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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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The Huddle
~ 2008 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday Late

Prediction: TEN 20, CIN 13

This is an odd rematch between two teams not in the same division. When these two teams met in week 12 last year, the Bengals won 35-6 at home in their biggest victory of the year. Now the Bengals come off a horrible showing in Baltimore while the Titans just took down the visiting Jaguars using little more than defense and a rookie running back.

Tennessee Titans (1-0)
Homefield: LP Field
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 JAX 17-10 +3 37
2 @CIN - +1 37.5
3 HOU - - -
4 MIN - - -
5 @BAL - - -
6 BYE - - -
7 @KC - - -
8 IND - - -
9 GB - - -
10 @CHI - - -
11 @JAX - - -
12 NYJ - - -
13 @DET - - -
14 CLE - - -
15 @HOU - - -
16 PIT - - -
17 @IND - - -
TEN at CIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Kerry Collins     190
RB Chris Johnson 100,1 40  
RB Lendale White 40,1 10  
TE Bo Scaife   40  
WR Justin Gage   60  
WR Justin McCareins   30  
PK Rob Bironas 2 FG 2 XP  
Pregame Notes: The Vince Young saga is playing out and it's about far more than the sprained MCL that is expected to keep him sidelined for two to four weeks. Whether Young will continue to be the quarterback in Tennessee is now being weighed and speculated since he is reported to have lost his passion for the game and has been impacted by the negativity by fans and the media about him. For this week, Kerry Collins is the unquestioned starter. And that may become true for the rest of the year.

Quarterback: Kerry Collins has only started a few games for the Titans over the last two seasons though he had two efforts exceeding 260 passing yards which is pretty rare air since Vince Young became the starter. In his last two seasons as a starter in Oakland (2004 and 2005) he threw for 20+ touchdowns and over 3500 yards each year. That is astronomical compared to what Titan fans are used to lately. Collins as the starter puts an entirely new slant on the offense and the receivers. Justin Gage and Justin McCareins may have just gotten a bump in value if Collins sticks.

Young passes for 246 yards with one interception against the Bengals last year. He only rushed twice for a total of six yards.

Running Backs: Despite the apparent turmoil at quarterback, the Titans have not been in as good of shape at running backs since the days of Eddie George. Lendale White continues to be the power back but the rookie Chris Johnson has added an all new, all dangerous weapon for the offense. He ran 15 times for 93 yards against the Jaguars and added three catches for 34 yards and one score. The duo brings a new Thunder and Lightning to the NFL and the Lightning show is the one to watch. Johnson could have ran for more but left the game with cramps. He's expected to be fine this week.

Chris Brown and LenDale White combined for only 16 carries and 55 yards against the Bengals last year.

Wide Receivers: With Collins under center, the wideouts take on a whole new light. Last week they combined for only three catches for 30 yards and one was from Collins at the end of the game. This change at quarterback could make all new difference in the Titans that will not necessarily be bad. In fantasy terms, it could gold since the Titans passing game has been so meager in recent years. This weekend is definitely worth watching to see how Collins plays and used the wideouts.

Justin Gage caught four passes for 98 yards against the Bengals last season while no other wideout had more than 54 yards and none scored.

Tight Ends: Bo Scaife had a career best game last week when he collected six receptions for 105 yards. His final catch went for 44 yards and was from Collins. Even the tight ends can benefit from a change at quarterback. Alge Crumpler is a non-factor and only had one catch last week.

Scaife led all tight ends against the Bengals last year when he had five catches for 33 yards.

Match Against the Defense: The Bengals rushing defense was gashed last week for a total of 229 rushing yards though 79 yards were gained by Joe Flacco and Mark Clayton. But Ray Rice and converted fullback Le'Ron McClain combined for 41 carries for 150 yards. With the Titans wary enough of the Bengals passing game, expect plenty of rushing by Chris Johnson and LenDale White who should score at least one if not two rushing scores.

Collins faces a typically inept secondary but doesn't yet have the weapons or chemistry to really exploit it. Look for moderate passing numbers here and likely no touchdown quite yet. The rushing game should be enough as it was last week against the Bengals.

Gaining Fantasy Points TEN 25 7 32 7 19 3
Preventing Fantasy Points CIN 15 21 14 3 16 22

Cincinnati Bengals (0-1)
Homefield: Paul Brown Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @BAL 10-17 -1 39
2 TEN - -1 37.5
3 @NYG - - -
4 CLE - - -
5 @DAL - - -
6 @NYJ - - -
7 PIT - - -
8 BYE - - -
9 JAX - - -
10 @HOU - - -
11 PHI - - -
12 @PIT - - -
13 BAL - - -
14 @IND - - -
15 WAS - - -
16 @CLE - - -
17 KC - - -
CIN vs TEN Rush Catch Pass
QB Carson Palmer     220,1
RB Chris Perry 50 10  
TE Ben Utecht   30  
WR Chad Johnson   70,1  
WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh   60  
WR Antonio Chatman   20  
PK Shayne Graham 2 FG 1 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Bengals left Baltimore with their tail between their legs. There was nothing on offense that remotely resembled the productive unit of the past years. The Ravens defense had an obvious hand in making happen but it was beyond merely a good defense on the road,. Palmer could not connect with Houshmandzadeh or Johnson. The rushing game had Chris Perry averaging two yards per carry. It required a lucky defensive touchdown to prevent the game from being even more embarrassing. The Bengals play the Ravens twice every year. What just happened was bad mojo, not just a bad matchup.

Quarterback: Carson Palmer's 35.2 passer rating was the worst of his 62-game NFL career and he completed only ten of 25 passes for 99 yards and one interception. The Bengals knew they were supposed to play on Sunday but they still didn't show up. While there is a chance that the Ravens have somehow regained the defense of five years ago, chances are greater that the dysfunction in Cincinnati is hitting critical mass.

Palmer passed for 283 yards and three scores against the Titans last year.

Running Backs: The decision to dump Rudi Johnson and ride Chris Perry was rewarded with 37 yards on 18 carries in Baltimore last Sunday. Perry added just one catch for five yards and he lost a fumble. Kenny Watson kicked in only two carries for 13 yards. The rushing game was not immune to the same disaster that hit the passing attack.

Rudi Johnson rushed for 88 yards and one score while Kenny Watson also had a score during his four runs for 17 yards when the Titans visited last year.

Wide Receivers: Chad Johnson lost his bid - for now anyway - to change his jersey name and then only had one catch for 22 yards against the Ravens. He was only thrown four passes and could only grab one. T.J. Houshmandzadeh was thrown eight passes and came down with only three for 44 yards. When the quarterback throws for 99 yards, it hurts everywhere.

Chad Johnson caught 12 passes for 103 yards and three scores against the Titans last year in his best showing of the season. Houshmandzadeh only had seven catches for 66 yards.

Tight Ends: Ben Utecht was slated to be the new secret weapon for the Bengals. His two catches for ten yards actually ranked as one of the more productive receivers last week.

Match Against the Defense: The Titans defense has always been strong against the run and just held the Jaguars to only 31 yards on 14 carries. Expect even less from the Bengals this week. The passing game will need to be the key for the Bengals to compete but they face the Titans who come off a game of sacking David Garrard seven times, forcing two interceptions and having a fumble recovery from what was one of the most error free quarterbacks in the league last year. Bad sign for Palmer who starts the year in a terrible funk. The home venue will help, but not enough.

Gaining Fantasy Points CIN 32 32 26 24 26 6
Preventing Fantasy Points TEN 13 11 8 10 10 19

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