Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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*ARI at GB CHI at TEN *MIA at IND *PHI at NO (MON)
BAL at CLE *DAL at ATL MIN at SEA Bye:

Prediction: PHI 24, NO 30 (Line: NO by 3.5)

Players to Watch: Michael Vick and/or Nick Foles

Players Updated: Darren Sproles

The 3-4 Eagles are on a three game losing streak with a 1-2 road record and travel to face the 2-5 Saints who were just dismantled by the Broncos. The Eagles are contemplating a change at quarterback as a means of shaking up the offense. The Saints still have a good offense, they merely need a defense that can stop anyone in any way... ever. This is the Monday night game so bad defenses should mean nice points.

Philadelphia Eagles
Homefield: Lincoln Financial Field
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @CLE 17-16 10 DAL -----
2 BAL 24-23 11 @WAS -----
3 @ARI 6-27 12 CAR -----
4 NYG 19-17 13 @DAL -----
5 @PIT 14-16 14 @TB -----
6 DET 23-26 15 CIN -----
7 BYE ----- 16 WAS -----
8 ATL 17-30 17 @NYG -----
9 @NO ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
PHI @ NO Rush Catch Pass
QB Nick Foles
RB LeSean McCoy 80,1 4-20
RB Darren Sproles
WR Jeremy Maclin 6-80,1
TE Brent Celek 4-30

Pregame Notes: Three game losing streak has led to removing the defensive coordinator and Michael Vick may be replaced by Nick Foles because this version of Vick cannot sustain drives or mount comebacks. Vick has failed to deliver on the promise of his first year back from killing dogs. Since this is the Monday game, first practices don't start until Thursday and a change may not happen until then if it even does.

The reality here is that Foles should push hard for the change because no quarterback could ever hope to have a better first game than to face the 2012 New Orleans Saints defense. Foles would put a new slant on the offense but that's hard to call obviously with nothing to go on other than he is not Michael Vick.

LeSean McCoy's caught a touchdown in each of the last three games but his rushing totals point at the glaring need for better blocking. McCoy ran for 120 yards on 46 carries over the last three games. That's only 2.6 yards per carry. He balances out his fantasy value with touchdowns as a receiver lately but overall this is a very disappointing season for McCoy. His role as a runner only gets worse and even as a receiver with as many as seven catches in a game, he's topped out at just 27 yards. All this and he doesn't share any carries. The Eagles offense is in a funk and that extends to McCoy. The problem with a change to Foles at quarterback is that he may not elect to use McCoy as his preferred endzone target. Take away his scores and McCoy is just gaining around 60 or 70 total yards per week.

Brent Celek is still churning out the 30 yard efforts with only one score on the year. He's a marginal fantasy play at best and even that may go away with a change at quarterback.

DeSean Jackson is producing the most consistent stats of any wideout or tight end though he's scored just once all year and hangs out right around five catches for 60 yards in most weeks. He's not broken 100 yards since week two. Jeremy Maclin's numbers have fallen dramatically. While he gained 130 yards and one score in week six, he has been otherwise completely devoid of any fantasy value since week two. His routes are so short now that his last game was six catches for only 33 yards versus the Falcons. He caught five passes for just 39 yards in week five. This group could use some fresh blood slinging passes.

The Saints defense is bad. Though this is played in New Orleans, every opponent pounds on the Saints who gave up at least 250 pass yards every week and over 300 yards five times. The defense has actually been getting worse with the last four games allowing 12 touchdown passes against them. Any quarterback change is going to throw risk into this but it really does not get much better than facing the Saints.

McCoy should also have at least a decent showing against the #31 defense versus running backs.

Gaining Fantasy Points PHI 10 23 19 12 22 32
Preventing Fantasy Points NO 32 31 32 6 25 9

QB Mark Sanchez, PHI @NYG 0000029021 ***
Nick Foles roasted the Giants for 248 and 2 in a 27-0 win earlier this year; now it's Sanchez's turn, fresh off a 374 and 2 performance in Washington. The Giants just let Shaun Hill take them for 290 and 2, so even a fading Sanchez--playing for a spot next year, be it in Philly or otherwise--should have success against them.
RB LeSean McCoy, PHI @NYG 8011100000 ***
What Chip Kelly needs to do is say, "Merry Christmas, Shady! Here's 20-plus carries!" With that, McCoy should have a field day as all four backs to see that workload against the Giants have topped 120 yards--including McCoy himself in a 22-149 effort earlier this year. Let Chris Polk have all the goal line fun; McCoy will get his via performance points.
WR Jeremy Maclin, PHI @NYG 005601000 ***
The Giants haven't allowed many big games to wide receivers--just enough little ones, especially since losing cornerback Prince Amukamara for the season. Maclin mustered only 16 yards in the earlier meeting but has six touchdowns and five games of 90-plus yards since so mark him down for a fantasy helper here.
WR Jordan Matthews, PHI @NYG 005700000 ***
Matthews has been silent for the past month; maybe hitting the rookie wall? This matchup isn't particularly favorable, so there's no need to reach for him here.
TE Zach Ertz, PHI @NYG 006601000 ***
Ertz scored in the earlier meeting with the Giants as Philly tight ends accounted for 118 yards and two TDs. Last week Ertz finally consolidated all those targets; the result was a 15-115 outing against the Redskins. Whether he's sharing or hoarding he's a solid fantasy play this week.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Cody Parkey, PHI @NYG 2233 ***
Parkey had nine in the earlier meeting with the Giants, though hitting the road and the possibility that Matt Barkley takes meaningful snaps make reaching that number again a little more tenuous.

