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Predictions & Projections
By David M. Dorey
 
The Huddle
WEEK 10
November 5, 2003
Season Ticket
Sun 1 PM TB at CAR Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM Bye Weeks
ARZ at PIT HOU at CIN TB at CAR BAL at STL Denver
ATL at NYG IND at JAX MIN at SD Mon 9 PM New England
CHI at DET MIA at TEN BUF at DAL PHI at GB New Orleans
CLE at KC SEA at WAS NYJ at OAK *updated San Francisco
   
Miami vs Tennessee Sun, Nov 9; 1 PM on CBS at The Coliseum
  Miami Rush Catch Pass
QB Brian Griese 0 0 250,1
RB Ricky Williams 80,1 20 0
TE Randy McMichael 0 60 0
WR Chris Chambers 0 100,1 0
WR Derrius Thompson 0 30 0
WR James McKnight 0 40 0
  Tennessee Rush Catch Pass
QB Steve McNair 40,1 0 280,2
RB Eddie George 50 0 0
TE Erron Kinney 0 30 0
WR Derrick Mason 0 60 0
WR Justin McCareins 0 70,1 0
WR Tyrone Calico 0 100,1 0
WR Drew Bennett D D D

Game Prediction: MIA 17, TEN 24

While Miami has always beaten the Titans for years, they have not met since 2001. Something has to break here - the Dolphins are perfect on the road and the Titans have not lost at home. Miami has fallen into the position of having to win this game but the Titans are also trailing the Colts in the standings.

The game favors the Titans at home, coming off a bye week and with a fairly diverse passing scheme though losing Bennett is not a help. Ricky Williams has proven to be stoppable with the right focus and the shabby line play of the Fins means that a Titan lead will be harder to erase through the air.

Miami Notes

The Dolphins are 5-3 and trail New England in the AFC East by a game and a half. They are coming off a loss to the Colts and are incredibly 4-0 on the road and 1-3 at home.

Quarterbacks: Brian Griese will be making his third consecutive start for Miami this week and comes off a 231 yard, one touchdown effort against the Colts. He also had two fumbles thanks to the pass rush. Griese is having problems with pass protection and was sacked five times last week. Jay Fiedler had a setback last week with his sprained knee and will miss at least this week. If Griese can log a nice game here, Fiedler may never get back.

Running backs: Remember when Ricky Williams was a workhorse back? The memories are starting to become faint and last week Williams only had 13 rushes for 36 yards and one score. The previous week he only had 23 carries and 69 yards. Since his week three record of 42 carries and 153 yards, he has not broken the century mark in rushing and twice has failed to crest even 40 yards in a game. William's 13 carries last week was his lowest ever as a Dolphin.

Wide Receivers: With Griese at the helm, Chris Chambers has had better numbers, recording 135 yards and two touchdowns in the past two weeks. Last week neither Derrius Thompson or James McKnight had a catch though Thompson was banged up. With the Titans secondary, all three receivers should have good games this week.

Tight Ends: Randy McMichael has been the biggest beneficiary of Griese. In the past two weeks, he has logged games of 6-88 and 3-24 with one touchdown. McMichael has become a major force in the passing game and often becomes the most heavily used target. He even had 8-102 in Fiedler's last game. In a division with good cornerbacks, a pass catching tight end becomes even more valuable.

Match against the defense: The Tennessee rush defense is about average and Ricky Williams not only needs to get on track again, but he needs to keep McNair and company off the field. Unless game situation changes the plan, Williams should see close to 100 yards here with 20 - 25 carries or more.

If Griese wants to throw, and likely he will need to anyway, the Titans have been very forgiving through the air. Much of that stems from the fact that Tennessee has scored 30+ points for the past five games and forced trash time yardage, but this game could turn into that by the second half. Chambers has a chance for a great game with most flankers performing the best against the Titans. Tennessee has allowed three 300+ yard passing games in the past five games.

Derrius Thompson will face Samari Rolle this week since Rolle is expected back after missing the past three games with an elbow injury.

Tennessee Notes

The Titans come off a bye week and are 6-2.

Quarterbacks: Steve McNair has turned in two sub-200 yard passing games in the two most recent games due to the sizable leads that the Titans have had over the Panthers and Jaguars. Against Houston and New England, he went over 390 yards. This week McNair will get a test of how much he has developed. In his career, he is 0-3 against the Dolphins with just one touchdown and five interceptions.

