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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
The Huddle
~ 2007 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday Late

Prediction: TEN 24, IND 17

Update: Lendale White was held out of practice on Wednesday to rest his sore knee but was back to full practice on Thursday, He is safe to start this week.

Anthony Gonzalez has been held out of practice to rest his sprained foot and looks unlikely to play in this meaningless game. I am removing him from the projections and bumping up Wayne because HC Tony Dungy said he would like to see Wayne reach 100 catches for the season and he would need eight passes to get there.

The Titans can clinch a wildcard by winning this week or by having Cleveland also lose. The Colts won 22-20 in week two as the visitor but the Colts have nothing to play for other than to stay sharp before resting during their week one bye. What needs to be answered here is how badly will the Colts want to win balanced with how important is it to be healthy for the playoffs? The other is which team would the Colts rather see in the playoffs - the Titans or the Browns? I'm saying that they do not care and that even if they get a lead in the first half, they will let Manning, Wayne and Addai have some time off in the second half at the least. Particularly Addai since he will be useful for what should be a Championship game in New England outside in the elements.

Tennessee Titans (9-6)
Homefield: LP Field
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @JAC 13-10 +6.5 37.5
2 IND 20-22 +7 46
3 @NO 31-14 +4 45
4 BYE - - -
5 ATL 20-13 -8 41
6 @TB 10-13 +2.5 37
7 @HOU 38-36 +2 37.5
8 OAK 13-9 -7 41
9 CAR 20-7 -4 40
10 JAC 13-28 -4 35
11 @DEN 20-34 +2.5 38
12 @CIN 6-35 -1.5 42
13 HOU 28-20 -3.5 43
14 SD 17-23 +1 41
15 @KC 26-17 -4 34
16 NYJ 10-6 -9 38
17 @IND   -4 39.5
TEN at IND Rush Catch Pass
QB Vince Young 40,1   200,1
RB Chris Brown 30 10  
RB Lendale White 70,1 20  
TE Bo Scaife   20  
WR Justin Gage   60  
WR Eric Moulds   20  
WR Roydell Williams   50,1  
PK Rob Bironas 1 FG 3 XP  
Pregame Notes: The Titans barely managed to pull off a win over the visiting Jets last week and received an early Christmas gift when the Bengals beat the Browns and opened up the chance for the Titans to win the final wildcard. All they have to do is win this week and they are in. The Titans have always had a knack for playing the Colts closely and that will become easier in the second half when the Colts show just how much they do not care who wins.

Quarterback: Vince Young is winding up the regular season with some progress made as a passer. Granted, he only has 2389 passing yards and just nine passing touchdowns, but he had four games over 200 yards and even passed for over 300 yards once. What has really declined has been his rushing totals with only three scores on the ground and just 376 rushing yards. He's trying to throw more but a lack of viable receivers still shortcuts what he could do.

McNair passed for 184 yards and one score against the visiting Colts in week two and rushed for 53 yards.

Running Backs: LenDale White topped 1,000 yards for the season and had his fifth 100-yard game of the season last week against the Jets. Chris Henry is back but was never used and Chris Brown only had five carries but scored once. The Titans will likely let Chris Brown leave in the offseason since he only signed a one year contract but LenDale White has run well enough this year that he'll likely be back in 2008 as the primary back again. But the Titans like a committee approach so White will likely never be even a top 20 running back.

White gained 64 yards and one score versus the Colts this season and Chris Brown added 34 yards on 12 carries.

Wide Receivers: This started out as a mess and never really got better. Justin Gage has locked down a role next year as the most consistently productive wideout and Roydell Williams has had his moments, but overall this group did little to help Young progress as a passer. There have only been six scores by wideouts this year and Eric Moulds never did amount to anything. The Titans are really playing with a wideout crew that would not rank higher than #3 on any other team.

Roydell Williams led all Titans with four catches for 72 yards and scored once against the Colts this year.

Tight Ends: Bo Scaife has been marginally productive as the primary tight end but he only has one score on the year and only 399 yards. Ben Troupe never has regained his previous status before Young showed up. This is Scaife's role but not one with much fantasy value.

