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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
The Huddle
November 30,, 2005
Season Ticket
Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM
BUF at MIA* HOU at BAL TEN at IND* DEN at KC Mon 9 PM
CIN at PIT JAC at CLE* Sun 4 PM NYJ at NE SEA at PHI
DAL at NYG MIN at DET* ARI at SF* Updated* Times ET

Prediction: Washington 24, St. Louis 23

The Redskins stumble into this game having lost their last three games while the Rams are pretty pleased to be 5-6 after last week's fairy tale ending in Houston. The Redskins have lost all their games by either a field goal or less, or in overtime after having led in the game. The Skins are only 1-4 on the road this season with the lone win being the last minute upset in Dallas - they have since experienced that from the other side in most games.

Washington Redskins (5-6)
1 9-7 CHI 10 35-36 @TBB
2 14-13 @DAL 11 13-16 OAK
3 Open Bye 12 17-23 SDC
4 20-17 SEA 13 Dec 4 @STL
5 19-21 @DEN 14 Dec 11 @ARI
6 21-28 @KCC 15 Dec 18 DAL
7 52-17 SFO 16 Dec 24 NYG
8 0-36 @NYG 17 Jan 1 @PHI
9 17-10 PHI . MON SAT
WAS at STL Rush Catch Pass
QB Mark Brunell 0 0 250,2
RB Clinton Portis 110,1 10 0
TE Chris Cooley 0 70,1 0
WR Santana Moss 0 110,1 0
WR Taylor Jacobs 0 30 0
WR James Thrash 0 30 0
PK John Hall 1 FG 3 XP -
Pregame Notes: Losing four of the last five games and going from being 3-0 to now struggling to reach .500 on the season has to be telling on the Redskins psyche, especially in the fourth quarter when the opponents continually mount game winning drives. The defense is always good but just not good enough lately.

Quarterback: Mark Brunell finally connected for a score with Santana Moss after four games of failing to find success with one of the biggest surprises of the season. Brunell still only managed to throw for 194 yards and one score last week against the Chargers and that came one week after his 155 yard, no touchdown game against the Raiders. Going against the soft secondary of the Rams should get the Moss connection working again.

Running Backs: Though he has only scored in three games this season, Clinton Portis remains a solid contributor of around 80 yards or more each week for the Redskins. He has four games over 100 yards this season and two of those came on the road.

Wide Receivers: As noted, Santana Moss finally scored last week after going four games with no touchdowns. Now he just needs to get back to gaining yards since he has not been better than 79 yards for the last month. Moss has six scores on the year which is also the only touchdowns thrown to wideouts this season by Brunell. Facing the Rams this week should finally allow Moss to both score and notch a big yardage game.

Tight Ends: Chris Cooley only had three catches for 28 yards last week, a big step down from the 70 yard average over the three previous games. Cooley has not scored since week six but he too should have an excellent chance to change that this week.

Match Against the Defense: Clinton Portis can gash this defense for a nice game here if the Redskins commit to the run and there's a good chance he can score once if Cartwright doesn't come in to steal it once again. The Rams have already given up five monster rushing games this season.

Brunell goes against a secondary that ranks among the worst in the NFL. If he fails to throw for at least two scores, they should just replace him because nine other quarterbacks have managed at least that much this year against the Rams.

St. Louis Rams (5-6)
1 25-28 @SFO 10 16-31 @SEA
2 17-12 @ARI 11 28-38 ARI
3 31-27 TEN 12 33-27 @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 WAS Rush Catch Pass
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick 0 0 220,1
RB Steven Jackson 80,1 10 0
TE B. Manumaleuna 0 10 0
WR Torry Holt 0 90,1 0
WR Isaac Bruce 0 60 0
WR Kevin Curtis 0 40 0
PK Jeff Wilkins 3 FG 2 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Rams lost Jamie Martin after the first quarter last week and all seemed lost by half-time with Harvard rookie Ryan Fitzpatrick thrown to the wolves in his first playing time in his career. But Fitzpatrick showed amazing composure and ability as he led the Rams to a 27-27 tie in overtime and then threw a 56-yard screen to Kevin Curtis for the winning score. That's outgunning the Texans 30-3 in the second half by a rookie that had never played and that was a third stringer until a few weeks ago. It's a lost season for the Rams but a great boost in confidence and team spirit after a win such as that.

Quarterback: Interim head coach Joe Vitt has not yet named a starting quarterback this week but Jamie Martin went to the hospital with a loss of vision from a hard hit. He did not have a concussion and his x-rays were negative but pending Vitt announcing the starter, I am assuming that Ryan Fitzpatrick starts again this week since Martin had vision problems and realistically, everyone wants to see what Fitzpatrick can do next.

Running Backs: Stephen Jackson comes off a big 110 yard effort in Houston with one touchdown that reversed the two game drought that had Jackson stopped by both the Seahawks and Cardinals. Jackson has scored in seven games this season and has two 100+ rushing yard games and seven games with over 100 total yards.

Wide Receivers: The wideouts have been as good as ever the last couple of weeks with Torry Holt, Isaac Bruce and Kevin Curtis all scoring in both of the last two games. Holt has seven scores on the year though he still has not managed to score more than once in any game. Bruce is back and productive but Curtis has remained a big weapon.

Tight Ends: This is the Rams we are talking about.

Match Against the Defense: The Redskins rush defense had held most runners down in yardage but they have already allowed 14 rushing scores this season and they typically are less successful in road games. Expect a moderate to good game here by Jackson with a great chance at one score.

The quarterback - Fitzpatrick or Martin (or both) - go against a very good secondary but one that has allowed opponents to throw for at least one score in every road game. Most opponents end with a sub-200 yard game against the Redskins though there have been four teams that managed to gain over 250 yards. Safest bet here is for a moderate passing game that will have one touchdown. Anything more will be unusual but then again, Fitzpatrick has everyone believing in Christmas again (other than Texans fans).