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Predictions & Projections
By David M. Dorey
 
The Huddle
WEEK 16
December 17, 2003
Season Ticket
Saturday Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM
ATL at TB 1 BAL at CLE NYG at DAL ARZ at SEA DEN at IND
KC at MIN 5 CIN at STL NO at JAX SD at PIT Mon 9 PM
NE at NYJ 8:30 DET at CAR TEN at HOU SF at PHI GB at OAK
Times EST MIA at BUF WAS at CHI *updated
   
New Orleans vs Jacksonville Sun, Dec 21; 1 PM on FOX at ALLTEL Stadium
  New Orleans at JAX Rush Catch Pass
QB Aaron Brooks 10 0 200,1
RB Deuce McAllister 80,1 30 0
TE Boo Williams 0 30 0
WR Joe Horn 0 70,1 0
WR Donte Stallworth 0 20 0
WR Jerome Pathon 0 40 0
  Jacksonville vs NO Rush Catch Pass
QB Byron Leftwich 0 0 230,1
RB Fred Taylor 100,1 20 0
TE Kyle Brady 0 20,1 0
WR Jimmy Smith 0 60 0
WR Kevin Johnson 0 70 0
WR Troy Edwards 0 20 0

Game Prediction: NO 17, JAX 20

This is a coin toss game since the Saints are scoring well on offense and the Jaguars are playing tough on defense. This game could hinge on a turnover and that clearly favors the hometeam.

New Orleans Notes

The Saints come off perhaps the most enjoyable game in the history of their franchise by throttling the Giants and rising to 7-7 on the season. They are still in the playoff hunt though it requires a calculator and schedule to explain.

Quarterbacks:: After being threatened with a demotion if his fumbling problem was not resolved, Aaron Brooks turned in his best game of the season against the Giants when he threw for 296 yards and five scores. Todd Bouman was inserted into the game but mainly to allow Brooks the rare gloating smile on the sidelines. For the record, he did lose yet another fumble and he leads the league with an even dozen lost balls.

Running Backs: After his string of nine games with 100+ rushing yards, Deuce McAllister now has two straight games under the mark. He ran for 80 yards on 15 carries last week and added 65 on eight receptions.

Receivers: Joe Horn planted the infamous cell phone in the goal post last week for when he caught his second touchdown but even he did not figure he would need it again when he scored two more. Horn ended with 133 yards on nine catches, a highlight reel and a bill for $30,000 from the NFL. Horn did not score in the previous five games.

Adding to the near folly atmosphere last week was the return of Donte Stallworth who had two catches for 23 yards. It was his first two catch day since week three of the season. Jerome Pathon even scored for the first time in ten weeks.

Match against the Defense: The Jaguars defense has come on very well over the last few weeks and in their last nine games have recovered three fumbles and snagged nine interceptions. Chances are high that they have read about Brooks propensity to drop the ball.

The last two quarterbacks in Jacksonville did not score and only Manning has recently burned this secondary. Tom Brady had two scores against them in New England last week but six of the previous eight quarterbacks failed to throw for over 186 yards or more than one touchdown against them.

In the favor of Joe Horn, that single touchdown pass has almost always gone to the #1 receiver for the opponent.

No runner has gained more than 88 yards in Jacksonville and only Stephen Davis (111 yards) has done it when the Jaguars were on the road. Chances are best that McAllister will yet again fail to meet the 100 mark. In combination with receiving yardage he could just hit it as have George, James and Martin.

Jacksonville Notes

The Jaguars fall to 4-10 with their loss in New England.

Quarterbacks:: Byron Leftwich threw for an impressive 288 yards against the Patriots in terrible weather but only scored once and had two interceptions last week. It was his biggest performance in the past eight weeks and third straight scoring game.

Mark Brunell will be the #3 quarterback this week but has been made a team captain for the game so he can wave good-bye to the fans after the coin toss.

Running Backs: Fred Taylor was bottled up last week and only gained 57 yards on 16 carries, ending his string of three games over 100 yards. LaBrandon Toefield had no touches in the game for the first time this season.

Chris Fuamatu-Ma'afala was active but never used since he is still recovering from a knee injury.

Receivers: Jimmy Smith only managed to catch two of his nine passes but gained 73 yards last week. The lead receiver was Kevin Johnson who had five catches for 87 yards and one score, his first as a Jaguar and his best yardage game so far. No other receiver had more than 21 yards last week.

Match against the Defense: The Saints rush defense has been poor all season and have allowed six different runners to exceed 100 yards on the ground which includes Trung Canidate (115) and monster games for the big names like Alexander (108,1), Davis (159, 1 and 178, 2) and Warrick Dunn (162). There is plenty of opportunity here for Fred Taylor to get back to his 100 yard ways.

The Saints have allowed five passers to throw for more than one touchdown and most manage around 250 yards when New Orleans visits. That would be the higher side for what Leftwich typically does but possible. The Saints secondary has allowed only McCardell to score as a wideout since week seven and almost all scoring wideouts this season against the Saints have been the flanker like Kevin Johnson. He would be the most likely receiver to score though Smith is more heavily favored by Leftwich. No wideout has scored on the Saints in the past five weeks.

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
12
4
14
4
14
16
JAX Allows
2
3
4
18
4
3
NO AP
-10
-1
-10
14
-10
-13
Rank (1-32)
QB
RB
WR
TE
PK
DEF
JAX Scores
26
14
16
16
21
24
NO Allows
6
28
1
25
20
31
JAX AP
-20
14
-15
9
-1
7
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
JAX
2003 Game Averages
JAX
NO
Gains
Allows
QB's
Gains
Allows
238
171
Pass yards
206
185
1.6
0.8
Pass TDs
0.8
0.8
2.8
0.8
Interceptions
1.0
0.8
12
17
Rush yards
2
17
0.0
0.0
Rush TDs
0.0
0.0
---
---
RB's
---
---
147
60
Rush yards
141
131
0.8
0.4
Rush TDs
0.6
0.8
50
35
Receive yards
22
54
0.0
0.0
Receive TD's
0.0
0.2
---
---
WR's
---
---
136
102
Receive yards
156
110
1.0
0.6
Receive TD's
0.6
0.0
---
---
TE's
---
---
52
34
Receive yards
27
21
0.6
0.2
Receive TD's
0.2
0.6
---
---
PK's
---
---
1.4
1.2
Field Goals
1.4
1.6
2.8
1.2
Extra Points
1.4
2.0
---
---
DEF/ST
---
---
1.0
0.4
Fumbles
1.0
1.2
0.8
1.0
Interceptions
0.8
1.2
0.4
0.0
Touchdowns
0.0
0.4
1.4
0.8
Sacks
2.2
3.4
0.0
0.0
Safeties
0.0
0.0
Saints (7-7)
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
20-33 @PHI
24-20 @WAS
7-14 TB
45-7 NYG
Week 16 @JAX
Week 17 DAL
Jaguars (4-10)
Score Opp.
23-24 @CAR
17-38 BUF
13-23 @IND
20-24 @HOU
27-21 SD
10-24 MIA
Week 7 BYE
17-30 TEN
17-24 @BAL
28-23 IND
3-10 @TEN
10-13 @NYJ
17-10 TB
27-0 HOU
13-27 @NE
Week 16 NO
Week 17 @ATL

* Fantasy point rankings calculated using standard Huddle fantasy points for the last five games played