Game Predictions & Player Projections - NO vs CLE

Game Predictions & Player Projections - NO vs CLE

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Game Predictions & Player Projections - NO vs CLE

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Prediction: NO 27, CLE 17 (Line: NO by 6.5)

UPDATE: Ben Tate is out this week and Jordan Cameron is queestionable after missing all three practices because of his shoulder. He’ll end up being a game time decision and not practicing at all is not a favorable sign.

The Saints dropped their opener in Atlanta and look to get into the win column against the Browns who were surprisingly productive against the Steelers. The Browns were 6-2 at home last season but the Saints bring in much better weapons on offense and a better defense than what the Steelers featured.

New Orleans Saints

1 @ATL 34-37 10 SF —–
2 @CLE —– 11 CIN —–
3 MIN —– 12 BAL —–
4 @DAL —– 13 @PIT —–
5 TB —– 14 CAR —–
6 BYE —– 15 @CHI —–
7 @DET —– 16 ATL —–
8 GB —– 17 @TB —–
9 @CAR —–  
News | Statistics | Roster
NO @ CLE Rush Catch Pass
QB Drew Brees 330,2
RB Mark Ingram 60,1
RB C.J. Spiller 70,1 5-30
WR Brandin Cooks 6-90,1
TE Coby Fleener 3-20
PK Kai Forbath 2 FG 2 XP
PK Josh Scobee 2 FG 1 XP

That loss to the Falcons was less of a surprise if you can forget the 2013 season when they were mostly injured. It was a divisional loss though and has to be made up. The next four games leading up to the bye are all winnable before the schedule gets much tougher. The offense looks as good as ever – the defense just needs to meet expectations.

QUARTERBACK : The Saints spend 27 plays rushing in Atlanta but Drew Brees still passed 42 times and gained 333 passing yards though with just one score since the running game worked so well near the goal line. We’ll all hope that doesn’t happen every week. Judging by the future schedule, it will be much less of an issue in the second half of the season.

RUNNING BACK : It is week one and time for everyone to get excited and over-react to a single game. This year that means expecting that Mark Ingram (13-60, 2 TD) is suddenly the second coming of Deuce McAllister and not just a fourth-year player who had only one touchdown all of last year and who has never had more than 166 runs in any season. The Saints rode him more at the end of 2012 and he responded with a few decent games but then flopped again all last year. In four years, he’s topped 100 yards only once and then because of a long run. Ingram is in a contract year because the Saints wanted to wait and see before signing up for any more seasons.

The loser in this backfield is Pierre Thomas who was limited to seven carries for 31 yards but did add six catches for 58 yards. He was the primary back last year and is still the receiving back with Darren Sproles gone. Khiry Robinson scored once on his six runs for 28 yards against one of the worst rush defenses in the league.

Bottom line – this is a mess. It has been and always will be since that is the game plan. HC Sean Payton never again wants to run out of running backs so he will sparsely use three or four in every game.

WIDE RECEIVER : It was going so well. Marques Colston (5-110) opened with a great game but lost the fumble in overtime that became a Falcons field goal (throw helmet, kick cat). The rookie Brandin Cooks opened with a bang as well with seven receptions for 77 yards and a score. Both wideouts had eight targets. No other wideout had a single catch. Colston is a Saints standard but Cooks is adding a new and impressive tool to the arsenal. It was hoped that he could help replace the passes that Sproles once receiver. Mission accomplished.

TIGHT END : He of the big wallet, Jimmy Graham picked up where he left off last year and receiver a team high ten passes for eight catches and 82 yards. Nice to see money doesn’t change things.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Browns defense is mostly average and even Joe Haden was slated to shadow Antonio Brown who ended up with 116 yards and one score. Roethlisberger laid 365 pass yards on them, chances are Brees is going to have a decent afternoon here. The Browns gave up 197 total yards and one score to Le’Veon Bell so take that and divide it all by three. Brees, Colston, Cooks and Graham a weekly starts. There is a great chance of at least one rushing score and Ingram is getting the most work in the backfield so consider him a start but risky until he strings a few good games together.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NO 13 1 9 16 7 23
Preventing Fantasy Points CLE 23 29 28 4 5 9

Cleveland Browns

1 @PIT 27-30 10 @CIN —–
2 NO —– 11 HOU —–
3 BAL —– 12 @ATL —–
4 BYE —– 13 @BUF —–
5 @TEN —– 14 IND —–
6 PIT —– 15 CIN —–
7 @JAC —– 16 @CAR —–
8 OAK —– 17 @BAL —–
9 TB —–  
News | Statistics | Roster
CLE vs NO Rush Catch Pass
QB Austin Davis 230,1
QB Robert Griffin III 270,1
QB Josh McCown 20 220,2
RB Isaiah Crowell 30,1
WR Brian Hartline 4-50
WR Andrew Hawkins 7-80

The opener was a loss but nothing to regret with 27 points scored in a road game at Pittsburgh that nearly went their way. While the rushing offense lost their best player the other two backs stepped in and played rather well. The Browns are 0-1 but have no turnovers yet and Kyle Shanahan’s offense is getting a lot more done than expected for at least the one week. The schedule here is just brutal and it really never lets up.

QUARTERBACK : And nary a snap for Johnny Football. Brian Hoyer was good last year and he was at least effective now with 230 yards and one score using perhaps the most questionable set of receivers in the NFL. Getting back Josh Gordon would be a major plus here if it happens. Losing Jordan Cameron to a shoulder injury like last week is a major negative. Week one is done and not even one gimmick play for Johnny. Not one.

RUNNING BACK : Ben Tate did nothing for his “injury prone” tag when he ran six times for 41 yards and then injured his knee. No word has been given as of this writing so I will assume he will play and then yank him out quickly if that ends up not true. In his place Terrance West looked better than he did in preseason when he gained 100 yards on 16 runs and then Isaiah Crowell hawked two touchdowns on his five runs for 32 yards. That is impressive playing in Pittsburgh though this week will help clear how much was about the Browns and how much was on the Steelers. The Browns want to run as much as possible and so far they appear able to do it with a number of different backs.

WIDE RECEIVER : This mish-mash journeymen wideouts were predictably unproductive save for Andrew Hawkins who dominated the receiving with eight catches for 87 yards. Of course Travis Benjamin took the score on his two catches but at least in a reception point league, Hawkins has actual fantasy value. Not a lot, but some. The whole team awaits the NFL decision that could pop Josh Gordon free.

TIGHT END : Jordan Cameron only ended with two catches for 47 yards but left with a sprained AC joint same as he suffered in training camp. He is considered day-to-day so I will project for him and update as warranted.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Saints were softer on defense in all facets last week and that was a genuine surprise. They allowed 108 yards on 22 carries to the running back and an NFL-worst 448 yards and three scores to Matt Ryan. The Saints are looking to right the ship after last week but are on the road for a second week. Hawkins seems like the only moderate start here unless Tate is healthy enough to play. If he doesn’t, then the rookie West is worth a shot this week even with Crowell stealing scores.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CLE 24 7 17 14 11 15
Preventing Fantasy Points NO 32 27 32 16 4 14

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