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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
The Huddle
December 21, 2005
Season Ticket
Sat 1 PM Sat 1 PM Sat 1 PM Sat 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM
BUF at CIN NYG at WAS TEN at MIA* IND at SEA* Mon 9 PM
DET at NO* SD at KC* CHI at GB Updated* Times ET

Prediction: Tennessee 17, Miami 27

The Titans come off a surprisingly close loss to the Seahawks who probably were just toying with them but this team has been scoring well in four of the last five games - all at home. The Titans are only 1-5 on the road though while the Dolphins have now risen to a very respectable 7-7 on the season and a 4-3 record at home. The Dolphins have the Patriots waiting in New England in week 17 though that game no longer holds any promise for the Fins.

Update: Chris Brown has not practiced this week with a shoulder injury but is still expected to play. Travis Henry will gain more playing time because of the limitation to Chris Brown though both are listed as questionable and neither are 100% healthy. Ronnie Brown has not practiced this week and is not expected to play.

Erron Kinney is not practicing but is now expected to play this week. I am adding him in over Bo Scaife though both will play and Kinney is not completely over his knee sprain.

Gus Frerotte has practiced the last two days and is expected to return to start this week. Sage Rosenfels won't play unless Frerotte's finger starts bothering him again.

Tennessee Titans (4-10)
1 7-34 @PIT 10 Open Bye
2 25-10 BAL 11 28-31 JAC
3 27-31 @STL 12 33-22 SFO
4 10-31 IND 13 3-35 @IND
5 34-20 @HOU 14 13-10 HOU
6 23-31 CIN 15 24-28 SEA
7 10-20 @ARI 16 Dec 24 @MIA
8 25-34 OAK 17 Jan 1 @JAC
9 14-20 @CLE . . SAT
TEN at MIA Rush Catch Pass
QB Steve McNair 0 0 230,2
RB Chris Brown 30 10 0
RB Travis Henry 40 10 0
TE Ben Troupe 0 40,1 0
TE Erron Kinney 0 30 0
WR Drew Bennett 0 50 0
WR Tyrone Calico 0 30 0
WR Courtney Roby 0 50,1 0
PK Rob Bironas 1 FG 2 XP -
Pregame Notes: All those home games produced some nice scores and two wins in the last four games but most teams either do not take the Titans seriously now or they are just as bad as Tennessee. As the season draws close, the Titans really have not changed from what they started with - an oft injured Chris Brown and a terrible set of wideouts limited only to Drew Bennett.

Quarterback: Steve McNair comes off his best game of the season when he threw for 310 yards and two scores against the Seahawks. The softer the defense, the better that McNair has done but on the road he's never had more than two scores or 260 yards with 220 yards a consistent outcome.

Running Backs: It doesn't really matter if Chris Brown is by himself or if he will be sharing with Travis Henry - the results rarely vary from around 50 rushing yards a game and it's been three games since he has scored. Henry has never really been a threat to take any significant role but then again, Brown has never produced significant numbers anyway.

Wide Receivers: Drew Bennett turned in the sort of game envisioned by all who drafted him when he had 93 yards and two scores last week against Seattle. Problem is that it took 15 weeks before he turned it up and is had been ten weeks since his previous - and only other - score this year. Bennett had never topped 61 yards in those ten weeks if he even played. Tyrone Calico has embraced his role of 25 yards per game while Courtney Roby's 54 yards last week was the second best game of his career. Against a decent secondary with good corners - like Miami - this unit has a habit of completely disappearing from games.

Tight Ends: With Erron Kinney sidelined for the last two games, the tight ends finally stepped up with Ben Troupe had a career high six catches for 116 yards last week. Bo Scaife only managed two catches for 13 yards though he has two games over 50 yards in the last six weeks.

Match Against the Defense: The Fins have only allowed two runners to top 100 yards this season and Chris Brown is still waiting for his first this year - it is not going to happen here. Look for more of his 50-60 yardage games with a chance of some passing yardage to make him have any fantasy relevance.

