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

Prediction: SF 13, ATL 17

The great aspect to this game is that one of these teams has to win. The 49ers are on a five game losing streak while Atlanta has only lost their last three games. But the 49ers are only 1-3 on the road (and thanks only to a one point win over the Rams) while the Falcons only win came at home. Close game that will be sloppy enough that anything can happen but the Falcons are coming off their bye week and should notch their second win here. This is basically the same team that exists on both coasts.

Update: Darrell Jackson has returned to practice after missing last week with a quad strain. He is expected to play and has been added to the projections. Frank Gore was limited this week but is expected to play. He will not be 100% and as we saw last week, he could end up aggravating his ankle sprain again, particularly on the unforgiving carpet in the Georgia Dome. I am slightly lowering his projection.

Alge Crumpler is still bothered by his knee and ankle sprain and has been held out of practice. I am removing him from the projections.

San Francisco 49ers (2-5)
Homefield: Monster Park
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 ARI 20-17 -3.5 45
2 @STL 17-16 +3 44
3 @PIT 16-37 +9 35.5
4 SEA 3-23 +1.5 40.5
5 BAL 7-9 +3.5 34.5
6 BYE - - -
7 @NYG 6-33 +9.5 40
8 NO 10-31 +2.5 40
9 @ATL   +3 37
10 @SEA 12-Nov MON 8:30 PM
11 STL 18-Nov SUN 4:15 PM
12 @ARI 25-Nov SUN 4:05 PM
13 @CAR 2-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
14 MIN 9-Dec SUN 4:05 PM
15 CIN 15-Dec SAT 8:15 PM
16 TB 23-Dec SUN 8:15 PM
17 @CLE 30-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
SFO at ATL Rush Catch Pass
QB Alex Smith 20   210,1
RB Frank Gore 60 10  
TE Vernon Davis   60,1  
WR Bryan Gilmore   10  
WR Darrell Jackson   50  
WR Arnaz Battle   50  
WR Ashley Lelie   20  
PK Joe Nedney 2 FG 1 XP  
Pregame Notes: It's getting pretty hard to remember how the 49ers started the season with two wins since they have strung five straight losses together while losing almost all ability to score points. Over the last four games, they only produced a total of 26 points while Frank Gore has become the object of desire for every defensive player. What's even worse is a defense that has given up 64 points over the last two games. Alex Smith is back but the 49ers may need to wait until week 11 when the Rams come to town in order to get that third win on the season.

Quarterback: Alex Smith returned last week after missing two games with a shoulder injury but going against the soft Saints secondary he still only had 190 passing yards and one score which is apparently around his ceiling. The only favorable development was his use of tight end Vernon Davis last week but it just comes at the expense of other receivers - it did not add to the passing game.

Running Backs: As if the offense wasn't already bad enough, Frank Gore re-aggravated his ankle sprain last week and left the game after only 12 carries for 41 yards. His ankle has been an issue for the last couple of weeks and even with the re-injury, he is expected to play even if he doesn't practice much this week according to early word on the situation. Gore still hasn't scored since week two and he hasn't had more than 16 carries in any game since then as well.

Wide Receivers: Darrell Jackson did not suit up last week because of his quadriceps strain and may not play this week. Ashley Lelie had the start and only managed to catch three passes for 20 yards while Arnaz Battle also had three catches for 22 yards. Smith has rarely connected much with these wideouts and preferred Jackson the most. I will not project for Jackson and will update if warranted. This was already one of the worst passing attacks in the league.

Tight Ends: Maybe it comes a year and a half later than desired, but at least Vernon Davis has finally turned in a big game worthy of his high draft selection. Davis reeled in six catches for 71 yards and scored once. He showed nice speed and good hands. He was also facing just the Saints secondary but any progress is welcomed and gives Davis and Smith something to build upon.

Match Against the Defense: The Falcons rush defense has been fairly solid though it has allowed five touchdowns to running backs over the last four games. Must teams only end up around 80 or 90 yards for their runners and that is in games where the Falcons trail anyway. With Gore banged up, look for only moderate rushing numbers and while there could be a rushing score here, it may not go to Gore if his ankle is bothering him.

Smith faces a secondary that always gives up a passing score but that is about his limit anyway - just one. This should be a nice place for Davis to continue to look good against a defense that has already given up four 50+ yard games to tight ends this year.

Gaining Fantasy Points SF 31 28 28 25 31 30
Preventing Fantasy Points ATL 16 27 11 17 16 24


Atlanta Falcons (1-6)
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 31-10 +4.5 43
7 @NO 16-22 +9 43
8 BYE - - -
9 SF   -3 37
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 vs SF Rush Catch Pass
QB Joey Harrington     230,1
RB Warrick Dunn 50 10  
RB Jerious Norwood 50,1 30  
TE Alge Crumpler 30
WR Joe Horn   20  
WR Michael Jenkins   40  
WR Roddy White   60,1  
PK Morten Andersen 1 FG 2 XP  

Pregame Notes: The 1-6 Falcons are teetering on the brink of collapse with a divide between coaches and players turned into a chasm with the release of DT Grady Jackson last week. DeAngelo Hall was very vocal about his thoughts almost to the point of taunting HC Bobby Petrino and team management about the cutting of the team leader in tackles this year. It certainly looks like the team is prepping for a big transition in the offseason and throwing away the chance to field the best possible team now. Whether it was a calculated move by management or a statement that says no player is safe remains to be seen, but for a team already struggling to win any game it is a surprise.

Quarterback: With Byron Leftwich out of the picture this week, Joey Harrington not only gets to start, he also knows that he is not the first choice for the team. He's only had two games with any scores and both came at home. The team needs a leader to step up and take some control but all they have is second choice Harrington who knows he may not be with the team next year.

Running Backs: Needless to say, the hilarity continues with Warrick Dunn as the starter and in the last game he gained a whopping 28 yards on 13 carries while Jerious Norwood had his standard six carries and gamed 38 yards. Just for the record, that gives Dunn 95 carries this year for 292 yards and an average of three yards per carry. Norwood only has 47 carries for 247 yards and a 5.8 yard per carry average. It is not supposed to make sense.

Wide Receivers: Roddy White comes off his second big game of the year with eight catches for 110 yards and one score against the Saints in week seven and he is clearly the only wideout here with any productive consistency. He leads the team in catches (46) and receiving yards (530) and is tied with Michael Jenkins with two touchdowns. With Harrington still the starter, no reason to expect any change here. White is on pace for a 1200 yard season which is mind-blowing considering what the Vick years posted.

Tight Ends: Alge Crumpler was held out in week seven but it's hard to notice the difference since he only had three catches for 13 yards over the two previous games. He only has one score on the year and has been replaced by White as the preferred target in Atlanta.

Match Against the Defense: The 49ers on the road have been soft against the run but the Falcons will split carries anyway. Look for a decent game here by Dunn and Norwood combined that should total over 100 yards. I like the chance for a rushing score as well with the 49ers only giving up such scores in road games lately.

Harrington faces a secondary that always gives up a passing score and nice yardage as well to better quarterbacks. The Falcons are rested and the 49ers are weak - look for moderate yardage here with one touchdown that should favor White but would have gone to Crumpler in past years. The 49ers are weak against tight ends but Crumpler has been little used and is coming off an injury.

Gaining Fantasy Points ATL 28 27 19 21 19 23
Preventing Fantasy Points SF 22 17 19 21 27 30

The Huddle
~ 2007 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday night
On Bye

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