The Huddle on Facebook Facebook   The Huddle on Twitter Twitter   The Huddle Mobile Mobile Welcome, GuestJOINHELP


Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
Print this page
The Huddle
~ 2008 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday Late
Bye Week

Prediction: OAK 17, NO 27

Update: Martin Gramatica has been placed on Injured Reserve and Taylor Mehlhaff was signed after being released at the start of the season. Darren McFadden is questionable with a bad toe still and was limited in practice every day this week. He is expected to play at least some against the Saints but how the split will go will depend on the game and how McFadden feels. Michael Bush could be getting playing time this week as well. No need to change the Oakland projections but the running backs could limit each other this week.

Marques Colston had limited practice this week as he tries to return from his injured thumb and has not been ruled out this week. I am adding him into the projections but am not expecting him to take a full load this week after missing four games because of his thumb and still not having an official "full" practice.

The Raiders have a new coach (Part VII) and head to New Orleans in search of that elusive second win. The Saints are on a short week after a very bitter loss on Monday night. They'll take out their frustrations on the Raiders.

Oakland Raiders (1-3)
Homefield: McAfee Coliseum
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 DEN 14-41 +3 41.5
2 @KC 23-8 +4 34.5
3 @BUF 23-24 +9.5 36.5
4 SD 18-28 +7 46
5 BYE - - -
6 @NO - +7.5 47.5
7 NYJ - - -
8 @BAL - - -
9 ATL - - -
10 CAR - - -
11 @MIA - - -
12 @DEN - - -
13 KC - - -
14 @SD - - -
15 NE - - -
16 HOU - - -
17 @TB - - -
OAK at NO Rush Catch Pass
QB JaMarcus Russell     250,2
RB Darren McFadden 40 30  
RB Justin Fargas 50 20  
TE Zach Miller   40,1  
WR Javon Walker   60  
WR Ronald Curry   20  
WR Johnnie Lee Higgins   60,1  
PK Sebastian Janikowski 2 XP 1 FG  
Pregame Notes: The Raiders (AKA Al Davis) used the bye week to finally dump Lane Kiffen and Tom Cable has been named interim puppet coach. The bye week comes at a good time to help rest Darren McFadden's toe and digest having a new head coach. The Raiders have been more competitive than their 1-3 record suggests, they just cannot hold onto a lead. The team has been heavy on the running with 130 rushes against only 99 passes but Cable says he'd like to throw more.

Quarterback: JaMarcus Russell hasn't set any team records yet thanks to being limited by the play calling but he's looking better and there is optimism that the Raiders passing game should improve. After only averaging 21 passes per games for the first three weeks, Russell tossed 37 passes and completed 22 for 277 yards and one score with just one interception against the visiting Chargers. This week in New Orleans would be an excellent time to kick off the training wheels and see what Russell can do against a very accommodating secondary.

Running Backs: Justin Fargas has been out since week two with a groin injury but is healthy now and ready to go back in and get hurt again. What his workload will be should be interesting since Darren McFadden had only marginal success running the ball and Fargas had 18 carries in that first game. What Fargas does is push Michael Bush back down the depth chart and should result in just Fargas and McFadden as the runners. The offense could change with Lane Kiffen gone though so expect a week or two before you can be sure.

McFadden has been nursing a bad toe and while he was held out of practice on Monday as a precaution, he is expected to return on Wednesday and play this weekend. No doubt the Raiders will prefer to run just to keep the Saints offensive off of the field.

Wide Receivers: Not much here so far. Johnnie Lee Higgins leads the group with five catches for 119 yards only because he had one catch in the Buffalo game go for 84 yards. Javon Walker has been back for two games and still has not had more than two catches for 34 yards. Ronald Curry has been thrown 13 passes and yet only has three catches for 29 yards. Even when Russell threw for 277 yards, no wideout had more than 35 yards.

Tight Ends: The lone bright spot in an otherwise dismal passing attack has Zach Miller gaining153 yards on 11 catches this year but 95 yards came in just the most recent game and Miller was blanked in Buffalo.

Match Against the Defense: The Saints rushing defense has been better than most realize and showed it on Monday night when they held Adrian Peterson to only 32 yards on 21 carries. Since the rushing will be split between both Russell and McFadden, expect nothing more than moderate yardage by either and likely no score.

