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

Prediction: SD 31, CLE 6

Thursday Update: Jamal Lewis has gone on injured reserve because of a concussion/lack of interest and is likely to never again play. Chris Jennings is expected to replace and though he has been limited this week, he is going to start on Sunday. I have adjusted the projections to show Jennings as the starter.

The Chargers remain one game in the lead for the AFC West and are on a six game winning streak with a 4-1 road mark. The Browns are on a six game losing streak and are 0-4 in home games. These teams are pretty much exact opposites.

San Diego Chargers (8-3)
Homefield: Qualcomm Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @OAK 24-20 -9.5 43
2 BAL 26-31 -5 40.5
3 MIA 23-13 -6 42
4 @PIT 28-38 +6.5 43
5 BYE - - -
6 DEN 23-34 -3.5 44
7 @KC 37-7 -5.5 44
8 OAK 24-16 -16 41.5
9 @NYG 21-20 +4 47.5
10 PHI 31-23 -1 47
11 @DEN 32-3 -6.5 41.5
12 KC 43-14 -13 44.5
13 @CLE - -12.5 43
14 @DAL - - -
15 CIN - - -
16 @TEN - - -
17 WAS - - -
SD at CLE Rush Catch Pass
QB Philip Rivers     250,2
RB Ladainian Tomlinson 80,1    
TE Antonio Gates   60,1  
WR Malcolm Floyd   50  
WR Vincent Jackson   80,1  
WR Legedu Naanee   30  
PK Nate Kaeding 1 FG 4 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Chargers have been posting solid wins and could be one of the surprise underdogs in a conference most believe the Colts will win handily. The offense has been scoring well while the defense has really improved. After this week, the schedule grows more daunting with @DAL, CIN and even @TEN that seems tougher now than it had. The Chargers hold their destiny in their own hands though and have been up to the task for six straight weeks.

I like a defensive score in this game.

Quarterback: Philip Rivers continues to score in each game and has 19 touchdowns on the season against only six interceptions. He has three games over 300 yards and has been his most productive in games against weaker opponents - the decline in the rushing attack has left Rivers pouring it on many opponents.

The Browns are statistically average against the pass because most teams just run all over them but they have allowed multiple passing scores in four games and over 400 passing yards twice. The Chargers pass at least as much as they run so expect a nice showing here by Rivers who should be safe for a couple of scores and mid 200's passing yards.

Running Backs: LaDainian Tomlinson has not been much for yardage this year with no games over 100 rushing yards and almost no work as a receiver but he has scored seven rushing touchdowns over the last five games. He's not spitting out big chunks of yardage but has instead turned into more of a goal line back lately. His best showing in a road game was just two weeks ago in Denver when he had 73 yards on 20 carries.

Tomlinson gets the advantage of the Browns losing NT Shaun Rogers for the year with a broken leg. That will make running up the gut much easier, particularly near the goal line.

The Browns are weakest against the run but Tomlinson has not been tearing up the field this year. Expect at least a decent showing here though with good yardage and one score. Darren Sproles may even get more involved but has been too inconsistent to warrant any projections.

Wide Receivers: The wideouts have been reversed in the recent three weeks. Legedu Naanee has scored twice and neither Malcolm Floyd nor Vincent Jackson has seen the endzone. Floyd has ten catches for 168 yards over those three games while Jackson only totaled seven receptions for 83 yards. This three game stretch for Jackson has been particularly troubling since he had a four game scoring streak with big yards just before the drought started.

This week should see Jackson get back on the scoreboard against a secondary that almost always allows the opponents #1 wideout to score. He should see a bounce back in this game and if not - then worry.

Tight Ends: After six weeks of no scores and moderate yardage, Antonio Gates showed up with a vengeance against the Chiefs who allowed him to run uncovered at times. Gates ended with seven catches for 118 yards and two scores in that game. He faces the Browns who have allowed five scores over the last five games to the position so look for him to continue to post some points this week.

Gaining Fantasy Points SD 9 11 18 5 2 5
Preventing Fantasy Points CLE 22 31 14 20 28 25

Cleveland Browns (1-10)
Homefield: Cleveland Stadium
  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 20-23 +5.5 38
5 @BUF 6-3 +6 40
6 @PIT 14-27 +14 38
7 GB 3-31 +9.5 41.5
8 @CHI 6-30 +11.5 39.5
9 BYE - - -
10 BAL 0-16 +11 39
11 @DET 37-38 +3.5 37.5
12 @CIN 7-16 +12 39.5
13 SD - +12.5 43
14 PIT - - -
15 @KC - - -
16 OAK - - -
17 JAC - - -
CLE vs SD Rush Catch Pass
QB Brady Quinn     150
RB Jamal Lewis 60 10
RB Chris Jennings 50 20  
TE Michael Gaines   10  
WR M. Massaquoi   50  
WR Josh Cribs   20  
WR Chansi Stuckey   40  
PK Phil Dawson 2 FG    

Pregame Notes: Losing NT Shaun Rogers to a broken leg should hurt for the rest of the year on a defense that needs no more challenges. The Browns are back at home where they have posted three points over the last two games played there and that offensive spark seen in the Detroit win was snuffed out in Cincinnati. Excluding the Lions game, the Browns have not topped ten points in a game over the last four tries. There is a chance that the Chargers could get trapped here, but do the Browns even have the firepower to do anything about it?

Quarterback: On almost the exact same number of throws, Brady Quinn went from 304 yards and four scores in Detroit to only 100 yards and no passing touchdowns in Cincinnati (he did rush in one). The game before the Detroit trip had Quinn passing for 99 yards and no scores. Safe to say the Detroit game was an exception.

The Browns have only passed for seven touchdowns this year and four came in Detroit. No reason to expect a score here against a Chargers team that has been one of the top teams at stopping the pass.

Running Backs: Hard to imagine that the Browns have not scored a rushing touchdown by a running back this year. Not one. Jamal Lewis cranks out the 40 to 70 yard rushing efforts each week and makes no difference to the team. No reason to expect the Chargers to allow the first rushing score by a running back this year. Only one runner has topped 100 rush yards against them and Lewis is not going to be #2.

Wide Receivers: This young crew is still trying to come together. Chansi Stuckey has finally been a minor factor for the last two weeks while Mohamed Massaquoi holds on to his starting spot despite only having one or two catches in most games. Josh Cribbs has been a devastating special teamer but as a receiver has been of no consequence with never more than a couple of receptions and minimal yardage. He has been adding four or five runs per week for a minor bump in fantasy value but had nothing last week to even ruin that.

The Chargers secondary is top ten and the Browns have one of the worst pass attacks - leave this crew alone until they can play the Lions again in a future year.

Tight Ends: No fantasy value.

Gaining Fantasy Points CLE 31 32 29 28 30 25
Preventing Fantasy Points SD 7 22 8 12 20 4

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