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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
The Huddle
October 16, 2005
Season Ticket
Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM
CAR at DET* MIA at TBB* Sun 4 PM On Bye: Mon 9 PM
CLE at BAL NYG at DAL* NYJ at BUF PHI, SF *Updated

Prediction: St. Louis 14, Indianapolis 27

Last year this could have been a fantasy dream. Imagine a Monday night with no hint of defenses against Manning and Bulger. Sadly that is only a dream because the Colts don't play that way anymore, homey. It's all about the defense and a "balanced" attack that has completely eluded the Rams for all these wonderful years. But it is on Monday night so we all will be watching, sighing at what could have been.

St. Louis Rams (2-3)
1 25-28 @SFO 10 Nov 13 @SEA
2 17-12 @ARI 11 Nov 20 ARI
3 31-27 TEN 12 Nov 27 @HOU
4 24-44 @NYG 13 Dec 4 WAS
5 31-37 SEA 14 Dec 11 @MIN
6 Oct 17 @IND 15 Dec 18 PHI
7 Oct 23 NOR 16 Dec 24 SFO
8 Oct 30 JAC 17 Jan 1 @DAL
9 Open Bye . MON SAT
STL at IND Rush Catch Pass
QB Marc Bulger 0 0 220,2
RB Steven Jackson 60 20,1 0
RB Marshall Faulk 0 10 0
TE Cam Cleeland 0 10 0
WR Torry Holt 0 60 0
WR Kevin Curtis 0 40 0
WR Shaun McDonald 0 50,1 0
PK Jeff Wilkins 0 FG 2 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Rams fell to 2-3 with the surprising loss to the Seahawks that supposedly had no more receivers (note - incorrect). They did have Alexander and since the Rams substitute cheerleaders for cornerbacks, even a big game by Bulger was not enough to keep pace with what was given away. if only they could all be the Rams...

Quarterback: Marc Bulger currently leads the NFL with 1648 passing yards and only three quarterbacks have done better than his 10 passing scores. Bulger throws like a madman and his 215 pass attempts are 15 more than any other player. Granted, the Rams are only 2-3 and soon to become 2-4, but in fantasy terms, Bulger is an all-star unlike that other quarterback guy he goes against this week.

Running Backs: The big shift to Steven Jackson this season has not produced a monster rushing attack - his best so far is 93 yards and he has never had more than 19 carries in any game. He does have four scores in the last four weeks, however, and as Marshall Faulk slowly fades from memory Jackson is becoming a force in the passing game as well. He had 11 catches for 104 yards and one score in the last two games. Faulk? Less than many fullbacks in the league.

Wide Receivers: Big Game Torry Holt has scored in the last four games and he leads the league in both receptions (38) and yards (568). He has been thrown at least 12 passes in all but one game and is a lock for good numbers against anything other than a top secondary (say like this week). Isaac Bruce is still mending from his hyper-extended toe and has not played since week three but Kevin Curtis has been more than suitable as a replacement. Curtis has 78 and 63 yards in the last two games as a starter with one touchdown. Shaun McDonald has also enjoyed the move up to a clear #3 with 14 catches and 176 yards over the last two games.

Tight Ends: With Roland Williams gone for the season, the Rams signed Cameron Cleeland back since Brandon Manumaleuna was injured last week and could not play due to a knee sprain. Actually, this is sort of excessively detailed considering Cleeland only had one catch for two yards like most starting tight ends for the Rams.

Match Against the Defense: What once looked promising only a few months ago now looks like a sad game for fantasy owners. The Colts have only allowed two touchdowns THE ENTIRE YEAR. The best rushing effort was 99 yards by the 49ers who had no business running but were throwing too many interceptions anyway. Expect Jackson to maintain his streak of non-100 yard games and to finally not score for the first time in a few weeks unless he catches a swing pass.

