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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: OAK 14, HOU 23

Same records but each team has a much different outlook. The Raiders have coaches who slug other coaches and quarterbacks who are not even quarterbacks. The Texans were surprised last week by the Jaguars after winning in Tennessee the previous week. This game may not be pretty, but it will belong to the Texans.

Oakland Raiders (1-2)
Homefield: McAfee Coliseum
Grass
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 SD 20-24 +9.5 43
2 @KC 13-10 +4 41
3 DEN 3-23 +1.5 35.5
4 @HOU - +9.5 41
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 HOU Rush Catch Pass
QB JaMarcus Russell 20   130
RB Darren McFadden 100,1 20  
RB Michael Bush 30,1 20  
TE Zach Miller   20  
WR Louis Murphy   50  
WR Darrius Heyward-Bey   -5  
PK S. Janikowski   2 XP  
Pregame Notes: Apparently the Raiders are just getting worse since the two home games resulted in losses to divisional rivals and the Broncos thrashed them soundly last week while the offense seems stuck in reverse. The passing game has disintegrated into being a joke and is now yanking the rushing game down into the same bottomless pit. There's no real reason to spend much time here other than to see if Darren McFadden has any promise week because literally none of the others have any.

Quarterback: HC Tom Cable says that he wont' yet pull JaMarcus Russell from being a starter despite it being the equivalent of shooting a horse with a broken leg. Russell has always been bad and is actually now getting even worse. He threw for 61 yards on 21 attempts and 12 completions last week. He has one touchdown, somehow, against four interceptions. He just gets worse every week and there is nary a receiver to help out.

If you own Russell, dump him and pick up Chad Pennington who is on IR. At least he won't get you negative points.

Running Backs: Darren McFadden has been marginally effective as a runner but doesn't get more than a dozen runs per game lately. And remarkably Russell hasn't figured out how to throw it to the guy the closest to him in McFadden who has never had more than two catches in a game this year. There is no reason for a defense to worry about anyone other than McFadden.

Michael Bush is even less productive and his role as a goal line runner has not been in much demand this year. He is not even worth owning.

Okay this is the week. It has to be. McFadden is facing a defense that has allowed three different runners to all gain more than 100 rushing yards. Every opposing primary runner has a season best day of over 100 yards. All of them. And each one of them scored at least two touchdowns. The Texans are ranked #32 against running backs. If McFadden cannot get at least one score and decent yardage in this game then the Raiders should just forfeit because the rest of the season is going to be like running a gauntlet. Remember Jones-Drew last week? In Houston.

This is as good as it is going to get. Bottom line. Trust me you do not want to touch McFadden for at least the next month after this game.

Wide Receivers: Only the Raiders could have the #1 wideout from the NFL draft (as misguided as that pick was) and then have him with only one catch - AS A STARTER - and the after thought guy drafted with the 4.24 ends up the best receiver with eight catches for 183 yards and the only receiving touchdown ever this year. Outside of Murphy, the Raiders have completed TWO passes to a wideout over the three games. Remarkable. Astounding.

Never touch any. Do not even look at their names on a sheet of paper.

Tight Ends: As the Raiders sink lower and lower, even Zach Miller cannot save them. Two catches over the last two games. He's not even worth owning.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points OAK 32 25 31 25 18 18
Preventing Fantasy Points    HOU 18 32 16 12 16 7


Houston Texans (1-2)
Homefield: Reliant Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 NYJ 7-24 -4.5 44
2 @TEN 34-31 +7 40.5
3 JAC 24-31 -4 46.5
4 OAK - -9.5 41
5 @ARI - - -
6 @CIN - - -
7 SF - - -
8 @BUF - - -
9 @IND - - -
10 BYE - - -
11 TEN - - -
12 IND - - -
13 @JAC - - -
14 SEA - - -
15 @STL - - -
16 @MIA - - -
17 NE - - -
HOU vs OAK Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Schaub     270,2
RB Steve Slaton 80 30  
TE Owen Daniels   70,1  
WR Andre' Johnson   80,1  
WR Kevin Walter   40  
WR Jacoby Jones   30  
PK Kris Brown 3 FG 2 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Texans used to at least be good at home and were 6-2 last year. But now they stand 0-2 in Houston and need this win to keep the hopes alive that they can have a winning season for the first time ever. The loss to the Jaguars cut deeply but that should not repeat this week against a very bad Raiders team. After this week comes four road trips over the next five games. The Texans have to pick up these easy ones.

Quarterback: Matt Schaub could not get the win last week but picked up his second 300 yard game of the year and had three scores giving him seven in the last two matchups. What is limiting the offense is the lack of a rushing game and the fact that the Texans defense is forcing Schaub to the air in every game.

This week he faces a secondary that has allowed one passing score per opponent and typically around 250 yards. Consider that the low end for what Schaub can do. The Raiders give up the run as well but the Texans are struggling there - Schaub to the rescue once again.

Running Backs: The Texans finally got Steve Slaton on track a bit when he ran for 76 yards on just 12 carries and he added his standard three receptions for 37 yards but Slaton is not getting the workload to produce much fantasy value. and the Texans insist on using Chris Brown as the goal line back so he can fumble the ball back to the opponent. Slaton had 12 runs for 76 yards last week. Brown had eight carries for 19 yards and the lost fumble. Yes, that is hard to figure out why Brown is even on the field and he hasn't had the decency yet to get his season-ending injury™.

This week Slaton faces a weak rush unit of Oakland that even made Larry Johnson (24-78) look productive. The Broncos ripped them for 200 rushing yards last week. Not unlike McFadden for the Raiders, this week is as good as it is going to get for Slaton for a while. Maybe until week 14 when the Seahawks visit. It is still too unreliable to call for a touchdown but the yardage has to improve this week as long as Brown does not again get inexplicably in the way.

Wide Receivers: The Texans welcomed back Kevin Walter last week and he promptly led all receivers for 96 yards and a score on seven receptions. His hamstring has healed and he's an upgrade for the wideouts and the run blocking. Andre Johnson had a respectable 86 yards on four receptions but that seemed a downgrade after his monster 149 yard, two score game in Tennessee. Jacoby Jones has filled in admirably for the injured Andre Davis and has scored in each of the last two games.

The Raiders have Nnamdi Asomugha as a shut down corner but have given up a score to Vincent Jackson (5-56), Dwayne Bowe (5-56) and Brandon Marshall (5-67). Do not hesitate to use Johnson who will draw CB Chris Johnson as the much more targeted side. Asomugha should depress Walter's numbers this week. Jones is even a potential for a score as the slot but three in a row seems an unlikely hat trick.

Tight Ends: Daniels has scored in both of the most recent games and offered moderate yardage as well. He makes for a very nice play this week against the same defense that gave Gates 83 yards on five catches. Schaub will be looking for Daniels for the third week in a row.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points HOU 4 30 4 5 22 27
Preventing Fantasy Points    OAK 11 26 17 7 19 17

The Huddle
WEEK 4
~ 2009 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday Late
Bye Week
ARI, PHI
Monday
ATL, CAR
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