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

Prediction: NO 27, MIA 17

Late Update: Shockey was still limited on Friday but is listed as probable and is expected to play.

Early Update: Jeremy Shockey has been limited in practice this week because of his shoulder but is expected to play.

The Saints could be in for a let down this week after their huge win over the visiting Giants but the Saints have not won a game by less than 14 points so far this year. A let down still likely means a win. The Fins come off their bye week on a two game winning streak thanks to a stretch of home games. This will be the toughest yet regardless of it being played in Miami. The Saints are looking so strong that it would be some road game like this that hands them their first defeat but so far there is nothing that says the Saints don't march to yet another win here.

New Orleans Saints (5-0)
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 24-10 -6.5 46
5 BYE - - -
6 NYG 48-27 -3 47
7 @MIA - -6.5 47
8 ATL - - -
9 CAR - - -
10 @STL - - -
11 @TB - - -
12 NE - - -
13 @WAS - - -
14 @ATL - - -
15 DAL - - -
16 TB - - -
17 @CAR - - -
NO at MIA Rush Catch Pass
QB Drew Brees     270,2
RB Pierre Thomas 50 10  
RB Mike Bell 20,1    
RB Reggie Bush 20 30  
TE Jeremy Shockey   50  
WR Marques Colston   70,1  
WR Lance Moore   40  
WR Devery Henderson   30,1  
WR Robert Meacham   30  
PK John Carney 2 FG 3 XP  
Pregame Notes: Perhaps the scariest part of the Saints undefeated string is that they have actually looked better and scored the most against the toughest opponents. Consider that they just beat the Giants by almost the exact same score that they beat the Lions by in week one. The Saints offense now has three running backs and so many receivers that no defense can stop them thus far. There are still some tough matchups to play including this week but when the Saints finally do lose it will be in a game that they were favored to win. The Saints maintain their one game lead over the Falcons in the NFC South and must resist the urge to look past this week to hosting Atlanta the following Sunday.

Quarterback: After two straight weeks of no scores and minimal yardage, Drew Brees snapped back to form when he had 369 yards and four scores against the Giants. He has either had no scores and less than 200 yards in a game or he has 310+ yards and at least three scores. No middle ground so far but this week could do the trick.

The Dolphins defense has allowed every opposing quarterback to score at least once but none have scored more than two times including Peyton Manning and Philip Rivers who both threw for exactly 303 yards versus the Fins. Brees is as good as any and perhaps better than all so look for a healthy yardage game here with a couple of passing scores.

Running Backs: Both Pierre Thomas and Mike Bell had 15 carries last week but over half for Bell came at the end of the fourth quarter. Thomas rushed for 72 yards on 15 carries but had no catches against the Giants and was yanked at the goal line so that Bell could take the score. That is a troubling development for Thomas owners since this offense ensures many future scoring opportunities. Splitting those only makes Bell a tease as a fantasy starter and decreases what Thomas could be.

Reggie Bush also scored against the Giants but has really been on the slide in recent weeks with minimal yardage or even touches. Since week one, he has not had more than three catches in a game and has just 128 yards and 15 catches over five games played.

The Dolphins have been outstanding against the run with no running back gaining more than 65 rushing yards against them. Thomas Jones just had two rushing scores but that only makes three on the year. With the attack split between two if not three runners, none of them carry much fantasy value this week and there should be one rushing score that could go anywhere.

Wide Receivers: Marques Colston comes off his best game of the year when he turned in eight receptions for 166 yards and a score against the Giants. Robert Meachem had his monthly long touchdown catch in that game as well and even Lance Moore has reappeared with six receptions for 78 yards and a score. Moore is finally healthy again and makes a total of four wideouts for he Saints that could all have a decent game on any given Sunday. Colston is the most consistent by far but the others mix and match in every week.

The Dolphins have only allowed three passing scores to wideouts this year and never more than one per opponent. Prior to Braylon Edwards score in week five, the other two scorers (Garcon and Reed) did so on their only catch in the game and only Vincent Jackson has managed to gain more than 72 yards against the Dolphins. I will credit a score to Colston but it could go anywhere. Colston is a good start this week but he is not much better than any of the wideouts in terms of likelihood of scoring. Henderson was quiet last week but could sneak into the endzone here.

