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Predictions & Projections
David M. Dorey
The Huddle
September 9, 2004
Season Ticket
Thu 9 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM
Sun 1 PM SD at HOU OAK at PIT NYG at PHI Mon 9 PM
JAX at BUF TEN at MIA TB at WAS Saturday no byes
  Tennessee Rush Catch Pass
QB Steve McNair 20 0 200,2
RB Chris Brown 70 20 0
TE Erron Kinney 0 30,1 0
WR Derrick Mason 0 70,1 0
WR Eddie Berlin 0 20 0
WR Drew Bennett 0 40 0
PK TBD 2 FG 2 XP -
Miami Rush Catch Pass
QB Jay Fielder 0 0 170
RB Travis Minor 30 20 0
RB Sammy Morris 20 0 0
TE Randy McMichael 0 30 0
WR Chris Chambers 0 60 0
WR Derrius Thompson 0 20 0
WR Marty Booker 0 30 0
PK Olindo Mare 3 FG 0 XP -

TEN (0-0) vs MIA (0-0)

Game Prediction: TEN 20, MIA 9

Here's a game that looked more in question before Ricky Williams lost interest and David Boston gained a new scar. These teams already played in 2003 in Nashville where TEN spanked the Fins 31-7.

Pre-Game Notes - TEN

The Titans have all the pieces in place to make a playoff run this season. They've lost Eddie George, Justin McCareins and Javon Kearse but should have the depth to compensate.

Quarterback: Steve McNair comes off a big year that proved he is among the best - when healthy. He had a bone spur problem last December and seemingly is always banged up by the end of the season. This week - 100% healthy and ready to go.

Running Backs: The Titans lost their all-time rushing leader and partially their identity as a team when Eddie George brought his "3 yards and stop" brand of running to Dallas. After eight consecutive seasons never missing a game, his durability will be missed but his production is very likely to be bettered by Chris Brown who assumes the #1 spot and has already shown in the preseason that he is up to the task. So what's better? A slow back that is always there or a better back that might get hurt? Evidently the later.

Wide Receivers: Derrick Mason comes off a career year and is an integral part of the heavier emphasis on passing in TEN. Justin McCareins stepped up so well last year that he stepped out to the Jets in the offseason but leaves behind Drew Bennett and Tyrone Calico. It was the presence of Calico and the optimism he spawned that made the loss of McCareins palatable. Of course Calico sprained both knees in the preseason and will be out for the first two games at least.

In his place, the #3 role will likely go to Eddie Berlin since Jake Schifino is getting in the coaches' doghouse with his hamstring woes.

Tight Ends: Frank Wycheck retired and the Titans snapped up Ben Troupe but Troupe has been slow to learn the ropes so far this summer and Erron Kinney remains the tight end to own. The offense has shifted some from the original "Run Eddie, throw to Frank" but the Titans remain one of the heavier users of a receiving tight end.

Match Against the Defense: For all the woes of the Miami offense, the defense has not changed much beyond losing Adewale Ogunleye who probably did as well because Jason Taylor was on the other side of the line. If anything the defense now feels that it needs to step up even more to compensate. The Dolphins at home will continue to stuff the run and last year McNair only had 201 yards throwing against the secondary. Look for a decent game from Brown rushing largely due to volume since the Titans should be able to get and retain the lead with the Miami offense still trying to find who they are this season. Mason is the safest bet for receivers because the others may not be needed as much.

Pre-Game Notes - MIA

The Dolphins annual quest to play as good as they looked on paper took a turn for the worse when a couple of big names were erased. The entire training camp was spent wavering on who the starting quarterback would be and pretending that they were just fine with Travis Minor as the starting tailback in the way that someone attends a prom with their mother and tells everyone "no - really. I wanted to bring her."

Quarterback: The bottle finally stopped spinning and pointed at Jay Fiedler this week. Oh look, it's spinning again.

Running Backs: In the only proper way to conclude a tragic preseason, Travis Minor was the named starter and then a few sources said that Sammy Morris was the starter. Finally, HC Dave Wannstedt stepped and cleared the air by saying that both Minor and Morris would both contribute. "No - I really wanted to bring her and my aunt".

Don't completely discount Leonard Henry quite yet. At some point, Wannstedt has to look like he is still trying so Leonard could get some time when his quadriceps muscle is better.

Lamar Gordon has been acquired from the Rams and will figure into the equation but this week he's unlikely to get any playing time. Gordon was considered a bust in St. Louis already which led to the drafting of Steven Jackson this off-season for the Rams.

Wide Receivers: The loss of David Boston likely is immaterial now since Marty Booker showed up and has been far more consistent and productive than Boston has. The Miami defense may have taken a hit with the loss of Adewale Ogunleye, but the offense will certainly be better for it and with the running game as such, attention to the passing game is warranted. Chris Chambers should have a nice season with Booker enough to prevent constant double teams.

Tight Ends: Randy McMichael should see plenty of action this year and this week in particular while the good corners of Tennessee are busy. McMichael should progressively become a more common option this season with the two wideouts as the only weapons the defense needs to focus on stopping.

Match Against the Defense: Here's a bad equation. The Titans have Samari Rolle and Andre Dyson to bring to the party and in particular, Rolle on Booker should keep Marty from a big first game. Even Chambers only gained 30 yards last year in their matchup. Ricky Williams only managed 37 yards rushing against TEN in 2003, so it is unlikely that Minor/Morris will make anyone forget Ricky Williams in week one. This should become a defensive affair but one that the Titans should manage to take.






Statistical Comparisons begin after Week 1

Tennessee (0-0)
Score Opp.
Week 1 @MIA
Week 2 IND
Week 3 JAX
Week 4 @SD
Week 5 @GB
Week 6 HOU
Week 7 @MIN
Week 8 CIN
Week 9 bye
Week 10 CHI
Week 11 @JAX
Week 12 @HOU
Week 13 @IND
Week 14 KC
Week 15 @OAK
Week 16 DEN
Week 17 DET
Dolphins (0-0)
Score Opp.
Week 1 TEN
Week 2 @CIN
Week 3 PIT
Week 4 NYJ
Week 5 @NE
Week 6 @BUF
Week 7 STL
Week 8 @NYJ
Week 9 ARI
Week 10 bye
Week 11 @SEA
Week 12 @SF
Week 13 BUF
Week 14 @DEN
Week 15 NE
Week 16 CLE
Week 17 @BAL

* Fantasy point rankings calculated using standard Huddle fantasy points