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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
The Huddle
December 28, , 2005
Season Ticket
Sat 4:30 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM SEA at GB*
DEN at SD* ARI at IND CHI at MIN* NO at TB WAS at PHI*
Sat 8 PM BAL at CLE CIN at KC Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM
Updated* CAR at ATL MIA at NE TEN at JAC* Times ET

Prediction: Tennessee 13, Jacksonville 20

The Jaguars won 31-28 when they visited the Titans in week 11 but in the five games since, the only two wins have been against the visiting Texans and 49ers (there's a nice schedule). Those close losses as of late have been almost always while at home because road games have been decided much earlier than the end of the game. The Jaguars could be getting Leftwich back this week for at least some limited play and this final home game of the year provides a nice stage to take down the Titans.

Update: Steve McNair has not practiced this week and remains questionable to play. Matt Mauck has been taking all the first team snaps in practice, so it appears the Titans are going to go with Mauck instead of Billy Volek. I am adding in Mauck as the starter but there is still a chance that McNair gets some playing time. On the road at the end of a bad season, the Titans could end up using all three quarterbacks for that matter.

Tennessee Titans (4-11)
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 10-24 @MIA
8 25-34 OAK 17 Jan 1 @JAC
9 14-20 @CLE . . SAT
TEN at JAX Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Mauck 0 0 160,1
RB Chris Brown 30 0 0
RB Travis Henry 50 10 0
TE Ben Troupe 0 20 0
TE Erron Kinney 0 20 0
WR Drew Bennett 0 50,1 0
WR Tyrone Calico 0 10 0
WR Courtney Roby 0 30 0
PK Rob Bironas 2 FG 1 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Titans are wrapping up a forgettable year and may have lost Steve McNair for this final game. Unlike last season, there will be no monster games by Volek at home against terrible teams. This is a road trip to Jacksonville and the Titans are banged up, tired and ready for the season to end. Not a way to finish on a strong note.

Quarterback: Steve McNair left the game last week with a pectoral injury and until word if given that he will play, I am assuming that Billy Volek gets his chance to start. There is no guarantee that McNair even returns next year so Volek could use this game to show what he could potentially provide in 2006. Too bad it is on the road to Jacksonville.

McNair threw for 208 yards and two scores in the previous meeting with the Jaguars in week 11.

Running Backs: Chris Brown is bothered with a sprained ankle and only had seven carries for 18 yards last week while Travis Henry ran 16 times for 65 yards. Brown has been declining since he ran 20 times for 61 yards and one score against the Jaguars in week nine. He did add four catches for 58 yards and a second touchdown in that game but has not caught a pass in two weeks.

Henry is the likely primary again this week with Brown almost certain to disappoint yet again.

Wide Receivers: Drew Bennett has turned in two of his best games of the season in just the last two weeks with a total of three scores and 163 yards. But Bennett led all wideouts with just 55 yards in week 10 when the Jaguars were the visitors and his supporting cast is getting worse with every week. The good news is that next season this crew should look a lot different and at least initially healthy.

Tight Ends: Ben Troupe had 116 yards in week 15 against the Seahawks but on the road in Miami had no catches last Saturday. Erron Kinney returned to the starting lineup but only had one catch as he did in week 13 when he had last played. The offense has shifted to more use of wideouts here at the end of the season but mainly because the offense is not connecting with tight ends as much.

Kinney had just 37 yards and no other tight end had a catch in the previous meeting with the Jaguars.

Match Against the Defense: The Jaguars at home will play a much better rush defense than the Titans can handle and Brown is banged up and not running well here anyway. Expect even moderate numbers to be a pleasant surprise here.

Volek faces a secondary that will give up a score but no team has ever thrown for more than two scores and visitors have not fared well lately. Look for moderate yardage and one score here that should most likely go to Bennett though scores in three weeks in a row is hard to imagine from him this year.

Jacksonville Jaguars (11-4)
1 26-14 SEA 10 30-3 BAL
2 3-10 @IND 11 31-28 @TEN
3 26-20 @NYJ 12 24-17 @ARI
4 7-20 DEN 13 20-14 @CLE
5 23-20 CIN 14 18-26 IND
6 23-17 @PIT 15 10-9 SFO
7 Open Bye 16 38-20 @HOU
8 21-24 @STL 17 Jan 1 TEN
9 21-14 HOU . . SAT
JAX vs TEN Rush Catch Pass
QB Byron Leftwich 0 0 70
QB David Garrard 30 0 130,1
RB Fred Taylor 60 0 0
RB LaBrandon Toefield 10,1 0 0
TE Kyle Brady 0 10 0
WR Jimmy Smith 0 70 0
WR Ernest Wilford 0 60,1 0
WR Matt Jones 0 20 0
PK Josh Scobee 2 FG 2 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Jaguars have clinched their wild card this year and this game is a tune up for the next weekend. Byron Leftwich has been cleared to practice and play, and this final home game should be used to give the team more of a positive direction with a win than worrying about resting players.

Quarterback: Byron Leftwich will likely play this week but how much remains to be seen. He needs to shake off the rust and yet not risk further injury or a setback. Expect Leftwich to take a series or two here and David Garrard to still be gloating about how he threw for 292 yards last week against the Texans.

In Leftwich's last game before getting injured, he threw for 258 yards and three scores in the previous meeting with the Titans.

Running Backs: Fred Taylor ran for 101 yards and one score last week which was his first decent game since week eight. It could have been much better too since Labrandon Toefield came in and scored three touchdowns on only four runs. Greg Jones did not play last week because of his jammed neck.

Greg Jones only gained 33 yards on 16 carries and Taylor had six runs for a total of eight yards lost in the previous meeting with Tennessee.

Wide Receivers: Jimmy Smith remains pretty consistent around 70 yards per game though his improved play lately has all been with Garrard. Depending on how much Leftwich plays could have an impact on Smith who had had five catches for 89 yards while both Matt Jones and Ernest Wilford had touchdowns when the game was in Tennessee. Wilford comes off his second best game of the year when he had 118 yards and one score against the Texans last week on only four catches. That was a nice development since Wilford had been turning in less than 40 yards every week with Garrard as quarterback. A return of Leftwich could help Wilford even more since he was a favorite receiver prior to Leftwich's injury.

Tight Ends: No fantasy value here. Kyle Brady had an uncharacteristic 43 yards and one score in the previous meeting with the Titans but in most games the tight ends here have only one catch.

Match Against the Defense: This is a somewhat meaningless game though it is at home and the Jaguars will want to win. Expect a bit more sharing of carries this week since it is not a time for Taylor to get hurt again. Look for only moderate rushing numbers from him and a continued use of Toefield as short yardage unless Greg Jones returns this week. It is unlikely any single runner will have a very heavy load this week.

The splitting of time with Leftwich and Garrard is likely here though Garrard should take most of the work. The Titans secondary should give up a couple of scores here but this is another week 17 game with nothing to win really - not a full effort will be given.