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

Prediction: NOR 20, HOU 24

Just when it seemed the Saints were back on a roll, they allowed the Rams their first win this year and the Texans have been resting on their bye and preparing for this game. Both teams have injury issues and the Saints are slightly favored but this is the week that Andre Johnson returns - and none too late.

New Orleans Saints (4-5)
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 22-16 -9 43
8 @SF 31-10 -2.5 40
9 JAC 41-24 -3.5 40
10 STL 29-37 -12 46
11 @HOU   -1 47
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 at HOU Rush Catch Pass
QB Drew Brees     270,1
RB Reggie Bush 60,1 50  
TE Eric Johnson   30  
WR Marques Colston   80  
WR Devery Henderson   20  
WR David Patten   70,1  
PK Olindo Mare 2 FG 2 XP  
Pregame Notes: The Saints were surprisingly thumped by the visiting Rams last week and undid all the positives that a month's worth of winning had brought. But that still only leaves the Saints one game behind the Buccaneers for the NFC South and tied with the Panthers who are nearing critical speed in their free fall. After this week are the second meetings against all three divisional opponents and two are on the road. The Saints have their fortunes in their own hands but as of last week that looks tough if only because of the Saints defense.

Quarterback: Drew Brees had a bad game against the Rams though he ended with 272 yards and two scores with two costly interceptions. Most of his gains came in the second half when the game was already well decided. But that does string together five consecutive games with multiple passing scores. And notable too is that the last five games have only had two road trips - one in San Francisco where everyone has fun and the other in Seattle for their first win in what could easily be described as a trap game. This will be a new test for Brees against a decent defense on the road with the opponent not taking them lightly.

Running Backs: Reggie Bush received a minor concussion last week but returned later in the game and is expected to play this week. He did score in the game but turned in a paltry 17 yards on seven carries. Bush still has yet to run for more than 100 yards in any game though he has been solid with around 60 or 70 yards in most weeks. He also leads all NFL running backs with 55 catches on the season. The Rams scored quickly enough to take Bush out of the game last week but he's still getting the bulk of all running back work with minimal help from either Pierre Thomas or Aaron Stecker.

One caveat here - over the last two weeks, Thomas and Stecker both have a rushing score that could have belonged to Bush.

Wide Receivers: David Patten (3-37) flopped last week after several games with nice production but Marques Colston has been a beast in the last two weeks with games of 159 and 129 yards. Brees is targeting him for around a dozen passes each game and he's catching almost all of them. Devery Henderson is just a bit player now and Lance Moore has minimal work as well. It's finally back to the Brees-Colston show again.

Tight Ends: Eric Johnson comes off his second score of the season but hangs around 30 or 40 yards almost every week - decent in a fantasy back-up sort of way. Billy Miller scored against the Rams as well but it was on his only catch in the game for just one yard. Johnson remains the primary tight end here.

Match Against the Defense: The Texans' soft spot is definitely their ability to defend against the run and have allowed eight rushing scores this year with six runners topping 90 yards or more. Look for a very nice game here from Bush with one score if it is not stolen by Thomas or Stecker.

The Texans have a very odd pattern. On the road they have allowed 11 touchdowns in five games but at home have only given up one touchdown over the four games and that went to Peyton Manning. Brees has been on a nice streak lately though and the Texans have lost CB Dunta Robinson for the year which should help Patten's numbers. Expect Brees to throw a score this week but two will likely be outer edge of what is likely and three would be a surprise. Colston should have decent yardage as well but will dip back below the 100 yard mark unless there is a lot of late game trash yards to be had.

