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Predictions & Projections
By David M. Dorey
 
The Huddle
DIVISIONAL
January 7, 2004
Playoff Ticket
Saturday
Sunday
4:30 PM, FOX at Edward Jones Dome
1:00 PM, CBS at Arrowhead Stadium
8:15 PM, CBS at Gillette Stadium
4:45 PM, FOX at Lincoln Financial Field
   
Tennessee at New England  
  Tennessee Rush Catch Pass
QB Steve McNair 10 0 200,1
RB Eddie George 50 10 0
TE Erron Kinney 0 30,1 0
TE Frank Wycheck 0 20 0
WR Derrick Mason 0 50 0
WR Justin McCareins 0 50 0
WR Tyrone Calico 0 30 0
  New England Rush Catch Pass
QB Tom Brady 0 0 230,2
RB Kevin Faulk 30 20 0
RB Antowain Smith 50 10 0
TE Fauria/Graham 0 30,1 0
WR Troy Brown 0 50 0
WR David Givens 0 60,1 0
WR Deion Branch 0 30 0
WR Bethel Johnson 0 20 0

Game Prediction: TEN 16, NE 20

Line: New England by 6

The Titans come off a 20-17 win over the Ravens after having lost the previous five games to them. Steve McNair threw for 159 yards and had one touchdown against three interceptions but the Ravens inability to generate offense negated the advantage in turnover differential. Eddie George gained 88 yards on 25 carries in keeping with his typical 3.5 yards per carry average.

The Patriots come into this game with a 12 game winning streak, homefield advantage through out the playoffs and have already defeated the Titans 38-30 back in week five of this season. They have not lost to anyone since that game.

The Titans have Eddie George with a bum shoulder but he continued to play and is slated to practice and start this week against a very tough defense. Steve McNair suffered further aggravation to his calf but continued to play last week and will also start.

Since that week five game, the Patriots have not allowed a visitor to score more than 13 points in any game including two shutouts. This was aided by bad weather in a couple of instances but there may be no better overall defense in the NFL than the Patriots at home this year. Since that week five game, the Titans have allowed road opponents to score at least 24 points other than JAX and that includes teams like ATL, NYJ and HOU.

The Patriots do not have the running game that Baltimore had (nor does any team really) but they feature one of the most complex passing attacks in the league that favors no one player and cannot be defended merely by relying on cornerbacks to stop two wideouts.

Played in New England, the Titans come in off an emotional road win over the Ravens and face the team that has hit their peak long ago but has never started any downturn. Eddie George is no gem as a tailback and McNair is still a banged up warrior. The Patriots have had time to prepare and with homefield, can take this 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
28
7
4
9
13
NE Allows
25
1
15
25
3
8
TEN AP
22
-27
-8
21
-6
-5
Rank (1-32)
QB
RB
WR
TE
PK
DEF
NE Scores
18
23
12
9
14
1
TEN Allows
17
11
18
14
28
26
NE AP
-1
-12
6
5
14
25
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
NE
2003 Game Averages
NE
TEN
Gains
Allows
QB's
Gains
Allows
241
202
Pass yards
224
216
2.0
1.2
Pass TDs
1.3
1.2
0.8
2.3
Interceptions
0.8
1.3
10
12
Rush yards
4
13
0.3
0.8
Rush TDs
0.0
0.0
---
---
RB's
---
---
103
74
Rush yards
87
75
0.2
0.0
Rush TDs
0.7
0.8
18
42
Receive yards
40
40
0.2
0.0
Receive TD's
0.0
0.0
---
---
WR's
---
---
176
136
Receive yards
149
144
1.2
0.8
Receive TD's
1.0
0.8
---
---
TE's
---
---
48
23
Receive yards
35
32
0.7
0.5
Receive TD's
0.3
0.2
---
---
PK's
---
---
1.5
1.2
Field Goals
1.5
1.8
2.8
1.5
Extra Points
2.5
2.5
---
---
DEF/ST
---
---
0.5
0.8
Fumbles
0.5
1.3
1.2
0.8
Interceptions
2.3
0.7
0.3
0.0
Touchdowns
0.5
0.5
2.0
2.2
Sacks
2.7
1.8
0.0
0.0
Safeties
0.2
0.0
Tennessee (12-4)
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
28-26 BUF
27-24 @HOU
33-13 TB
Patriots (14-2)
Score Opp.
0-31 @BUF
31-10 @PHI
23-16 NYJ
17-20 @WAS
38-30 TEN
17-6 NYG
19-13 @MIA
9-3 CLE
30-26 @DEN
Week 10 BYE
12-0 DAL
23-20 @HOU
38-34 @IND
12-0 MIA
27-13 JAX
21-16 @NYJ
31-0 BUF

* Fantasy point rankings calculated using standard Huddle fantasy points