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Predictions & Projections
By David M. Dorey
 
The Huddle
WEEK 9
September 3, 2003
Season Ticket
Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM Bye Week:
CAR at HOU NYG at NYJ CIN at ARZ GB at MIN Buffalo
IND at MIA OAK at DET PIT at SEA Mon 9 PM Cleveland
JAX at BAL SD at CHI PHI at ATL NE at DEN Kansas City
NO at TB WAS at DAL STL at SF *updated Tennessee
   
New Orleans vs Tampa Bay Sun, Nov 2; 1 PM on FOX at Raymond James Stadium
  New Orleans Rush Catch Pass
QB Aaron Brooks 10 0 200,1
RB Deuce McAllister 100,1 10 0
TE Ernie Conwell 0 30 0
WR Joe Horn 0 60,1 0
WR Donte Stallworth 0 40 0
WR Jerome Pathon 0 50 0
  Tampa Bay Rush Catch Pass
QB Brad Johnson 0 0 250,2
RB Michael Pittman 110,1 10 0
TE Ken Dilger 0 30,1 0
WR Keyshawn Johnson 0 60 0
WR Keenan McCardell 0 110,1 0

Game Prediction: NO 14, TB 20

Update: Both Joe Horn (knee) and Donte Stallworth are expected to play but are listed as questionable. Horn played while questionable last week but had two touchdowns.

In two weeks we have seen the Bucs shutout a 5-1 team and get throttled by a then 2-4 team. This game should split the difference and turn in a lower scoring win for Tampa Bay.

New Orleans Notes

The Saints are 3-5 and coming off a heartbreaking overtime loss to the Panthers in a game they should have won. Now they get to go to Tampa Bay - oh joy.

Quarterbacks: While Aaron Brooks did not match his astronomic Falcons game, he still managed to complete 20 of 32 for 187 yards and two touchdowns last week against the Panthers. Like so many quarterbacks, Brooks has been staying in the pocket and has yet to gain more than 23 yards rushing. He will likely feel the urge to leave the pocket this week against the Buccaneers.

Running backs: Deuce McAllister gained 101 yards rushing on 26 carries last week and tied a Saints record for five consecutive games over 100 yards. Ki-Jana Carter only had one carries for no gain so McAllister is willing to carry the entire team on his shoulders if need be.

Wide Receivers: Joe Horn ended with six catches for 72 yards last week and had both of the passing touchdowns. With Donte Stallworth out of action, Talman Gardner stepped in and had seven throws of which he only caught one for 11 yards. He also dropped a late third down pass that could have kept the drive alive and helped to kill the clock when they were ahead. Jerome Pathon had only 34 yards as the Saints were concentrating on throwing balls to Gardner so he could not catch them. Horn bruised his knee last week but should be fine for Sunday and Stallworth's strained quadricep is not yet letting him play. I am assuming Stallworth misses one more week but will update if needed.

Tight Ends: Ernie Conwell is still the primary receiving tight end but both Boo Williams and Walter Rasby had catches last week.

Match against the defense: The Saints actually swept the Buccaneers last season and that will no doubt be noted in Tampa Bay. McAllister's quest for a sixth 100 yard game will be daunting this week against a team that has only been hurt in Tampa Bay by Stephen Davis up the gut. That is not typically McAllister's strength but he will be extra motivated in the game and had two 100 yard efforts last year when the Bucs were even better.

Brooks should find some success against the Bucs but nothing notable. Chances are most likely that Bucs will get the game in hand early but Tampa Bay is still banged up and coming off a big emotional win over the Cowboys on the heels of an embarrassment in San Francisco. The Saints are less a threat than they were last season and Tampa Bay will let their guard down enough to make respectable numbers for Brooks.

Tampa Bay Notes

Quarterbacks: Brad Johnson only managed 151 yards and one touchdown against the stingy Cowboy defense, but it was plenty enough to win in the shutout. Johnson had two 300+ yard games at home before Dallas came to town and meeting the Saints should net him some good yards.

