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Predictions & Projections
By David M. Dorey
 
The Huddle
WEEK 6
October 8, 2003
Season Ticket
Sun 1 PM *TB at WAS Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM Bye Week:
*CAR at IND MIA at JAX *BUF at NYJ SF at SEA Cincinnati
CHI at NO *NYG at NE *PIT at DEN Mon 9 PM Detroit
HOU at TEN OAK at CLE Sun 4 PM *ATL at STL Minnesota
KC at GB PHI at DAL *BAL at ARZ *updated San Diego
   
Atlanta vs St. Louis Mon, Oct 13; 9 PM on ABC at Edward Jones Dome
  Atlanta Rush Catch Pass
QB Doug Johnson 0 0 250,2
RB Warrick Dunn 30 50 0
RB T.J. Duckett 60 0 0
TE Alge Crumpler 0 60,1 0
WR Brian Finneran 0 20 0
WR Quentin McCord 0 30 0
WR Peerless Price 0 80,1 0
  St. Louis Rush Catch Pass
QB Marc Bulger 0 0 280,3
RB Lamar Gordon 80,1 10 0
TE Cam Cleeland 0 30 0
WR Isaac Bruce 0 80,1 0
WR Torry Holt 0 100,2 0
WR Shaun McDonald 0 20 0
WR Dane Looker 0 30 0


Game Prediction: ATL 17, STL 34

Update: It now appears that Brian Finneran will suit up for the Monday night game but will not start. Since he is coming back from his broken hand, I am including him in the projections but am not expecting much this week from him.

Shaun McDonald is also expected to play though his thumb may still be in a small cast. McDonald will be the #3 receiver in some sets though Dane Looker will still play.

Atlanta Notes

Quarterbacks: The Falcons continued their up and down performance this season, held steady only by the fact that they still lose every game since the opener. Doug Johnson had a career game against the mildly interested Vikings, throwing for 352 yards and two touchdowns after only mustering 152 yards the previous week without a score. He only had 95 yards the week before that against the Buccaneers. Michael Vick - where are you? Well, so far he is not yet on the running track which was supposed to happen but hasn't. Chances are that Vick might make it back for the week 9 game against the Eagles.

Running backs: Atlanta has stuck with T.J. Duckett as the featured runner and last week he had 11 carries for 69 yards which sounds better unless you consider 55 yards came on one run. Warrick Dunn rushed only three times for 15 yards but took the touchdown away from Duckett. Dunn also added 83 yards on six catches and should continue that role as the Falcons fall behind in games, Johnson gets rushed and dumps it off.

LG Travis Claridge may be out with a sprained right knee.

Wide Receivers: The story of the game was the actual use of Peerless Price who had the ball thrown to him 16 times in the game. He caught 12 for 168 yards and one touchdown. Simply enough, he was the difference between the normal day for Johnson and the big game that happened instead. Quentin McCord (2-42) was not a factor and has not been a replacement for the Brian Finneran who back to practice after breaking his hand. Until word that he is starting, I am assuming McCord plays as the #2.

Tight Ends: Still only Alge Crumpler as the receiving tight end with his six passes a game. His perk is when he tacks on yards after the catch but was unable to do so last week (4-31).

Match against the defense: The Rams secondary can be beaten since Garcia and Hasselbeck both had two touchdown efforts against them but they have held Toomer to only 98 yards (thanks to one long catch), Terrell Owens only had 42 yards and Koren Robinson had 95 yards though both Owens and Robinson both scored. St. Louis comes off a bye week and should be ready for this offense.

The Rams rushing defense was shredded by Tiki Barber back in the opener but has been pretty stout since then. Playing at home they should be tougher yet and able to get the game slanted away from the Atlanta rushing game.

St. Louis Notes

Quarterbacks: So far Marc Bulger has been successful in keeping the starting spot away from Brenda Warner. Bulger comes off a nice 272 yard, two touchdown effort against the Cardinals and should match that this week.

Running backs: With Marshall Faulk out, Lamar Gordon continues as the starter. Gordon had a sprained wrist in Arizona and ended with 81 yards and one score against Arizona. He is back to practice and the wrist is fine so there are no worries there. The worries, in fantasy terms, is that Arlen Harris gained 47 yards on 12 carries in the last game and HC Mike Martz has openly said that the roles for runners and receivers is nothing concrete. Expect that Gordon continues as the lead rusher and Harris will be used to spell him.

