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

Prediction: STL 21, ARI 24

Just playing out a disappointing season, the Rams travel to Arizona but are only 2-5 in road games this year. The Cardinals are 5-2 at home and won 34-31 in week five in St. Louis. The Rams need this game worse have a disastrous season for HC Scott Linehan but the Cards are playing much better in the first year of HC Ken Whisenhunt. At this point, the Rams should lose just to secure that high draft pick next April.

St. Louis Rams (3-12)
Homefield: Edward Jones Dome
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 CAR 13-27 +1 42
2 SF 16-17 -3 44
3 @TB 3-24 +4 38.5
4 @DAL 7-35 +13 47
5 ARI 31-34 +3 40.5
6 @BAL 3-22 +9 36.5
7 @SEA 6-33 +9 40
8 CLE 20-27 +3 43.5
9 BYE - - -
10 @NO 37-29 +12 46
11 @SF 13-9 -2.5 41
12 SEA 19-24 +3 44.5
13 ATL 28-16 -4.5 42
14 @CIN 10-19 +7 47
15 GB 14-33 +9.5 44
16 PIT 24-41 +7.5 45
17 @ARI   +6 48
STL at ARI Rush Catch Pass
QB Marc Bulger     270,2
RB Steven Jackson 70,1 20  
TE Randy McMichael   20  
WR Torry Holt   90,1  
WR Isaac Bruce   80,1  
WR Drew Bennett   40  
PK Jeff Wilkins   3 XP  
Pregame Notes: The Rams are wrapping up a very forgettable season and if nothing else, they are looking at a nice draft pick in April. There is plenty of criticism that has been leveled at head coach Scott Linehan but in fairness, the Rams were so decimated by injury to start the year that the team never had a fair shot at making progress this year. While the defense has been just as bad as years past, the offense fell apart for much of the year and even now has yet to show the promise of last year.

Quarterback: Marc Bulger has missed three games this year but even when he has been on the field his production has consistently lagged his past seasons. He did throw over 300 yards in three games this year but had four efforts fail to reach even 200 passing yards. Last week against the Steelers he had a season high three passing scores but he only had seven touchdowns going into that game. A total of ten touchdowns over 11 games is hardly the Bulger we knew in the past. He too has been dogged by constant injury and been beaten up in almost every game thanks to a makeshift offensive line that too often could not hold back the pass rush.

Frerotte was the starter in week five and passed for 262 yards and three scores against the visiting Cardinals.

Running Backs: Steve Jackson ends his season on a far less impressive note than he had in 2006. Also hampered by injuries much of the year, Jackson exceeded 100 rushing yards only twice in 11 games played and scored only six times this season. He did maintain around 90 rushing yards in healthy games though but his role as a receiver was curtailed in 2007 and he only had more than 26 receiving yards twice all year. It was a disappointing season for a player that was often the second player drafted last August.

Jackson was still out in the last meeting with the Cardinals and Brian Leonard gained 102 yards on 18 carries.

Wide Receivers: Torry Holt was the closest thing the Rams offense had to a consistently productive player and he did somehow score seven times this season despite playing with a knee that was described as chronically sore. But only has 1096 receiving yards going into the final week. Considering that he has 86 receptions, he has only gained 12.7 yards per catch on average - the lowest of his career and continuing a four season trend of shorter catches. Isaac Bruce is likely ending his career in St. Louis since his contract calls for a $2 million bonus next year and with only 694 yards on the season, he's just too far into the twilight of his career. Unfortunately, brining on Drew Bennett as his heir apparent hasn't accounted for much so far. Bennett only has three scores this year and rarely had more than 40 yards in any game this year.

Holt had 89 yards on five catches against the Cards this year and Drew Bennett scored once on his two receptions for 32 yards. Bruce did not play that week.

Tight Ends: About all the addition of Randy McMichael did this year was to decrease Steven Jackson's receptions by about two per game. McMichael has scored only three times this year had rarely caught more than two passes for around 25 yards per game.

McMichael caught three passes for 45 yards and a score versus the Cardinals this year.

Match Against the Defense: The Cardinals are only average against the run and Jackson has been regaining his 2006 form though without all that wonderful receiving yardage. The Cards play the run better at home but usually allow one rushing score.

