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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: MIA 10, SD 20

Saturday Update: Tomlinson is listed as out and Sproles is the starter again this week.

Friday Update: LaDainian Tomlinson still hasn't practice and is likely to miss at least this week. He may even miss next week so that coupled with the bye in week five he can regain full health.

The Dolphins come dragging into this game after spending Monday night with the ball for 45 minutes and yet losing because they brought a knife to a gunfight. Now they have to travel across the country on a short week. The Chargers dropped their home game against the Ravens with Ladainian Tomlinson out and Rivers passing like a mad man. The Dolphins won 17-10 when the Chargers visited in 2008. Time for payback.

Miami Dolphins (0-2)
Homefield: Dolphins Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @ATL 7-19 +4 43.5
2 IND 23-27 +3 42
3 @SD - +6 42
4 BUF - - -
5 NYJ - - -
6 BYE - - -
7 NO - - -
8 @NYJ - - -
9 @NE - - -
10 TB - - -
11 @CAR - - -
12 @BUF - - -
13 NE - - -
14 @JAC - - -
15 @TEN - - -
16 HOU - - -
17 PIT - - -
MIA at SD Rush Catch Pass
QB Chad Pennington     190,1
RB Ronnie Brown 80,1 30  
RB Ricky Williams 50 20  
TE Anthony Fasano   10  
WR Ted Ginn Jr.   50  
WR Greg Camarillo   20  
WR Davone Bess   30,1  
PK Dan Carpenter 1 FG 1 XP  
Pregame Notes: The Dolphins played an incredible game on Monday night and held the ball for 45 minutes and yet Peyton Manning only needed that 14+ minutes to puncture an otherwise impressive showing. That'll play into this week with players who went much longer than usual now a day short and going across the country. And the Fins at 0-2 cannot overlook anyone but two home meetings with the Bills and Jets lie on the other side of this game.

Quarterback: The bad part about asking Chad Pennington to mount a rapid comeback and score quickly is that it will not happen. The offense not only is not designed for quick strike but judging from Monday night, all you have to do is cover Ted Ginn and the game is over. Pennington literally locked onto Ginn almost every play and threw him 16 passes. No other receiver had more than three passes thrown to them. Pennington remains a average quarterback and a good game manager. Long as the rushing game works, he can help it along. When it doesn't - and twice so far not well enough - the Fins fade late game.

Pennington passed for 228 yards and one score against the visiting Chargers last season. That's more likely his high side unless the game becomes an early shootout. Expect his standard mediocrity.

Running Backs: Ronnie Brown was all but unstoppable on Monday night when he rushed for 136 yards and two scores on 24 carries and Ricky Williams added 19 runs for 69 yards as well. In the end it was not enough but Brown enjoyed one of his bigger games that he typically does twice or three times a season. Other than in New England in the debut of the Wildcat formation last year, he always does that at home. Ronnie Brown rolled up 125 yards and one score on 24 carries versus the Chargers last season. Williams accounted for 39 yards on 12 runs.

But on the road, let alone tired from a short week and yada-yada, Brown never rushed for more than 59 yards. The Fins were clearly different on the road than at home.

This week it could be better though since the Chargers have been allowing over 100 rushing yards and a score to both opponents but Brown and Williams always share and will always limit each other. Brown has a good chance for moderate yardage and a touchdown in this game. A monster showing like last week? It would be almost a first ever.

Wide Receivers: As noted, Ted Ginn Jr became almost the entire passing game on Monday night but that was a problem when the Fins wanted to move quickly at the end. There is only minimal yardage in this group and still no touchdowns. Unless Ginn can sustain being Pennington's love interest, the fantasy value of this unit remains marginal at best.

Ginn Jr. turned in 55 yards on seven receptions against the Chargers in 2008. Camarillo was the lead receiver with 68 yards on six catches with one touchdown. The lone passing score will go to a wideout most likely but could be any of them.

Tight Ends: Anthony Fasano has really fallen from grace this year and only has three catches for 11 yards. Until he swings back into use, consider him irrelevant. Fasano caught three passes for 47 yards versus the Chargers last season.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points MIA 30 7 24 31 20 31
Preventing Fantasy Points    SD 11 27 13 21 19 20


San Diego Chargers (1-1)
Homefield: Qualcomm Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @OAK 24-20 -9.5 43
2 BAL 26-31 -5 40.5
3 MIA - -6 42
4 @PIT - - -
5 BYE - - -
6 DEN - - -
7 @KC - - -
8 OAK - - -
9 @NYG - - -
10 PHI - - -
11 @DEN - - -
12 KC - - -
13 @CLE - - -
14 @DAL - - -
15 CIN - - -
16 @TEN - - -
17 WAS - - -
SD vs MIA Rush Catch Pass
QB Philip Rivers     270,2
RB Darren Sproles 50 60  
TE Antonio Gates   90,1  
WR Chris Chambers   30,1  
WR Vincent Jackson   50  
PK Nate Kaeding 2 FG 2 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Chargers were unable to mount any rushing game when the Ravens visited and had major problems in the red zone which made them settle for four field goals of 29 yards or less. Without Tomlinson there (and maybe because Ray Lewis was in attendance), the Chargers were unable to get the go ahead touchdown on a drive that stalled on the Baltimore 15-yard line. This week won't be that much better with a stingy rush defense of the Dolphins but Rivers is not afraid to air it out if needed. With a trip to Pittsburgh looming next week. the Chargers have to take a win here.

Quarterback: Philip Rivers had a personal best when he threw for 436 yards and two scores against the Ravens. He had two interceptions and a couple of sacks but had great success with Darren Sproles and Vincent Jackson. This week he faces a Dolphin defense that will also thwart the run and force Rivers to throw. The Fins have given up two passing scores in each game and Manning had 303 yards in Miami with barely any playing time for the offense.

Rivers passed for only 159 yards and one score in Miami last year. Expect far better this week.

Running Backs: There is some cautious optimism that LaDainian Tomlinson may play this week. There is also speculation that he'll rest now and next week in Pittsburgh and finally suit up again in week six after the bye week. Until more is clear, the assumption is that he misses this week as well.

That leaves Darren Sproles to once again face a voracious rush defense. The Fins have allowed one rushing score and no running back has topped 65 yards yet. Look for Sproles to once again make his best plays as a receiver and to have enough work to merit a start this week, particularly in reception point leagues.

Tomlinson gained just 35 rushing yards in Miami while Sproles accounted for just 24 yards in 2008.

Wide Receivers: Vincent Jackson came to the rescue last week with six catches for 141 yards and a score and that makes him the only player besides Sproles to catch a touchdown. Jackson scored in both games so far and remains the primary read after Antonio Gates.

Jackson caught two passes for 56 yards in Miami last year. Chambers had the lone touchdown with three receptions for 30 yards. The Dolphins shut down the Indy wideouts last week and contained Roddy White in the season opener. Look for moderate numbers this week and a chance for a passing score that may favor Chris Chambers who loves to score on his old team.

Tight Ends: Antonio Gates has near bookend games so far with five catches for around 80 yards in each. No doubt Gates watched Dallas Clark destroy the Dolphins. While not likely 183 yards like Clark, Gates should have a very solid game this week and a good chance to score. Even Tony Gonzalez had a big game against the Fins with 73 yards and a touchdown.

Gates only had one catch for 12 yards in Miami last season.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points SD 3 10 10 15 4 16
Preventing Fantasy Points    MIA 22 15 5 31 24 26

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
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