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

Prediction: STL 10, CHI 27

Friday Update: Jackson missed practice for the third day this week and he has not managed to get into practice for two weeks now because of his back. He is considered questionable and will be a game time decision again.

Thursday Update: Steven Jackson missed both practices so far this week but expects to be back on Friday and play this week as he did last Sunday with virtually no practice. He is resting his back.

The Rams are 1-10 and now without Marc Bulger. The Bears are 4-7 and on a four game losing streak with only this and the season finale in Detroit as reasonable hopes for the ever elusive win. The Bears won 27-3 when they played in St. Louis last year. The Rams have played some opponents closely but that's usually from them taking the Rams too lightly and then still managing to win. No way the Bears let any easy win get past this week.

St. Louis Rams (1-10)
Homefield: Edward Jones Dome
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @SEA 0-28 +7.5 37
2 @WAS 7-9 +10 37
3 GB 17-36 +6.5 41
4 @SF 0-35 +10 37.5
5 MIN 10-38 +10 41
6 @JAC 20-23 +9.5 43
7 IND 6-42 +14 45
8 @DET 17-10 +3.5 43.5
9 BYE - - -
10 NO 23-28 +14 51
11 ARI 13-21 +9.5 46.5
12 SEA 17-27 +3.5 42.5
13 @CHI - +9 41
14 @TEN - - -
15 HOU - - -
16 @ARI - - -
17 SF - - -
STL at CHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Kyle Boller     210,1
RB Steven Jackson 80 20  
TE Randy McMichael   10  
WR Donnie Avery   40,1  
WR Brandon Gibson   50  
WR Danny Amendola   60  
PK Josh Brown 1 FG 1 XP  
Pregame Notes: Three straight home games and all the Rams did was lose their starting quarterback and have Steven Jackson injure his back. With three of the next four games on the road, the Rams are going to end poorly with a very realistic chance of ending 1-15.

Quarterback: Kyle Boller took over last week and threw for a respectable 282 yards and one touchdown against the visiting Seahawks who won the game handily anyway. Boller also had two interceptions and was sacked four times while playing in a home game against the Seahawks so this week should be looking at less production.

The Rams stared Trent Green against the Bears in 2008 and he only had 219 yards and no scores.

This year the Bears secondary is often burnt so look for one score from Boller and decent yardage. It may come more towards the end of the game and be meaningless, but it all counts the same.

Running Backs: Steven Jackson missed most of the practices last week with a sore back but was able to play and gained 89 yards on 23 carries and scored a touchdown for the fourth straight game. He added five catches for 27 yards as well. Jackson has always had much lower efforts in road games this year and his one score in an away game came in Detroit. Jackson said his back was sore after the Seahawks game but he should play this week even if he is limited in practice like last week.

Jackson did not play in the Bears game last year. The Rams only rushed for 19 yards on 18 carries in that game.

Jackson does less on the road and the Bears at home have not allowed a rusher to top 100 rush yards and only two have scored. Look for a moderate yardage game from Jackson who is not 100% in the best case.

Wide Receivers: No currently active wide receiver for the Rams has scored besides Donnie Avery who has the team lead with five touchdowns. He had 48 yards on four catches last week and scored once but Danny Amendola had the same number of targets (11) but led the team with seven receptions for 55 yards. The rookie Brandon Gibson started out well in week ten but has been disappearing more every week.

No wideout had more than 46 yards versus the Bears in 2008.

I like one passing score and that has to go to Avery since no other wideout has scored this year. But the confidence level is now and even Avery makes only a marginal starter with Boller at the helm.

Tight Ends: No fantasy value.

Gaining Fantasy Points STL 28 24 22 17 31 29
Preventing Fantasy Points CHI 26 16 28 16 19 17

Chicago Bears (4-7)
Homefield: Soldier Field
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @GB 15-21 +4 46
2 PIT 17-14 +3 37.5
3 @SEA 25-19 -2 37
4 DET 48-24 -10.5 38.5
5 BYE - - -
6 @ATL 14-21 +3 45.5
7 @CIN 10-45 +1 42.5
8 CLE 30-6 +11.5 39.5
9 ARI 21-41 -3 44.5
10 @SF 6-10 +3.5 43
11 PHI 20-24 +3.5 46.5
12 @MIN 10-36 +10 47
13 STL - -9 41
14 GB - - -
15 @BAL - - -
16 MIN - - -
17 @DET - - -
CHI vs STL Rush Catch Pass
QB Jay Cutler     240,2
RB Matt Forte 90,1 30  
TE Greg Olsen   50,1  
WR Devin Hester   70,1  
WR Earl Bennett   50  
WR Johnny Knox   20  
PK Robbie Gould 2 FG 3 XP  

Pregame Notes: With four consecutive losses, this is the week to get a win since the weak Rams team stumbles in with injury woes and should be just what the doctor ordered for at least one game. There's a season finale in Detroit but this is yet another disappointing year that actually saw the team get worse. The rushing attack has been all but abandoned and the defense has suffered injuries and defections until it barely resembles the formidable units of the past. The biggest question now is if Lovie Smith makes it to next year. Lose to the Rams this week and he may not see the rest of December.

Quarterback: Jay Cutler's first year with the Bears continues to get worse with only two scores in the last three weeks. Last week saw the Vikings dismantling the Bears and intercepting Cutler two more times while holding him to only 147 passing yards and one score. That now gives him 16 touchdowns against 20 interceptions. And most of the scores were in the first five weeks and most the interceptions have come since then.

Kyle Orton passed for 132 yards and one score in St. Louis last year.

The Rams are one of those defenses that has been decimated by the run or the pass every week but rarely both. So it ranks much better than it should in either category. The Rams have allowed multiple passing scores six times this year though most teams limit their passing because the rushing is just so much easier. I like Cutler to take advantage of a chance to be productive and throw for solid yardage and two scores.

Running Backs: As exciting as it was to see the rookie Kahlil Bell scamper for 81 yards against the Eagles, he had no carries last week and just one catch. It was fun while it lasted.

Matt Forte has been progressively worse each game for the last month and has not scored since week eight or had more than 41 rushing yards. Even his role as a receiver has waned in recent games. But the only time that Forte has looked good was at home when the Lions or Browns visited. This is Forte's week to matter as a runner. It may be his final week for a big game but at least this should see him look like a running back once again.

Forte rushed for 139 yards on 21 carries and scored twice against the Rams last year.

The Rams have given up 16 touchdowns to running backs this year with plenty of yardage - five runners have topped 99 yards against them. Look for what could be a final big game for Forte this season.

Wide Receivers: Nothing has changed here all year other than Devin Hester having been on a run of bad games for three weeks thanks to being on the road or facing the Eagles. He had been solid with 80 yards or more and usually a score when in Chicago and remains the best bet for a score this week. Earl Bennett has never scored but Johnny Knox snagged his fourth touchdown of the year last week in Minnesota.

No wideout had more than 57 yards versus the Rams in 2008.

I like Hester to have a decent showing here but the other starters are too inconsistent to rely on.

Tight Ends: Greg Olsen has become the object of attention by Cutler in recent games and has been noticeably favored. He had 20 catches for 162 yards over the last three weeks and was targeted 30 times. Cutler has been forcing the ball to Olsen in many cases but that serves to make him a decent play this week. Cutler will spread out more to the wideouts this week thanks to the softer matchup but he'll rely on his new best friend as well.

Gaining Fantasy Points CHI 14 29 16 3 18 19
Preventing Fantasy Points STL 21 29 16 18 9 30

The Huddle
~ 2009 ~
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