Gaining Fantasy Points NO 9 12 8 14 32 23
Preventing Fantasy Points HOU 13 26 13 22 31 25


Houston Texans (4-5)
Homefield: Reliant Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 KC 20-3 +3 38
2 @CAR 34-21 +6.5 39
3 IND 24-30 + 6 47.5
4 @ATL 16-26 -2.5 39.5
5 MIA 22-19 -5.5 43
6 @JAC 17-37 +7 37
7 TEN 36-38 OFF OFF
8 @SD 10-35 +11 45
9 @OAK 24-17 +3 41.5
10 BYE - - -
11 NO   +1 47
12 @CLE 25-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
13 @TEN 2-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
14 TB 9-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
15 DEN 13-Dec THU 8:15 PM
16 @IND 23-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
17 JAC 30-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
HOU vs NO Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Schaub     290,3
RB Ahman Green 30 10  
RB Ron Dayne 40    
TE Owen Daniels   40  
WR Andre Johnson   80,1  
WR Andre Davis   60,1  
WR Kevin Walter   70,1  
PK Kris Brown 1 FG 3 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Texans ended their three game losing streak with the win in Oakland and coming off their bye week should be primed to make some noise for the rest of the year. Andre Johnson is expected back after missing the last seven games and since his only two efforts of the season netted him over 120 yards in both games with three touchdowns in total, the optimism is undeniable. Matt Schaub has somehow made a fantasy star out of Andre Davis and the rushing game looks worse with Ahman Green nursing his chronically sore knee. That should add up to nice passing numbers and more wins for the rest of the way. The year ends with IND and JAC likely to slow them down but the next month should be a very good one.

Quarterback: The bye came at a nice time to help Matt Schaub clear his concussed head. He played sparingly since week six but should be back to full, clear-thinking health this week when he gets back Andre Johnson just in time to face the visiting Saints. Schaub hasn't thrown a touchdown since week four though his yardage remained solid in games where he was not counting stars swirling around his helmet. That should be cured with his first healthy set of receivers since week two - and he discovered along the way that Andre Davis has to get a chance to contribute as well.

Running Backs: As rosy as the passing game is looking, the backfield just gets darker. Ahman Green has a chronic knee condition that is unlikely to clear up during the season. He's not only unreliable to play in any given week, he'll almost certainly be unproductive when he does. He had only 28 yards on eight carries in Oakland though surprisingly caught a 53 yard pass. He hasn't gained more than 44 rushing yards in any game since week two if in fact he has even played.

That leaves Ron Dayne as the primary back on occasion and he did turn in a season high 122 yards and one score in Oakland.

Wide Receivers: Sound the horns, after seven weeks of looking wistfully at their bench, fantasy owners get a chance to see if Andre Johnson can turn in his third consecutive 100+ yard game when he returns this week from a knee injury that the Texans allowed to heal completely. Schaub had an immediate connection with Johnson in the first two weeks and produced games of 140 yards and one score against the Chiefs and 120 yards and two scores against the Panthers in Carolina. While Johnson was getting better, the rest of the wideouts stepped up so that no longer will Johnson be the only concern of the secondary.

Andre Davis would return to back-up status now but he's been entirely too impressive with three scores and for efforts over 70 yards. The plan is to use him and Jacoby Jones along with starter Kevin Walter even if it means going with three and four man receivers sets. In most cases, Davis will man the slot.

Tight Ends: Owen Daniels still has never scored this year but he has been solid with yardage of around 30 or 40 yards in the recent month. The addition of Johnson could have an affect on Daniels though, particularly if the stated desire of using Andre Davis means less catches for Daniels.

Match Against the Defense: The Saints rushing defense has been very good this year and the Texans are still pretending that Ahman Green can play. Expect minimal individual production from the running backs and likely no score.

Schaub is the one that has to win this game and he's facing one of the weakest secondaries in the NFL. And he has a full complement of wideouts for the first time since week two. Look for a big game here to trumpet back Johnson. Schaub needed the week off to clear his woozy head and this should just the ticket for a great game - by the numbers this should be one of the best games for Schaub this year if not the best. Expect multiple scores here and for nice gains by all three wideouts.

Gaining Fantasy Points HOU 12 19 11 11 7 14
Preventing Fantasy Points NO 28 7 30 15 24 9

The Huddle
~ 2007 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday night

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