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

Prediction: STL 13, ATL 31

The Falcons have clinched no worse than a wildcard and with a win here and a Carolina loss to the Saints would take over the AFC South title and first round bye. This is a rather important game potentially. The Rams just want to lose one more game by some agonizingly close margin.

St. Louis Rams (2-13)
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 3-27 +9 43
13 MIA 12-16 +7.5 43.5
14 @ARZ 10-34 +13.5 49
15 SEA 20-23 +3 44
16 SF 16-17 +5.5 43.5
17 @ATL - +14.5 44
STL @ ATL Rush Catch Pass
QB Marc Bulger     170,1
RB Steven Jackson 60 30  
WR Torry Holt   40  
WR Donnie Avery   60,1  
PK Josh Brown 2 FG 1 XP  
Pregame Notes: This is probably the Rams worst season ever since last year they were 3-13 and probably just 2-14 after Sunday. Same problems as 2007 with massive injury problems robbing the team of any consistency and the defense has been never better than bad. There'll be yet another massive upheaval in the coaching staff next year and yet the Rams have no better team to hand over than they did a few years ago. Torry Holt has declined into being a smallish tight ends and once again Steven Jackson can not remain healthy. The Rams are 1-6 in road games.

Quarterback: Once a top fantasy quarterback, now Marc Bulger doesn't even rise to mediocre status with just ten touchdowns against 19 interceptions. He was sacked 41 times already and now heads out on the road where he's actually been even worse. The four non-divisional road games have only seen Bulger throw a total of one touchdown.

Running Backs: Steven Jackson is playing with a bad hamstring but had 32 carries last week and gained his third 100 yard game of the year. But the problem is that all of those happened at home and his five rushing scores were also all gained in home games.

On the road, Jackson has scored only once via a pass in Arizona and has not gained more than 79 rushing yards though he has supplemented that with receiving yards. He's only gaining 3.2 yards in road games. He is 119 yards shy of a 1000 yard season but his road efforts typically weigh in at only half that amount.

Wide Receivers: The rookie Keenan Burton caught his first NFL touchdown last week but has rarely had more than one catch in a game (same as last week). Donnie Avery has scored three times but his best yardage efforts have been on the road where he had two games over 90 yards.

Torry Holt has amazingly not gained more than 84 yards in any game this year and has just three scores. On the road has has yet to gain more than 61 yards and he has never scored away from St. Louis.

Tight Ends: No fantasy value since Randy McMichael went down.

Match Against the Defense: So far every opponent in Atlanta has passed for a score and the rushing defense is not that great. But notice how the ranks all match below - the Rams are at least as bad on offense, on the road and going against a team that really wants to win. Expect a passing score and anything more will be a surprise. It's been nine weeks since the Rams scored more than 16 points in a game.

Gaining Fantasy Points STL 30 27 19 29 22 25
Preventing Fantasy Points    ATL 26 21 13 29 4 2

Atlanta Falcons (10-5)
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 34-20 PK 50
11 DEN 20-24 -5.5 51
12 CAR 45-28 -1 42.5
13 @SD 22-16 +5 49
14 @NO 25-29 +3 52
15 TB 13-10 -2.5 42
16 @MIN 24-17 +3 43
17 STL - +14.5 44
ATL vs STL Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Ryan     210,1
RB Michael Turner 110,2 10  
WR Michael Jenkins   50  
WR Roddy White   90,1  
WR Harry Douglas   40  
PK Jason Elam 1 FG 4 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Falcons need this game since the Panthers are playing at the same time and should they lose, the Falcons can gain an actual first round bye. This whole winning thing is rather new to the team and no matter what happens, this has been a wildly successful season that every other new coach hates to be compared against.

This is about the easiest match-up of the entire year but with a reason to win, and a team new to the experience, this one should be handled early.

Quarterback: Matt Ryan has passed for 15 touchdowns and 3280 yards for a very successful rookie season. He would have done better but Michael Turner has been such a dominating force in recent home games that Ryan just does not have the reason to throw much in Atlanta and he certainly has a better way to score a touchdown - just handoff and get out of the way.

Running Backs: Michael Turner has gained 1491 rushing yards which ranks #2 in the NFL and that should hold true after the game since Adrian Peterson is almost 200 yards ahead and Clinton Portis is 100 yards behind and fading. Turner has scored 16 rushing touchdowns to rank second to DeAngelo Williams.

Turner has scored in all but one home game and had multiple scores in over half the games there. This week holds much promise as a big way to end the season.

Wide Receivers: Roddy White is #2 in the NFL with 1334 receiving yards but he only has six scores thanks to Michael Turner. White has not scored since week ten while Turner has run wild. But still White has always been good for at least 60 yards and has topped 100 yards three times in Atlanta.

Michael Jenkins remains as the possession receiver who is right around 50 or 60 yards each game but he has only two scores on the season.

Tight Ends: No fantasy value.

Match Against the Defense: The road should be clear for driving for Michael Turner. It would be a disappointment to see him with anything less than two scores and 100 yards. It could go much higher than that.

Ryan won't much need to throw but I am banking he won't resist having one more touchdown for the regular season and hooking up with Roddy White one more time. If Turner goes nuts rushing, once again the passing game could be mediocre. I like a defensive score in this game.

Gaining Fantasy Points ATL 22 6 9 30 8 21
Preventing Fantasy Points    STL 19 30 22 14 31 31

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