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

Prediction: NOS 24, ATL 23

Update: As expected, HC Bobby Petrino confirmed that Chris Redman will the the starting quarterback this week. Once again, he also said that the Falcons have to get Jerious Norwood more touches not unlike he and previous coaches have always said and yet never done. This would be the perfect place to roll out Norwood as the starter - at home against a bad defense. But I am not changing the projections because for reasons unknown, Norwood never gets his shot. Worth watching for but not worth relying on.

The Saints are on a slide again with losing three of their last four and are only 3-3 on the road this season. But the Falcons have lost their last three games and are just 2-4 at home. The Saints won 22-16 against the visiting Falcons during week seven and it's hard to see any improvement in them six weeks later.

New Orleans Saints (5-7)
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 10-23 -1 47
12 @CAR 31-6 -3 41
13 TB 23-27 -3 42
14 @ATL   -4.5 42.5
15 ARI 16-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
16 PHI 23-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
17 @CHI 30-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
NOS at ATL Rush Catch Pass
QB Drew Brees     280,3
RB Reggie Bush 50 50,1  
TE Eric Johnson   20  
WR Marques Colston   60  
WR Devery Henderson   50,1  
WR Lance Moore   30,1  
WR David Patten   50  
PK Olindo Mare 1 FG 3 XP  
Pregame Notes: The Saints hit their zenith with the win over the Jaguars in week nine but since then have fallen to the Rams, Texans and Buccaneers. After this week are two more home games but a losing record on the season is all but assured. The lack of defense has been their demise even when the offense started to come back together. Even that has waned in recent weeks but at least it is only the Falcons on Monday.

Quarterback: While the Saints have struggled lately, at least Drew Brees has been posting enough fantasy points to keep his value. He has thrown for 19 touchdowns in the last eight games and only once had less than two scores. His yardage was above 260 each game until the Buccaneers showed last week.

Brees passed for 219 yards and two scores against the Falcons already this year.

Running Backs: Reggie Bush has been nursing a bruised shin for the last two weeks but hasn't missed a game and ran for 64 yards on 13 carries against the Buccaneers for his best rushing game in the last month. Where he has really fallen back is with receptions since he only has six for 43 yards over the last two weeks. Pierre Thomas has a bruised kidney and caused the Saints to sign Jamaal Branch from the practice squad. Aaron Stecker has been helping more in recent games though not enough to warrant any fantasy interest.

Bush only gained 54 yards on 17 carries but added five catches for 19 yards and a score versus the Falcons this season. Pierre Thomas only had two carries but scored once in that game.

Wide Receivers: The only wideout with reliable fantasy value here is Marques Colston who had been on fire for a month before flopping with just two catches for 39 yards last Sunday. He still has six scores on the year and had over 85 yards in each of his five previous efforts. What Brees has done with some effectiveness is to blend in Lance Moore, Devery Henderson, David Patten and even Terrance Copper each week. None are even certain to have a catch in any given week as Patten showed against the Buccaneers. It all works to a large extent, but only Colston is a safe bet in any week. This unit still cannot produce as much as the Saints defense gives away in most games.

No wideout gained more than 45 yards against the Falcons earlier this year and Devery Henderson scored once on his only catch.

Tight Ends: After turning in a decent 30 or so yards in most weeks, Eric Johnson comes off three straight games with sub-20 yard performances. He hasn't had more than two catches in a game for the past month.

Johnson led all receivers with five catches for 59 yards versus the Falcons in week seven.

Match Against the Defense: The Atlanta rushing defense has been fairly good at limiting rushing yards but have given up rushing scores in almost every game. But the Saints rushing attack is hardly worthy of relying on so expect just a moderate effort here by Bush with a better chance that he could score via a pass as he did in the first meeting with the Falcons.

The Falcons secondary consists of DeAngelo Hall and not that much else. Garcia, Peyton Manning and Frerotte were the most recent opponents and each had at least two scores and decent passing yardage. I like Brees to throw for three scores this week which should favor other than Colston since Hall will no doubt try to match-up on him this week. This is a Monday night game and the closest either team will get to a "big game".

Gaining Fantasy Points NO 7 15 8 15 32 23
Preventing Fantasy Points ATL 10 28 6 27 14 26


Atlanta Falcons (3-9)
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 +4.5 43
7 @NO 16-22 +9 43
8 BYE - - -
9 SF 20-16 -3 37
10 @CAR 20-13 +4.5 36.5
11 TB 7-31 +3 35
12 IND 13-31 +12 45
13 @STL 16-28 +4.5 42
14 NO   +4.5 42.5
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 NOS Rush Catch Pass
QB Chris Redman     250,2
RB Warrick Dunn 40 10  
RB Jerious Norwood 60 10  
TE Alge Crumpler   40  
WR Joe Horn   20  
WR Michael Jenkins   50,1  
WR Roddy White   110,1  
PK Morten Andersen 3 FG 2 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Falcons are on a three game losing streak that has seen the offense unable to score more than one touchdown in a game. After tiring of Joey Harrington last week, they opted to use Chris Redman with decent results. Even Jerious Norwood had his best game of the year. Apparently the Falcons would just be better off relying on the second string than the starters that have posted the second worst total points in the NFL this year. There's little more to play for than to see what may remain in 2008 but so far HC Bobby Petrino has been resistant to changing what doesn't work.

Quarterback: After Joey Harrington struggled in St. Louis with 184 yards and an interception, Chris Redman was given the nod and turned in 172 yards and two scores in a performance that looked like the Falcons had an actual quarterback. Petrino has not yet named Redman as the starter but almost certainly will. The Falcons have nothing to lose and he played better than either Harrington or Leftwich has this season.

Both Leftwich and Harrington played in the previous meeting this year and combined passed for 273 yards and one score.

Running Backs: Last week was even more telling about the backfield in Atlanta. Warrick Dunn ran for 17 yards on ten carries while Jerious Norwood turned in 94 yards on eight runs. Petrino said that he uses Dunn more because he is more reliable but the follow-up question should be - reliable to do what? Once again Norwood looked far better than Dunn but that doesn't guarantee any changes are in store. In the past, Petrino has said that he was going to get Norwood more involved and that always ended up with nothing changed. Norwood has never had more than nine carries in any game this year.

Dunn only gained 28 yards on 13 carries in New Orleans this year.

Wide Receivers: Joe Horn returned from a three-game absence and comes off his best game of the year - four catches for 38 yards. How pathetic is that? The only wideout here of any note remains Roddy White who already has 920 yards on the season and comes off a ten catch, 138 yard game last Sunday. He's more than doubled what any other wideout here has done and it is even more encouraging that he his season best effort with Redman.

Roddy White turned in eight receptions for 110 yards and one score in New Orleans this season.

Tight Ends: Another encouraging aspect to last week was Alge Crumpler catching a season high seven passes for 65 yards. That is almost Vick-quality and was more than he had in the three previous games combined.

Match Against the Defense: The Saints defense ranks low in most every category but so does the Falcons offense. The potential change this week is using Redman and who knows - maybe Norwood will actually get ten carries in a game before he retires. Roddy White should have a very nice game here with enough left over for Michael Jenkins to offer some value as well. It is Monday night and if the Falcons were ever going to look decent, this is the big game at home against a bad Saints defense.

The Saints allow at least two passing scores to almost every opponent and fortunately there are only two who actually catch scores for the Falcons this year.

Gaining Fantasy Points ATL 27 25 18 24 27 30
Preventing Fantasy Points NO 30 6 30 25 25 6

The Huddle
~ 2007 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday Late

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