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Predictions & Projections
By David M. Dorey
 
The Huddle
WEEK 12
November 19, 2003
Season Ticket
Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM
CAR at DAL NE at HOU SF at GB CHI at DEN WAS at MIA
DET at MIN NO at PHI Sun 4 PM OAK at KC Mon 9 PM
IND at BUF PIT at CLE CIN at SD TEN at ATL NYG at TB
JAX at NYJ SEA at BAL STL at ARZ *updated Times EST
   
New Orleans vs Philadelphia Sun, Nov 23; 1 PM on FOX at Osaka Dome
  New Orleans Rush Catch Pass
QB Aaron Brooks 20 0 200
RB Deuce McAllister 100,1 30 0
TE Boo Williams 0 20 0
WR Joe Horn 0 40 0
WR Donte Stallworth 0 30 0
WR Jerome Pathon 0 50 0
  Philadelphia Rush Catch Pass
QB Donovan McNabb 10 0 220,2
RB Duce Staley 20 10 0
RB Correll Buckhalter 20,1 0 0
RB Brian Westbrook 70 30,1 0
TE L.J. Smith 0 20 0
TE Chad Lewis 0 20 0
WR James Thrash 0 40 0
WR Freddie Mitchell 0 30,1 0
WR Todd Pinkston 0 40 0

Game Prediction: NO 13, PHI 27

Update: Joe Horn has been practicing but is still hampered by his bone bruise to his left knee which has limited his play recently. I am leaving his numbers alone. Donte' Stallworth has not practiced and is still questionable but the coaches express optimism that Stallworth will be able to play. I am including him with minimqal numbers but there is an obvious chance that he does not even play and if he does, he will not be 100% healthy.

L.J. Smith has a sprained MCL and has missed some practice but is expected to play. I am lowering his humbers and adding in Chad Lewis.

The Eagles are starting to peak now and McNabb has silenced his naysayers from earlier in the season. The defense is playing better and Westbrook is healthy and scoring. Compare that to a Saints team that has injured receivers and only McAllister as a big weapon and it spells the sixth straight victory for Philly.

New Orleans Notes

The Saints rise to 5-5 with their comeback win over the Falcons last week and have won four of their last five games.

Quarterbacks:: Aaron Brooks started out badly last week against the visiting Falcons, throwing an interception that was returned for a score and ending up sacked seven times. His second interception setup the second Atlanta touchdown. However, he ended up 21 of 37 for 228 yards and had the good sense to handoff to McAllister in the second quarter. Basically the Saints came out flat after their bye week and scrambled to take an overtime win. It was the first time in six games that Brooks did not throw a score.

Brooks strained a knee in the game but is expected to play this week.

Running Backs: Deuce McAllister has already broken the 1000 yard mark this season and comes off his seventh consecutive 100 yard game. He even added 64 yards receiving last week and scored twice on the ground. While the rest of the team is up and down each week, McAllister is the one consistently good feature to the offense.

Receivers: Brooks lost Donte Stallworth last week in the third quarter to an ankle injury. Stallworth was returning from a strained quadriceps and has been as frustrating as he has been thrilling. He is considered day-to-day and I will include him in the projections though take any Stallworth projection with a critical eye considering his injury history.

Joe Horn turned in another low game and in the past two weeks has only managed 60 yards on seven catches. His knee is still bothersome but not keeping him out. He has a bone bruise and some strained ligaments that reduces his ability to make a cut.

Jerome Pathon fills in for Stallworth, but cannot replicate his speed. Pathon usually hovers around 50 yards a game when asked to start.

Ernie Conwell fractured his right ankle last week and will be replaced by Eddie "Boo" Williams.

Match against the Defense: On the road to Philly will be a major test for this squad.

While Bobby Taylor is still out, FS Brian Dawkins is finally playing again and the Eagles come off a game where they held kept the high flying pass attack of the Giants to only one touchdown. Before Collins, no other team had thrown for over 174 yards in the past five weeks. Brooks comes to town with a banged up Horn and an ever-injured Stallworth. Jerome Pathon is not nearly enough to win here. Brooks will be challenged to have even an average outing.

McAllister is still a good play here - he is not only on an incredible run but the Eagles have allowed opponents to rush for over 100 yards the past four weeks including individually Martin, Barber and Ahman Green.

