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Predictions & Projections
By David M. Dorey
 
The Huddle
WEEK 6
October 8, 2003
Season Ticket
Sun 1 PM *TB at WAS Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM Bye Week:
*CAR at IND MIA at JAX *BUF at NYJ SF at SEA Cincinnati
CHI at NO *NYG at NE *PIT at DEN Mon 9 PM Detroit
HOU at TEN OAK at CLE Sun 4 PM *ATL at STL Minnesota
KC at GB PHI at DAL *BAL at ARZ *updated San Diego
   
Houston vs Tennessee Sun, Oct 12; 1 PM on CBS at The Coliseum
  Houston Rush Catch Pass
QB David Carr 0 0 250,1
RB Stacey Mack 40,1 20 0
RB Domanick Davis 50 10 0
TE Billy Miller 0 10 0
WR Corey Bradford 0 20 0
WR Andre Johnson 0 100,1 0
WR Jabar Gaffney 0 70 0
  Tennessee Rush Catch Pass
QB Steve McNair 30 0 260,2
RB Eddie George 40 10 0
TE Erron Kinney 0 30 0
WR Derrick Mason 0 50 0
WR Tyrone Calico 0 40,1 0
WR Justin McCareins 0 60 0
WR Drew Bennett 0 60,1 0

Game Prediction: HOU 17, TEN 23

Houston Notes

Quarterbacks: The last time David Carr played, he was diving over the endzone for a dramatic last play win over the Jaguars. Carr has been much better this season now that he has an actual offensive line and better receivers thanks to Andre Johnson. Carr has thrown or rushed for a score in every game this season.

Running backs: The bye week has not done much to untangle a confusing picture of the running backs. Stacey Mack is not delivering the goods and is only averaging 2.9 yards per carry. He is still the starting back but is seeing more time given to Domanick Davis recently and Tony Hollings figures in as well. Even Jonathan Wells had some carries a few weeks ago. For now, Mack is the starter and could help his case greatly by stepping up the production but if they does not happen, the roles could get reassigned. Houston still likes Mack near the goal line but are seeing better running by Davis who gained 53 yards on 16 carries against the Jaguars while Mack 16 carries only netted him 39 yards. It is a muddled picture that game production will need to sort out.

Wide Receivers: The Texans are thrilled with Andre Johnson's contribution to the offense and at current pace, Johnson will set the rookie record for receptions with 104 this season. You could almost take away Johnson's numbers from this season and see what happened last year. His presence has allowed Jabbar Gaffney to improve as well though Corey Bradford has been doing less almost every game and now only turns in about one catch per game.

Tight Ends: Billy Miller has faded away with the emergence of Johnson and Gaffney. His two catches a game are almost meaningless.

Match against the defense:

The Titans are a tough one to call but if there is any key, it is that you have the Titans on the road that allowed Edgerrin James to gain 120 yards rushing and the Patriots to combine Antowain Smith and Mike Cloud into a 153 yard, three touchdown machine. Then again, there are the Titans at home that held Garner to 22 yards and Deuce McAllister to 11 yards. There is consistency for you.

The Texans visit the Titans where at least so far, Tennessee has been very good defensively this season and Houston is not bringing the most powerful running game in tow anyway. Look for more mixing of the running backs for Houston and a good chance for one to outperform the others. Both Mack and Davis will be running and neither should have a big day in spite of the run-fest that developed last week for New England.

The Titans secondary has been hurt with the loss of right cornerback Samari Rolle who is out for three to six week with a dislocated left elbow. He would have lined up across from Andre Johnson. Advantage - Houston. Tennessee still has an uncanny knack for playing well defensively along with an uncanny knack for playing badly all of a sudden. The passing game should be better for Carr with Rolle out but no cakewalk by any means.

Tennessee Notes

Quarterbacks: Steve McNair comes off a monster yardage game from the loss in New England. McNair was not only forced to throw, he had to go deep and as a result only completed 23 of 45 passes for 391 yards. He rushed in two scores but also threw an interception that was returned for a very crucial Patriot touchdown. McNair is having some problems with accuracy lately but still has multiple touchdowns in every game this season except the road game in Indianapolis.

Running backs: Oh my. Eddie George comes off his most recent two game stretch with a total of 26 rushes for 56 yards. Evidently he has revealing photos of Mrs. Fisher from the Christmas party or the Titans have absolutely nothing on the shelf. George looks like he has not only hit the wall, but now he is dragging it along behind him. Neither Robert Holcomb or Chris Brown have looked any better.

