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

Prediction: STL 14, NYJ 27

Update: Steven Jackson has been ruled out this week and the Rams will be using a three-man rotation at running back using Kenneth Darby, Antonio Pittman who is nursing a hamstring strain and Samkon Gado. This is going to be a mess to rely on and It is likely that none of them have enough production for fantasy relevance anyway. I am removing Jackson but not replacing him since there is no clear cut option and no matter what happens it would almost certainly be minimal anyway.

The Rams were looking up with wins over the Redskins and Cowboys but then the Pats spanked them and the Cardinals demolished what was left. The Rams are only 1-3 on the road and apparently better at trap games than facing an opponent that takes them seriously. The Jets are now tied with the Pats and Bills at 5-3 and the AFC East is a wide open race. No way the Jets take the Rams lightly.

St. Louis Rams (2-6)
Homefield: Edward Jones Dome
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @PHI 3-38 +7 44
2 NYG 13-41 +8.5 41.5
3 @SEA 13-37 +10 44
4 BUF 14-31 +8 41.5
5 BYE - - -
6 @WAS 19-17 +13.5 44
7 DAL 34-14 +7 44
8 @NE 16-23 +7 43.5
9 ARZ 13-34 +3 49
10 @NYJ - +8.5 44.5
11 @SF - - -
12 CHI - - -
13 MIA - - -
14 @ARZ - - -
15 SEA - - -
16 SF - - -
17 @ATL - - -
STL @ NYJ Rush Catch Pass
QB Marc Bulger     190,2
RB Steven Jackson 30 10
WR Keenan Burton   30  
WR Torry Holt   50,1  
WR Donnie Avery   60,1  
PK Josh Brown   2 XP  
Pregame Notes: The defense that appeared to improve after ex-HC Scott Linehan left has reverted back to form giving up 34 points in Arizona last week. And it gets worse with Dante Hall and Drew Bennett both hitting injured reserve this week and Steven Jackson still ailing. The offense is sputtering again and the Rams are looking exactly as they did before they dumped Linehan.

Quarterback: Marc Bulger comes off his first two touchdown game of the year and now has six scores to his credit. His aberrant blip of 304 yards in New England was quickly forgotten with a standard 186 yards against the Cardinals but he also had his first two interception game of the year. So far the only fantasy play for Bulger is on a bye week when you can live with 180 yards and a score because he almost never does more.

Running Backs: It just gets worse. Steven Jackson could not practice last week and went up as a gametime decision and played. To help out, Antonio Pittman only gained 12 yards on ten carries before aggravating a leg injury and pulling a hamstring. Travis Minor also played and suffered a concussion. Jackson only lasted for seven carries for 17 yards as a nonfactor.

There is a chance that Kenneth Darby ends up as the starter this week since he may be the only healthy back on the roster. HC Jim Haslett said that Jackson has to have at least one full practice in order to be cleared to play. I will assume that Jackson can play despite his quadriceps injury but that he will be limited because the Rams are running out of options and will likely use him if at all possible. Updates as warranted and rather likely.

Wide Receivers: Torry Holt comes off his second touchdown of the year and his six receptions for 58 yards was one of his most productive. He has yet to gain more than 76 yards in any game and usually ends up around 50 yards in most games. With Dante Hall and Drew Bennett officially out of the way, the Rams had a surprising 80 yard touchdown by the rookie Derek Stanley on his first and only catch of his career.

But Donnie Avery retreated from his two straight games with a touchdown and only had a more typical 26 yards on three catches. This unit bears no resemblance to Rams teams of the past. Heck, it is nothing like just last year for that matter. Keenan Burton and now Derek Stanley need to establish the new pecking order for the #3 wideout. On the plus side, the six passing scores this season all went to wideouts. But no one has more than two and Avery's 163 yards in week 8 was literally twice as big as any other performance by a Rams wideout this year.

Tight Ends: Since Randy McMichael left there is,literally, zero fantasy value here.

