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

Prediction: HOU 17, TEN 20

Update: Justin Gage will be a gametime decision since he did not practice this week because of his strained groin. I am removing him from the projections because of the chance that he does not play. I am also lowering the game score because Gage would have been central to what Kerry Collins had planned to do on pass plays.

Houston comes off their bye (?) and heads to Tennessee where the 2-0 Titans are not only Vince-less, they have never looked better. Big defense and good rushing game at home are about all the Titans need to take this one.

The Titans swept the Texans last year, winning 38-36 at home and later 28-20 in Houston.

Houston Texans (0-1)
Homefield: Reliant Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @PIT 17-38 +6.5 43
2 BYE - - -
3 @TEN - +5 38.5
4 @JAX - - -
5 IND - - -
6 MIA - - -
7 DET - - -
8 CIN - - -
9 @MIN - - -
10 BAL - - -
11 @IND - - -
12 @CLE - - -
13 JAX - - -
14 @GB - - -
15 TEN - - -
16 @OAK - - -
17 CHI - - -
HOU at TEN Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Schaub     230,2
RB Chris Taylor 30 10  
RB Steve Slaton 50 20  
TE Owen Daniels   30,1  
WR Andre Johnson   90,1  
WR David Anderson   20  
WR Kevin Walter   50  
PK Kris Brown 1 FG 2 XP  
Pregame Notes: The Texans were forced to have an emergency bye week when Hurricane Ike rolled through (and over Reliant Stadium) which now means the Texans not only open with a murderous row of initial opponents, the first three are on the road. After the week five home opener (?) against the Colts, the schedule settles down nicely but until then - uphill every week.

Quarterback: While Matt Schaub ended with 202 yards and a score against the Steelers, most of that success came late in the game and he also had two interceptions, one lost fumble and was sacked five times. What is unfortunate for Schaub is that his backup Sage Rosenfels played well last year and the more Schaub struggles, the more the coaches could cast a raised eyebrow at Rosenfels. Schaub has five straight bad matchups to start the year and if he can weather those, the passing gets a lot easier. Schaub still managed to complete 10 passes to Andre Johnson in week one.

Schaub was injured in the home meeting with the Titans last year and Sage Rosenfels played almost the entire game. He had 290 yards and four scores with three interceptions in that game. When the Texans played in Tennessee, Schaub was injured yet again and Rosenfels stepped in to throw for 185 yards and one touchdown. Schaub could do himself a favor and stay healthy for at least one Titans game.

Running Backs: Ahman Green suffered a sprain ankle last week because he is Ahman Green. He only had five carries at Pittsburgh and managed to gain three yards on only four catches. Until he is officially counted out, I will project for yet another insignificant showing from him which ends in injury at some point within the game. Steve Slaton is the closet thing to a reliable player in the backfield and he gained 43 yards on 13 carries last Sunday. He also added three catches for six yards, more than doubling the average of Green.

Green only gained 39 yards on 11 carries against the Titans last year. No other runner was used. In the road meeting, Ron Dayne rushed for 86 yards on 18 carries in the second meeting.

Wide Receivers: Say what you want about the Texans or even Matt Schaub but Andre Johnson is a stud. He left Pittsburgh with ten catches for 112 yards and while much of that came late in the game, no wideout had more than 81 yards in Pittsburgh in all of last year. Johnson is the focal point of the passing game and since the rushing attack is so anemic, he is pretty much the offense at this point.

Andre Johnson was still out when they faced the Titans last year and Andre Davis had 88 yards and a score as his replacement, Kevin Walter caught six passes for 97 yards and a score while David Anderson had 45 yards and a touchdown as the slot receiver. Johnson did play in the second meeting and gained 116 yards on nine catches with one score while all other wideouts only combined for two catches and 20 yards in that game.

Tight Ends: The Texans used Owen Daniels on four pass plays which was second only to Andre Johnson. Daniels ended with three catches for 33 yards and should be no worse this week against a similar defense.

