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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
The Huddle
December 21, 2005
Season Ticket
Sat 1 PM Sat 1 PM Sat 1 PM Sat 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM
BUF at CIN NYG at WAS TEN at MIA* IND at SEA* Mon 9 PM
DET at NO* SD at KC* CHI at GB Updated* Times ET

Prediction: Detroit 13, New Orleans 17

Wow. Here is a coin flip game certain to be messy. The Lions are only 1-5 on the road but the Saints are just 1-6 at home. There are realistic concerns that both teams have already quit and are just playing out the year and neither team has any idea who their quarterback should be. Neither team has a running game. This could end up as the turnover bowl.

Update: Kevin Jones remains listed as questionable though he was able to return to limited practice on Thursday. He has not been ruled out for the game but I am not including him in the projections with only one day of practice and such minimal results even when healthy. Harrington has been named the starter this week so I am replacing Garcia.

Detroit Lions (4-10)
1 17-3 GBP 10 29-21 ARI
2 6-38 @CHI 11 7-20 @DAL
3 Open Bye 12 7-27 ATL
4 13-17 @TBB 13 16-21 MIN
5 35-17 BAL 14 13-16 @GBP
6 20-21 CAR 15 17-41 CIN
7 13-10 @CLE 16 Dec 24 @NOR
8 13-19 CHI 17 Jan 1 @PIT
9 14-27 @MIN . THU SAT
DET Projections Rush Catch Pass
QB Joey Harrington 0 0 210,1
RB Artose Pinner 40 0 0
RB Shawn Bryson 10 10 0
TE Marcus Pollard 0 30 0
WR Roy Williams 0 60,1 0
WR Charles Rogers 0 40 0
WR Mike Williams 0 30 0
WR Scottie Vines 0 30 0
PK Jason Hanson 2 FG 1 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Lions have not scored more than 17 points in a game for the last five weeks and Jeff Garcia somehow looks even worse every week. Harrington came in last week and actually looked good but we've seen that phenomena for years now and know how it always plays out.

Quarterback: Jeff Garcia threw three interceptions last week and was replaced by Joey Harrington who threw six of seven for 77 yards and one score but HC Dick Jauron has already said that Garcia is the starter for the rest of the year. Apparently that only means for the start of each game and there is no guarantee that the same switch doesn't happen this week.

Running Backs: Artose Pinner took his chance to start last week and turned in only 55 yards on 15 carries. The Lions have not rushed well all season and on the road they are even worse. Shawn Bryson only had one carry and one pass reception last week anyway. Assumedly Kevin Jones misses this week as well with his sprained knee though it won't matter much if he does play.

Wide Receivers: Charles Rogers comes off his best game of the year - maybe ever in the NFL - when he had 71 yards and a score last week. He only had three catches though and Roy Williams also scored on his three catches for 27 yards. That gives Roy a score in three of the last four games and he is the only remotely consistent receiver for the Lions. Rogers only had one catch in the previous two games.

Tight Ends: Ah, Marcus, it's been a great career and it is sad to end it this way.

Match Against the Defense: The Saints have been pretty good against the run and the Lions are horrible anyway. Do not expect a rushing score here or any significant yardage.

Garcia goes against a secondary that should give up one score and decent yardage, but there's no reliability in the passing game here other than Roy Williams. Look for 200 or more passing yards but as always, this game will hinge on turnovers by both teams.

New Orleans Saints (3-11)
1 23-20 @CAR 10 Open Bye
2 10-27 NYG 11 17-24 @NE
3 16-33 @MIN 12 21-19 @NYJ
4 19-7 BUF 13 3-10 TBB
5 3-52 @GBP 14 17-36 @ATL
6 31-34 ATL 15 10-27 CAR
7 17-20 @STL 16 Dec 24 DET
8 6-21 MIA 17 Jan 1 @TBB
9 17-20 CHI . MON SAT
NOR vs DET Rush Catch Pass
QB Todd Bouman 0 0 200,1
RB Aaron Stecker 50,1 20 0
RB Antowain Smith 50 0 0
TE Zack Hilton 0 30,1 0
WR Joe Horn 0 30 0
WR Donte Stallworth 0 50 0
WR Az-Zahir Hakim 0 50 0
PK John Carney 1 FG 2 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Saints suffer through their horrific season but the schedule has been no friend this year. This week will be the best match-up of the year for the Saints and the best chance for the rare win. The switch to Bouman last week kept the Saints on their normal pace - he had four interceptions.

Quarterback: Todd Bouman took his first start and completed 17 of 34 passes for 193 yards and four interceptions. He also lost one fumble but the Saints are committed to seeing what he can do and Brooks is slated to warm the bench in these final weeks. Bouman's first game went against the Panthers - not exactly a friendly defense.

Running Backs: As of late, Antowain Smith has been just as ineffective as ever but now shares almost even with Aaron Stecker who has better results. Put them together and the results are still not encouraging but the duo can move the ball almost in an average manner. Since McAllister left in week five, the Saints have only had rushing scores in two games - both against the Falcons.

Wide Receivers: Donte Stallworth comes off his sixth game this year with a touchdown and his 102 yards last week was the third time over 100 yards this year. Stallworth and Joe Horn have now swapped places and Horn comes off a game with only one catch for six yards - not even his worst of the year.

Tight Ends: Zack Hilton only had one catch last week but he's been over 30 yards in most games since mid-season.

Match Against the Defense: The Lions rushing defense has not been formidable this season and most teams score one rushing touchdown or more. There is an excellent chance that the Saints actually notch one running score here though Stecker and Smith are about even in carries and equally likely to cross the goal line.

Bouman had a tough start last week but the Lions defense can be beaten with the pass. Stallworth gets the matchup on Dre Bly which should depress his numbers though even Bly has under performed this season. The Saints should manage at least one passing score here but outside of Stallworth covered by Bly, the most likely candidate has to be Hilton from the sheer volume of catches he typically has. The game should be chock full of turnovers - almost impossible to rely on any one player here.