Audibles: AFC South Week 5 preview

Discussion in 'Tennessee Titans and NFL Talk' started by NewsGrabber, Oct 3, 2008.

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  1. NewsGrabber

    NewsGrabber Guest

    Posted by's Paul Kuharsky Indianapolis Colts (1-2) at Houston Texans (0-3), 1 p.m. ET

    [​IMG][​IMG] It's tempting to say the Texans can spring an upset here. The team and the city will be fired up for the home opener, with the Texans hoping to give the city something to celebrate amid all the time, energy, effort and emotion spent on Hurricane Ike recovery.
    Rookie running back Steve Slaton has shown he can hurt defenses as a runner and a receiver, and while a quick guy may not be as good as a big back against the Colts, their run defense looks like it might yield yards to anyone.
    The trouble is the Texans secondary is beat up. They're already rotating three corners through the two starting spots and now they may do the same at safety. Peyton Manning's line could be back to what was envisioned for the start of the season, minus only guard Ryan Lilja, and if he can find his rhythm, he'll find room to throw. Houston has allowed at least 30 points in all three of its games this season.
    I sense a shootout, and it's hard to lean against the Colts in one. Which means it'll probably be a 10-7 game.
    Pittsburgh Steelers (3-1) at Jacksonville Jaguars (2-2), 8:15 p.m. ET

    [​IMG][​IMG] Pittsburgh has lost four in a row to the Jaguars, including last year's wild-card round playoff game. The Steelers are thinned out at running back and have had trouble protecting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. They are going to need to throw it to move it. How complete with the Jaguars' banged up secondary be? Jacksonville has had pass rush trouble, but not against the Steelers -- 11 sacks in two games last season.
    The game is only the fifth in NFL history featuring two teams coming off overtime wins. The Steelers defeated Baltimore Monday night 23-20 on a 46-yard field goal by Jeff Reed while the Jaguars topped Houston 30-27 on a 37-yard Josh Scobee field goal.
    Courtesy of the Jaguars PR staff, here are the five games in history featuring teams coming off overtime victories:
    Dec. 8, 1975: Denver 10 at Oakland 17
    Oct. 15, 1995: Philadelphia 17 at N.Y. Giants 14
    Sept. 23, 2001: St. Louis 30 at San Francisco 26
    Sept. 15, 2002: Green Bay 20 at New Orleans 35
    Oct. 5, 2008: Pittsburgh at Jacksonville
    Tennessee Titans (4-0) at Baltimore Ravens (2-1), 1 p.m. ET
    [​IMG][​IMG] Once upon a time these AFC Central rivals played games that ended with scores like 14-11, 14-6, 16-10 and 13-12.
    Now they're both back to where they rate as solid defensive teams with run-centered offenses. We could see a return to those awkward sorts of numbers.
    The Titans have held everybody they've played under 20, and the Ravens put the clamps on Cleveland and Cincinnati, holding them to 10.
    The easy presumption is that the veteran Kerry Collins will fare better against Baltimore's ever-shifting defense than rookie Joe Flacco will fare against the pressure from the Titans front.
    But I have a feeling Collins will struggle and the offense will miss Justin Gage, likely out with a knee injury. Even if Collins does have a hard time, that doesn't mean Tennessee suffers its first loss. I don't believe the Titans will win this one by 14, which is what they've averaged. They might not score 14.
    Look for the Ravens to go heavy on screens and passes to the flat to try to use the Titans' aggressiveness against them.
    I'm not ready to compare this Titans defense to the 2000 Ravens, a Super Bowl winner that is the modern measuring stick for great defenses.
    But here's food for thought from the Elias Sports Bureau:

    '00 Ravens'08 TitansPoints per game20.825.5Opponents' ppg10.311.5Turnovers per game1.62.0Takeaways per game3.13.0

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