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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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The Huddle
~ 2008 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday Late

Prediction: STL 6, SF 27

Update: Frank Gore was held out of practice on Wednesday and Thursday with a sore neck but had a full day on Friday and said himself that he will play and there is no issue. But both Arnaz Battle and Josh Morgan are out this week and Bryant Johnson gets a chance to be back in the starting lineup.

The battle for the NFC West cellar continues with both these teams ar 2-7 on the season (along with Seattle). This is the first meeting this year but both games were low scoring last year with the 49ers winning 17-16 in St. Louis and later the Rams winning 13-9 in San Francisco. The 49ers cannot afford another loss or Mike Singletary may have his eyes just pop out.

St. Louis Rams (2-7)
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 3-47 +8.5 44.5
11 @SF - +6 44.5
12 CHI - - -
13 MIA - - -
14 @ARZ - - -
15 SEA - - -
16 SF - - -
17 @ATL - - -
STL @ SF Rush Catch Pass
QB Marc Bulger     170
RB Antonio Pittman 60 10  
RB Kenneth Darby 30 10  
WR Torry Holt   50  
WR Donnie Avery   50  
WR Dane Looker   30  
PK Josh Brown 2 FG    
Pregame Notes: Since somehow beating the Cowboys, these Rams have been pummeled a little worse every week and the 3-47 loss to the Jets is a low point - for the entire league no less. Steven Jackson is hurt again and Bulger is still getting benched for Trent Green. The game last week pretty much ensures that interim head coach Jim Haslett is just playing out a temporary job and will be elsewhere in 2009. But the team has seven games left and for the most part - it is one of the lightest schedules in the NFL. Seems a shame the Rams can do nothing with that advantage.

Quarterback: Marc Bulger was bad again last week with only six of 13 passes going for 65 yards and one lost fumble and was replaced by Trent Green who fared no better and injured his elbow anyway. Bulger will be back under center this week trying to improve on his six touchdowns for the season.

Bulger passed for 155 yards and one score in San Francisco last year.

Running Backs: Steven Jackson missed last week because of his quadriceps and is no lock to play this week. He didn't practice at all last week so I am assuming that he misses one more game and will update if needed.

In his place the Rams with with Antonio Pittman (13-28), Kenneth Darby (4-32) and Samkon Gado (2-4) which could easily happen again this week. Pittman remains the primary here despite not being 100% healthy.

Jackson gained 92 yards on 23 carries and had four receptions for 20 yards in San Francisco last year.

Wide Receivers: It's just sad to see what has become of Tory Holt who has a season low one catch for five yards on Sunday and that is not the first time this year he has ended with under ten yards in a game. Holt only has two scores on the season and both in home games. He also is apparently incapable of gaining more than around 65 yards in a week now.

Donnie Avery is worth tracking in a future sort of way and the rookie had his monster 163 yard game turn into two games with less than 30 yards. The passing here is just not enough warrant fantasy consideration beyond a review for dynasty purposes. This team may look very different next year.

Holt had seven catches for 55 yards in San Francisco last year. He had the only passing touchdown in both meetings with the 49ers.

Tight Ends: No fantasy value ever.

Match Against the Defense: The 49ers at home have been much better against the run and the Rams are bringing almost nothing to the game anyway. Singletary will be on fire this week and should have this home game turn into a solid win for the 49ers if only this week. That means the Rams continue to struggle as they always do on the road and that Bulger will be doing well enough to throw for one touchdown. This is coming to a bad situation with the 49ers at home, fired up, and the Rams on the road banged up.

Gaining Fantasy Points STL 31 28 20 32 27 26
Preventing Fantasy Points    SF 15 28 17 1 32 31

San Francisco 49ers (2-7)
Homefield: Monster Park
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 ARZ 13-23 +2.5 41.5
2 @SEA 33-30 +8 38.5
3 DET 31-13 -4 46
4 @NO 17-31 +6 48.5
5 NE 21-30 +3 41.5
6 PHI 26-40 +5 43
7 @NYG 17-29 +10.5 45
8 SEA 13-34 -4.5 42.5
9 BYE - - -
10 @ARZ 24-29 +9.5 47.5
11 STL - -6 44.5
12 @DAL - - -
13 @BUF - - -
14 NYJ - - -
15 @MIA - - -
16 @STL - - -
17 WAS - - -
SF vs STL Rush Catch Pass
QB Shaun Hill     180,1
RB Frank Gore 130,2 10  
TE Vernon Davis   30  
WR Isaac Bruce   40  
WR Jason Hill   40,1  
WR Bryant Johnson   40  
WR Josh Morgan 50,1
PK Joe Nedney 2 FG 3 XP  

Pregame Notes: The 49ers dropped their Monday night game on a questionable set of plays called at the end of the game. They could have won that game - they should have won that game. But running Michael Robinson up the gut from two yards out ends up to be not an optimal decision nor anything like what we would expect from Mike Martz. It was unexpected for a good reason - everyone knew it would never work. But it is a lost season anyway in San Francisco and at least it proved that they could play much better than they had. This week is tailor made for a nice win and could be the last one until week 16 when the 49ers play the Rams again.

Quarterback: Shaun Hill's first start went reasonably well with 217 yards and two touchdowns but he threw for two interceptions which could have easily been four were it not for a couple of very fortuitous calls which prevented two return touchdowns. Drawing the Rams this week should give Hill an easier time and allow the 49ers offense to appear in synch if only for one week.

Trent Dilfer was the quarterback in week 11 last year when the Rams visited and he passed for 231 yards and two interceptions.

Running Backs: Frank Gore benefited from the play calling last week and ended up with 99 yards on 23 carries on the road to Arizona - a definite improvement. Gore has been the only consistent part of this offense even if they did not use him on the final play of last week's game. He's turned in over 100 total yards in almost every game this year but hasn't scored since week six. That should change on Sunday. Gore was banged up in the game but I assume he is good to play this week.

Gore only gained 32 yards on 15 carries versus the Rams last year. He was far better in the first meeting in St. Louis when he gained 81 yards and scored twice.

Wide Receivers: The 49ers are finally settling on their young wideouts and had a nice showing by both Jason Hill (7-84) and Josh Morgan (4-54, 1 TD) last week. This was only Hill's second game but he bought himself more work with a team best performance. Morgan has been inconsistent but is coming along getting better. He scored in two of the last three games but those sandwiched a week with no catches. Isaac Bruce has been dropping in importance and if you are in a dynasty league, HIll and Morgan both have at least mildly interesting futures.

Tight Ends: Vernon Davis was kicked out of the Giants game but last week had his first touchdown of the season on an impressive 18-yard catch. It was the only one in the game for Davis and he drew a penalty for taking off his helmet early but at least he is contributing something to the scoreboard finally.

Match Against the Defense: Let's be serious here. The Rams are so bad on the road that opponents get to choose how to win and that means running Gore for the 49ers. Expect what should be a season high game here with a nice shot at two scores and good yardage. Hill will throw for a score because he can and needs the experience and it should end up with Morgan or Hill. This will be as good as it gets for the 49ers for the rest of the season.

Gaining Fantasy Points SF 12 23 18 22 7 27
Preventing Fantasy Points    STL 24 31 26 21 31 29

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