Wide Receivers: Derrick Mason bounced back from his near shutout in week four to gaining 99 yards on eight catches as McNair switched to a deeper game and Justin McCareins had two catches for 72 yards and Tyrone Calico gained 92 yards on three receptions. Drew Bennett only managed 41 yards on three grabs since the possession role was supposed to be farther down the field last week. The game was uncharacteristic for Tennessee with all the long passes since most routes are around ten yards or less.

Tight Ends: Shad Meier left the New England game with a concussion but is expected to return this week and play. Erron Kinney only had two catches last week and Frank Wycheck is cleared for practice again though is not expected to play this week.

Match against the defense: Last season the Titans threw little against the Texans and beat them mainly with Eddie George's running. That is not looking too good now since the Texans have not allowed a 100 yard rusher this season (though Holmes, McAllister and Taylor all came close).

McNair will need to throw again and the Texans secondary has been playing well lately. CB Aaron Glenn is doubtful for Sunday's game with a strained groin and it will not be decided until later in the week if he can go. Otherwise, Houston will rely on Kenny Wright. That could help out Drew Bennett's numbers but Derrick Mason draws CB Marcus Coleman on most plays and Coleman already has four interceptions this year.

McNair may have to improvise and eventually step up his own running if the coverage is too tight.

Game Prediction: This should be a close, low scoring game since they always are between these two teams. Last year the Titans swept the Texans 17-10 and 13-3 but the Texans feel they have an excellent shot at their first winning streak. The "X" factor in the game, as always with the Titans, will be the play of Steve McNair. Tennessee will not be able to run well nor, most likely, will Houston. Andre Johnson should have a good game here but in the end, it will be a close Tennessee win in some unforeseen way as is common with the Titans.

Team Comparisons - Current team rankings (1-32) by position for FF points scored or allowed by position
Rank (1-32) QB RB WR TE PK DEF
HOU Scores
8
25
8
26
15
18
TEN Allows
11
23
12
17
24
25
HOU AP 3 -2 4 -9
9
7
Rank (1-32) QB RB WR TE PK DEF
TEN Scores
3
31
4
5
8
4
HOU Allows
21
29
24
7
10
29
TEN AP 18 -2 20 2
2
25
Offensive ranks - lower = gains more points, Defensive Ranks lower = allows less points

HOU TEN 2003 Game Averages TEN HOU
Gains Allows QB's Gains Allows
233
235
Pass yards
254
227
1.0
1.0
Pass TDs
1.6
1.8
1.5
0.4
Interceptions
0.6
1.8
12
4
Rush yards
10
6
0.5
0.0
Rush TDs
0.4
0.0
----
----
RB's
----
----
91
75
Rush yards
57
103
0.3
1.0
Rush TDs
0.2
1.0
31
50
Receive yards
16
58
0.0
0.2
Receive TD's
0.0
0.3
----
----
WR's
----
----
180
136
Receive yards
181
152
1.0
0.8
Receive TD's
1.4
1.3
----
----
TE's
----
----
22
48
Receive yards
57
18
0.0
0.0
Receive TD's
0.2
0.3
0
----
PK's
0
----
1.8
2.0
Field Goals
2.0
0.8
1.8
2.4
Extra Points
2.4
4.0
----
----
DEF/ST
----
----
0.8
0.6
Fumbles
0.6
1.0
1.8
0.6
Interceptions
0.4
1.5
0.0
0.8
Touchdowns
1.0
0.8
1.3
1.8
Sacks
2.0
1.8
0.0
0.2
Safeties
0.2
0.0
Texans (2-2)
Score Opp.
21-20 @MIA
10-31 @NO
14-42 KC
24-20 JAX
Week 5 BYE
Week 6 @TEN
Week 7 NYJ
Week 8 @IND
Week 9 CAR
Week 10 @CIN
Week 11 @BUF
Week 12 NE
Week 13 ATL
Week 14 @JAX
Week 15 @TB
Week 16 TEN
Week 17 IND
Tennessee (3-2)
Score Opp.
25-20 OAK
7-33 @IND
27-12 NO
30-13 @PIT
30-38 @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

* Fantasy point rankings calculated using standard Huddle fantasy points