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

Prediction: STL 14, TB 16

The Rams stumble to 0-2 while wondering who all these new faces on their offensive line are. The Bucs come off a big win at home against the Saints and this week is a very nice chance to get that winning record. This game ends up much closer than it seems it should because the Buccaneers are not that good and the Rams are not that bad. But played in Tampa Bay still favors the Bucs.

St. Louis Rams (0-2)
Homefield: Edward Jones Dome
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 CAR 13-27 +1 42
2 SF 16-17 -3 44
3 @TB 23-Sep +4 38.5
4 @DAL 30-Sep SUN 1:00 PM
5 ARI 7-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
6 @BAL 14-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
7 @SEA 21-Oct SUN 4:15 PM
8 CLE 28-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
9 BYE - - -
10 @NO 11-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
11 @SF 18-Nov SUN 4:15 PM
12 SEA 25-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
13 ATL 2-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
14 @CIN 9-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
15 GB 16-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
16 PIT 20-Dec THU 8:15 PM
17 @ARI 30-Dec SUN 4:15 PM
STL at TB Rush Catch Pass
QB Marc Bulger     250,1
RB Steven Jackson 70,1 20  
TE Randy McMichael   20  
WR Torry Holt   80,1  
WR Isaac Bruce   50  
WR Drew Bennett   70  
PK Jeff Wilkins 2 XP    
Pregame Notes: Losing to the 49ers last week was a very deep wound for the Rams who ruined their chance for a good start to the season when they had two home games to start. Now they face four road games in the next five weeks and this is not looking pretty. The once high-flying offense now only has scored about 14 points per game.

Quarterback: After a lackluster season opener, Marc Bulger bounced back with a 368 yard game against the 49ers with one score. He still has not thrown an interception this year. But Bulger is getting beaten up each week and suffered six sacks last Sunday. He had sore ribs and a slightly sprained knee from his efforts but should play this week without limitation.

Running Backs: What's wrong with Steven Jackson? The answer is that he is not the same runner when he meets defenders prior to reaching the line of scrimmage. The Rams have been hard hit already with offensive line injuries and losing LT Orlando Pace simply cannot be replaced. Jackson has gained about 60 rushing yards in each of the first two games but only has four catches so far. Jackson opened up the offense last year and now he's marked man with turnstiles on the corners of the offensive line. To make matters worse, Brian Leonard is taking three catches per week away from Jackson.

Wide Receivers: Isaac Bruce exploited the weakness in the 49ers secondary last week when he gained 145 yards on eight catches but that came only one week after he was held to just three receptions in the opener. Torry Holt has been solid with about 75 yards and a score in both games but few others have helped. Drew Bennett played last week and had eight passes thrown to him but he only snared three of them for 42 yards. This group is still very good but without the running game of last year, they are being limited.

Tight Ends: Randy McMichael was evidently brought over to catch two passes each week and to never score. Even facing good corners the last two weeks did not persuade the Rams to use McMichael more.

Match Against the Defense: The Rams hit the road where it has to be expected to see a slight downgrade and in steamy Tampa Bay instead of the air conditioned dome in St. Louis, the Rams will be at another slight disadvantage. Jackson faces a defense that has allowed a rushing score to their first two opponents. Look for a decent game from his with a shot at a score.

Bulger goes against a secondary that has been softer than usual in allowed 240 passing yards per game. But no receiver has managed more than 70 yards against them so far. Look for one passing score here and some decent yardage that comes as trash at the end if nothing else. The Rams will likely move Holt around to get him away from CB Ronde Barber.

Gaining Fantasy Points STL 12 30 10 22 10 15
Preventing Fantasy Points TB 16 28 13 10 8 9


Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-1)
Homefield: Raymond James Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @SEA 6-20 +6 41
2 NO 31-14 +3.5 41.5
3 STL 23-Sep -4 38.5
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 STL Rush Catch Pass
QB Jeff Garcia     230,1
RB Carnell Williams 60    
RB Michael Pittman 20 20  
TE Alex Smith   30  
WR Joey Galloway   90,1  
WR Michael Clayton   20  
WR Ike Hilliard   50  
PK Matt Bryant 3 FG 1 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Buccaneers come off a feel good win over the Saints last week thanks in no small part to the poor defensive play by New Orleans. Carnell Williams nearly earned back his Cadillac nickname and the Jeff Garcia acquisition appears to be a big positive. This week is as easy as it will get for the Buccaneers at least until week 15 when they host the Falcons.

Quarterback: After passing for only 201 yards and no scores in the opener, Jeff Garcia was on the mark when he completed 10 of 16 passes for 243 yards and two scores against the Saints. He wisely went to Joey "money" Galloway for both scores and while this offense still needs to diversify beyond just the one wideout, that should be enough this week anyway. This is a tune-up game for Garcia who then has to play on the road in three of the next four games.

Running Backs: After suffering bruised ribs in week one, Carnell Williams gutted out last week and scored twice against the Saints. He only had one touchdown in the entire 2006 season. Williams also only gained 61 yards on 24 carries for a 2.5 YPC but he scored twice and actually showed up in fantasy leagues as a decent play last week. Michael Pittman helped out last week by carrying for five runs and 18 yards. This is just not a very good rushing attack and impossible to rely on for touchdowns.

Wide Receivers: Joey Galloway turned in 135 yards and two scores on just four catches last week because the Saints forgot he has to be covered every single play. He is the only wideout here that matters and Bucs are getting very little from any other players. Ike Hilliard is the next best with a shocking 50 yards per game which cannot last since Hilliard has never been consistent while in Tampa Bay. Either it happens with Galloway or it doesn't happen at all.

Tight Ends: Alex Smith has been good for around two catches per week and is averaging 15 yards per catch.

Match Against the Defense: The Rams defense really hasn't been that bad so far. Opponents have rushed well against them but even Gore only had 81 yards last week as a season high so far. With Williams already doubling his scoring from 2006, expect a return to minimal fantasy numbers here,

Garcia faces a secondary that was shredded by Delhomme in week one in a similar situation where the opponent only had one decent wideout and still could not stop him. Look for a score this week from Garcia that has to favor Galloway - no other receiver here has done enough to warrant consideration. There is a decent chance that Galloway gets two as well.

Gaining Fantasy Points TB 19 18 15 23 21 22
Preventing Fantasy Points STL 10 24 16 7 17 13

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