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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey  

Sortable Player Projections | Game Predictions Summary | Projections by Team

WEEK 8
2011
* ARI at BAL * DET at DEN * MIN at CAR * SD at KC (mon)
* CIN at SEA IND at TEN * NE at PIT Bye Week
* CLE at SF * JAC at HOU * NO at STL ATL, CHI, GB
* Updated DAL at PHI * MIA at NYG WAS at BUF NYJ, OAK, TB

Prediction: NO 31, STL 10

Update: Mark Ingram could not practice and will be out at least this week. Chris Ivory was activated from the PUP list but should only be a reserve on the sideline. I am adjusting the stats accordingly.

This looks like a mismatch. The 0-6 Rams come off their 7-34 bombing in Dallas and they have yet to score more than one touchdown in any game this year. The Saints are fresh off their 62-7 mugging of the Colts and hit the road with their 5-2 record. You have to hope the Saints maintain their interest in the game though last week was certainly no problem.

The Saints beat the visiting Rams 31-13 last year.

New Orleans Saints
Homefield: Superdome
Sportexe Turf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @GB 34-42 10 @ATL -
2 CHI 30-13 11 Bye -
3 HOU 40-33 12 NYG -
4 @JAC 23-10 13 DET -
5 @CAR 30-27 14 @TEN -
6 @TB 20-26 15 @MIN -
7 IND 62-7 16 ATL -
8 @STL - 17 CAR -
9 TB - - - -
Saints Report | Statistics | Roster
NEW ORLEANS at STL Rush Catch Pass
QB Drew Brees - - 320,3
RB Mark Ingram 30 - -
RB Pierre Thomas 60 20 -
RB Darren Sproles 60 30,1 -
TE Jimmy Graham - 70,1 -
WR Marques Colston - 100,1 -
WR Lance Moore - 40 -
WR Devery Henderson - 20 -
WR Robert Meachem - 30 -
PK John Kasay 1 FG 4 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Saints put on a clinic against the Colts that sent hometown boy Peyton Manning walking into the tunnel with no desire to meet and greet in the middle. The Saints were coming off a three game road trek and had lost to the Buccaneers the week before. The Buccaneers lie waiting on the other side of this game so you have to wonder if this could be a place where the Saints want to mail it in. They could get away with doing that too - everyone else has.

QUARTERBACK: Drew Brees has never been better than when he completed 31 of 35 passes for 325 yards and five touchdowns on the hapless Colts. Brees is on a five game streak of 300+ yard games and has scored 18 times already this year. While other quarterbacks have cooled from their hot starts to the season, Brees is just getting better.

Brees passed for 221 yards and three touchdowns on the Rams last year.

Anything short of 300 yards and three scores here will be a disappointment. And you can repeat that for the next nine games.

RUNNING BACKS: Because this backfield is not convoluted enough, Mark Ingram suffered a bruised heel against the Colts and it was bad enough to remove him from the game and make wearing a shoe too painful. But he is considered day-to-day so figure on practice reports to be a better indicator starting on Wednesday. I will tentatively assume he can play some role and was having his best game of the year (14-91) when he got injured.

Before you assume that Pierre Thomas suddenly inherits more work, consider that HC Sean Payton indicated he would activate Chris Ivory from the PUP list to help out if Ingram cannot play. And yes, Darren Sproles still figures in heavily and scored twice on the Colts and Jed Collins scored his third touchdown on the year though he only has four touches total. It is never going to clear up in New Orleans. Accept it. They spent a first round pick on a stud Heisman Trophy winner in order to make him one of four playing musical chairs.

The Saints combined for 125 yards on 28 carries between three backs when they faced the Rams in 2010.

Have to assume at least one rushing touchdown here against the same defense that just coughed up 253 yards to DeMarco Murray. Lot's of fantasy points all split up into tiny pieces. I am not even going to bother assigning the touchdown run.

WIDE RECEIVERS: There has finally been consistency that has settled on these wideouts. Marques Colston is back to being top dog with around 100 yards in each of the last two games and three touchdowns in that time. No other wide receiver has scored since week three. Devery Henderson is down to one catch per week, Lance Moore donates about 40 yards per week and Robert Meachem ends up around 30 yards. Very consistent these last three or four games. Enough so that only Colston has reliable value and can be trusted for a fantasy start.

