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

Prediction: CHI 34, STL 13

Update: Marty Booker is out this week because of his knee and has been removed from the projections. His absence should give Brandon Lloyd more playing time and let Rashied Davis have a few more plays. Steven Jackson and Orlando Pace remain out this week and that is about all you need to know about the Rams offense.

The Bears are on a two game losing streak and are tied with the Packers and the Vikings for the NFC North crown at only 5-5 on the season. The Bears are only 2-3 on the road this year but the Rams are just 1-3 at home and are on their own four game losing streak. No doubt which team here is better and there's no chance of a trap game when the Bears are only 5-5 and need to win every possible game they can to qualify for the playoffs.

Chicago Bears (5-5)
Homefield: Soldier Field
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @IND 29-13 +9.5 44
2 @CAR 17-20 +3 37
3 TB 24-27 -3 35.5
4 PHI 24-20 +3 45
5 @DET 34-7 -3.5 44.5
6 @ATL 20-22 -2.5 43.5
7 MIN 48-41 -3 38
8 BYE - - -
9 DET 27-23 -13 43
10 TEN 14-21 +3 38.5
11 @GB 3-37 +3.5 43
12 @STL - -9 43
13 @MIN - - -
14 JAX - - -
15 NO - - -
16 GB - - -
17 @HOU - - -
CHI @ STL Rush Catch Pass
QB Kyle Orton     230,1
RB Matt Forte 110,2 20  
TE Greg Olsen   50,1  
WR Marty Booker 40
WR Rashied Davis   30  
WR Brandon Lloyd   60  
WR Devin Hester   60  
PK Robbie Gould 2 FG 4 XP  
Pregame Notes: That loss in Green Bay was brutal and will no doubt undermine the team confidence that wasn't all that high to begin with. The remaining schedule features a shot at redemption with a home rematch of the Packers but what could be most telling is that during fantasy playoff weeks of 14 through 16, the Bears remain at home in what could be bad weather. The Bears are not proving to be one of the better teams in the league but still have a shot at being the best one in the NFC North - if they can get past the Packers next time.

Quarterback: Kyle Orton returned last week but only had 133 passing yards and no scores against the Packers. But before his ankle injury, Orton was churning out the points with multiple touchdowns in four of five games and a three straight weeks over 280 passing yards. He may be challenged to return to those numbers when he plays at home in December but these next two weeks should be some of Orton's better numbers for the rest of the season.

Running Backs: True to form, Matt Forte rarely does that much as a rusher but gets enough carries and catches to come up with decent fantasy value almost every week. He has been equally effective as a receiver and his 43 catches on the season ranks #1 thanks to Reggie Bush being injured. Forte is rarely flashy and he doesn't break many long runs but he gets around 20 carries every week and has upwards of seven passes directed his way. He's been very consistent this year.

Kevin Jones has finally reached the point where he no longer gets any carries. This is the Forte Show from now one.

Wide Receivers: Even though Orton can throw for around 300 yards in a game, there is still no wideout here that is worthy of any fantasy consideration. Brandon Lloyd is back after missing seven weeks with a torn PCL but he was limited to two catches for 17 yards against the Packers. Lloyd has the only 100 yard game of any Chicago wideout when he turned in 124 yards against the Buccaneers back in week two prior to hurting his knee. He will take time getting back on the same page with Orton.

Devin Hester has the occasional decent yardage game but even he has three games with less then ten yards. There is no consistency with this unit other than do not ever use one of them.

Tight Ends: Greg Olsen has been the most consistent receiver of them all on this team (outside of Forte that is) and is almost always good for 40 yards or more each week. He only has two scores on the season but usually has four or more catches per week - that's better than any wideout.

Match Against the Defense: Glory days. The Rams are bad at all facets of defense and that alone ensures that the Bears have a shot at a nice game here. Figure on a big game here by Forte that should crest 100 rushing yards and score at least once if not twice. Four different runners have turned in multiple scores against the Rams though all were in road games.

Orton should be about to post at least decent numbers here but without Steven Jackson for the Rams playing, this has a chance of being primarily running Forte to control the clock and short changing what the passing game could have done. I like Orton for one passing score but more than that could be hard to get since scoring is easy any way they want to do it. I do like a defensive score in this game as well.

Gaining Fantasy Points CHI 14 19 26 11 16 7
Preventing Fantasy Points STL 25 31 22 23 28 29

St. Louis Rams (2-8)
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 16-35 +6 44.5
12 CHI - +9 43
13 MIA - - -
14 @ARZ - - -
15 SEA - - -
16 SF - - -
17 @ATL - - -
STL vs CHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Marc Bulger     190,1
RB Antonio Pittman 60 20  
WR Torry Holt   70  
WR Donnie Avery   70,1  
WR Derek Stanley   20  
PK Josh Brown 2 FG 1 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Rams have not produced more than 16 points in the last four games and yet never allowed less than 23. The Rams have allowed over 30 points seven times this year so far and have but one game over 19 points. The team is teetering and it's looking certain for a complete overhaul in the offseason including coaching staff and could be many players. The shame of it all is that the Rams have a beautiful schedule to end the year and yet not enough firepower to win even when a bad team visits.

Quarterback: The Rams are unhappy with Marc Bulger but are sticking with him as the starter if only because there is no one else on the roster who will do any better. Bulger has only seven passing touchdowns on the year and has recently shown a fondness for throwing interceptions. By this point in the season, the only way that Bulger has what appears to be a decent game is when Donnie Avery can catch a really long pass and pump up the numbers. The Bulger-Holt connection has produced a whopping two touchdowns this year and averaged only 41 yards per game.

Running Backs: Steven Jackson has already been ruled out of the game this week because of his quadriceps and even LT Orlando Pace is out for a few weeks with an MCL strain. That leaves Antonio Pittman as the starter and while he ran for 95 yards in San Francisco, he only had 28 yards on 13 carries in New York against the Jets. The loss of Pace and Jackson should be a disaster to what this rushing game can produce this week.

The only saving grace to this offense is that somehow the Cowboys allowed Jackson to gain 160 yards and score three times. Otherwise this would easily be the worst rushing attack in the league and has only produced one touchdown in the other nine games this year.

Wide Receivers: Torry Holt had five catches for 60 yards in San Francisco on Sunday and that was his best showing in the last six weeks. Holt has remained below 60 yards since week four and has only one score in the last eight weeks. Donnie Avery has been making some progress and had a team high nine catches for 93 yards last week but it's all baby steps where giant leaps are needed. There is no reliable fantasy value here and with talk about replacing Bulger still going on, there may never be this year.

Tight Ends: Rarely even a catch each week since Randy McMichael left.

Match Against the Defense: The match is less important than what the Rams are bringing to this party. The Bears have been occasionally gashed by top notch talent but that no longer exists in St. Louis. Starting any of these players is a huge risk and at most, expect a passing score from Bulger that could wind up anywhere. The Bears are not willing to play along with a trap game so the Rams continue to fight without Jackson on the field.

Gaining Fantasy Points STL 30 29 18 31 23 28
Preventing Fantasy Points CHI 19 14 30 25 22 12

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