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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
Player Projections by Team
Game Predictions Summary
The Huddle
September 27, 2006
Season Ticket
Sunday Late
Sunday night
On Bye
MIA at HOU SF at KC NE at CIN   updated

Prediction: DAL 24, TEN 10

The Cowboys season got back on track with a home stomp over the Redskins and the biggest foe they have this week is looking past the Titans to the Eagles game in week five. The Titans played the Dolphins tough and yet lost last week and already there are rumors that the Vince Young era is soon to start. Then again, with games at Indianapolis and at Washington up next, he's probably not pressing the issue.

Update: I am adding Terrell Owens back into the projections but with this one major caveat - he may be a decoy and do little in the game. He could still be a game time inactive though Dallas plays in the first set of games on Sunday so that could be caught prior to first kick-off. Owens had his well publicized "incident" this week and could play just to show he is fine and all the media attention was over nothing. That is very possible. But the Eagles game looms in week five and it's also hard to believe the Cowboys would risk him injuriing his hand (or anything else) with that big inter-divisional game yet to play. Anything could happen here but my expectations are that he will start, will get a few "look I am fine so shut the hell up" passes and then leave the game that the Cowboys should manage to win handily.

The Titans have now reversed their previous stance and decided to start Vince Young this week against a strong Dallas defense. I am adding Young into the projections but the projections for a rookie that has never started are obviously just a guess with little to back them up.

Dallas Cowboys (1-1)
1 17-24 @JAX 10 --- @ARZ
2 27-10 WAS 11 --- IND
3 Open Bye 12 --- TB
4 --- @TEN 13 --- @NYG
5 --- @PHI 14 --- NO
6 --- HOU 15 --- @ATL
7 --- NYG 16 --- PHI
8 --- @CAR 17 --- DET
9 --- @WAS M THU SAT
DAL at TEN Rush Catch Pass
QB Drew Bledsoe 0 0 230,1
RB Julius Jones 80,1 20 0
RB Marion Barber 40 20 0
TE Jason Witten 0 30,1 0
WR Terrell Owens (risky) 0 50 0
WR Terry Glenn 0 70 0
WR Patrick Crayton 0 40 0
PK Mike Vanderjagt 1 FG 3 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Cowboys offense caught a lot of flack - particularly Drew Bledsoe - for the Jaguars loss but after a solid win over the Redskins and seeing the Jags shut out the Steelers the following week - the 17-24 loss didn't seem quite so bad. Coming off their bye week, the Cowboys are rested and likely already looking past this week to the trip to Philly in week five.

Quarterback: Drew Bledsoe struggled against the Jaguars, throwing three interceptions against only one score and 246 yards but found some redemption back at home against the Skins when he had two touchdowns and 237 yards without a turnover. While the media was calling for Tony Romo after week one, they quieted down after the win over the Redskins. With the Titans on the slate this week, they may temporarily forget who Bledsoe's back-up is.

Running Backs: Julius Jones has been solid so far, turning in games of 111 and 94 total yards with one touchdown but he's still looking for a big game and that may be harder to find with the suggestion, yet again, by HC Bill Parcells that Marion Barber needs to become more involved. Barber only had five touches to 18 for Jones against the Jaguars but turned in nine against 20 for Jones in the Redskins game. This is nothing new as it has been said before and Barber was used more in some games in 2005 but as long as Jones is effective, Barber will likely continue the 1:3 ratio. Not enough to consider Barber a fantasy starter but just enough to drain some of Jones' value.

Wide Receivers: The presence of Terrell Owens was expected to come at the expense of Terry Glenn but that just has not happened so far. Glenn has games of 81 and 94 yards so far and actually out performed Owens in the first two games. Owens has a score so far but played with a broken bone in his hand during the Skins game. I am assuming that Owens doesn't play this week but there is no way he will miss a chance to play in Philly next week. Updates if warranted. There is some speculation that Owens could play this week but doubtful that he will be pushed. Sam Hurd will replace him this week. Owens was rushed to the emergency late Tuesday to have his stomach pumped because os an adverse reaction to painkillers for his hand. That will only delay him more.