Running backs: Eddie George had 88 yards and two touchdowns against the Jaguars, but it is hardly cause to celebrate the return of the running game. He needed 27 carries to get that much and he only averaged 3.3 yards per carry. Chris Brown may see some time this week.

Wide Receivers: The Titans will be without Drew Bennett this week due to a calf injury and Derrick Mason will try to do more while facing two of the top cornerbacks in the leagues. Tennessee will move him around, but there is little doubt that Miami will not have the secondary doing the same. Justin McCareins and Tyrone Calico will have to come up big in this game with Bennett gone and the Dolphins able to limit at least two wideouts with great corner play.

Tight Ends: Neither Erron Kinney nor Shad Meier has done much lately. The Titans are either finding success rushing the ball (unlikely this week) or they are throwing it down field. They have a better shot this week at some higher numbers since the Titans will need to put more players out in routes to neutralize the Miami secondary.

Match against the defense: --CB Patrick Surtain will likely be listed as questionable for Sunday's game at Tennessee because of a sprained right ankle and the Titans would be very well served by his absence, if it happens. The Dolphins have been giving up 250+ passing yards in game similar to this one. A good example is the loss to the Patriots where Brady used multiple wideouts to get the ball down the field.

Miami will be tough to run against and George will gain around three yards a carry whether it is against the Dolphins or Titans cheerleaders. The whole crux of the game will be the ability to pass and with the secondary respecting that , it should lead to more rushing yards by McNair. The Dolphins have a good secondary but it can be burned for the long play. With McCareins likely to take Bennett's place, Calico will get extra opportunities in this game as he stretches the field and hopes to snag some long passes.

Team Comparisons - Current team rankings (1-32) for FF points scored or allowed by position
Rank (1-32)
QB
RB
WR
TE
PK
DEF
MIA Scores
26
25
27
9
17
2
TEN Allows
26
16
29
21
6
11
MIA AP
0
-9
2
12
-11
-9
Rank (1-32)
QB
RB
WR
TE
PK
DEF
TEN Scores
3
28
3
18
2
3
MIA Allows
12
2
11
9
5
18
TEN AP
9
-26
8
-9
3
15
Offensive ranks lower = gains more points, Defensive ranks lower = allows less points
AP = Advatage Points, the net difference between a positional rank gained or allowed by the teams.
MIA
TEN
2003 Game Averages
TEN
MIA
Gains
Allows
QB's
Gains
Allows
187
286
Pass yards
267
228
1.0
1.3
Pass TDs
1.8
0.5
0.8
0.8
Interceptions
0.3
2.0
5
4
Rush yards
10
11
0.0
0.0
Rush TDs
0.5
0.2
---
---
RB's
---
---
84
67
Rush yards
85
67
0.7
0.7
Rush TDs
0.7
0.5
32
58
Receive yards
22
46
0.0
0.2
Receive TD's
0.0
0.0
---
---
WR's
---
---
95
180
Receive yards
211
141
0.8
1.0
Receive TD's
1.7
0.5
---
---
TE's
---
---
59
48
Receive yards
35
41
0.2
0.2
Receive TD's
0.2
0.0
---
---
PK's
---
---
1.5
1.2
Field Goals
2.2
1.3
2.2
2.2
Extra Points
3.5
1.3
---
---
DEF/ST
---
---
1.0
0.3
Fumbles
1.0
1.2
2.2
0.3
Interceptions
1.3
0.8
0.2
0.5
Touchdowns
0.5
0.2
3.3
1.2
Sacks
2.5
1.8
0.2
0.2
Safeties
0.2
0.0
Dolphins (5-3)
Score Opp.
20-21 HOU
21-10 @NYJ
17-7 BUF
Week 4 BYE
23-10 @NYG
24-10 @JAX
13-19 NE
26-10 @SD
17-23 IND
Week 10 @TEN
Week 11 BAL
Week 12 WAS
Week 13 @DAL
Week 14 @NE
Week 15 PHI
Week 16 @BUF
Week 17 NYJ
Tennessee (6-2)
Score Opp.
25-20 OAK
7-33 @IND
27-12 NO
30-13 @PIT
30-38 @NE
38-17 HOU
37-17 @CAR
30-17 @JAX
Week 9 BYE
30-17 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