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Predictions & Projections
By David M. Dorey
 
The Huddle
WEEK 8
October 22, 2003
Season Ticket
Sun 1 PM *DET at CHI Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM Bye Week:
CAR at NO NYG at MIN HOU at IND BUF at KC Atlanta
*CLE at NE SEA at CIN *NYJ at PHI Mon 9 PM Green Bay
DAL at TB *STL at PIT *SF at ARZ *MIA at SD Oakland
*DEN at BAL TEN at JAX   *updated Washington
   
Carolina vs New Orleans Sun, Oct 26; 1 PM on FOX at Superdome
  Carolina Rush Catch Pass
QB Jake Delhomme 10 0 180,1
RB Stephen Davis 120,1 0 0
RB DeShaun Foster 20 10 0
TE Kris Mangum 0 20 0
WR Muhsin Muhammad 0 50,1 0
WR Ricky Proehl 0 20 0
WR Steve Smith 0 40 0
  New Orleans Rush Catch Pass
QB Aaron Brooks 20 0 210,2
RB Deuce McAllister 100,1 40 0
TE Ernie Conwell 0 10 0
WR Joe Horn 0 70,1 0
WR Donte Stallworth Q Q Q
WR Jerome Pathon 0 60,1 0


Game Prediction: CAR 20, NO 24

The Panthers managed a 19-13 win in Carolina three weeks ago but are seeing some defensive breakdowns while the Saints are getting better, if only incrementally. This should be a close game that favors the Saints slightly with a more balanced offense at home. The Panthers actually would have lost the previous game were it not for a 100 yard kickoff return.

Carolina Notes

The Panthers are 5-1 and lead the NFC South by two games. They come off a humbling loss to Tennessee that said maybe Carolina is not "all that".

Quarterbacks: Jake Delhomme comes off his best game of the season, a 362 yard effort that doubled his previous best. Trailing the Titans the entire game made passing more important and Delhomme was forced to throw 49 times while completing 31. He had never thrown more than 27 passes in any other game this season. He managed his lofty numbers primarily by using only Steve Smith. Delhomme also fumbled twice last week.

Running Backs: Stephen Davis was reminded of what playing for the Redskins used to be like when last week the Titans held him to only 20 yards on 11 carries. Trailing 27-3 at the half, the Panthers abandoned the run. Davis was not hampered by his bruised forearm. This week he gets to face the team that he shredded for 150 yards only three weeks ago.

Wide Receivers: Steve Smith has been the hot receiver, logging 151 yards and one score last week following a 103 yard and one touchdown game the previous week. He is getting twice the passes of Muhsin Muhammad and no other receiver has mattered in Carolina for weeks.

Tight Ends: During the spanking last week, the usual blocking TE Kris Mangum had one of his best weeks with 38 yards on four catches but typically he is only going to see one or two completions a game.

Match against the defense: These two teams played only three weeks ago and not much has changed for either team defensively. Stephen Davis had 30 carries for 159 yards and one score in that game and there is no reason to expect Davis has his role reduced this week.

Jake Delhomme had his big yardage game against the Titans, but the offense is set up to hand-off to Davis and his 124 passing yards three weeks ago is more likely than the 362 he had last week.

New Orleans Notes

The Saints are 3-4 and trail the Panthers by 2 1/2 games in the NFC South. They come off easily their best game of the season in Atlanta.

Quarterbacks: Aaron Brooks finally went off this season and threw for 352 yards and three touchdowns last week. Apparently meeting a defense that is bad even before being rocked by injuries is good for opponents - go figure. Brooks also had a two touchdown effort the previous week against the Bears so his performance is looking up. It will be needed since Brooks only had 189 yards and one score when he played CAR in week five.

Running Backs: Deuce McAllister gained 116 yards and two scores in the rout last week and even was pulled from the game to let Ki-Jana Carter take ten carries. That makes three consecutive weeks for McAllister to gain over 100 yards and he had 124 yards last time he played the Panthers.

Wide Receivers: After making a nice 69 yard touchdown catch last week, Donte Stallworth strained his left quadriceps muscle and is doubtful this week. Jerome Pathon was a nice fill-in last week and ended with four catches for 65 yards while Joe Horn turned in a big 133 yard effort with one score. Pathon should be taking over again for Stallworth this week.

Tight Ends: While Ernie Conwell is still the primary receiving tight end, the Saints have been using Boo Williams more the last few weeks with good results. Williams had a touchdown catch last week and has been as involved as Conwell lately.

Match against the defense: The Panthers were able to keep the Saints offense at bay when they played in week five, holding Brooks to only 189 yards passing but allowing McAllister to run for 124 yards. Carolina usually has a little more trouble with running quarterbacks and play action with fakes to McAllister will have to be respected. The Panthers may be without LB Dan Morgan since he missed last week with a concussion and LB Brian Allen hurt his groin and may not play as well.

McAllister will have a good rushing game again - the Panthers have gotten worse against the run since they last played and the Saints offense is getting some better play though going against Chicago and Atlanta was hardly a big test the past two weeks.

Look for Brooks to play better than he did in week five but for the running game to be the main weapon used.

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
CAR Scores
30
5
22
29
5
24
NO Allows
14
21
16
18
23
21
CAR AP -16 16 -6 -11 18 -3
Rank (1-32) QB RB WR TE PK DEF
NO Scores
12
23
12
8
20
14
CAR Allows
23
9
26
12
15
16
NO AP 11 -24 14 4 -5 2
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.

CAR NO 2003 Game Averages NO CAR
Gains Allows QB's Gains Allows
179
189
Pass yards
224
239
1.2
1.7
Pass TDs
1.6
1.2
0.8
0.4
Interceptions
0.6
0.7
1
11
Rush yards
12
9
0.0
0.1
Rush TDs
0.0
0.2
---
---
RB's
---
---
148
116
Rush yards
102
96
0.5
0.6
Rush TDs
0.6
0.3
40
18
Receive yards
25
37
0.2
0.4
Receive TD's
0.0
0.0
---
---
WR's
---
---
114
132
Receive yards
156
154
1.0
1.0
Receive TD's
1.1
1.2
---
---
TE's
---
---
25
38
Receive yards
43
40
0.0
0.1
Receive TD's
0.4
0.0
---
---
PK's
---
---
2.3
1.7
Field Goals
1.4
1.7
1.8
2.6
Extra Points
2.4
1.7
---
---
DEF/ST
---
---
0.5
0.7
Fumbles
0.6
1.2
0.5
0.4
Interceptions
0.4
0.8
0.2
0.7
Touchdowns
0.4
0.2
2.3
1.3
Sacks
1.9
2.0
0.2
0.0
Safeties
0.1
0.0
Panthers (5-1)
Score Opp.
24-23 JAX
12-9 @TB
Week 3 BYE
23-3 ATL
19-13 NO
23-20 @IND
17-37 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
Saints (3-4)
Score Opp.
10-27 @SEA
31-10 HOU
12-27 @TEN
21-55 IND
13-19 @CAR
20-13 CHI
45-17 @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

* Fantasy point rankings calculated using standard Huddle fantasy points