The Huddle on Facebook Facebook   The Huddle on Twitter Twitter   The Huddle Mobile Mobile Welcome, GuestJOINHELP


Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
Print this page
The Huddle
~ 2008 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday Late
* updated

Prediction: PIT 20, TEN 16

This is one of the must watch games of the weekend with the Steelers only one game behind the Titans but on a five game winning streak while the once undefeated Titans lost last week and have suddenly looked like they already peaked. The Titans are 6-1 at home while the Steelers are 6-1 on the road. The only certain thing is that this game is unlikely to have many points unless the defenses score. The Titans can clinch the #1 seed with a win here. The Steelers can as well provided they also win at home against the Browns next week or the Colts beat the Titans in week 17 - also a possibility.

Pittsburgh Steelers (11-3)
Homefield: Heinz Field
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 HOU 38-17 -6.5 43
2 @CLE 10-6 -6 45
3 @PHI 6-15 +3 45
4 BAL 23-20 -6 34.5
5 @JAX 26-21 +4 36
6 BYE - - -
7 @CIN 38-10 -9.5 37
8 NYG 14-21 -2.5 42
9 @WAS 23-6 +1.5 37
10 IND 20-24 -3.5 38.5
11 SD 11-10 -4 43
12 CIN 27-10


13 @NE 33-10 +1 40
14 DAL 20-13 -3 41.5
15 @BAL 13-9 +2 34
16 @TEN - -1 34.5
17 CLE - - -
PIT @ TEN Rush Catch Pass
QB Ben Roethlisberger     230,1
RB Willie Parker 50    
RB Mewelde Moore 40,1 35  
TE Heath Miler   30  
WR Hines Ward   75,1  
WR Santonio Holmes   40  
WR Nate Washington   50  
PK Jeff Reed 2 FG 2 XP  
Pregame Notes: The Steelers have risen to contending for the #1 seed thanks to a dominating defense and a bit of good fortune in the last two games - call it well timed events that beat the Ravens and Cowboys. The Steelers offense has hardly been impressive much at all this year but the defense has kept the team on track and in every game. And the last two weeks meant good things happen when you stick around.

Quarterback: Ben Roethlisberger's production has been all over the map this year and on the road he's been even more erratic. As good as 309 yards and three scores in Jacksonville and as bad as just 131 yards and three turnovers in Philadelphia. But he has scored in al but one road game while generally settling for around 200 passing yards.

Running Backs: Willie Parker remains mediocre for the last month with only around 50 rushing yards per game and no scores. Parker has only scored in two games this season and the tougher matchups of recent weeks have not been any help in gaining more yardage. Mewelde Moore shares duty with him and has been no better though he supplies the third down role and usually has four catches per week to help prop up his fantasy value.

Other than road games in Cincinnati and Cleveland, the Steelers have not been successful rushing in road games this year.

Wide Receivers: Hines Ward reversed a three week trend of low production when he accounted for a season high eight catches for 112 yards in Baltimore. His yardage has often lagged in road games but he's also scored in four of them as opposed to only once at home.

Santonio Holmes has only turned in no more than three catches in each of the last three road games but he scored in each one. Never more than 30 yards and yet a touchdown the last three times away from Pittsburgh. Nate Washington rarely has many yards and even less likely a score but has a knack for turning in the critical catches when the offense needs them most.

Tight Ends: Heath Miller has no reliable fantasy value this year and has been less effective in road games.

Match Against the Defense: The Steelers get a break this week since DE Kyle Vanden Bosch will be out with an injured groin and Albert Haynesworth has a sprained MCL and will miss the last two weeks. That will help the Steelers both in rushing and more so in pass protection which has historically been spotty with Big Ben anyway. The split of workload means neither Parker nor Moore are attractive plays this week. Have to like the improved chance of a rushing score this week.

