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

Prediction: TEN 23, HOU 20

Update: Lendale White did not practice this week until Friday when he was still limited. He will be a gametime decision and given that the Titans have already clinched a playoff spot and need him next week to knock off the Steelers for the #1 seed, I am lowering his stats and he may not play.

The Titans have clinched the AFC South at 12-1 and it's a comfortable position since the Steelers are 10-3 and in second place. Plus they play each other next week so this week the game doesn't even necessarily matter since a win over the Steelers next week secures the #1 seed anyway. The Texans are on a three game winning streak and are 4-2 at home. This is too early for the Titans to take it early though and they won 31-12 when the Texans were the visitors in week three.

Tennessee Titans (12-1)
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 47-10 -11 44.5
14 CLE 28-9 -13.5


15 @HOU - -3.5 44
16 PIT - - -
17 @IND - - -
TEN @ HOU Rush Catch Pass
QB Kerry Collins     150
RB Chris Johnson 110,2 20  
RB Lendale White 30    
TE Bo Scaife   20  
WR Justin Gage   50  
WR Justin McCareins   40  
PK Rob Bironas 3 FG 2 XP  
Pregame Notes: Oddly enough, the most anticipated game will probably turn into a snooze-fest when the Titans head to Indy in week 17 and likely have nothing to win. The Titans are healthy and need to figure out how to end this season with the #1 seed, a still healthy roster and not giving away anything more that will help opponents prepare in the playoffs.

Quarterback: Surprisingly, Kerry Collins threw for two touchdowns against the Browns because he usually only scored in the tougher matchups in the rare event that the rushing attack cannot win the game. Collins showed in Chicago (289, 2 TD) and in Jacksonville (230, 3 TD) that he could pass when needed but that won't be this week. It may not happen again until the playoffs.

Collins passed for 185 yards and one score against the Texans in week three.

Running Backs: After a three week stretch against tougher opponents when Chris Johnson had mediocre stats, these last two weeks have seen him top 125 rushing yards in both games and score a total of three times. Johnson has a tendency to go nuts against a poor defense and then have much less success when the defense is much better. That trend matters more in the playoffs than in this game.

Lendale White has also enjoyed two big showings with three scores and at least 99 rushing yards in the last two games. He is even more sensitive in carries and yardage to the opponent than Johnson though he will score much more.

Johnson rushed for 74 yards on 16 carries and White gained 49 yards on 16 rushes while scoring twice against the Texans this season.

Wide Receivers: The fantasy value of this group is minimal and even then only when they face really tough opponents. Justin Gage has a team high five receiving touchdowns but has most of his games end up with 40 yards or less. Justin McCareins is even less productive in yardage and hasn't scored yet this season.

McCareins had an unusually decent game when he had three catches for 86 yards against the Texans this year.

Tight Ends: The key with Bo Scaife is that he matters more when the Titans have to throw a lot of passes. He had 72 yards on seven catches against the Ravens and 10 catches for 78 yards and a touchdown in Chicago. But games this week are always low production and Scaife had three catches for 26 yards and one score versus the Texans this year.

Match Against the Defense: The Titans only had an average sort of day back in week three and the rushing attack has vastly improved since then. Look for at least one rushing score and likely two - both runners are safe starts in this game. I would expect the game to remain lower scoring and mainly rushing.

Collins will have only another average game here and he may not score. There is no reliable fantasy value here anyway since the matchup should not be that tough.

Gaining Fantasy Points TEN 29 1 30 11 7 10
Preventing Fantasy Points    HOU 25 26 18 25 15 26

Houston Texans (6-7)
Homefield: Reliant Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @PIT 17-38 +6.5 43
2 BYE - - -
3 @TEN 12-31 +5 38.5
4 @JAX 27-30 +7.5 42
5 IND 27-31 +3 47.5
6 MIA 29-28 -3 45
7 DET 28-21 -9 48
8 CIN 35-6 -10 44-
9 @MIN 21-28 +4.5 47
10 BAL 13-41 -1.5 41.5
11 @IND 27-33 +9 50
12 @CLE 16-6 +3 50
13 JAX 30-17 -3 48
14 @GB 24-21 +3 43
15 TEN - -3.5 44
16 @OAK - - -
17 CHI - - -
HOU vs TEN Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Schaub     230,1
RB Steve Slaton 100,1 20  
TE Owen Daniels   50  
WR Andre Johnson   60  
WR David Anderson   20  
WR Kevin Walter   60,1  
PK Kris Brown 2 FG 2 XP  

Pregame Notes: Three straight wins means a .500 season is within reach and the win in Green Bay last week is easily the most encouraging of the season. Matt Schaub is back and hopefully lasts for three more games and the schedule is actually challenging but could be wins. The Texans have improved since week three in the previous meeting but the Titans have become the elite of the league.

Quarterback: After sitting out with a bad knee for four weeks, Matt Schaub returned and had a career best effort in Green Bay when he passed for 414 yards and two touchdowns. That was his third effort over 300 yards this year and a sign of what he could do if only he could remain healthy for a full season. Schaub has been good regardless of opponent with the exception of when he passed for just 188 yards and had three interceptions in Tennessee this year.

Running Backs: While many rookies suffer from a slump at the end of their first season, not so with Steve Slaton who has been feasting on some less than formidable rushing defenses for the past month. He has topped 120 rushing yards in three of the last four games and that includes 120 yards in Green Bay. He certainly has looked the part of Dominick Davis - let's see if he can last longer.

Slaton gained 116 yards on 18 carries and scored once against the Titans this season.

Wide Receivers: Andre Johnson has only topped 100 yards once in the last five weeks but he has remained solid for at least 50 yards per game and has scored in each of the last two matchups. Johnson has fared better with Schaub at the helm but has three tough games left to play. He is almost always targeted ten or more times each week, but he is actually hitting a hard part of his schedule.

As it works out, Kevin Walter has been much more productive when the Texans face a good defense. His good games are almost exactly opposite to the lower efforts of Johnson. Walter has scored in three games recently - @GB, @CLE and BAL. Unfortunately, the only time neither were effective was when Johnson was held to only 29 yards on two receptions in Tennessee and Walter only had 15 yards on four catches.

Tight Ends: He has scored in only one game this year but Owen Daniels has been a solid part of the passing game. His usage has seriously waned in recent weeks which coincides with the better rushing game of Slaton. His last three home games never had him with more than 25 yards.

Daniels caught four passes for 71 yards in Tennessee.

Match Against the Defense: The Titans have been about average against the run this year but only one player has ever rushed for more than 100 yards against them... and it was Steve Slaton. The Texans are back at home and getting more confident - look for a decent game here from the surprising Slaton who already had 116 yards and a score in Tennessee.

Schaub gets a far tougher chore against one of the very best secondaries in the league. Look for only moderate yardage and one score that should favor Walter or Daniels. The Texans just rarely use Daniels though so Walter is more likely to score.

Gaining Fantasy Points HOU 5 16 3 14 16 21
Preventing Fantasy Points    TEN 3 14 2 16 1 1

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