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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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The Huddle
WEEK 3
~ 2009 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Monday
Sunday Late
*updated

Prediction: CLE 7, BAL 31

Saturday Update: Lewis still has not practiced and won't play. Jerome Harrison and James Davis will share the load but in Baltimore that is not likely to be much anyway.

Beware if you want to use Phil Dawson - he is questionable with a bad calf and the Browns have tried out kickers. They have not signed one yet and it is not a good game anyway but Dawson is not a lock to play.

Friday Update: Jamal Lewis has not practiced this week and is likely a game time decision because of his hamstring. I am removing Lewis from the projections and adding in James Davis who has been taking his place in practice. But playing in Baltimore is about as bad as it gets for a runner so neither player is worth a start this week anyway.

The Ravens swept the Browns in 2008, winning 28-10 at home and later 37-27 in Cleveland. But the Browns, incredible as it may seem, actually swept the Ravens in 2007 during their Magical Mystery Tour led by Derek Anderson. The world has been placed back on its axis and time has been returned to 60 seconds per minute. Consider this a Ravens win. All is well in the natural world once again.

Cleveland Browns (0-2)
Homefield: Cleveland Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 MIN 20-34 +3.5 40
2 @DEN 6-27 +3 37
3 @BAL - +13 38.5
4 CIN - - -
5 @BUF - - -
6 @PIT - - -
7 GB - - -
8 @CHI - - -
9 BYE - - -
10 BAL - - -
11 @DET - - -
12 @CIN - - -
13 SD - - -
14 PIT - - -
15 @KC - - -
16 OAK - - -
17 JAC - - -
CLE at BAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Brady Quinn     200,1
RB Jamal Lewis 30 20
RB James Davis 30 20  
TE Robert Royal   20  
WR Braylon Edwards   70,1  
WR Josh Cribs   30  
WR Mohamed Massaquoi   30  
WR Mike Furrey   20  
PK Phil Dawson   1 XP  
Pregame Notes: Tough opening for the Browns may not be getting any better for a while. Even the home game against the Bengals no longer looks as favorable. New HC Eric Mangini has taken over a team that has far fewer weapons than the Jets had for him and a infinitely worse defense. This is a rebuilding year all except for there being no new parts that are being installed. Just more of the same from the same cast of characters that got the last coach fired. Even less considering the departure of Kellen Winslow.

Quarterback: Two weeks in and Mangini is already having to confirm who the starting quarterback is this week. Brady Quinn has only one touchdown passed this year and two interceptions and nine sacks. So far his best was the season opener when he threw for 205 yards. Quinn has also lost a fumble each week. There is already speculation that Derek Anderson may get the start soon if only because he cannot be this bad. Actually he is if not worse, but memories are short and nothing much is happening in this offense.

Anderson was the quarterback in both meetings with the Ravens last year and he only passed for 125 yards and one score in Baltimore along with three interceptions and four sacks.

The Ravens secondary has been far less formidable this year with Philip Rivers shredding them for 436 yards and two scores last Sunday. Even Brodie Croyle had 177 yards and two scores in Baltimore to open the year so there is a sliver of hope that Brady can have a decent showing this week. He will have to throw because the run is not going to work at all. Expect a passing score here and moderate yardage. He could throw two like the others but so little seems to be working for the Browns that he is just now a safe risk.

Running Backs: Jamal Lewis looks just as slow and beyond his prime as he did last season. Two weeks in and he has 25 carries for 95 yards and no scores. In Denver, he only averaged 2.7 yards per carry and now faces the his old team. Lewis only gained 56 yards on 12 rushes in Baltimore last season. He later had 49 yards on 19 runs in the home game. Both marks seem higher than expected this season.

James Davis did not play last week because of his shoulder sprain.

The Ravens has not allowed a rushing score yet and no runner has totaled more than 26 yards against them. Stay very far away from Lewis this week.

Wide Receivers: There is a sliver of hope here because CB Fabian Washington may be out with a concussion and this unit needs all the help it can get. Braylon Edwards turned in a surprising 92 yards on six reception in Denver after recording just a single catch the previous week. Josh Cribbs has been ineffective and may be moved back to the slot but that would promote Mohamed Massaquoi into the flanker role and he's only managed one catch this year.

Edwards only had three catches for 27 yards in Baltimore last season though he later had 86 yards and a score in the second meeting. With Washington potentially out and the Ravens susceptible to the pass so far this year, consider Edwards as a better risk this week than normally would be. There is a difference between Rivers in San Diego and Brady playing in Baltimore so temper expectations all the same.

