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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
Sortable Player Projections
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The Huddle
~ 2009 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday Late

Prediction: NO 19, PHI 24

Saturday Update: Pierre Thomas was still limited on Friday and considered questionable - he's not a safe play this week by any means and I am removing him from the projections. Shockey was also limited on Friday but is still expected to play and is only listed as probable anyway. Playing in Philly is going to be a tough gig, but Mike Bell remains a safe start this week. The Eagles will be without McNabb this week since he never practiced and is listed as doubtful. Kolb should get the start but it is not impossible that Garcia won't show up. Kevin Curtis had full practices all week and will play along with DeSean Jackson who has been back the last two days..

Friday Update: Jeremy Shockey is still nursing his ankle sprain but it did not affect him last week so no need to read anything more into it. Pierre Thomas had a full day of practice on Wednesday but then did not have a full day on Thursday. What happens Friday will be important but it appears that the best case is that Thomas plays only a limited role this week and Mike Bell continues to at least shoulder the bigger load. Playing in Philly likely will be no treat anyway.

Donovan McNabb still has not practiced and at best he will be a gametime decision. DeSean Jackson was limited in practice on Wednesday because of a sore groin but he was back on Thursday and will play without limitation this week.

Both of these teams come off huge wins but only one continues on with the same quarterback. This could be a fascinating matchup of the most explosive offense on the road against one of the best defenses. The likely absence of Donovan McNabb doesn't help the Eagle's chances but the Saints are hardly a good road team since they went 2-6 away from New Orleans last year. This should be one of the games you watch this week.

New Orleans Saints (1-0)
Homefield: Superdome
Sportexe Turf
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 DET 45-27 -13.5 49
2 @PHI - +3 46.5
3 @BUF - - -
4 NYJ - - -
5 BYE - - -
6 NYG - - -
7 @MIA - - -
8 ATL - - -
9 CAR - - -
10 @STL - - -
11 @TB - - -
12 NE - - -
13 @WAS - - -
14 @ATL - - -
15 DAL - - -
16 TB - - -
17 @CAR - - -
NO at PHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Drew Brees     240,1
RB Pierre Thomas 30
RB Mike Bell 50    
RB Reggie Bush 20 50,1  
TE Jeremy Shockey   40  
WR Marques Colston   50  
WR Devery Henderson   40  
WR Robert Meacham   30  
PK John Carney 4 FG 1 XP  
Pregame Notes: The Saints looked invincible last week in the same way most any team hosting the Lions do. But the offensive explosion served notice on the league that the Saints were already clicking on all cylinders and that a shootout is likely to ensue with they play because their defense just gave up 27 points to the visiting Lions. No chance for six passing scores this week and the schedule for the Saints actually toughens up quite a bit with this road game followed by @BUF and then hosting the Jets. It's like the Saints get to face the teams that are suddenly becoming good.

Quarterback: Drew Brees lit up the Superdome with 358 yards and six touchdowns when the Lions showed up on Sunday. He already has twice as many passing scores as any other NFL quarterback and yet he had his big game without really targeting any particular receiver. The ground game was very strong with Mike Bell. The Saints proved they could beat up on the worst team in the league. Now starts the real challenge for Brees.

The Eagles decimated the Panthers. Jake Delhomme was held to 73 passing yards and four interceptions, one fumble and three sacks. This is the top quarterback facing arguably the top defense in their stadium. Brees never passed for more than two scores in any road game last year but he had healthy yardage in most.

Look for a game that will make you long for the Lions. Brees only passes for one score and has moderate pass yardage. That's roughly what he did in half of his road games last year.

Running Backs: Pierre Thomas did not suit up last week because of his sprained right knee but he may be back this week - but will his job? HC Sean Payton has said that Mike Bell has played so well, that he and Thomas will be competing for touches. Did Thomas get Wally Pipped? Bell did gain 143 yards on 28 carries but that did come against the #32 defense - as a visitor no less - against running backs from last year. The first 100 should be considered a given.

But committee backfields are all the rage and Bell has shined in training camp and now against the Lions. I will currently project for a split of carries and adjust as warranted. The Eagles are not going to be like the Lions. They just held the NFL's most productive back (DeAngelo Williams) to only 37 yards on 14 carries and he was playing at home. Look for low rushing numbers here but Reggie Bush will provide his standard receptions. There could be big time fantasy points to a fulltime back as Thomas proved last year. We'll see how Bell runs when it is on the road against a top defense.

