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Predictions & Projections
David M. Dorey
The Huddle
September 19, 2004
Season Ticket
Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM
STL at ATL DEN at JAX* Sun 4 PM IND at TEN Mon 9 PM
CLE at DAL* CAR at KC* SEA at TB* NYJ at SD MIN at PHI*
HOU at DET SF at NO* BUF at OAK* Times ET *updated
  Indianapolis Rush Catch Pass
QB Peyton Manning 0 0 250,2
RB Edgerrin James 110,1 20 0
TE Marcus Pollard 0 20 0
TE Dallas Clark 0 40,1 0
WR Marvin Harrison 0 90,1 0
WR Brandon Stokley 0 40 0
WR Reggie Wayne 0 30 0
PK Mike Vanderjagt 1 FG 3 XP -
  Tennessee Rush Catch Pass
QB Steve McNair 20,1 0 230,1
RB Chris Brown 130,1 10 0
TE Erron Kinney 0 20 0
WR Derrick Mason 0 100,1 0
WR Eddie Berlin 0 20 0
WR Drew Bennett 0 60 0
PK Gary Anderson 2 FG 3 XP -

IND (0-1) vs TEN (1-0)

Game Prediction: IND 24, TEN 27

Manning couldn't win last week with 256 yards and two scores and yet McNair's 1-0 after throwing for only 73 yards. Gotta love the NFL. This is another coin flip game that should post major points. You got 'em, you start 'em. Except for maybe Wayne.

Pre-Game Notes - IND

The bright spot is that the Colt offense played plenty well enough to win in New England but when Manning throws an interception and James has two fumbles all in the redzone, you know it will be a near impossible task. And when Mike Vanderjagt misses a 48-yard field goal after making the previous 42 in a row - it was just not meant to be.

Quarterback: Peyton Manning comes off a good statistical effort and carved up the Patriot secondary as a visitor masterfully. His interception hurt badly, though slightly less than the two fumbles of James. Manning faces the Titans this week and last year had only one score against them in two games with 228 yards as his best.

Running Backs: Edgerrin James may be haunted by his two costly fumbles but he rumbled for an astonishing 142 yards on 30 carries and added three catches for 29 more yards. He ran with power and speed right into the heart of the Patriot defense and often appeared on the other side still running. Dominic Rhodes also had 10 carries for 42 yards and the one touchdown that James had earned. With 40 carries between them for 184 yards in New England, there is nothing wrong with this ground game that a little duct tape and a tube of stick 'em cannot cure.

Wide Receivers: Manning found Marvin Harrison seven times but he only gained 44 yards since the Patriots were determined not to get beaten deep. Harrison scored once. Where they did get beaten was by Brandon Stokley who notched 77 yards and one score on four catches while Reggie "not on the road" Wayne managed to catch only one of his eight passes. Last year in TEN, Harrison had ten catches for 124 yards while Wayne only managed 19 yards. Until Wayne can show something as a visitor, lower your expectations for half of his games.

Tight Ends: Dallas Clark only had one catch but it was for 64 yards and Marcus Pollard did not catch his only pass. Manning only threw four times at his tight ends last week and they have not fared well against the Titans lately anyway.

Match Against the Defense: The Colts are playing at a high level on offense and only need to stop losing the ball to be as good or even better than they have ever been. Chances are high that the Titans were just trying to get through last week and have been focusing on this matchup all along. They should - IND swept them last year. With James being fed the ball 30 times a game and Harrison productive in the past against TEN, this should be another big bang to watch this weekend. James scored three times in their two meetings last year and gained 215 combined rushing yards.

Pre-Game Notes - TEN

It wasn't the throttling that was expected, but the Titans came home with a win over the Dolphins and after only throwing 14 passes last week, McNair is plenty rested for this game.

Quarterback: Last week Steve McNair did little more than the minimum he needed in order to win and the Titans mostly waited for the Dolphins to beat themselves. He had the lowest passing yardage (74) since he was a rookie and he only completed 9 of 14 passes. That's about a quarter's worth of work in St. Louis.

McNair had 235 yards and two scores last year when IND came to town. That's a whole lot closer to what will happen this week than the 74 yards last Sunday.

Running Backs: Chris Brown already had 100 yards by halftime against the Dolphins last week before spraining his ankle. He's expected to play this Sunday with no limitations which is good since Antowain Smith (11-40) was far less effective as the tailback.

Wide Receivers: The ironic aspect to McNair only throwing for 74 yards last week was that Derrick Mason still had three catches for 51 yards and was still a decent fantasy play. The same could not be said for any other receivers. Derrick Mason had 98 yards and 64 yards with one score in their last two meetings. Justin McCareins is gone this year but Drew Bennett will fill in as the #2 this season unless Calico gets back and shows he is productive and healthy.

Tyrone Calico is getting close to being ready to play after straining both knees in the preseason but is likely to sit out for one more week at least.

Tight Ends: You have to love the Titans on your fantasy team. They completed only one pass to a tight end for one yard and Erron Kinney was standing in the endzone when he caught it.

Match Against the Defense: Forget last week. The Titans and Colts played to a 26-28 score in their last meeting and could do it again. IND already has shown that they have the offense to compete and the defense to force them to score a lot of points to win. The Titans are rested and are actually only now starting their season after the appetizers down in Miami last week.

Chris Brown should have a big game this week and make good on the promise he left at halftime in Miami. This could end up a points war and you know McNair and Mason will be heavily involved as well. If you have Titans on your roster, you should be certain before not starting them this week.

IND TEN 2003 Averages TEN IND
Gains Allows QB's Gains Allows
256 210 Pass yards 73 335
2 1 Pass TDs 1 3
1 3 Interceptions 0 1
18 0 Rush yards 11 -1
0 0 Rush TDs 0 0
--- --- RB's --- ---
184 59 Rush yards 171 86
1 0 Rush TDs 0 0
29 60 Receive yards 6 0
0 0 Receive TD's 0 0
--- --- WR's --- ---
163 71 Receive yards 66 257
2 0 Receive TD's 0 2
--- --- TE's --- ---
64 79 Receive yards 1 78
0 1 Receive TD's 1 1
--- --- PK's --- ---
1 0 Field Goals 1 2
3 1 Extra Points 2 3
--- --- DEF/ST --- ---
1 1 Fumbles 0 2
1 0 Interceptions 3 1
0 0 Touchdowns 1 0
2 2 Sacks 3 1
0 0 Safeties 0 0
Colts (0-1)
Score Opp.
24-27 @NE
Week 2 @TEN
Week 3 GB
Week 4 @JAX
Week 5 OAK
Week 6 bye
Week 7 JAX
Week 8 @KC
Week 9 MIN
Week 10 HOU
Week 11 @CHI
Week 12 @DET
Week 13 TEN
Week 14 @HOU
Week 15 BAL
Week 16 SD
Week 17 @DEN
Tennessee (1-0)
Score Opp.
17-7 @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

* Fantasy point rankings calculated using standard Huddle fantasy points