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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
   
St. Louis vs Arizona Sun, Nov 23; 4 PM on FOX at Sun Devil Stadium
  St. Louis Rush Catch Pass
QB Marc Bulger 0 0 220,2
RB Marshall Faulk 50 30 0
TE B. Manumaleuna 0 30 0
WR Isaac Bruce 0 50 0
WR Torry Holt 0 60,1 0
WR Dane Looker 0 30,1 0
  Arizona Rush Catch Pass
QB Jeff Blake 20 0 190,1
RB Marcel Shipp 70,1 10 0
TE Freddie Jones 0 20 0
WR Bryan Gilmore 0 40 0
WR Bryant Johnson 0 30 0
WR Anquan Boldin 0 80,1 0

Game Prediction: STL 20, ARZ 17

The Cardinals at home are like Mr. Hyde to their Heckle-n-Jeckle persona on the road. The Rams are well aware that three heavily favored teams lost there and the Cardinals need to turn in yet another surprising win in order to kill the boo birds and prevent embarrassing signs to be held up in the crowds. Problem is that the Rams defense is good enough to slow down an already banged up Shipp and besides - it's not so hot there anymore.

St. Louis Notes

The Rams rise to 7-3 and maintain their shared lead in the NFC West with Seattle.

Quarterbacks:: Marc Bulger has been questioned about his ability to win on the road and in the first half of last week's game against the Bears, he was not showing any reason not to be concerned. The Rams trailed 14-3 and Martz almost switched quarterbacks for the third quarter but opted to stick with Bulger. In response, Bulger got his act back together and the Rams went on to tie the score and win in overtime.

It was perhaps a defining moment for Bulger to show the ability to comeback on the road and he ended with 240 yards passing and two touchdowns. Now going back to the desert, his job should be even safer.

Running Backs: Marshall Faulk finally hit the 100 yard mark rushing against the Bears thanks to a 52 yard run on fourth and one. Take that play away and he had about the same 20 carries for 48 yards he had the previous week against the Ravens. Faulk shot through the hole cleanly but even with his running start he was eventually caught down by the goal line and he never scored on the day. He has never been a burner but he now seems to have lost a little of his jukes that made him so special.

Receivers: Torry Holt had nine catches for 121 yards and a score in Chicago and his 1140 yards leads the NFL in receiving. His ten scores is tied with Randy Moss for that lead as well. Holt sprained his ankle last week but still played and is expected to be fine on Sunday though he may stay out of a practice or two.

Isaac Bruce has not scored since week two and now offers only the second outlet when Holt is covered.

Match against the Defense: These teams played in week four and the Rams won handily 37-13 in a game that was not that close.

This time around will be different since the Cardinals at home turn into quite a different bird. Bulger had his way the last game, scoring twice on the pass and running in one as well but the last three visitors there - Boller, Garcia and Kitna - never exceeded 218 yards and only Kitna managed to throw even one touchdown.

Bulger is still an obvious play this week and the Cardinals come back home a bit humbled by the whooping they suffered in Cleveland. Holt had 133 yards and a score the last game and he had 141 yards last year in St. Louis. But when they played in Arizona last season, he only had seven yards on one catch (okay - so even that was a touchdown). But the Rams will get into another fight this week with a wounded team that plays well at home. Bulger and company will suffer but prevail.

Arizona Notes

The Cardinals fall to 3-7 with their pasting by the Browns.

Quarterbacks:: After managing a hefty 307 yard, two touchdown effort against the Steelers, Jeff Blake fell back to only completing 9 of 21 for 121 yards against the Browns last week. To show his range, this season he has thrown for anywhere from 363 yards down to 97 yards in games he starts and finishes. The bad news here is that at home the Cardinals love to run and Blake tends to lower numbers.

Running Backs: Marcel Shipp slid down even further last week, gaining only 23 yards on nine carries which followed his 61 yards only 21 carries the previous week. The good news is that Shipp had 306 yards rushing in the last two home games. Shipp injured his forearm and knee last week and will likely miss some practice this week.