Match Against the Defense: The bad news here is that the Jets have not allowed any runner to top 74 rushing yards against them this season and it gets even worse played in New York. Add in a gimpy Steven Jackson as the best case scenario and this smacks of a very bad game.

Bulger faces a secondary that has allowed multiple passing scores in half of the games this year and the run game is going to be challenged anyway. Bulger could end up with moderate yardage here and a chance for one score and possibly two. The Jets could get caught looking ahead to playing in New England next week.

Gaining Fantasy Points STL 29 27 19 31 23 20
Preventing Fantasy Points    NYJ 26 11 9 31 12 29

New York Jets (5-3)
Homefield: Giants Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @MIA 20-14 -3 36
2 NE 10-19 -1.5 39
3 @SD 29-48 +9 44
4 ARZ 56-35 -3 45
5 BYE - - -
6 CIN 26-14 -6 45
7 @OAK 13-16 -3 42.5
8 KC 28-24 -13 38
9 @BUF 26-17 +5.5 43
10 STL - -8.5 44.5
11 @NE - - -
12 @TEN - - -
13 DEN - - -
14 @SF - - -
15 BUF - - -
16 @SEA - - -
17 MIA - - -
NYJ vs STL Rush Catch Pass
QB Brett Favre     230,2
RB Thomas Jones 80,1 20  
RB Leon Washington 30 30,1  
TE Dustin Keller   20  
WR Laveranues Coles   50,1  
WR Jerricho Cotchery   80  
WR Chansi Stuckey   20  
PK Jay Feely 3 XP 2 FG  

Pregame Notes: Winning in Buffalo was easily the biggest game of the year even if Favre had no touchdowns and it was Jay Feely field goals and a 97 yard interception return that provided most of the points. But couple that with losses by the Patriots and those Bills and the Jets are rubbing elbows at the top and have won four of their last five games. After this week the schedule takes a darker turn with road games in New England and Tennessee. The Jets need this easier win and cannot let it get past.

Quarterback: Brett Favre continues his assault on the NFL record book now as the only quarterback with 300 career interceptions. But Favre has been much less effective in recent games and he apparently peaked with his six touchdown game against the Cardinals in week four. Since then, he has only three touchdowns in the last four games along with eight interceptions. The rushing attack has been more successful in recent weeks though and that has lowered the need for Favre to score.

Running Backs: The rushing attack has been much improved here in the last month. Thomas Jones has scored in three of the last four games and had a season high 159 yards in the week that he was scoreless. Jones has gone from being a big disappointment to being a decent RB2 option for a fantasy team. He's producing every week and that should certainly last at last this one more week.

Leon Washington teased with his 101 total yards and two scores against the Chiefs (note - against the Chiefs) but only gained 13 yards on seven carries in Buffalo while Jones was cranking out 69 yards and a score on just 12 carries. This is still Jones job. You can forget about Washington at least for now.

Wide Receivers: The success of the rushing game has really taken it out of the wide receiver action. Jerricho Cotchery hasn't scored since week four though he maintains around 70 yards in most weeks. Laveranues Coles is slightly less productive as of late though he is the better bet for a passing score with five touchdowns on the season to lead the Jets. In the coming weeks, the Jets will have to throw and Cotchery and Coles will start having better stats.

Tight Ends: No difference here from the wideouts. All scoring stopped in week four and the yardage has taken a dip. Dustin Keller was making progress but has been little used in the past month.

Match Against the Defense: The Rams away from home have been rather generous to all running backs. In just four away games, the Rams have allowed eight rushing touchdowns and over 100 yards to any runner given 20 carries or more. Look for a nice game here by Jones to be sure but enough left over that even Washington is a decent "I have no other options anyway" ploy.

Favre goes against a secondary that will always give up a passing score but more than one is less likely. I see the Jets as wanting a solid win here top propel them into a hard part of their schedule. I'll give Favre two passing scores that could go almost anywhere. Coles and Cotchery are the most likely but the confidence is low. It could be tight end or even a running back like Washington.

Gaining Fantasy Points NYJ 10 14 5 17 18 4
Preventing Fantasy Points    STL 27 30 28 14 25 26

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