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Predictions & Projections
By David M. Dorey
 
The Huddle
WEEK 7
October 15, 2003
Season Ticket
Sun 1 PM TEN at CAR Sun 4 PM Mon 9 PM Bye Week:
*BAL at CIN *NE at MIA *WAS at BUF KC at OAK Arizona
DAL at DET *NO at ATL *CHI at SEA   Indianapolis
*DEN at MIN *PHI at NYG NYJ at HOU Times EST Jacksonville
GB at STL *SD at CLE *TB at SF *updated Pittsburgh
   
Green Bay vs St. Louis Sun, Oct 19; 1 PM on FOX at Edward Jones Dome
  Green Bay Rush Catch Pass
QB Brett Favre 0 0 250,1
RB Ahman Green 90,1 30 0
TE Bubba Franks 0 10 0
TE Wesley Walls 0 30 0
WR Javon Walker 0 50 0
WR Donald Driver 0 90,1 0
WR Robert Ferguson 0 20 0
  St. Louis Rush Catch Pass
QB Marc Bulger 0 0 300,3
RB Lamar Gordon 80 10 0
TE B. Manumaleuna 0 10 0
WR Isaac Bruce 0 90,1 0
WR Torry Holt 0 110,1 0
WR Dane Looker 0 60,1 0

Game Prediction: GB 20, STL 31

Packer Notes

Quarterbacks: Though he had less success at the end of the game against zone blitzes, Brett Favre comes off one of his best games lately when he threw for 272 yards and two touchdowns. His one interception was returned for a critical score by KC and there is little doubt that he will see more blitzes this week since that was the only way to keep him off balance and make him throw a pick.

Running backs: Ahman Green was on fire last week, gaining 139 yards and a score on the ground while adding 51 more yards receiving with a second touchdown. Unfortunately, it was his fumble in OT that allowed KC to throw a touchdown on the next play and Green already has six fumbles on the season. At least he didn't do that the week before when he played against Mike Holmgren who cut him for that very reason.

Najeh Davenport also scored and had six carries for 43 yards. Tony Fisher reaggravated a groin injury which led to Davenport getting the relief snaps and Fisher may not be available this week. Favre used William Henderson only once last week, preferring to rely on his tight ends and Ahman Green more.

Wide Receivers: Since Favre is spreading the passes well, no receiver is standing out lately. Donald Driver had seven catches last week but only 59 yards and no score, along with tipping the pass that led to the interception. Javon Walker and Robert Ferguson have been nonfactors in the game plan lately. Even though Favre had 272 yards passing, the duo combined for only 61 yards on three catches. Lately the Packers are mainly using the receivers to spread out the field and get better matchups on the backs and tight ends.

Tight Ends: While he did score a touchdown, Bubba Franks did that on his only catch for one yard in the game. The big difference here was the emergence of the finally healthy Wesley Walls who had four catches for 64 yards in the game since the KC linebackers were a step slow.

Match against the defense: The Packers offense should have problems with the Rams who rank highly in all defensive categories partially as a function of what their schedule has been. The Rams have been allowing good quarterbacks like Jeff Garcia and Matt Hasselbeck to throw for two scores and around 230 yards a game.

The Rams held Jeremy Shockey to only 36 yards and the problem here is that on the carpet the Rams have a fast defense that will reduce the advantage the Packers like to have with tight ends and backs in the passing scheme.

Ahman Green will also be tested but should have a good outing since the Rams gave up 146 yards to Tiki Barber and let Garrison Hearst gain 89 yards on only 11 carries. Against the Rams, Green will more likely either be stuffed at the line or break for a nice gain since either the linebackers will be in the hole or will miss him. The faster style of play of the Rams will be a bigger problem if St. Louis gains a good lead and makes the Packers throw.

St. Louis Notes

Quarterbacks: Marc Bulger comes off his best showing of the season, throwing for 352 yards and two scores against a completely overmatched Falcons team. With the running game still good but not great without Faulk, Bulger was able to dissect Atlanta. Bulger also has enjoyed a two game stretch against the Cardinals and Falcons which would pump up anyone's numbers. The last similar defenses that he faced were the Seahawks (226 yards, 1 TD) and possibly the 49ers (236 yards, 2 TDs).

Running backs: Since Faulk has been out, Lamar Gordon has been entirely serviceable if not a fair replacement though again, he has hardly faced the top defensive talent in the league lately. Last week he ran for 92 yards on 19 carries but has never been a part of the passing scheme as was Faulk. His wrist still bothered him last week but was not enough to keep him out. Arlen Harris is no big step down as long as the passing game is working.

