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

Prediction: STL 3, WAS 24

It is not amazing that the Rams were shutout in week one by the Seahawks. It is not amazing that the Redskins almost played the Giants even in New York. It is amazing to think that these Rams actually beat the Redskins 19-17 as the visitor in week six of last year. Gotta believe the Skins remember that.

St. Louis Rams (0-1)
Homefield: Edward Jones Dome
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @SEA 0-28 +7.5 37
2 @WAS - +10 37
3 GB - - -
4 @SF - - -
5 MIN - - -
6 @JAC - - -
7 IND - - -
8 @DET - - -
9 BYE - - -
10 NO - - -
11 ARI - - -
12 SEA - - -
13 @CHI - - -
14 @TEN - - -
15 HOU - - -
16 @ARI - - -
17 SF - - -
STL at WAS Rush Catch Pass
QB Marc Bulger     180
RB Steven Jackson 70 20  
TE Randy McMichael   30  
WR Donnie Avery   50  
WR Keenan Burton   10  
WR Laurent Robinson   60  
PK Josh Brown 1 FG    

Pregame Notes: Yeah, not exactly starting out on the right foot. Again. New HC Steve Spagnuolo inherited a train wreck and while the Rams were beaten by 28 points, it really wasn't that close. Aside from a general lack of talent, the Rams further killed themselves with penalties that included wiping out a special teams touchdown to averaging 10.7 yards to go on third down. That means it would almost be more productive to take a knee on first and second down. The schedule is unkind to start the year and another road trip is not what any doctor would order this team.

Quarterback: If you can recall when Marc Bulger was good (and perhaps not even he can), then it is brutal to watch him complete 17 of 36 passes for 191 yards and three sacks. To his credit, he is just working with that he has to use but there is no resemblance between this Bulger and the one that threw for 4000+ yards not that long ago.

Bulger only had 136 passing yards last year in Washington. That was when he had better receivers.

Running Backs: Steve Jackson gave his fantasy owners a double whammy. Not only did he only gain 67 rushing yards on 16 carries, he had no catches. None. The offense intended to reprise his role as a receiver but both his passes were incomplete. On the plus side, he does not share with anyone. On the negative - so what? There is hardly anything in this offense anyway. Jackson remained above four yards per carry but the Rams are not getting close to the goal line so far.

Jackson ran for 79 yards on 22 carries in Washington last season. He added 32 yards on three receptions. He'll be lucky to repeat that mark but at least he should see some actual catches this week.

Wide Receivers: What has to be considered as at least a minor positive was the play of the two starting wideouts. Donnie Avery had six receptions for 46 yards and Laurent Robinson turned in a team best 87 yards on five catches. No other wideout figured in. Keenan Burton had a single catch. Avery was also used on an end around and it is a role that he has the talent to do. What is telling about this offense is that there were only three players with more than one reception. There is no diversity of attack which could benefit Avery and Robinson if the offense comes together better.

Avery reeled in four catches for 73 yards against the Redskins last year. Playing in Washington is tough and the defense will make Robinson and Avery work for every yard but no other wideouts are competing and you know the Rams will be behind. So expect at least marginal to moderate yardage here.

Tight Ends: Randy McMichael has been the only other receiver that has been good for more than one inconsequential catch. He reeled in 4 passes for 44 yards. On this offense - that's very good. The new scheme should make at least a little better use of the tight end but the anemic passing totals will keep McMichael outside of fantasy relevance.

Gaining Fantasy Points STL 28 30 20 21 32 18
Preventing Fantasy Points    WAS 17 10 23 15 32 31

Washington Redskins (0-1)
Homefield: FedEx Field
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @NYG 17-23 +6.5 37
2 STL - -10 37
3 @DET - - -
4 TB - - -
5 @CAR - - -
6 KC - - -
7 PHI - - -
8 BYE - - -
9 @ATL - - -
10 DEN - - -
11 @DAL - - -
12 @PHI - - -
13 NO - - -
14 @OAK - - -
15 NYG - - -
16 DAL - - -
17 @SD - - -
WAS vs STL Rush Catch Pass
QB Jason Campbell 20   190,1
RB Clinton Portis 120,2 10  
TE Chris Cooley   50  
WR Santana Moss   50,1  
WR Antwaan Randle El   50 `
WR Malcolm Kelly   30  
PK Shaun Suisham 1 FG 3 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Skins catch an apparent break for the next five weeks with a schedule of 0-1 teams that have played among the most poorly to open the year. That's important for a team that that personifies what being average on offense is all about. Despite the lackluster results of 2008, the Redskins come back with the exact same offensive cast so the results are not that different. A potential change - an upgraded defense. That won't get you fantasy points and it can prevent you from getting them if you own a Ram this week.

Quarterback: Jason Campbell has gone from savior to "living on potential" to "well, let's focus elsewhere for now". Campbell passed for 211 yards and one score in New York last week. That's about as average as it gets. He hasn't taken the next step up but the Skins now work around him. His interception and fumble last week were unusual though - he does not make a lot of mistakes. He also does not make many plays either.

Campbell passed for 208 yards and no scores when the Rams visited last year. That's pretty average. Consider that again with a specter of one touchdown pass if only because he can.

Running Backs: Clinton Portis only gained 62 yards on 16 carries last week but that's pretty good when visiting the Giants and he still had one catch. Just as important and in contrast to preseason speculation, he had his 16 carries but Ladell Betts only had two runs for a total of a one yard loss. Oh yeah, this is a committee backfield all right. A committee of one. Ladell - go grab my cleats and hurry, chop! chop!

Portis rushed for 129 yards and two touchdowns against the Rams last year. He has to be salivating over the thought of this matchup. If Julius Jones can turn in 117 yards and a score last Sunday, then Portis is looking very good this week.

Wide Receivers: Antwaan Randle El had one of his best games ever when he caught seven passes for 98 yards against the Giants last week. That left nothing for the other two receivers who may have been started in a fantasy league or two. Santana Moss (2-6) and Malcolm Kelly (1-6) were complete nonfactors when the Giants elected to allow the slot receiver Randle El to become the guy. There is no consistency here though and even fewer big games.

Surprisingly, Antwaan Randle El was the lead receiver in the Rams game last year when he had 87 yards on five catches. Moss needs to get back in gear and is the better play this week though the Skins will not need anyone from the passing game in order to get the win. That makes them all risky.

Tight Ends: Chris Cooley started the year out on a high note when he collected seven passes for 68 yards and the lone touchdown last week. He had five catches for 57 yards and no scores versus the Rams last year and the Rams are even worse. Cooley is a decent start for yardage but will not need to be over-used this week.

Gaining Fantasy Points WAS 22 26 25 8 23 21
Preventing Fantasy Points    STL 29 26 19 32 9 11

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