I am expecting that he will play with little or no limitations from the bruises. Damien Anderson would likely be the starter if Shipp does not play and may spell him if he is still hurting this week.

Receivers: Anquan Boldin had four catches for 86 yards last week but the rest of the receivers could hardly catch a pass. Boldin had one 51 yard catch to keep the box score from becoming a joke.

Match against the Defense: The Cardinals are now at a turning point. For two games at home, they defeated the 49ers and Bengals. Two road trips led to maulings by the Steelers and Browns. Who are they?

Actually the Cardinals have always been a far better home team, they just did a lesser job actually getting a few points ahead on the final score board. After the two big wins, their two losses have renewed the call for McGinnis to leave by some fans.

Shipp has been a big time player at home but now is banged up. He faces a top ten defense against the rush and once he is stopped, the rest of the offense falls apart. Look for plenty of carries by Shipp unless the score gets out of hand but the Cards should be tougher at home and make a better game of it.

Even in the thrashing in St. Louis last time, Boldin still managed to gain 86 yards on seven catches. He is always safe to play if only him.

Team Comparisons - Current team rankings (1-32) for FF points scored or allowed by position
Rank (1-32)
QB
RB
WR
TE
PK
DEF
STL Scores
4
23
1
22
2
3
ARZ Allows
23
11
28
7
30
29
STL AP
19
-12
27
-15
28
26
Rank (1-32)
QB
RB
WR
TE
PK
DEF
ARZ Scores
18
32
21
14
24
32
STL Allows
9
9
15
9
5
32
ARZ AP
-9
-23
-6
-5
-19
0
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.
STL
ARZ
2003 Game Averages
ARZ
STL
Gains
Allows
QB's
Gains
Allows
275
224
Pass yards
187
192
1.5
1.5
Pass TDs
1.0
1.4
1.6
0.6
Interceptions
1.3
1.8
5
7
Rush yards
16
6
0.4
0.3
Rush TDs
0.3
0.0
---
---
RB's
---
---
84
89
Rush yards
79
88
0.9
0.5
Rush TDs
0.0
0.4
19
41
Receive yards
26
29
0.0
0.0
Receive TD's
0.1
0.3
---
---
WR's
---
---
226
156
Receive yards
126
132
1.4
1.3
Receive TD's
0.6
1.0
---
---
TE's
---
---
30
27
Receive yards
35
30
0.1
0.1
Receive TD's
0.3
0.1
---
---
PK's
---
---
2.4
2.0
Field Goals
1.4
1.0
3.0
2.5
Extra Points
1.4
2.4
---
---
DEF/ST
---
---
1.4
0.8
Fumbles
0.3
0.8
1.8
1.0
Interceptions
0.8
1.6
0.3
0.4
Touchdowns
0.1
0.5
2.4
2.1
Sacks
0.8
2.3
0.1
0.3
Safeties
0.0
0.0
Rams (7-3)
Score Opp.
13-23 @NYG
27-24 SF
23-24 @SEA
37-13 ARZ
Week 5 BYE
36-0 ATL
34-24 GB
33-21 @PIT
10-30 @SF
33-22 BAL
23-21 @CHI
Week 12 @ARZ
Week 13 MIN
Week 14 @CLE
Week 15 SEA
Week 16 CIN
Week 17 @DET
Cardinals (3-7)
Score Opp.
24-42 @DET
0-38 SEA
20-13 GB
13-37 @STL
7-24 @DAL
18-26 BAL
Week 7 BYE
16-13 SF
17-14 CIN
15-28 @PIT
6-44 @CLE
Week 12 STL
Week 13 @CHI
Week 14 @SF
Week 15 CAR
Week 16 @SEA
Week 17 MIN

* Fantasy point rankings calculated using standard Huddle fantasy points