Roethlisberger faces a very good secondary but one that has benefited from playing mostly softer passing attacks. Players like Peyton Manning (223, 2 TD) and Aaron Rodgers (314, 1 TD) both had decent showings in Tennessee. Look for one passing score that should favor Hines Ward. The only two wideouts to score in Tennessee were both flankers.

Gaining Fantasy Points PIT 15 25 10 21 13 6
Preventing Fantasy Points TEN 3 11 3 17 1 1

Tennessee Titans (11-2)
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 12-13 -3.5 44
16 PIT - +1 34.5
17 @IND - - -
TEN vs PIT Rush Catch Pass
QB Kerry Collins     180
RB Chris Johnson 70 20  
RB Lendale White 30,1    
TE Bo Scaife   30  
WR Justin Gage   50  
WR Brandon Jones   30  
WR Justin McCareins   40  
PK Rob Bironas 3 FG 1 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Titans spent most of the season as the de facto AFC Champion but now have the look of a team that has already peaked. Defensive injuries will make the last two games much tougher and facing PIT and IND was already daunting enough. The defense has been stellar almost every week though and like the Steelers have kept them in all games. If the Titans can win this week, they can take off week 17 and still have the #1 seed. If they lose here, then they will still take off week 17 because it won't matter anyway.

Quarterback: Kerry Collins doesn't throw much at home where he has yet to have 40 or more pass attempts in a game and only once topped 200 passing yards. He's only scored four times there but that has been a function of the success of the rushing game in most weeks. In the week 12 loss to the visiting Jets, Collins passed for 243 yards and one score. This is clearly the toughest passing matchup for him though and a previous game against the Ravens only had 163 yards and one score as an example of a good secondary.

Running Backs: Chris Johnson only had 65 rushing yards last week but back at home this week should see him doing more. He has scored in four of the last five home games though the bad one was the Jets loss. Oddly enough his role as a receiver tends to be heavier at home as well with around three or four catches. This week will be a huge challenge for the rookie who only managed to gain 44 yards on 18 carries when he faced the Ravens defense. The Steelers bring in an even better run stopping ability but at least Johnson is at home where he runs better.

LenDale White was able to play last week but only gained 26 yards on eight carries. Like Johnson, he too has better stats at home. This is a big game for both teams and Johnson and White will dictate how well the Titans fare.

Wide Receivers: Keep expectations low for these wideouts this week facing the #1 defense against the position and the Titans accounting for only six passing scores to wide receivers this season. Justin Gage remains the primary target in this group but has all but disappeared in home games since the running is usually better. His last four games at home have only totaled four catches.

Brandon Jones and Justin McCareins actually make Gage look good. With very few exceptions, wideouts on this team do not turn in more than around 50 yards per game.

Tight Ends: Bo Scaife remains the primary tight end but that only means he gets two or three catches instead of the one that Alge Crumpler ends up with. The entire position has only produced three scores this year and none since week ten.

Match Against the Defense: The absences on the Titans defense will have an effect on what happens for the offense. This would be a great spot for the Titans to make one more stand and win the #1 seed but the Steelers are #2 against the running backs and the Titans are struggling a bit lately anyway. Add in a passing attack that would seem doomed to mediocrity this week and relying on many points is tough. Since the workload is split for rushing, Johnson and White will end up with moderate numbers at best though White could end up with one score.

Collins is even harder to rely on in the face of the Steelers pass rush and the general inability of the Titans to move the ball well via the pass. Expect the offense to move but then have problems getting it into the endzone. No elements of the Titans passing game have fantasy value this week and the running backs are worth starting only because Johnson could always pop a long run and White can score a touchdown.

Gaining Fantasy Points TEN 29 1 29 12 4 11
Preventing Fantasy Points PIT 2 2 1 10 7 20

The Huddle
~ 2008 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday Late
Other Features
Fantasy Statistics
Tuesday Injury Report
Free Agent Forecast
Commentary From the Edge
Game Recaps
Tunnel Vision
a d v e r t i s e m e n t