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Predictions & Projections
David M. Dorey
The Huddle
September 19, 2004
Season Ticket
Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM
STL at ATL DEN at JAX* Sun 4 PM IND at TEN Mon 9 PM
CLE at DAL* CAR at KC* SEA at TB* NYJ at SD MIN at PHI*
HOU at DET SF at NO* BUF at OAK* Times ET *updated
  San Francisco Rush Catch Pass
QB Ken Dorsey 0 0 240,1
RB Kevan Barlow 100,1 10 0
TE Eric Johnson 0 40 0
WR Brandon Lloyd 0 90,1 0
WR Curtis Conway 0 20 0
WR Cedrick Wilson 0 60 0
PK Todd Peterson 1 FG 2 XP -
  New Orleans Rush Catch Pass
QB Aaron Brooks 20 0 240,1
RB Deuce McAllister 100,1 20 0
TE Boo Williams 0 30 0
WR Joe Horn 0 70 0
WR Donte Stallworth 0 80,1 0
WR Jerome Pathon 0 30 0
PK John Carney 3FG 2 XP -

SF (0-1) vs NO (0-1)

Game Prediction: SF 17, NO 23

The 49ers come off a close, surprisingly feisty loss against the Falcons while the Saints are still wondering where the gas pedal is on the offense.

Pre-Game Notes - SF

Everyone decided that the 49ers were destined to be horrible this season except for the 49ers - particularly their defense. Makes it harder to gameplan against this offense when no one had ever seen it or the players before.

Quarterback: Tim Rattay suffered a shoulder separation last week and will be replaced by Ken Dorsey as he did in the Atlanta game. Together the duo posted as surprising 286 yards passing and two scores though both touchdowns were from Rattay.

Running Backs: Kevan Barlow's coming out party provided no big fireworks. He gained 76 yards on 19 carries and lost one fumble on his first carry of the game. It's obvious that Barlow still misses FB Fred Beasley, one of the better blocking fullbacks in the league. Terry Jackson was effective in relief work, gaining 19 yards on three carries and adding 31 yards on three catches. If you have Barlow on your roster, make sure to get Terry Jackson.

Update: FB Fred Beasley is slated to return this week and should be a positive for the SF running game. I am bumping up Barlow on the news.

Wide Receivers: The new-look receivers had a decent afternoon. Cedrick Wilson led the crew with seven catches for 94 yards and one score while both Brandon Lloyd and Curtis Conway turned in a few catches for around 25 yards each.

In particular, Brandon Lloyd had only three catches but had 13 passes thrown to him. They didn't connect but his role in the offense is not shrinking by any means.

Tight Ends: The new offense made extensive use of Eric Johnson who had eight catches for 86 yards and one score. He was only thrown nine passes and caught all but one. As the offense comes together, it is Johnson who is supplying the shorter possession role for now.

Match Against the Defense: The Saints defense was pitiful against the Seahawks. They put no pressure on Hasselbeck and allowed Shaun Alexander to gain 166 yards and score three times. But the Saints have always been troubled by Alexander and the 49ers now come to town with a new quarterback and are away from the safer confines of home. Look for the 49ers to want to establish the run with some success and for Brandon Lloyd to take his turn as the primary receiver as he gets the same matchup that gave Darrell Jackson 99 yards last week. And the Seahawks really did not need to throw much in the game.

Pre-Game Notes - NO

The Saints are now perfecting the slow start. Already 0-1, they need this game before heading off to St. Louis next week.

Quarterback: Aaron Brooks finally threw an interception after 256 consecutive passes but just as importantly did not fumble. He ended with 223 yards and one score against the Seahawks. Brooks was sacked twice and did not receive enough protection to be comfortable.

Running Backs: Deuce McAllister... where are you?

McAllister gained 57 yards on 16 carries but the Saints abandoned the running game early once they fell behind. As always, there is no relief for McAllister who had every carry in the game and against a good Seattle run defense the lanes were just not open. He should see more carries this week.

McAllister complained about the new blocking scheme that made him a single back with no lead blocker. The coaches are now oging to go back to the two back scheme and should have positive results for McAllister.

Wide Receivers: Joe Horn led all wideouts with six catches for 110 yards while Donte' Stallworth only managed three grabs for 36 yards in a game he needed to come up much bigger. With the Saints trailing from the second quarter, the numbers here should have been higher.

Tight Ends: The expectations were high for Boo Williams this season and he was thrown six passes but only caught three for 13 yards and had one complete drop of a pass. Ernie Conwell outperformed him last week and had the only touchdown in the game. The Saints did call Williams number in the endzone but he was unable to hold on to that pass either.

Match Against the Defense: The 49ers defense played very well last week in spite of the loss but are on the road where they have never been as good. CB Mike Rumph pulled his right groin last Sunday and will miss one to three weeks. He'll probably be replaced with rookie CB Shawntae Spencer which should give Stallworth more breathing room this week.

The 49ers were effective against Michael Vick and forced two fumbles and recorded two sacks, so the Saints will need to establish a running game to take the pressure off Brooks.

McAllister should have some success, but the 49er rush defense is underrated and won't let him run wild. McAllister should manage only about 4.0 YPC against this crew unless he pops a long gainer. The Saints need to get an early lead so that they can rush the ball and take passing as they want. If the 49ers get a lead, it could be problematic since the NO line is not protecting Brooks very well and this offense will struggle if it becomes one dimensional.

SF NO 2003 Averages NO SF
Gains Allows QB's Gains Allows
286 246 Pass yards 223 163
2 1 Pass TDs 1 1
1 1 Interceptions 1 1
0 -1 Rush yards 16 10
0 0 Rush TDs 0 0
--- --- RB's --- ---
95 170 Rush yards 57 69
0 2 Rush TDs 0 2
47 43 Receive yards 32 3
0 1 Receive TD's 0 0
--- --- WR's --- ---
153 188 Receive yards 146 78
1 0 Receive TD's 0 0
--- --- TE's --- ---
86 15 Receive yards 45 82
1 0 Receive TD's 1 1
--- --- PK's --- ---
2 0 Field Goals 0 0
1 3 Extra Points 1 3
--- --- DEF/ST --- ---
0 2 Fumbles 1 1
1 1 Interceptions 1 1
0 0 Touchdowns 0 0
4 2 Sacks 0 3
0 0 Safeties 0 0
49ers (0-1)
Score Opp.
19-21 ATL
Week 2 @NO
Week 3 @SEA
Week 4 STL
Week 5 ARI
Week 6 @NYJ
Week 7 bye
Week 8 @CHI
Week 9 SEA
Week 10 CAR
Week 11 @TB
Week 12 MIA
Week 13 @STL
Week 14 @ARI
Week 15 WAS
Week 16 BUF
Week 17 @NE
Saints (0-1)
Score Opp.
7-21 SEA
Week 2 SF
Week 3 @STL
Week 4 @ARI
Week 5 TB
Week 6 MIN
Week 7 @OAK
Week 8 bye
Week 9 @SD
Week 10 KC
Week 11 DEN
Week 12 @ATL
Week 13 CAR
Week 14 @DAL
Week 15 @TB
Week 16 ATL
Week 17 @CAR

* Fantasy point rankings calculated using standard Huddle fantasy points