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Predictions & Projections
By David M. Dorey
 
The Huddle
WEEK 5
October 1, 2003
Season Ticket
Sun 1 PM *TEN at NE Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM Bye Week:
*ARZ at DAL *MIN at ATL DET at SF *CLE at PIT Ravens
CIN at BUF *NO at CAR WAS at PHI Mon 9 PM Texans
*DEN at KC OAK at CHI *SD at JAX *IND at TB Jets
MIA at NYG SEA at GB   *updated Rams
   
New Orleans vs Carolina Sun, Oct 5; 1 PM on FOX at Ericsson Stadium
  New Orleans Rush Catch Pass
QB Aaron Brooks 20 0 200
RB Deuce McAllister 80,1 20 0
TE Ernie Conwell 0 30 0
WR Joe Horn 0 40 0
WR Donte Stallworth 0 60 0
WR Jerome Pathon 0 20 0
  Carolina Rush Catch Pass
QB Jake Delhomme 0 0 200,1
RB Stephen Davis 120,2 10 0
TE Jermaine Wiggins 0 20 0
WR Muhsin Muhammad 0 60 0
WR Ricky Proehl 0 50,1 0
WR Steve Smith 0 50 0


Game Prediction: NO 13, CAR 24

Update: Kris Mangum may not be able to play due to a sprained ankle and is listed as questionable. I am excluding Mangum due to the risk and projecting for his replacement, Jermaine Wiggins.

Joe Horn is listed as questionable for the game due to the left knee bone bruise he suffered back in the season opener. Horn missed practice on Wednesday to get an MRI on his knee which showed only the bruise and no ligament damage. He is considered likely to play but will still be hampered by the knee. I am donwgrading his numbers and realize there is still a chance that he does not play or gets pulled from the game if the outcome is already certain.

New Orleans suffered a humiliating 55-21 trounce last week in a game that was not nearly as close as that sounds. Other then their one win in Houston, the Saints have been outscored 43-109 in their three losses. Peyton Manning threw six touchdowns before getting bored and sitting out much of the fourth quarter.

Aaron Brooks also sat out much of the fourth quarter as well, but after throwing for only 166 yards and two interceptions, plus two fumbles, he was yanked to give Todd Bouman a chance to share in the misery. There is no quarterback controversy brewing here, Brooks is still very much the starter. There is just less enthusiasm that it can make a difference.

Deuce McAllister rushed well, gaining 101 yards on only 17 carries though it was readily apparent by the second quarter that running the ball would not be enough to get back into the game. Ernie Conwell (6-88)

Now only a quarter of the way through the season, the Saints are forced to ask the tough questions almost two months earlier than normal. Injuries have decimated the defense which was not that great when it was at full strength. FS Tebucky Jones strained his groin in the game and will miss this week. LT Wayne Gandy injured his hamstring and will also miss the game. LCB Dale Carter is still out as is DE Darren Howard and LB Cie Grant... DE Melvin Williams... oh just why bother going through it all? The Saints have failed to make payments to Madame LeBeau the Voodoo Queen and have been cursed. Try as they might, the injury situation worsens each week and in the next five games they face Carolina twice and Tampa Bay once. Make it stop! Make it stop! We'll pay! We'll pay!

Sadly the ever changing roster and injuries mask the valient effort that many players are making and it is going to take some time before this unit can get back together and play cohesively. By the time they reach their week 10 bye there could be a long line at the copier for all the players and coaches holding their resume'.

The Panthers, by very stark contrast, are 3-0 and coming off wins over the Buccaneers and Falcons in which they allowed a total of 12 points.

The Panther defense has been superb this season after week one when Brunell picked it apart. The offense has greatly improved too thanks to Stephen "Perfect Fit" Davis who is on a pace to gain over 2100 yards rushing this season. Davis is averaging 5.3 yards per carry and currently of the 168 offensive plays for the Panthers, Davis has been involved in 81 of them.

With such heavy usage, the only worry about Davis is wearing him out and he has not been the most durable runner in the past. Last week Deshaun Foster had ten carries at the end of the game just to give Davis a break. He already had 153 yards in the game.

TE Kris Mangum has a sprained ankle and will be questionable. If he cannot go, Jermaine Wiggins will take his place.

Since his game-saving performance in week one, Jake Delhomme has done little other than hand-off to Davis but with games against Indianapolis and Tennessee coming up, he will again be a factor.

The Saints are on the road this week after a humbling experience last week. Without the firepower to turn the blowout into motivation, the Saints will have to be content to play within what they have left and hope that the team regains health and composure before it is too late. Look for plenty of Stephen Davis again this week and for Aaron Brooks to improve after last week's terrible outing. The Saints are hurting and searching, but that doesn't mean they cannot produce some fantasy points in the meantime.

NO
CAR
2003 Averages
CAR
NO
Gains
Allows
QB's
Gains
Allows
219
254
Pass yards
135
232
1.3
1.0
Pass TDs
1.3
2.5
0.8
0.7
Interceptions
1.3
0.5
8
-2
Rush yards
0
8
0.0
0.0
Rush TDs
0.0
0.3
----
----
RB's
----
----
80
91
Rush yards
162
98
0.3
0.3
Rush TDs
0.3
0.5
26
52
Receive yards
26
28
0.0
0.0
Receive TD's
0.0
0.8
----
----
WR's
----
----
149
144
Receive yards
86
162
1.0
1.0
Receive TD's
1.3
1.3
----
----
TE's
----
----
44
42
Receive yards
23
42
0.3
0.0
Receive TD's
0.0
0.3
----
----
PK's
----
----
1.3
1.0
Field Goals
2.7
1.8
2.0
1.0
Extra Points
1.7
3.3
----
----
DEF/ST
----
----
0.3
0.3
Fumbles
0.3
1.3
0.5
1.3
Interceptions
0.7
0.3
0.8
0.0
Touchdowns
0.0
1.0
2.3
1.7
Sacks
3.7
1.5
0.3
0.0
Safeties
0.3
0.0
Saints (1-3)
Score Opp.
10-27 @SEA
31-10 HOU
12-27 @TEN
21-55 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
Panthers (3-0)
Score Opp.
24-23 JAX
12-9 @TB
Week 3 BYE
23-3 ATL
Week 5 NO
Week 6 @IND
Week 7 TEN
Week 8 @NO
Week 9 @HOU
Week 10 TB
Week 11 WAS
Week 12 @DAL
Week 13 PHI
Week 14 @ATL
Week 15 @ARZ
Week 16 DET
Week 17 @NYG
(Statistics are game averages from current season )