Philadelphia Notes

The Eagles rise to 7-3 and are now tied with Dallas for the NFC East.

Quarterbacks:: Talking smack about Donovan McNabb is just no fun anymore. McNabb comes off a 314 yard, two touchdown effort against the Giants and his second 300+ in only three weeks. McNabb was able to pass so easily that he never ran and ended with 24 out of 30 passes completed.

Running Backs: Brian Westbrook gets the gameball last week after running for 48 yards and one touchdown and adding five catches for 60 yards and two scores. Correll Buckhalter had one touchdown but only two yards gained on five carries. It was the Westbrook show again, the first full game back healthy since his injury.

Duce Staley only had three runs and one catch and is backburner when Westbrook heats up.

Receivers: The wonderful return of McNabb has been a blessing to the wideouts that languished in the early weeks of the season. Last week James Thrash (6-48), Freddie Mitchell (4-60) and Todd Pinkston (2-22) were back in the game plan again though they did not score last week thanks to the Westbrook machine.

As the season progresses, McNabb is throwing more passes to the wideouts.

L.J. Smith sprained his knee last week but he is expected to play against the Saints.

Match against the Defense: The Saints defense went nuts on Kittner last week, but coughed up 333 yards to Brad Johnson the previous week. They may have won four of their last five, but those wins were over ATL (twice), CHI and CAR in a surprise game.

When the passing game is clicking, and now it is, it offers a very complex scheme to defend against since there is no main receiver to cover and the Saints are not that strong in the secondary anyway. McNabb could have a big game here but that will depend on how well the run is working.

The run should be enough to take the win. The Saints have allowed 100 yards rushing to almost every team they have faced this season including monster games to Warrick Dunn and Stephen Davis. Westbrook should have a nice game here as well and Buckhalter could get a short score as well.

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
19
13
13
11
8
PHI Allows
16
22
12
5
15
5
NO AP
2
3
-1
-8
4
-3
Rank (1-32)
QB
RB
WR
TE
PK
DEF
PHI Scores
22
2
30
18
18
10
NO Allows
13
24
13
14
22
21
PHI AP
-9
22
-17
-4
4
11
Offensive ranks = #1 gains most points, Defensive ranks = #1 allows least points
AP = Advantage Points, the net difference between a positional rank gained or allowed by the teams.
NO
PHI
2003 Game Averages
PHI
NO
Gains
Allows
QB's
Gains
Allows
208
212
Pass yards
187
191
1.4
0.8
Pass TDs
0.9
1.5
0.9
0.9
Interceptions
0.5
0.6
16
10
Rush yards
17
8
0.0
0.3
Rush TDs
0.1
0.0
---
---
RB's
---
---
112
109
Rush yards
110
129
0.8
0.5
Rush TDs
1.4
0.8
31
38
Receive yards
49
21
0.0
0.3
Receive TD's
0.6
0.4
---
---
WR's
---
---
140
153
Receive yards
99
131
1.1
0.4
Receive TD's
0.3
0.9
---
---
TE's
---
---
37
21
Receive yards
39
39
0.3
0.1
Receive TD's
0.0
0.1
---
---
PK's
---
---
1.8
1.6
Field Goals
1.3
1.6
2.3
1.6
Extra Points
2.6
2.6
---
---
DEF/ST
---
---
1.1
0.5
Fumbles
1.0
0.6
0.6
0.5
Interceptions
0.8
0.9
0.5
0.1
Touchdowns
0.3
0.4
1.3
2.4
Sacks
2.5
2.3
0.1
0.0
Safeties
0.0
0.0
Saints (5-5)
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
17-14 @TB
Week 10 BYE
23-20 ATL
Week 12 @PHI
Week 13 @WAS
Week 14 TB
Week 15 NYG
Week 16 @JAX
Week 17 DAL
Eagles (7-3)
Score Opp.
0-17 TB
10-31 NE
Week 3 BYE
23-13 @BUF
27-25 WAS
21-23 @DAL
14-10 @NYG
24-17 NYJ
23-16 @ATL
28-10 @GB
17-14 NYG
Week 12 NO
Week 13 @CAR
Week 14 DAL
Week 15 @MIA
Week 16 SF
Week 17 @WAS

* Fantasy point rankings calculated using standard Huddle fantasy points