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

Prediction: NO 20, TB 23

Update: Reggie Bush is still listed as questionable and he was limited in practice for the entire week but HC Sean Payton says that Bush will start and play against the Buccaneers this week. I am adding him back into the projections. He may not be 100% but he should be playing again and that moves Pierre Thomas back into a short yardage role along with McAllister. This is a must win game for the Saints and yet not a great place for Bush's first game back.

The Saints are 6-5 and yet at the bottom of the NFC South. In the NFC North or AFC West they would be tied for the division lead but the 8-3 Buccaneers are tied with the Panthers at the top. The Saints are only 1-4 in road games this year and the Buccaneers are 5-0 at home. it's going to be hard to break both trends.

The Saints won the season opener in New Orleans 24-20 against the Buccaneers.

New Orleans Saints (6-5)
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 20-34 PK 50
11 @KC 30-20 -5.5 51
12 GB 51-29 -1 51.5
13 @TB - +3.5 48
14 ATL - - -
15 @CHI - - -
16 @DET - - -
17 CAR - - -
NO @ TB Rush Catch Pass
QB Drew Brees     270,2
RB Pierre Thomas 30 10  
RB Reggie Bush 30 50  
RB Deuce McAllister 20 10  
TE Jeremy Shockey   50  
TE Billy Miller   40  
WR Marques Colston   50  
WR Devery Henderson   30,1  
WR Lance Moore   60,1  
PK Garrett Hartley 2 FG 2 XP  
Pregame Notes: What's not to like about scoring 51 points on Monday night football and beating the Packers? The Saints continue to feature the best passing attack in the NFL while also sporting one of the worst defenses so those delightful shootouts happen almost weekly. The Saints still have a shot at the NFC South title with matchups against all three rivals left to play but the defense will continue to be their limitation. There is a chance that Reggie Bush returns this week which would supply a nice spark to an offense that is already red hot.

Quarterback: Where Drew Brees ends up remains to be seen but so far he has passed for a mere 3574 passing yards in 11 games and that has never happened in the history of the NFL. He has passed for 20 or more completions for a record 15 straight games and he's only had one game with less than 20 completions in his last 27 games. He is on a pace to throw for 5198 yards which would bury Marino's record. Games in Tampa Bay and Chicago may limit him but then again - nobody else has this year.

Brees passed for 343 yards and three touchdowns against the Bucs this year.

Running Backs: Reggie Bush missed his third game because of his knee and I will assume that he is inactive this week and update as warranted. He was a later week scratch so there is optimism about him for Sunday.

Pierre Thomas has replaced him and while he lacks the flash of Bush, he has been adequate and scored twice against the Packers and one in Kansas City the previous week. Thomas can deliver as a receiver as well but there is a sizable drop from Bush to Thomas.

Deuce McAllister scored last week to become the all-time Saints scoring leader with 54 touchdowns but the appeal on his suspension is looming and could mean McAllister has played his last for this season. And potentially his last as a Saint.

The Saints combined for 103 rushing yards on 24 carries against the Bucs this year.

Wide Receivers: When the passing is as prolific as any in the history of the NFL, good things are going to happen for receivers. In this case, Lance Moore has become the best buddy to Brees and has scored in each of the last four games including twice against the Packers on Monday night. Marques Colston scored on his 70-yard catch but that was his only reception in the game and his first touchdown on the season. This is a complex scheme that will use many wideouts but there is no arguing that Lance Moore has become the #1 guy here as unlikely as it may have seemed in the past.

Colston only had three catches for 26 yards against the Bucs this year while both David Patten and Devery Henderson had one catch and one touchdown each.

Tight Ends: Jeremy Shockey had a solid showing on Monday night with five catches for 57 yards but he still has not scored as a Saint and around 60 yards has been his upper end this season. Billy Miller has been more productive and he actually scored last week for the first time this season.

Shockey ended with six catches for 54 yards versus the Bucs this year.

