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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
The Huddle
~ 2007 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday night

Prediction: NO 24, TB 13

Both these teams were spanked last week but the Saints swept the Buccaneers last season, winning 24-21 at home in week 5 and later on the road 31-14 during week 9. With Carnell Williams hurting and Jeff Garcia a bit woozy, the Saints finally get back on the winning track this week.

Update: Carnell Williams has returned to practice but is no lock to play this week by any means since his bruised ribs remain an issue. I am not adding him back into the projections but there is still a chance that he could play. Given the difference between he and Michael Pittman, there is a very good chance that the decision would intentionally not be made until game time so check the inactives before you intend on relying on either Pittman or WIlliams.

New Orleans Saints (0-1)
Homefield: Superdome
Sportexe Turf
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @IND 10-41 +6 51.5
2 @TB 16-Sep -3 42
3 TEN 24-Sep MON 8:30 PM
4 BYE - - -
5 CAR 7-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
6 @SEA 14-Oct SUN 8:15 PM
7 ATL 21-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
8 @SF 28-Oct SUN 4:15 PM
9 JAC 4-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
10 STL 11-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
11 @HOU 18-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
12 @CAR 25-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
13 TB 2-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
14 @ATL 10-Dec MON 8:30 PM
15 ARI 16-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
16 PHI 23-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
17 @CHI 30-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
NO at TB Rush Catch Pass
QB Drew Brees     260,2
RB Reggie Bush 30 30  
RB Deuce McAllister 60,1    
TE Eric Johnson   20  
WR Marques Colston   70,1  
WR Devery Henderson   80,1  
WR David Patten   40  
PK Olindo Mare 3 XP 1 FG  
Pregame Notes: It was an ugly way to open the season when the Saints were demolished by the Colts in the national game last Thursday. Every bit of progress that the Saints had made last season seemed to disappear while the Colts stopped the Saints cold in every facet of the game. But there's been ten days to prepare for this week and the Saints were able to handle the Bucs in 2006. A win here and again in the home opener next week and that early bye week will feel a lot better.

Quarterback: Drew Brees only managed to throw for 192 yards last week and much of that came right at the end with the game was far out of reach. The inspired Colts took away the long ball on every play and limited Brees to flipping the ball to his tight end but it was just one game against the world champion Colts who served notice that they are still the champs. This week should get Brees back on track.

In the home meeting with the Bucs last year, Brees only threw for 171 yards and one score but later had 314 yards and three touchdowns in Tampa Bay.

Running Backs: Last week's forgettable production included an even split on carries and yardage for both Deuce McAllister and Reggie Bush and the Colts were so complete on defense they held Bush to only seven yards on four catches. Bush could struggle again this week since he never scored on the Bucs last season and only had a total of 17 net yards in Tampa Bay. He had 86 yards in New Orleans when he faced them because he had 11 catches for 63 yards in that game.

McAllister, however, did score in each game and even had 123 yards in the home contest but then only 44 yards in Tampa Bay.

Wide Receivers: This supposed strength of the Saints only accounted for 11 catches for 99 yards last week with Marques Colston leading the way with only six catches for 47 yards. Colston only served up 38 yards in New Orleans against the Bucs in 2006 but four weeks later had 123 yards on 11 catches and one score in Tampa Bay. Devery Henderson had 111 yards and two scores in that game as well.

Tight Ends: With every thing else taken away, Eric Johnson turned in a big game of 57 yards on eight catches against the Colts but most of that came in the final two drives with the defense just defending the wideouts. Too early to believe that Johnson is more than the last resort in this offense.

Match Against the Defense: The Saints need a feel good game but the Buccaneers defense is no worse than last year and likely a bit better. With ten days to prepare, expect much more from the Saints this week against a very well known opponent who will be fielding a lesser offense thanks to injuries. The Bucs have been very good at limiting Bush but McAllister should come through with a score and decent yardage this week.