Tight Ends: Robert Royal followed up his season opener of 60 yards and a score with a one catch flop in Denver. He'll be inconsistent this year and tend more towards the one catch game than any reliable fantasy value. The Ravens have allowed a passing score to tight ends but Royal should not be considered this week.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CLE 28 28 31 17 17 13
Preventing Fantasy Points    BAL 28 12 25 17 31 7


Baltimore Ravens (2-0)
Homefield: M&T Bank Stadium
Sport Turf
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 KC 38-24 -12.5 36
2 @SD 31-26 +4 41
3 CLE - -13 38.5
4 @NE - - -
5 CIN - - -
6 @MIN - - -
7 BYE - - -
8 DEN - - -
9 @CIN - - -
10 @CLE - - -
11 IND - - -
12 PIT - - -
13 @GB - - -
14 DET - - -
15 CHI - - -
16 @PIT - - -
17 @OAK - - -
BAL vs CLE Rush Catch Pass
QB Joe Flacco     220,2
RB Ray Rice 90,1 10  
RB Willis McGahee 70,1 40,1  
TE Todd Heap   30  
WR Mark Clayton   30  
WR Kelley Washington   40,1  
WR Derrick Mason   50  
PK Steve Hauschka 2 FG 4 XP  

Pregame Notes: An undefeated start has the Ravens looking very sharp and while the pass defense has lagged this season, the rest of the team and the entirety of the offense look better than ever. Joe Flacco has taken the next step up even without any star receivers and the only fear this week is that the Ravens try to mail it in while looking ahead to New England next week. Even then they may still beat the 13 point spread. This is nearly an off week for the Ravens but there's no sign of them needing rest.

Quarterback: Two weeks into the season and Joe Flacco has thrown for five touchdowns - it required eight games last year to reach that mark. He's playing efficiently and productively and last Sunday settled for 190 passing yards and two scores because the run was taking care of business. He opened the year with a 307 yard, three score game against the Chiefs and could do that here.

Flacco passed for only 129 yards in his home game against the Browns last year but it was only his third NFL start. He later had 248 yards and two scores in Cleveland.

Flacco could tear this unit up but probably won't because the rushing and defense will control the game. Look for two scores and decent yardage mostly because he can.

Running Backs: The whole "Ray Rice is the starter" notion is getting shoved aside for the "Willis McGahee is the guy to get" reality. Rice had a nice 120 yard game against the Chiefs without a score while McGahee settled for 75 yards but two touchdowns. In San Diego, it was Rice 92 yards and no score versus McGahee's 89 yards and three touchdowns. Rice continues to be a marginal fantasy starter but giving up all scores to McGahee has shifted the fantasy value on the team.

Le'Ron McClain rushed for 66 yards and two scores against the visiting Browns last season and McGahee tacked on 64 yards and a touchdown as well. Later Rice gained 154 rushing yards in Cleveland and McClain scored once.

This should be a nice game for both Rice and McGahee not unlike week one. Consider both a decent start but McGahee still makes more sense. The Browns have already yielded five rushing touchdowns.

Wide Receivers: Derrick Mason's decision to return this year has not meant that much to the offense since two games into the season and he has totaled only seven catches for 78 yards and no score. Mark Clayton started out well in week one but then was limited to a single catch in San Diego. The slot receiver Kelley Washington has actually been the most consistent with games of 43 and 58 yards plus a touchdown last Sunday. The big season opener is looking more like an aberration. In San Diego, the scoring passes went to tight ends and running backs.

Mason had a big game in Cleveland last year when he caught nine passes for 136 yards and a score. Even Mark Clayton turned in 87 yards and a touchdown in that game.

Tight Ends: Todd Heap is having a rejuvenation this year with a touchdown in each of the first two games. But his yardage plummeted last Sunday with just the one catch and he still remains too risky for fantasy consideration.

Between the two meetings with the Browns last year, Heap only totaled two catches.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points BAL 4 1 15 9 15 21
Preventing Fantasy Points    CLE 5 31 16 11 30 30

The Huddle
WEEK 3
~ 2009 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Monday
Sunday Late
Other Features
Fantasy Statistics
Early Injury Report
Free Agent Forecast
Commentary From the Edge
Game Recaps
Tunnel Vision
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