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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
The Huddle
November 16, 2005
Season Ticket
Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM
DET at DAL NO at NE Sun 4 PM PIT at BAL* MIN at GB*
IND at CIN OAK at WAS SEA at SF* Updated* Times ET

Prediction: Jacksonville 24, Tennessee 16

The Titans are on a four game losing skid and the Jaguars are only 2-2 on the road this year, but the Titan defense has been allowing at least 20 points to every opponent for the last seven games and even taking a week off on bye won't magically produce a new defense. These teams each won when on the road against each other in 2004. The Jaguars won in Tennessee 15-12 and later lost back at home 18-15. Field goals were very popular last year when these teams met.

Jacksonville Jaguars (6-3)
1 26-14 SEA 10 30-3 BAL
2 3-10 @IND 11 Nov 20 @TEN
3 26-20 @NYJ 12 Nov 27 @ARI
4 7-20 DEN 13 Dec 4 @CLE
5 23-20 CIN 14 Dec 11 IND
6 23-17 @PIT 15 Dec 18 SFO
7 Open Bye 16 Dec 24 @HOU
8 21-24 @STL 17 Jan 1 TEN
9 21-14 HOU . . SAT
JAX at TEN Rush Catch Pass
QB Byron Leftwich 0 0 230,2
RB Greg Jones 80,1 10 0
TE Kyle Brady 0 10 0
WR Jimmy Smith 0 60 0
WR Ernest Wilford 0 70,1 0
WR Matt Jones 0 70,1 0
PK Josh Scobee 1 FG 3 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Jaguars finally notched 30 points in a game and the passing game has never looked better since the realization that Reggie Williams was not going to step up but others were more than willing. At 6-3, the Jaguars have a great shot at a wildcard and only play one more team this season that has a winning record. If they were in any other non-Colt division, they would have a chance for even more.

Quarterback: Byron Leftwich has only thrown for around 210 yards and one or two scores in each of his last three games, but he's also only had one interception in that time and has been making better decisions which include throwing to Ernest Wilford and Matt Jones. He has never had more than two scores in any game and hasn't been better than 252 yards this year but has settled down to a consistently good, though not great, level of play.

Leftwich only played in one of the meetings against the Titans last year and had 124 yards and one score.

Running Backs: Fred Taylor was held out of practice and the game last week to rest his sore ankle and bone bruise. In his place, Greg Jones had a career best game, running for 106 yards and one score against the normally stout Ravens who were without several defensive players. It remains to be seen if Taylor will be back this week and I will assume that Jones takes the start again until Taylor is cleared for action.

Fred Taylor ran for 81 yards and one score at Tennessee last year and added 103 yards and no score when the Jaguars hosted the match-up.

Wide Receivers: Jimmy Smith has gone downhill since scoring in three of the first four games of the year. He has been held out of the endzone and not done more than 52 yards in the last five games as defenses shift to double him. But the Jaguars have been getting improved play from Ernest Wilford who now starts in place of Reggie Williams and finally from first-round pick Matt Jones who had 117 yards and a score last week. Jones has scored in three of the last four games though he had not been a common target until last week. With three viable wideouts now, the Jaguars passing game is more diverse though still not very heavily used.

Wilford injured his shoulder late in the game last week but I am assuming he will play without any significant limitation this week.

Jimmy Smith was held to 58 yards or less in the two meetings against the Titans last year.

Tight Ends: The wideouts are doing better now and you should just be happy with that. No fantasy value here.

Match Against the Defense: The Titans have been slightly below average against the run this year but mainly because opponents find it easier to throw the ball. Expect the Jaguars runner to have a decent showing here regardless if it is Taylor or Jones. If Jones plays, expect moderate yardage and likely one score. If Taylor starts, the yardage will be higher but the chance for a rushing score will still likely go to Jones.

Leftwich could have his best game of the year here unless the running game is very productive and like usually, makes the need to pass go down. The Titans have never stopped any team from passing for a score at least once if not up to four times, so look for a nice game from Leftwich of around 230 yards and two scores. It won't likely be much less, but it could be more if the running game doesn't really take off.

Tennessee Titans (2-7)
1 7-34 @PIT 10 Open Bye
2 25-10 BAL 11 Nov 20 JAC
3 27-31 @STL 12 Nov 27 SFO
4 10-31 IND 13 Dec 4 @IND
5 34-20 @HOU 14 Dec 11 HOU
6 23-31 CIN 15 Dec 18 SEA
7 10-20 @ARI 16 Dec 24 @MIA
8 25-34 OAK 17 Jan 1 @JAC
9 14-20 @CLE . . SAT
TEN vs JAX Rush Catch Pass
QB Steve McNair 0 0 200,1
RB Chris Brown 90 10 0
TE Bo Scaife 0 30 0
TE Erron Kinney 0 60 0
WR Drew Bennett 0 50,1 0
WR Tyrone Calico 0 20 0
WR Brandon Jones 0 30 0
PK Rob Bironas 3 FG 1 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Titans come off their bye week and after losing their last four games could use an easy match-up. That won't happen until next week when the 49ers come to town. The running game here is adequate if not improving but the passing game remains consistently average. Coupling those up to a weak defense spells L-O-S-S.

Quarterback: Steve McNair has been throwing for one score and around 220 yards in almost every game this year. It rarely varies and he only has two games with two scores and one with none. The lack of any scheme that uses wideouts well (because there are no decent wideouts) has meant dink and dunk with tight ends more often than not. It is the attack of the tight ends and it is not particularly effective.

McNair only managed one touchdown over the two games against the Jaguars last year and never had more than 209 passing yards.

Running Backs: Chris Brown comes off his best two games of the year when he had about 95 yards and a score against both the Raiders and Browns prior to the bye week. Travis Henry is back but he doesn't even spell Brown anymore. Although there has yet to be a 100+ yard rushing game by a Titan this season, Brown has been getting closer every week.

The Titans had success running against the Jaguars last year, with Chris Brown gaining 101 yards and one score and later Antowain Smith rushing for 95 yards and a touchdown as well.

Wide Receivers: Drew Bennett may return this week after missing the three last games due to surgery on his thumb. He only had one score in the six games he had played though his 70 yards in most games has been sorely missed. If he does play this week, he will need to wear some protection on his hand and that could impact his ability to catch the ball. I am assuming that he does play and does still have some limitation. Brandon Jones missed the last two games with a knee sprain and may return this week as well. Like Bennett, I am expecting him to play with some limitation. The other rookie Roydell Williams and Courtney Roby have filled in the last two games with some success as Roby scored once. With Tyrone Calico also in the mix, it means there are plenty of receivers to use and none that are doing that much.

Tight Ends: Erron Kinney remains the only consistent player in the passing scheme and finally scored for the first time this year when he had 74 yards against the Browns. Bo Scaife also had a season high of 59 yards in that game while Ben Troupe was held out with a high ankle sprain. I expect that Troupe will miss one more week since a high ankle sprain generally needs more than two weeks to heal.

Match Against the Defense: The Jaguars have been softer against the run lately and Brown is running well, so expect him to just fall short of the 100 yard mark once again. He's not likely to score here since the Jags have only allowed three runners to do that but there is always the chance.

McNair faces a secondary that routinely holds opponents to less than 220 yards passing and that seems to be his upper limit anyway. Look for a moderate to low passing game here that could pick up with more players back from injury. The more players only make it less reliable as to which one will do better outside of Kinney. Bennett is in the position most likely to score but that depends on how well he can catch with a bad hand.