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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey

The Huddle
~ 2007 ~
Season Ticket

Sunday night

Prediction: TEN 10, JAX 27

These two divisional rivals traded home wins last year, with the Titans winning 24-17 in week 15 and the Jaguars pounding the Titans 37-7 in Jacksonville. That was the first time since 2004 that the Titans had beaten the Jags and a symbol of the turnaround that Vince Young made with his team. But on the road to open the season, that Jaguars defense should be enough to carry the game. Neither team has notable upgrades but the Titans have lost their two best receivers from last year along with Travis Henry.

Tennessee Titans (8-8)
Homefield: LP Field
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @JAC   +6.5 37.5
2 IND 16-Sep SUN 1:00 PM
3 @NO 24-Sep MON 8:30 PM
4 BYE - - -
5 ATL 7-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
6 @TB 14-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
7 @HOU 21-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
8 OAK 28-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
9 CAR 4-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
10 JAC 11-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
11 @DEN 19-Nov MON 8:30 PM
12 @CIN 25-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
13 HOU 2-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
14 SD 9-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
15 @KC 16-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
16 NYJ 23-Dec SUN 4:15 PM
17 @IND 30-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
Titans at JAX Rush Catch Pass
QB Vince Young 20   170,1
RB Chris Brown 20    
RB Lendale White 50 10  
TE Bo Scaife   40,1  
TE Ben Troupe   20  
WR Brandon Jones   40  
WR Eric Moulds   20  
WR Roydell Williams   30  
PK Rob Bironas 1 XP 1 FG  
Pregame Notes: The Titans face a tougher schedule this year and do so with what at least appears to be a lesser offense. Travis Henry left and the only replacement was rookie Chris Henry who is buried on the depth charts. Bobby Wade and Drew Bennett took off as well and were replaced by Eric Moulds and yet more rookies. The Titans were a huge surprise last year with the push the team made towards respectability again. In true Vince Young fashion, the eight wins came in all kinds of ways but count just the same.

Quarterback: Vince Young won the Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2006 and it award was well deserved. Taking over a floundering team, Young brought them to an 8-8 record beyond all expectations. With the incarceration absence of Michael Vick this decade year, Young remains as the best running quarterback in the league. He only threw for 2199 yards and 12 scores in his 13 starts but he ran for 533 yards and seven more scores - that's huge in most fantasy leagues. But Young knows he has to develop more as a passer this year and the franchise did him no major favors in free agency or the draft after letting his best two receivers leave the team. This will be a challenging year for Young with a tough schedule and mostly inexperienced set of receivers but that's what he's been facing most his football playing life. Like Vick, he makes the team very different.

Young threw for 163 and 85 yards against the Jaguars last year. He never gained more than 14 rushing yards in either game.

Running Backs: The plan here is to platoon both Lendale White and Chris Brown in some unknown measure. White has looked good in the preseason and Brown is a player searching for a starting role knowing he now has one year in Tennessee to do something or suffer through a second offseason where no one wants him. Chris Henry was drafted to hopefully contribute but a hamstring injury has kept him buried on the depth chart. I will project for both Brown and White but the ratio is what will be most interesting to observe this week.

The Titans never had more than 67 yards from any running back against the Jags last season and never scored.

Wide Receivers: Here's where this year has been one of question marks. After releasing Drew Bennett and Bobby Wade, the Titans never made any moves to acquire veteran help until grabbing Eric Moulds who is very veteran (some say over the hill). The team returns Brandon Jones for his third NFL season and he could break out as a starter in an offense with no other clear cut stars. Roydell Williams also will play and likely will start across from Moulds but all three should share ample time on the field. This means that the Titans have aging Eric Moulds and a duo of wideouts who combined for only 35 catches for 505 yards and 4 scores last year. Young is good to be sure, but he needs more to work with than this.

No Titan wideout had more than 51 yards against the Jags last year.

Tight Ends: With wideouts that are lacking, the Titans have been using their tight ends more. Ben Troupe missed almost half of last year due to injury but Bo Scaife rekindled his relationship with fellow Texas-alum Young and turned in 39 catches for 370 yards and two scores.

Scaife had a nice five catch, 70 yard effort in Jacksonville last year but did not play in the second meeting.

Match Against the Defense: These teams know each other well and the Jags defense should prove more than the visiting Titans can handle here. Travis Henry was unable to mount anything against the Jags and the duo of Brown and White are not likely to do any better. Forget the rushing game here for at least this week.

Young was unable to run against the Jaguars last year and he never had much in the way of passing yardage either. Look for a low-end passing game here with minimal rushing. Now starts the challenge for Young because every team is going to commit to stopping him over all other players and force him to throw. I like the Titans to score once against the Jags and that likely comes from a scoring pass than from a rushing attempt.

