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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
Player Projections by Team
Game Predictions Summary
The Huddle
November 15, 2006
Season Ticket
Sunday Late
Sunday night
CIN at NO PIT at CLE     updated

Prediction: STL 20, CAR 24

Here's an interesting match-up that pits the Rams who had been surprising but are on a four game losing skid against the Panthers that suddenly find themselves only one game out of the lead for the NFC South thanks to losses by the Falcons and Saints last week. The Panthers have yet to generate many points in any game but the Rams have slid back since their higher scoring ways a month ago. This is a coin flip game really but played in Carolina favors the Panthers.

St. Louis Rams (4-5)
1 18-10 DEN 10 22-24 @SEA
2 13-20 @SF 11 --- @CAR
3 16-14 @ARZ 12 --- SF
4 41-34 DET 13 --- ARZ
5 23-20 @GB 14 --- CHI
6 28-30 SEA 15 --- @OAK
7 Open Bye 16 --- WAS
8 24-38 @SD 17 --- @MIN
9 17-31 KC - - MON
STL at CAR Rush Catch Pass
QB Marc Bulger 0 0 280,1
RB Steven Jackson 70,1 60 0
TE J. Klopfenstein 0 10 0
WR Torry Holt 0 90,1 0
WR Isaac Bruce 0 50 0
WR Kevin Curtis 0 60 0
PK Jeff Wilkins 2 FG 2 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Rams lost Orlando Pace due to a torn triceps last week and that could impact the offense in many ways. Not only was he a great run blocker, but the left tackle also kept Bulger safe. Julius Peppers fortunately plays on the other side but Mike Rucker gets an unexpected perk when he lines up against the Rams this week. St. Louis has seen the offense start to dial it back a little lately but mostly the losing is coming from a defense that has allowed an average of 31 points over the last four games.

Quarterback: Marc Bulger comes off his worst game of the year when he only had 215 yards and no scores against the Seahawks last week. That was the first time in nine games that Bulger failed to score at least once and it ended his strong showing with five 300+ yard games over the last six games. Bulger had his best games this year at home but still was able throw over the 300 yard mark in two of the five road games this year. He has yet to have more than two scores away from St. Louis.

Running Backs: The Rams losing streak hasn't been felt by Steven Jackson owners by any means. Jackson has scored in each of the last four games and has become a major component in the passing game. If he continues his presence as a receiver, he could take the running back reception lead away from Kevin Jones. He had 19 catches for 173 yards - in just the last TWO games. Now if the Rams could only win one of those games...

Jackson has run for 784 yards this year and added 452 yards on 47 catches - #2 in running back receptions in the NFL currently. He has scored in five of the last six games.

Wide Receivers: Perhaps the biggest indicator of the Rams losses has been the absence of Torry Holt from the leaderboard for the last three weeks. Holt has not scored since week six when he already had seven touchdowns on the season. He only has 73 yards as a high game for that three game stretch. He's not only had less catches and no scores, he's been getting fewer throws his way. Isaac Bruce has actually fared better in yardage than Holt in these recent games though Bruce hasn't scored since week four. This losing streak has seen Kevin Curtis getting more work and he has scored twice in the last three games - unlike Holt and Bruce.

Tight Ends: Joe Klopfenstein opened his rookie year with the look of a tight end that would actually contribute. That has not carried through the season for the last month.

Match Against the Defense: Jackson will be challenged to have more than a moderate game in Carolina and particularly without Orlando Pace. But he's been so heavily involved in the passing equation that he should still net a good effort here. Figure if Pace's absence does matter it could actually make Jackson even more attractive as a quick outlet for Bulger.

The Panthers secondary has held the last four opponents to only three passing scores in Carolina and never more than one per week. Bulger will be throwing to stay up in this game and should still net nice yardage here even if he has to compensate for lesser blocking with faster throws. Expect Holt to turn in a touchdown this week and end with better yardage than the last three weeks.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM    QB   RB   WR   TE   PK  DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points STL 8 13 4 25 2 15
Preventing Fantasy Points CAR 18 11 8 30 16 7


Carolina Panthers (5-4)
1 6-20 ATL 10 24-10 TB
2 13-16 @MIN 11 --- STL
3 26-24 @TB 12 --- @WAS
4 21-18 NO 13 --- @PHI
5 20-12 CLE 14 --- NYG
6 23-21 @BAL 15 --- PIT
7 14-17 @CIN 16 --- @ATL
8 14-35 DAL 17 --- @NO
9 Open Bye - - MON
CAR vs STL Rush Catch Pass
QB Jake Delhomme 0 0 240,2
RB DeShaun Foster 60 10 0
RB DeAngelo Williams 50,1 20 0
TE Kris Mangum 0 10 0
WR Steve Smith 0 120,2 0
WR Drew Carter 0 10 0
WR Keyshawn Johnson 0 50 0
PK John Kasay 1 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Panthers made amends for the loss to Dallas by throttling the visiting Buccaneers last Monday. The rushing game still looks sub-standard even with the return of DeAngelo Williams but Steve Smith is just as dangerous and deadly as he has ever been - even when he is throwing up on the sidelines between series from a case of the flu. Sheesh - and you call sick into work when you just get the sniffles...

Quarterback: Jake Delhomme continues his strong showing as of late, throwing his fourth game with two scores over the last six weeks and only the Dallas game prevented him from scoring in each of the last seven games. His yardage varies significantly each week but one thing never does - Steve Smith.

Running Backs: The ongoing plan is to involve DeAngelo Williams more in the rushing scheme but the rookie only had 19 yards on seven carries last Monday in his first effort back since week five. DeShaun Foster continues to be stuck around 50 rushing yards each week for the last four games and comes off just 48 yards on 13 carries against the Bucs. This will be more of a committee for the rest of the year unless Williams comes through big enough to make Foster become just a relief player. Foster has already shown that he's not the long term answer in the backfield.

Wide Receivers: As just a fan of the game, Steve Smith is a delight to watch. As a fantasy owner, he is euphoric to witness. Smith had 149 yards and one score last week against the Bucs for his fourth game over 100 yards and his fifth touchdown on the season. Keyshawn Johnson even scored for the first time in five games. This passing offense is really little more than Delhomme looking for Smith and occasionally deciding to throw to Keyshawn. No other Panther wideout has had a catch since week six.

Tight Ends: No fantasy relevance.

Match Against the Defense: The Rams are weak against the run and every road opponent has scored at least once on the ground while totaling up well over 100 yards. Look for a strong game here by Foster and Williams but the split will depend on how well each does early. There should be at least one rushing score in this game - Williams was the back used at the goal line last week.

Delhomme goes against a defense that has allowed each of the last eight opponents to score at least once via the pass and four teams had multiple touchdowns. Look for two passing scores here with at least one going to Smith. And very likely both.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM    QB   RB   WR   TE   PK  DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CAR 25 23 11 29 17 24
Preventing Fantasy Points STL 14 27 27 15 22 17