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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
The Huddle
November 16, 2005
Season Ticket
Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM
DET at DAL NO at NE Sun 4 PM PIT at BAL* MIN at GB*
IND at CIN OAK at WAS SEA at SF* Updated* Times ET

Prediction: Arizona 20, St. Louis 30

The Cardinals played in Detroit last week and on the road they usually end up plastered in someone's grill. The Rams come off their latest reminder that they will not be winning the NFC West this season. Both teams are healthy but only one is at home and has a running game. The Rams already won in Arizona, 17-12, this season and playing at home won't be any harder.

Update: Anquan Boldin is set to return this week and has been added to the projections. Bryant Johnson remains unlikey to play.

Arizona Cardinals (2-7)
1 19-42 @NYG 10 21-29 @DET
2 12-17 STL 11 Nov 20 @STL
3 12-37 @SEA 12 Nov 27 JAC
4 31-14 SFO 13 Dec 4 @SFO
5 20-24 CAR 14 Dec 11 WAS
6 Open Bye 15 Dec 18 @HOU
7 20-10 TEN 16 Dec 24 PHI
8 13-34 @DAL 17 Jan 1 @IND
9 19-33 SEA . . SAT
ARZ at STL Rush Catch Pass
QB Kurt Warner 0 0 280,2
RB J.J. Arrington 20 20 0
RB Marcel Shipp 30 10 0
TE Adam Bergen 0 20 0
WR Leron McCoy 0 30 0
WR Larry Fitzgerald 0 120,1 0
WR Anquan Boldin 0 70,1 0
PK Neil Rackers 2 FG 2 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Cards went with Warner last week with decent fantasy results but Arizona exists to do little more than pitch and catch with the wideouts and that's simply not enough to win many games. The offense is showing very little progress as the season goes on but at least the team has the most heavily used kicker in the history of the league so far. Neil Rackers is on a record-setting pace and really is just the posterchild for any offense that can get downfield with passes and then stalls without a running game.

Quarterback: Kurt Warner has been great with yardage since returning two weeks ago, throwing for 334 and 359 yards in the last two games with one score in each. Warner played a solid game in Detroit last week with no turnovers but the lacking quality from this passing game is that it rarely posts many points. Warner threw for 327 yards and no scores in the previous meeting with the Rams this year.

Running Backs: J.J. Arrington not only scored his first NFL touchdown last week, he scored the only touchdown by a Cardinals tailback this entire year. He had eight carries for 24 yards while Marcel Shipp only managed three yards on four carries and one lost fumble. Shipp gained only 54 yards against the Rams earlier this year which actually represents the most rushing yards by any Arizona runner in a game this year.

Wide Receivers: With both Boldin and Bryant Johnson out last week, Larry Fitzgerald had 14 passes thrown to him and caught nine for 141 yards and one touchdown. With Boldin out, Fitzgerald is the focus of the entire offense and opposing defense but with up to 14 passes each week, he's made a difference. Reggie Newhouse had two catches for 23 yards last week while Leron McCoy replaced Bryant (who would have replaced Boldin) and he ended with six grabs for 70 yards. Without Boldin, this offense has absolutely no dimensions to it. I assume that Johnson is out one more week but will update if needed.

Boldin had 119 yards and Fitzgerald turned in 70 against the Rams in week two. Neither scored in that game.

Tight Ends: Adam Bergen had a 32 yard catch last week and Eric Edwards gained 63 yards against the Seahawks but there was only one catch by a tight end in each game. They have had some success with the position but just rarely throw more than one or two passes each game to any tight end.

Match Against the Defense: There's no reason to expect the Cardinals to play better in St. Louis than they did in Arizona when the Rams visited back in week two. If anything, the Cardinals are playing worse and Boldin remains out. Look for yet another terrible rushing effort by the Cardinals and the passing game should do what it has almost perfected by now - throw for great yardage and yet rarely score with Fitzgerald the main focus of every passing play.

St. Louis Rams (4-5)
1 25-28 @SFO 10 16-31 @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 28-45 @IND 15 Dec 18 PHI
7 28-17 NOR 16 Dec 24 SFO
8 24-21 JAC 17 Jan 1 @DAL
9 Open Bye . MON SAT
STL vs ARZ Rush Catch Pass
QB Marc Bulger 0 0 270,2
RB Steven Jackson 100,1 10 0
RB Marshall Faulk 10 20 0
TE Cam Cleeland 0 10 0
WR Torry Holt 0 120,1 0
WR Isaac Bruce 0 40 0
WR Kevin Curtis 0 50,1 0
WR Shaun McDonald 0 20 0
PK Jeff Wilkins 3 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Rams loss in Seattle signals that they no longer have any magic over their main competition in the NFC West and at 4-5, it requires an optimist to still expect a wild card bid this year. The team is finally healthy this week and back at home against the Cards should be able to flex some offensive muscle.

Quarterback: Marc Bulger finally returned after missing the three previous games and had 304 yards and one score against Seattle last week. That makes his fourth effort over 300 yards this season and he continues to pass for at least one score every week. Bulger only threw for 216 yards and one score against the Cards back in week two.

Running Backs: After a full month of great games, Steven Jackson cooled down in Seattle last week when he only had 17 carries for 70 yards and no score. He did have five catches for 45 yards to boost his numbers though and he had 93 yards and one touchdown against the Cards already this season. Marshall Faulk only had one carry last week but also added five catches for 54 yards in a game that required the Rams to leave the rushing game and use passing formations more than usual.

Wide Receivers: The full complement of receivers finally hit the field last Sunday after missing Isaac Bruce since week three. Torry Holt only had four catches for 45 yards but caught the lone touchdown for the Rams. Isaac Bruce only had two passes thrown to him and caught just one for 16 yards while Kevin Curtis led all receivers with six catches for 51 yards. Holt had 70 yards and one score in Arizona back in week two while Bruce had 64 yards and no scores.

Tight Ends: Brandon Manumaleuna had 51 yards on three catches last week which is almost double any other game by a Rams tight end this year. There's only been a handful of games that a St. Louis tight end had more than one catch.

Match Against the Defense: Look for the Rams to make heavier use of Jackson this week since he was already effective in the previous meeting against the Cardinals and back at home, there's no reason why he shouldn't end up with his second 100+ yard game of the year that includes at least one rushing score. The Rams will be able to throw against Arizona, but more likely they won't look to completely roll up the score here. A solid game by all Rams players to be sure, but one that could post some huge numbers by Jackson or Holt if the Rams decide to concentrate on one player.