Terry Glenn suffered a cut on his hand and was held out of practice but he is expected to play.

Tight Ends: Jason Witten signed a big contract before this season but so far that has only seen him get three or four catches per game for around 40 yards. On an offense with many weapons, Witten is always available for heavy use when needed but so far has been only a supporting player in the passing scheme.

Match Against the Defense: The problem with breaking down the match-ups is that it should include just how motivated the Cowboys will be coming off a bye week to face an 0-3 team and knowing the Eagles loom the following Sunday. The Titans rush defense gave up huge yardage to Michael Turner but has been more stout against the Jets and Dolphins. Look for Julius Jones to have a moderate to good game here that should include Marion Barber enough to give him some "bye week filler" fantasy value.

Bledsoe goes against a secondary that could be ravaged but he'll be without Owens most likely and this smacks of a "get through" game that won't post huge numbers. Look for moderate passing numbers and a score to Jason Witten the most likely. I love the chance of a defensive score in this game.

Tennessee Titans (0-3)
1 16-23 NYJ 10 --- BAL
2 7-40 @SD 11 --- @PHI
3 10-13 @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 DAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Vince Young 40 0 150,1
RB Chris Brown 30 10 0
RB Travis Henry 30 10 0
TE Ben Troupe 0 20 0
TE Bo Scaife 0 30,1 0
WR Drew Bennett 0 40 0
WR David Givens 0 30 0
WR Brandon Jones 0 10 0
PK Rob Bironas 1 FG 1 XP -

Pregame Notes: After getting blown out by the Chargers, the Titans went to Miami where they came tantalizingly close to getting their first win of the year. The rushing game still is mired with doubt while the passing game cannot stop throwing two interceptions each week. Throw in a suspect secondary and the Titans need to take the wins against the softer teams they face - they won't be there in the more challenging match-ups.

Quarterback: Kerry Collins finally was given an entire game free of Vince Young and had his best results of the year, throwing for 269 yards and one score with, of course two interceptions that came from tipped balls. Going against the Cowboys this week won't likely improve his numbers or his hold on the starting slot.

Running Backs: The Titans backfield is coming across as a weekly bingo game only there are never any winners. Chris Brown was inactive with a toe injury and was replaced by Travis Henry who also has a toe injury. HC Jeff Fisher praised Henry for gaining 60 yards on 21 carries last week because he has no recollection of what an actual rushing game looks like. LenDale White only had one carry for two yards in the game as a sign that the offense is not about the future or the past. It's really not been about much of anything so far.

To make matters worse, both starting guards are likely injured this week so the rushing could be worse. I am assuming that Brown returns but relying on any element of this rushing game is like buying a lottery ticket for last week's drawing and crossing your fingers.

Wide Receivers: Drew Bennett remains the primary wideout here and had five catches for 84 yards against the Dolphins but David Givens had a couple of nice catches for 47 yards to show he is suiting up and playing. Givens was hurt through most of training camp and still has not gotten into the swing of the offense yet. He left the Miami game twice with an ankle injury but returned both times.

Tight Ends: Bo Scaife turned in the same three catches for 53 yards as he had in week two but this time he scored the lone touchdown for the Titans. Ben Troupe had a season high 41 yards on two receptions and is the answer to the question "name the most over-hyped tight end of 2006".

Match Against the Defense: The Dallas rush defense should handle whatever runner ends up with the ball for the Titans this week so count them all out as fantasy options this week.

Collins has lost both of his starting guards so pass protection just got a bit more challenging and Drew Bennett draws Terrance Newman this week which should depress his numbers. Givens gets the more exploited match-up but he hasn't been up to the task yet this year if he has even been healthy. Expect that the Titans eventually get at least one touchdown in trash time and that will favor the slot or #4 wideout the most.