New Orleans Saints
Homefield: Superdome
Sportexe Turf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 WAS 32-40 10 ATL -----
2 @CAR 27-35 11 @OAK -----
3 KC 24-27 12 SF -----
4 @GB 27-28 13 @ATL -----
5 SD 31-24 14 @NYG -----
6 BYE ----- 15 TB -----
7 @TB 35-28 16 @DAL -----
8 @DEN 14-34 17 CAR -----
9 PHI ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
NO vs PHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Drew Brees 330,3
WR Marques Colston 5-70,1
WR Robert Meachem 2-30
TE Jimmy Graham 6-80,1
TE Benjamin Watson 2-30
PK Shayne Graham 3 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: Times are tough in the Big Easy though getting back coaches can help. The reality here is that the Saints defense is bad. And not "NFC South" bad. Not even 2012 one-of-32-teams bad. Bad as in all of recorded history. No team has ever allowed over 400 yards off offense over the first seven games of any season. Ever. That is a word you do not throw around casually ' "ever". And it applies in this case because this is the worst defense ever. Against both rushing AND passing. It has led to delightful shootouts to be sure.

Drew Brees comes off his worst game of the year when he "only" produced 213 yards and two scores in Denver. Brees already has 20 passing scores on the year and five efforts over 300 yards. In a home game he has never thrown fewer than three touchdowns. Brees fantasy value has been richly increased thanks to playing with a team that has no defense and allows at least 24 points to every opponent so far this year. Shootouts every week mean good things.

Darren Sproles helps the stats with four receiving touchdowns this year but no runner matters for the Saints. With weekly scoreboard deficits to chase, the Saints do not have the luxury of running the ball much and they split up the workload into three pieces anyway. Over the first seven weeks, only twice has any runner been given more than nine carries. Aside from Sproles in a league rewarding reception points, there is no decent fantasy play in this unit.

Jimmy Graham tumbled this year with a bad ankle but was able to return last week and caught five passes for 63 yards and one score to prove he is healthy again. Granted it was almost entirely in garbage time but regardless Graham is reliable again. His yardage and catches are down this year even when he wasn't injured but he's scoring in almost every game that he's played.

Going against Denver last week produced lower stats for the wide receivers but back at home should resume their more productive ways. Marques Colston was on a three game scoring streak that included three touchdowns in Tampa Bay. Lance Moore is consistent enough with 60+ yards in most games though he scored just once since the season opener. The reality is that Darren Sproles actually ends up as another wideout in the way he is used.

The eagles defense hasn't faced many decent passers and yet still gave up two 300-yard games and multiple touchdowns to most. Their rushing defense has been solid and only allowed one rushing touchdown all year. Expect this to once again go through Drew Brees. The Saints are due for a "stand up and fight" game after getting blasted so badly in Denver but the defense is so bad that it's unthinkable that a shootout can be avoided even at home against potentially a rookie quarterback in his first ever start.

Gaining Fantasy Points NO 1 9 3 10 28 27
Preventing Fantasy Points PHI 13 10 20 5 30 29

QB Drew Brees, NO @TB 0000030021 ***
Lovie Smith's defense has been significantly better since giving up 372 and 2 to Brees earlier this year. In fact, they've held six of the past seven quarterbacks they've faced to just one TD toss--good quarterbacks, too, including Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan, Jay Cutler, Andy Dalton and RG3. Brees hasn't exactly been tearing it up like usual anyway; he's thrown single scoring strikes in three straight and four of five against NFC South foes, so keep a lid on expectations here.
RB Mark Ingram, NO @TB 7012100000 ***
Whether they're using him up before letting him hit free agency or they've just decided to give him the ball, the Saints are loading up Ingram with carries--30 the past two weeks, versus eight for the rest of the New Orleans backfield. Like earlier in the year when all the other Saints RBs were injured, Ingram has responded--not necessarily with big yardage, but with touchdowns in each of those two games. He missed the earlier date with Tampa Bay while Khiry Robinson rushed for 89 yards and a TD and Pierre Thomas chipped in 112 combo yards and a couple scores. Look for Ingram to consolidate the rushing numbers and provide one more fantasy helper in a Saints uniform.
WR Marques Colston, NO @TB 005701000 ***
The Bucs have surrendered four 100-yard WR games the past three weeks, and while Colston isn't a pure WR1 he's the closest thing the Saints have and thus the most likely to take advantage here.
WR Kenny Stills, NO @TB 0051000000 ***
Brandon Cooks paced the Saints with 11 targets the last time they faced Tampa Bay. Stills has ascended to Cooks' role as WR2 in New Orleans; with Drew Brees struggling it isn't a guaranteed fantasy producer, but after watching the Bucs give up four 100-yard games and three WR TDs over the past three weeks it definitely gets Stills on the fantasy radar.
TE Jimmy Graham, NO @TB 005701000 **
The Bucs have been stout against tight ends, giving up just one TE TD in the past 11 games and just one game north of 61 yards in that span as well. That stretch included a disappointing 2-36 by Graham in which he was only the third-most productive Saints tight end. He's been a bigger factor of late and you can't sit him, but you can start him with a bit of trepidation.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Shayne Graham, NO @TB 1133 ***
Graham hasn't had multiple field goals in more than a month, but here come the Bucs to the rescue: they've allowed eight in the last three games and served up three to Graham earlier this year.

*ARI at GB CHI at TEN *MIA at IND *PHI at NO (MON)
BAL at CLE *DAL at ATL MIN at SEA Bye:

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