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Predictions & Projections
By David M. Dorey
 
The Huddle
WEEK 1
September 3, 2003
Season Ticket
Thu 9 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM
NYJ at WAS DEN at CIN MIN at GB ATL at DAL OAK at TEN
Sun 1 PM HOU at MIA NE at BUF CHI at SF Mon 9 PM
ARZ at DET IND at CLE SD at KC NO at SEA TB at PHI
BAL at PIT JAX at CAR STL at NYG Times EST no byes
   
New Orleans vs Seattle Sun, Sep 7; 4 PM on FOX at Seahawks Stadium
  New Orleans Rush Catch Pass
QB Aaron Brooks 20 0 240,2
RB Deuce McAllister 100,1 30 0
TE Ernie Conwell 0 10 0
WR Joe Horn 0 90,1 0
WR Donte Stallworth 0 70,1 0
WR Jerome Pathon 0 30 0
  Seattle Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Hasselbeck 20,1 0 270,2
RB Shaun Alexander 100,1 30 0
RB Maurice Morris 10 10 0
TE Jerramy Stevens 0 20 0
WR Darrell Jackson 0 70,1 0
WR Bobby Engram 0 30 0
WR Koren Robinson 0 100,1 0

Game Prediction: NO 24, SEA 31

Update: The Saints have learned that they may be missing four defensive starters this week - S Mel Mitchell (lost for season with knee injury), LB Derrick Rodgers (suspended), DE Darren Howard (bruised bone) and LE Charles Grant (strained calf muscle). Particularly with the new injuries to the defensive line, I am increasing Shaun Alexander's numbers and Hasselbeck's remains high with greater confidence.

In 2002, the Saints once again suffered from a late season freefall which is making New Orleans look more like the Big Lazy the past two years. This time around much was attributed to the shoulder injury to Aaron Brooks who had offseason surgery and has shown to be back in form this summer. The Saints lost Jake Delhomme as his backup but picked up Todd Bouman who should be just as good.

Deuce McAllister was a very pleasant surprise at tailback last year, not only for rushing but his progress in the passing scheme as well. Deuce led the NFC with 1388 rushing yards and proved to be durable - something that was a question going into the season. This is a good characteristic for him to have since the Saints quest to find a good backup runner has come up empty every time. They brought in Curtis Keaton last year and just cut him since he had problems picking up the playbook. They brought in Ki-Jana Carter and just cut him as well. If McAllister gets hurt this offense changes dramatically.

The Saints were a high-powered offense last year and should be no less of a scoring threat. Joe Horn returns as the go to receiver and Donte Stallworth enters his second season with very high expectations after scoring eight touchdowns in only thirteen games. He, not unlike many rookies, had problems with his hamstrings but worked out with a specialist in the offseason to improve his strength and conditioning. Adding in Jerome Pathon creates one of the speediest trios of receivers in the league.

Seattle enters the 2003 season with great optimism and expectations. Matt Hasselbeck was on a torrid stretch to end the season last year and Koren Robinson had his breakout season in only his second year. Darrell Jackson was blasted in the Dallas game last year but returned to form when he returned to create a great 1-2 punch with Robinson.

Sean Alexander will enjoy a great rushing schedule this year and even if he gets hurt - and he rarely does - the Seahawks are excited with the development of Maurice Morris and are confident he will present no significant "step down" if they have to rely on him for a stretch. The plan, much like last year, is to try and get him involved in ways that does not detract from Alexander. Walter Jones has just agreed to a one year contract which helps the team tremendously.

The Seahawks downfall in 2002 was clearly their defense, or rather the lack of one. Seattle brought in DT Norman Hand and DE Chike Okeafor and most importantly defensive coordinator Ray Rhodes who should have the unit much better than last season.

This game should produce good points - load 'em up if you got 'em.

Look for this to be the best shoot-out of the weekend - two defenses trying to improve and two offenses that can throw points on the board in all sorts of ways. In the end, the home team squeaks out the win while both teams post nice passing scores.

 

Comparative Stats
Starting Week Two

 

Saints (0-0)
Score Opp.
Week 1 @SEA
Week 2 HOU
Week 3 @TEN
Week 4 IND
Week 5 @CAR
Week 6 CHI
Week 7 @ATL
Week 8 CAR
Week 9 @TB
Week 10 BYE
Week 11 ATL
Week 12 @PHI
Week 13 @WAS
Week 14 TB
Week 15 NYG
Week 16 @JAX
Week 17 DAL
Seahawks (0-0)
Score Opp.
Week 1 NO
Week 2 @ARZ
Week 3 STL
Week 4 BYE
Week 5 @GB
Week 6 SF
Week 7 CHI
Week 8 @CIN
Week 9 PIT
Week 10 @WAS
Week 11 DET
Week 12 @BAL
Week 13 CLE
Week 14 @MIN
Week 15 @STL
Week 16 ARZ
Week 17 @SF
(Statistics are game averages from current season )