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

Prediction: CAR 24, NO 20

Now here is one messy game. The Panthers are 2-2 and their only wins have come on the road but the loss of Jake Delhomme could prove catastrophic for an offense that was teetering anyway. But the Saints only positive right now is that they come off their bye week and have had plenty of time to decide where it all went horribly, horribly wrong and that was before they lost McAllister.

The Panthers swept the Saints last year, winning 21-18 at home in week four and later 31-21 in New Orleans during a meaningless week 17 game.

Carolina Panthers (2-2)
Homefield: Bank of America Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @STL 27-13 -1 42
2 HOU 21-34 -6.5 39
3 @ATL 27-20 -4 37.5
4 TB 7-20 -3 39
5 @NO   +3 44
6 @ARI 14-Oct SUN 4:05 PM
7 BYE - - -
8 IND 28-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
9 @TEN 4-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
10 ATL 11-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
11 @GB 18-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
12 NO 25-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
13 SF 2-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
14 @JAC 9-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
15 SEA 16-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
16 DAL 22-Dec SAT 8:15 PM
17 @TB 30-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
CAR at NO Rush Catch Pass
QB David Carr 30   220,2
RB DeShaun Foster 80,1 10  
RB DeAngelo Williams 30 20  
TE Jeff King   20  
WR Steve Smith   90,1  
WR Keary Colbert   20  
WR Drew Carter   50,1  
PK John Kasay 1 FG 3 XP  
Pregame Notes: The Panthers have enjoyed what proved to be an extremely light schedule so far this season and yet still managed to lose both home games while beating just the Rams and the Falcons who combine for a 1-7 record currently. And now they face the 0-3 Saints. The Panthers actually have one of the lighter schedules in the league and without Delhomme now do not appear able to take advantage of it.

Quarterback: Jake Delhomme remains out this week with an elbow that may require surgery. That means at least for the next two weeks that David Carr is the starting quarterback and depending on that elbow, Carr may end up the starter for the rest of the year. That would not be a positive for the Panthers who acquired Carr as a veteran back-up to Delhomme for just this sort of situation. But on Sunday his first start as a Panther only completed 19 of 41 passes for 155 yards, one score and one interception. At home. Steve Smith has gone from being an elite wideout to providing numbers like he was a tight end.

Delhomme only averaged 190 passing yards against the Saints last year but had two touchdowns in each game.

Running Backs: Other than the one Atlanta match-up, the Panthers have not ran very well this year and have only one rushing touchdown which came in Atlanta (of course). With the passing game diminished under Carr, DeShaun Foster could only gain 64 yards on 15 carries last week and DeAngelo Williams fell to only two runs. The rushing game should see much improvement this week if only because they are facing the Saints but longer term, the loss of Delhomme will have a big negative effect on Foster's numbers and could render Williams completely useless. Thankfully, the remaining schedule is almost as light as the first four weeks.

Foster enjoyed good outings against the Saints last year and ran for 79 yards and one score in New Orleans. He also had 105 rushing yards and a score when the Saints visited.

Wide Receivers: While Carr has only started one game and will assumedly improve, he has plenty of room to do it based on last week. Steve Smith was held to only five catches for 32 yards and most of that came late in the game. No other wideout had more than two catches or 16 receiving yards. This week should provide a very realistic picture of what this unit can accomplish under David Carr because it really does not get much better than facing the Saints.

Smith caught seven passes for 85 yards and two scores at home against the Saints last season and had ten receptions for 87 yards and a score in New Orleans.

Tight Ends: If you liked how well Jeff King was coming along this year, don't bother looking at the box score last week because Carr only connected once with King for a 14 yard gain though he did throw four incompletions to him.

Match Against the Defense: This is harder to call since the Saints have been spending their bye week trying to solve their significant problems but without McAllister it is safe to assume that not that much will be changing. That means the Saints will be throwing more and in turn, the Panthers will have more time to run the ball against a defense that has never failed to allow at least one rushing score in a game. Look for decent numbers from Foster this week with one score that could grow big if Carr shows up improved.

