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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
The Huddle
November 23, 2005
Season Ticket
Thanksgiving Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM
DEN at DAL CHI at TB* SF at TEN* MIA at OAK Mon 9 PM
Sun 1 PM CLE at MIN STL at HOU GB at PHI* PIT at IND
BAL at CIN NE at KC   NYG at SEA Times ET

Prediction: New Orleans 17, NY Jets 14

Here's a messy game that will send one team to 3-8 and the other to a painful 2-9 mark. There is no clear winner here other than futility. The Saints have dropped their last six games and by now it's not really that frustrating anymore. The Jets have lost their last five games and have scored a grand total of three points over the last two games. It's like Charlie Brown vs. the Bad News Bears. This is the late game on Sunday which means listening to the ESPN crew try to make the game interesting will be especially hard to listen to this week.

New Orleans Saints (2-8)
1 23-20 @CAR 10 Open Bye
2 10-27 NYG 11 17-24 @NE
3 16-33 @MIN 12 Nov 27 @NYJ
4 19-7 BUF 13 Dec 4 TBB
5 3-52 @GBP 14 Dec 12 @ATL
6 31-34 ATL 15 Dec 18 CAR
7 17-20 @STL 16 Dec 24 DET
8 6-21 MIA 17 Jan 1 @TBB
9 17-20 CHI . MON SAT
NOR at NYJ Rush Catch Pass
QB Aaron Brooks 20,1 0 190,1
RB Aaron Stecker 30 20 0
RB Antowain Smith 80 0 0
TE Zack Hilton 0 10 0
WR Joe Horn 0 60 0
WR Donte Stallworth 0 50,1 0
WR Devery Henderson 0 20 0
WR Az-Zahir Hakim 0 30 0
PK John Carney 1 FG 2 XP -
Pregame Notes: To the Saints credit, they may be in a hellish season but they have not given up yet. Trailing by 14 points last week, they rallied but fell short. Brooks has been inconsistent all season, the running game has gotten even worse and the defense has only once held an opponent to less than 20 points but the Saints keep trying.

Quarterback: Aaron Brooks comes off a fine 343 yard, two score game against the Patriots but most teams manage that anyway. He's thrown for as much as 375 yards in a game this season and as little as only 146 yards with four outings that had no passing scores. Like the Saints in general, Brooks has been good, he has been bad and the only consistency is that he has not been good enough.

Running Backs: The Saints acquired Anthony Thomas two weeks ago but kept him inactive against the Patriots. He'll likely see the field this week or next if only in a cameo appearance. In one of those ironies in the NFL, the only decent rushing game by Antowain Smith this season came against the Bears when he had 110 yards but he has only scored in one game and only managed 32 yards on 11 carries last week. Aaron Stecker only gained 25 yards on seven carries but had a season high 72 yards on six catches.

Wide Receivers: Joe Horn has been back for three games since his hamstring problems and he's had two good yardage games but has only one touchdown this season that happened back in week two. Horn was thrown 18 passes last week but only caught six for 80 yards. Brooks tries to rely on Horn but the results are a big step down from last season. Donte Stallworth has been the scoring machine for the Saints (or at least as close as they get to one). He had scored in four of the last five games and had two touchdowns last week.

Tight Ends: With Ernie Conwell out, Zack Hilton finally got some use when he had 72 yards on six catches last week. He has never had more than two catches or 18 yards in any other game this year.

Match Against the Defense: The problem here is that the Jets are terrible against the run and the Saints have no running game. Assuming the same roles, expect Antowain to get at least moderate yardage with a shot at nice numbers that everyone else has been getting.

Brooks faces a secondary that has held most opponents to under 200 yards and only one score if that. Of course much of that stems from the opponents running so well, but the Jets have a decent secondary and the inconsistent Brooks has been less effective against good defenses. He'll likely have one score here but anything more is unlikely. The matchups suggest that Stallworth is the most likely candidate to catch the touchdown but no wideout has managed to have a decent game against the Jets this year and none have done more than 87 yards.

New York Jets (2-8)
1 7-27 @KCC 10 3-30 @CAR
2 17-7 MIA 11 0-27 @DEN
3 20-26 JAC 12 Nov 27 NOR
4 3-13 @BAL 13 Dec 4 @NE
5 14-12 TBB 14 Dec 11 OAK
6 17-27 @BUF 15 Dec 18 @MIA
7 14-27 @ATL 16 Dec 26 NE
8 Open Bye 17 Jan 1 BUF
9 26-31 SDC . . MON
NYJ vs NO Rush Catch Pass
QB Brooks Bollinger 0 0 200,1
RB Curtis Martin 60,1 20 0
TE Doug Jolley 0 20 0
WR Laveranues Coles 0 70,1 0
WR Justin McCareins 0 50 0
WR Jerricho Cotchery 0 20 0
PK Mike Nugent 0 FG 2 XP -

Pregame Notes: For reasons known only to fate, the Jets were not supposed to have a quarterback this season. Last week saw Bollinger get injured, then Testaverde and finally Kliff Kingsbury had to play. Bollinger had a concussion and was tossing his cookies on the sideline, but I am assuming Kingsbury does not become the fifth Jets quarterback this week. If the end of the season doesn't hurry up and get here the Jets may run out of eligible jersey numbers for quarterbacks. Last summer the plan was never to burn through five quarterbacks.

Quarterback: The Jets have one sprecialty this season and that is getting quarterbacks hurt. I am assuming that Bollinger can start but if he finishes all depends on that dark cloud following the Jets this season.

Running Backs: The never ending procession of changes at quarterback has allowed defenses to focus on stopping Curtis Martin who comes off his worst game in the NFL that did not see him become injured. He ran only four times for seven yards last week before the rushing game was abandoned and the shutout was on. Martin had scored four times this year and his outlook only gets worse as the injuries mount.

Wide Receivers: Despite the misery with passing, Laveranues Coles still had six catches for 62 yards last week. He only has two touchdowns on the season though and those are the only two scores by Jets wideouts this year. Both Coles and Justin McCareins can turn in moderate yardage in most games but touchdowns are just never happening and with each change at quarterback, the outlook gets bleaker.

Tight Ends: Doug Jolley has taken over for Chris Baker but that hasn't meant more than two catches or 25 yards in a game yet.

Match Against the Defense: Expect that the defense devotes up to nine men against Curtis Martin this week and keeps him with only moderate numbers. The Jets defense should manage to keep the score close enough so that the Jets will still run and the volume should nudge Martin into an average game.

Bollinger should manage a score here and maybe more if he can remain upright and conscious. The Saints are only average against wideouts so that favors Coles.