Colston (5-46, 2 TD) and Moore (5-70, TD) were the only wideouts with catches against the Rams last year.

There could certainly be more scores to this unit, but Brees hasn't cared to try and it won't be needed this week anyway. Stick with Colston and ignore the rest for the foreseeable future.

TIGHT ENDS: Poor old Jimmy Graham fell from his four straight games of 100+ yards but at least he softened the blow with TWO touchdowns on his 54 yards and six catches last week. Graham has been getting a dozen or more targets in all the most recent road games so expect more of the same.

Graham only turned on one catch for 21 yards versus the Rams last season. That blows my mind now.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NO 4 1 8 2 2 25
Preventing Fantasy Points STL 22 31 31 2 20 30


St. Louis Rams
Homefield: Edward Jones Dome
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 PHI 13-31 10 @CLE -
2 @NYG 16-28 11 SEA -
3 BAL 7-37 12 ARI -
4 WAS 10-17 13 @SF -
5 Bye - 14 @SEA -
6 @GB 3-24 15 CIN -
7 @DAL 7-34 16 @PIT -
8 NO - 17 SF -
9 @ARI -      
Rams Report | Statistics | Roster
ST. LOUIS vs NO Rush Catch Pass
QB A. J. Feeley - - 190
RB Steven Jackson 70,1 20 -
WR Brandon Lloyd - 80 -
WR Brandon Gibson - 50 -
PK Josh Brown 1 FG 1 XP -

Pregame Notes: It is not enough that the Rams are still winless, it is that they are getting worse and not better. The Rams cannot score more than ten points for the last month and have been outscored 27- 118 over the last four games. Sam Bradford remains out with a high ankle sprain and the defense has started to spit out all-time worst performances that landed DeMarco Murray in the record books in his very first start ever. A great time to play the Rams, not so much to be the Rams. They already have a quarterback anyway so a #1 draft pick is not needed.

QUARTERBACK: Let's not waste bandwidth. Sam Bradford missed last week with a high ankle sprain and while they have not counted him out yet, it is a high ankle sprain and seriously - what is the rush anyway? This offense never scores more than one touchdown. A.J. Feeley passed for 196 yards and one interception in Dallas. He's a safe bet to repeat. Think what Curtis Painter did last week in New Orleans.

Bradford only passed for 231 yards and two interceptions in New Orleans last year though he ran in one touchdown.

RUNNING BACKS: Steven Jackson scored last week - a huge event on a team with only six touchdowns on the year. Jackson has run well in recent weeks even though the rest of the team has been struggling around him. Aside from his game against the Ravens, he has been a decent start every week with at least marginal to moderate yardage and he has three scores in his last five games. Considering the team around him, Jackson has been wildly productive.

Jackson gained 96 yards on 16 runs and caught four passes for 38 yards in New Orleans last season.

The Saints have allowed four rushing touchdowns and and most teams have runners top 80 yards against them. Jackson at home is a safe bet for a decent game and probably the one touchdown. No other player on this team is.

WIDE RECEIVERS: It was encouraging to see that Brandon Lloyd could step in and produce 74 yards on six catches in Dallas in his first showing as a Ram. Once Bradford returns, there is some optimism in this passing game now that a receiver who is already familiar and successful with the scheme is on board. Danario Alexander injured his hamstring in Dallas and may miss this game but his absence would allow Brandon Gibson to play. Gibson was a healthy scratch last week to make room for Lloyd. Mark Clayton is also looming out there and could return soon.

For now, consider Lloyd as a marginal start but stay away from all other wideouts here. Back at home against a Saints secondary, Lloyd could have a decent game and even sore if there is enough trash time and the Saints stop trying eventually.

TIGHT ENDS: Not only is there no fantasy value here, but Lance Kendricks comes off a game with no catches and Michael Hoomanawanui gained 44 yards on three receptions. Stay very far away.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points STL 31 28 23 26 31 31
Preventing Fantasy Points NO 18 19 19 10 17 11

WEEK 8
2011
ARI at BAL DET at DEN MIN at CAR SD at KC (mon)
CIN at SEA IND at TEN NE at PIT Bye Week
CLE at SF JAC at HOU NO at STL ATL, CHI, GB
  DAL at PHI MIA at NYG WAS at BUF NYJ, OAK, TB

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