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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
Player Projections by Team
Game Predictions Summary
The Huddle
October 11, 2006
Season Ticket
Sunday Late
Sunday night
On Bye
HOU at DAL TEN at WAS     updated

Prediction: PHI 24, NO 23

The Eagles hit the road after beating the Cowboys and continue their high scoring lead over the rest of the NFL. The Saints are on top in the NFC West with a surprising 4-1 mark though three point wins the last two weeks made it in question. The Eagles are flying high and the Saints are defying the odds. If Philly can avoid a letdown after last week, they can take this one. If not - the Saints keep marching on.

Update: Donte' Stallworth is doubtful to play this week and has not practiced due to his hamstring. While not ruled out, it does not appear likely he will play against his ex-teammates and I am removing him from the projections. Shame too because he could have had a nice game this week.

Philadelphia Eagles (4-1)
1 24-10 @HOU 10 --- WAS
2 24-30 NYG 11 --- TEN
3 38-24 @SF 12 --- @IND
4 31-9 GB 13 --- CAR
5 38-24 DAL 14 --- @WAS
6 --- @NO 15 --- @NYG
7 --- @TB 16 --- @DAL
8 --- JAX 17 --- ATL
9 Open Bye - - MON
PHI at NO Rush Catch Pass
QB Donovan McNabb 10,1 0 260,2
RB Brian Westbrook 50 50 0
TE L.J. Smith 0 40,1 0
WR Hank Baskett 0 30 0
WR Donte Stallworth 0 60,1 0
WR Reggie Brown 0 80,1 0
WR Greg Lewis 0 30 0
PK David Akers 1 FG 3 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Eagles are only one point short of being the highest scoring team - thanks to the Bears. Their schedule started out rather kind with wins over the Texans, 49ers and Packers, but the win over Dallas says they're much more than a soft schedule. Donovan McNabb is one an NFL MVP pace so far and he's bringing the team along with him.

Quarterback: Donovan McNabb is not merely leading in all fantasy quarterback categories, he's taken such a lead that he could take a week off and still be #1. He's averaging 320 yards per game and has never had less than two scores in any game. Over half his games have been three touchdowns or more.

Running Backs: The Eagles contend that Brian Westbrook has a bone bruise that has caused the swelling in his knee and that there could be some cartilage damage. That was hard to see while Westbrook gained 88 yards and scored once against the Cowboys last week or in any game that he has played. When he is out, Correll Buckhalter is not doing much but so far, Westbrook has just missed one week and excelled in the others.

Until he is either completely cleared (unlikely) or officially leaves for an extended stretch to get surgery (possible), he'll remain an every week guess if he will play. His knee was said to not swell after the Cowboys game, but that doesn't mean it cannot give him pregame problems in any given week. For now, I am projecting him to play and be only slightly limited if at all but the risk is obviously there.

Wide Receivers: Donte Stallworth sat out Sunday's game with a hamstring strain and it is not known if he will play this week. Last week the stars were Hank Baskett for catching an 87-yard touchdown and Reggie Brown for his 40-yard go ahead score. Baskett had played every week this year but only topped out at 27 yards prior to last Sunday. Brown now has three scores on the season and has been turning in around 70 yards the last three weeks.

There is every reason to expect a big game from Stallworth here if he can play. Against the team that dumped him at the last minute, there is surely a revenge motivation for him. Again - if he can play. If he cannot, that's just another smirk from HC Sean Payton.

This unit doesn't have anyone flashy or even reliable on it, but it gets the job done every week.

Tight Ends: Though he started out the season with two big weeks of six and seven catches for a total of 167 yards, L.J. Smith has only been catching two or three passes per game for the last three games. The difference - he makes long gains when he does reel them in and had 63 yards on three catches just last week.

Match Against the Defense: The Saints have been much softer against the run lately, allowing both CAR and TB to have runners exceed 100 yards and giving up one rushing score in each. Look for a solid game here by Westbrook but likely as many yards on receptions as running. With a bum knee of some degree, Westbrook is not getting the carries to total up to a big game.