Match Against the Defense: The Buccaneers have not allowed a runner to score a touchdown in Tampa Bay this year and only Adrian Peterson has rushed for more than 56 yards there. Look for a mediocre showing by Thomas and McAllister with no scores.

Brees has already tore up the Bucs secondary but in Tampa Bay there have only been four passing touchdowns allowed this year and only once has a passer topped 165 yards there. Brees is having a great year and will leave as the best passer to play in Tampa Bay but he should be in store for a lower game this week and no more than two passing scores that will favor the wideouts.

Gaining Fantasy Points NO 2 4 3 4 19 17
Preventing Fantasy Points    TB 8 4 10 3 14 16

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-3)
Homefield: Raymond James Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @NO 20-24 +3.5


2 ATL 24-9 -8 38.5
3 @CHI 27-24 +3 35.5
4 GB 30-21 -1.5 43
5 @DEN 13-16 +3 48
6 CAR 27-3 -1.5 36.5
7 SEA 20-10 -11 39
8 @DAL 9-13 +2 42
9 @KC 30-27 -8.5 37.5
10 BYE - - -
11 MIN 19-13 -4 39.5
12 @DET 38-20 -8.5 41
13 NO - -3.5 48
14 @CAR - - -
15 @ATL - - -
16 SD - - -
17 OAK - - -
TB vs NO Rush Catch Pass
QB Jeff Garcia     240,1
RB Warrick Dunn 100,1 20  
TE Jerramy Stevens   50  
WR Michael Clayton   40  
WR Ike Hilliard   40  
WR Antonio Bryant   80,1  
PK Matt Bryant 3 FG 2 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Buccaneers are on a three game winning streak and while they are tied with the Panthers for the division lead, it will be hard to hold onto with this game being followed by road trips to Carolina and Atlanta before two easier home stands against the Chargers and Raiders. The Buccaneers are two different teams at home and away though and the most important games left to play come on the road.

Quarterback: No changes to Jeff Garcia as the game manager. He passed for two scores for the first time this year when they faced the Lions in Detroit but otherwise Garcia has been consistent with the one score per week and decent yardage. He doesn't make much difference good or bad.

Garcia passed for 221 yards and one score in New Orleans this year.

Running Backs: Warrick Dunn has been named the starter for the rest of the season in the wake of Earnest Graham's injury and he did well enough against the Lions with 90 rushing yards and one touchdown. He has also been a bigger factor as a receiver. Carnell Williams showed up last week with his first playing time of the season and ran 16 times but only gained 27 yards and is no threat to take over for Dunn.

Graham and Dunn combined for 144 rushing yards on 19 carries in New Orleans.

Wide Receivers: Antonio Bryant is still the lead receiver here - sparse a job as that may be - and he comes off an ankle sprain last week that is not expected to impact this game. Bryant has remained above 50 yards in most games this year while Ike Hilliard and Michael Clayton chip in minimally every weekend.

Bryant has three games over 100 yards and no other wideout on this team has exceeded more than 57 yards in a game this year. Just no fantasy value.

Galloway caught six passes for 56 yards on New Orleans while Hilliard had one touchdown on six catches for 45 yards.

Tight Ends: Alex Smith has been nursing an ankle injury and missed two games but he could be back this week. Jerramy Stevens has filled in well in his place with 84 yards against the Vikings and then scoring in Detroit. I will project for Stevens until Smith proves he is healthy and will contribute.

Match Against the Defense: The Saints on the road is a reason to have Dunn turn in a big game here and keep Brees off the field as much as possible. Look for a solid yardage game and at least one rushing score by Dunn. There could be some left over for Williams as well but he's not worth considering yet.

Garcia will likely just repeat his showing back in week one since the defense and rushing game should work better in this home game. Bryant is the only receiver worthy of a start here though even Stevens could turn in some nice yardage.

Gaining Fantasy Points TB 22 17 24 5 3 3
Preventing Fantasy Points    NO 24 16 25 19 29 14

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