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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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The Huddle
~ 2008 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday Late
Bye Week
* Updated

Prediction: NO 21, ATL 23

This is a must watch game in a fantasy sense and it has the highest over/under (50) for a reason - there should be plenty of points in this game. The Saints are 4-4 and yet still in the cellar of the NFC South while the Falcons are one game better at 5-3. Problem too is that the Falcons are actually 3-0 at home while the Saints are 0-3 on the road. This is bound to be a great game with some fireworks. In the end, the Falcons at home continue to surprise.

The Saints swept the Falcons last year, winning 22-16 in New Orleans and later 34-14 in Atlanta.

New Orleans Saints (4-4)
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 34-3 -7.5 47.5
7 @CAR 7-30 +3 44
8 SD 37-32 +3.5 47
9 BYE - - -
10 @ATL - PK 50
11 @KC - - -
12 GB - - -
13 @TB - - -
14 ATL - - -
15 @CHI - - -
16 @DET - - -
17 CAR - - -
NO @ ATL Rush Catch Pass
QB Drew Brees     280,2
RB Deuce McAllister 50,1 10  
TE Jeremy Shockey   50,1  
WR Marques Colston   50,1  
WR Devery Henderson   60  
WR Lance Moore   70  
PK Garrett Hartley 3 XP    
Pregame Notes: The bye week will help the Saints get healthy again though Reggie Bush will remain out this week. At so often is the case, there is nothing wrong with the Saints offense and it ranks as one of the top units in the NFL. But as always, the defense is the culprit with opponents topping 30 points in four of the last six games. The Saints are still only two games out of first place in the NFC South and the first team they have to go through is Atlanta. But the Saints are still searching for their first road win and they lost after their bye last year.

Quarterback: Drew Brees continues to lead the NFL in passing yards and has six games over 300 yards already and a total of 15 touchdown passes against seven interceptions. Even better, he has only been sacked seven times all year and almost never more than once per game. Brees gets his full complement of receivers back but needs to get on the same page again with Marques Colston.

Brees passed for 328 yards and three touchdowns in Atlanta last year. He only had 219 yards and two scores in the home game.

Running Backs: Reggie Bush had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee and will miss at least this game if not next week as well. He was replaced by Aaron Stecker for the most part though he only had two carries and five catches for 27 yards. Deuce McAllister has his workload increased to 18 carries against the Chargers but only gained 55 yards. He also had a season high four catches for 30 yards. Without Bush, this rushing unit is mediocre at best but capable of punching in short touchdowns.

WIth Bush out that week, Aaron Stecker rushed for 100 yards on 20 carries in Atlanta last season. Pierre Thomas chipped in 31 yards on six carries.

Wide Receivers: It is amazing that the most prolific passing attack of 2008 hasn't produced a single wideout that could be considered a can't-miss fantasy star each week. Marques Colston has only five catches for 82 yards on the season and has played in just three games. Robert Meachem remains just a deep route runner that is getting less use as the season progresses and Lance Moore is the only wideout that has stepped up this year. Moore has three touchdowns already and three games over 90 yards. He has beaten out David Patten for the flanker role and has been the best Saints wideout to use this year - though even he is not above having a bad game. This unit always has yards and scores but it constantly changes every week.

Colston caught nine passes for 92 yards and two scores in Atlanta last year. David Patten turned in a team high 122 yards and a touchdown in the game.

Tight Ends: Jeremy Shockey has been back for two games now and still has not scored a touchdown for 2008 though he has lost two fumbles. Shockey remains a factor in the passing equation but rarely for more than 50 yards per week.

Match Against the Defense: The Falcons defense is average against the run though they play better at home and the Saints are hardly bringing a rushing machine to town. Expect a rushing score by McAllister but moderate yardage at best.

Brees goes against a secondary that has always allowed a touchdown to opponents in Atlanta and multiple scores to good quarterbacks. Look for a standard 300 yard day by Brees with at least two passing scores that will favor Shockey and a wideout. Colston is certainly due and it could happen here but no wideout stands out as most likely.

Gaining Fantasy Points NO 1 3 6 3 26 13
Preventing Fantasy Points    ATL 18 20 12 26 3 2

Atlanta Falcons (5-3)
Homefield: Georgia Dome
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 DET 34-21 +3 41
2 @TB 9-24 +8 38.5
3 KC 38-14 -5 36
4 @CAR 9-24 +7 39.5
5 @GB 27-24 +3 41
6 CHI 22-20 +2.5 43.5
7 BYE - - -
8 @PHI 14-27 +8.5 46.5
9 @OAK 24-0 -3 41
10 NO - PK 50
11 DEN - - -
12 CAR - - -
13 @SD - - -
14 @NO - - -
15 TB - - -
16 @MIN - - -
17 STL - - -
ATL vs NO Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Ryan     240,2
RB Michael Turner 80,1    
WR Michael Jenkins   50,1  
WR Roddy White   110,1  
WR Harry Douglas   50  
PK Jason Elam 3 FG 2 TD  

Pregame Notes: The season has already been a colossal success and at 5-3 the Falcons remain in the hunt for a playoff spot. The shutout over the Raiders sent a message to the league (beyond "the Raiders offense sucks") that this team is for real and getting better. Matt Ryan has taken a big step over the last month and the Falcons have actually passed the toughest part of their schedule already.

Quarterback: Matt Ryan started out with the standard sub-200 yard games with a score every other week but over the last month - this kid has grown up. He has thrown for seven touchdowns in the last four games and averaged about 260 yards per game for the last three weeks. He only has five interceptions this year and has finally moved off Roddy White to include Michael Jenkins. Ryan is a strong contender for Rookie of the Year.

The Falcons used Chris Redman as the quarterback last year when the Saints showed up and even he had 298 yards and two touchdowns.

Running Backs: Michael Turner ran for 139 yards in Oakland last Sunday and that gives him four efforts over the century mark this year. He still only has one touchdown in the last five games though and has almost zero role as a receiver but he remains solid in yardage and should have a patented big game this week.

Even Jerious Norwood joined into the fun with 13 carries for 63 yards and a score against the Raiders but he is usually only worth three or our carries each week.

The Falcons never rushed for more than 61 yards in either game against the Saints last season and never scored.

Wide Receivers: Roddy White comes off his worst game of the year when he only had five receptions for 54 yards in Oakland. Michael Jenkins only made two catches for 64 yards but both went for a touchdown. Jenkins has quietly spent the last month as a solid possession guy with around 60 yards in each of the last three games. This week those catches ended up in the endzone.

White caught three passes for 75 yards and one score against the Saints last year while Jenkins turned in nine receptions for 83 yards and one touchdown.

Tight Ends: No fantasy value here.

Match Against the Defense: The Falcons are at home against a team that is very good against the run - when they are at home. But on the road the Saints are much less effective so look for a decent yardage game from Turner with an excellent chance to score once if not twice.

Ryan goes against a secondary that has allowed two scores in two of the three road games and that has allowed two 300 yard games already, But the rushing game will be on the forefront as a means to chew up clock and keep the Saints offense off the field. That could happen but more likely is that this turns into a nice shootout.

Gaining Fantasy Points ATL 23 6 8 30 6 23
Preventing Fantasy Points    NO 21 17 24 21 30 13

The Huddle
~ 2008 ~
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