Wide Receivers: Torry Holt shredded the Atlanta secondary, catching 11 of the 12 passes thrown to him for 161 yards and two scores after logging 12 catches, 133 yards and one touchdown the week before. Isaac Bruce (4-87) is good enough that the secondary must respect him which leads to better numbers for Holt. The Rams were looking for a return of Shaun McDonald last week but Dane Looker (4-27, 1 TD) played the #3 well and there was no need for using packages that would include McDonald. Looker made a few great catches in the game and will not be relinquishing the #3 spot without a good fight.

Tight Ends: The Rams are a little different than most team in that the tougher the game, the less the tight end gets used. Brandon Manumaleuna has had three catches in both the recent blowouts for 21 and 56 yards, but in closer games normally has only one or two catches for very minimal yards.

Match against the defense: The Packers will be facing the Rams that are similar to Chiefs last week. Since they yielded 400 yards to Trent Green, it is a safe bet that Marc Bulger will be reviewing game tape. The Packers come off a two game home stand that saw them give up more yards to the wideouts than any other position, a bit of a problem too since they allowed Johnnie Morton and Eddie Kennison to both score and have big games (relative to what a big game for a WR is in KC).

The Packers also gave up 100 yard games to Shaun Alexander and Anthony Thomas and though Priest Holmes and Moe Williams only gained around 80 yards on the ground, they both had a four yard average. The game will be interesting in that the Rams do not feature the tight end as much as other GB opponents have but still there can be little doubt that the Packers problems in domes, on a fast carpet, will show up against the pass and the duo of Holt and Bruce will be the best they have faced this season.

The Rams should be able to have enough success running the ball to keep the Packers secondary from dropping back and the slants and underneath routes that are the Rams bread and butter should continue to work.

Game Prediction: Since the Packers defense has more problems away from Lambeau field inside a dome and already have been challenged to keep up with the wideouts this season, look for the Rams to offer a fairly balanced attack that will favor the wideouts, Torry Holt in particular. The Rams know that they need to post some early points and keep the Packers from running all game so St. Louis will be looking for quick strikes earlier in the game and hope to gain a lead that allows them to pick and choose what the defense is allowing them to do.

This game should be a better one for Donald Driver if only due to the volume of passes but it all comes down to Ahman Green's ability to keep the game in control. On the carpet in St. Louis, it is likely not going to be something he can do in the second half.

Team Comparisons - Current team rankings (1-32) by position for FF points scored or allowed by position
Rank (1-32) QB RB WR TE PK DEF
GB Scores
16
1
23
6
18
19
STL Allows
5
5
13
4
5
31
GB AP -11 4 -10 -2 -13 12
Rank (1-32) QB RB WR TE PK DEF
STL Scores
2
25
1
26
3
12
GB Allows
31
15
24
24
29
12
STL AP 29 -10 23 -2 26 0
Offensive ranks - lower = gains more points, Defensive Ranks lower = allows less points
AP = Advantage Points, the net difference between a positional rank gained or allowed by the teams.
GB STL 2003 Game Averages STL GB
Gains Allows QB's Gains Allows
213
194 Pass yards 286
256
1.8
0.8 Pass TDs 1.6
1.2
1.3
1.0 Interceptions 1.2
9.5
7.0
10 Rush yards 1
15
0.0
0 Rush TDs 0.6
0.3
----
-----  RB's ----- 
----
142
89 Rush yards 86
88
1.7
0.4 Rush TDs 0.4
0.5
55
26 Receive yards 34
36
0.7
0 Receive TD's 0
0.3
----
-----  WR's ----- 
----
119
141 Receive yards 225
173
0.7
0.8 Receive TD's 1.6
0.7
----
-----  TE's ----- 
----
39
27 Receive yards 27
47
0.5
0 Receive TD's 0
0.2
----
-----  PK's ----- 
----
1.2
1.2 Field Goals 2.2
2.3
3.7
2.0 Extra Points 2.8
2.2
----
-----  DEF/ST ----- 
----
0.7
1.8 Fumbles 1.0
0.7
1.2
1.2 Interceptions 1.2
1.3
0.2
0.6 Touchdowns 0.2
0.2
1.7
2.4 Sacks 2.0
0.8
0.0
0 Safeties 0.2
0.0
Packers (3-3)
Score Opp.
25-30 MIN
31-6 DET
13-20 @ARZ
38-23 @CHI
35-13 SEA
34-40 KC
Week 7 @STL
Week 8 BYE
Week 9 @MIN
Week 10 PHI
Week 11 @TB
Week 12 SF
Week 13 @DET
Week 14 CHI
Week 15 @SD
Week 16 @OAK
Week 17 DEN
Rams (3-2)
Score Opp.
13-23 @NYG
27-24 SF
23-24 @SEA
37-13 ARZ
Week 5 BYE
36-0 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