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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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The Huddle
WEEK 4
~ 2009 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday Late
Bye Week
ARI, PHI
Monday
ATL, CAR
*Updated

Prediction: CIN 27, CLE 10

Satuday Update: Benson had a full day again on Friday and should have a big game this week. Jamal Lewis is not going to play this week and James Davis continues to nurse a shoulder injury though he may get some playing time. Harrison is in line for a big jump in production this week.

Friday Update: Cedric Benson was held out of practice on Wednesday to rest a sore knee but had a full day on Thursday and remains on track to have a great game.

Jamal Lewis has not practiced and isn't expected to play. Jerome Harrison remains in line to start.

This game doesn't seem nearly as much fun when both teams would stumble in at 0-3 and we could watch two offense duke it out without any defenses to get in the way. But the Bengals are gaining undeniable respectability while the Browns spend each week in an interpretative dance that describes the demolition of a building. These are not two teams headed in different directions. The Browns are already at the bottom and are just twiddling their thumbs while they go nowhere.

These divisional rivals traded road wins. The Bengals won 14-0 in Cleveland in week 16 while the Browns won 20-12 in Cincinnati in week 4.

Cincinnati Bengals (2-1)
Homefield: Paul Brown Stadium
FieldTurf
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 DEN 7-12 -5 42.5
2 @GB 31-24 +9 42
3 PIT 23-20 +4.5 37
4 @CLE - -5.5 38
5 @BAL - - -
6 HOU - - -
7 CHI - - -
8 BYE - - -
9 BAL - - -
10 @PIT - - -
11 @OAK - - -
12 CLE - - -
13 DET - - -
14 @MIN - - -
15 @SD - - -
16 KC - - -
17 @NYJ - - -
CIN at CLE Rush Catch Pass
QB Carson Palmer     220,1
RB Cedric Benson 120,2 20  
TE Daniel Coats   10  
WR Chad Ochocinco   90,1  
WR Laveranues Coles   50  
WR Andre Caldwell   40  
PK Shayne Graham 2 FG 3 XP  
Pregame Notes: Say WHAT? Beating the Steelers last week means these Bengals are nothing like the last few seasons. The rushing attack is back at the old "Rudi Johnson" levels and Palmer is getting it done through the air without T.J. Houshmandzadeh there to stand in the middle and catch yet another pass. More than that, the Bengals defense has not allowed more than 24 points to an opponent. The matchup in week five in Baltimore is actually gaining more interest every week.

Quarterback: Carson Palmer hasn't lit up the skies with a lot of passes so far but the oddity is that he hasn't had the need. Last week he threw for 183 yards and a score against the Steelers with no turnovers and only two sacks allowed. He's allowed the rushing game and defense to win games so far and that's just all new territory for Palmer.

Palmer missed both meetings last season with the Browns, Ryan Fitzpatrick was the starter and threw a touchdown in each game but had minimal passing yardage.

The Browns have allowed one passing score per opponent and that should hold true again this week. The passing yardage will be there for the taking as well but with a likely success running the ball, Palmer won't need to air it out much. The Browns are reeling from their losses and may not put up much fight here.

Running Backs: See Cedric Benson go. Go, Cedric, Go.

And go he does. Even against the Steelers he had 76 yards on 16 carries for one rushing touchdown. He's played as a solid RB1 every week so far and exceeded all expectations besides his friends that told him "hold out on the Bears, bro. You are da man". Benson is the man now, it just took a bad summer and trip to Cincinnati to get there. Even more amazing in this "divide by two" backfield world of the NFL, Benson never shares. Remember Bernard Scott the rookie that some assumed would somehow take over the job from Benson? One carry for a six yard loss so far. That's all.

Benson wasn't with the Bengals in the home meeting with the Browns but late in the 2008 season, Benson rushed 38 times for 171 yards in Cleveland. It was easily his best game of the year.

The Browns allowed Adrian Peterson 180 yards and three scores in week one. Denver ran for 172 yards and two scores. The Ravens had 127 rushing yards and three touchdowns. Figure on Benson making a really sweet start this week. He is for real and the Browns defense is not.

