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Predictions & Projections
By David M. Dorey
 
The Huddle
WEEK 5
October 1, 2003
Season Ticket
Sun 1 PM *TEN at NE Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM Bye Week:
*ARZ at DAL *MIN at ATL DET at SF *CLE at PIT Ravens
CIN at BUF *NO at CAR WAS at PHI Mon 9 PM Texans
*DEN at KC OAK at CHI *SD at JAX *IND at TB Jets
MIA at NYG SEA at GB   *updated Rams
   
Tennessee vs New England Sun, Oct 5; 1 PM on CBS at Gillette Stadium
  Tennessee Rush Catch Pass
QB Steve McNair 30,1 0 220,1
RB Eddie George 70,1 10 0
TE Erron Kinney 0 30 0
WR Derrick Mason 0 60 0
WR Justin McCareins 0 40,1 0
WR Drew Bennett 0 60 0
  New England Rush Catch Pass
QB Tom Brady 0 0 190,1
RB Kevin Faulk 20 20 0
RB Antowain Smith 40 0 0
TE Christian Fauria 0 30 0
WR Troy Brown 0 40 0
WR Deion Branch 0 50,1 0
WR David Patten Q Q Q


Game Prediction: TEN 24, NE 13

Update: Kevin Faulk is still questionable to play with a left leg injury and did not practice earlier this week so I am expecting that he can play but will be limited. I am also removing David Patten from the projections since he is questionable still with his knee sprain and have lowered the passing numbers for NE since that leaves the best receiver - Troy Brown - pitted against CB Andre Dyson. In light of the defensive injuries to the Patriots - LB Ted Johnson, NT Ted Washington, LB Mike Vrabel, LB Willie McGinnest, et al; I am adjusting the score higher for Tennessee.

Unlike last season, the Titans stumbled in week two and took no time to return to prominence. Since they fell to the division leading Colts, the quick recovery has allowed them to remain very much in the running for the title.

Steve McNair was, as usual, banged up last week which only meant that he went to Pittsburgh and calmly completed 15 of 16 passes for 161 yards and three touchdowns. The amazing fact, or depressing for some, was that he did that without using Derrick Mason (1-4). Meanwhile, Justin McCareins (5-81), Erron Kinney (4-19) and Drew Bennett (2-52) all caught touchdowns.

Eddie George only rushed for 21 yards on 11 carries and though Chris Brown made a showing, his six carries for three yards was hardly enough to make anyone race to the fantasy waiver wire.

The Titan defense turned in a big game as the visitor, intercepting Tommy Maddox twice including a backbreaking 60 yard return for a fourth quarter score. Maddox was sacked three times and battered about by the same team that knocked him out for three games last season.

The Titans lost LB Peter Sirmon for a few weeks after he fractured his transverse process bones in his lower back last Sunday. Steve McNair will likely be listed as critically ill and yet still play well.

The Titans continue to be the most successful team that defenses cannot really prepare to meet. It could be McNair, any one of several receivers or even George that hurts them. It could be special teams or the defense that Tennessee uses to win the game. But in the end, more often than not, they do win the game.

The Patriots return home after falling to the Redskins last week in a game that to a man they feel let slip away from them. Tom Brady threw for 289 yards and two late game touchdowns in their rally but also had three interceptions. The Redskins had no turnovers. There is your difference maker.

Antowain Smith rushed 14 times for 56 yards and Kevin Faulk only managed 12 yards on ten carries before leaving the game with a leg injury after fumbling the ball away in the third quarter. Mike Cloud has been cleared to practice with the Patriots after serving out his four game suspension and with an entirely lackluster rushing game, he may well be added to the roster at the end of the week instead of cut.

In the never ending attempt by New England to make their receivers impossible to forecast, the stars last week were David Givens (4-57, 1 TD) and even TE Daniel Graham is showing up more in the box scores, catching three balls for 54 yards last week after having two receptions the previous week.

The only reason that the Titans would have for losing this game against the injury-plagued Patriots is the fact that they have lost their last three games following a Steeler win. The Patriot defense has done a great job filling in for missing players and held off the vaunted Redskin passing attack last week. The Titans have no impressive rushing game to use outside of just giving the ball continually to Eddie George and hoping that his three yard average spikes up a yard or two per series for a first down.

Look for the difference in the game to be the inability of New England to generate a running game which will force them to rely on passing where the Titans can force more errors. This should be a lower scoring game but could contain a defensive score.

TEN
NE
2003 Averages
NE
TEN
Gains
Allows
QB's
Gains
Allows
220
213
Pass yards
220
239
2.0
0.5
Pass TDs
1.3
1.0
0.5
1.0
Interceptions
1.8
0.5
8
16
Rush yards
2
5
0.0
0.0
Rush TDs
0.3
0.0
----
----
RB's
----
----
61
79
Rush yards
98
54
0.3
1.3
Rush TDs
0.0
0.5
8
54
Receive yards
53
50
0.0
0.0
Receive TD's
0.3
0.3
----
----
WR's
----
----
151
133
Receive yards
118
137
1.8
0.3
Receive TD's
0.5
0.8
----
----
TE's
----
----
62
26
Receive yards
49
52
0.3
0.3
Receive TD's
0.5
0.0
----
----
PK's
----
----
1.3
1.8
Field Goals
1.5
2.3
2.5
2.0
Extra Points
1.8
1.8
----
----
DEF/ST
----
----
0.8
0.5
Fumbles
1.5
0.8
0.5
1.8
Interceptions
0.8
0.5
1.3
0.3
Touchdowns
0.5
0.8
1.8
2.5
Sacks
4.0
1.8
0.3
0.0
Safeties
0.0
0.3
Tennessee (3-1)
Score Opp.
25-20 OAK
7-33 @IND
27-12 NO
30-13 @PIT
Week 5 @NE
Week 6 HOU
Week 7 @CAR
Week 8 @JAX
Week 9 BYE
Week 10 MIA
Week 11 JAX
Week 12 @ATL
Week 13 @NYJ
Week 14 IND
Week 15 BUF
Week 16 @HOU
Week 17 TB
Patriots (2-2)
Score Opp.
0-31 @BUF
31-10 @PHI
23-16 NYJ
17-20 @WAS
Week 5 TEN
Week 6 NYG
Week 7 @MIA
Week 8 CLE
Week 9 @DEN
Week 10 BYE
Week 11 DAL
Week 12 @HOU
Week 13 @IND
Week 14 MIA
Week 15 JAX
Week 16 @NYJ
Week 17 BUF
(Statistics are game averages from current season )