Currently Marshall Faulk is looking to return in week 8 against Pittsburgh but that could change.

Wide Receivers: Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce continue to share the touchdowns with Holt getting the bigger share but the third receiver slot is a work in progress. Against the Cards, Dane Looker had four catches for 27 yards and a score. Kevin Curtis - the original #3 before he broke his leg, is now back to practice and could play this week. Shaun McDonald also practiced and could be used as well. McDonald was the #3 in the first game of the season but has missed time with a thumb injury.

Tight Ends: Still a relative non-factor, with Brandon Manumaleuna and Cameron Cleeland trading weeks to gain 30 yards and not score.

Match against the defense: What's not to love here? Teams typically get to use whatever method of scoring that suits them. Patrick Ramsey? 356 yards and two scores. Brad Johnson? 192 yards and two touchdowns. Trung Canidate and Michael Pittman gained over 80 yards and Stephen Davis had 156 yards rushing.

The only hard part here is deciding who gets to score since Atlanta has allowed over 30 points in three of their five games. So far Atlanta has not been able to stop what they knew was already coming.

SS Cory Hall may return this week to help and SS Gerald Burrows may also return. CB Tyrone Williams is no longer ranting in the hallways so he will be back after a one game suspension which should help.

Game Prediction: On the road to St. Louis is not a good place for these Falcons to play. Look for Bulger to turn in a good afternoon using better receivers than Ramsey had and for Peerless Price to get the proper amount of attention from a secondary that can be hurt but likely will not. It appears that Monday night football now had managed to get a good rhythm for the season - great games sandwiched between clunkers like this one.

Team Comparisons - Current team rankings by position for FF points scored or allowed by position
Rank (1-32) QB RB WR TE PK DEF
ATL Scores
24
13
27
2
22
27
STL Allows
7
8
21
3
16
32
ATL AP -17 -5 -6 1
-6
5
Rank (1-32) QB RB WR TE PK DEF
STL Scores
2
24
1
29
6
26
ATL Allows
20
32
29
5
20
23
STL AP 18 8 28 -24
14
-3
Scoring ranks - #1 = scores the most points, Allowing Ranks - #1 = allows the least points
AP = Relative advantage for team versus opponent. 31 = greatest advantage, (-31) = do NOT start
ATL STL 2003 Game Averages STL ATL
Gains Allows QB's Gains Allows
211
204
Pass yards
269
245
1.2
1.0
Pass TDs
1.5
1.6
2.0
0.8
Interceptions
1.0
0.6
0
13
Rush yards
0
1
0.2
0.0
Rush TDs
0.5
0.0
----
----
RB's
----
----
91
93
Rush yards
79
150
0.8
0.5
Rush TDs
0.5
1.6
39
25
Receive yards
36
45
0.2
0.0
Receive TD's
0.0
0.2
----
----
WR's
----
----
109
153
Receive yards
214
181
0.6
1.0
Receive TD's
1.5
1.2
----
----
TE's
----
----
64
26
Receive yards
19
18
0.4
0.0
Receive TD's
0.0
0.2
0
----
PK's
0
----
1.4
1.5
Field Goals
2.3
1.4
2.2
2.5
Extra Points
2.5
3.2
----
----
DEF/ST
----
----
1.0
2.0
Fumbles
0.8
0.4
0.4
1.0
Interceptions
1.0
2.0
0.0
2.0
Touchdowns
0.0
0.0
2.4
1.8
Sacks
1.8
2.8
0.0
0.0
Safeties
0.0
0.6
Falcons (1-4)
Score Opp.
27-13 @DAL
31-33 WAS
10-31 TB
3-23 @CAR
26-39 MIN
Week 6 @STL
Week 7 NO
Week 8 BYE
Week 9 PHI
Week 10 @NYG
Week 11 @NO
Week 12 TEN
Week 13 @HOU
Week 14 CAR
Week 15 @IND
Week 16 @TB
Week 17 JAX
Rams (2-2)
Score Opp.
13-23 @NYG
27-24 SF
23-24 @SEA
37-13 ARZ
Week 5 BYE
Week 6 ATL
Week 7 GB
Week 8 @PIT
Week 9 @SF
Week 10 BAL
Week 11 @CHI
Week 12 @ARZ
Week 13 MIN
Week 14 @CLE
Week 15 SEA
Week 16 CIN
Week 17 @DET

* Fantasy point rankings calculated using standard Huddle fantasy points