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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
The Huddle
December 14, 2005
Season Ticket
Saturday Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM
KC at NYG CAR at NO* SD at IND CLE at OAK* Mon 9 PM
  NYJ at MIA SF at JAC* Updated* Times ET

Prediction: Philadelphia 17, St. Louis 20

The Eagles bounced back nicely from their humiliating 42-0 loss when they almost upset the Giants last week but the Eagles are only 1-5 on the road this year with their only win being a come-from-behind game over the Chiefs with Owens and McNabb. Now that they and Westbrook are gone, the defense will have to control this game. The Rams are just 3-3 at home and have lost four of their last five games with only the Houston miracle to prevent complete futility. This is a coin flip game with many unknowns.

Philadelphia Eagles (5-8)
1 10-14 @ATL 10 20-21 DAL
2 42-3 SFO 11 17-27 @NYG
3 23-20 OAK 12 19-14 GBP
4 37-31 @KCC 13 0-42 SEA
5 10-33 @DAL 14 23-26 NYG
6 Open Bye 15 Dec 18 @STL
7 20-17 SDC 16 Dec 24 @ARI
8 21-49 @DEN 17 Jan 1 WAS
9 10-17 @WAS . MON SAT
PHI at STL Rush Catch Pass
QB Mike McMahon 0 0 240,1
RB Ryan Moats 90,1 10 0
RB Reno Mahe 20 20 0
TE L.J. Smith 0 20 0
WR Greg Lewis 0 60 0
WR Reggie Brown 0 90,1 0
WR Billy McMullen 0 30 0
PK David Akers 1 FG 2 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Eagles have now hit both ends of the spectrum in only two weeks by getting demolished by Seattle and then playing the Giants even. Taking the emotional elements out of the game and just looking at the talent level - there isn't a lot left for the Eagles. This will be their first road trip without McNabb or Westbrook and now there is a bit of game film to consider for opponents.

Quarterback: Mike McMahon improved from his horrible first game but still only completed 14 of 32 passes for 190 yards and one lost fumble. The Eagles played better last week but it had nothing to do with McMahon really. It has everything to do with a defense that collected turnovers and a few nice runs by Ryan Moats. Two weeks as a starter and McMahon is still looking for his first touchdown.

Running Backs: Shades of Westbrook. The rookie Ryan Moats made the most of his first start by running for 114 yards and two scores on only 11 carries. That's pure Westbrook. Moats scored on 40 and 18 yard runs while even Reno Mahe had success rushing for 42 yards on seven carries. This was a game that followed a 42-0 blowout and that had Westbrook missing. The Giants evidently were not prepared for what would be a surprising effort.

Wide Receivers: Reggie Brown had a strong game against the Giants when he caught five passes for 72 yards. Greg Lewis has been worthless and only recorded one catch for less than ten yards in each of the last three games. Billy McMullen had 46 yards on two catches but the minimal passing game is just not reaching the wideouts besides moderate numbers for the rookie Brown.

Tight Ends: Despite being close to the quarterback, L.J. Smith only has two catches in each of the last two games. His production has apparently left with McNabb.

Match Against the Defense: The Rams defense is bad even on a good day and should provide the Eagles with some yards and points as they have every opponent. Look for Ryan Moats to supply the most yardage here and he could top 100 yards again if he can break another long run or the Eagles commit to getting him more than a mere 11 carries. With the Rams passing game still of concern, it would be assumed that the Eagles would want to run more.

McMahon won't face any secondary easier than this one. He has not passed well but if he fails to score at least once here, the Eagles should look elsewhere for a backup. This is clearly the defense with the worst cornerbacks in the league and both Brown and Lewis should turn in nice games here. They could do that much with you or me throwing the ball.

St. Louis Rams (5-8)
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 9-24 WAS
5 31-37 SEA 14 13-27 @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 PHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick 20 0 220,1
RB Steven Jackson 80,1 10 0
RB Marshall Faulk 10 20 0
TE B. Manumaleuna 0 10 0
WR Torry Holt 0 100,1 0
WR Isaac Bruce 0 60 0
WR Kevin Curtis 0 20 0
PK Jeff Wilkins 2 FG 2 XP -

Pregame Notes: That Ryan Fitzpatrick magic evidently only lasts for one game. The Rams have now struggled against the quality defenses of the Redskins and Vikings and there has been only one touchdown in each of the last two games. What they have been good at is turning the ball over. While speculation abounds, there has been no official word that the Rams are considering Jamie Martin this week.

Quarterback: After his miracle comeback in Houston, Ryan Fitzpatrick has now gone two games with no scores and a total of six interceptions and one lost fumble. The Vikings feasted on five of those picks last week. Oddly enough, Fitzpatrick has scored once in each of the last two games - rushing the ball in himself for the only touchdown of the game.

Running Backs: The reduced passing game has allowed defenses to concentrate more on Stephen Jackson who only has 91 yards on 30 carries over the last two weeks. Marshall Faulk had five carries last week for 25 yards for his first action in the running game in five weeks. Jackson had most of his success when Bulger was playing but not exclusively. In week 12 in Houston, he ran for 110 yards and one score.

Wide Receivers: While Torry Holt has not scored since the Houston game in week 12, he continues to be the preferred target of Fitzpatrick and has reeled in 16 catches for 170 yards over the last two weeks - easily the most productive wideout. Isaac Bruce only had 33 yards against the Redskins but bounced back with five catches for 63 yards last Sunday. Kevin Curtis? Now he has taken it in the shorts with Fitzpatrick around. Curtis only had four catches for 19 yards in the last two weeks.

Tight Ends: Not going to happen.

Match Against the Defense: Now which Eagles show up this week? Probably the same ones that have been soft against the run on the road where three of the last four opponents have recorded 100 yard games and the Eagles have allowed seven scores to running backs. Look for a better game here from Jackson with a good chance for a score.

Fitzpatrick is facing a secondary that has been bad on the road even when all the players were healthy. The Eagles have allowed 12 touchdowns to the last five road opponents and all but the Skins had multiple scores. Look for Fitzpatrick to manage to find the endzone again at least once.