McNair should be able to score at least one and possibly two scores in this game since the Dolphins secondary has been a bit softer as of late than earlier in the year. The last three opponents - BUF, SD and NYJ - all had multiple touchdowns and at least 225 yards. Hard to imagine that Bennett can have a decent game here since he is the only wideout worthy of coverage but the tight ends could matter again with Troupe and even Scaife pitching in decent games. The few wideouts that have had much success against the Dolphins have mostly been speedy guys on deep routes like Evans and Galloway so Roby is the closest that Tennessee has to that description.

Miami Dolphins (7-7)
1 34-10 DEN 10 16-23 NE
2 7-17 @NYJ 11 0-22 @CLE
3 27-24 CAR 12 33-21 @OAK
4 Open Bye 13 24-23 BUF
5 14-20 @BUF 14 23-21 @SDC
6 13-27 @TBB 15 24-20 NYJ
7 20-30 KCC 16 Dec 24 TEN
8 21-6 @NOR 17 Jan 1 @NE
9 10-17 ATL . . SAT
MIA vs TEN Rush Catch Pass
QB Gus Frerotte 0 0 230,2
RB Ronnie Brown 50 0 0
RB Ricky Williams 90,1 20 0
TE Randy McMichael 0 30 0
WR Chris Chambers 0 80,1 0
WR Marty Booker 0 60 0
WR Wes Welker 0 30,1 0
PK Olindo Mare 2 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: Don't look now but HC Nick Saban has these Dolphins on a four game winning streak since their week 11 shutout in Cleveland after which he said that winning was not the most important thing right now. Granted each of the wins have been pretty close games but the Fins have been scoring at least 23 points in each of those match-ups. The new offensive scheme installed by OC Scott Linehan seems to be taking hold in the passing game regardless of which quarterback is being used.

Quarterback: Gus Frerotte already had 76 yards and one score last week before he left the game with an injured finger and Sage "The Closer" Rosenfels once again replaced him for a nice save. Rosenfels threw for 99 yards and one score to seal the victory and since early word casts doubt on Frerotte's availability this week, I am assuming that Rosenfels takes the start this week. They might as well give him some more work anyway.

Running Backs: Ronnie Brown ran for 45 yards on 12 carries but he played only sparingly after the second quarter when he suffered an apparent knee sprain. Pending further information, I am assuming that the will play this week. Ricky Williams ended the game last week with 14 carries for 70 yards and a touchdown - his third in the last four games.

Wide Receivers: Marty Booker caught only his second score of the year when he caught two passes for 65 yards last week, one of them a 50-yarder from Rosenfels for what would prove to be the winning score. More amazing is the recent play of Chris Chambers who has exploded over the last four games with four touchdowns and 494 yards. That includes his 238 yard game against the Bills in week 13 but this is his first ever hat trick of three straight games with a touchdown. Chambers currently has nine scores on the season and is very pleased with the new offensive scheme by Linehan.

Tight Ends: He's just a tight end now but man - he was good at the first of the year. Now that the wideouts have been more successful, Randy McMichael rarely tops 40 yards a game and has scored only once in the last ten weeks.

Match Against the Defense: Make no mistake - the Titans are terrible against the run lately and allowing most teams to score one rushing touchdown - but only one - per game. With the split there won't likely be any monster games from either Williams or Brown, but combined they should easily top 120 or more yards.

The Fins face a secondary that has never failed to allow at least one passing score to every opponent this year. Not once have they prevented at least one passing score. The yardage allowed varies in proportion to the success of the passing game but the Fins are throwing much better lately and this secondary is tailor made for allowing good games. Those scores could go anywhere since tailbacks, tight ends and wideouts have all scored on passes. Since Chambers is so hot lately, figure him for one score and the other to be a coin flip between a back, Booker, Welker and even McMichael.