Running backs: With the clock to kill, Tampa Bay decided to just run Michael Pittman who had a career best 30 carries for 113 yards. Aaron Stecker had five runs for 15 yards and Thomas Jones was never used in the game. Until Pittman's legs fall off, the Bucs are willing to stick with him as the primary back.

Wide Receivers: With meager passing yardage last week, the receivers did little but Keyshawn Johnson had his one catch actually be in the endzone. Keenan McCardell is clearly the favorite target for Johnson, getting 12 passes last week that he turned into six receptions for 68 yards. No other receiver had over three. Since week three, there has been only one game that Keyshawn did better than Keenan and typically McCardell gets twice as many passes. Joe Jurevicius is up to only being questionable this week but I am assuming he needs one more week off.

Tight Ends: Back to normalcy - Ken Dilger only had two catches and no other tight end was used.

Match against the defense: This should be a nice game for Pittman against a very soft rushing defense. The Saints did not have DT Grady Jackson last week and Stephen Davis had runs that were considered more aerobic than tough. This is the same defense that gave Eddie George 100 yards. Anthony Thomas even had 96.

Brad Johnson could have a great game here but will not need to in order to win. He had 270+ yards and two scores in each game last year but both of those were Buccaneer losses. If Johnson turns in a big day, it is only because the Saints made him and that seems a less likely game situation.

Team Comparisons - Current team rankings (1-32) for FF points scored or allowed by position
Rank (1-32)
QB
RB
WR
TE
PK
DEF
NO Scores
14
24
9
10
17
18
TB Allows
4
12
7
2
3
2
NO AP
-10
-12
-2
-8
-14
-16
Rank (1-32)
QB
RB
WR
TE
PK
DEF
TB Scores
6
11
8
6
29
6
NO Allows
10
24
11
11
26
21
TB AP
-4
13
3
5
-3
15
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.
NO
TB
2003 Game Averages
TB
NO
Gains
Allows
QB's
Gains
Allows
220
194
Pass yards
253
184
1.6
0.7
Pass TDs
2.0
1.5
0.6
1.7
Interceptions
1.0
0.4
11
13
Rush yards
4
10
0.0
0.0
Rush TDs
0.0
0.1
---
---
RB's
---
---
102
87
Rush yards
99
127
0.5
0.7
Rush TDs
0.3
0.8
26
38
Receive yards
64
18
0.0
0.0
Receive TD's
0.1
0.4
---
---
WR's
---
---
151
129
Receive yards
151
129
1.3
0.7
Receive TD's
1.3
0.9
---
---
TE's
---
---
42
27
Receive yards
38
36
0.4
0.0
Receive TD's
0.6
0.1
---
---
PK's
---
---
1.5
1.3
Field Goals
0.9
1.9
2.4
1.4
Extra Points
2.7
2.5
---
---
DEF/ST
---
---
0.5
0.3
Fumbles
0.9
0.8
0.4
0.9
Interceptions
1.9
0.6
0.4
0.0
Touchdowns
0.1
0.6
1.8
0.9
Sacks
2.6
1.5
0.1
0.0
Safeties
0.0
0.0
Saints (3-5)
Score Opp.
10-27 @SEA
31-10 HOU
12-27 @TEN
21-55 IND
13-19 @CAR
20-13 CHI
45-17 @ATL
20-23 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
Buccaneers (4-3)
Score Opp.
17-0 @PHI
9-12 CAR
31-10 @ATL
Week 4 BYE
35-38 IND
35-13 @WAS
7-24 @SF
16-0 DAL
Week 9 NO
Week 10 @CAR
Week 11 GB
Week 12 NYG
Week 13 @JAX
Week 14 @NO
Week 15 HOU
Week 16 ATL
Week 17 @TEN

* Fantasy point rankings calculated using standard Huddle fantasy points