Tight Ends: Jeremy Shockey got to score against his old team last week and he has been solid with four catches for around 40 or 50 yards each week. The Dolphins are a bit weaker against the tight ends than they are the wide receivers but that is also because they have faced Gonzalez, Gates and Clark to start the year. Expect an average game here by Shockey.

Gaining Fantasy Points NO 3 2 6 11 6 1
Preventing Fantasy Points    MIA 18 6 8 15 28 17

Miami Dolphins (2-3)
Homefield: Dolphins Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @ATL 7-19 +4 43.5
2 IND 23-27 +3 42
3 @SD 13-23 +6 42
4 BUF 38-10 +2.5 37
5 NYJ 31-27 +1.5 36.5
6 BYE - - -
7 NO - +6.5 47
8 @NYJ - - -
9 @NE - - -
10 TB - - -
11 @CAR - - -
12 @BUF - - -
13 NE - - -
14 @JAC - - -
15 @TEN - - -
16 HOU - - -
17 PIT - - -
MIA vs NO Rush Catch Pass
QB Chad Henne     200,1
RB Ronnie Brown 80,1 20  
RB Ricky Williams 50 20  
TE Anthony Fasano   20,1  
WR Ted Ginn Jr.   60  
WR Greg Camarillo   20  
WR Davone Bess   30  
PK Dan Carpenter 1 FG 2 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Dolphins are slowly digging themselves out of the hole with two home wins in a row but the schedule makers who loved them in 2008 have not been kind for 2009. After playing this week against the undefeated Saints, the Fins have a rematch with the Jets in New York and then head to New England. There are precious few "gimmee's" on the schedule this year and none in the near future.

Quarterback: Chad Henne has scored each week since taking over for Chad Pennington and he has four touchdowns against only two interceptions so far. But Henne hasn't needed to throw more than 26 times in a game and the Dolphins are going to a rush-heavy attack that includes the wildcat formation with Ronnie Brown taking snaps. Henne hasn't won the games for the Fins but he certainly hasn't been a part of any losses either. This week will be interesting since he will need to throw more often than in previous weeks.

The Saints have only allowed four passing touchdowns this year and all but the Eagles had less than 210 passing yards against them. Look for just an average game from Henne this week with a shot at one touchdown. If the Saints were to get an early lead and force Miami to give up the run, then Henne may have some fantasy value this week but you cannot rely on that happening.

Running Backs: Ricky Williams suffered a sprained ankle in week five but the bye week helped him heal and he is not expected to be limited this week. Both he and Ronnie Brown are on a pace to break 1000 rushing yards this year.

Brown has scored six times this season and yet has not had any game where he only scored once. He has doubled up in every home game this year and had good to great yardage as well. His role as a receiver is spotty but he's good for 20+ runs per week and commands the wildcat formation that no doubt is used again this week.

Williams has only scored three times and caps out around 60 to 80 yards per week but has been rock solid in every game. Oddly his scores were in the two road games and then against the visiting Bills.

There is no doubt that the Dolphins want to run every play if they can to keep Brees and the Saints offense off the field. And so far no opponent has shut them down but the Saints have only given up three rushing touchdowns and never more than one per game. No runner has gained more than 71 yards against them and that was Fred Jackson back when he had all the workload for the Bills. This is on the road for the Saints after a big win and the Dolphins are going to run even against all reason this week. That makes both Brown and Williams as reasonable fantasy plays this week though both should be more limited than in recent games. The Saints are only allowing 3.7 yards per carry.

Wide Receivers: With only two touchdowns total for these wide receivers, there's no fantasy value here outside of the occasional decent showing by Ted Ginn Jr. who finally scored in the last game played. Other than his one nice showing against the Colts, Ginn and the rest of the wideouts have been locked in at less than 60 yards individually each week.

The Saints have been weakest against wide receivers but that reflects that opponents have to abandon the run and just throw to try and keep up. Only the Eagles and Giants actually had touchdowns go to wide receivers so look for just average games here by the wide receivers. This is the sort of game where not being able to pass much will haunt the FIns.

Tight Ends: Anthony Fasano had been almost invisible this year with never more than one or two catches per week but against the Jets he not only had four catches for 38 yards, he added his first touchdown on the season. I like Fasano to catch a score this week only slightly more than any other receiver. He is not a safe start by any means.

Gaining Fantasy Points MIA 29 3 21 31 13 25
Preventing Fantasy Points    NO 7 3 23 5 16 7

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