Match Against the Defense: Calling this game is impossible given that the Colts are likely to rest players for at least a portion of the game. Since Bob Sanders likely will be on the sideline during most of second half, White should have at least a decent game here with a shot at a score. The Titans have to win this game and will be 100% committed to just that. They get the benefit of the Colts not caring about the outcome.

Young has only been marginally successful against the Colts but has a knack for playing well enough to keep the score close. I like Young to score once on the ground and then again via a pass that should favor Roydell Williams the most. Expect this to be a game where Young tries to carry the team on his back since they have to win.

Gaining Fantasy Points TEN 20 16 24 27 3 13
Preventing Fantasy Points IND 3 7 1 5 1 8


Indianapolis Colts (13-2)
Homefield: RCA Dome
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 NO 41-10 -6 51.5
2 @TEN 22-20 -7 46
3 @HOU 30-24 -6 47.5
4 DEN 38-20 -10 46.5
5 TB 33-14 -9 45
6 BYE - - -
7 @JAC 29-7 -3.5 45
8 @CAR 31-7 -6.5 45
9 NE 20-24 +5.5 56.5
10 @SD 21-23 -3.5 49
11 KC 13-10 -15 44
12 @ATL 31-13 -12 45
13 JAC 28-25 -7 44.5
14 @BAL 44-20 -9.5 44
15 @OAK 21-14 -10.5 45
16 HOU 38-15 -7 47.5
17 TEN   +4 39.5
IND vs TEN Rush Catch Pass
QB Peyton Manning     150,1
RB Joseph Addai 40 10  
RB Kenton Keith 70,1 10  
TE Dallas Clark   20  
WR Reggie Wayne   90  
WR Anthony Gonzalez 40
PK Adam Vinatieri 1 FG 2 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Colts have locked down the #2 seed and there is no changing that. They did play all but Addai for the full game last week but that is unlikely to happen this time. The Colts learned back in 2005 that wholesale resting of players for a couple of weeks resulted in coming out flat in the first playoff game (which they lost to the Steelers that year) so look for the first team to be on the field for at least the first half but likely during the second half, other players will start subbing in.

Quarterback: Peyton Manning only needs 55 yards to top 4000 for the seventh time in his career and his 31 touchdowns so far this year matches his output for the last two seasons. He has only passed for over 300 yards three times this year and has gone from being the elite NFL quarterback of recent years to just being a very good, consistent fantasy quarterback.

Manning passed for 312 yards and one score in Tennessee this year.

Running Backs: Joseph Addai was a great fantasy back for the first half of the season but has really tailed off in the second half of the year. He hasn't run for more than 67 yards in the last five games and is being rested in games lately. He only had six carries last week and the Colts will no doubt want to rest him this week since he will be central to playing in New England if the weather is bad. Kenton Keith should see most of the carries this week as he did last week.

Addai gained 81 yards and scored once versus the Titans this year.

Wide Receivers: Yeah, we still have never seen Marvin Harrison since his cameo in week seven and the 35-year old wideout is now being saved for the playoffs. In his absence, Reggie Wayne has become the #1 NFL wideout with 1423 receiving yards and he has ten scores on the year. The rookie Anthony Gonzalez looks like he has already supplanted Harrison even when he does return with a couple of 100 yard games in recent weeks and an improving knowledge of the offense. With the addition of Harrison in the playoffs, the Colts passing game could be even more formidable.

Gonzalez was banged up last week and will likely see limited time this weekend as will Wayne.

Harrison was still playing in week two and had 87 yards on six catches in Tennessee. Wayne turned in 70 yards on five receptions.

Tight Ends: Dallas Clark #1 among all tight ends with 11 touchdowns on the season and comes off a double score game last week to boost his totals so that no one else will catch him. He's still not above turning in the one catch game but as a scorer, there has been no one better - not even Gates or Witten.

Clark gained 69 yards on seven carries in Tennessee this year. He scored one touchdown.

Match Against the Defense: Playing any Colts this week is a huge risk. The Titans are playing for their postseason lives and the Colts just want a little work for the starters to keep them sharp and then not get anyone injured. I would not recommend starting any Colts player this week and game situation will dictate how quickly they are benched.

Gaining Fantasy Points IND 4 5 11 2 10 8
Preventing Fantasy Points TEN 8 14 19 8 8 13

The Huddle
~ 2007 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday Late

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