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

Prediction: ATL 14, NO 21

How can you not love football? The Saints were given up for dead and then overwhelmed the Seahawks in Seattle for their first win. The Falcons are coming off a short week after getting bullied by the Giants and are picking the wrong time to play the Saints. They should have tried them a couple of weeks ago.

The Saints swept the Falcons last season, winning 23-3 at home and later 31-13 in New Orleans.

Update: Alge Crumpler has not been able to practice this week with both knee and ankle injuries though he has not bee ruled out this week officially. I am removing him from the rankings. The Falcons have also benched Joey Harrington and will start Byron Leftwich this week. Obviously the offense will be simplified for Leftwich and his performance is pure speculation at this point. At least he faces the Saints secondary.

Atlanta Falcons (1-5)
Homefield: Georgia Dome
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @MIN 3-24 +3 36
2 @JAC 7-13 +11 34.5
3 CAR 20-27 +4 37.5
4 HOU 26-16 +2.5 39.5
5 @TEN 13-20 +8 41
6 NYG 10-31 +3 43.5
7 @NO   +9 43
8 BYE - - -
9 SF 4-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
10 @CAR 11-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
11 TB 18-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
12 IND 22-Nov THU 8:15 PM
13 @STL 2-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
14 NO 10-Dec MON 8:30 PM
15 @TB 16-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
16 @ARI 23-Dec SUN 4:05 PM
17 SEA 30-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
ATL at NO Rush Catch Pass
QB Byron Leftwich     200,1
QB Joey Harrington 220,1
RB Warrick Dunn 50 10  
RB Jerious Norwood 30,1 20  
TE Alge Crumpler 30
WR Joe Horn   50,1  
WR Michael Jenkins   40  
WR Roddy White   70  
PK Morten Andersen   2 XP  
Pregame Notes: It's all coming to a head in Atlanta. A 1-5 record thanks only to a home game against an injury ravaged Texans team and now the offense is getting worse each week. There is in-team fighting and talking about Michael Vick now is preferred instead of talking about the current team. The Giants spanked the Falcons in every way and this team is teetering on implosion.

Quarterback: Joey Harrington had a good chance to keep Chris Redman and Byron Leftwich on the bench but after throwing for only 87 yards against the Titans and then just 209 yards against the Giants without any scores, he's a short-timer to be sure even if only to make it look like the team is trying to win games (which is a major challenge anyway). Harrington should be the starter going into this week but no guarantees that he can leave the week eight bye week as the starter.

Running Backs: Warrick Dunn has run 83 times for 265 yards this year for an average of 3.2 yards per carry and a high of 62 yards. Jerious Norwood has turned 41 carries into 234 yards for an average of 5.7 yards per carry which is just a little lower than the 6.4 yards he was gaining last year. And Dunn is the starter who gets double the carries of Norwood. Why HC Bobby Petrino sticks with Dunn is one of the mysteries of the universe.

No Falcons runner had more than 54 rushing yards against the Saints last year.

Wide Receivers: This lethargic passing attack has declined into little more than Roddy White catching most of the passes thrown to him and the rest dropping most of theirs. White turns in at least 50 or 60 yards a week and remains the only wideout here with any consistency or even production. Laurent Robinson is making a play for more work but that has only equated to about 20 or 30 yards in a game. This unit and this offense is starting to smack of "next year" already. One caveat here - this is the chance for Joe Horn to get some revenge for releasing him this year.

No Falcons' wideout had more than 49 yards against the Saints last year and none scored.

Tight Ends: And down goes Alge Crumpler who can barely catch a pass anymore even in the rare event one is thrown to him. Crumpler only had one catch for nine yards on Monday and no longer can be considered an automatic starter in a fantasy league of less than 14 teams.

Crumpler turned in 43 and 49 yards in the two meetings with the Saints last year and never scored.

Match Against the Defense: The Saints rushing defense has quietly been rather good this year with only three runners allowed to score and no opposing runner gaining more than 61 rushing yards since week one. Holding Alexander to just 35 yards was the crowning glory in a game that was a surprise to say the least. But the Falcons stick with aging Warrick Dunn beyond reason so expect only moderate numbers at best here.

