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

Prediction: NYJ 17, NO 27

Here is the game of the week regardless what Brett Favre lovers want you to think. The surprise team of the year has to be the Jets and their dominating defense and rookie quarterback. And yet the Saints are also 3-0 and not because of some home games against soft opponents - they won on the road in Philly and Buffalo. And won big. And this just in - Saints discovered a defense.

The Jets have been playing outstanding and have every reason to look forward to the future. For right now playing in New Orleans, HC Rex Ryan needs to figure how to give a losing speech.

New York Jets (3-0)
Homefield: Giants Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @HOU 24-7 +4.5 44
2 NE 16-9 +6 46
3 TEN 24-17 -2.5 37
4 @NO - +6.5 46
5 @MIA - - -
6 BUF - - -
7 @OAK - - -
8 MIA - - -
9 BYE - - -
10 JAC - - -
11 @NE - - -
12 CAR - - -
13 @BUF - - -
14 @TB - - -
15 ATL - - -
16 @IND - - -
17 CIN - - -
NYJ at NO Rush Catch Pass
QB Mark Sanchez     240,2
RB Thomas Jones 40    
RB Leon Washington 40 30  
TE Dustin Keller   70,1  
WR Jerricho Cotchery   80,1  
WR Chansi Stuckey   30  
WR David Clowney   10  
PK Jay Feely 1 FG 2 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Jets have really opened some eyes already this season with a defense that appears to have come together instantly and drafting a rookie quarterback who appears to be anything but a rookie. The defense has been no worse than solid and occasionally spectacular. But this week will be the biggest challenge away from home against a high scoring team like the Saints. The Jets need to lose this one because if they win here, they may be undefeated going into week 11 in New England.

Quarterback: Mark Sanchez is starting to get annoying. It is not enough that he is the first rookie quarterback to win this first three starts or that he has scored in every game. It isn't even about him taking a set of receivers that look below average and making them serviceable. It isn't even that he has only thrown two interceptions against four touchdowns and rushed in a fifth score. It is about him spending time in post game interviews crediting the offensive line and his receivers and yada yada yada. If I were in his place (and clearly that was never a possibility) I would be the guy standing on the podium yelling "Yeah boyeeee, take that Matty Stafford!"

He gets to face the Saints which historically is a E ticket for any quarterback but less so this season. The Saints gave up 391 yards and two scores to Kevin Kolb in Philly but Matt Stafford and Trent Edwards did not have any scores or more than 205 passing yards. The Saints have forced seven interceptions this year. This is not going to be as fun as it seems.

Credit Sanchez with a passing score and if he gets two it only furthers his young legacy. But expecting more than moderate yardage won't happen unless the Saints allow trash time in a blowout. The Jets defense should keep it close enough for long enough that the slop time will be minimal.

Running Backs: Thomas Jones started the season with a big game and two scores in Houston. Not much since then with only 28 carries for 74 yards over two games that the Jets also won. Leon Washington has maintained his role with a far more effective 26 runs for 104 yards the last two weeks and this backfield is split from now on.

That will be a problem this week since the Saints have allowed only one rushing touchdown and no more than 76 rushing yards per opponent. Washington doubles as a receiver but only for three or four catches at most. Both runners are poor risks this week in a game sure to head to the air for the Jets. For a team with a big defense, this unit has been rather unproductive.

Wide Receivers: The Jets gave David Clowney a healthy scratch last week because he was twittering that he was not being used. This is sort of true since he has zero catches this year. But it was a chance for Rex Ryan to exert some dominance over a receiver who annually disappears come week one of the regular season.

Chansi Stuckey has really faded after a nice opening week and only had two catches for 11 yards against the Titans. He's not even worth holding onto other than waiting to see if somehow he blossoms last season. Jerricho Cotchery has been top notch though with never less than four catches or 87 yards per game and finally he had his first score of the season on Sunday when he recorded eight receptions for 108 yards versus the Titans.

This is the same defense that just held Terrell Owens to no catches for the first time in 185 games. And the Saints are playing at home and have enough game film on the new offense of the Jets to figure out that Cotchery is the only wideout that can hurt them. But they also allowed good games from Calvin Johnson and DeSean Jackson so consider Cotchery the only one here with a safe and profitable start this week.

