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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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The Huddle
~ 2008 ~
Season Ticket
Bye Week
* updated

Prediction: IND 17, TEN 23

Update: Joseph Addai is listed as questionable but he only had limited participation in practice on Wednesday and then was held out on Thursday and Friday. He is not expected to play. Justin Gage may play on Monday after having full practices on Thursday and Friday but Justin McCareins was unable to practice and is expected to miss this week despite being listed as questionable.

This should be a great Monday night game and to no surprise it has the lone undefeated team in the NFL playing. We just did not guess it would end up Tennessee with the perfect record. The Colts swept the Titans last year, winning 22-20 at home in week two and later 16-10 in Tennessee in the season finale. This should be the season for change since the Colts are only 3-3 on the season and their biggest weakness - rush defense - plays into the Titans biggest strength.

Indianapolis Colts (3-3)
Homefield: Lucas Oil Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 CHI 13-29 -9.5 44
2 @MIN 18-15 -2 43.5
3 JAX 21-23 -5.5 42
4 BYE - - -
5 @HOU 31-27 -3 47.5
6 BAL 31-3 -4.5 39
7 @GB 14-34 -1 47
8 @TEN - +4 42
9 NE - - -
10 @PIT - - -
11 HOU - - -
12 @SD - - -
13 @CLE - - -
14 CIN - - -
15 DET - - -
16 @JAX - - -
17 TEN - - -
IND at TEN Rush Catch Pass
QB Peyton Manning     260,1
RB Dominic Rhodes 50,1 20  
TE Dallas Clark   80,1  
WR Marvin Harrison   50  
WR Reggie Wayne   60  
WR Anthony Gonzalez   40  
PK Adam Vinatieri 1 FG 2 XP  
Pregame Notes: This marks the first time this year that the Colts were not favored in a game and considering their 3-3 record, the team has failed to meet expectations in most games. The dismantling in Green Bay last week was particularly troubling since it came after a big win over the Ravens suggested that the Colts were getting back into gear. A loss here would not only mean the division title is out of the question, it would suggest that the Colts are not going to be the "old Colts" anymore. With NE and PIT up next, this is no time for the Colts to be struggling with their own identity.

Quarterback: Peyton Manning's struggles this year continue and he comes off his first game without a touchdown. He passed for 229 yards in Green Bay and threw two interceptions. That gives Manning eight touchdowns versus seven interceptions on the season. His biggest problem so far has been the lack of a respectable ground game that has allowed defenses to only worry about the pass but Manning's decline is deeper than that. He has just not shown the consistency of seasons past.

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

Running Backs: Joseph Addai injured his hamstring in week six and was inactive on Sunday. There is some optimism that he may return this week but until he practices and is cleared, I will assume that Dominic Rhodes is the starter. Updates as warranted.

The Colts rushing attack has not been that effective this year and no runner has managed more than 78 rushing yards in a game. While Rhodes and Addai have combined for seven rushing scores, they are only averaging around 65 yards per week and only 3.5 yards per rush. That is not drawing the safeties closer to the line of scrimmage. That is affecting the passing game.

Addai ran for 81 yards on 20 carries and scored once in Tennessee last season.

Wide Receivers: Amazingly there have only been two efforts over 100 receiving yards this year and one was Anthony Gonzalez. Reggie Wayne has been solid and maintained nice fantasy value with a touchdown in four of five games but last week was just two catches for 25 yards in Green Bay. Even Marvin Harrison only had 11 yards on two receptions. This road game means that the Colts are going to have to produce better than they have in any game this year and yet - this will be the toughest defense that they have faced.

Wayne caught five passes for 70 yards in Tennessee last year while Harrison turned in 87 yards on six carries.

Tight Ends: While Dallas Clark has yet to score this year (after leading the NFL for tight ends in 2007), he has one nice trend. Clark has gained exactly 81 yards in the two road games this year. That has a great chance of recurring yet again this week.

