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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
Player Projections by Team
Game Predictions Summary
The Huddle
September 13, 2006
Season Ticket
Sunday Late
Sunday night
Sunday Late
DET at CHI OAK at BAL STL at SF   updated

Prediction: TEN 10, SD 31

The Titans missed what is likely their best chance to win when they allowed the visiting Jets to dominate them in most of the game - the game score does not reflect that they trailed 16-0 at one point before a late comeback bid fell short. Now on the road, the Titans face a team that hasn't allowed any points yet this year. The Chargers came off a big win on Monday night over the Raiders in a game that seemed to bore even the San Diego players. A great defense (or just a terrible opponent) made that game decided by the first score by Tomlinson.

Update: Travis Henry is questionable to play this week due to turf toe and was held out of practice on Wednesday and Thursday. I am removing him from the projections and adding in LenDale White who was inactive last week due to an ankle injury but he returned to practice on Thursday and is expected to play at least some this week. While Chris Henry was reported to have turf toe as well, he does not appear in the injury report and never missed practice. Expect Brown to shoulder most of the load this week with at least a cameo from LenDale White.

Tennessee Titans (0-1)
1 16-23 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 at SD Rush Catch Pass
QB Kerry Collins 0 0 230,1
RB Chris Brown 50 0 0
RB Travis Henry 30 0 0
RB LenDale White 20 0 0
TE Ben Troupe 0 30 0
WR Drew Bennett 0 70 0
WR Bobby Wade 0 60,1 0
WR David Givens 0 60 0
PK Rob Bironas 1 FG 1 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Titans started playing musical quarterbacks by the second quarter last week but settled on Collins after that one series by Vince Young. Now Chris Brown and Travis Henry have turf toe and the porous Titan secondary face Antonio Gates after allowing Chad Pennington to look like the league MVP last week. This is shaping up to be a long year if week one is any indication - and it almost certainly is.

Quarterback: Kerry Collins started getting into a groove more in the second half last week though some of that came from the relaxed attitude of the Jets secondary that already had a significant lead. Collins ended with 223 yards and two interceptions and may have played better had the Titans not opted to wait until the end of the preseason to sign him. He was clearly out of synch with the receivers on several plays.

Vince Young came in for one series and was sharp on his first three passes but then lobbed a deep completion to CB Andre Dyson and thus ended his NFL debut. Collins is the starter but that cannot be completely relied on in any game this year. Tennessee can opt to use Young at any point and likely will, especially when games get away from them.

Running Backs: Chris Brown ran reasonably well with 16 carries for 64 yards last week but Travis Henry trotted in to score both touchdowns and now both of them have turf toe. LenDale White was the odd man out last week but could be the last man standing at this rate. Pending later reports, I am projecting for Brown to play despite his injury which will limit him and this week against the Chargers doesn't appear to be a good place to start a Titan back anyway. Even if Brown and Henry are called out and White gets playing time, it's hard to see how this week will be a good place to start an NFL career.

Wide Receivers: The new acquisition of David Givens did not prove to change the wideouts much here as he only had three catches for 27 yards against the Jets though they were the only three passes that went his way. Givens did miss a lot of practice time in the summer with a hamstring issue and yet still is a bigger concern to the defense. Drew Bennett had a great game with eight catches for 106 yards and he led all NFL receivers last week with 16 passes thrown to him during the loss. Even Bobby Wade made the slot work well with five catches for 76 yards. No doubt the need to throw will be even greater this week.

Tight Ends: Last season we were treated to an amazing tight-end-by -committee approach by the Titans as most wideouts were injured and this year that plan has been trashed by OC Norman Chow. Ben Troupe only had one catch for 23 yards and Bo Scaife added one more for 12 yards. Troupe could come into a bigger role this week but it's too early to expect much from the position.

Match Against the Defense: It's possibly misleading to use the Chargers last game as a measuring stick for the defense because it was only the Raiders that they faced. Then again, it's only the Titans this week. With both Henry and Brown suffering from turf toe, this is not the place you want to start a Titans back. The Chargers held Jordan to only 20 yards on ten carries last week.

The Titans allowed two sacks last week and the Chargers recorded nine against the Raiders. This should be a better game than what the Raiders were able to post though and Collins should manage at least one score if only in trash time. For now, look for Givens to improve a bit and for Bennett to fall back but the chance for trash time is great here. If it gets out of hand - and it could - then Vince Young could show up at any time.

San Diego Chargers (1-0)
1 27-0 @OAK 10 --- @CIN
2 --- TEN 11 --- @DEN
3 Open Bye 12 --- OAK
4 --- @BAL 13 --- @BUF
5 --- PIT 14 --- DEN
6 --- @SF 15 --- KC
7 --- @KC 16 --- @SEA
8 --- STL 17 --- ARZ
9 --- CLE - - MON
SDC vs TEN Rush Catch Pass
QB Philip Rivers 10 0 180,2
RB L. Tomlinson 140,2 20 0
TE Antonio Gates 0 40,1 0
WR Keenan McCardell 0 50,1 0
WR Eric Parker 0 30 0
WR Vincent Jackson 0 30 0
PK Nate Kaeding 1 FG 4 XP -

Pregame Notes: Everything went so well last week against the Raiders that it's hard to say what the Chargers strengths and weaknesses are this year - it all worked. Starting the year with a shutout over divisional rivals puts the Chargers in the driver's seat in the AFC West since OAK, DEN and KC all lost their games. Tomlinson hasn't skipped a beat from last year and the new kid Rivers wasn't asked to do much but what he did was nothing less than solid.

Quarterback: Phillip Rivers debuted in fine fashion, completing eight of 11 passes for 108 yards and one score. He wasn't asked to do much because it was not needed. Likely to happen again this week though resisting the lure of the Titans secondary will be very hard to resist.

Running Backs: Vintage Ladainian Tomlinson last week with 131 yards on 31 carries and two scores that could have been more but Tomlinson was pulled for much of the fourth quarter. Michael Turner even had a score against the Raiders last week. With Rivers to protect, expect Tomlinson to continue with the heavy load.

Wide Receivers: The lower passing numbers means that the wideouts are of little value in the fantasy world. None had more than one catch though Eric Parker's 38 yard catch set-up one score. Going against the soft Titan secondary this week should help the crew do more but at home in an easy game, the benefits could go to either Keenan McCardell, Vincent Jackson or Eric Parker because there won't likely be a big need to throw and the limited volume of passes won't accomplish much more than a couple of long completions for the wideouts.

Tight Ends: For a time it appeared that Antonio Gates was going to be a non-factor last Monday but eventually the Chargers neared the goal line and Rivers connected with him for one score. Gates ended with only two catches for 26 yards but that should increase this week.

Match Against the Defense: Expect another solid game from Tomlinson here that should contain at least one touchdown and likely more. The Titans defense is bad across the board and the challenge here is determining how much Rivers is likely to throw because he will be successful. This game should have a healthy score in the home opener and there is no way that Rivers can resist connecting with Gates again. Bottom line - the Tennessee defense is one of the worst in the league.