Tight Ends: Dustin Keller only had 24 yards on two catches last week but scored against the Pats and had 94 yards on four catches in Houston to open the season. That was the only other road game so far and the Saints gave up 104 yards to Brent Celek as the only decent tight end yet to face them. Consider Keller a very strong play this week.

Gaining Fantasy Points NYJ 16 16 19 14 14 14
Preventing Fantasy Points    NO 15 5 20 9 7 27

New Orleans Saints (3-0)
Homefield: Superdome
Sportexe Turf
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 DET 45-27 -13.5 49
2 @PHI 48-22 +3 46.5
3 @BUF 27-7 -5.5 52.5
4 NYJ - -6.5 46
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 vs NYJ Rush Catch Pass
QB Drew Brees     250,2
RB Pierre Thomas 70,1 20  
RB Reggie Bush 30 40,1  
TE Jeremy Shockey   50,1  
WR Marques Colston   60  
WR Devery Henderson   50  
WR Robert Meacham   20  
PK John Carney 2 FG 3 XP  

Pregame Notes: What a promising season so far. The Saints caught a small break with Donovan McNabb out in week two but the one-time bad road team is not only playing well, they are using a defense along with the highest scoring offense in the league. And last week in windy conditions, the Saints did not try to pass anyway, they just ran all over the Bills. The season is still very young and much is left to happen but hard to argue that the Saints do not look better than they have ever. More balanced and with a defense?

Am I sensing already which team is going to have the "magic year?"

Quarterback: It may have broken nearly every Drew Brees owner's hearts when he only had 172 passing yards and no scores last week but all the rest of us were hardly crying since Brees had nine touchdowns and 669 passing yards after only two weeks. The conditions in Buffalo were windy and Brees did throw 29 passes - just five less than his monster games to open the year.

Brees faced the Eagles' vaunted defense and gave it the shred job. Safe to say the wind is not an issue this week in the Superdome. But the Jets have already held Matt Schaub to 166 yards, Brady had 216 and Kerry Collins just 170 with Collins the only one to throw a touchdown pass. But you can argue the mitigating circumstances on those with a new defense to figure out and the Pats missing Wes Welker.

Brees at home is a safe play of course and while no one has thrown for more than 216 yards against the Jets yet, this is Brees at home. He also has twice the passing targets of those other three teams. Look for good yardage and two passing scores.

Running Backs: With Mike Bell out from a knee injury, more than a few Pierre Thomas owners wanted some return on their investment and were horrified to see Lynell Hamilton start the game and score a touchdown. What really happened was that Pierre Thomas was deathly ill before the game and was getting pumped up on IV's. He freshened up enough to enter the game in the second half and gashed the Bills for 126 yards and two scores on just 14 carries. Imagine when he is healthy.

Bell will miss this week and both Thomas and Hamilton will play. Thomas will take the primary role from the start and faces a defense that has only allowed one rushing touchdown this year. But Thomas should make it two and if the Titans can run for 124 yards in New York, the Saints should be respectable yardage from Thomas since the passing game has to be defended first and foremost.

Reggie Bush tossed in 64 yards on 13 carries last week as well but has been rather quiet as a receiver. He has only 11 catches to start the year but could factor in more this week.

Wide Receivers: Lance Moore has been inactive because of his hamstring and the hot receiver of 2008 has been almost completely a nonfactor this season. Marques Colston continues to churn out decent stats and has three scores on the year already. Robert Meachem has only one catch in the last two weeks as the long ball guy not needed while Devery Henderson has added three receptions per week as well.

This week goes against a secondary that has only allowed one passing touchdown to anyone this year. That includes Andre Johnson (4-35) and Randy Moss (4-24) who did not cross the goal line. This is a spread out passing scheme and the wideouts are likely to take a back seat this week. None them are more than moderate plays and are hard to rely on for any score.

Tight Ends: Jeremy Shockey has remained a solid part of the passing equation for around five catches per week but never more than 50 yards. This week he'll make a very attractive target while the secondary scrambles to cover the wideouts.

Gaining Fantasy Points NO 2 2 3 8 4 2
Preventing Fantasy Points    NYJ 2 6 6 5 5 8

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