Match Against the Defense: The Titans at home have been obviously formidable and the Colts rushing attack lethargic at best. Expect just moderate rushing numbers in this game but with a chance for one touchdown.

Manning faces a defense that has not played many decent teams so far. But the Titans have only allowed one passing score this season and that was back in week one. And it went to a fullback. This game will be interesting since the Titans have been dominating on defense but have not faced any passing attacks of note. I like Manning to pass for at least moderate to good yardage here and to throw for at least one touchdown and possibly two if they rushing game does not produce one.

Gaining Fantasy Points IND 11 28 6 14 31 19
Preventing Fantasy Points    TEN 3 12 3 16 2 2

Tennessee Titans (6-0)
Homefield: LP Field
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 JAX 17-10 +3 37
2 @CIN 24-7 +1 37.5
3 HOU 31-12 -5 38.5
4 MIN 30-17 -3 36
5 @BAL 17-10 -3 35
6 BYE - - -
7 @KC 34-10 -8 35.5
8 IND - -4 42.5
9 GB - - -
10 @CHI - - -
11 @JAX - - -
12 NYJ - - -
13 @DET - - -
14 CLE - - -
15 @HOU - - -
16 PIT - - -
17 @IND - - -
TEN vs IND Rush Catch Pass
QB Kerry Collins     120
RB Chris Johnson 120,1 10  
RB Lendale White 50,1    
TE Bo Scaife   20  
WR Justin Gage   40  
WR Justin McCareins 40
PK Rob Bironas 2 XP 3 FG  

Pregame Notes: The Titans are the lone unbeaten NFL team and for a good reason - no one scores against them. They have allowed a league low 66 points for 2008 and the next best is Pittsburgh with 89 points. The Titans are only allowing around ten points per game and that makes winning a lot easier.This is their big game - they were swept by the Colts last year and yet if the Titans win this to go 7-0 and the Colts fall to 3-4, then this will be the Titans year of destiny.

Quarterback: Nothing like having a dominating rushing attack and a defense that crushes every opponent. It means that Kerry Collins can get by with less than 200 passing yards and never more than one touchdown in every game. He has almost no fantasy value and won't until the Titans need to throw. And when that day comes, the talent is hardly here to carry the team when it passes. If the Titans actually picked up some talent at wideout, it would make this team scary good.

Running Backs: Lendale White is #1 in the league with eight rushing touchdowns thanks to last week when he not only ran for three scores, he had 149 yards on 17 carries which included an 80 yard touchdown run. When White can run for an 80-yard touchdown, you know that the Titans are Destiny's Team. White usually cranks out around 50 yards on Sunday but has scored in all but one game this year.

Chris Johnson comes off his best game with 18 carries for 168 yards against the Chiefs. That helped reverse a declining trend of three weeks and gave Johnson his second game over 100 rushing yards.

Wide Receivers: The Titans are hoping that Justin Gage and Justin McCareins return to play this week after being inactive during the demolition of the Chiefs last week. In fantasy terms it is still a nonevent since the Titans wideouts have combined for only one touchdown on the season. Both Gage and McCareins have one decent showing for the year but this week is not likely to be a successful return against the #1 defense against quarterbacks and wide receivers.

Tight Ends: Bo Scaife remains as good as it gets for Titans receivers and that isn't much since he only has one score and averages 47 yards per game.

Match Against the Defense: No secret here. The #1 rushing attack in the NFL faces the #26 defense against running backs. Look for the Titans dynamic duo to combine for at least 150 rushing yards and two scores with a shot at much more if the defense can keep Manning off the field. Safety Bob Sanders is expected to miss this week as he recovers from his high ankle sprain.

No need to worry about any passing game elements here. The worst passing attack goes against the best defense versus the pass.

Gaining Fantasy Points TEN 31 1 32 9 14 4
Preventing Fantasy Points    IND 1 26 1 12 29 27

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