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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
Player Projections by Team
Game Predictions Summary
The Huddle
November 29, 2006
Season Ticket
Sunday Late
Sunday night
ATL at WAS MIN at CHI   TB at PIT Updated

Prediction: ARZ 17, STL 24

The Cardinals bring their 0-5 road record to St. Louis where the Rams finally killed a five game losing streak by clipping the 49ers last week. The Rams have been struggling on offense over the last month but there is no denying that the Cardinals on the road are as close to a given as it gets in the NFL.

This is the second meeting for these two teams. The Rams hung on to win 16-14 when they were the visitors in week three.

Arizona Cardinals (2-9)
1 34-27 SF 10 10-27 DAL
2 10-21 @SEA 11 17-10 DET
3 14-16 STL 12 26-31 @MIN
4 10-32 @ATL 13 --- @STL
5 20-23 KC 14 --- SEA
6 23-24 CHI 15 --- DEN
7 9-22 @OAK 16 --- @SF
8 14-31 @GB 17 --- @SD
9 Open Bye - - MON
ARZ at STL Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Leinart 0 0 250,2
RB Edgerrin James 60 10 0
TE Adam Bergen 0 20 0
WR Anquan Boldin 0 100,1 0
WR Larry Fitzgerald 0 80,1 0
WR Bryant Johnson 0 40 0
PK Neil Rackers 1 FG 2 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Cardinals finally had a big game on the road from Leinart last week but still could not keep pace with what the Arizona defense was giving up. Leinart will need to continue that sort of progress because the remaining schedule here is nothing short of disastrous. There are three road games left to play and the only two home stands go against the Seahawks and Denver. So what can you buy next April with a 2-14 record?

Quarterback: While Matt Leinart still has yet to throw for 300 yards in the NFL, he has his first 400 yard game when he completed 31 of 51 passes for 405 yards and one score in Minnesota last week. His two interceptions were a problem as they have been the last five games when he tossed up seven of them against only three touchdowns.

Warner was still the starter in week three when these teams met and he had 256 yards and one touchdown against three interceptions.

Running Backs: So maybe it really can get worse. Edgerrin James comes off his worst game of the year when he only ran four times for 15 yards and took a seat while the passing game got all the play in Minnesota last Sunday. Unfortunately he was not included in that attack, catching his normal two receptions for ten yards. James gained 94 yards on 24 carries and scored once against the Rams in week three. That was his best fantasy game of the year.

Wide Receivers: When the Cardinals only use two wideouts and yet Leinart throws for 405 yards, it pays big dividends to own Anquan Boldin (9-140, 1 TD) or Larry Fitzgerald (11-172) on your fantasy team. That monster showing was the first time Fitzgerald had been above 80 yards in a game since week one. Boldin had a big game against the Rams last time, catching 10 passes for 129 yards while Fitzgerald only had six receptions for 65 yards and one score.

Tight Ends: In what was the best showing by any Cardinals tight end this year, Adam Bergen had three catches for 32 yards last week. Of course he lost a fumble too but at least he had a catch. Leonard Pope hasn't managed more than one catch in a game this year outside of week four when he had two receptions.

Match Against the Defense: The Cardinals on the road are always less effective and while James had a nice game last time against the Rams, it's unlikely he will do anything more than moderate yardage in this game. The Rams only rank 31st against the run but it will depend on how close the game is as to whether James gets enough carries to total much here. If they end up near the goal line, James could bull one over but it is unlikely he is going to get them there in the first place.

Leinart faces a secondary that has never allowed more than 268 yards this season but mostly because opponents run better than the Cardinals do. Expect two passing scores that should have Boldin catch at least one of them. I'll credit Fitzgerald with the other because no other receiver matters here much.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM    QB   RB   WR   TE   PK  DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points ARZ 12 31 3 30 24 8
Preventing Fantasy Points STL 11 31 25 9 20 19


St. Louis Rams (5-6)
1 18-10 DEN 10 22-24 @SEA
2 13-20 @SF 11 0-15 @CAR
3 16-14 @ARZ 12 20-17 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 ARZ Rush Catch Pass
QB Marc Bulger 0 0 240,2
RB Steven Jackson 100,1 40 0
TE J. Klopfenstein 0 10 0
WR Torry Holt 0 80,1 0
WR Isaac Bruce 0 50 0
WR Kevin Curtis 0 50,1 0
PK Jeff Wilkins 1 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Rams finally ended their five game losing skid and this week is a great opportunity to notch a much needed win. With remaining games against ARZ, OAK, WAS and MIN, there is a good chance that the Rams end up with at least a .500 record if they can get the offense kick started. The Bears are the only remaining opponent with a winning record.

Quarterback: Marc Bulger finally admitted that he has been bothered by a rib injury and taking pain shots in order to play each week. He aggravated it last week and missed a series. That goes far to explain why he went from tossing 300+ yard games nearly every week to stumbling the last three weeks with just one touchdown and never more than 215 passing yards. Bulger has overthrown and underthrown many passes each week and wrecked a great year that Holt was having.

Bulger threw for 309 yards and one score in Arizona this year.

Running Backs: Steven Jackson comes off his best game of the year when he ran for 121 yards on 23 carries and caught nine passes for 71 yards against the 49ers last week. He ran in one touchdown as well. Jackson has been good for one score each game in four of the last five weeks and while he had not topped 100 rushing yards since week two, he has been well over 100 total yards in most games this year.

Jackson gained just 62 yards on 24 carries but added 59 yards on three receptions against the Cards earlier this year.

Wide Receivers: Maybe the bad ribs of Bulger is the reason, but Torry Holt went from being the top fantasy wideout with seven scores by week six to not scoring since and never gaining more than 73 yards a game in that time. Last week was a season low of just 30 yards on four catches despite being targeted 12 times in the game. Isaac Bruce remains constant at around 60 yards each week but he has scored only once this year and that was back in week four. Kevin Curtis was the best wideout last week because he had the only passing score and even then he had only 41 yards on three catches.

Holt reeled in eight catches for 120 yards and one score against the Rams in week three. Bruce had three receptions for 79 yards. When Bulger was healthy, this match-up was a goldmine.

Tight Ends: Joe Klopfenstein suffered a concussion last week but I am assuming he will be cleared to play this week. The Rams may need that one catch.

Match Against the Defense: The Cardinals have given up seven rushing touchdowns to opposing backs on the road so look for a very nice game here by Jackson. He should notch one touchdown and rack up well over 100 total yards. The Cardinals just lost NT Kendrick Clancy to a sprained ankle so the running lanes should be even more clear this time.

Bulger should be able to rip this secondary up but now that it is admitted that he is playing with sore ribs that may not happen. Look for at least one score here and decent yardage but it could turn into a big game if he proves healthy.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM    QB   RB   WR   TE   PK  DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points STL 13 12 8 26 2 13
Preventing Fantasy Points ARZ 21 26 17 16 31 27