Wide Receivers: Last week was so wildly productive for all it means little to break it down - they all did well. Except Lance Moore who was the starting flanker and yet only had two catches for 28 yards. In the Saints scheme, it is never so straight forward as to say who plays the X, Y or Z because different packages use players in various ways and it depends game situation as to what occurs. The lack of production of Moore during an otherwise point-frenzy is disappointing but not yet a trend. This week will be a far better indicator of what the Saints tend to do when the opponents do not have the worst defense in the league.

The Eagles will be aggressive against Brees and should force a shorter game. That means less action by the wideouts this week.

Tight Ends: Jeremy Shockey not only finally got a touchdown as a Saint, he had two on his four catches for 31 yards. That should become more important when the Saints go through a rough patch of the schedule and need to find a receiver open quickly. Look for Shockey this week - it will be a nice indicator whether he is truly being incorporated into the weapons system or last week was just a Detroit Delight.

Gaining Fantasy Points NO 1 5 2 3 5 10
Preventing Fantasy Points    PHI 2 23 3 2 8 17

Philadelphia Eagles (1-0))
Homefield: Lincoln Financial Field
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @CAR 38-10 -2.5 43.5
2 NO - -3 46.5
3 KC - - -
4 BYE - - -
5 TB - - -
6 @OAK - - -
7 @WAS - - -
8 NYG - - -
9 DAL - - -
10 @SD - - -
11 @CHI - - -
12 WAS - - -
13 @ATL - - -
14 @NYG - - -
15 SF - - -
16 DEN - - -
17 @DAL - - -
PHI vs NO Rush Catch Pass
QB Kevin Kolb     190,1
RB Brian Westbrook 80,1 40  
RB LeSean McCoy 30 10  
TE Brent Celek   20  
WR DeSean Jackson   70,1  
WR Kevin Curtis   30  
WR Jason Avant   20  
PK David Akers 1 FG 3 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Eagles defense was so thoroughly dominating last week that the offensive numbers appear to be anemic because there was little need for offense. Donovan McNabb suffered a fractured rib late in the game but otherwise it was as good of a season opener as a team could hope for. If McNabb is out for a few weeks, it probably will not matter too much since the Eagles have three home games in a row plus a bye week. If there was any time all season to be without McNabb, this is actually the best time.

I like a defensive score for the Eagles.

Quarterback: The Eagles have not ruled Donovan McNabb out yet despite his broken rib but they also went and signed Jeff Garcia to add to Kevin Kolb and Michael Vick. But Vick isn't even eligible to play until week three and even then he barely knows the offense. Kevin Kolb is the likely starter but has been very unimpressive and that has left the Eagles all the way back to Jeff Garcia. Kolb is not a safe start this week. Actually none of these guys are. Garcia could figure in or McNabb could play and get pulled or a myriad of other permutations.

You want a quarterback who faces the visiting Saints. But in this case, all bets are off on who that will be or if he will be the only quarterback to play in the game.

Running Backs: Brian Westbrook was no worse for wear last week when he gained 64 yards on 13 carries and scored on one of his three catches. It wasn't a full-blown big game from Westy and he had to share with LeSean McCoy (9-46). But the sharing went up in the second half of a game already decided. A better measurement is at halftime when Westbrook had seven rushes for 45 yards and McCoy had just one carry. This is a committee but it will favor Westbrook up until there is no need for him to play.

Westbrook only had three catches for eight yards but chalk that up to a game that did not need him to be involved as much. This week should see Westbrook as good as you will see him this year. Expect yards and a score on the ground and more action as a receiver.

Wide Receivers: With McNabb banged up, the fortunes of the wideouts are more in doubt. Last week was no clue since there was only around 100 passing yards but the Saints are always week against wideouts. The yardage may not be big but look for one touchdown from this unit that favors Jackson the most. The Eagles are going to run as much as possible to keep Brees off the field anyway.

Tight Ends: Brent Celek had a very nice game in Carolina when he caught six passes and gained 37 yards with a score. A possible change in quarterback makes him less attractive this week and the Saints are typically better against tight ends than wide outs.

Gaining Fantasy Points PHI 7 14 26 11 10 1
Preventing Fantasy Points    NO 12 11 12 3 27 29

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