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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
Player Projections by Team
Game Predictions Summary
The Huddle
November 8, 2006
Season Ticket
Sunday Late
Sunday night
GB at MIN NYJ at NE     Updated

Prediction: CHI 16, NYG 20

A very interesting game that pits the suddenly mortal Bears against the suddenly dominant Giants. Chicago not only lost to the Dolphins last week, they also had their deep threat Berrian get injured. And so far, the Bears have only played in three road games - GB, MIN (3 point win) and ARZ (which they should have lost). The Cinderella offense with Grossman is having problems finding their carriage all of a sudden. The Giants have only lost once at home and that was the opener to the Colts. The defense is still intact other than Urlacher's toe but hasn't been showing up nearly as well on the road this year. The Bears already have a three game lead on the Vikings so their title is pretty much certain but the Giants know their two game lead over the Cowboys and Eagles is not enough to consider finding cruise control. This should be a must watch game this week but the Giants at home are likely to hand the Bears an unthinkable second straight loss.

Update: Amani Toomer is removed from the projections after being lost for the season with a torn ACL. Tim Carter will likely move over to fill for Toomer and David Tyree takes the Z-slot though the Giants could play around with those two's positions.

Chicago Bears (7-1)
1 26-0 @GB 10 --- @NYG
2 34-7 DET 11 --- @NYJ
3 19-16 @MIN 12 --- @NE
4 37-6 SEA 13 --- MIN
5 40-7 BUF 14 --- @STL
6 24-23 @ARZ 15 --- TB
7 Open Bye 16 --- @DET
8 41-10 SF 17 --- GB
9 13-31 MIA - - MON
CHI at NYG Rush Catch Pass
QB Rex Grossman 0 0 180,1
RB Thomas Jones 60 20 0
TE Desmond Clark 0 60,1 0
WR Muhsin Muhammad 0 50 0
WR Rashied Davis 0 40 0
WR Justin Gage 0 10 0
PK Robbie Gould 3 FG 1 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Bears managed their miracle win in Arizona back in week six but were stomped by the visiting 1-6 Dolphins last week in most all facets of the game. The offense hasn't run all that well at any time this year and now the passing game is sputtering - even more so without Berrian around. The Bears ran up a 7-0 record this year with incredibly dominating home wins and road squeakers but last week the home field advantage was over. And this week, those squeaking road wins are in major jeopardy.

Quarterback: While Rex Grossman has already had a season far in excess of expectations, the reality to it has been that there are two Grossman's at play. The home version had scored eight times in the first three home games and never less than twice until last week when Grossman ended with just 210 yards and one score. But the road Grossman has only played three times and scored only twice - once each in Green Bay and Minnesota. In Arizona he had no scores and only 148 yards. Now without his biggest weapon of Berrian, that trend will be even harder to overcome.

There is already a call for Brian Griese to get a shot if Grossman struggles any further. It's too early for that but something for Grossman owners to think about for the future.

Running Backs: The Bears continue to stick with Thomas Jones even though he only managed 69 yards on 20 carries last week. He has only scored in two games this year and topped 100 yards twice - both home games. Like Grossman, Jones saves his worst for the away games where he has only managed to gain 63, 54 and 39 yards this year on a total of 50 runs - an average of just 3.1 yards per carry. In the last two road trips, Cedric Benson only had one carry for four yards. The Bears so far do not roll out Benson unless it is at home against a weak opponent. On the road, they have used Jones almost exclusively despite the lackluster rushing numbers. I am projecting only for Jones because history says Benson may not have a single carry yet again.

Wide Receivers: The loss of Bernard Berrian for up to four weeks due to a rib injury will be felt deeply in the passing game. His four touchdowns leads all wideouts though even he has not had a decent game in the last three weeks. Muhsin Muhammad has scored once in both the last games but he has not had over 65 yards since week three. Rashied Davis has played well from the slot and should be moving up to cover for Berrian, but he's never had more than 48 yards in a game this year. Davis has talent even if he is still fairly raw. Justin Gage should see more playing time as well as he assumes the slot. Gage had 51 yards on only two catches last week. The Bears are still deciding on how they will replace Berrian but Davis seems most likely and most talented though he'll face line jams now that he did not have as the slot receiver. The Bears may even roll out Devin Hester if the others do not work out.

The problem with Berrian out is that his speed stretched the field and allowed Muhammad and Clark to have more working room. His loss could impact more than just his own numbers.

Tight Ends: Desmond Clark looks like a better option now that Berrian is out but he only had 39 yards on three catches last week. Clark remains a big part of the game plan but on the road he has never scored this year and typically has lesser numbers.

