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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
Player Projections by Team
Game Predictions Summary
The Huddle
September 6, 2006
Season Ticket
Sunday Late
Sunday night
BAL at TB NO at CLE     SD at OAK

Prediction: NYJ 17, TEN 20

Ah yes, what would a NFL week be like without at least one messy game? The Jets (4-12) come off a very bad year and not only are rebuilding, they appear to have less parts than before. The Titans (4-12) are also rebuilding according to an apparent never ending plan but have added several elements of the future. This will be a great game because when two bad teams meet, bad things happen but one gets to win.

New York Jets (0-0)
1 --- @TEN 10 --- @NE
2 --- NE 11 --- CHI
3 --- @BUF 12 --- HOU
4 --- IND 13 --- @GB
5 --- @JAX 14 --- BUF
6 --- MIA 15 --- @MIN
7 --- DET 16 --- @MIA
8 --- @CLE 17 --- OAK
9 Open Bye - - MON
NYJ at TEN Rush Catch Pass
QB Chad Pennington 0 0 210,2
RB Kevan Barlow 50 10 0
RB Cedric Houston 20 0 0
TE Chris Baker 0 30 0
WR Laveranues Coles 0 60,1 0
WR Justin McCareins 0 30 0
WR Jerricho Cotchery 0 50,1 0
PK Mike Nugent 1 FG 2 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Jets are starting the new Eric Mangini regime this year and Brian "little bro" Schottenheimer mans the offensive coordinator position. After the annual "who is the starting quarterback" game, the bottle once again points at Chad Pennington. Curtis Martin's gone for now if not forever and in his place are up to four candidates. This is known as a rebuilding year. Also as a "who we gonna draft in April?!?!" year.

Quarterback: Chad Pennington starts his fourth straight yet as the starter in search of a full season but he usually lasted for a dozen games in the past until bowing out after week three last year. Patrick Ramsey was unable to unseat Pennington just as he could not dislodge Mark Brunell in Washington. This sort of smacks of more turnstile quarterbacks this year but hope springs eternal.

Running Backs: Just back away from the table. You do not have to own any Jets running backs this year even though there are plenty to choose from. Let's see, Kevan Barlow was just acquired to bring his mighty three yards per carry to town along with Cedric Houston and Derrick Blaylock who has never quite looked the same after leaving the all-star offensive line in Kansas City. Oh yeah, throw in rookie Leon Washington too as the undersized guy who hasn't yet proven incapable of pulling a full load in the NFL. Recently Mangini said he intends on using perhaps all four. This is why you need decimal scoring in your league.

I take it back. Don't walk away. Run.

Wide Receivers: Laveranues Coles remains the #1 wideout here though he was rumored to be considered for a trade. Evidently the new trend in the NFL is to start rebuilding a team by getting rid of the most promising wideout but so far the Jets have resisted that temptation. Jerricho Cotchery has been named the #2 wideout but Justin McCareins will play as well. This unit should do better than the running backs because there are less of them and they'll probably get more action than the tailbacks all combined this year in games that witness the Jets lag on the scoreboard.

Tight Ends: With Doug Jolley gone, Chris Baker is the clear starter here and the Jets recently signed Zach Hilton who many people thought was far better than the Saints did. Hilton was released a week ago. The role of the tight end is undefined so far but at least Schottenheimer has to hear his brother brag about Gates so there is some upside here with Baker.

Match Against the Defense: Despite the apparent woes of the Jets offense, they are playing the #29 defense in points allowed last year and that ranked 28th against quarterbacks and 31st against wideouts. It's far too early to tag the best bet at running back though most likely it starts with Barlow who could have some success here.

Pennington should have a somewhat surprisingly good game this week. He is healthy and the Titans secondary has been bad all through the preseason and from last year. Expect at least one score and possibly two that will definitely favor the wideouts. This is a road game which is not ideal, but this could be the easiest match-up the Jets get all year.

Tennessee Titans (0-0)
1 --- NYJ 10 --- BAL
2 --- @SD 11 --- @PHI
3 --- @MIA 12 --- NYG
4 --- DAL 13 --- IND
5 --- @IND 14 --- @HOU
6 --- @WAS 15 --- JAX
7 Open Bye 16 --- @BUF
8 --- HOU 17 --- NE
9 --- @JAX - - -
TEN vs NYJ Rush Catch Pass
QB Kerry Collins 0 0 190,1
RB Chris Brown 110,1 20 0
TE Ben Troupe 0 30 0
WR Drew Bennett 0 60 0
WR David Givens 0 50,1 0
WR Brandon Jones 0 10 0
PK Rob Bironas 2 FG 2 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Titans retooled with the draft picks of Vince Young and LenDale White but later thought maybe relying on Volek was not the best idea and recently signed Kerry Collins. The defense was the Achilles heel last year and doesn't appear to be all that upgraded for 2006. The offense appears to be in such transition that the players themselves may not know their own roles. And the schedule to open the year is downright brutal with away games at SD, MIA, IND and WAS and one home game against DAL before the week seven bye.

Quarterback: After giving him plenty of opportunities in camp and preseason games, the coaching staff came to a "what were we thinking" epiphany about Billy Volek and signed Kerry Collins. There is plenty of speculation that Volek will be traded soon and for now, best bet is that Collins takes the opener start with Vince Young filling the #2 role. How the Titans use Young remains to be seen and they have pledged not to throw him in too early but that doesn't mean he may not get at least some playing time in early games. Enough that you cannot even feel confident using Collins early in the year.

This will be Vince Young's team at some point. The only question is when.

Running Backs: The Titans have three decent players for running backs but which one should be the starter and how much the other two should play is hard to gauge at this point. Most teams do not suit up three backs for games either. Chris Brown remains the starter and LenDale White could end up as the short yardage guy which would make some sense. But Travis Henry is not without some ability as well and taking White in the second round signals he will eventually become a starter. For this week, figure on Brown as the safest play but either Henry or White could also contribute.

If you planned on starting LenDale White or Travis Henry for some insane reason this week, at least check out the game time inactives because one may not be in uniform this week.

Wide Receivers: Evidently Drew Bennett really is nothing more than a #2 wideout as was amply proven in 2005. The Titans added David Givens in the offseason even though he'll make less money in Tennessee because he has a legitimate shot at being the #1 wideout. He could surprise on a team that will really, really need to throw in many games. With Collins at the helm, both wideouts could see some respectable production this year.

Givens has missed almost the entire summer with a hamstring issue but is expected to play in the opener. Not like Collins has worked a lot with any other receiver anyway.

Tight Ends: After almost every wideout was injured in 2005, the Titans resorted to using a tight end committee to man the receiving game with some success. But this year should see a return to a more conventional approach and the trio of Ben Troupe, Erron Kinney and Bo Scaife will not replicate their numbers from last year. However, in Troupe's case, they could significantly improve. Troupe has been outstanding in camp and has locked up the #1 tight end slot. He's a definite one to watch in this offense along with Givens.

Match Against the Defense: The Jets were actually decent against the pass last year but mainly because they were 27th against running backs and few teams had to bother much with passing to win the game. Look for a nice game here out of the blocks for Brown who should appr0ach upwards of 100 yards and could score. More notable will be who carries and how often other than him.

Collins, the assumed starter, won't have a huge game here since he barely knows the offense and the Jets secondary is still decent. Look for only moderate yardage here and one score that favors Givens a bit more than Bennett.

Oddly enough, while this may be the easiest match-up for the Jets this year, the same could be said for the Titans as well.