Harrington needs a decent game if he still remains the starter and the Saints should be the team to give it to him. At least they are the softest secondary to face the Falcons so far. Every opponent has scored at least two passing touchdowns other than David Carr who was injured in the game. Look for at least one passing score that should favor Joe Horn who really wants to do well this week. Much of this game depends on how good the Saints are now or if last week was just an aberration.

Gaining Fantasy Points ATL 29 24 22 16 23 23
Preventing Fantasy Points NO 26 14 31 13 24 20


New Orleans Saints (1-4)
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 13-16 -4 43
6 @SEA 28-17 +6 43
7 ATL   -9 43
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 ATL Rush Catch Pass
QB Drew Brees     250,2
RB Reggie Bush 70 50  
TE Eric Johnson   20  
WR Marques Colston   60,1  
WR Lance Moore   40,1  
WR David Patten   60  
PK Olindo Mare 1 FG 3 XP  

Pregame Notes: What a much needed difference one week makes. After floundering for the first four games with almost no sign of the offense that invoked fear in opponents last year, the Saints smacked down the Seahawks like everything had suddenly come together - even the defense. This week pits the Saints against one of the weakest teams in the league and then again in San Francisco next week. With the Rams following the Jags, there is a decent chance that the Saints could win three of their next four games but it all depends on whether last week was real or just a one week departure from mediocrity.

Quarterback: Drew Brees really had the same game against the Seahawks as he did against the Panthers in week five. The only difference was that the 250 passing yards were accompanied by two touchdowns instead of two interceptions and that does wonderful things to the scoreboard. For the first time this year, Brees had multiple scores, no interceptions and no sacks. A soft schedule is looming and the Saints are discovering that they can be successful passing, it just doesn't come from Colston and Henderson. It comes from David Patten and Lance Moore.

Brees threw for only 191 yards and no scores in the home meeting with the Saints last year but gained 349 passing yards and two scores in the match-up in Atlanta.

Running Backs: The Saints are intent on using Reggie Bush as an every down back now that Deuce McAllister is gone. Bush has ran 40 times in the last two games and while he only had 67 yards on 21 carries against the Panthers, he turned in a career high 97 yards on 19 runs last Sunday in Seattle. He still turns in around six catches for 40 yards per week, but for one week - if only one week - Bush was ripping off nice runs.

In comparison, Aaron Stecker only gained 17 yards on eight carries last week.

Bush never had a decent game against the Falcons last year. He never gained more than 53 rushing yards or 21 receiving yards against them.

Wide Receivers: While Marques Colston retains his role as the #1 receiver in this scheme, that hasn't accounted for much production lately. Colston had one score in Seattle but it came on his only catch and gained just two yards. He only had 31 yards on four receptions against the Panthers. Problem is that every secondary is scheming to take him out of the Saints gameplan each week and it is working. The Saints have now gone to a rotational #2 wideout with David Patten, Lance Moore and Devery Henderson taking turns. Moore started on Sunday and had 35 yards on three catches but scored once on an end-around. David Patten blew up for eight catches for 118 yards. And Henderson only had one pass thrown to him that was incomplete. With the offense finally clicking for the first time this year, expect the same roles again this week with even less consideration for Henderson.

Colston gained 97 yards against the Falcons last year but did not play in the away game. Devery Henderson had 158 yards on just four receptions and scored once in the away game.

Tight Ends: Eric Johnson snagged his first touchdown of the year last week but still only had two catches for 12 yards. With the potential rebirth of the wideouts, there's no reason to expect Johnson to have more action.

Match Against the Defense: Hard to jump on the bandwagon quite yet but Reggie Bush looked good running in Seattle and at home against the Falcons should see at least moderate rushing yards and decent receptions to total a good game. The Falcons have only allowed two rushing scores this year, so expect Bush to have a significant role as a receiver.

Brees faces a secondary that has always allowed a touchdown other than against the Titans and the Falcons have done so poorly this year that most teams have not thrown the ball much against them. Look for a couple of scores here and good passing yardage. DeAngelo Hall matches up against either Moore or Patten unless they swap him to cover Colston. The Saints use enough formations to get more favorable match-ups anyway. I like the chance for a defensive score in this game.

Gaining Fantasy Points NO 27 17 16 18 31 26
Preventing Fantasy Points ATL 15 23 12 17 23 25

The Huddle
~ 2007 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday night
On Bye

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