Carr should be better this week too since he goes against a secondary that has allowed at least two passing scores in every game and monster games were given to Wayne and Galloway. This is the week that Smith should have good numbers again - if Carr cannot connect with him here then the Panthers future outlook is dim.

Gaining Fantasy Points CAR 9 10 11 14 25 32
Preventing Fantasy Points NO 11 13 19 14 12 23


New Orleans Saints (0-3)
Homefield: Superdome
Sportexe Turf
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @IND 10-41 +6 51.5
2 @TB 14-31 -3.5 41.5
3 TEN 14-31 -4 45
4 BYE - - -
5 CAR   -3 44
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
NOR vs CAR Rush Catch Pass
QB Drew Brees     240,2
RB Reggie Bush 30 40  
RB Aaron Stecker 30 10  
TE Eric Johnson   20  
WR Marques Colston   70,1  
WR David Patten   20  
WR Lance Moore   60,1  
PK Olindo Mare 2 FG 2 XP  

Pregame Notes: Consider it official. It is not merely a slow start and it is not over-confidence. The Saints took whatever magic they had in 2006 and have shipped it elsewhere (guesses include the Packers). Already struggling, the loss of Deuce McAllister may be the worst possible thing that could happen to this team. The passing game has been painfully short this year and only a great rushing game would have helped draw the defense closer but now the Saints are looking for answers to questions they do not want to ask. Like "Who dat gonna lose to the Saints?"... and cue crickets...

Quarterback: The #1 passing attack for yardage last year now only averages 226 yards per game and has scored a total of just one touchdown on the year. Drew Brees only really played in 15 games last year and scored in 13 of them. Almost half his games featured multiple touchdowns. He only threw 12 interceptions last season and currently has seven in just the first three games. So far the only positive in this passing game is that Colston has come to life if only compared to every other receiver for this team. Besides, he has the only passing touchdown of the season.

Brees threw for 349 yards and one score in Carolina last year but barely played in the week 17 match-up with the Panthers.

Running Backs: The loss of McAllister may not change the rushing game much based on what it has done so far this season but the prospects for a much needed improvement look far slimmer with Aaron Stecker sharing the load with Reggie Bush. So far Bush has carried the ball 29 times for a total of 80 yards - that's only 2.8 yards per carry, It could be a long year if Bush is going to be the primary running back - he is not cut out for that sort of work load.

Bush never gained more than 22 rushing yards against the Panthers in 2006 and never had more than 48 receiving yards against them.

Wide Receivers: This unit was like a beautiful statue last year that now has lost its arms. After three games, the best effort by any wideout was Marques Colston gaining 70 yards against the Buccaneers. Devery Henderson has taken his golden opportunity and only caught four passes this year and was sent to the sideline last game. David Patten had 66 yards in the second game but then only had one catch against the Titans. The only player that appears able to exceed expectations here is the second year player Lance Moore because he has nine catches for 100 yards on the season when no one expected any. Without a rushing game to support them, the long catches which were standard last year have disappeared. The lone bright spot here has been Moore and he will continue to buy himself more playing time by outperforming the others.

Colston had five catches for 132 yards and one score in the week four meeting with the Panthers but did not play in the season finale against them.

Tight Ends: Eric Johnson started the year with eight catches for 57 yards because the over-matched Saints were not allowed to throw to anyone else at the end of the Colts game. He has since only had 18 and 23 yards in the last two games and without McAllister there, the need for more blockers will likely make him used even less as a receiver.

Match Against the Defense: The Saints rushing attack has been lethargic even before McAllister was injured so it is hard to expect much here with Bush and Aaron Stecker taking over the workload. Look for only minimal rushing here because it will be split between Bush and Stecker anyway.

It will take a big effort by Drew Brees to win this game and the Panthers secondary has given up at least one passing score each week and usually two. Going purely by past numbers, this should be just another moderate game by Colston and Brees but with two weeks to prepare and plenty of motivation to play well, I expect a little more from the Saints. New Orleans is going to have to change the way they play without McAllister and that is going to have to involve the wideouts more.

Gaining Fantasy Points NO 30 27 26 30 32 31
Preventing Fantasy Points CAR 21 15 18 19 26 19

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