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

Prediction: GB 20, PIT 17

The Packers have won five straight and at 9-4 should be a shoo-in to get a wild-card. They are 4-2 in road games. The Steelers are only 6-7 and embarked on an impressive five game losing streak that has them favored by a single point in their own stadium where they are 4-2.

Green Bay Packers (9-4)
Homefield: Lambeau Field
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 CHI 21-15 -4 46
2 CIN 24-31 -9 42
3 @STL 36-17 -6.5 41
4 @MIN 23-30 +3.5 46
5 BYE - - -
6 DET 26-0 -13.5 47.5
7 @CLE 31-3 -9.5 41.5
8 MIN 26-38 -3.5 46.5
9 @TB 28-38 -10 43.5
10 DAL 17-7 +3 48
11 SF 30-24 -6 42
12 @DET 34-12 -11 48
13 BAL 24-14 -3 44
14 @CHI 21-14 -4 41
15 @PIT - +1 40
16 SEA - - -
17 @ARI - - -
GB at PIT Rush Catch Pass
QB Aaron Rodgers     260,2
RB Ryan Grant 50 20  
TE Jermichael Finley   50,1  
WR Greg Jennings   50  
WR Donald Driver   80,1  
WR James Jones   40  
PK Mason Crosby 2 FG 2 XP  
Pregame Notes: The Packers have been on a nice streak since losing to the Buccaneers back in week nine. The only two road games they had were only interdivisional though against the Lions and Bears. With a home game against the Seahawks next week, the Packers should clinch a wildcard if not this week then next but there is no catching the Vikings. The Packers could also be facing a game in Arizona where they are resting their players in week 17.

Quarterback: In a horrible shock to fantasy owners in playoff games or vying to reach their playoffs, Aaron Rodgers picked week 15 to have his worst game of the year and his first without any score. He had been good for around 250+ yards and two scores virtually every week and thanks to the rushing game of Ryan Grant, Rodgers only passed for 180 yards and no score. That should not come into play this week since Grant is unlikely to single-handedly beat the Steelers in Pittsburgh. The biggest yardage that Rodgers has passed for this year was on the road against the toughest defense (MIN - 384 yards).

The Steelers have changed. Troy Polamalu is still out and the Steelers no longer have the dominating defense of old (like last year). Both Philip Rivers and Bruce Gradkowski passed for three scores there. Look for a decent game here by Rodgers who will have to win this game with his arm. He should be the fifth quarterback with multiple scores on the Steelers.

Running Backs: Ryan Grant comes off his season best game with 137 yards on 20 carries and two scores in Chicago. By contrast, he only had 41 yards on 18 runs versus the visiting Ravens the previous week. Grant has scored seven times this year but this should probe one of his toughest venues of the season.

The Steelers have only give up one rushing score in Pittsburgh this year (Adrian Peterson) and no visiting runner has topped 63 yards at Heinz Field. Last week was magic but this Sunday will be much more like the Ravens game.

Wide Receivers: Last week ravaged all the wide receiver stats but Donald Driver has not only scored six times this year, four of those came in road games and he has been solid with around 70 yards per week as a starting point. Greg Jennings has been much less effective and his three scores all occurred in home games along with most of his decent yardage efforts.

The Steelers secondary have only allowed five touchdowns to visiting wideouts and three came in that freak loss to the Raiders. Expect depressed yardage numbers but a good chance that Driver can score another road touchdown.

Tight Ends: Although the passing numbers were way down last week, Jermichael FInley still had five receptions for 70 yards as the primary receiver and he continues to function as an additional wide receiver. The Steelers rank well against the position because there are no real receiving tight ends in the AFC North. Look for a decent game here with a chance for one score.

Gaining Fantasy Points GB 2 19 10 4 7 3
Preventing Fantasy Points PIT 7 2 25 5 11 30

Pittsburgh Steelers (6-7)
Homefield: Heinz Field
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 TEN 13-10 -5 37
2 @CHI 14-17 -3 37.5
3 @CIN 20-23 -4.5 37
4 SD 38-28 -6.5 43
5 @DET 28-20 -10.5 44
6 CLE 27-14 -14 38
7 MIN 27-17 -6 46.5
8 BYE - - -
9 @DEN 28-10 -3 39
10 CIN 12-18 -7 41
11 @KC 24-27 -10.5 39.5
12 @BAL 17-20 +6 20
13 OAK 24-27 -14.5 37
14 @CLE 6-13 -10 34
15 GB - -1 40
16 BAL - - -
17 @MIA - - -
PIT vs GB Rush Catch Pass
QB Ben Roethlisberger     230,2
RB R. Mendenhall 60 20  
TE Heath Miller   30,1  
WR Hines Ward   80,1  
WR Santonio Holmes   50  
WR Mike Wallace   60  
PK Jeff Reed 1 FG 2 XP  

Pregame Notes: Perhaps they should rename the team the Polamalu Steelers because when he is not around, it apparently causes everything to cease working. It would take considerable debate to determine which was worse - losing to the visiting Raiders or being beaten by the Cleveland Browns no matter where. And in all five losses, each was by a touchdown deficit or less. For the want of one scoring play each week the Steelers might have been 11-2. That one play really, really matters it ends up. The schedule is no help either bringing in the 9-4 Packers, then the Ravens who just beat them in week 12 and finally on the road to Miami. It just all smacks of the next-year-funk of a Super Bowl champion.

Quarterback: If there has been one consistency of Ben Roethlisberger in the recent weeks it has been that he has always been not quite enough. No matter if it is when he passed for 398 yards and three scores in Kansas City or 201 yards and no touchdowns last week in Cleveland. It is always not quite enough. Roethlisberger was sacked eight times by the Browns. Point of reference - Steelers lost to the Browns but had beaten them 27-14 seven games previous when Roethlisberger passed for 417 yards and two scores. Last week - 201 and no score.

The Packers have been good in the secondary but allowed seven teams to pass for two or more touchdowns. The rushing defense is so good for the Packers that it amplifies the passing volume so that most opponents pass for well over 30 attempts. Roethlisberger is the one that has to direct this attack and know that the pass will keep the Steelers in the game. Expect a couple of scores but no team has passed for more than 270 yards on the Packers.

Running Backs: Rashard Mendenhall has been less effective for more than the last month and only has one score since week six. He has been better at home this year but now faces the #1 defense against running backs. His role as a receiver has been minimal as well.

The Packers have only give up three rushing scores this year and all but two running backs ended up with less than 60 rushing yards. Expect a down game from Mendenhall this week with likely no score. This is where the Steelers should use him more as a receiver - but don't.

Wide Receivers: Santonio Holmes has been solid at worst and spectacular on occasion since week six when he has posted around 80 yards almost every week if not more. He has only scored three times this year and this week draws the companionship of Charles Woodson who should cap what Holmes accomplishes. Hines Ward had a hamstring problem but gutted it out last week so that he could turn in a miserable 21 yards on four catches while the healthy Mike Wallace only netted two receptions for 11 yards. Ward is likely to score again this week and I like Wallace to to play well since so much attention is going to be paid to Holmes by both Roethlisberger and the secondary. The Packers have only allowed one player to top 100 yards against them (Roy Williams).

Tight Ends: Heath Miller had been almost invisible for two weeks before popping back up with 59 yards on five catches last week. That bodes well for facing the #20 defense against tight ends. I like Miller for moderate yardage a score this week.

Gaining Fantasy Points PIT 11 28 6 13 16 15
Preventing Fantasy Points GB 12 1 9 20 1 20

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