The Colts have not faced a passing offense like the Rams to be sure, so the fact that they have squashed the pass against BAL, JAX, CLE, TEN and SF is necessarily one to one with the Rams who will happily throw 60 times in a game. Problem here, by design, is that the Colts prefer to run and use up the clock so there are much fewer plays for the opposing offense. This will be a Monday night game and the first national game for either team. Expect the Rams to fare better passing than any of those previous five teams but not nearly enough to win. In the same vein as the Colts, the Rams have gone against some very soft teams as well this season. Also notable - there has not been a single score by a wideout against the Colts this year. Not one. Other than Mason (99) and Bryant (75), no wideout has had more than 49 yards. Expect Holt to turn in a sub-par game here and if a wideout scores, it will more likely by McDonald as the slot player but it would be the first time this season. The Colts have allowed two scores to tight ends but in both cases, they were "nobodies" - Bo Scaife and Daniel Wilcox.

What could have been... but won't be...

Indianapolis Colts (5-0)
1 24-7 @BAL 10 Nov 13 HOU
2 10-3 JAC 11 Nov 20 @CIN
3 13-6 CLE 12 Nov 28 PIT
4 31-10 @TEN 13 Dec 4 TEN
5 28-3 @SFO 14 Dec 11 @JAC
6 Oct 17 STL 15 Dec 18 SDC
7 Oct 23 @HOU 16 Dec 24 @SEA
8 Open Bye 17 Jan 1 ARI
9 Nov 7 @NE . MON SAT
IND vs STL Rush Catch Pass
QB Peyton Manning 0 0 260,1
RB Edgerrin James 120,2 30 0
TE Dallas Clark 0 30 0
WR Marvin Harrison 0 90,1 0
WR Reggie Wayne 0 40 0
WR Brandon Stokley 0 50,1 0
WR Troy Walters 0 170,3 0
PK Mike Vanderjagt 2 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Colts are now the only undefeated team in the NFL and have only this game and a trip to Houston before taking off a week and deciding what to do against the Patriots in week nine. The Colts bring in a very balanced team with a sound defense.

Quarterback: After shocking the fantasy world with two scores in the first three weeks, Peyton Manning has returned closer to form and has thrown for around 260 yards in each of the last two games. He had four scores in Tennessee but then only one touchdown against the 49ers in what could only be considered a tragic miss of opportunity. The offense is no longer about rolling up points and scoring fast. It's about controlling the clock, running the ball and keeping the defense fresh. One can hardly wait to see what graphics will be shown on Monday Night Football comparing 2004 Manning to 2005 Manning. One will also wipe a sad tear.

Running Backs: Edgerrin James is the focal point now and has never had less than 21 carries in a game. He leads the NFL with 119 carries and his 519 yards is second only to Alexander. He has topped 100 total yards in every game and never rushed for less than 88 yards while scoring in each of the last three weeks.

Wide Receivers: Marvin Harrison made fantasy owners happy finally when he had 109 yards and two scores in week four against the Titans but last week against the Charmin-soft 49ers he only had two catches for 17 yards. Reggie Wayne had six grabs for 75 yards for one of his better games and the lone Colts scoring pass went to... Troy Walters (AKA Troy "Freaking" Walters). it was his only catch of the season. Brandon Stokley was a top fantasy wideout in 2004 and has yet to score this year. It's all there, it still works but it is just not used. Until the New England game, it may remain shiny with the 2005 tags still attached.

Tight Ends: Dallas Clark had three catches for 36 yards and his 47 yards the previous week makes him almost the average tight end. Almost.

Match Against the Defense: No secret here. James gets 21+ carries and should easily top 100 yards with at least one score and possibly two. Manning could shred this secondary that has allowed ten scores already this year (including four to little bro Eli) but he won't. He could, but he won't. No need. The Colts are playing so well right now that they can easily pick and choose how they want to win and that makes all the receivers unreliable... except for Troy Walters for only last week. The only surprise in any of this is that they still have not allowed Stokley to get a touchdown.