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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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The Huddle
WEEK 15
~ 2009 ~
Season Ticket
Thursday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday Late
Saturday
Monday
*updated

Prediction: HOU 27, STL 10

Friday Night Update: The Rams are battling what is feared to be the swine flu and that could affect both Kyle Boller and Brandon Gibson. Mostly it makes the Houston defense look like a nice play this week. Check the inactives if you need Boller or Gibson and my condolences if you need them to play for your team.

Thursday Night Update: The Rams are getting hit with the flu and Kyle Boller has missed practice. Steven Jackson was held out as always. No changes to the projections yet but that could happen tomorrow night.

The Texans move up to 6-7 on the year but still face long odds on making it to .500. They are 3-3 on the road. The Rams are 1-12 and have the NFL lowest points for at 146 or barely ten points per game. The Rams are 0-6 at home. This makes the Texans very happy.

Houston Texans (6-7)
Homefield: Reliant Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 NYJ 7-24 -4.5 44
2 @TEN 34-31 +7 40.5
3 JAC 24-31 -4 46.5
4 OAK 29-6 -9.5 41
5 @ARI 21-28 +5.5 48
6 @CIN 28-17 +5.5 46
7 SF 24-21 -3 44.5
8 @BUF 31-10 -3.5 42
9 @IND 17-20 +9 48
10 BYE - - -
11 TEN 17-20 -4 48.5-
12 IND 27-35 +3 48
13 @JAC 18-23 +1 47.5
14 SEA 34-7 -7 44.5
15 @STL - -11.5 43
16 @MIA - - -
17 NE - - -
HOU at STL Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Schaub     240,2
RB Arian Foster 70,1 40  
WR Andre' Johnson   90,2  
WR Kevin Walter   40  
WR David Anderson   30  
PK Kris Brown 2 FG 3 XP  
Pregame Notes: This week should be a win and the Texans are favored by 11.5 points in a road game. But after drawing to 7-7, the next game is in Miami where they are still fighting for postseason play and then week 17 ends up hosting the Patriots who may be very desperate for a win by then to get the AFC East or a wildcard. While the season is winding down to be yet another year without a winning record, the Texans offense is likely going to set a franchise record for points scored. Imagine if they had a running game.

Quarterback: Matt Schaub is having a career year that represent more of an exponential than incremental increase. He has already passed for 24 touchdowns and had seven efforts over 300 passing yards. He has been less productive in most games away from home but has his season best showing if 392 yards and four scores in Cincinnati.

The Rams have allowed multiple passing scores in over half of their games and it would be higher but some teams opt to just run all over them - not really a great option for the Texans. Expect a healthy game here with two scored and decent yardage as a starting point.

Running Backs: Now that Steve Slaton is but an IR memory, the Texans have opted to de-emphasize Chris Brown and see what Arian Foster can do. Coach Gary Kubiak confirmed that Foster will be showcased in the final three games with Ryan Moats losing a fumble and Chris Brown ineffective Sunday. Foster only ran 13 times for 34 yards while Moats gained 43 yards on ten carries but fumbled once and is considered the worst blocker of the three backs.

I am projecting for only Foster this week though both Moats and Brown are likely to play - certainly Brown is. Understand that Foster's numbers are really more like the total numbers since there is no was of knowing the split roles.

This is a golden opportunity for Foster to look better than he is against a defense that ranks among the worst in stopping the run - if he gets enough carries. The Rams have allowed 12 scores to visiting running backs and an average of almost 130 rushing yards per team. Have to like the chance for good yardage and one rushing score in this game.

Wide Receivers: Andrew Johnson comes off the second best game of his career. He caught 11 passes for 193 yards and two scores against the Seahawks including a 64-yard touchdown catch to open the game. He did almost all his work in the first half and later hyperextended his leg. The injury is not considered to be serious and should not impact him this week. That is fortunate since Johnson is almost the entire passing game now with eight passing touchdowns and six games at or over 100 yards. Jacoby Jones has four scores but never more than about 30 yards per week. Kevin Walter just chugs along with 40 or so yards per week regardless of what the game situation is and he has not scores since week three.

There is no magic in the Rams secondary, they rank as well only because teams opt to run on them instead of pass as much. No reason to sit Andre Johnson against the Rams.

Tight Ends: No fantasy value.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points HOU 6 6 8 14 20 23
Preventing Fantasy Points STL 23 28 11 22 18 32


St. Louis Rams (1-12)
Homefield: Edward Jones Dome
FieldTurf
  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 9-17 +9.5 41
14 @TEN 7-47 +13.5 40
15 HOU - +11.5 43
16 @ARI - - -
17 SF - - -
STL vs HOU Rush Catch Pass
QB Kyle Boller     150,1
RB Steven Jackson 90 10  
TE Randy McMichael   20  
WR Donnie Avery   30  
WR Brandon Gibson   40,1  
WR Danny Amendola   40  
PK Josh Brown 1 FG 1 XP  

Pregame Notes: A bad season slowly slips away with nothing more accomplished than beating the crap out of Stephen Jackson who not only defies all logic by still playing, but showing up about half the original starters on the offense who are now in injured reserve. The Rams have not really been competitive this year and as the season closes out more plays hit the injured reserve. It's been a tough year and nothing positive was accomplished beyond being an opponents opportunity to fill the stands and sell beer in what otherwise is really a bye week.

Quarterback: It is almost certain that Marc Bulger will be shut down with his fractured shinbone and there is no sense in rushing him back just to be massacred again. Kyle Boller was a scratch last week because of a thigh injury and Keith Null took over as the starter. Once he was finished throwing for 157 yards, one score and five interceptions, the desire to get Boller back on the field has never been stronger. I will assume that Boller plays and update if warranted. Like you would actually start him.

The Houston secondary is average at best and has allowed big yards and multiple scores in most of the away games but these are the Rams with Boller. Figure on low yardage and the chance of one touchdown.

Running Backs: There once was farm that had no vehicles or horses or even carts. This farm was run by an old man and his ox. He used this ox for carrying water, dragging firewood, plowing fields, shielding him from hailstorms and as a backstop when he wanted to practice pitching. The ox did all the work on the farm. He named his ox "Stephen Jackson".

Jackson hasn't practiced in weeks and may very well never practice again this year. But he still somehow rolls out of bed on Sunday, goes to the stadium and somehow looks impressive on a team with nothing else to look at. Jackson is playing with a herniated disc in his back. At the rate he is going, he'll have a hard time beating Earl Campbell sack race at the Veterans Day Picnic.

Texans are weak against the run in most cases but Jackson is so beaten up that it doesn't matter. Expect more moderate yardage from Jackson and marvel how he can play without any body parts falling off.

Wide Receivers: Donnie Avery is dealing with a separated shoulder but still playing. He was limited to only 14 yards on two catches last week. The Rams have been relying a bit more on the rookie Brandon Gibson who was tailing off but came back to life with six receptions for 43 yards in Tennessee. I like one passing score to happen here and it will go to one of the wideouts. That would most likely be Avery who has five scores against none for Gibson and Danny Amendola but he is banged up and no healthy. I am awarding it to Gibson but the confidence level is low.

Tight Ends: Randy McMichael scored last week but otherwise has marginal fantasy value. He could be in the running for the one passing score again this week but there is reliability in it and he will not have much yardage regardless.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points STL 29 25 23 19 31 31
Preventing Fantasy Points HOU 14 13 17 27 5 13

The Huddle
WEEK 15
~ 2009 ~
Season Ticket
Thursday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday Late
Saturday
Monday
Other Features
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Early Injury Report
Free Agent Forecast
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