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Predictions & Projections
By David M. Dorey
 
The Huddle
WEEK 15
December 10 2003
Season Ticket
Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM
ATL at IND HOU at TB SF at CIN CLE at DEN NYG at NO
BUF at TEN JAX at NE SEA at STL CAR at ARZ Mon 9 PM
DAL at WAS MIN at CHI Sun 4 PM GB at SD PHI at MIA
DET at KC PIT at NYJ BAL at OAK *updated Times EST
   
Buffalo vs Tennessee Sun, Dec 14; 1 PM on CBS at The Coliseum
  Buffalo Rush Catch Pass
QB Drew Bledsoe 10 0 170
RB Travis Henry 70 10 0
TE M. Campbell 0 20 0
WR Eric Moulds 0 40 0
WR Josh Reed 0 40 0
WR Bobby Shaw 0 30 0
  Tennessee Rush Catch Pass
QB Steve McNair 20 0 220,2
RB Eddie George 70 0 0
TE Frank Wycheck 0 40,1 0
WR Derrick Mason 0 80,1 0
WR Justin McCareins 0 70 0
WR Tyrone Calico 0 20 0

Game Prediction: BUF 6, TEN 20

Update: Steve McNair remains a gametime decision but since he has always played when listed as a questionable gametime decision, I am not changing the projections. McNair played the second half last week with the slight crack to his bone spur after taking a pain injection and I would expect his to take the needle again this week. The only potential factor that might lower his chances is that Tennessee has likely already fallen out of a chance to win the division and the team may be better served with him sidelined this week to rest though that has never stopped him before.

Titans come off a painful home loss to the Titans and have zero room for error. Chances are they have lost the AFC South anyway but a wildcard is a definite probability. A hobbled McNair could impact the game but the Bills have only scored more than 7 points once in the past five road trips and Tennessee is not to be confused with the Giants..

Buffalo Notes

The Bills rise to 6-7 and have won their last two games. The dream of a .500 season is not yet dead. After facing TEN, MIA and NE, it probably will be.

Quarterbacks:: Drew Bledsoe spent the entire Jets game handing off to Travis Henry and only had 72 yards passing in the entire game. Though he only had 15 passing attempts, he still managed to throw one interception. Bledsoe did score once via a pass and now has two consecutive games with a touchdown after having gone four games without one.

Running Backs: Travis Henry turned in a personal best 169 yards on 32 carries and scored once. It was his sixth 100 yard game and his tenth touchdown for the season.

Receivers: Somehow during the scant passing, Josh Reed managed to catch his second touchdown of the year. Reed has been knocked for dropping passes this season but has stepped up his play in the last two games. Eric Moulds only had 11 yards on two catches last week and only has one touchdown for 2003 which happened back in week two of the season.

Match against the Defense: Other than the Giants game which never counts anymore, Bledsoe has not thrown a touchdown in his last four road games and never exceeded 202 yards passing. Match that up against a secondary that held Manning to no scores and only Sage Rosenfels has thrown a touchdown in Nashville since week six of the season. Do not expect much from Bledsoe against a defense that will still be steamed about losing last week.

Henry goes into Tennessee where no runner has gone over 100 yards and Edgerrin James last week has been the only opponent running back to score a touchdown. Henry will get plenty of carries and could turn in upwards of 60-80 yards from sheer volume, but then again Bledsoe will not concern the defense like Manning did.

The Bills have been horrible on the road and this looks like they are walking into another decisive loss.

Tennessee Notes

The Titans fall to 9-4 and now likely trail the Colts for good this season in the AFC South.

Quarterbacks:: Steve McNair limped through the game last week but still managed to throw for 235 yards and two scores while adding a third touchdown on a run. His right calf wasn't bothering him Monday but his left ankle now is. A later MRI revealed a slight crack to an old bone spur (which sounds double bad) and McNair will not practice this week. I am assuming that he will play and will update only if a notarized death certificate is made available.

Running Backs: Eddie George ran well last week, but was limited to only 11 carries for 51 yards as the Titans needed to pass in order to get back into the game. Chris Brown added 23 yards on four carries.

Receivers: Derrick Mason had one touchdown against the Colts and led receivers with six catches for 64 yards. Justin McCareins had four catches for 76 yards and finally failed to score a touchdown after four straight scoring games. Drew Bennett never had a catch on his three throws.

Match against the Defense: The Bills defense has played reasonably well this season, cloaked by the fact that their offense has not done enough to keep them in games. On the road this season they have allowed at least one passing score in every game and yet held all but two teams to less than 200 yards passing.

Antoine Winfield matches on Derrick Mason which could be a problem but the Titans move Mason all over anyway. The majority of passing scores to wideouts have been to the left side this season which puts the favor back to Mason though most teams have resorted to mixing three and four wideouts in the passing game in order to be effective.

On the road, only Ricky Williams has gouged the Bills on the ground and most runners are held to around 80 yards or less including Priest Holmes, Fred Taylor and Curtis Martin. Only Holmes and Williams have scored against the Bills when they visited so Eddie George is less likely to score or exceed 80 yards. He could have a touchdown since McNair is now banged up with both legs and less likely to score on a rushing attempt.

Team Comparisons - Current team rankings (1-32) for FF points scored or allowed by position
Rank (1-32)
QB
RB
WR
TE
PK
DEF
BUF Scores
32
23
26
30
31
30
TEN Allows
21
16
25
12
11
10
BUF AP
-11
-7
-1
-18
-20
-20
Rank (1-32)
QB
RB
WR
TE
PK
DEF
TEN Scores
2
29
4
10
4
4
BUF Allows
1
12
7
17
10
20
TEN AP
-1
-27
3
7
6
16
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.
BUF
TEN
2003 Game Averages
TEN
BUF
Gains
Allows
QB's
Gains
Allows
178
253
Pass yards
246
184
0.5
1.2
Pass TDs
1.9
0.9
1.2
1.2
Interceptions
0.5
0.5
2
6
Rush yards
11
7
0.2
0.0
Rush TDs
0.4
0.0
---
---
RB's
---
---
105
70
Rush yards
88
93
0.5
0.7
Rush TDs
0.5
0.8
25
53
Receive yards
17
22
0.1
0.1
Receive TD's
0.1
0.0
---
---
WR's
---
---
137
160
Receive yards
189
134
0.4
0.9
Receive TD's
1.5
0.5
---
---
TE's
---
---
17
39
Receive yards
41
29
0.1
0.1
Receive TD's
0.3
0.4
---
---
PK's
---
---
1.1
1.4
Field Goals
1.7
1.4
1.4
2.1
Extra Points
3.3
1.9
---
---
DEF/ST
---
---
0.5
0.8
Fumbles
0.8
1.0
0.5
0.5
Interceptions
1.4
1.1
0.1
0.4
Touchdowns
0.5
0.0
2.3
1.3
Sacks
2.5
3.3
0.3
0.1
Safeties
0.1
0.0
Bills (6-7)
Score Opp.
31-0 NE
38-17 @JAX
7-17 @MIA
13-23 PHI
22-16 CIN
3-30 @NYJ
24-7 WAS
5-38 @KC
Week 9 BYE
6-10 @DAL
10-12 HOU
14-17 IND
24-7 @NYG
17-6 NYJ
Week 15 @TEN
Week 16 MIA
Week 17 @NE
Tennessee (9-4)
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
38-31 @ATL
17-24 @NYJ
27-29 IND
Week 15 BUF
Week 16 @HOU
Week 17 TB

* Fantasy point rankings calculated using standard Huddle fantasy points