Wide Receivers: Chad OchoCinco has yet to have a really big game but has been no worse than a solid fantasy play each week. He only had five catches for 54 yards against the Steelers for his season low but turned in around 90 yards in the other two games. Laveranues Coles is getting more familiar with Palmer now had had five catches for 34 yards last week. Andre Caldwell led the wideouts with six receptions for 54 yards and a score because the #3 receiver doesn't draw the top two cornerbacks from the Steelers.

No reason why this should have a huge game for a wideout here unless someone turns in a really long pass completion. OchoCinco remains the only attractive start and should end up with a touchdown.

Tight Ends: Daniel Coats has no real fantasy value.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CIN 17 17 9 30 30 9
Preventing Fantasy Points    CLE 12 31 24 11 31 31


Cleveland Browns (0-3)
Homefield: Cleveland Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 MIN 20-34 +3.5 40
2 @DEN 6-27 +3 37
3 @BAL 3-34 +13 38.5
4 CIN - +5.5 38
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 vs CIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Derek Anderson     190,1
RB James Harrison 50 40  
TE Robert Royal   30,1  
WR Braylon Edwards   60  
WR Josh Cribs   20  
WR Mike Furrey   30  
PK Phil Dawson 1 FG 1 XP  

Pregame Notes: Overall, this season could have started out better. This week was supposed to be the only soft spot in the first half of the season and now even that looks like a lost cause with the Bengals much improved. The schedule is murderous, the quarterbacks are changing and HC Eric Mangini has inherited a nightmare. Let me be the first to say it - could we be looking at another 0-16 team? The next likely game that could be competitive is now in week 16 when the Raiders show up.

Quarterback: Brady Quinn was benched last week after throwing six of eight for 34 yards and one interception by halftime. Derek Anderson responded with 11 of 19 for 92 yards against the Ravens but had three interceptions. HC Eric Mangini will name a starter mid-week but it has no bearing on fantasy football.

Brady never started a game against the Bengals last year. Derrick Anderson had 138 yards and a score in Cincinnati.

The Bengals have allowed one passing score per opponent and that fits into what the Browns are able to produce. This will be the weakest secondary that the Browns have faced but only marginally. I will assume Quinn starts since he is the only quarterback with actual talent to be a starter but will update it if the Browns leave their senses again.

Running Backs: Jamal Lewis missed last week with a bad hamstring and I will count him out for now and assume that James Harrison takes the start. it was Harrison who had some success last week when he rushed for 52 yards on 16 carries and added 33 yards on five receptions. He clearly outplayed James Davis who was limited to only ten yards on five runs. That makes Harrison a decent bye week cover for Sunday in a reception points league.

One of the bigger surprises this year is the success of the Bengals rushing defense that has only allowed one runner to score and kept all but Willie Parker below 50 rushing yards. Look for just a moderate game by Harrison but a good chance that he will add in receptions for an acceptable fantasy score this week

Wide Receivers: This has already been a wasteland for fantasy relevance and the switching of quarterbacks is not likely to improve matter since both have already proven who they are and what they can do. Switching Anderson and Brady around is just a sign that the coaches want to look like they are still trying to win. The only possible glint of light here is that Derek Anderson tends to throw the deeper passes that favor Braylon Edwards more but it meant nothing last week when Edwards finished with 35 yards on five catches.

The Bengals have been very good against the pass and these guys are too unreliable to consider for a fantasy start this week. Edwards could catch a long pass if Anderson plays but then again - it would be a rarity.

Tight Ends: Robert Royal opened the year with a big game but had just one catch in the next two matchups - both on the road. I am awarding Royal with the lone passing score on the premise he is one of the common tight ends that show up only in home games. He's an obvious risk but so are all the others on this team.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CLE 30 31 30 22 21 20
Preventing Fantasy Points    CIN 22 8 21 18 17 26

The Huddle
WEEK 4
~ 2009 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday Late
Bye Week
ARI, PHI
Monday
ATL, CAR
Other Features
Fantasy Statistics
Early Injury Report
Free Agent Forecast
Commentary From the Edge
Game Recaps
Tunnel Vision
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