Russell goes against one of the worse secondaries in the league that has always allowed at least one passing score each week and never fewer than 220 passing yards. When they took the wraps off Russell and allowed him to throw 37 times against the Chargers he has 277 yards so look for a decent game here that could actually surprise. I like two passing scores in this game that should favor Miller and probably Higgins as the faster slot player.

Gaining Fantasy Points OAK 22 8 29 17 8 12
Preventing Fantasy Points    NO 18 14 28 20 28 23

New Orleans Saints (2-3)
Homefield: Superdome
Sportexe Turf
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 TB 24-20 -3.5


2 @WAS 24-29 +1 42.5
3 @DEN 32-34 +5.5 51.5
4 SF 31-17 -6 48.5
5 MIN 27-30 -3 47
6 OAK - -7.5 47.5
7 @CAR - - -
8 SD - - -
9 BYE - - -
10 @ATL - - -
11 @KC - - -
12 GB - - -
13 @TB - - -
14 ATL - - -
15 @CHI - - -
16 @DET - - -
17 CAR - - -
NOR vs OAK Rush Catch Pass
QB Drew Brees     310,2
RB Reggie Bush 30 70,1  
RB Deuce McAllister 50,1 10  
TE Billy Miller   40  
WR Lance Moore   40,1  
WR Marques Colston   40  
WR Devery Henderson   50  
WR Robert Meachem   30  
PK Taylor Mehlhaff 2 FG 3 XP  

Pregame Notes: Losing on Monday night was a heart breaker that drops the Saints to only 2-3 in the NFC South cellar and behind the Panthers two full games. The culprit is mainly the defense once again. The offense has posted at least 24 points each week but the defense has allowed 26 points per game this year. For the want of ten points, the Saints could be 5-0 right now. No time to whine about missed opportunities because the Panthers and Chargers stand in the way before the bye week.

Quarterback: Drew Brees already has a healthy lead over the rest of the NFL with 1673 passing yards this year and he's thrown for over 330 yards in all but one game so far. He has thrown for nine passing touchdowns but only twice scored more than one. In those two games where he had three scores and never fewer than 340 passing yards - he was at home. Even without Colston and Shockey, Brees has been more productive than any other quarterback.

Running Backs: Reggie Bush scored twice last week but unless you get get credit for punt returns, it made no difference to you. He has not rushed that well this year and his 64 runs have only gained 212 yards for a 3.6 yard average. But his 38 catches this year is 16 more than any other running back and actually four more than any wide receiver in the NFL. He's scored twice via a catch and has 321 receiving yards.

Deuce McAllister had a big showing against the 49ers but only managed 13 yards on six carries against the Vikings. All he has really done is send Pierre Thomas to the bench.

Wide Receivers: Marques Colston is expected to be out until week ten or so but in his place the other wideouts have really stepped up. David Patten has also missed time but Devery Henderson had 104 yards and a score against the Vikings and 86 yards the previous week. Lance Moore is becoming the new #2 replacing Patten had five catches for 31 yards after a career best 101 yards and two scores the previous Sunday. Robert Meachem comes off a down game with only two catches for 31 yards but he opened the game with a badly dropped pass and was ignored until late.

I will project for the same starters as last week and adjust as warranted.

Tight Ends: Jeremy Shockey has missed the last two weeks with a groin injury but looks like he will return next week.. Billy Miller has filled in well for him with 90 yards over these last two games and will need to carry the torch for one more week.

Match Against the Defense: The Raiders have been decent against rushing yards but have allowed seven rushing scores already this year. Expect McAllister to end up with a touchdown this week though he and Bush should have only moderate rushing yards.

Brees goes against a secondary that has played few decent offenses an none out on the road. Brees has been Mr. 300 this year and there is no reason why that cannot happen this week. Expect two passing scores but the yardage should be distributed out so that no individual receiver has a big game here.

Gaining Fantasy Points NO 2 5 6 11 23 7
Preventing Fantasy Points    OAK 17 25 13 28 8 10

The Huddle
~ 2008 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday Late
Bye Week
Other Features
Fantasy Statistics
Tuesday Injury Report
Free Agent Forecast
Commentary From the Edge
Game Recaps
Tunnel Vision
a d v e r t i s e m e n t