Brees had a huge game in Tampa Bay last year and he'll have more to work with than Hasselbeck did last week. But he is also playing in Tampa Bay which usually means a better showing by the defense. Look for Brees to have a good showing this week and to connect for two scores. One should favor Henderson and the other Colston or Patten. Colston draws Ronde Barber but he has beaten him before and Colston also will move around the offense.

Gaining Fantasy Points NO 26 24 25 9 24 13
Preventing Fantasy Points TB 20 31 11 20 20 21


Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-1)
Homefield: Raymond James Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @SEA 6-20 +6 41
2 NO 16-Sep +3 42
3 STL 23-Sep SUN 1:00 PM
4 @CAR 30-Sep SUN 4:05 PM
5 @IND 7-Oct SUN 4:05 PM
6 TEN 14-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
7 @DET 21-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
8 JAC 28-Oct SUN 4:05 PM
9 ARI 4-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
10 BYE - - -
11 @ATL 18-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
12 WAS 25-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
13 @NO 2-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
14 @HOU 9-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
15 ATL 16-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
16 @SF 23-Dec SUN 8:15 PM
17 CAR 30-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
TB vs NO Rush Catch Pass
QB Jeff Garcia     230,1
RB Michael Pittman 50 30  
TE Alex Smith   20  
WR Joey Galloway   90,1  
WR Maurice Stovall   20  
WR Ike Hilliard   30  
PK Matt Bryant 2 FG 1 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Tampa Bay defense has long been undermined by an ineffective offense and that could be even worse this week with Carnell Williams likely out and Jeff Garcia returning from a slight concussion. The Buccaneers are still searching for their first touchdown of the year and without Williams are down to Joy Galloway and... and... well, not a lot else. This is not a time to get into a shootout.

Quarterback: Jeff Garcia's debut with the Buccaneers looked oddly similar to what Chris Simms or even Bruce Gradkowski likely would have done. Garcia threw for 201 yards and no scores and only ran once for three yards. His scrambling days are behind him now and getting tagged by a linebacker last week won't make him any more interested in running in the future.

Gradkowski was the starter in both meetings with the Saints last year and scored twice in each though he never had more than 225 passing yards.

Running Backs: With Carnell Williams likely to miss this week with bruised ribs, the rushing duties will fall to Michael Pittman and Ernest Graham. Williams was actually running pretty well last week and had 60 yards on just 12 carries before getting injured but in his place Pittman only gained six yards on three carries and Graham turned four runs into just 11 yards.

Williams ran for 111 yards in New Orleans last year but later only managed 39 yards on 12 carries while at home.

Wide Receivers: The hunt for a complement to Joey Galloway continues. In Seattle last week Galloway hauled in a team high five catches for 72 yards but little else happened with this crew. Ike Hilliard played and gained 49 yards on four receptions while David Boston injured his foot in pregame warm ups and did not play. Maurice Stovall was active but never even had a pass and Michael Clayton turned in just one catch for 11 yards. All this in a game that the Bucs lost by 14 points. Tampa Bay already has the oldest starting wideout with Galloway and have no one on the roster capable to play along with him, let alone ever replace him.

Galloway had big efforts in both meetings with the Saints last season, gaining 110 and 97 yards while scoring once and later twice against them. No other receiver had more than 38 yards in either game. It is the Buccaneer way.

Tight Ends: Alex Smith had two catches for 23 yards last week but has never taken the step up into being a consistent target. Jerramy Stevens was active but not used.

Match Against the Defense: With the rushing game likely to falter without Williams, the Bucs have no way to control the game. Look for only moderate yards from Pittman and Graham and that may require their production to be combined to have any significance.

Garcia should play this week and he is facing a secondary that can be exploited but not even a change in quarterback has shown this team of producing via the pass outside of Joey Galloway. He is a definite start this week but none of the other Buccaneers are.

Gaining Fantasy Points NO 28 26 29 28 31 27
Preventing Fantasy Points TB 23 23 18 24 21 28

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