Gaining Fantasy Points TEN 10 24 26 17 25 6
Preventing Fantasy Points JAX 5 5 4 10 3 18
rankings reflect as of week 17, 2006


Jacksonville Jaguars (8-8)
Homefield: J'ville Municipal Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 TEN   -6.5 37.5
2 ATL 16-Sep SUN 1:00 PM
3 @DEN 23-Sep SUN 4:05 PM
4 BYE - - -
5 @KC 7-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
6 HOU 14-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
7 IND 22-Oct MON 8:30 PM
8 @TB 28-Oct SUN 4:05 PM
9 @NO 4-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
10 @TEN 11-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
11 SD 18-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
12 BUF 25-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
13 @IND 2-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
14 CAR 9-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
15 @PIT 16-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
16 OAK 23-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
17 @HOU 30-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
Jaguars vs TEN Rush Catch Pass
QB David Garrard 30   190,1
RB Fred Taylor 80,1 30  
RB Maurice Jones-Drew 70,1 30  
TE Marcedes Lewis   10  
WR Dennis Northcutt   50  
WR Ernest Wilford   40,1  
WR Matt Jones   30  
PK Josh Scobee 2 FG 3 XP 9 Pts

Pregame Notes: Nothing like waiting until the last minute to change the starting quarterback. The Jaguars come off another season that disappointed overall but found gold in the rookie Maurice Jones-Drew. Now Byron Leftwich has been shown the door and David Garrard takes over as the official starter this year and this team looks better already. Fred Taylor re-signed in the offseason so effectively the same offense returns this year as last. The only difference is that Leftwich is not mending on the sidelines.

Quarterback: The move to David Garrard was a good one since it actually gives more stability and consistency to the offense than Leftwich could provide. Garrard also brings in an above average ability to run with the ball and gained 250 yards on the ground in ten games played. While Garrard is not as likely to have big passing numbers as Leftwich could, he also brings a new element to the offense via the run and he doesn't constantly get hurt. His biggest game of the year was only 239 yards and most fell below the 200 yard mark.

Garrard started both games against the Titans last year and threw for 177 yards and three scores at home and 233 yards and one touchdown in Nashville.

Running Backs: Maurice Jones-Drew was a fantasy god last year when he turned in his three best efforts during weeks 14, 15 and 16 - say hello to your league championship! Jones-Drew was electric as a runner and equally valuable as a receiver where he totaled 46 catches for 436 yards and two scores largely during the second half of the season. But most of his success came either after Fred Taylor had a big game already or when Taylor was on the mend from a hamstring injury late last year. With Taylor signing a three-year deal and vowing to have a Pro Bowl year, it will be more sharing between the duo and a major disappointment to Jones-Drew owners who believe they are getting the primary back in Jacksonville. Taylor will still play as much and probably more than Jones-Drew. Then again, Jones-Drew is Mr. Touchdown near the goal line.

At home against the Titans last year, neither Taylor (13-79) nor Jones-Drew (8-56) had a big game and neither scored. On the road in week 15, Jones-Drew had 25 carries for 98 yards and a score and added 47 yards on three catches.

Wide Receivers: The wideout depth chart has been shifting throughout the summer and appears to have ended with Dennis Northcutt and Ernest "you can't ignore me forever" Wilford as the starters and Matt Jones as the #3 guy. That could change at any given time but the team is very pleased with how Northcutt looks and cannot deny the effectiveness of Wilford even if he is slow. They same cannot be said for Reggie Williams who barely made the roster this time or Matt Jones who so far has not made the leap from quarterback to wideout seamlessly. With Garrard on board as the starter, the numbers from this crew are likely to be less anyway this year.

Tight Ends: While the Jaguars have spent high picks on tight ends, the position has never accounted for much here. George Wrighster had 353 yards and three scores last year but returns from a torn labrum and only made it back for the final week of camp. I am projecting for second-year player Marcedes Lewis but Wrighster may show up already this week. It's not like you wanted to start either tight end.

Match Against the Defense: Looking at the Titans defense, a reasonable person would wonder aloud how they managed to end 8-8 on the season? Pacman Jones scoring four times was a big help that is gone, along with most of the offensive "stars" from last year. The game situation here should dictate plenty of rushing and at least one or two scores on the ground. I like Garrard to throw one touchdown just to show he can but that could literally go anywhere in this offense. This is a great set-up for the Jags to come out of the gates with a big effort and throttle the TItans who are still coming to terms with all their new - and lesser - personnel.

Gaining Fantasy Points JAX 13 2 23 20 6 26
Preventing Fantasy Points TEN 27 29 32 21 25 9

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