - -
14 WAS - - -
15 @DEN - - -
16 @CLE - - -
17 BAL - - -
OAK at KC Rush Catch Pass
QB JaMarcus Russell     180,1
RB Darren McFadden 90,1 30  
RB Michael Bush 50 10  
TE Zach Miller   50,1  
WR Louis Murphy   40  
WR Todd Watkins   10  
WR Darrius Heyward-Bey   30  
PK S. Janikowski   2 XP  
Pregame Notes: Hosting the Raiders, there were times that the Raiders seemed to have a very good rushing attack - better than the Chargers no less. And they seemed to have a nice passing game if you happened by the TV at highly selective intervals. At least the Raiders looked like they were legitimately better this season. Maybe not as good as any other team, but definitely better than Raiders 2008. The Chargers may have been in a trap game since they have beaten the Raiders each meeting for years but this week we will know more since the Chiefs can take no opponent lightly.

Quarterback: We wanted to see Jamarcus Russell prove that he was better now. That he had matured and spent the offseason dedicated to improvement. That he would somehow remind anyone that he was once considered the best college player in the draft. Instead, we saw him complete 12 of 30 passes for 208 yards, one score and two interceptions (one from a Hail Mary though). Russell did have a few very sharp passes. And his receivers had a few drops. But overall, it's hard to consider Russell any different than he was last season.

Russell only passed for 55 yards in Kansas City last season though it was when McFadden had his career best game. Russell later threw for 132 yards at home.

The Chiefs allowed Joe Flacco to throw for 307 yards and three touchdowns so there is hope but the Raiders are on the road and so far, it all just same-old, same-old in the Raider passing game.

Running Backs: The rushing attack did look better this time around. A healthy Darren McFadden gained 68 yards on 17 carries and looked like he was regaining his quickness to the corner. Michael Bush rushed 12 times for 55 yards and scored once. That's 29 carries for a total of 123 carries - heady stuff for the Raiders. Justin Fargas has been out with a hamstring and is slated to return this week but right now there is no reason to interject him into the only part of the offense that actually works.

McFadden gained 164 yards on 21 carries and scored once in Kansas City during his only notable game as a rookie. In the home meeting, Justin Fargas gained 82 yards on 18 runs and scored once. No doubt the rushing attack will be center stage and the Chiefs gave up 171 yards and two rushing touchdowns to the Ravens running backs. Willis McGahee added another score via a reception. Look for at least minor success here for McFadden and Bush but the Chiefs tend to tighten up at home.

Wide Receivers: Chaz Schilens remains out until probably week four with a bad foot and Johnnie Lee Higgins suffered an AC sprain in his shoulder and may not play this week. That's unfortunate since Darrius Heyward-Bey (DHB) has been rather underwhelming so far, failing to catch a pass on his four throws. But he missed them faster than any receiver alive. The only wideout to record a catch last week was Louis Murphy who had four receptions for 87 yards and a score. Impressive. And very much all alone out there past the line of scrimmage. Todd Watkins can play but he had no catches last week. Not a good state of affairs for a team with supposedly the best quarterback and wideout available in two different NFL drafts.

No wideout had more than one catch for 11 yards in either meeting with the Chiefs last year. Yeah, seriously. Could happen all over once the Chiefs notice only Murphy can catch the ball.

Tight Ends: Zach Miller was the leading receiver last week (and likely every week the same as last year) when he had six catches for 96 yards. Miller is the only Raider receiver remotely worth starting. And the Chiefs are weak against the tight ends since they allowed Todd Heap to be noticed.

Miller was almost the only Raider to have any catches last year against the Chiefs. He only had 24 yards on two catches in the road game (though Russell only passed for 55 yards in that game). At home, Miller turned in 79 yards on five catches.

Gaining Fantasy Points OAK 23 8 19 10 8 11
Preventing Fantasy Points    KC 30 32 27 27 23 7

Kansas City Chiefs (0-1)
Homefield: Arrowhead Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @BAL 24-38 +12.5 36
2 OAK - -4 41
3 @PHI - - -
4 NYG - - -
5 DAL - - -
6 @WAS - - -
7 SD - - -
8 BYE - - -
9 @JAC - - -
10 @OAK - - -
11 PIT - - -
12 @SD - - -
13 DEN - - -
14 BUF - - -
15 CLE - - -
16 @CIN - - -
17 @DEN - - -
KC vs OAK Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Cassel     190,1
RB Larry Johnson 60,1 10  
RB Jamaal Charles 30 30,1
TE Sean Ryan   10  
WR Dwayne Bowe   40  
WR Bobby Engram   30  
WR Mark Bradley   50  
PK Ryan Succop 1 FG 2 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Chiefs went to Baltimore with Brodie Croyle as the starter and coming back with a 24-38 loss is sort of more like a win. They had a tie with 5:28 left to play before falling to the wayside but all in all - have to be somewhat pleased. The Chiefs are in a major rebuilding project and are installing a new offense so posting any points in Baltimore exceeds common expectations. The schedule is just brutal beyond this week with a trip through the NFC East before hosting the Chargers. This game is the Chiefs best shot at a win before the week eight bye. Maybe the only one.

I like the chance for a defensive score this week.

Quarterback: Brodie Croyle started in Baltimore and while he only threw for 177 yards, he tossed two touchdown to keep them in the game. Matt Cassel remains questionable to play and was counted out last week because the fear that he would not be mobile enough to avoid the Ravens pass rush. I will assume Croyle starts this week as well but will update as warranted.

The Chiefs never passed for more than 168 yards in either meeting with the Raiders last year and had only one passing score in the home game.

Running Backs: Yeah. Rushing game needs some work.

Larry Johnson only managed 20 yards on 11 carries and that was actually better than Jamal Charles who had four runs for eight yards. Charles added four catches for 29 yards but the running backs were non-factors as expected. That should not be as much the case with the Raiders coming to town but the split between Johnson and Charles may water down the fantasy value even in the best case scenario. With a bad slate of games about to happen, this week needs to sort out just how involved Charles will be in the offense.

Johnson ran for 92 yards and a score in the road meeting with the Raiders but only managed 22 yards on 12 carries during the home matchup in week two.

The Raiders were decent against the run when they held Sproles and Tomlinson to a combined 78 yards on 22 carries but are on the road this week which tends to help. Whatever happens this week is about as good as it is going to get. And that may not be all that good.

Wide Receivers: Dwayne Bowe is out of the doghouse but still only managed to catch four passes for 40 yards though one went for a 2-yard touchdown. Mark Bradley was more productive with 73 yards on four receptions but no other receiver really mattered. Bobby Engram had a couple of catches for 19 yards and this week won't be that much better. Bowe only had 27 yards on two catches in Oakland last season but had 90 yards on six receptions in the home meeting. Now he will no doubt get CB Nnamdi Asomugha who will hold him to even lower numbers.

That makes Bradley the most attractive wideout but that doesn't mean much. Look for lower numbers across the board this week.

Tight Ends: Sean Ryan scored a touchdown but it was on his only catch in the game last week. There still is no reliable fantasy value here since Tony Gonzalez left.

Gaining Fantasy Points KC 15 32 15 15 19 25
Preventing Fantasy Points    OAK 16 27 17 19 14 19

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