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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
   
San Francisco vs Arizona Sun, Oct 26; 4 PM on FOX at Sun Devil Stadium
  San Francisco Rush Catch Pass
QB Jeff Garcia 20,1 0 230,2
RB Garrison Hearst 90,1 20 0
RB Kevan Barlow 50 0 0
TE Jed Weaver 0 10 0
WR Terrell Owens 0 110,2 0
WR Tai Streets 0 60 0
WR Cedrick Wilson 0 20 0
  Arizona Rush Catch Pass
QB Jeff Blake 10 0 210
RB Marcel Shipp 60 20 0
TE Freddie Jones 0 50 0
WR Bryan Gilmore Q Q Q
WR Bryant Johnson 0 50 0
WR Bryan Gilmore 0 20 0
WR Anquan Boldin 0 70 0


Game Prediction: SF 31, ARZ 3

Update: The Cardinals have Bryant Johnson back in the lineup which will help the probable need to throw the ball. I have adjusted the passing numbers and also added Bryan Gilmore who is likely to play.

This has all the markings of another trap game except the 49ers cannot afford another loss and the Cardinals cannot buy a win. San Francisco needs another "feel good" game and on the road here they will get it. HC Erickson can do much to his standing by blowing out the Cardinals and there is no reason to let up later in the game.

San Francisco Notes

The 49ers rise to 3-4 with their win over Tampa Bay but still trail Seattle by 2 1/2 games. Last week was like a throwback to the 49ers of the nineties - actually like the Bucs of the nineties too.

Quarterbacks: Jeff Garcia comes off his best game of the season by throwing for 253 yards and two touchdowns against the supposed best defense in the history of sporting events. Contrast this to the previous week when he only managed 168 yards and no score in Seattle. Before you blow a fuse on that consistency, recognize that Garcia is going to Arizona this week and there is no need to really think about it.

Running Backs: Along with Garcia's passing, the ground game was tremendous last week when Garrison Hearst ran for 117 yards on 20 carries and Kevan Barlow added 75 yards on 15 more runs while Hearst was catching oxygen on the sidelines. The running game has been improving in the past month and gets to visit Arizona this week. Bring more oxygen.

Wide Receivers: After dropping passes in Seattle, Terrell Owens faced the same defense that held him to 35 yards last January and turned in 152 yards and one touchdown against the Bucs. That is roughly the same as his previous three games combined. Tai Streets joined in the fun and scored as well. Now heading into the desert, San Francisco must build on that momentum from the Tampa Bay win. The last time Owens faced the Cardinals he had 132 yards and two scores.

Tight Ends: No impact from Jed Weaver's one catch per game.

Match against the defense: San Francisco needs another big game to keep the machinery humming and Owens quiet. Last year Garrison Hearst only managed about 40 yards each meeting and Kevan Barlow turned in around 50. That will likely flip flop this year and Garcia and Owens should have little trouble coming together for another big game.

Arizona Notes

The Cardinals are 1-5 and last throttled by the Ravens. They are one freak win over the Packers from being the NFL definition of futility. Arizona is coming off their bye week.

Quarterbacks: Jeff Blake has varied from a low of 88 yards to a high of 362 yards passing. The question here is how much of the game is considered trash time. The 49ers routinely give up over 200 yards a game but also have capped that at around 270 yards this season. Jeff Blake is not exactly Matt Hasselbeck or Brad Johnson. He certainly has no receivers like Randy Moss. In fact, Blake will enter this week with even less receivers than usual.

Running Backs: Marcel Shipp took his first start of the season in week six and gained 61 yards on 14 carries against the Ravens. He gained 84 last season against the visiting 49ers.

Wide Receivers: Anquan Boldin has been a charmed draft pick for Arizona, but he may have to carry the receiving load alone this week. Bryant Johnson missed playing two weeks ago and his shoulder still is not healed. Bryan Gilmore did have one catch for a score against the Ravens but is expected to miss this week with an ankle injury. Jason McAddley has a hamstring injury that will likely keep him out as well. Evidently working as an Arizona wideout is more dangerous than collecting crabs in the arctic. This makes the second year that the Cardinal infirmary is elbow to elbow with wideouts.

Tight Ends: Freddie Jones, by the process of elimination, remains a top target for Blake and had seven catches for 70 yards in week six.

Match against the defense: Comparing the teams is difficult since the Cardinals have ran out of receivers and are now running out of their backups. In question as well is which 49er team shows up. The safest bet here is that Marcel Shipp and Anquan Boldin are slated to be the only two objects of attention by the 49ers and even on bad days the 49ers can stop the run.

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
SF Scores
5
12
8
23
6
8
ARZ Allows
24
19
22
9
31
32
SF AP 19 7 14 -14 25 24
Rank (1-32) QB RB WR TE PK DEF
ARZ Scores
10
32
16
11
31
32
SF Allows
15
8
24
23
1
9
ARZ AP 5 -24 8 12 -30 -23
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.

SF ARZ 2003 Game Averages ARZ SF
Gains Allows QB's Gains Allows
217
207
Pass yards
224
214
1.3
1.7
Pass TDs
1.2
1.7
1.1
0.5
Interceptions
1.8
1.4
23
2
Rush yards
15
8
0.4
0.3
Rush TDs
0.2
0.0
---
----
RB's
----
---
116
108
Rush yards
59
71
0.6
0.3
Rush TDs
0.0
0.6
34
51
Receive yards
20
43
0.1
0.2
Receive TD's
0.2
0.0
---
----
WR's
----
---
162
128
Receive yards
164
142
1.1
1.3
Receive TD's
0.7
1.3
---
----
TE's
----
---
20
28
Receive yards
40
28
0.1
0.2
Receive TD's
0.3
0.4
---
----
PK's
----
---
2.0
2.0
Field Goals
1.0
0.7
2.4
3.3
Extra Points
1.5
2.3
---
----
DEF/ST
----
---
1.1
1.0
Fumbles
0.2
0.4
1.4
2.0
Interceptions
0.5
1.1
0.1
0.8
Touchdowns
0.2
0.1
3.0
1.7
Sacks
0.7
1.9
0.0
0.3
Safeties
0.0
0.0
Cardinals (1-5)
Score Opp.
24-42 @DET
0-38 SEA
20-13 GB
13-37 @STL
7-24 @DAL
18-26 BAL
Week 7 BYE
Week 8 SF
Week 9 CIN
Week 10 @PIT
Week 11 @CLE
Week 12 STL
Week 13 @CHI
Week 14 @SF
Week 15 CAR
Week 16 @SEA
Week 17 MIN
49ers (3-4)
Score Opp.
49-7 CHI
24-27 @STL
12-13 CLE
7-35 @MIN
24-17 DET
19-20 @SEA
24-7 TB
Week 8 @ARZ
Week 9 STL
Week 10 BYE
Week 11 PIT
Week 12 @GB
Week 13 @BAL
Week 14 ARZ
Week 15 @CIN
Week 16 @PHI
Week 17 SEA

* Fantasy point rankings calculated using standard Huddle fantasy points