Match Against the Defense: The Bears catch a break with DE Michael Strahan likely out this week. But that hardly opens the door to a big game from Jones since the Giants at home have been very tough against all visiting tailbacks. No runner in New York has turned in more than 76 yards and only Dominic Rhodes scored - back in week one. Expect only moderate numbers from Jones and no score.

Grossman faces a secondary that was ripped up early in the year by Hasselbeck and McNabb, but those were road games. At home, the Giants have allowed only one touchdown in four games and all but Peyton Manning had less than 177 passing yards (and only Manning had the lone score). I like the Bears to score one touchdown here and it would almost have to come via the pass. That favors Clark the most though he has not been a big road factor this year so far.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM    QB   RB   WR   TE   PK  DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CHI 14 13 11 7 1 2
Preventing Fantasy Points NYG 30 8 8 24 5 7


New York Giants (6-2)
1 21-26 IND 10 --- CHI
2 30-24 @PHI 11 --- @JAX
3 30-42 @SEA 12 --- @TEN
4 Open Bye 13 --- DAL
5 19-3 WAS 14 --- @CAR
6 27-14 @ATL 15 --- PHI
7 36-22 @DAL 16 --- NO
8 17-3 TB 17 --- @WAS
9 14-10 HOU - MON SAT
NYG vs CHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Eli Manning 0 0 220,1
RB Tiki Barber 80 40 0
RB Brandon Jacobs 20,1 0 0
TE Jeremy Shockey 0 50,1 0
WR Amani Toomer 0 30 0
WR David Tyree 0 30 0
WR Plaxico Burress 0 60 0
WR Tim Carter 0 30 0
PK Jay Feeley 2 FG 2 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Giants rise to 6-2 with their win over the Texans and while it was hardly a dominating win over a bad team, it was just enough to get the victory and that's all that was needed. The Giants have the second longest winning streak in the NFL with five and other than the opener against the Colts, the last three visitors combined only had one touchdown and three field goals. The Giants are hitting their stride and face their biggest challenge this week against a great defense. But they are at home, they are hot and they are getting healthy.

Quarterback: While Eli Manning hasn't been torching secondaries for the last four weeks, he still has continued to score in every game this year and has 15 scores on the season - only McNabb and big brother Peyton has more. The problem is not from an inability to post passing yards - he has not been over 200 yards for the last month - but that the offense has not needed him to win games that way with Barber running well and the defense much improved.

Running Backs: Tiki Barber had been running very well this year but strangely had not scored any touchdowns (thank you Brandon Jacobs). But Barber finally crossed the goaline last week and turned in his fifth 100 yard rushing effort this year. Barber always runs best at home so the Chicago defense should prove a good test since WAS, IND, TB and HOU certainly are not among the best defenses in the league this season.

Wide Receivers: Plaxico Burress was inactive last week with more back spasms but I will include him in the projections for now since last week wasn't a major game anyway and they likely wanted him healthy for this week. Burress is the main cog in the passing machine and has scored five times in seven games played including in every home game. Amani Toomer's production doesn't matter if Burress is there or not, he hasn't topped 30 yards in any game for the last month.

Tight Ends: While he constantly has nagging injuries, Jeremy Shockey remains the second favorite target for Manning and comes off his best game of the year when he had eight catches for 66 yards and one score last week against the Texans. Shockey's role typically increases when the opponents are tougher and the passing game is more needed.

Match Against the Defense: Brian Urlacher, AKA the heart and soul of the Bears defense, sprained his big left toe last week and could miss this week. At this early juncture, it appears likely that he will play but could be limited by the toe. Since he was drafted in 2000, the Bears have never won a game when he did not play (0-7). For a defense that already lost safety Mike brown for the year, the loss of Urlacher would be a major blow.

Barber goes against a defense that has not allowed any running backs to score this year even on the road but Barber is a cut above all others faced by Chicago, let alone on the road with Urlacher ailing. Expect Barber to dip down below the 100 rushing yard mark this week but to supplement that with enough receiving yards to prop up his usual fantasy value. I like Brandon Jacobs to bull in the first touchdown allowed on the ground by Chicago this year.

Manning goes against a secondary that is obviously very good but so is Manning with his complement of receivers. He should manage at least one touchdown in this game and possibly two since he'll need to throw more than usual. That score favors Burress or Shockey and while the Bears are ranked #1 against tight ends, they have literally played no team that uses the position much. I like Shockey to pop that cherry as well.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM    QB   RB   WR   TE   PK  DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NYG 13 6 12 11 15 9
Preventing Fantasy Points CHI 2 2 10 1 4 18