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

Prediction: TEN 34, DET 20

It was going to happen sometime and the visiting Jets merely took care of finally beating the TItans who are 10-1 and still two games better than any other AFC team. The Lions have reached 0-11 and are poised for the greatest comeback season ever when they win the Super Bowl next year. But in this dimension of time and space, the Titans get to pick how they want to win and gain the national audience for the first game played on Thursday. This was supposed to be 11-0 vs. 0-11 but we can still pretend.

Tennessee Titans (10-1)
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 31-21 -4 42
9 GB 19-16 -5.5 42.5
10 @CHI 21-14 -3 38.5
11 @JAX 24-14 -3 39.5
12 NYJ 13-34 -6 40.5
13 @DET - -11 44.5
14 CLE - - -
15 @HOU - - -
16 PIT - - -
17 @IND - - -
TEN @ DET Rush Catch Pass
QB Kerry Collins     180,1
RB Chris Johnson 100,1 30  
RB Lendale White 50,1    
TE Bo Scaife   40  
WR Justin Gage   60,1  
WR Justin McCareins   30  
PK Rob Bironas 2 FG 4 XP  
Pregame Notes: The loss to the Jets was on fro the start of the game during a weekend where most road teams came in and had an upset. But the rest of the schedule is still pretty light with this game and then CLE and @HOU. Three wins there means 13-1 and that may already clinch homefield throughout the playoffs. Two of the worst matchups of the year - PIT and @IND - may not even matter.

Quarterback: Kerry Collins still passed for 243 yards and one score in the loss on Sunday and that gives him three straight games with at least one touchdown pass. His last two road games in Chicago and Jacksonville had up to 289 yards and scored a total of five times. The passing numbers of the last three weeks reflect how defenses have been better at slowing down the rushing game. That may not be much of an issue this week.

Running Backs: Facing three good defenses lately has left Chris Johnson with minimal numbers since week nine. He has not scored since then and averaged only around 60 yards per game. Lendale White has been even worse with only one carrie last week which led him to publicly complain about his lack of involvement.

That trend should have no bearing on this game or the next two. Johnson's best game came on the road in Kansas City in a similar situation. Same for Lendale White who had three scores in that game. This unit is not so good that it cannot be limited by a good defense but has always shined against below average defenses.

Wide Receivers: There continues to be no reliable value from these wideouts and the best bet so far has been Justin Gage who comes off a single catch last week. The oddity here that works in Gage's favor is that he has scored in three games this year - all on the road. Of the entire unit, only Brandon Jones has managed to score a touchdown outside of Gage and the yardage is very low every week as well. Collins can connect with this group but usually does not have the need.

Tight Ends: Bo Scaife has never been more than an adequate back-up fantasy tight end with just two scores on the season and a few games over 50 yards. He's actually been slightly more consistent than the wide receivers but that says little on this team. He typically turns in around 40 yards per week.

Match Against the Defense: The Titans get to choose how they want to score as have all opponents of the Lions who have allowed 346 points this year - worst in the entire NFL and not getting any better. The last three opponents of the Lions scored at least 31 points and the Titans would almost have to try to end up below 20. Look for this to be a more standard win by the Titans that should feature plenty of rushing yardage and scores with perhaps on touchdown passed by Collins. I like one defensive score here as well.

No need to expect a trap game here since it is a very short week and the Lions have no time to prepare.

Gaining Fantasy Points TEN 29 5 29 9 14 11
Preventing Fantasy Points    DET 29 29 24 29 23 32

Detroit Lions (0-11)
Homefield: Ford Field
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @ATL 21-34 -3 41
2 GB 25-48 +3 45
3 @SF 13-31 +4 46
4 BYE - - -
5 CHI 7-34 +3.5 44.5
6 @MIN 10-12 +13.5 47
7 @HOU 21-28 +9 48
8 WAS 17-25 +8 43.5
9 @CHI 23-27 +13 43
10 JAX 14-38 +6.5 44.5
11 @CAR 22-31 +14 39.5
12 TB 20-38 +8.5 41
13 TEN - +11 44.5
14 MIN - - -
15 @IND - - -
16 NO - - -
17 @GB - - -
DET vs TEN Rush Catch Pass
QB Daunte Culpepper     140,1
RB Kevin Smith 70,1 20  
WR Calvin Johnson   60,1  
WR Shaun McDonald   40  
PK Jason Hanson 2 FG 2 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Lions are not getting any better and even that eventual trap game that saves them from a win-less season has yet to show up. The last three weeks have been losses by at least nine points. The offense has been good enough to score points against defenses that clearly know they are going to win anyway. Case in point, the Lions went up 17-0 against the Buccaneers last week and yet still lost 20-38. This would be a huge upset if the Lions kicked off Turkey Day with a win. But this is Thanksgiving - not Christmas.

Quarterback: Three weeks as the starter and Daunte Culpepper's Career Part II has only scored twice with five interceptions and one lost fumble. He has been sacked nine times and in general been just as effective as any Detroit quarterback this year. Drew Stanton has a concussion and won't be playing on Thursday so the Lions called up Drew Henson from the practice squad to use in case Culpepper becomes the fourth Detroit quarterback knocked out of a game this year.

Running Backs: Kevin Smith has been surprisingly productive since the Rudi Johnson experiment ended a month ago. It may be related to defenses not caring about a runner getting four yards per carry and much of Smith's success has come when the Lions are down. But he has been above 80 total yards for three weeks and scored five times already this season. Smith suffered a knee and shoulder injury last week but continued to play and turned in 86 yards on 16 carries against the Buccaneers. He is expected to play this week.

Wide Receivers: Calvin Johnson continues his strong showing with yet another touchdown last week. That makes six of the last seven games having a touchdown and he has eight on the season. He is simply the only player of any note or importance on this offense. Shaun McDonald has been good for little more than 30 yards per game and the reality is that other than Johnson, there has been only two touchdown catches by any other wideout on this team and one of those were the departed Roy Williams.

Johnson is a must play since he has been so wildly consistent but how he manages to do as well considering the entire secondary is watching him is a testament to his talent. Mike Furrey has missed two games because of a concussion and I will assume he misses this one as well.

Tight Ends: No fantasy value and rarely more than 20 yards per game.

Match Against the Defense: These matchups are always harder to gauge since the motivation and preparations of opponents about to face a win-less team always varies greatly. A short week means keep it simple and with that Kevin Smith should have an average game with most yardage coming later when they should be passing instead of running.

Culpepper faces a secondary that has allowed only seven touchdowns this season and usually none in most games. I'll credit Johnson with one score since he has almost always done that but anything more is hard to rely on. This is a national showing for the Lions but that doesn't mean they are going to have any more talent than in the last 12 weeks.

Gaining Fantasy Points DET 20 29 14 27 30 25
Preventing Fantasy Points    TEN 6 19 2 18 1 1

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