McNabb has played well above what each opponent has been allowing and the Saints already give up a couple of passing scores in almost every game. They are softer against tight ends and Smith is due but the wideout score could go anywhere. What to expect here would be a score to Stallworth if he plays and has revenge on his mind. I will update that according to the best information.

New Orleans Saints (4-1)
1 19-14 @CLE 10 --- @PIT
2 34-27 @GB 11 --- CIN
3 23-3 ATL 12 --- @ATL
4 18-21 @CAR 13 --- SF
5 24-21 TB 14 --- @DAL
6 --- PHI 15 --- WAS
7 Open Bye 16 --- @NYG
8 --- BAL 17 --- CAR
9 --- @TB - - MON
NOR vs PHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Drew Brees 0 0 220,1
RB Reggie Bush 30 60 0
RB Deuce McAllister 60,1 10 0
TE Mark Campbell 0 10 0
WR Joe Horn 0 50 0
WR Marques Colston 0 50 0
WR Devery Henderson 0 30,1 0
PK John Carney 3 FG 2 XP -

Pregame Notes: No doubt that the 4-1 record of the Saints has been impressive, but two wins came against CLE and GB who are both 1-4, TB who is 0-4 and the Falcons who were trashed in a highly emotional homecoming game. They lost in Carolina and now play a team far better than any they have faced so far. With just a bye week afterwards, the Saints can still be proud with a 4-2 record but if this team wins, throw it on the growing pile of New Orleans surprises this year.

Quarterback: Drew Brees has only played in two home games and scored only once in them while remaining under 195 yards in each. That likely cannot happen this week if a win is to happen. Brees was at his best against the Panthers when he threw for 349 yards and one score but the blitzing scheme of Philly will be a new challenge. So far Brees has not thrown for more than two scores in a game but has played better when the need was there - and it is there this week.

Running Backs: Reggie Bush the runner just has never really materialized. Seems the NFL is not interested in giving him the corner and he's been stuck with a sub-three yard average the last couple of weeks. But he has been consistent in the passing game where he already has 35 receptions on the year which could put him on pace for a record year - if not better than any wideout. Bush had 11 catches just last week. His return of a punt sealed the win over the Buccaneers as well.

Deuce McAllister is where the running game has been working and he comes off an impressive 123 yard game last week on only 15 carries. He has also scored in three of the last four games. Notable too is that his best two efforts of the year have been at home.

Wide Receivers: The Saints have only had success with the rookie Marques Colston who finally fell back to earth last week when he only had three catches for 38 yards. Prior to that game, Colston had scored in three of four games and had 97 yards in the one instance he was kept out of the endzone. The opening schedule was pretty kind so his ongoing contributions could slack off with future games against PHI, BAL, @TB (who just stopped him), PIT and CIN.

Joe Horn remains just a possession receiver who never scores. Horn remains good for four or five catches a game that could be as high as 88 yards or as low as just 25 yards. If there is a passing score, all but two have gone to Colston.

Devery Henderson missed last week and was replaced by Terrance Copper but he had no passes in the game. Henderson has scored this year on a run and a catch but rarely has more than one or two plays per game when he is healthy. I am assuming he can play this week.

Tight Ends: Ernie Conwell caught a touchdown last week but that was the first for the position and still they do not merit any fantasy attention.

Match Against the Defense: The Eagles rush defense has been very good this year in part because teams rarely get the chance to run more than 15 times against them. But the team has given up notable yardage via receptions to running backs which favors Bush and has allowed three rushing scores the last two games that helps McAllister. With this game likely to start very slowly, there should be enough for McAllister to get enough work for fantasy consideration this week and Bush to use his catches to show up well.

Brees goes against a secondary that can be beaten but that depends on stemming the oncoming blitzes long enough to throw the ball. This will be the best defense to face the Saints so far, so look for only an average game from Brees.

I see this as a slow game at first from a tired Eagles team and that the Saints could take an early lead. But Philly will still get the job done in time.