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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
Player Projections by Team
Game Predictions Summary
The Huddle
November 22, 2006
Season Ticket
Sunday Late
  CIN at CLE NYG at TEN   Updated

Prediction: SF 17, STL 24

Update: Arnaz Battle had surgery to insert two small screws into his hand on Monday but returned to practice on Thursday wearing a cast. He will have the cast removed for the game where he will wear a padded glove. Since this wil have an obvious effect on his ability to catch a pass, I am slightly lowering his projections. Antonio Bryant was arrested on SUnday night on suspicion of DUI, reckless driving and resisting arrest but he is still expected to play.

Here's an interesting game that was never supposed to be interesting. The 49ers have won their last three games and are now 5-5 and one game behind the Seahawks and one game ahead of the Rams. After a hot start this year, the Rams have lost their last five games and none as badly as their shutout last week. The 49ers are just 1-3 on the road but the Rams are only 2-2 at home and already lost to the 49ers 20-13 in San Francisco back in week two. This is a coin flip game but the time has come for the Rams to finally end their losing skid.

San Francisco 49ers (5-5)
1 27-34 @ARZ 10 19-13 @DET
2 20-13 STL 11 20-14 SEA
3 24-38 PHI 12 --- @STL
4 0-41 @KC 13 --- @NO
5 34-20 OAK 14 --- GB
6 19-48 SD 15 --- @SEA
7 Open Bye 16 --- ARZ
8 10-41 @CHI 17 --- @DEN
9 9-3 MIN - - THU
SFO at STL Rush Catch Pass
QB Alex Smith 0 0 180,1
RB Frank Gore 100,1 20 0
TE Eric Johnson 0 30 0
WR Antonio Bryant 0 70,1 0
WR Bryan Gilmore 0 20 0
WR Arnaz Battle 0 30 0
PK Joe Nedney 1 FG 2 XP -
Pregame Notes: Three weeks go by and now the 49ers are 5-5 on the season with a realistic chance at getting a playoff spot. Wins over the Vikings and Lions were hardly shocking but a complete victory over the visiting Seahawks last week says the 49ers are pointed in the right direction. The rushing game has been saving the day since the passing has been less than stellar and the defense has improved by not allowing more than 14 points in any of the last three games. But on the road - other than Detroit - the 49ers have never allowed less than 34 points. This week will show better how improved the defense is.

Quarterback: Alex Smith threw for 233 yards and one score against the Rams earlier this year. But over the last seven games, he's topped the 200 yard mark only once and had only two scores over the last four games. What's even worse is that he has remained at or below 165 passing yards in six of the last seven games. On the road it is even worse, with no more than 146 yards in the last three trips away from home and never more than one score in a road game.

Running Backs: Not too shabby. Frank Gore comes off a career high 212 rushing yards last week against the Seahawks for his fourth effort over 100 yards this season. He gained 127 yards on 29 carries and scored once against the Rams in week two. He's actually been better on the road than at home in most games where he has broken at least one long run in the last couple of trips. The run is working and that means Gore will be relied on as heavily as the 49ers can each week.

Wide Receivers: Antonio Bryant had his best game of the year back in week two when he caught four passes for 131 yards and one score. He's been almost a non-factor in every game since with just one score over the last eight games and only one effort over 58 yards. The lackluster passing numbers have stripped him of almost all fantasy value. Arnaz Battle turned in 78 yards on three receptions in the last match-up with the Rams and while he scored last week, he still has never had more than the 78 yards he had in week two. In most weeks, he remains safely under 40 yards per game.

Tight Ends: Eric Johnson had a respectable 48 yards on four catches last week for his best effort since week three. Vernon Davis returned to action after missing six games with a broken right leg. But Davis played only five snaps and did not have a pass thrown to him. He is back now but not contributing yet. I am projecting just for Johnson until Davis returns to the gameplan.

Match Against the Defense: Gore faces a defense that is among the worst at stopping the run. Guys like Noah Herron, Maurice Morris and DeAngelo Williams have run for more than 100 yards against them. Expect a nice game from Gore here from a high volume of carries with the chance he could break a long one and end up with a big game. He should score at least one time.

Smith has not been passing well or often lately be he plays against a secondary that has allowed the last eight opponents to throw at least one score if not up to three. Look for Smith to finally notch a touchdown in this game that should favor Bryant though he has been hard to rely on.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM    QB   RB   WR   TE   PK  DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points SF 24 7 24 24 9 17
Preventing Fantasy Points STL 12 30 27 7 22 20


St. Louis Rams (4-6)
1 18-10 DEN 10 22-24 @SEA
2 13-20 @SF 11 0-15 @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 vs SF Rush Catch Pass
QB Marc Bulger 0 0 270,2
RB Steven Jackson 100,1 40 0
TE J. Klopfenstein 0 10 0
WR Torry Holt 0 100,1 0
WR Isaac Bruce 0 60,1 0
WR Kevin Curtis 0 40 0
PK Jeff Wilkins 1 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: After starting the season 4-1, the Rams have hit hard times and are reeling from a five game losing streak. Marc Bulger had been playing well but has fallen off in the last three games and now even Steven Jackson struggled last week against the Panthers. The defense fell apart against offensive juggernauts of SEA, SD and KC and the schedule has not been kind over the last month. Not to worry - the rest of the season should be a cakewalk compared to the woes of the last five games with only one game against a winning record team. The loss of Orlando Pace is not going to help though; the Rams gave up seven sacks last week.

Quarterback: Marc Bulger still ranks #3 in the league with 2657 passing yards but has only 13 touchdowns. A big difference from years past - he still has only three interceptions on the season. One great sign this week is that Bulger has thrown for more than 300 yards in each of the last three home games with a total of seven scores. He only threw for 185 yards and one score in San Francisco but back at home should be better this time. As long as he can avoid being sacked.

Running Backs: Steven Jackson comes off his worst game of the year but he had scored in each of the previous four games despite playing four tough teams. He has not topped 100 rushing yards since week two when he last played the 49ers and gained 103 yards on 22 carries and added a couple of catches for 21 yards. It's been a tough month for the Rams but less so for Jackson. He'll miss Orlando Pace no doubt, but this is a great place for him to finally return to big yardage games.

Wide Receivers: Torry Holt had just five catches for 30 yards in San Francisco this year though he scored once during his five game scoring streak. The last month has been brutal for Holt without any scores or more than 73 yards in any game. He's overdue for a big game. Isaac Bruce had an eye injury last week that made him miss a couple of series but he returned to the game and should be okay this week. Bruce had 77 yards on five receptions in San Francisco this year.

Tight Ends: Joe Klopfenstein hasn't managed more than one catch per game for the last month - if even that much.

Match Against the Defense: The 49ers have been ranked badly against the run but much of that stems from big games given up to Tomlinson, Larry Johnson and Westbrook. Look for a nice effort here from Jackson but he'll be doing well enough to gain 100 yards and score once. The 49ers defense is playing better to be sure but on the road this game should see a much needed end to the streaks of both teams.

Bulger has thrown well at home this year and the road 49ers have always given up at least one score and more than 200 passing yards. Look for a return of the passing game but the Rams should run enough to keep Bulger from having a monster game. Holt gets the better match-up and is due for a big game at home.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM    QB   RB   WR   TE   PK  DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points STL 13 14 9 25 3 12
Preventing Fantasy Points SF 23 26 23 32 28 22