Daniels only had twenty yards on two catches against the Titans last season and later gained 42 yards on three catches in Tennessee.

Match Against the Defense: The Titans have been brutal against the run this year where opposing runners are averaging around 2.7 yards per carry. Let's couple that in with the Texans having one of the worst rushing attacks and there is nothing here worthy of a fantasy start. I will project for Slaton and Taylor as the players but will add in Green if he appears likely to play. Regardless- this is nothing you want a part of.

Schaub faces a secondary that gave Carson Palmer the worst game of his career and that held David Garrard to only 215 yards and a score in Jacksonville. Expect only moderate passing yards here from a need to throw almost every down but the Titans rarely give up much trash time gains and Schaub will throw in a few turnovers this week as well.

Gaining Fantasy Points HOU 10 31 14 20 26 25
Preventing Fantasy Points    TEN 5 11 5 4 1 10

Tennessee Titans (2-0)
Homefield: LP Field
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 JAX 17-10 +3 37
2 @CIN 24-7 +1 37.5
3 HOU - -5 38.5
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 vs HOU Rush Catch Pass
QB Kerry Collins     200
RB Chris Johnson 110,1 30  
RB Lendale White 40,1    
TE Bo Scaife   30  
WR Justin Gage 70
WR Justin McCareins   70  
PK Rob Bironas 2 FG 3 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Titans may have controversy swirling about Vince Young but it hasn't had much impact on the football team. The Titans are 2-0 and should end up with some very interesting games with the Colts this year. A win over the divisional Texans is another step towards a title and more than anything, that Titans defense has really come to life with only 17 points allowed this year. Throw in a rushing game to respect and the Titans are getting fun to watch.

Quarterback: Kerry Collins took his first start of the year and though he only had 128 yards and one score, that came during a fierce wind storm with gusts up to 60 miles per hour. And it was better than Carson Palmer did with an infinitely better set of wide receivers. There is word for now that even when Young is healthy again that he could "gain something by sitting and watching".

Collins was the starter in Houston meeting with the Texans and passed for 280 yards but no touchdowns. Later Vince Young threw for 248 yards and two scores in the home meeting.

Running Backs: Chris Johnson has taken over as the starter in Tennessee and has supplied the big play threat that has turned this offense up a notch. Johnson has rushed for 202 yards on 34 carries for a six yard per carry average and topped the century mark for the first time with 109 yards in Cincinnati. LenDale White has become the finisher to pound the ball late in games and especially near the goal line. He has scored once in each game and now has no role as a receiver anymore.

White ran for 104 yards and a score in Houston last year and Chris Henry gained 57 yards on 11 carries and had one touchdown in that game as well. The home game had White gain 60 yards on 12 runs with one score while Chris Brown gained 46 yards on 11 rushes and also had a touchdown.

Wide Receivers: The first full start for Collins and Justin Gage ended up with a team high five catches for 59 yards and one touchdown - in the driving winds no less. The passing numbers were down last week because of the weather and yet Collins was still able to connect for a score with a wide receiver.

Roydell Williams had 124 yards on five catches in Houston last year with Collins as the quarterback. In the home game, he had 74 yards and a score on five receptions while Justin Gage caught five passes for 64 yards and a score in that game.

Tight Ends: After his big 105 yard game to open the season, Bo Scaife only had one catch in the driving winds last week. He still remains a valued outlet for Collins.

Scaife had six receptions for 49 yards and a score in Houston last season and later turned in four catches for 57 yards in the home meeting with the Texans.

Match Against the Defense: The Texans were already ravaged by Willie Parker in week one so expect a nice game from Johnson and White here that could become a big one for the rookie. One rushing score for each and 100 yards for Johnson should merely be a starting point.

Collins will be able to move the ball via the pass but likely won't do it much. Expect lower passing yards in this game with one score McCareins slightly playing the same role that Hines Ward had when he scored twice against the Texans.

Gaining Fantasy Points TEN 25 6 29 10 23 3
Preventing Fantasy Points    HOU 19 32 20 11 23 29

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