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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
Player Projections by Team
Game Predictions Summary
The Huddle
October 18, 2006
Season Ticket
Sunday Late
Sunday night
On Bye
JAX at HOU SD at KC WAS at IND   *updated

Prediction: CAR 20, CIN 24

This is a game worth watching since it will help answer the questions - is Carolina really that good again and is Cincinnati really that bad all of a sudden? Back at home, bet on the Bengals regaining their form but don't bet very much - this could go either way.

Update: Kelley Washington is out this week with a hamstring strain and is removed from the projections. Since Chris Henry is still suspended and Tab Perry is also out with a hip injury, Antonio Chatman will likely step up into some playing time this week. I am not adding him, but Chris Perry seems likely to be activated from the PUP list and could get some time in this game but it remains to be seen if that happens and to what extent.

Carolina Panthers (4-2)
1 6-20 ATL 10 --- TB
2 13-16 @MIN 11 --- STL
3 26-24 @TB 12 --- @WAS
4 21-18 NO 13 --- @PHI
5 20-12 CLE 14 --- NYG
6 23-21 @BAL 15 --- PIT
7 --- @CIN 16 --- @ATL
8 --- DAL 17 --- @NO
9 Open Bye - - MON
CAR at CIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Jake Delhomme 0 0 250,2
RB DeShaun Foster 70 10 0
TE Kris Mangum 0 10 0
WR Steve Smith 0 120,1 0
WR Drew Carter 0 40 0
WR Keyshawn Johnson 0 70,1 0
PK John Kasay 2 FG 2 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Panthers have won four games in a row and if you can ignore those first two games of the season, everyone would agree that the Panthers are meeting expectations. Granted - the offense has never scored more than 26 points in any game and they had won three of the four by only three points or less but Steve Smith back in the offense seems to have been the trick to make the Panthers just a little better than everyone they face. That will be put to the test again these next two weeks against CIN and DAL.

Quarterback: Hopefully fantasy owners had not given up on Jake Delhomme by last Sunday but it would be understandable if they had. He's been scoring at least once every week but only once had topped 190 yards in a game. Of course on the road in Baltimore against the toughest match-up yet resulted in a career high of 365 yards for Delhomme. It's like last year all over again - he's going to throw to Steve Smith and everyone knows it. Just not too many have been able to stop him.

Running Backs: DeAngelo Williams was out last week with a high ankle sprain and left DeShaun Foster to face the Ravens alone. Foster ended with just 58 yards on 26 carries after topping 100 yards in the two previous weeks. I am assuming that Williams won't play this week and high ankle sprains have a nasty habit of lingering so he could miss more. Updates on Williams if warranted.

Foster is on the road this week where he has never ran for more than 82 yards this season and his lone touchdown came at home in week four.

Wide Receivers: Steve Smith has deemed himself 100% healthy in mind, body and spirit, and the Ravens caught the bad end of that assessment when Smith had eight catches for 189 yards and one score against them. Smith's big game came about thanks to a 72-yard touchdown catch near the end of the fourth quarter that provided the winning margin. Keyshawn Johnson comes off his worst game as a Panther when he only had five catches for 46 yards and no score. He's been in a decline since week two thanks in no small part to the role that Smith has retaken. Drew Carter had a nice 42-yard score last week but he'll remain with just one or two catches in most games.

Tight Ends: One catch per week - nothing notable.

Match Against the Defense: The Bengals run defense has been precisely the problem these last could of games but Foster on the road has never amounted to much and Williams is still out. Look for only a moderate yardage game here with no score from Foster.

Delhomme faces a secondary that has given up two scores in each of the last two games but only one in the previous four match-ups. Expect at least one score here from Jake and probably two by the time it is over. Foster isn't likely to score and Delhomme will have to keep the Panthers in this game. The Bengals have been soft against tight ends but the Panthers don't use them so figure on the obligatory good game from Smith with a touchdown and then for Keyshawn to offer up moderate to good production as the most likely second score.

Cincinnati Bengals (3-2)
1 23-10 @KC 10 --- SD
2 34-17 CLE 11 --- @NO
3 28-20 @PIT 12 --- @CLE
4 13-38 NE 13 --- BAL
5 Open Bye 14 --- OAK
6 13-14 @TB 15 --- @IND
7 --- CAR 16 --- @DEN
8 --- ATL 17 --- PIT
9 --- @BAL - MON THU
CIN vs CAR Rush Catch Pass
QB Carson Palmer 0 0 250,2
RB Rudi Johnson 60,1 20 0
TE Reggie Kelly 0 10 0
WR Chad Johnson 0 80,1 0
WR Houshmandzadeh 0 90,1 0
WR Chatman, Antonio 0 20 0
WR Kelley Washington 0 30 0
PK Shayne Graham 1 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Bengals came out of the gate red hot with road wins over the Chiefs and Steelers and a home blowout of the Browns. Then they lost to both the Patriots and Buccaneers and those wins in Pittsburgh and Kansas City don't look quite so awesome as they once did. After such a hot start, the rushing game has been in decline and Carson Palmer looks much more like a quarterback returning early from a very bad knee injury. The schedule is not kind this year but this team was supposed to be better than this. Much better. The loss to the Patriots was considered "looking past them". The loss in Tampa Bay to a previously win-less team with a rookie quarterback defies a casual brush-off. There are problems with the offense.

Quarterback: Carson Palmer looked like he was over his injury already and back in form when he had six touchdowns in the games against the Browns and Steelers but the last two efforts have netted only one score and around 250 yards in each. Palmer is not throwing interceptions but he's not getting it done against opponents that should not have proven to be so formidable. Chad Johnson hasn't scored since week two and based solely on just this year, he's little more than a moderate complement to T.J. Houshmandzadeh.

Running Backs: After opening the year with three touchdowns and 241 rushing yards in the first two games, Rudi Johnson has not gained more than 65 rushing yards in the last three efforts and scored only once. The Bengals are being challenged and he's just not getting the volume of carries needed for significant fantasy value. Johnson had 28 and 26 carries in those first two games but hasn't topped 20 carries since. He must be more involved for the offense to operate as intended.

Wide Receivers: T.J. Houshmandzadeh has been well worth waiting for - he missed the first two games but has yet to fall below 94 yards in game since and scored three times already this season. Chad Johnson comes off his best game of the year with six catches for 99 yards but he's only scored once and left endzone fans wondering what he might have done had he actually scored. The opposing defenses are still scheming to shut down Johnson and the last two weeks they've had moderate success that has resulted in Bengals losses. Against the Buccaneers, Kelley Washington replaced the suspended Henry and only had one pass and no catches.

The schedule is toughening as the season goes on - Johnson has to be more of a factor as well.

Tight Ends: One catch per week - no fantasy value here.

Match Against the Defense: The Panther defense had only allowed two scores by a running back all year and Rudi Johnson has been struggling lately but I like this week to be a circle the wagons for the Bengals who must reverse the sudden slide. At home, expect Johnson to improve a little and to score once.

Palmer goes against a secondary that can be beaten and that has not faced any decent quarterbacks this year - Vick, Brad Johnson, Simms, Brees, Frye and Boller. Palmer needs a good showing here and should come up with two scores and healthy yardage as well. Despite facing some lackluster passing attacks, three wideouts have already racked up over 100 yards against the Panthers this year. I am projecting a touchdown for Chad Johnson and eventually is has to happen again.