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Predictions & Projections
By David M. Dorey
 
The Huddle
WEEK 12
November 19, 2003
Season Ticket
Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM
CAR at DAL NE at HOU SF at GB CHI at DEN WAS at MIA
DET at MIN NO at PHI Sun 4 PM OAK at KC Mon 9 PM
IND at BUF PIT at CLE CIN at SD TEN at ATL NYG at TB
JAX at NYJ SEA at BAL STL at ARZ *updated Times EST
   
Tennessee vs Atlanta Sun, Nov 23; 4 PM on CBS at Georgia Dome
  Tennessee Rush Catch Pass
QB Steve McNair 0 0 270,2
RB Eddie George 80,1 10 0
RB Robert Holcomb 20 0 0
TE Erron Kinney 0 20 0
WR Derrick Mason 0 90,1 0
WR Justin McCareins 0 70 0
WR Tyrone Calico 0 60,1 0
  Atlanta Rush Catch Pass
QB Doug Johnson 0 0 160
RB Warrick Dunn 60 30 0
RB T.J. Duckett 20,1 0 0
TE Alge Crumpler 0 20 0
WR Peerless Price 0 50 0
WR Brian Finneran 0 40 0

Game Prediction: TEN 30, ATL 16

This could be a trap game and the Falcons look improved, but the reality is that they snuck up on the past two teams and are still 0-5 at home. The Titans cannot afford the loss and the Falcons will not be able to prevent it. The last four road trips by the Titans have all scored at least 30 points.

Tennessee Notes

The Titans rise to 8-2 and are tied with the Colts for the AFC South lead. Tennessee has won their last five games.

Quarterbacks:: Steve McNair turned in a very sub-par 166 yards and one score last week against the visiting Jaguars in what nearly turned into a trap game. It was an ugly game and McNair's worse performance other than the Colts game back in week two. Maybe it was the wet field, maybe it was because the Titans were not up for the game. Probably both.

Running Backs: Eddie George continues to chug along, 60 to 80 yards a game with the occasional score. He was better than Holcomb or Brown who combined only had six carries for three yards against the Jaguars. This week is a better chance for George to score than usual.

Receivers: McNair was able to find Derrick Mason (5-98) but the lone score went to Justin McCareins who laid on the ground playing hot potato before finally gathering it in for a touchdown. McCareins also scored last week and has four for the season, the same as Mason who has scored since week six when he had the big three touchdown day against the Texans.

Match against the Defense: Last week was an aberration in what Tennessee usually does, but by that token it is hard to imagine they were caught looking ahead to this week. The Falcons are odd in that they are never any good at home. Never. Lost 'em all. While they had good efforts the last two weeks against the Giants and Saints, it is hard to chalk that up to catching teams sleeping more than suddenly finding the right mixture.

This is the defense that has surrendered passing yards of 312, 352, 239, 192 and 356 at home. And ten touchdowns in that time as well. Reeves swapped out some secondary players, but after last week's scare the Titans should be refocused. McNair should turn in a good afternoon and may have to do so if the Falcons rushing game gets going.

Eddie George will probably get yardage which will be his number of carries times three but has an excellent chance at a score since the Falcons have given up multiple rushing scores several times this season.

Atlanta Notes

The Falcons fall to 2-8 after losing in overtime in New Orleans even though they led 20-3 at one time.

Quarterbacks:: There is a big debate as to which quarterback will start this week. Kurt Kittner was horrendous last week and only managed to complete 8 of 27 passes for 80 yards. Though it is not official yet, I am assuming Doug Johnson gets the nod this week since he has not started a game in a month and Reeves is old enough to forget back how badly Doug played too.

Michael Vick is not expected to play this week but may be ready the following weekend.

Running Backs: Warrick Dunn has been on fire the last two games, gaining a total of 340 rushing yards and one score in a role that suddenly gives him around 24 carries a game. T. J. Duckett is down to only seven carries last week but he scored for the third consecutive week.

Receivers: The wideouts have become nonfactors the past couple of weeks with the running game doing well and the offense moving the ball again. The switch to Doug Johnson should help since he was the one that gave Peerless Price his one big game this season.

The Falcons cut Quentin McCord earlier this week for dropping passes. That should put a little pressure on Finneran and Price.

Match against the Defense: The Falcons should be able to run on the Titans if the scoreboard does not get away from them too early. Tennessee has not allowed a 100 yard rusher since week two but that was their only other game inside a dome (IND). DE Jevon Kearse has a mild high left ankle sprain and may not play this week which would open up the run more for Atlanta who does not want to get into a passing match with the highest rated quarterback in the league.

The Titans do give up passing yards, but the Falcons have not shown that they are remotely capable of turning in a good passing game.

Team Comparisons - Current team rankings (1-32) for FF points scored or allowed by position
Rank (1-32)
QB
RB
WR
TE
PK
DEF
TEN Scores
3
29
3
19
4
2
ATL Allows
26
32
27
27
32
31
TEN AP
23
3
24
8
28
29
Rank (1-32)
QB
RB
WR
TE
PK
DEF
ATL Scores
32
5
31
25
27
13
TEN Allows
20
13
21
18
3
7
ATL AP
-12
8
-10
-7
-24
-6
Offensive ranks = #1 gains most points, Defensive ranks = #1 allows least points
AP = Advantage Points, the net difference between a positional rank gained or allowed by the teams.
TEN
ATL
2003 Game Averages
ATL
TEN
Gains
Allows
QB's
Gains
Allows
249
256
Pass yards
151
256
1.8
1.4
Pass TDs
0.5
1.1
0.4
1.0
Interceptions
1.6
1.3
11
9
Rush yards
2
3
0.4
0.1
Rush TDs
0.0
0.0
---
---
RB's
---
---
85
145
Rush yards
121
73
0.6
1.5
Rush TDs
1.0
0.5
20
44
Receive yards
28
50
0.0
0.1
Receive TD's
0.1
0.1
---
---
WR's
---
---
198
165
Receive yards
89
161
1.6
1.0
Receive TD's
0.4
0.9
---
---
TE's
---
---
31
47
Receive yards
34
45
0.1
0.3
Receive TD's
0.0
0.1
---
---
PK's
---
---
1.9
1.9
Field Goals
1.3
1.0
3.3
3.1
Extra Points
1.6
1.8
---
---
DEF/ST
---
---
1.0
0.8
Fumbles
0.9
0.5
1.5
1.6
Interceptions
1.0
0.4
0.5
0.3
Touchdowns
0.1
0.4
2.5
2.1
Sacks
2.3
1.1
0.1
0.4
Safeties
0.0
0.1
Tennessee (8-2)
Score Opp.
25-20 OAK
7-33 @IND
27-12 NO
30-13 @PIT
30-38 @NE
38-17 HOU
37-17 @CAR
31-7 @JAX
Week 9 BYE
30-17 MIA
10-3 JAX
Week 12 @ATL
Week 13 @NYJ
Week 14 IND
Week 15 BUF
Week 16 @HOU
Week 17 TB
Falcons (2-8)
Score Opp.
27-13 @DAL
31-33 WAS
10-31 TB
3-23 @CAR
26-39 MIN
0-36 @STL
17-45 NO
Week 8 BYE
16-23 PHI
27-7 @NYG
20-23 @NO
Week 12 TEN
Week 13 @HOU
Week 14 CAR
Week 15 @IND
Week 16 @TB
Week 17 JAX

* Fantasy point rankings calculated using standard Huddle fantasy points