Bulger goes against a secondary that has allowed around two scores in every game and the Rams will want to end on a high note. This should be a close game but one were Bulger could make mistakes that doom the Rams chances. He should have solid passing yardage here with two scores. I like Holt and Bruce to do the damage, particularly since this is likely Bruce's final game as a Ram.

Gaining Fantasy Points STL 25 23 13 24 27 20
Preventing Fantasy Points ARI 28 20 31 1 22 23


Arizona Cardinals (7-8)
Homefield: University of Phoenix Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @SF 17-20 +3.5 45
2 SEA 23-20 +2.5 42.5
3 @BAL 23-26 +8 35.5
4 PIT 21-14 +6 42.5
5 @STL 34-31 -3 40.5
6 CAR 10-25 -6 38.5
7 @WAS 19-21 +7 37
8 BYE - - -
9 @TB 10-17 +3.5 37
10 DET 31-21 -1 45
11 @CIN 35-27 +3 48.5
12 SF 31-37 -10 38
13 CLE 27-21 -1 51.5
14 @SEA 21-42 +7 44.5
15 @NO 24-31 +3.5 49
16 ATL 30-27


17 STL   -6 48
ARI vs STL Rush Catch Pass
QB Kurt Warner     280,3
RB Edgerrin James 70 10  
TE Ben Patrick   20  
WR Anquan Boldin   80,1  
WR Larry Fitzgerald   110,1  
WR Bryant Johnson   50,1  
PK Neil Rackers 1 FG 3 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Cardinals are not going to have a winning season but the first year of Ken Whisenhunt has to be viewed as a success and could be .500 with a win here. The defense has never been as good as desired but the offense came together well, particularly once Matt Leinart was lost for the season since he struggled learning the new scheme. Kurt Warner has been very productive and could warrant a consideration by other teams which has been Warner's stated desire all along. This has been a solid year for the Cardinals and a few improvements on defense could make this team into a contender as early as next year.

Quarterback: Kurt Warner has certainly made his case for being a started in the NFL with multiple scores in each of the last seven games and he already has 24 touchdowns this year despite only starting 13 games. He has passed for 3109 yards and been just rock solid in yardage and scores since week eight. His 15 interceptions have been a problem and he even lost six fumbles but Warner's play helped many fantasy teams to their championships with a player that was not even been drafted in most leagues since he was just a backup to start the year.

Warner passed for 190 yards and one score in St. Louis and Matt Leinart had 100 yards in that game.

Running Backs: Edgerrin James has been solid enough this year with a total of 1128 rushing yards so far but he only had two games over 100 yards and he has been a non factor as a receiver. He scored six times this season but hasn't had any touchdowns since week 11. He's plenty good enough to be the starter next year but not much of a difference maker in fantasy terms.

James rushed for 88 yards on 26 carries in St. Louis.

Wide Receivers: The dynamic duo took a hit this year with Anquan Boldin missing three games earlier in the year and he comes off a monster game of 13 catches for 162 yards and two scores against the Falcons but that was only his second big game of the year. Boldin is ending with 797 yards and eight scores and had been turning in just moderate yardage each week until the game last Sunday.

Larry Fitzgerald was pretty grumpy when his pal Denny Green was canned last year but he came back and had a very nice season of 1238 yards currently with eight scores. He only had three games over 100 yards but scored in five straight games until being blanked last week.

Fitzgerald gained 136 yards and one score in St. Louis this year. Boldin did not play that week and Bryant Johnson turned six catches into 80 yards in that game.

Tight Ends: Leonard Pope gives promise to next year when he had five scores before landing on injured reserve last week. It's not enough to consider as a fantasy starter but on a team that had never used the tight end position under Denny Green, it was a welcomed outlet for Warner.

Match Against the Defense: The Rams defense has been very good against the running backs this year and held down the yardage in almost every game - only once did any runner top 100 yards. But most teams scored via the run which lowered their ranking. James hasn't been scoring at all lately so just look for another average game here.

Warner will want to end with a bang since he wants to remain a starter and has been on fire for the second half of the season. The Rams allowed multiple passing scores in over half their games this year and the Cards will be aiming for just that. Look for a nice game here by both Boldin and Fitzgerald in their 2007 swan song.

Gaining Fantasy Points ARI 8 29 5 17 24 15
Preventing Fantasy Points STL 16 22 24 12 30 24

The Huddle
~ 2007 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday Late

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