A few hours before the first pitch between the Texas Rangers and St Louis Cardinals in Game 4 of the World Series, the Dallas Cowboys hosted the St Louis Rams a few blocks away. Despite their struggles, most predicted the Cowboys would face minimal resistance defeating the winless Rams. With Felix Jones suffering an ankle sprain in Week 6, rookie DeMarco Murray and Tashard Choice were in line to split the workload.
Most analysts believed that Murray demonstrated a higher ceiling with his receiving abilities, which caused him to be a popular add last week. He did not catch a single pass in Week 7. Instead, Murray trampled over the Rams for 253 yards on 25 carries including a 91 yard touchdown, and ended up breaking Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith’s single game rushing record. The Dallas rookie’s performance was one of many highlights from Week 7 so let’s take a look at what you may have missed.
Adrian Peterson ran for 175 yards and along with a solid performance from rookie QB Christian Ponder kept the Minnesota Vikings close to the Green Bay Packers all game. However, Aaron Rodgers continued his stellar season with a three touchdown performance to finally sink the Vikings’ ship.
The New Orleans Saints massacred the winless Indianapolis Colts 62-7 behind Drew Brees’ 325 passing yards and 5 touchdown performance on national television.
Lastly, Tim Tebow was awful for almost the entire game versus the Miami Dolphins. However, he led a sensational comeback with two touchdowns and a two-point conversion in the final minutes, which led Denver to an astonishing overtime victory.
As you begin to prepare for Week 8, let’s take a dive into several key matchups.
QB Matt Hasselbeck– Week 6 was ugly. The veteran QB threw for only 104 passing yards and one touchdown along with two picks in a blowout loss against the Houston Texans. Before this performance, Hasselbeck began to show consistency with three multi-touchdown games in the first five weeks with his new team.
With a matchup against the winless Indianapolis Colts in Week 8, it may be time to take another chance on Hasselbeck. Indy has allowed the highest average quarterback rating and most touchdowns through the air than any other team this season, including five scores to Drew Brees last weekend.
Week 8 projection: 250 passing yards and two touchdowns
RB Pierre Thomas– New Orleans’ longest tenured running back finally broke through in Week 7 with over 100 total yards including five catches. Although his performance this season has been disappointing thus far, expect an encore this weekend against the St Louis Rams, who just allowed Dallas’ DeMarco Murray to run for 253 rushing yards. Thomas’ matchup will be even more attractive if Mark Ingram sits with his injured heel so monitor his status as well.
Week 8 projection: 100 total yards and one touchdown
Jenkins celebrated Christian Ponder’s first NFL start by catching a 72 yard touchdown from the rookie. The receiver seemed to build chemistry quickly with Ponder as he was targeted eight times for 111 receiving yards. With the injury to Percy Harvin and release of Bernard Berrian, Jenkins will be Ponder’s primary target this weekend against Carolina. His matchup against Carolina is relatively neutral, but Jenkins should receive the bulk of the targets.
Week 8 projection: 80 receiving yards and one touchdown.
TE Jake Ballard– Ballard has helped New York Giants’ fans forget about the departure of Kevin Boss. Not only has the 6’6’’, 275-pound tight end averaged more than 18 yards per catch, but he has even evolved into a big play threat with a catch of 21 yards or more in four of six games. Although his opponent, the Miami Dolphins, have improved against tight ends recently, the matchup is still attractive for Ballard especially if your starter is on bye.
Week 8 projection: 65 receiving yards and one touchdown.
New Orleans DEF- The New Orleans Saints defense has been average in most categories this season. However, their favorable matchup against the St Louis Rams this weekend makes them a solid prospect. If your defense is scheduled for a bye or will be competing against a potent offense, check the free agent wire for New Orleans ‘D’. The Rams average only 9.3 points per game and have failed to score more than 10 since Week 2. Whether Sam Bradford or backup A.J. Feeley is at the helm, the Saints Defense should be worth a start if you are in a bind.
Week 8 projection: 12 points
Week 7 Results
QB Matt Cassel
Week 7 projection: 225 passing yards and 2 touchdowns
Week 7 results: 161 passing yards and 2 interceptions (FAIL)
Week 7 projection: 100 total yards and 1 touchdown
Week 7 results: 253 rushing yards and 1 touchdown (SUCCESS)
Week 7 projection: 100 receiving yards and 1 touchdown
Week 7 results: 75 receiving yards (Partial Success)
TE Fred Davis
Week 7 projection: 75 receiving yards and 1 touchdown
Week 7 results: 80 receiving yards and 1 touchdown (SUCCESS)
Week 7 Projection: 11 points
Week 7 Results: 9 points (Partial Success)
Good luck in Week 8!